As I watched him close the door behind him, I knew I had done it again.
I had needed space. It was as simple as that. My alone time is sacred, and I can’t function without it. I could have just said that. Instead, I kept it all inside for fear of hurting his feelings with my truth. I hurt myself, by not being honest with him or myself. I was not holding space for my needs.
Then I turned around and blamed him for my self-made resentment. I directed my anger at the only person who wanted to understand and support me. I spit my fury and rage at him with words that cut, referencing any past injustice my triggered mind could dredge up to villainize him.
Anger is protection. Anger is power, anger is a mask for all the hurt I was suppressing.
The baggage I insisted on carrying with me from past relationships blocked me from vulnerability. It was like a trust game with me—an initiation. If he could handle me at my very worst, then he’d be “in.”
My walls were so high and all he had wanted to do was climb them so that I wasn’t inside them alone. He had tried to infiltrate my fortress of distrust, and I acted like he was an invader—a threat. He saw my demons right away, and he thought he was going to help me slay them.
He could see the scars of my youth, still so plainly visible under the facade of my adult ego. The memories of abuse taunted me effortlessly, as I had allowed them to do for so long. I couldn’t hide, now that he knew my dirty secrets. Why did that seem like a bad thing?
Where did this shame come from? Isn’t this what I’ve been begging the universe for—someone to pull me apart so that I could redesign my life for the better?
Wait. It dawned on me that this rebuilding was something I should be doing for myself.
Why can’t I dissect my fears and take up the space I know I deserve? Why is it a threat that someone else wants to be a part of my story?
We fear what we do not know. And I do not know how to be present in a loving and healthy relationship.
Many of us were raised in broken homes, and I am no different. As a result of our experiences, our perception of marriage and parenthood can sometimes be marred. In some cases, we take our anger out on our future partners, and I’m a perfect example of that.
I grew up believing that I was nothing. No good. Too stupid. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not good enough. I felt powerless. I grew to realize that those lies came from someone who was suffering.
With every day that passes, I unearth new seeds that were planted in my young mind, now growing into the weeds of my adulthood. Sometimes those we love pass their traumas on to us, perhaps unaware that they are not burdens that ought to be shared. I do not know the luxury of trusty emotional connections. I do know how to self-sabotage and destroy relationships.
When we are raised believing that we are not lovable or wanted, why would we love ourselves?
With this realization—this knowledge and self-awareness—comes power, and with power comes responsibility. I hurt people because it’s what others who I have trusted have taught me to do.
And with that, the cycle of pain felt complete; I found myself pleading with my boyfriend that night not to go, tears streaming down my face.
What I realized that night is that I must take ownership of the fact that when people do love me, I need to value that. If I truly love myself, I will respect my own needs and speak with honesty and kindness. Those who truly love me, will understand and respect my needs when presented with them. And so, I will show up for myself so that I can show up for others.
I have a lot of love to give and there are deserving people dying to receive it.
Repeat that to yourself.
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