FUCK YOU: A Letter

I am having a bad day. Repeating emotions coming through to show me something that I hadn’t been able to see yet. Self-blame patterns, shame, guilt, and buried hurts.

 
I googled “why victims protect their abusers” I’ve already read about trauma bonding. I am just trying, desperately, to understand my own patterns so I don’t do this shot to myself again. 
She sent me a message once saying that it hurt that we couldn’t talk. 
You know what else hurts? Realizing that I gave eight years of my life to a relationship that was built entirely on lies and satisfying the needs and wants of one person whose behavior continually proves that they are self-seeking and that it will never change. 

It hurts to hate myself for having a kind heart.

 It hurts to have to remind myself over and over and over again that loving someone who mistreats me does not make me a flawed human, or weak, or bad.

It hurts to come to terms with and accept that no matter what I did or could have done what I truly needed didn’t exist in that space and any time I thought I had it was an illusion, a metaphorical band-aid plastered over my wound to just get me to shut up.

It hurts to realize that the only time my partner really ever gave me affection was around their friends to build some illusion of a loving relationship and that it made me uncomfortable and I didn’t know why.

 It hurts to realize that every time the person I chose to be my partner had an opportunity to actually be a partner they chose to walk away, and abandon me emotionally, but play the victim when I scraped up what was left of my dignity and strength to walk away and try and find clarity. 

It hurts that when I did find clarity, my clarity was undermined and replaced with another lie intended only for that person to numb out their own shame. 

It hurts to have spent so much time questioning my own worth and sanity only to finally realize that there had never been anything wrong with me except my core belief that I didn’t deserve better, and that I could help her. 

It hurts to realize that my idea of love was toxic, and that receiving love is just as important, and that the lack of love I received wasn’t because I was blocked from accepting it, but that my partner was blocked from giving it in a way that I needed. 

It hurts that she admitted that she knew what I needed, but she withheld it to “see what I would do.” 

Shut down, assfuck. That’s what I would do. Find a way to protect my vulnerability from being manipulated against me. 

It hurts to know that the person I chose would have done anything they could to not choose me. 

It hurts to come to terms with the fact that the person I chose to love really only ever wanted me to hate them, and made choices to make that happen, and admitted to it-more than once. 

 And that I blamed myself for it. 

I guess it’s true. The truth hurts. It’s all I ever really wanted. It’s also true that the truth will set you free. That’s what I wanted most. 

I don’t expect her to care. She clearly never really has. I don’t expect that to change now. I just know better than to expect that of her. Not of other people though. Because it isn’t “expecting too much” to expect the people who say “I love you” to actually LOVE YOU. and expectations aren’t wrong, or setting oneself up for failure and disappointment. As long as they’re realistic. 

She expected me to be perfect, self-sufficient and subservient to her every demand. 

I just expected her to actually care about me. And she couldn’t. Because she lacks that capability. That’s sad. 

I feel bad for her. But I don’t feel bad I left. I feel bad I stayed for so long

 
And underneath all that hurt is the truth that I can be happy. Truly happy. And I do deserve love. Real love. Not whatever she fucking had to offer me.

 
I’m praying for her new girlfriend. That she wises up on a timeline more congruent with the last girlfriend than with mine. What I mean is, that she can see through your bullshit quickly.  And not just ask you for another heaping pile of it to pick through, and keep herself occupied for a few months at a time. 

Because she has kids to take care of, and we both already know that you’re just like the asshole that abused me when I was a kid. That you never really thought his behavior was wrong. And you are the asshole that abused me as an adult. And I’m the asshole who thought that was fucking normal. It wasn’t. 
You told me that you learned there were two kinds of people in the world. People like your mom and people like your dad. 

You became him. Abusive and predatory. Self seeking and narcissistic. And I thought if I could get someone like you to love me then I would be worthy of love. 

I handed my power over to you daily. And I didn’t get it. You were right. I was weak. Or, I let you have the power. 

I let you beat me down for years, and play the victim whenever I could finally stand up for myself. 
I still pray for you to get the help you need. Although I’m sure it’s a waste of my time. I still pray for myself. That at some point this will stop hurting. That the memory of you won’t sting so bad. That the eight years I spent with you were actually worth the wisdom I gained. To love myself first. Which is why I won’t grant you any more access into my life. At least I’ve got that down. But it still fucking hurts. 

Excuse Me, There’s A Reason For This Madness

She was right in thinking that turning our past wounds into excuses isn’t healthy or good. I actually made a lot of excuses for her because I knew her history. I wanted her to feel safe. Ultimately, it wasn’t as productive as what I can now understand to be the truly loving work that happens between two people. 

