Please hear me, you are disrespecting yourself every time you rekindle a relationship with someone who has humiliated or disrespected you in any form.
Read that again please. Then read it again.
I carry around sympathy for my ex. Actually, up until last summer it was on my mind more often than I’d like to admit. There, I said it. I felt his pain and regret about where we were. Marriage destroyed. Friendship gone. He was very articulate about it. So yes, my sympathy and concern was real for me. Still is.
Ya ya, I hear you already yelling “Why!?” at your screen.
Trust me, I get it. But for me to help you, I have to be as honest as I possibly can in this moment. And let us not confuse sympathy with empathy. And if I ever become so hardened by life and lose compassion for others internal turmoil, well, I don’t want to know that woman.
As I write this I am sitting up straight with more confidence than I’ve ever experienced in myself. I am feeling so many emotions right now and they’re actually really positive.
This is for you. I feel more naked in self than I have in previous posts, this is a reminder we are all human. So here it goes, this mess is now my message….
I was STUCK in a stage of healing that I can’t fully articulate, and I was stuck for far too long. I was allowing the emails, texts, etc. from him. When someone died, I got a message. When someone moved, I got a message. I did the same every now and again, I own that. I believe the familiarity of what used to be an intense and beautiful friendship brought down my defenses. I refuse to beat myself up about it frankly. There were some incredibly wonderful exchanges.
Though it felt harmless at the time, I recognize now that I wasn’t valuing myself by allowing the communication to continue. I wanted peace with him though. Yep, hard habit to break when you’ve loved someone so intensely. Truthfully I will never doubt his own sadness. I will never take that from him. And don’t get me wrong, I did not want him back. I did not want my marriage. That was done and beyond repair for me.
But the intent of this post isn’t about the details or semantics of years of back and forth commentary. It’s about how I did get past my then stagnant healing; and back on track to self love. I will be as vulnerable as I possibly can; that was the promise right?
Here was the glaring problem I didn’t see at the time and what I KNOW was stopping me from my healing:
I was waiting for the person who broke me to fix me. Crazy right? I was stuck in a pattern of behavior because it’s what helped me in the past. He was my best friend before he was my husband. That “behavior,” though limited, was more harmful than I realized at the time. What felt broken was my sanity. So why on earth was I allowing this to continue? What were we trying to accomplish?
To lie to someone, to manipulate someone, to sneak around with someone, then blame you for your reaction; it’s like punching someone in the gut and blaming them for crying. And I was allowing it to happen, constantly. I now realize when we had positive communication I had a ridiculous notion I would finally get what I needed from him.
I needed the truth. I had some misguided belief I would actually get it and then, poof, all would be right again. I would release that last chunk of humiliation I was carrying around. I would finally really know I wasn’t crazy. I wanted him to honor me just enough to give me that. When we talked about a sit down to air it all out, I considered it. I mulled it over. It’s what I had been waiting for right? I was expecting the person who told me I was insane for all these months to now tell me that I actually wasn’t?
Good God, as if that was even possible, right? Like I said, I was waiting for the person who stole my dignity to somehow make it better? Even saying it now feels ludicrous. I am laughing at myself as I sit here! Pat on the back for me! Who the hell was that woman?
Then one afternoon while having a conversation with one of my most trusted friends, reality hit, again. I told him I was really considering the meeting, he looked at me, distraught. I’d never seen him this way. He sat in silence for what seemed like forever then spoke.
“Aliee, no. You are not going to meet him. I have to tell you something that has been weighing on me for years.”
The details don’t matter but l will say it was a punch in the gut I did not see coming, yet should have. My mind started racing, I physically felt my blood pressure soar. How much MORE didn’t I see? I started down a rabbit hole of every trip, every concert, every time they were alone. Then I just STOPPED. I stopped the racing thoughts, and I frankly don’t know how I did it.
As I sat across from my friend at Rosie’s Cafe, on the most beautiful sunny Tahoe summer day, I found the peace I was looking for. I’d never get the truth and I needed the bleeding to stop, immediately.
The following day I found my strength to tell him I would not be meeting him. I told him I am not his friend, I am not his confidant, I am the woman he threw out with the trash and our children into the recycle bin. I was making his betrayals ok by allowing him to keep me in his life on any level. As my therapist said, “he’s making you his mistress Alison.”
I sat in a new found anger, but thank the Lord it was only for a couple of days. I am not proud of the fact that I threatened him with saved emails and texts. But I knew that’s what it was going to take. Not my finest moment but damnit I was triggered with new found mortification at my past, and apparently still naive self.
Here’s the beauty that came out of that painful moment. I finally felt powerful again. I knew I HAD to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry. I had to accept an apology I would never receive. I had to accept the lies would continue, the truth would never come. And it was finally ok. The truth isn’t my burden, it’s theirs. Forgiving someone isn’t saying it’s “okay.” It’s saying what they did no longer has power over you.
I got my power back.
My healing and happiness is an inside job and for years I had assigned that to someone else, and I lost my power in the process. They cannot fix what they broke. Only you can. It’s your responsibility, no one else’s.
I decided to write this post because I don’t want you to wait. I don’t care if it’s your mother or father, friend, husband or wife…your trusted companion, whoever it is, get your power back. You cannot make someone realize they’ve wrong you, only they can. You also cannot expect someone to be honest with you when they cannot be honest with themselves. That is their journey, not yours. But you get to decide what you will allow in your life and space. Healing takes time.
© 2021 Alison M. Cameron, All Rights Reserved.