This is a very personal story.
I grew up in a home where love was taken away for doing something wrong (or perceived of being wrong). Signs of affection were few and far between. My mother had a theory that all people were inherently bad; if someone did something she considered a ‘slight’ – that person was banned for life (even if it wasn’t intentional – that person was never given the chance to explain or discuss the situation). My parents didn’t have any ‘couple’ friends, I can remember only ONCE being babysat by my older sister. My dad wasn’t encouraged to visit his sisters or their families, as my mother disliked all of them (for reasons unknown). I remember my grandparents (my father’s mom and dad) visiting once or twice when I was little and that’s about the extent of that relationship. I have aunts, uncles and cousins who live 3 hours away that I’ve never met.
I grew up an emotional idiot. 46 years later, I’m still that person. But, I’m working on it.
As a young woman in my early 20’s, I would do whatever it took to find a potential mate. If someone expressed any interest in me, I was on them like glue. Of course, back then I didn’t know that I had serious abandonment/lack of affection issues. If they left me, I was devastated – what had I done wrong? Was it because I was fat? (I believed that was always the main reason – even though back then, I wasn’t fat). Wasn’t I good enough? Pretty enough? Smart enough? Mind you, it also didn’t help that my very first boyfriend in Grade 10 dumped me for the school slut. 😛
I met He Who Shall Not Be Named at the age of 22. He was my world. I adored him. He made me laugh, he made me feel sexy, he made me glow. He was everything I wanted. He was my soul mate (or so I thought).
He emotionally abused me (I didn’t know what it was back then).
I turned myself inside out for him. He was evasive. He had the emotional aptitude of a 12 year old. He lied to me. He cheated on me. He treated me with disrespect. His friends made fun of me because I let him do whatever he wanted to me – because (I thought) I loved him. I found out a couple of years later, that he was engaged to be married to a girl who lived in a different city the entire time we were together.
I told him that I loved him and he laughed at me.
He turned me into a paranoid, weepy, clingy wreck of a woman. We’d split, get together – a million times. He could still make me laugh. He still made me feel sexy. He made me feel like a bag of shit, when I’d wake up the next day after spending the night with him and him telling me I needed to leave.
This went on and off for 10 years. The last time I saw him was 13 years ago, when we went out for dinner and he came back to my place and stayed the night. He even told me beforehand that he was seeing someone who lived across the country. I didn’t care. I still loved him.
The past 10 years have seen a lot of ups and downs in my life. I’ve lost both of my parents – the death of my father was my complete undoing. Never in my life had I felt so lost, so sad – so abandoned.
But, with all bad things – came good things. I learned to be responsible – no more dad to bail me out. I learned to make my own decisions. I worked hard and started moving up different corporate ladders. I made terrific friends, my sister and I became very close and I was proud of who I was and what I’d been able to accomplish with very limited education.
However, I never did learn ‘how’ to have an intimate relationship with a man. After a few failed attempts at them, I closed my heart off to avoid further pain. I did counselling, I learned meditation, I read self help books – because there was something – something I couldn’t put my finger on. All I do know is that nobody since HWSNBN, have the feelings I had for him even come close.
He’s married now, or so I’m told. In moments of loneliness, I sometimes fantasize about running into him. But then I stop cold: I’m fat. I would be mortified if he saw me now. The fact that I’ve got a terrific career, great friends, a nice vehicle and a beautiful home doesn’t even enter in my my consciousness. He’d see me as the “Thank God THAT never happened.”
As I get older, I’m much more attuned to my emotions, my thoughts and my actions. I will often be sitting quietly and I’ll have an epiphany of sorts about something – and in those moments, it’s like a small piece of a wall breaking off somewhere in my psyche – it amazes me and scares me all at the same time.
If you’ve been reading my previous blogs, you’ll know that I have a huge struggle with food addiction and am just starting a new program through our health service where I live. I’ve been on the waiting list for 2 years, been offered a place 4 times, but it’s just now that I’m ready. Why? I’m still not entirely sure.
I was watching a movie on the weekend and out of nowhere came this overwhelming feeling of anger, sadness, nausea and pain…I let out a howl that came from the depths of my soul – I hate him. I truly hate him. I hate what he did to me. I hate that I let him be a part of my head and soul for all these years. I hate that I allowed him to determine who I am. I hate the fact that I let myself get to this place, where I replaced love and affection with bags of potato chips and bottles of red wine. You know what the worst part is? Is that for all these years, I wanted to apologize to HIM for acting like some batshit crazy bitch. WTF?
It was like a black piece of my soul had turned to dust and had been replaced with tiny seeds of love, happiness, kindness to myself and acceptance. I say tiny, because while they have been planted, I need to learn to nurture them, to love them and to let them grow into something bigger and more wonderful than anything I can possibly imagine.