The primary difference between a reason and an excuse is accountability. 

A reason is a logical and objective explanation of cause and effect. An excuse places blame on something external. 

To break it down simply: 

reason=responsibility 

Excuse=escape

Excuses add bricks to the walls we build. Reasons carve out doorways. 

To relate that to some of the situations that WE have encountered I would argue it as a temporal thing. Of course we are shaped by our past. But if we bring up the past as a justification as to why we are behaving a certain way in the present-that is an excuse. If we are able to identify the current problem objectively and take accountability for our contribution to the current shitty circumstance then we have found a reason things have taken the turn they’ve taken. With this, reasons help find solutions for better actions in the future. Excuses keep us tethered to old patterns of behavior by handing our power back to the painful circumstance that shaped our world view. World views are allowed to change, and I think they should often. This is an indication of growth. To be clear, there are many indicators of growth in life, but I am speaking specifically of emotional growth. 

I have been doing a lot of work to understand my old childhood wounds, and working to heal them. In other words, I have been thinking about this a lot. 

They say that nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to learn. I guess I knew there was more learning to be had with her. So, I’m grateful to re-open the door, and the pain. 

I’m not going to say that I have never made excuses, or that I won’t do it in the future. However, I do find a certain sort of liberation in understanding the critical difference between these two modes of thought. 

I’m trying to decipher which of those were reasons or excuses. It still ends up being a temporal thing to me. As children we are easily impressionable, and it takes a lifetime to come back into our true selves. My goal in this life is to unlearn all the negative bullshit that has been projected on me from external sources, and people who can’t or won’t be honest about their pain. 

She said that she doesn’t understand how it [love/relationship] could work with someone else if it didn’t work with me after being together for as long as we were. Time invested doesn’t mean shit if the walls are still there. 

We can’t change our pasts, but we can change our reaction to it. Listening to her last night showed me that she is still in the victim role. We are often victimized as children. But we don’t have to stay there as adults. She said that she doesn’t mind being the hardass at work because as long as she can justify the value for the greater good, then she’ll do the thing that other people don’t necessarily want to do. I think that is totally fine, admirable even. Yet, it ultimately comes down to motivation. 

The work persona and the personal life persona are slightly different. When the “love of your life” tries to explain that they are not happy in the relationship it is not an attack on you, but a demonstration of love; a person who really cares about wanting to make things better. I know I put a lot of things on her-thinking if she could do something different then we would be better, and this often kept me from taking responsibility for my own shitty (codependent) habits. 

I don’t want to be codependent anymore. It is self destructive, and it keeps me in a constant position of powerlessness. I am not powerless. 

Those walls we build to keep us protected from the threats of the external world are not safe heavens. They are prisons that deny us the true freedom that comes with real love built from vulnerability. Each brick in that wall is an excuse. Reasons are what will pull them down. We can hide and run for as long as we would like. I know that I am finally ready for something different. 

I wish her the best in all that she does. No matter how much I still want it to be her that I share my life with, I’m FINALLY beginning to understand that no matter how much she has to offer someone, she does not have what I need. 

I came to this life to face and conquer fears. This is not easy, and it often leaves me in a state of anxiety and frustration. I’m learning that this energy can be used to propel me forward. I don’t always know what steps to take, and she’s right, sometimes I just need someone to tell me where to go, or what step to take. I’m looking for the person who always wants that first step to be toward them, and if they can see that I’m too scared to take it, then they step in closer toward me. I’m looking for the people who want to stand next to me when those arresting moments happen. The people who want to encourage me to take a step and do so by stepping toward me and not away. I want a person who isn’t going to look at my discontent as a fault, but for what it really is-a yearning for something more. Because this is the kind of person I want to be for myself, and for my partner. 

Comfort zones are great, but nothing ever grows there. I don’t want my comfort confined to a zone. I want safety. I want to be uncomfortable so I know I’m moving forward. I want risks and failures and movement. I want more and always more. 

I have been stuck for the past year. Sure, I moved to another state. Sure, I got into a phd program. Sure, I’ve done a lot of growth internally. I’ve retreated into my quiet space. I’ve wrapped myself in a cocoon. I’m ready to emerge from it, and I have no idea what the next step is supposed to be. What I do know is that I can’t be with someone who sees those cocooning periods as withdrawal. In my mind, they are not that. It’s about growth and understanding. I suppose I can admit that it would be helpful if I could articulate this process a little more clearly. Self-awareness usually comes from mistakes. 

