I can almost laugh about it now, but it certainly wasn’t funny at the time. I had no idea there was even such a thing as emotional abuse or codependence until my marriage of almost 29 years slowly deteriorated and ultimately collapsed.
In hindsight, that tower moment was absolutely necessary. The relationship was unhealthy and I was unhappy. Things had run their course until I finally learned the lessons that this lifetime had in store for me including repeat patterns of choosing partners where I would lose myself into their lives instead of living my own. I would twist myself into a pretzel to accommodate their needs all while putting my own dreams or desires to the side. I would over give constantly running around handling other people’s problems or taking on tasks they simply didn’t want to do until finally I was depleted and had nothing left. I felt exhausted, resentful, and angry.
After the marriage ended, I knew that it was time to start over and make some big changes within myself. I had to take responsibility for the role that I played and realize that I cannot change or control another person in order to make myself feel safe, loved, or validated. I had to stop tolerating intolerable behavior and stop forgiving unforgivable treatment. I stopped making excuses for other people’s bad behavior and learned to accept them for whoever they are all while simultaneously detaching from them. I had to come to terms with the fact that I had been a doormat and people pleaser, thus allowing others to take advantage of me. I had to stop blaming them and take back my own power. Finally, I had to start processing my emotions and letting go of negative feelings like resentment, anger, or betrayal in order to get to the other side and live the joyful happy life that I knew I deserved.
Of course, I went through all of the typical stages after waking up to what had been happening. I read books about the meaning of life, binge watched YouTube videos about toxic relationships, and learned an entirely new vocabulary that describes noxious people or interactions. It was like someone else had written my life story without ever knowing it. And I allowed myself to grieve. I felt the grief of loss. Loss of a lifetime relationship, loss of innocence, loss of trust, and the loss of old friends and family who could not come with me into the future. I disappeared from their lives like a ghost. In doing so, I was granting myself the space necessary to keep focused on healing decades of unhealthy patterns of behavior and recognizing false beliefs that I had carried within me from childhood. I couldn’t ignore or look away from myself any longer. I had to look myself straight in the eye with love and understanding. All of these things needed to be broken down in order to rebuild.
Over the course of several months I could feel my life force returning. I started to feel energized and began to recreate a new version of myself. I learned how to love myself and appreciate the qualities that make up who I am. I forgave myself for allowing so much mistreatment and promised myself that going forward I could simply walk away or remove myself from situations or people who do not align with me. I would no longer engage with people who had repeatedly hurt me and I found a new circle of loving and supportive friends. I created a list of standards for the life I was going to lead. It was a list of things that I would and would no longer accept from myself, life, or others. I began practicing how to speak up for myself calmly and clearly in alignment with these standards. And I found a wonderful therapist who helped guide me along the way.
There is a wonderful life waiting for you on the other side. Today I have been set free to live on my own terms. I am valued and respected in my career. I feel happy and fulfilled with a loving partner who enriches my life.
This experience is not about who I was. It’s about who I am now!
I have been where you may be right now. Crippled on the floor trying to catch your breath wondering what happened. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better but hear me loud and clear! It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong. You are enough just as you are. Be brave! Take your life back because it belongs to YOU and nobody else. You are not who you think you are …. you are SO much more!
There is a universal law called ‘as within so without’ – our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world. Heal the inner world and then sit back and watch the outer world unfold miraculously and beautifully.