It's never easy for a good woman to walk away; especially after she's invested so much of herself into making it work. Just know, that by the time she finally decides to leave, she's given you countless chances and debated the idea, over and over in her head, at least 1000 times. She's exhausted; she's frustrated and totally heartbroken to have to walk away from a man who deep down inside, she still loves and is still willing to fight for."
- Mr. Amari Soul
But sometimes were not willing
to fight for love anymore…
because sometimes we realize were the only one fighting for it.
A Letter Of Love…
You lost him.
You lost someone special.
Someone who at one time you would have done anything for.
Maybe you did.
Maybe you still would.
Maybe you would have walked on glass or through fire to prove how much you loved them.
Maybe you would have fought every weary battle imaginable to be with them.
Perhaps losing them happened in one fell swoop… or perhaps it was a painful, long, slow, process as bit by bit you lost them more each day over the course of weeks, months, even years.
Maybe you knew every scar beneath clothing.
Maybe you knew every smirk, look, and inflection.
Maybe you knew each quirk, peeve and irritation.
Maybe you listened to their every fear, hope and dream into the wee hours of night.
Maybe you grasped their hand with affection when all was good and clasped it when tears fell from their eyes in the bad.
Maybe you knew exactly where their sore spots were, where not to touch, where you dared not go so as to never inflict further hurt and pain.
Maybe you knew every little thing that made them laugh and every great joy they basked in.
Maybe you knew their soul, their deep down yearnings like no other… maybe you read every page of their heart and still desired to know more.
Maybe you made love to them in the brilliant sunlight of day with the scent of coffee nearby… or maybe you satisfied them in the midnight hours eliciting increasing crescendo.
Maybe you held them tight when they were afraid and put their worries to rest even when they knew they were silly.
Maybe you worried when they didn't call or arrive when promised… all those times you fleetingly felt a surge of reality rise up within from your stomach and strike your heart… reality that you simply can't lose this person who means everything to you.
Maybe you didn't step up when you needed to… maybe you feel you failed them on some level however difficult or impossible to admit to yourself because it hurts too much.
Maybe you didn't allow yourself to be vulnerable with them and let your annoying traits, your hang-ups, your occasional doubts show because you questioned who could love those.
Maybe you sacrificed too much… maybe you said yes too many times when you should have said no… maybe you realize you were doing the opposite of what you should have been doing.
Maybe they gave up on you and you're left standing on the side of the road wondering where to go next… lost… lonely and baffled.
Maybe you are mourning who you thought they were... as it turned out they resembled hurt rather than love.
Maybe you'll never stop loving them because it wasn't that you didn't… it's that no matter how you tried to show it… you could never seem to get it right.
Maybe you know now that whatever you did wrong you can't go back and fix… whatever it is, or was it's simply too late…
Maybe you're kicking yourself.
Maybe you're angry with them as well.
And maybe you need to realize that it's okay to be upset…
It's okay to cry.
It's okay to acknowledge a great loss has happened.
It's okay to admit that you still love them... love is there, always will be... it's just that you aren't right for each other.
It's brave to say "I don't have it all together", "I miss them" or even "I screwed up."
It takes guts to say "I'm not okay… but I will be."
There is no shame in saying "This didn't turn out how I wanted it to."
There is no shame in saying "I'm incredibly disappointed."
There is no shame in saying "I'm struggling."
We've all been there.
To act like we haven't would be a lie.
The hurt you are experiencing is not only completely understandable but so necessary… it's necessary to go through the dark tunnel of sorrow and grief, to gather up all the past and sort through it like a stack of fading photographs… it's necessary so as to make room for all the new…
Because there is another chapter…
Shining brightly for you.
A whole new world awaits and gradually it's one free of tears and a non-bruised heart.
It's a chapter of great adventures, new skills and learning.
It's a chapter of fresh faces, long talks and laughs.
It's a chapter of healing, self-care and possibly love again.
This trying time won't last forever.
In the overall scheme of life it's a blip.
