Tag Archives: find myself

To Women Who’ve Been Abandoned

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To Women Who’ve Been Abandoned

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It’s taken me 38 years, a bunch of the wrong guys, two waffles, this Kelly Clarkson song, and a strong cup of coffee to talk about it.   I’d like to talk about my Dad leaving me.  And your Dad leaving you.

Sometimes Dads leave one big time or two and then we never see them again. Sometimes they hang around and leave us over, and over, and over again.   Emotionally, physically, one thing is for certain – they. just. leave.

Just saying it makes me feel nauseous.

However it happened, when the one guy who’s supposed to have our back and nurture our heart takes a good look at us and says “nah”, it feels like a huge, gaping hole in our chest. We spend a lifetime of “how the hell did I get in this mess again” moments and wonder what we did wrong.  Either way, we feel unloveable, and either way, when any good thing happens, we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Here’s the thing: we keep replaying old wounds as many times as we need, trying to get the ending we want.

It took twenty years of relationships that hurt for me to grow enough, get mindful enough, and get enough counseling to realize I was just re-playing the relationship with my Dad.

I wanted that warm kind of love where the person is there for you no matter what. You can see it in their eyes.  You can hear it in their voice.  You can feel it in the words they choose to use when they talk with you.  They just… show up for you.

Even though I wanted that, I could never seem to find it. I analyzed the guys and criticized myself.  Maybe I should be thinner.  Sweeter.  Less opinionated. Work on my bitchy resting face (which was totally not even a thing 20 years ago BUT I HAD IT, YOU GUYS).  It’s so hard to be undiagnosed.

I wish, I wish, I wish I could find the most perfect way to say this that would pierce right through to the center of your heart. I want you to get it.  I want you to stop hurting.  I want you to see this.

It was not your fault.

The things he did, the things he said, the way he absolutely could not seem to get his shit together enough to be there for you in any consistent way….

It was not your fault.

In fact, it had nothing to do with you.   Like how the color of a plane will not make a person unafraid to fly.  The plane could be painted the most perfect, glittering color with the most perfect shading.  It could even have the most perfectly organized, safest flight plan to the most perfectly beautiful places on Earth.  Filled with the most perfect luxurious seats, tables, trays, beds, and staffed with the most amazing, charming, wonderful, people on Earth.  Every single person on the planet could be in agreement that this is the perfect plane to fly in. And it will still not make a person unafraid to fly.  They simply will not get on that plane.

And they will handle that decision in one of two ways: they will turn around and leave, or they will approach the door and step back over and over again unable to find the strength to stay or go.

It’s not the plane’s fault the person doesn’t want to fly.

It’s not your fault your Dad didn’t want to be a good parent.

It’s not your fault your Dad didn’t know how to find the strength to work through his own shit so he could be there for you.

It’s just not your fault.

And… PS…. you are not destined to be alone. You are destined to be loved.  And that journey, dear one, starts with the tallest mountain first: learning to love yourself.

You are so brave. And so, so loved.

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Breaking Through Emotional Unavailability

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This is Part 4 of a four part series on Expectations:

Part 1: Expectations vs Contentment

Part 2: Where Do You End, and Where Do I Begin?

Part 3: Never Get Hurt Again. Ever.

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Last, week, my best friend and I were eating fried chicken and minding our own business when… WHAP!

Our “whaps” are like Oprah’s aha moments, but with much less grace and a whole lot less zeroes on the check.

Here’s what happened.

We were talking about boys, ourselves, and relationships in general.   And, of course, the subject of emotional unavailability came up. Because we are experts. We are experts at dating these types of guys and we are also experts at being emotionally unavailable.

What is this mysterious condition? You might ask. Well, I’m glad you did – because it’s a whopper.

Emotional Unavailability (EU) is basically when the lights are on in someone, but no one’s home. In other words, the person may be physically present, but their heart and mind are a million miles away. They are disconnected from you emotionally and, despite your efforts, you cannot reach them to connect.

EU can happen for a short period of time due to a traumatic situation (recovering from the shock of a death or car accident) or it might last for a long period of time because there are complex, unhealed wounds a person feels the need to protect.

There are some great articles online about emotional unavailability and one of my favorite is here: Understanding an Emotionally Unavailable Relationship.

We typically think of EU as a person is either emotionally available, or they are not. We say things like “oh, well, he’s just emotionally unavailable.”

What we mean is “I am trying really hard to connect with this person and it feels like they are shut down and closed off.”

Here was the “aha” moment:

Maybe a person isn’t just emotionally available or unavailable. Maybe a person can be both.

Here’s why.

