This is more of a self confession than a book review.
Like Micheal Hess, the Irish orphan adopted by a well-off American family in 1950s, later worked his way up into the senior position of Republican Party, tortured by the homophobia exuded by the institution he worked for and his own identity, the strains he suffered to compartmentalize his work life and personal haven, who was so obsessed with kink sex, the hardcore and violent rough sex imbricated in it that even risked wrecking his own secured and happy relationship shared with his partner, I too, could have addictive personality.
Like hess, I too feel rejected from the world, the loneliness and self-loathing incarnating as a small voice buzzing in my head saying that I am worthless, that I don't deserve to be happy, that each achievement I made is insignificant and by chance, and that nobody would be willing to befriend me as long as they know who I really am and the secrecy I hold in the back of my mind. Therefore, on the one hand I am desperate for recognition, trying hard to appeal to other's needs to even a self-deprecating level. On the other hand, I can become over sensitive and over defensive sometimes, sinking the boat, hurting the ones and estranging whoever is warming to me, so I could avoid the possible rejection and breakup I am so sure would happen later on. I will be hurt and shamed any way, so why not strike first? So this is how I come to be in others' eyes: nice, polite, but can never open heart and be intimate. Absolutely would dart away as soon as I sense even the first sign of revelation and intimacy hovering on the horizon.
And also the addiction. I am into the BDSM too. The food and tv binging, always in pursuit of the extremes because I am so afraid of the loss that I gotta cling to every intense sensation like an insecure and desperate drowning man trying to hold to a floating wood that he believe would soon sink under the water.
How to love then?
I guess there is no other way. Dispatch the old insecurity, dismiss the feeling that you are worthless, because you are not. Love and trust, don't be afraid of getting hurt. Show your side of vulnerability, take rest, live modest, look in long term, go slow, and avoid extremity.
Finally, I'd like to revisit Michael A. Hess in Yeats' poem:
Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That's all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.