Embrace the now, your mourning, your loss and emotions.
Then wipe your eyes and cling to hope… hope that indeed life will get better.
It always does.
Be patient, wait for it.
Everything better is worth waiting for.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015
"You complete me."
- Tom Cruise,
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
"Did I make you feel complete?" He asked me.
"No." I replied. "I don't believe we ever feel complete with someone. I don't believe in that concept. I believe we have to feel complete first before we can even begin to think about being with someone else. We each have to feel whole, complete, healthy of our own accord… to aspire to being our best self first, happy on our own. And I would tell anyone that, it's not specific to you. The truth is… when we were together I felt like I was steering the ship on my own. If I'm on my own I don't mind steering it, I'm fully capable. But if I'm with someone I don't want to feel as though I'm steering alone. I expect them to be beside me... weathering the storms together, searching for a harbor, whatever… not me on my own wondering where my partner went MIA to." I explained.
"I let you lead because I assumed that's what you wanted… because you said you didn't want to be controlled by a man." He told me.
"I don't want to be controlled. And I don't want to have to do it all either. There's a difference. I don't mind being the man on my own if I have to. I've done it before, I can do it again. I can fight tooth and nail, I can do whatever I have to, call it grit, perseverance, whatever you like. But if I have to be the man when I have a man… there is a serious problem. A man leads and protects… he is self assured and knows that more than anything the woman he loves needs his shoulder occasionally to rest her head on… to know he is there, unwavering. I can finance myself, I can put out fires… get me a man who knows all the other or don't bother. Get me somebody who gives a shit. Who actually worries when I don't get home when I think I will… who sits up and waits to see me… a man who offers to drive without my asking because he truly cares. I don't need someone who thinks "Jennifer's strong. No need to worry. She always pulls through." I want someone who says "I know she's strong but I want to be there beside her in this journey called life." I responded.
"Well, I can do a lot but time travel isn't in my repertoire. I can't change what has happened. These things can be worked out… you make me feel emotionally complete like no one else ever has." He replied.
I sighed. "That's part of the issue! You should feel good on your own. It's too much pressure to put that on someone else. Because eventually the person you're with will have a bad day, they might be grouchy, not look their best, or get a cold. Then what? You look elsewhere? I feel perfectly content and happy on my own. I'm living a nice life. I've been blessed beyond measure. I had the counseling I needed post divorce to deal with the fallout of my marriage and find healing. I exercise and try to eat healthy minus the chocolate. I have a sweet daughter and good friends… I'm thankful for the things that matter. For the first time my life is good… I don't have the toxicity from a bad marriage. And I'm not signing up for another one. This "you complete me" stuff is a no go. Create a beautiful life, be happy, confident and complete on your own and then you'll be ready for someone."
"The rest will work itself out in time. As long as the love is there, the rest will work itself out." He said.
"I don't believe that." I shook my head. "Isn't there a song "All You Need Is Love?" I hate that song… because it blinds people to the truth… love is not enough… it takes so much more. It takes two people who can steer their own ships first and are content doing it… but decide to sail together because they want to… not because of some dependent incomplete need to."
"No, it doesn't take more. Love is enough. This is just a matter of whetheryou're wiling to do the work necessary to work through it!" He retorted.
"Look… "I exhaled and calmly continued "We have been back and forth on this. I've discussed it, I've told you how I feel… I'm not willing to "complete" anyone… they have to do that themselves… either through therapy and self growth, spiritual growth, whatever… I cannot be the "fixer" or the bandaid for someone else. I'm not taking that on. And I'm not accepting this being thrown on me either. Each person is responsible for their healthy state and feeling good about who they are and knowing what they have to offer in a relationship. What I'm offering you is friendship… that's what is being served and on the table. I simply cannot and will not do more. I know it's not what you want to hear, it's not what I foresaw, not what you wanted, nor how I believed this would turn out. But it is unfortunately where we are. It is what it is. Our perspectives are too different and I see too many things that are deal breakers for me."
