She left pieces of her life behind her everywhere she went. It’s easier to feel the sunlight without them, she said. - Brian Andreas
I am on my journey; well into it in fact. Just when I think I am making ground, life socks it to me. Maybe it is to keep me humble. To remind me that I am far from perfect and that life will forever be a continuous classroom for me. I am an eager student as I don’t much like pain or heartache. Yet somehow I always manage to find my way stuck back in the corner with the dunce hat on.
Today I am really hurting. I had a miserable fight last night with my boyfriend who happens to be my dear friend too, as it should be. Anyway, it didn’t last long…maybe 10 minutes, but there was anger sprawled all over the walls in invisible ink. The things we said were true…it was how we felt at the time. However, anger has a nice way of taking one thought and making it morph into something so much bigger at times.
No matter what happens I am not shattered. I shattered years ago and I really don’t think it can happen again to me. Last night, I was ANGRY, HURT, and I felt BETRAYED. Yes, I cried many tears and I woke up this morning looking like I had puffer fish for eyes. I guess that’s when the shock hit. I hate this fight because it was so stupid and there was no reason for it. I try so hard to be open and honest. However, a partnership takes two people and the other person in this one has a hard time expressing himself. It built up on both sides, and it just exploded. What a mess we can make of our lives in a split second. If only we could go back in time for a minute and take back that one response. Alas, we cannot and life rolls out as it does and we are left to choose how we want to respond and react to all the things, including ourselves.
I regret that argument. I regret the fact that we hurt each other. I regret the fact that he is so stinking unhappy with me. I wish I could change it, but I can’t. I can only change myself and how I proceed from this point forward. Today, I decided to be a detective. I wanted to delve deep into what preceded this argument and what was said to try to figure out the ‘why’ on a deeper level. I had to go deep, not to discover his flaws, but to find out why I keep finding myself in this situation.
I survived an abusive marriage. I then fell in love with a man who died a few years later. My current love is an amazing person. Yes, he has faults and shortcomings but so do we all. I hate fighting…I spent years literally defending my life as a married woman. I can’t do fights…I hate them. I lose myself in them. Usually, I try to just stop them before they start. Yes, I know that this is NOT healthy. It is a remnant from the past where I walked on eggshells to keep the peace. Oddly enough today I accepted the fact that I have still been up to my old tricks. I am not writing to place blame on anyone here. There is no fault to be had…this is life. Relationships are hard work, communication is key, and arguments happen.
The other day I read something from Melody Beattie that nearly knocked me over:
“….I know. We didn’t get loved the way we wanted. Some of us have spent years picking through the messy issues of parents who had unusual ways of showing love or who didn’t show love at all.
We may have had spouses who were dreadful at showing love. Issues like alcoholism and other dysfunctions can genuinely interfere with a person’s ability to love. Some of us took that personally.We looked around and the only conclusion we could come up with is that we weren’t lovable.
Some of us need to grieve the absence of love in our family of origin. We may have missed an important emotional lesson while growing up, and we barely realize it. That lesson is understanding how lovable we are.
Some of us learned to protect ourselves by caring for others, while refusing to let love into our own lives. We found that it is easier to shut down and not be open to love, rather than be denied love.”
Revelation. I read it again today after my ugly argument of last night. As always I had an impromptu therapy session with my best friend. It wasn’t what you might think…two women bashing on the guy. No, I wanted to understand what the hell was going on with me. I was glimpsing the big picture, but I couldn’t make it out clearly. I think that now I can finally see clearly the pieces to the jumble of the puzzle that is my life.
Just to recap with you: I had a lovely childhood, but I was one of many. I guess I needed more attention then I got because I can remember feeling misunderstood and in the way. I don’t blame my folks…I know how hard it is to be a parent. It’s just how it was. I am an empath and incredibly sensitive to others pain. I didn’t need more, I just needed someone to understand me. Childhood morphed into an unhappy adolescence which is par for the course for many. Still feeling completely misunderstood I moved into adulthood. I had a successful career and accolades, but as soon as I started having serious relationships I was so off my game.
Today, I pieced some of the puzzle together. I never felt like I fit in, was understood, or good enough. As a result I felt a lot of inner pain growing up despite the fact that from all angles I was a pretty well-adjusted kid. I didn’t know what to do when I met people who were in emotional pain. It drew me in like a magnet. I felt I could help them because I understood and felt their pain deep into my bones. I was not taught to have healthy boundaries and this is the crux of my problem. Today, I decided that I was going to figure out the common thread that ran through all the men I have had relationships with in order to help heal myself and grow.
I found it, and I didn’t have to do much forensic work. It was staring me down… straight on. All my relationships have been with men who while lovely, have had tumultuous youths. Without meaning any harm, I naturally wanted to help them; even though they didn’t ask for it. I have an incredibly strong personality and I want to help; apparently even at my own expense. My pain as a child allowed me to attract the same in a partner. I guess I always thought that I could love the pain away. You would think that after my marriage I would have learned…not so much. Sure, I put up boundaries, but they couldn’t protect me from something that I really didn’t understand until today. I have attracted partners that I felt were broken like me so I could feel understood. Feeling understood would allow me to feel loved and accepted. It doesn’t work this way friends. It is time for me to leave these pieces in the past and move forward with open eyes.
I need to see myself and how I relate to partners in a new light. I need to accept that I am lovable and I deserve to be loved by a healthy and whole person who can balance me. It is NOT my job to save anyone but myself; nor educate anyone but my children. I think that today I passed with an A. Unfortunately, I had to hit the emotional exploding point with someone I love very much to get it. True love conquers all…I do believe this. I am not talking about the love of romance, but deep soulful love. My favorite poet Kahlil Gibran said, “So as love crowns us so shall it crucify us.” I am realistic in these matters; I know that all roads in life have bumps in them. The kind of love I am looking for might not be attainable. However, I know if I keep working on being a better me and making better choices then I have HOPE. I know what I need to look for and what I need to avoid; and I certainly know that it is NOT my job to save anyone but myself. It isn’t possible for me to give anyone back a happy childhood…even myself.
So, I have picked myself up and I have kicked my ego out the door. This is the real deal; life is bumpy. True relationships are hard work, but they are worth it. It has been said that “We attract the love we think we deserve”. This has an all new meaning for me today. I have chosen to forgive and let go. I commit to being a better version of me, and to let go of the pieces of me that no longer serve me. I am lovable and I am worthy of the same kind of love that I have to give to someone. Here’s to better choices and learning life’s lessons quicker! Xo Ella