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Many times I’ve heard in AA… “What you think of me is none of my business.” But I don’t seem to be able to jump that hurdle…yet. The paranoia of rejection blows mightily inside me. It shreds me until I’m stupid.

Yesterday me, my husband, my my husband’s sister and our brother-in-law got together and walked around Grass Valley California. My sister-in-law is looking for a small artist’s colony town to retire in and this one fit the bill perfectly. Plus it’s affordable. She and I are great friends… at least as far as I know, that is. I don’t really know what she thinks of me although she always seems happy to see me. I don’t know.

The thing is, I’m only a baby at making friends. I’ve only been really interacting with other people for a year or so and I’m fifty-nine now. Up until a year ago I’ve been hiding from almost everyone. I’m great with animals but frightened, baffled and confused by other humans, I just didn’t know what to do with others of my own kind. I’m even frightened of infants, babies, and toddlers. Nuts huh? I do my best to take into account my background. I keep telling myself… “You’re ok just the way you are”. But it’s a tough idea that I haven’t been able to buy yet… in my heart.

So here I am with my sister-in-law spending the whole day with them. What do you talk about when you spend a whole day with someone? I tried not to talk too much; to let her do most of the talking because it seems that when I open my mouth and say something, inevitably something stupid or offensive comes out. And this time was no exception.

We were walking around looking at houses in the area when she mentioned, several times that there were so many churches around. She seemed flabbergasted by this and I didn’t know what to say in response to her remarks. So I said… “There sure must be a lot of Christians in the area C.” (I’ll call her ‘C’ for anonymity). What a stupid thing to say to a person totally opposed to the Christian religion. After it came out of my mouth I immediately knew I’d made a faux-pas. I found myself blushing (I’m pretty sure no one else could see this) and reverting to me ‘hiding’ mode again. One more time I’d said something that would alienate me.

You see last year, when we hospiced my mom-in-law (her mom) and C. stayed with us, a Christian chaplain came to visit. I made the mistake of saying; “We’re Christians but she (C) is not.” Well I’m sure your typically normal people would see that saying something like that, would be offensive. Later I found out that she got very offended by this remark so I apologized… profusely.

This time I felt I couldn’t apologize because C never said anything about it. Am I being paranoid? I have a tendency to be that way because of my background. Or is this something I really should apologize for? The thing is… I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I get myself dug down in a hole of fear and I don’t know how to get out of it. As I write this I still feel the slow burn of anxiety. She’s going to reject me, I know it! What if I am abandoned… one more time? I’ve been shunned too many times to count and it’s a very hard thing to take on… one more ugly time.

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