Part of this creatively analytical mind I have brings forth a whole lot of daydreaming. As I work through the possibilities of where I want to go and what I want to do, I take my time. When I decide what I want, then I will take the action steps to get there. I’ve spent the larger part of the last year hung up on her. No matter how many people told me not to be. I asked her about these things, and she made excuses as to why we could not have those things that I thought would bring growth and togetherness. “I just can’t see it happening.” And “When do you think you’ll actually have time for a kid?” Were the excuses she offered. And even, “You talk about these things like they’re something you want in your own life, but you’ve never said you wanted them with me,” like, who else would I be talking about? See, external circumstances blamed for her own inability to create something new. The reason was fear. To be fair, she’s admitted that, but it didn’t change her perspective. 

The facts are there, and pretty clearly laid out. We aren’t compatible people. My primary hang up was that I had decided the direction I wanted our life to go, and she all but denied that possibility with no wiggle room. This threw me into a tailspin of uncertainty and disorientation. Although I wrapped my mind around it BEFORE I left-the mind is a tricky place to be. There are things I left behind that I associate with security and safety. Our home. Our home life. Dual income. Comforts. And of course, my dream of having a family. Ultimately, she WAS right; I don’t need her, specifically, to achieve those things. I just need someone who is ready and willing to take that risk with me. 

She told me that she felt like the only reason I wanted her to move with me was for financial assistance. But we never even merged our finances. Her money was hers, and my money was ours. She is the one who told me to just take out the loan, and be a normal student. She never, ever indicated that this would be something WE could figure out together. Then, more recently, she said that after she got the first paycheck from her promotion, she wished she had her “spouse” there to share it with. I got hung up on the shift from accusation to celebration, but that’s a moot point. This is just more of the same. Her narrative shifts, and makes no sense in relation to the previous plot points. 

Ultimately, none of this about money for me. It’s safety and security. Emotional support. Comfort. I realized that I have those things on my own. In fact, I have those things built with a much more solid foundation here than I ever did there. This is the reason I left, and took responsibility for my own life. I needed something different. Something that did not exist in that space. I don’t need to beat the dead horse. We both know I’m not going back. 

I’m finally finished with the push and pull. I can see how that whole game was fueled by excuses. I pushed when I was triggered. I pulled when she didn’t react the way I needed her to. The reason I left is because she does not have what I need-openness, vulnerability, strength, and emotional security. Just excuses piling up bricks in a wall that I will never be able to break down. 

Triggers Transformed to Miracles

There was one day that everything seemed to change. I pushed up against a wall in my heart, and found a hidden door. The one I had been searching for, longing for. It had been there, but I didn’t realize I held the key. 

“I deserve to be with someone who wants to support me emotionally.” 

I stood in the kitchen. As the words exited my mouth it felt more like someone was speaking through me than I was speaking for myself. I had never known this kind of bravery. I had never seen myself stand so firm. Who was this person? Who was I becoming? 

This, of course, came out of an unnecessary fight. A fight that had been going on for so long I had just learned to live with the anger and frustration. I had been asking for help over and over. I was losing it. But I knew it was temporary. My shit was all in the fan. I just needed some help. 

I’ve made a lot of choices in my life that contribute to my own personal growth. Basically, I’m a professional student. And no matter how much I long for the quenching of my thirst for knowledge, and no matter how fulfilling these desires are for me; I can admit that it takes its toll on the people with whom we share our lives and our space. 

I was deep in my master’s program. I was preparing my PhD applications. All the stress was drowning me. There were many days I was running on little to no sleep. I was trying to decide on which programs I wanted to apply to. I was trying to figure out how to keep living all of my dreams-finding a balance between work and life. It’s nearly impossible. 

I was teaching two courses, taking two courses, trying to get together a writing sample, working 25-30 hours a week, still doing my best to be available to my partner. Always trying to keep the lines of communication open about which programs I was looking at, the locations our life might be moving toward. 

I cried a lot. 

At one point, she openly admitted to withholding affection from me. I blamed myself for taking on too much. 

She complained a lot. 

“You’re not doing enough,” was a refrain I heard often.

“You’re unbearable to be around.” 

“When you leave the house a mess, this is the shit that makes me want to drink. I told you it was important that my space not be filled with clutter.”

When a recovering alcoholic tells a raging codependent that their lifestyle spiraling out of control is pushing that alcoholic toward that codependent biggest fear-this is crazy making. The three C’s of al-anon (we didn’t cause it; can’t control it; can’t cure it) somehow get lost in the sea of self-loathing and self-blaming buried under the inner critic telling us-“If you can do better-this will be under control. Your life is unmanageable, and it’s affecting the alcoholic. You are bad. You promised her you would do better, and you’re failing to follow through.” 