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We all bring our past experiences to the table. In every relationship, including romantic ones. We build boundaries (framework) to protect ourselves from pain. That’s all ok, healthy, and good!

Do you have a friend or partner who you trust who you can tell absolutely anything to and know they would never intentionally hurt you?

Are you that kind of person?

I hope you feel like both of the answers to those are yes. If not, no sweat.. we can chat about that later and unravel that knot, ok?

Now, do you also know people who you would not tell your deepest, darkest secrets? People whom you do not trust?

Sure! We all know folks who we feel that way about.  Here’s the math:

  • When we feel safe, our guard comes down.
  • When we feel unsafe, our guard goes up.

In this sense, we all have the ability to hold space for being emotionally available when we want to be (when we feel safe), and emotionally UNavailable when we don’t (when we feel UNsafe).

#mind.  #blown.

So, dear one, the next time we think to ourselves “she/he must be emotionally unavailable” please consider adding the words “to me” at the end of that sentence.

Then, we can begin to ask really interesting questions.  Clarifying questions.   Truth telling questions.

And we may choose to find our way to intimacy. Or, not.

Onward….

Expectations vs Contentment

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Something happened today and it caused me to think about expectations.

In total fairness, my first reaction was surprise.  Then hurt.  Then blame.  Then shame.  Then, as the pain passed I was able to think about what I want.  Not about what someone else has to offer me…. but about what I do and don’t want in my life.

It occurred to me that people we know & love are just going about, living their own lives.  They have hopes, dreams, fears, and hang ups all their own.  Enter, us and our agenda.  Our expectations.  Our assumptions.  Our hopes, dreams, fears, and hang ups.

it.  gets.  messy.

Like, really messy.

I was really thinking about blame.  It’s my go-to deflector for discomfort.  “Well, I wouldn’t be hurting/embarrassed/upset if YOU had done… what I expected you to do.”

Who died and made us the boss?

I mean, really?

Who are we to have any expectation of another person?

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People make promises, and sometimes they don’t keep them.  That’s totally their stuff over there.  This is my stuff over here.

We assume that if someone says they love us, that means the same thing to them as those words to do us.

But it might not.

Expectations feel like control. It feels like they might be an excellent bridge to carry all our emotional baggage straight to someone else’s front lawn and dump it.

“Here”, we say. “You love me? You wanna be friends? Great. Now, you are responsible to please me and fill my pre-formed idea of what love and relationship should look like. Here is all my stuff. Please sort through the debris, drop your own issues like a hot rock, and present yourself to me confident, whole, and ready to make me happy.”

Are we serious with this shit?

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What if….
◾We expect things to be kinda messy.
◾We have compassion for someone else’s journey.
◾We take time to calm down and get some perspective when our own stuff gets triggered.
◾We get clear about what we want for our life.
◾We stay open, warm, and loving – especially when we are saying no thank you.

In moments where we feel our most loving, whole self, we are able to let relationships, opportunities, and life events ebb and flow in and out of our lives.

In a grace full, grateful way, we can sit in the green field of our own life and appreciate the simple goodness of breeze in our hair, the sun on our warm skin, and watch in love as time weaves its unique tapestry through our life.

It’s beauty takes my breath away sometimes – the joy, the pain, the peace, and always… always… the love.

Onward…

PS – I am quite sure there will be a follow up to this about what expectations are ok.  If there are any.  Research, here we come.

Love Does Not Have to Come Wrapped inPain

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I found this leaf on a camping trip in the spring of this year. Near the fire pit at my campsite, it literally stopped me in my tracks.  It felt like seeing my own heart, lying there on the ground.  I was camping alone, in a relationship a man who ran hot & cold, and trying to find my way back to myself.

It’s hard to find our way back to ourselves if we weren’t ever anything solid to begin with, isn’t it?  We like the things our guy likes, his hobbies become interesting to us, and we just sort of dissolve into his life.

What if it wasn’t like that?  What if we had this beautiful, warm, loving life of our own and found a great way to merge our great life with his great life?  What if we stayed ourself and he stayed himself and we just rolled along that way… supporting each other… loving each other… inspiring each other to be our best selves?

Count me in for that.

I believe that once we get our hands, hearts, and minds around who we are and what we’re about, it’s a whole lot easier to decide who gets to enter that life with us.  When we can honor our little snags, life just smooths out… because the rough stuff snags.  The hurt stuff snags.  We can feel it on the way in, can’t we?  And we get to love ourselves through that growth and say “I recognize that I have always done it that way, but I am not getting the result I want.  I intend to keep my mind and heart open to finding a different way to be in this life.  I intend to find a way to feel whole and good.”

Love does not have to come wrapped in pain.

Onward…