When you never felt loved as a child, when you grew up thinking that you had to earn every scrap of affection, when you were always told that what you did was not good enough, you end up unable to believe that people care about you, love you. And you don't know how to manage relationships.
There are friends who, as I get a bit healthier, mentally, I realise weren't really friends at all, even though we filled functions for each other.: I was so desperate to be liked, I did whatever was needed to maintain their 'affection', and only realised recently that they didn't really give a fuck about me personally except where I was useful for their purposes. I'm not saying they are worse than me - just that, like me, they have needs.
There are other friends who do care about me, as I do for them. People who ask how I am, and what I've been doing, and listen when I answer, as often I do with them. People who I enjoy, and who seem to enjoy my company too.
I've reached a point where I have been able to let some just drift away. If they come back, and I can see a change in the way we interact, I won't turn my back on them.
The hardest relationships to manage are those with my sons. They are adults, grown and leading their own lives. But my love for them is still every bit as strong as it ever was, as when I fell in love at first sight when each was born. And yet they are drifting further and further away. I don't know most of their friends. I no longer know all the things they like to eat. I know little about their interests or their opinions or about what matters to them anymore. Mostly they don't seem to want me to know, and mostly aren't interested in my opinions or in having conversations about much.
I sometimes know they love me, but not always. I sometimes think they like me, but not always. I sometimes think they trust me, sometimes, some more than others. I miss knowing these people who I love so much, more than anyone or anything else in the world, but I am required to smile and act glad that they are becoming more independent, more their own unique people, leading their own lives. To smile, and be grateful for the morsels they share.
I remember thinking that the reason our memories of childbirth fade so quickly is because otherwise a woman would not give birth a second time - let alone a third and fourth time so it! But what would really kill off the human race, would be foreknowledge of the pain of successfully raising independent children. Some days it's just too fucking hard.