This preliminary blaming for the addict’s choice to drink which may or may not be coming around the next bend of chaos is stifling. But I was not going to give up on my dreams. I couldn’t. 

This day, I was rushing around to get my stuff together for school, and to follow it up with a restaurant shift. I was frantically searching for my apron-which I realized was in the washer. It was Wednesday. It was her day off. I had put that laundry in the washer on Sunday. This is what grad school looks like. 

As I expressed my frustration for the circumstance, she retorted with this:
“Why is there still laundry in the washer?”

The condescension in her tone was not subtle. 

I said, “Because I FUCKING forgot about it. On my list of priorities, it’s somewhere around number 30. If it is a big deal to you-take care of it. I just can’t right now.”

I hit my breaking point. I reacted to the circumstance. I reacted to the implication that my life choices were interfering with her happiness. I accepted the blame, but tried to push it away by screaming my frustration in an effort to finally be heard. 

“I guess I’ll fix it, just like I fix everything else. Even though it’s my one day off. I’ll take care of the laundry that you never finished.”
TRIGGERED: Suddenly, I’m eight years old. Standing in the kitchen, crying about laundry. Feeling inadequate. Feeling like an inconvenience. Feeling like I can’t hold up my end of the deal. Her tone and words combined, and the comment translated itself in my mind. It became, “You aren’t good enough. Good thing I’m more awesome. You’ve ruined my day. You’re lazy. You can’t do anything right.”

Excessive self-criticism, I know. 

THE MIRACLE: An equally sudden shift occurred. I realized, I was 29. Standing in her kitchen. Listening to her berate me for my inadequacies. But I didn’t feel inadequate-I felt overwhelmed. I recognized overwhelm through a new lens. The inner critic had never seen this lens before, and had no power to usurp my words as I clearly, coherently, and quite powerfully expressed them. 

“I deserve to be with someone who wants to support me emotionally.” 

That was almost a year ago, and I’m still struggling to integrate that from an intellectual knowing and brashly articulated sentiment into a core belief. But I am getting there-one day at a time my self-esteem and self-worth are getting stronger. My ego is getting healthier. That is really all I can ask for. 

Confessions of a Survivor

This is my business. My nitty gritty. My truth slowly emerging. My silence is angry. My hurt yearns to speak. My anger is transforming to sadness. Searching for my happy. This is my truth.   

I’m not going to pretend I’m over something I’m not. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t love her with everything I had. I’m not going to pretend that everything is easy because it isn’t. I’m not going to sit here and say with a straight face that I am happy because I’m not. I will say that I am okay with that. 

I will say; there is a lot of hurt that I have to get through in order to heal. And this time, my choice is to dig deep within myself. Scrape my soul of all the hurt that has accumulated over the past 8 years, and the years before that. I am wounded, yes. I am also responsible for my role in it: My gross co-dependency and addiction to the addict.

 I am responsible for my own recovery. No matter how long that takes. No matter the path I choose. And right now, I need a whole lot of solitude, and a whole lot of writing. And a few sweet angels who say, “I’m here. I’m listening.” 

I’m tired of so many people around me dismissing me and silencing me: parents, friends, and colleagues. this isn’t anything negative about them. simply, telling me to just “let it go” or “release it” no matter how well intended does not acknowledge the depth of the pain that I am experiencing. No, I don’t need pity parties or sympathies. I just need to be heard.

I’m done feeling ashamed of my difficult emotions. I cannot fight off shame, embarrassment, and hurt with more shaming or dismissal. And for the record-I AM NOT HOLDING ON. I AM WORKING MY WAY THROUGH. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY OUT. 

I might be physically out of the relationship, but unless you are part of the population who has experienced this particular kind of crazy-making environment, you just simply don’t understand. That’s okay. You don’t have to. But I do. I have to understand why I allowed myself to be treated the way I have been. 

This story is not a love story, although for anlong time it was all i knew love to be. This is a story of what toxicity looks like between two people. This is a story of someone taking one step forward and three steps back searching for truth through someone who continually tells lies, or maybe more accurately, convenient truths-what we all want to hear. 

I believed so much of it. I guess I’m a good liar, too. At least, really good at self deception. That is to say, I’ve held on to some core beliefs that have seriously undermined my inherent worth. That hurts. Recognizing that is jarring. And I have to unlearn a lot of stuff in order to re-learn myself. 

When our relationships end-it fucking hurts. It should. I don’t want to experience the pain and sadness and grief. But I know I need to embrace it and not run and hide from it-not distract myself from it. Not pretend I am anything other than what I am right now: scared, lonely, and hurting.

