They say don’t fall in love with writers because their poems are messy and their letters are empty words dressed up to look pretty. But I say fall in love with me because underneath the mess and in between the lines is a heart too full of love that would follow you to any city.
With Valentine’s Day being just 4 days away, it’s been challenging not to think back on everything that happened this past year between the intense feelings of euphoric love, hurt, and heart-stabbing disappointment.
Today, February 10th, marks the 3-month point since my last breakup. It also means that I’ve now nearly been out of my last relationship longer than I was in it.
When that breakup was still fresh, my emotions were heightened and I felt a crashing wave of disappointment over what could have been. I was left feeling confused, misunderstood, and deeply hurt. I didn’t understand how a relationship could still fail when I was truly in love and committed to another person; an internal battle I have now faced more than once.
FINDING A PATH FORWARD
Sometimes relationships aren’t as straightforward as we’d like for them to be.
Blogging about emotional abuse was enlightening and cathartic. It helped me learn about underlying mechanisms I was otherwise fortunate enough never to have fully understood until now.
Speaking up about what had taken place provided me with the mental space to focus more of my time and energy on healing in the months to come.
I also very much appreciated the emails many of you have sent about your past relationships. I never realized how many people have lived shared experiences with this sort of thing.
It took a lot of courage to speak so openly, but I am glad I did because it is my hope that my story will find its way to others who will learn from the mistakes I’ve made and hopefully avoid a lot of heartache in the process. Finding specific resources and support can be critical.
Coping with feeling wronged was an unpleasant and painful experience. I still feel I have been mistreated, tricked, and manipulated against my better judgment in a strategic effort to be controlled, but a lot of the pain from that has subsided and I mostly feel grateful to no longer be experiencing it day-to-day.
Lately, I have found myself thinking about love and what love means.
LifeHack shares 6 general definitions of love that everyone should know:
- Love is never rushing into a relationship.
- Love is not being jealous.
- Love is giving yourself a chance before giving up.
- Love is managing expectations and anticipating differences.
- Love is maintaining privacy and respecting boundaries.
- Love is avoiding misunderstanding and navigating conflicts with respect.
Regretfully, I wish I had been more aware of these sooner because all 6 had been lacking and would have warranted a discussion. Whether or not it would have made any difference, I honestly don’t know. Mel Robbins often quotes, “you can’t change the weather in Chicago,” when it comes to abusive relationships so maybe this is a matter of two clashing worldviews that could never possibly have aligned.
As a relentless optimist, empath, and problem solver, this is one of those struggles where it’s really hard to fully accept that there wasn’t something more that I could have done.
A HEALING PROGRAM
With the help of Doctor Ramani who is a remarkable expert on Cluster B personality disorders and emotional abuse, I have been fortunate enough to make progress in my recovery and healing over this past quarter.
While I don’t think there is any way to fully escape the heartache of a breakup without giving yourself time, quite a bit of the pain of abandonment was mostly remedied through her insights into why people like this behave in the ways they do.
Dr. Ramani holds monthly workshops, guided meditations, and journals through her Healing Program to help survivors find inner peace with their experiences.
I think I might have gone stir-crazy sitting with my doubts and questions had it not been for her. ❤️
A FITNESS PROGRAM
On December 22nd of last year, I made a commitment to try something new.
For essentially the first time in my life, I wanted to make fitness a priority.
My new program officially kickstarted on January 2nd. I’m about to start Week 7!
So far, it has been going phenomenally well and I’m excited to see it through! In a way, I think I even surprised myself with how much I’ve been enjoying it. Not only are the workouts fun, but they’ve really helped me de-stress and feel the absolute healthiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
A NEW BELIEF SYSTEM
The bird of paradise alights only on the hand that does not grasp.
Relationships are based on a bond, a shared connection, trust, respect, and authentic love.
Someone once told me that when a man tells you what he does or doesn’t want, believe him.
It was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. I know I wish I would have heeded it more than once. Instead of grabbing a microscope to analyze everything a guy says or does, it is a reminder to re-prioritize protecting your own heart. Find the love you once gave so freely and give yourself a bit of it back.
Love isn’t supposed to be a chase. Although some people think relationships need to be defended or fought for, most people would agree those games are childish. Along the lines of respecting boundaries, chasing disrespects the person’s wishes who wanted to break up in the first place. Like it or not, if a person breaks up with you, he is telling you he doesn’t want a relationship with you- plain and simple.
You can speak your truth and put it out there, but beyond that, there’s not much else you can do.
A REMINDER TO LOVE
To me, true love is unconditional.
It’s not about what you give, but about how you act.
In The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
When you show another person compassion, you immediately alleviate them of their pain and suffering. They are not in need of retaliation- they are in need of help- and they need you to try to be more understanding.
I do not wish to harbor bad feelings.
Never feel bad for having emotions.
You have every right to feel whatever thoughts are going through your mind. It’s part of the human experience. What sets people apart is not the emotions we feel but what we do with them.
The way we respond to our feelings matters. The level of respect we show others is paramount. Showing empathy toward others should be a way of life.
When in doubt, choose to love.
There is no reason to suffer alone. We are all passing through on this planet. Make the most of the time you have here, connect with people you care about, and let true, authentic love guide you on your journey.
I hope you will feel loved today and every day.
Wise words spoken, Rocky. I’m sorry you had to go through a rough breakup, but it’s great that you got out of the relationship given it was abusive; I agree with you with all of the points you addressed, and how it’s important to love yourself first before being able to give to someone else– and especially someone who deserves your love. I hope you remain kind to yourself and to do something nice for yourself on Valentine’s Day, with or without company!
Thank you for such a kind and caring comment, Rebecca. I really appreciate that. I will try my best to do that. I hope you and your partner have a lovely Valentine’s Day together as well!
A lovely post, and I feel like you have taken some positives, learnings and growth from a hurtful relationship which is an amazing attitude to have. Even though I am happily married now, my emotionally abusive previous relationship left me with scars that will never fully heal; your words are wise indeed.
Thank you very much, Hannah. I am truly happy you are in a far better space nowadays being in a happy/healthy marriage. It sure is painful to have those scars from the people who hurt us. I’ve been trying to focus on the positives as much as possible, but it certainly isn’t an easy thing to go through. Day by day.
You are definitely headed in the right direction. You are dealing with the trauma in a very positive way and looking forward to what is yet to come. You wise beyond your years Rocky!
Thank you very much, Leigha. I am really trying my best at this point. Some days are easier than others. Despite the circumstances leading up to it, this separation really hurt so I feel incredibly grateful to have access to the support systems that I do. So thank you for being here!! 🙂 I appreciate everything you contribute!
You are most welcome Rocky, it’s my pleasure!