every time a relationship starts to deepen, my brain starts to protest and makes me feel pain I can’t understand. But I think tonight, I finally understand where all this pain stems from. My excuses for running away from someone I like are “they don’t really like me in that way” or “I am not good enough for them”. If I look back to my childhood, I realize that my mom gave me mixed signals about love. I was loved if I was obedient, and I was given the cold shoulder if I disobeyed. I was not taught how to love or what real love was. I was taught that to get feelings of safety and warmth, I had to obey; I had to be a certain way; I had to do certain things; I had to suppress certain feelings, certain words inside of me lest my mom disapproved of me. My mom’s love has always been conditional. Her love was not really love, it was approval. Even at 26, I am still trying to define what “real love” is. I konw what real love is not, but I don’t know what real love is. Or maybe I am just too afraid to find out. Either way, I run away and I avoid feelings…. and everyday I understand more and more why.