 
When we take a giant step toward something new-it’s kinda fucking scary. This big part of my journey began almost a year ago. I’ve spent a year in turmoil. Every couple months building boundaries and breaking them apart. I’m tired. I’m tired of playing the fool. I’m not a fool. What I am-is hurt.

Recently, I read this quote, “If it hurt, then it was hurtful.” (my apologies for not knowing where it came from.) The takeaway is the same. Whether someone else is able to acknowledge that their actions hurt us or not, we must acknowledge that we are hurt. In an ideal world, our partners and lovers would recognize this, and console us. I did not live in that world.

I am working through whole lot of hurt from a whole lot of years of not quite understanding what it means to give my power away. A whole lot of years believing things that simply weren’t true. Some coming from others. Many things coming from myself. I held onto the belief that I wasn’t worthy of love, and that I had to earn my place in someone else’s life, and if I didn’t behave in a certain way, then that “love” would be revoked, and i would be empty, again. And this showed up in my life, a lot. My former partner openly admitted to withholding affection from me. I cannot remember her reason, but that’s irrelevant. I could never understand why she would do that, or why she would admit it without acknowledging the pain it must have caused me. I guess we both believed I could be treated less than, and that it would be okay. We were both wrong.

My inner child aches to be heard and understood. Most of this is about my relationship with the sad 8 year old I have always talked about, but never really talked to. This strange, long standing, distorted perception of my own self-worth kept me attached to a person who believed that their behavior was acceptable. And I reinforced that by my inability to speak up for myself, and to establish and maintain healthy boundaries.

I’m done. Finished. Ready. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of hurting myself and others. I’m tired of only knowing coldness, and being called cold. Tired of giving without receiving, and thinking that is okay. I’m tired of asking for what I need and being told no, or being told yes with no follow through. I’m tired of wondering. I’m tired of asking questions to try and gain understanding, but just opening myself up to more lies. I’m tired of believing things that aren’t true. I’m tired of being blamed for my emotions. I’m tired of isolating myself because I can only truly feel safe when I’m alone. I’m tired of thinking that it’s okay to accept the unacceptable, and that some love is better than no love. I’m tired of settling for people who care more about themselves than they do about anything else. I’m tired of sacrificing my needs to keep someone else safe and secure. I’m tired of fighting over things that could just be conversations. I’m tired of the weight of silence, and the emptiness that persists when my needs aren’t being met. 

This is sad. This is true. This has been my life. 

I’m ready to change it. I’m ready to receive. I’m ready to believe. I’m ready to know truth. I’m ready to be my real me. I’m ready to stand up and say that I deserve love, respect, openness, honesty. I’m ready to see that someone thinks I’m just as great as I think they are. 

I’m tired of the poison. I’m tired of the crazy making. I’m tired of being ignored. I’m tired of the mind games and emotional land mines. 
I’m ready to rest and rebuild. 

ChainMail

Our love isA chain-

Mail petti-

Coat. 
I put it on

Calling myself

A warrior. 
 I blamed you

When it was

Cold and heavy and

Pulling at my soft
I didn’t know yet

How soft

 I was Becoming. 
It took years

To pull it off

All the protection

Disarming from battle

Scars still showing. 
I found a new battle ground

Became the captain and the nurse

Calling all the shots

And administering them, too. 
I wore your worry

a toddler’s teddy 

bear Held and 

discarded A comfortable

Convenience you

Would certainly outgrow

Snapshot

If I could snapshot my mindI wonder how many negatives I’d have to develop before I couldn’t find you in there. 
You’re always a dark room

That red-lighted

Damp darkness

Where I’m always hoping

For a different picture to develop. 
If I could snapshot my mind

I wonder how many images You’d still

 find beautiful from before we had enough
I’m still holding the camera tight

To my chest believing

Heartbeats and apologies 

are stronger than these memories
I was never good at taking pictures

That weren’t of you. 

Untitled

Loving you is like

Loving in an empty room

With a revolving door 

Waving an exit only sign
We meet in the circle. 

The closest we can ever get

To each other
As we dance

Separated by the thick

Dirty glass

we so desperately

 want to clean break through 

pushing

Never knowing 

who is chasing whom

And never catching up

Dizzying ourselves until
The door sticks and we

Stop to admire the beauty 

on every other side
Going back we decide to move forward

Again through the ever revolving Door 

we never figured out how to enter

Yelling through the glass for the other one to get out and stay so we would know that the room was finally safe

Loving you is like

Loving in an empty room

We never risked to occupy.