Dear Shadow in Blue,
(1) Everybody rambles when they try to work things out. It's incomprehensible because you haven't had a chance to look it all over and see how it fits together. You have to get it all down first and then see which piece comes first, what's second, what less important, what's more important. You try it a couple of different ways until it starts to make more sense than it did before.
You always have to start off with your confusion, though. If you weren't confused, why would you even want to get things straightened away in the first place? There'd be no reason at all. You need to be flustered to want to start the whole ball rolling.
(2) Unnatural paranoia? What is "unnatural paranoia?"
Almost every time a person is "paranoid," which most of the time means "suspicious," there SOMETHING there that's causing it. It may not be the exact thing that we think is the cause, but most of the time there is SOMETHING and exactly what it is deserves to be identified and the reality behind the feeling of suspicion needs to be accounted for.
(3) One of the things that is most helpful for folks in your situation, I hear, is conversations with other women.
Allison and Serenity both sound as though they have a lot of wisdom about this sort of thing. Talking with guys can be helpful, too; but if you're nervous about "trust issues" you may find talking with other women to be simpler at the beginning. These are folks who are going through or who have already been through the same situations that you're trying to navigate now. You'll notice that Allison and Serenity seem like pretty solid, talented and humane ladies.
Basically, the main (knowingly unfounded) insecurity is people don't give a damn about me. Now as stated above I know that's not necessarily true, but due to past betrayals in my early youth it's been reinforced ten times over.
You know the first sentence isn't (necessarily) true. You say so in the second.
Actually, the truth is probably that some specific people don't and some specific people do. Each of those groups have names attached to them. Regardless of the situations in your childhood, there are still people on the list of those who care for you. You can write those people down on a piece of paper and when you get this particular idea, you can pull out this piece of paper and read it aloud. You can make a point of adding to it when it become clear to you that the list needs the additions.
This has nothing to do with betrayals in the past. This has to do with how you keep score in the present.
5) "Masochism?" Stop calling yourself nasty names, Shadow. I see no evidence that you get sexual gratification from pain. I've known and dealt with sadists and masochists and, offhand, I don't actually remember any of them that would describe themselves as "a friendly, proud chatterbox." I'm not saying it's impossible, mind you, I'm simply saying that the thought makes me chuckle. You do suffer, clearly. But you're too straightforwardly nice to be a masochist.
6) There's nothing terribly wrong with being a nice normal neurotic person who's afraid to open up to other people because they're afraid to be hurt again. It is very normal, and it is very normal to be very worried about it.
There's a story about the Buddha. A woman came to him with absolute inconsolable sorrow. She'd lost a daughter and had been in deep deep mourning for years. It was ruining her life. She demanded that he help her. She wanted him to bring back her daughter, and he agreed to do so if she could accomplish one task for him.
She was to visit each house in the city, and from each house that had not had to deal with death, she was to bring him a single mustard seed. When she brought him three mustard seeds, he would bring back her daughter.
She returned, in the version I remember, a year later, empty handed, no longer frantic, unable to bring him a single mustard seed from anyplace in the city.
I think this must be the way of things as well for people who think they can avoid a broken heart. There is no dwelling in the city that doesn't house a heart that hasn't suffered from it at least once. It is very normal.