A few weeks ago I said I felt like I’d hit a brick wall – basically, after a weird string of events I’d found myself at a crossroads. I could’ve easily run a mile from the situation but I decided to stay put for a while whilst I figured out my feelings without making any rash decisions.
PAST: anxiety, depression, lack of self belief, jealousy, co-dependency.
PRESENT: serenity, happiness, confidence, admiration, independence.
I refused to climb over because, frankly, absolutely nothing is worth my inner peace and losing it is a very real and frightening concept to me but I also wasn’t going to run away from my fears either, so I (for once) decided to wait for life to unravel around me. Due to past experience I have been conditioned to believe that I am unworthy of emotional support within relationships and that any negative feelings I experience are a problem for me to deal with alone. My brain is currently rewiring this logic because, of course, in healthy relationships you should feel supported and loved in moments of distress. I have realised that this is the wall; it’s the wall between being alone and letting somebody in with my new found mindset. I have never been in a relationship with such a sense of my own worthiness before, so I am totally unprepared for what that looks like. Due to low self esteem I used to pour my energy into the wrong places and was drawn to people who didn’t have my best interests at heart (or, if they did, I would sabotage the relationship with my own insecurities). My judgement on relationships was skewed and I accepted mistreatment because subconsciously I still needed to resolve some deep rooted issues. An ex of mine actually said to me ‘maybe if you didn’t have such poor self-esteem you wouldn’t have allowed me to treat you the way I did’. This is fucked up on a number of levels but, omitting the questionable morality of this statement, he was right. Here’s a fun fact: when you don’t make peace with childhood trauma, the same patterns will manifest in your adult relationships until you are forced to come face to face with your demons. And my God, did I face them. It was hell on earth pulling apart all of the parts of myself that I was afraid of but do you know what I realised? That the issues I’d been carrying around my entire life were not mine to carry. After 26 years I finally realised (and believed) that my Dad being an alcoholic has nothing to do with me. His absence, disinterest and total disregard for my emotional well-being was not a reflection of me as a person and I deserved a father who was trust worthy, available and loving (just as I deserve these things in every single relationship I have). I also realised how much I love him, how all I ever wanted to do was help him overcome his addiction and how much I used to believe that one day he would. This year I found myself needing support more than ever and, in a moment of particular desperation, I reached out to him, I don’t know why, I think I was just a very scared girl who wanted her Dad to tell her that things were going to be OK. It was during this phone-call (I won’t go into it, just to say that I had to hang up and call the police) that I finally realised that I can’t (and will never be able to) fix him, despite how much I might want to, just like I can’t fix anybody else. It was at this point I told myself that I am not obliged to take on other people’s trauma (especially when it’s a one way street), I do not have to take abuse and actually putting myself first isn’t wrong or selfish, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary for your own well being. It doesn’t matter how much love you give to somebody, sometimes they just will not reciprocate in the way you deserve and there’s nothing you can do about it. Anyway, I’ve made peace with this now (my Dad knows that I am ever supportive of his recovery and love him so very much but will never again allow his drunken words to affect me) and I no longer need to fight for the love and validation of people who are emotionally unavailable because I love and respect myself far too much. Control, manipulation, stress and anxiety are all words that have no place within the context of love and it’s taken 26 years for me to finally stop pouring my heart and soul into the wrong people and start pouring all that love into myself instead.
N.B You will notice that once you do love and believe in yourself, the kinds of people who were once drawn to your vulnerability will no longer be interested in you (they’ll probably resent and ridicule you instead) but you won’t care because you will no longer be drawn to harmful, toxic relationships.
This year I have become so self sufficient, happy and confident that I have found myself asking ‘what is the point of a relationship?’ but of course, somebody always comes along who turns everything upside down. At the moment, I am learning that I do not need to be seemingly unbreakable 100% of the time and it’s okay to ask for help sometimes without feeling guilty or at fault. It’s difficult because I have found over the last few months that, on the rare occasion that I have cried, I’ve felt like a failure, as though depression has simply been lying dormant and is now laughing in my face. Clearly this is ridiculous because we all feel sad and it’s a perfectly normal human emotion (have you seen Inside Out?!) but when you’ve felt sadness to such an overwhelming degree, tears can terrify you. Despite this, the way I react to negative feelings are, slowly but surely, changing. I have discovered that when you have somebody who encourages you to talk about your feelings and you’re in a safe space feeling heard, it gives the sadness some place to go so that it no longer sits inside of your chest. That’s what all relationships should be, a safe haven, a place where you can breathe. Relationships shouldn’t suffocate you or make you feel alone and if you find yourself feeling like that, it just means you’re in total need of yourself. You HAVE to love yourself first to a) recognise that you’re in unhealthy situations and b) realise that you deserve better. Anyway, over the last few months I have been sat in front of this wall of mine whilst the most patient and kind person has somehow started to make the bricks crumble away (I’m still going with this terrible, cheesy analogy – apologies). He hasn’t forced his way through or asked anything of me, he has just consistently shown that he’s there and despite my fears and the occasional freak out about losing my independence, he’s not given up. A few weeks in to dating, when I was ill, he went out of his way to surprise me with my favourite things (I had a mini breakdown over this because I couldn’t get over the fact he cared LOL) and on Halloween he gave me a crystal necklace because, even though it’s not really his thing, he knew it meant something to me. One of the first things I remember thinking was that, when we’re alone, he has the same affect on me as Valium – which is no bad thing (!) and no matter how much I rejected the idea of a relationship, I couldn’t deny the peace I felt when I was with him. He lets me be absolutely, unapologetically myself and somewhere between the late nights, the shit jokes, the bars, the laughter, the music, the friendships and the complete ease of it all, I have felt the sadness I associate with relationships begin to evaporate. It’s true that when you finally believe in your own worth you attract the right people into your life. I have no doubt in my mind that I began to manifest everything meant for me by healing my own trauma, changing my perspective and cutting out toxicity. Once you start emitting your own positive frequency, you will no longer be drawn into unhealthy patterns and instead you’ll start attracting people who are whole and are with you because you inspire them, they enjoy your company, care about you and want the best for you – just as you do for them. Like attracts like and for me it’s no longer about being completed or needing somebody to look up to and validate my existence, it’s about friendship, intimacy and helping each other grow. Right now I feel 0 anxiety, drama or stress and it turns out that the things I once longed for do exist, I just needed to believe I deserved them. I think all of this can be described as a spiritual awakening and I’m not even going to apologise for how wanky that might sound because I believe it with my whole heart.
P.S A very long time ago I left a love note in a coat pocket and yesterday I found this in mine. What goes around really does come around, sometimes when we least expect it. x