I have great friends who know me well and can and have told me things like “you can be intimidating, you’re hard to help at times, you come off really strong.” So these notions are not new to me and in my workplace they have always been qualities that got the job done, made me successful and good at what I do but in a relationship they doom me to fail.
I was always ready for a battle, always, because that’s what I learned-defend, defend, defend, go down fighting. The wonderful person I share my life with isn’t trying to get one over me, she isn’t trying to control me, she doesn’t need to be right so I have to be wrong, she just wanted to love me and I blew it. If I only knew then what I know now.
When in that kind of relationship where someone is always is made to feel like they are wrong all the time someone else is always right, people get damaged. I held on to that need to be right because that is what I have learned and done my whole life, I thought it was what made me strong, better, capable but it weakened me in such a profound way.
They say we try to “work out” our parent issues in our relationships and sometimes we pick partners subconsiously to do this. I was working out or living out my parent issues but with a person who was nothing like my mother and only wanted to love me. Over the last couple of days I have literally had an emotional growth spurt facing that notion that the constant message I received while growing up was in some way or another a reminder that I wasn’t worth loving. It’s funny because I started to realize why I never let people in and ended many relationships abruptly. I got so overwhelmed emotionally when people offered me such love and kindness during the passing of my father and brother, I didn’t feel I deserved it.
I cried at those moments when people gave so openly and treated me with such heartfelt emotion not because I was sad about my circumstance but because I was so touched and overwhelmed that someone was saying “I’m sorry you are in pain, I care for you and I’m here for you” people were trying to take care of me and I had no idea how to let them. I never had someone do that, I never let someone do that.
Ding!! the bell had finally rung for me I sat with K on the chair yesterday telling her all this, explaining and giving examples of how this filtered out in my life, in our life. I noted my inability to let someone do something for me without doing something back for them, to thank them for helping me or simply for doing their job. It’s weird.
She cried with me as I painfully connected these dots out loud in real time with her, she hugged me and told me I was worth caring for just because I was me. All of this made sense, all of this came together, all of the sudden I was like I need to let people just love me and let them in and love them back, but when I said this to K she cried and said “that’s all I ever wanted, that’s all I ever tried to do, that’s what I have been begging you to let me do all along.”
I wanted to her to try with me, this new me, this me that would finally let her in fully, this new me that didn’t have to hold on to being defensive or in control because she was no longer in that life, no longer a teenager battling that daily, but it was too late. I had hurt her so much she was too afraid to let me show her something different in our relationship, she was afraid to open up. The scar that has left in my heart will be something I carry to the grave with me. I feel such regret, such shame, such sorrow for treating the person I love the most in the world in a way that caused pain.
Her future sister in law wasn’t home for the holidays so we skyed with her. She has had a strained relationship with her father for sometime now and was talking about it when we were all visiting with her online. I wondered as I was listening to her while I was holding back tears how is it that she isn’t so hardened and damaged that she has pushed away or damaged her relationships due to how her Dad treated her? I felt flushed with shame and embarassment that I had let my issues hurt us and instead of learning to open my heart more to the gift of my girlfriend’s love I hurt it. I suddenly felt guilty, I felt terrible about myself and I wanted more than anything to love K back and give her the relationship she deserved and was looking for.
Last night we spent a good part of our time talking about this and I finally realized she isn’t coming back. She has work to do on herself she has pain to heal from and she has questions to answer on how and why she let herself get lost in our relationship. She has to find out more about losing her voice as a small child because she thought she had to, she thought she had to be a pleaser and never be a burden for fear that her mother would leave like her father did. She carried this notion on into our relationship put me on a pedastel and put me first. She commented at how much her mother and I are alike and how much she needs to please us both but in our relationship it was at price of losing her. In therapy our therapist asked, “M don’t you want a partner that stands up for themselves or says no to you sometimes and I said yes” K heard that but she is still working on it. I never wanted to be over her or more powerful I wanted to stand side by side with her. She gave me that position and never equalized herself with me and with my strong personality and her being so hard on herself if she ever made mistakes it was a hurtful combination.
I realized last night that is more than just trying to tell her or convince her-you watch it will be different, look at me, look what I learned, look what I know, Oh my god, I get it, I get it now, I totally understand what you wanted and needed and were trying to have with me and now I can totally give that to you and I now know deep down inside it was always what I also needed and wanted for my whole life forever I have been waiting for you, for this gift.
I realized that after my egocentric moment of revelation that even though she loves me so much even right now, even though she says she has no idea if it is the right decision for us to break up, even though she has wrestled with the idea of coming back to me that she cannot. I understand that she has a process that she must also go through, she has questions she needs answers to for herself, she has healing to do from pain our relationship has caused and pain that she needs to break up with me. She carries a heavy heart and is so sad, so sad that we are in this spot, so sad that she has to leave, so sad that she can’t trust me, open back up and try the new versions of us that our therapy has given us. So sad that I offered this just now when she had been waiting for it from me for so long.
I told her I love her and I accept where she is and what she needs to do for herself. I understand we will not be fixed and jolly and in love and together again next week trying things again and doing it right but I told her if she ever thought after getting her answers and working through her hurt, if there was a chance she could ever try again I would wait, I would wait for her, I would wait for as long as it take because for me there is no other person, there is no other love of my life, there is no other her.
We try to figure out what this will look like we toy with the crazy idea that she can go on living here and we can evolutionize to a friendship . She doesn’t want to leave her home, her familiar place, her life and what she’s known. Although it would be hard I would make the effort to be there for her as friend and share this space, our home so that she didn’t need to go through all that happens when you move out on top of trying to heal. I offered the extra room and talked about various scenarios of if or how this would work. It’s a incomprehensible idea to anyone reading this and she asked if that wouldn’t be too hard for me, but I would do it, I would do it for her it’s the least I could give her. Since we have never taken the traditional role this would be up to us, our rules, our relationship redefinition, we would lay the foundation for this if this is how we decided to work through our breakup. I hope it can be done I would go through any struggles and hardship and pain on my part to give her that.