"Okay, if that's how you feel, I respect that, but it saddens me. I won't bring it up again." He replied.
A person cannot expect to be in a healthy relationship by wearing down whom they are pursuing or are already in a relationship with through tactics of intimidation, pity, coercement, fear, etc. It will always fail. That isn't love, that is entrapment.
~ Jennifer Gafford
A partner saying: "You complete me" essentially equals them depleting you… it's a hallmark sign when someone says "I feel complete with you" that they are not healthy. In fact, it's a sign that a relationship with them will be downright toxic. When someone expects someone else to complete them, make them feel whole, etc… they are placing pressure and unrealistic expectations upon whom their with. We all have expectations in our relationships. That isn't the issue. What matters is more specifically what are our expectations? Are they healthy?
I expect my partner to treat me with kindness and respect
I expect my partner to be loyal and faithful to me
I expect my partner to be there for me but not be my everything
I expect my partner to spend time with me
I expect my partner and I to feel closer as the relationship progresses
I expect my partner to feel complete and whole on their own
I expect my partner to take care of their physical and mental health
Questions To Ask Yourself:
1. Does this person expect me to make them feel good about themselves?
2. Does this person expect me to boost their ego and confidence?
3. Does this person expect me to be their everything?
4. Does this person expect to spend all their time with me?
5. Does this person smother me?
6. Does this person drain me or energize me? Do they whine? Plead? Manipulate? Guilt Trip?
7. Does this person make me feel guilty when I set boundaries or attempt to with them?
8. Does this person make me exasperated because they don't or won't grasp the issue at hand?
9. Does this person make me feel bad for them? Sorry for them? Does their guilt make me change?
10. Does this person expect more from me than I am willing or able to give and are they expecting much more from me than what they are willing to do for me?
Both men and women who are comfortable in their own skin, who are taking care of their physical health, who are receiving therapy if needed, who know that no one can make them feel complete and whole are practicing self care. Men and women who are not dependent upon someone else to make them happy are ready for a relationship. We attract what we are living. It's one thing to expect your partner to be a safe place for you… they should be… a soft place for you to land after the hardness of the world each day… they should be a place where you feel heard and understood… most of all LOVED.
BUT... they can't be your everything. That's draining. That's life detracting. That's not sailing on a ship somewhere beautiful… instead it's one person hanging an anchor around your neck and making you drown ever so slowly and painfully to your inevitable death.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015
At the beginning of a new relationship we may be so giddy and high from the chemical feelings that accompany new love that we aren't thinking clearly. But it's so important that we stay grounded and watch for signs that we are with someone that isn't truly capable of loving us… but more like putting us through grief and heartbreak.
1. During my parents marriage everything revolved around what my father wanted to do. He chose the trips, the meals, the homes purchased, the repairs done, the furniture bought, the vehicles driven, etc. My mother had zero voice in nearly forty years of marriage… if she tried to speak up and assert what she wanted, fits, pouting and passive aggressive behavior on his part like driving erratically in the car to intimidate her would ensue. I soon began to notice similar behaviors with the man I dated… he always pushed for the restaurant he wanted to eat at… he whined I had taken a trip and he would have liked to have gone… it was 99.9% of the time about what he wanted to do. A man who behaves like a man knows it's not all about him… that it takes two people to be considered a couple, to be in a relationship… and remembers that his partner should have a voice and decision making in what she wants as well.
2. My twelve year marriage was devoid of passion and chemistry. Many people who have been with narcissists and sociopaths have stated that the sex was passion filled. Perhaps some narcissists and sociopaths are skilled in the bedroom… my marriage was not one that fit that description. Our sex life was more comparable to my painful "going through the motions with crossed arms" and a "let's get this over with" type scenario. When you live like that for so long it can't be helped but to feel incredibly jipped… when one partner is more focused on their quick release(!) than actually taking the time for both people to enjoy the moment mutually. With someone new an all-consuming focus on sex may set off your radar and make you begin to cringe…if a future sex life appears to be his (or her) main focus, not just one of the many important elements that make up a relationship that's a red flag.
