It’s Not You. It’s Me.

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Gautama Buddha

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I’m a human being. I wanted to share my own experience in the hopes that maybe it will strike a chord with even one person struggling with similar issues.

Here’s a little personal background on your Milady hostess here: I’m a strong, independent, 35-year-old who has never been married, engaged, or lived with a guy. I’ve typically always had a boyfriend, sometimes for 2 years, sometimes for a few months, and the longest was 9 years. Right now, you’re thinking: Woah, 9 years, never even lived with him??!! Haha, trust me, I’ve heard it all. Here’s what I can say to that: We had fun. We liked each other a lot. Did we love each other? Maybe, at some point I’m sure we did. But somewhere in our minds we knew it wasn’t right.

So, what does a newly single girl do to find a man after nearly a decade of never dating? Well, this girl went online. I found a guy right away who was very different than “9 Year Guy.” We had fun for a few months and even had some serious talks, but I realized he just wasn’t grown up enough for me. After this guy, I had lots of first dates, some second dates, and very few third or fourth dates. This went on for a few months, and I thought: OK, something needs to change here, and maybe it’s me.

I completely stopped online dating and focused on myself for a few months. I actually took a break from social media altogether. I googled, found, read and re-read so many psychology articles. My favorite search topic was “breaking bad relationship patterns.” It may seem naïve to think you can just google and read some articles and it can change your life. But I’m here to tell you, it really helped me start to reflect and set me on the right path to understanding the negative patterns I had worn myself into.

For me personally, I discovered that my issue was what Freud called a “repetition compulsion,” basically a neurotic defense mechanism. When you suffer from this, you are trying to subconsciously rewrite the history of a troubled relationship with your parents. I grew up with parents who weren’t very affectionate with me, with each other, with my siblings, or with their family or friends. For me it was abnormal to really display emotions or speak honestly and openly about such things. Now as an adult, I was drawn towards guys who were emotionally distant and would shy away from guys who wanted to shower me with love. But even though I was drawn towards these kinds of guys, I was never quite happy. Why would I choose guys who were rejecting, unavailable, or emotionally stunted?? Was I a masochist? Did I hate myself?? NO, I discovered. It was very powerful repetition compulsion at play. To read briefly about this topic, check out this article.

So, now that I had my a-ha moment, how on earth do I fix this broken part in myself? Well, here’s what I learned: it’s pretty damn hard to break this compulsive behavior. Basically, I just had to face it head on and really work hard to own and recognize my bad habits. This article really helped me, and gave me 5 steps (who doesn’t love some steps?!):

  • Forgive yourself.

Forgive all the times you’ve entered into a relationship that wasn’t healthy, that caused you to feel hurt, unworthy, or unnoticed. Only after you forgive yourself can you take steps forward to weave a new pattern. Forgiveness will help you put the past where it belongs – in the past – so it stops tainting your future.

So close your eyes. Tell yourself you forgive. Feel it wash over you. Then take the next step forward.

  • Understand where the pattern came from.

If it’s a pattern you’ve repeated multiple times you should be able to pinpoint some of the traits, characteristics, and symptoms. Think about them, write them down, analyze them. What exactly do all these relationships have in common?

Understanding where the pattern comes from and how it was created is key to finding ways to break it.

  • Recognize the warning signs.

So what are some of the warning signs for your pattern? You have to look hard for these, as they can be disguised as really attractive things that lure you in like bait.

Identify the warning signs and you won’t get trapped so easily.

  • Clarify how you really want to feel.

What kind of relationship are you really hoping for? Describe it. Flesh it out.

Most importantly, what does it feel like? Focus less on what the person looks like or what they do for a living. Focus instead on the feeling.

  • Move forward.

Don’t be fearful of getting into new relationships. We learn something new with every one, which is the whole point of life anyway; to live and love, make mistakes, learn, and go forward.

So take the lessons you’ve learned and trust that you’ll take the right steps forward.

 

I spent several months journaling, thinking, reading, meditating, doing things I love that make me happy, and trying new things I may have been skeptical about. I started this blog, and even tried reiki, both very cool things! I’m here to say that true self-reflection can be one of the hardest parts of being alive in the human condition, but if you can do the work and power through, you just may come out the other side stronger and wiser. I continue to work on this every day. It’s a compulsion, not something easily broken. But now that I see it and can recognize it, it doesn’t own me like it used to. I own it!!

 

 

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3 thoughts on “It’s Not You. It’s Me.

  1. As sisters, your mom and I were raised by your grandmother, Grandma D., who told me she was raised by a very stern father, your great Grandpa Murphy. I now know not showing love and affection was passed from one generation to the next. I totally understand not feeling loved as a child. As a little girl, I can’t remember ever being hugged or kissed by my parents (except by Aunt Hilda) and I was never told I was smart, pretty, or loved…ever! About once a month my father told me I was nothing, I was just a nothing kid. Lovely, huh? My own life completely changed when God showed me He loves me through His word, The Bible. Only then was I able to say yes to marriage because before this who would want a loveless marriage like my parents, after all they were my example. I was now able to love my husband and do my very best to love our two children so they would never feel unloved as I did. I smothered our kids with hugs, kisses, and I love you’s everyday…until their teen years when they put a stop to it. Haha! I still hug our grown daughter and son everytime I see them. I also show them and tell them often that I love them. But I still feel awkward hugging my three sisters as we were not raised this way. Amy, I loved you from the day you were born and I visited you every Thursday (my day off) for the 1st year of your life because you were the cutest and happiest little baby girl. I am so sorry that your feeling of being loved faded. Amy, your name has been on my prayer list for many years and I will continue to pray for you, too, to find the true source of love, God, who sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for you and me. I have! …and it’s never faded! I never gave God much thought on a daily basis until I was so depressed that I knew He was my only hope. I am thankful for the only but greatest love my mother ever showed me and that was her faith in God. And once during a Bible study I was able to forgive my dad for his hurtful words and actions. During a quiet prayer time I heard the Lord tell me that my father was sorry and then God reminded me that my father did take me to church every Sunday. At this time my dad had been dead many years. Only the One True God could let my heart forgive someone who was already in the grave. 1 John 4:16 “God IS love.”

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  2. Pingback: The Milady Reflects: A Year Later | modern milady

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