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:
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.