3. Empaths are guilty of being people pleasers, givers, ready to help to a fault and over extending themselves. They often find it difficult to set boundaries with people… especially those of a narcissistic nature as narc's are typically always takers and users. You can give, give all the day long and you will find yourself barely receiving anything in return… both partners should be giving… you can't have a fruitful relationship if only one person is watering the garden.
When it comes to dipping our feet back in the dating pool we can try to look at it from a positive viewpoint… yes, we will have bad days and wonder if we will ever meet someone healthy. But those of us who have been with narcissists and sociopaths we ourselves are a work in progress getting healthy… we are practicing setting boundaries and healthy expectations not only for ourselves but for the relationship and person we will one day marry. Realizing we are dating another narcissist is not the end of the world… disappointing? Without a doubt, yes. But with each person we are gaining strength and putting our knowledge to the test… we are looking for red flags and becoming better at pinpointing them sooner than before. We are becoming confident and less doubtful of signs we need to heed. And with each relationship we are one step closer to becoming the healthiest version of ourselves… so we can be ready to not just fall in love with someone amazing but most importantly… not lose ourselves doing it.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains some language
I sat curled up on the opposite end of the taupe couch from my mother wearing gray lounge pants, a dark navy pullover, a thick scarf around my neck and hair in a bun atop my head. It was the week of Thanksgiving… my daughter was at her dad's and we were enjoying some down time, specifically some girl time watching marathons of Julia Robert's movies, making hot cocoa and enjoying hot soup. The temps in Texas had dipped to the forties at night and with the northern wind it had brought rain along with it. I listened to the rain coming down outside, the television flashing commercials across the room from me and my mother spoke, picking up from a conversation interrupted by our show earlier.
"I mean… I just don't understand something… how is it that I was married to your father for almost forty years and yet somehow… I don't even know how this is possible…" She admitted ruefully. "But generally speaking, mind you, how can you have a much, much lower opinion of men than I even do?" She asked, looking at me dumbfounded.
"I don't know…" I finally replied. "Do I?" I asked her.
She stared at me like I had to be kidding… "What's the first thing you think to yourself when a man looks at you like he's interested?" She asked me. "I mean, honestly."
I didn't miss a beat. "Typically I think shit off." I replied bluntly.
She stared at me. "You have a problem." She declared. "What are you going to do about it?" She pressed.
I laughed uncomfortably and shifted on the couch, my arms crossed, my body language closed off. "I have a problem?" I echoed. "Really?"
"Yeah. Men smile and talk to me all the time. I just have a conversation with them. And they just smile…" She trailed off catching my expression.
I shrugged in response. I remembered a Dr. Phil video I'd watched where he'd talked about how we are crazy to ever give people the benefit of the doubt. He said instead we need to gather information about everyone we meet before we hand over our hearts, trust, etc. Everyone is suspect until they've proved their not.
"Yeah. You have a problem." She told me adamantly. "I mean, how do you think you're ever going to meet someone? You don't go anywhere! You work, you run errands, you come home. You meet friends for a meal or fun. That's it. And most of them are married or don't know anyone to introduce you to. When are you going to get out there? When are you going to start putting yourself out there so you can meet someone? Do you think he's just going to show up and knock on your door?" She asked me incredulously.
"That'd be way easier." I replied dryly not finding the conversation enjoyable at all. Wasn't there something I needed to be doing right now? Like re-organizing all the closets or scrubbing bathroom grout with a toothbrush? Something that took an eternity to complete?
She sighed, her exasperation showing.
"What?" I asked her, my question coming out with an uncomfortable half laugh. I looked over at her. "I don't want to talk about this anymore." I told her wanting to end the conversation.
"You don't want to talk about it anymore because you know I'm right, that's why!" She insisted.
I wrinkled my nose. "No" I replied. "I just don't see why you're bringing this up. What is all this about, anyway?" I asked and got up to retrieve some extra paper napkins from the kitchen nearby.
