My LO is coming back.
For professional reasons, we are going to be working on a project together for a few weeks. I thought about declining the job. I also thought about the implications of making professionally reckless decisions on the basis of my own personal hangups. I looked at my responsibilities, and decided on balance to take it on and work together again for mutual benefit.
I then scrutinised myself carefully for rationalisations, and then had a good laugh about how much more seriously I’m taking all this since starting the blog. So, I think I’ll be fine, but shields up just in case.
When LOs come back into our lives unexpectedly, it’s bound to be a challenge. Regular readers will know that I’m very sceptical about the possibility of being friends with an LO. Whatever it is about them that resonates so strongly with you is not going to just conveniently go away. Even No Contact, for all its virtues , is not guaranteed protection against limerence; a remembered encounter, an unexpected dream, a Facebook mugging – all can set you back. So how can you protect yourself when LO bursts back into life? How will I protect myself over the coming month?
1) No personal stuff
Friendliness is fine. Friendship is unrealistic. The more you share about your life and your feelings with LO, the more you will strengthen the bond. I don’t mean being a humourless robot, but when the conversation drifts towards personal issues, I’m going to try and artfully steer it away again. A good rule of thumb is that sharing information is fine, sharing feelings is risky.
2) I am not a counsellor
I kind of have this drive to want to help people in emotional distress. I’m probably hiding it well behind this clever disguise of a blog that I’ve been writing all about emotional distress, but, shockingly, I do seem to have the empathy gene. For all its virtues, empathy has its downsides – and is partly rooted in a complicated muddle of selfish and altruistic subconscious urges. Given that, a guiding principle is that any impulse to try and intervene to help LO sort out their emotional problems is to be resisted. Helping people is good, but not at the cost of compromising your own emotional stability.
3) I would like this to end well
For all the difficulties caused by my limerence, and for all the blame that can be shared around generously between LO and me, I would like the whole experience to end well. I still care about LO and her wellbeing, and I wish her a long and happy life. I enjoy her company, and don’t want to see her as an enemy just because I enjoy it a bit too much at times. So, adopting a mindful pose before the next interaction should be to the benefit of everyone involved. No alarms and no surprises.
This cautiously optimistic attitude should be modified for anyone with an actively disruptive LO who is not playing nicely (the narcissists, the predators, the flakes), but for generally well-meaning people I think it’s a realistic goal.
So, that’s the plan. I’ll report back in a few weeks on how it’s gone…
Edit: Link to follow up here.