Recently, a girlfriend shared with me a recent recurring theme in her life and how that theme had shaped her behavior in her life and how it continued to manifest itself in different forms and in different areas of her life.
It got me thinking about my own behavior – past and present. Cringe worthy for sure…and although I no longer act out this ‘neediness’ in my life today, it did cause me to pause today and recall the damage I did to myself and to other human beings on my path.
As stated previously, I was raised by wolves. (Not seriously real wolves. But parents that provided the barest of basics, ie, clothes, food, shelter, required public schooling AND punishment. More of the ‘beatings’ type — than ‘don’t touch the hot burner’ type). By this I mean I received the barest (non-existent) of survival skills. There was an encyclopedia of ‘DON’TS’ in our house. ‘Do not covet’ was NEVER discussed. EVER.
Because I was not raised with many values or morals; other than ‘do not steal’ (which was one of the BIG DON’TS…a whole different post for sure.) my behavior reflected the lack of those teachings.
I carried this lack of a moral compass into the world as a young woman.
But I digress.
My grandfather passed the summer of my 13th year. I was beyond devastated. I was alone and lost in an unloving environment. He had been my one and only champion. He loved me UN-conditionally. Just as I was: the chub-ette, the weird middle child, the tomboy who believed “if she were a REAL boy she would be loved”, the child who PRAYED to have been adopted and the freckle faced girl who just wanted to know she was loved by her family. That child, he loved and she knew it.
SHE (I) started looking for that love, the replacement love. In all the wrong places…yes, just like the song.
SHE (I) became the “OTHER woman”. Four times, with four different married men. AND because she was single during each of those times, she (I) BELIEVED she wasn’t doing wrong. “THEY” were the married ones. (Can we all just whisper ‘victim’ with a smile and a nod here?)
Not my proudest moments as a human. No excuses. It was wrong. For me. (I am unwilling to judge/condemn other people’s behavior. I am not God. aka N.O.M.B.)
Of the first three I was NOT under any delusion that they would leave their spouses and marry me. I didn’t want them too…I liked the control I thought I had during those times. Now that WAS delusional…believing I had control. What a farce.
The fourth one though, I thought that one was different. I hadn’t met him in a bar. We were as chemically free as is humanly possible. I knew his wife. I was stunned at the depth of my feelings and I was as devastated as the 13th year old girl had been, when after our year long fling, he dusted me off. As if I had been a sticky piece of lint on his suit jacket. As if I were the perpetrator. I was and I wasn’t alone in the effort.
Today, I am SO grateful that he dumped me. I went back into therapy. I had to start looking at how I could care for myself in ways that other people could not, even if they were willing.
I had to GROW up. Ouch. Rude awakening…huge…but rude.
Uncovering the ugly parts of who I am is depressing work. I truly do not like digging around in the muck and mire of my inner life. But I so want to be free. FREE from the bondage of myself and the self-centered fears that lurk in the dark corners of my mind. At least they are now in the dark corners, what is left of them … I once wore them as a cloak that I could swing over head or drag on the ground behind me as I walked through life.
The truth DOES set you free.
And I had to learn about forgiveness.