She sighed "Okay. I just wish you'd be honest and admit you'd rather be comfortable. You'd rather not get out of your comfort zone to meet someone." She told me. Then in the silence she finally asked "What is it that you're so afraid of?"
I didn't respond. What was this? A therapy session? I swallowed hard and fiddled with the now fraying edge of my white paper napkin. A cup of broccoli cheese soup sat on the coffee table growing cold.
She had hit a nerve and now another one. I sat silent absorbing everything she'd said. Thankfully the show returned to the screen and my time in the hot seat had come to an end.
But I kept thinking on what she said… mulling it over in my mind. Finally, even though I didn't want to admit it, I realized she was right. Mom's or those closet to us like friends are good that way. They will tell us the very painful and not so pretty things we need to hear… truths that maybe we don't want to hear but in reality ring loud and clear. Maybe one contributing factor was being an introvert, I admitted. Perhaps another factor no matter how cliche; I was tired of being disappointed and didn't want to find myself hitched to yet another psycho.
"The human condition is imperfect and when we realize we will endure hurts that affect our outlook in life we can give ourselves compassion and begin to grow beyond where we currently are. Diminishing how we feel makes us stuck. Accepting how we feel makes us stronger."
- Jennifer Gafford
At this point I wasn't certain if all men were needy or it was just a glaring sign of the dysfunctional men I'd been with. The man I'd married had pushed for much more interaction via text and phone than what I'd wanted nor believed to be normal. I wasn't certain what was considered healthy in terms of the amount of interaction one would or should have during a typical day with someone their dating. However, based on what I'd experienced; the constant over the top staying in touch only served to drive me away. It made me believe all men were needy, insecure, what have you and that was enough to make me say just forget it.
But just when we begin to subscribe to a "Oh, just forget it!" type attitude… someone comes along that changes our mind… that makes us pause… that convicts us, that makes us freeze… they are saying all the things that touch our heart because they make our eyes wet in response. So I'm going to share with you what I was told today:
"I want you to know it gets better. It will. Don't give up, don't throw in the towel, don't let your heart become hardened. There is someone out there. You're going to meet someone and it will be great. It's going to be okay."
In my last (very short) relationship I saw early signs of dysfunction (thank the good Lord) before I cut the cord. Here are five things I observed...
If he's texting you incessantly with over the top flattery and gushes of love: "I love you so much and always will", "I wish I'd met you when we were younger, I'd love for you to have my children", "I believe we are soul mates, we were designed for one another", "You're all I think about and I want to be around you all the time", "You're so amazing and I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He's "love-bombing" you. This is a classic tactic of narcissists and sociopaths. They love to show how much they adore you via words but sadly the actions very often do not match up... at least not for the long haul.
He shows his insecurity by saying things like: "I don't deserve someone like you", "I never thought I could get someone so beautiful, talented, kind as you". What he's not telling you is this: Deep down I really hate and resent you for it too... because you're such a reminder of my inadequacies. The flip side of a man saying: "I never thought I could get someone like you" is after they say it enough you begin to wonder: So WHY am I with you?? Because even YOU think I could do better! So I guess I should. The truth is... insecurity is never attractive. Cockiness isn't either. Finding someone who has a healthy amount of confidence is key.
You go to his house and you're wearing the watch you picked out and bought when you were married... and the necklace your ex bought you (the necklace you still love). He looks at what you're wearing and says "And... you wore that here." He promptly buys you a new watch. Excuse me? I can wear whatever I choose. His behavior shows control and insecurity.
He begins pressuring you about a ring and getting married. He's looking at rings and talking about having something custom made when you've asked him several times to put the brakes on because he's moving too fast. And yet... he ignores your request and continues.
He's disrespectful of your time and selfish. You tell him you're going to be busy that evening because you have plans. And yet he texts you incessantly the entire evening wanting to engage in a all night text-a-thon. He doesn't respect your boundaries and puts his needs ahead of your much needed time with others.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2015