My boyfriend and I reached his apartment by 7 pm. Despite the grief that had replaced the shame and aches, I could finally talk again. I’m not going to say that everything went great, but I felt that we were finally listening to each other and we were finally considering our own dysfunctions. Two hours later, we decided to take a step back from our relationship and to work with our respective therapists on our specific dysfunctions for a couple of weeks, individually, before deciding whether we want to continue together. In simple terms, we’re on a break. There’s no prediction for the final prognosis.
Hey… duh…WHAT?!! Isn’t saving the relationship what all this agita is about in the first place?
A mistake I made early on my path was thinking that, by gaining control over my person and my life, I would gain control over the world. This. Nevuh. Happens. My guy is a grownup; he can make his own choices. If he is invested in clinging onto his childhood beliefs, i.e., continues blaming me as the cause of the original humiliation that he now carries in his adulthood and which is triggered by the endearment “Poopoohead,” (see hypothetical in Part II), then he is not the guy for me. I can’t, will never, and don’t want to change him. I also don’t want the space I’ve reserved for My Life Partner taken up by a man who won’t do the work of releasing his childhood beliefs for himself, i.e., who won’t grow up. This is why I cannot attach to this specific relationship. While I struggle to take control – sever my defense mechanisms and end the shame spiral by sitting in the shame rather than passing it back – I must also simultaneously struggle to release control – let go of my man to do as he pleases. It’s the hardest dance I’ve ever had to learn. But if I don’t accept its latter lesson – that I will never control the world – I risk trying to control my man and his behaviors. And one trying to control the other is how we got into this mess in the first place. (Again, see the hypothetical in Part II.)
I, ultimately, want an intimate loving relationship with someone who is a partner in every aspect of my life. It may or may not happen with this guy; it may or may not happen with the next. Sometimes, I have to accept that it may never happen. But it is guaranteed to never happen, evuh, if I don’t connect with my shame and grief, and heal my childhood. Until I do, my childhood beliefs will continue to control me and I will continue to react inappropriately to the current circumstances of my life. I will push lovers away because I am responding to my parents instead of to him standing in front of me. I will withhold support from my man because clinging to a mistrustful worldview leaves me without the hands I need to support anyone. So I put myself through the cycle: shame, uncomfortable childhood memories, anger, grief and then, finally, healing, all the while accepting that I still might not get the boy in the end. It would feel hopeless except that, each day, as I parent myself, my grief slowly dissolves and I find that I am a little bit lighter than I had been before the fight. It is this lightness that is my reward for doing this work. It is my fledgling control over my life and my ever strengthening ability to hold a relationship - not control over this specific man nor the gifting of this particular relationship - that is my reward for putting myself through so much agita.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.
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