Letting My Guard Down

Now that I’ve had time to process my feelings over the past week’s events, I’m able to see more clearly my part in all of it. What stands out is how truly self-centered and fearful I’d become, and how I tried to control and manipulate the situation to work out in my favor. A week ago I wouldn’t have told you this. Then I felt like a victim of someone else’s anger, as if I had no part in that whatsoever. My role was that I didn’t speak my mind and then blamed him for that. Then I built a wall and made it his fault. How many times have I done that, in this relationship and others, including non-romantic relationships? It’s a pattern.

My biggest fear is that of being abandoned. Ironically, my way of keeping someone near is by distancing them, so I build a wall for my own protection, and hope they stay with me through it. The thing is, it doesn’t work. There’s no way to get closer to someone behind a wall. In my past marriages, especially in my first one, I did this all the time. I shut him out, and he always came back. It was easy because I wasn’t in love with him, which was cruel on my part. In my most recent relationship, he usually shut me out for the same reason, and while I didn’t usually do that, I did the past two times, in retaliation for him doing it to me. I did it to gain power over the relationship. What I wanted was for him to come crawling back, and if he didn’t, then I “won” because I’d shut him out. But I didn’t win, because I lost him, and the love I cherished.

I’ve had to be vulnerable in deeply raw and painful ways this past week, to everyone in my life. Normally I’d cringe over doing such a thing, but in the moment I was in so much pain I didn’t care that I was falling apart. I had a feeling I’d regret this later, that this person would be disappointed later that I might not make the decisions they want me to make in the end, that this person would see how weak I am, that they’d have control over me because of all of this. I had a fear that I wouldn’t be able to reciprocate later when they were having problems, that they probably wouldn’t come to me anyway, because when have they come to me with their problems before? When have I been open to receiving that? Or was it just that they don’t hit rock bottom as I have, because they all seem to have their shit together so much better than I do?

There are people in my life who’ve shown up for me in ways that I have not shown up for others, and it’s all because I allowed myself to be vulnerable with them. Even one person who I didn’t necessarily tell about the situation, but who I let my guard down and decided I didn’t need to shut out. It was one of my roommates, who I decided I didn’t like, who I judged because he can’t hold a job, and he suffers from depression. Hello? Does that ring a bell for me? This particular roommate came upstairs to help me take care of my weekly chore (we each have weekly chores), and we ended up bonding over it. Funny how I’d decided not to like someone else who has the same problems I have. It’s precisely what I don’t like in myself that I don’t like in others. Instead of holding compassion for this person and for myself, I shut him out. How kind of him was it to help me with my chore? Would I have done the same for him? No, not in the past. I’m hoping this experience has been enough of an eye-opener that I am becoming the kind of person who would help someone else, in spite of the coldness with which they treated me, as I had treated this roommate.

Underneath all of this is that I judge myself so harshly for not having figured out what to do for a career. I feel like at the age of 40, I should have figured it out by now, that I should have already been well on my way to a successful career. Then I put all this pressure on my boyfriend, unconsciously, for him to take care of me. Every little thing that he did or didn’t do “proved” to me that he wasn’t helping me out. I wanted him to create an emergency kit for my car to have in case of a snowstorm, I wanted my own bug-out bag, I wanted the kind of jumper cables that don’t require another car to jump off my car. These are just examples, but they symbolize how terrified I am of taking care of myself. I can do all these things for myself, but what I want is someone else to just do it for me. I felt like I was so self-sufficient because I pay my bills and live on my own, yet I am not truly independent. I have just been waiting to be rescued.

Of course I want him back. I love him. I get that the idea of The One is a myth created by our culture, and fairy tales are bullshit, but I still believe we’re meant to be on this journey together. Maybe we were only meant to be on this journey for a short time, and maybe there’s someone else out there for me to spend my life with, but I believe there’s still work to do in this relationship, and this is the one I want. It’s not for me to say for sure because I am not in control and I am not a higher power. I will say that I’ve never felt so connected to someone, and if he doesn’t take me back, I hope to have a connection like that again with someone else some day. If he does not want to try to work it out, I pray for acceptance that it was not meant to be. Regardless of the outcome, I pray for the courage and strength to take the right actions to take care of myself, to grow into the woman I’m meant to become. It’s a huge risk I’m taking, asking him to come back, because if he doesn’t want to, I will feel rejected and devastated. But it will have been worth it, to open up, let my guard down, and tell him how I truly feel, which is that I love him for who he is, and I don’t care how crazy we both are. That being said, I don’t think it would be healthy for us to continue the same patterns but rather to focus on self-care and personal growth while maintaining a healthy relationship.

I’ve taken action, and time will tell what will happen. All I can do now is pray for the serenity to accept what I cannot change, courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

A good friend of mine sent me this video that really resonated with me, which I want to share with you:

May you find peace and love in all of your relationships.

 

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