I guess there comes a time in everyone’s life when we see people for who they truly are and not as we had hoped they would be. This usually coincides not so coincidentally with our own realization that we deserve a certain level of treatment above what we are given. As our own self-worth elevates, the hero-worship in others deteriorates – and necessarily so.
It’s a positive step, though there are many growing pains associated with the process. I’m not the kind of person who easily lets go of the people that I love or situations that are so deeply ingrained into my daily routine, even when the times get rocky or I feel emotionally battered. I’m in it for the long haul and I hang on like super glue. This should earn me some level of devotion but the sad truth is no one will ever be able to give back to me what I give to them, and it would scare me silly if they did.
So I attach myself to people and relationships that are inherently imbalanced. I go back and forth between two very opposing ideas: The idea that just because someone doesn’t love me the way I think they should it doesn’t mean they don’t love me the best way they know how, and the idea that it makes me lesser of a person to keep giving my best to someone if all I’m worth to them is a rare and random passing kindness that may or may not have ANYTHING to do with how they legitimately feel.
Thanks to the many abusive, codependent relationships over the course of my life, I have a hard time deciding what’s a normal boundary and what’s an unrealistic expectation.
It’s very hard for me to put my emotions aside, step back and re-evaluate this objectively.
But at the same time I’m tired of being hurt. I can appreciate much of it comes from my own growth beyond what another person was put in my life to teach me. If they won’t allow me to teach them and grow with me, then what exactly would I be fighting for other than trying to prove that years invested weren’t, in fact, wasted?
Sure they taught me something and that has value, but everything else I did for others was nothing more than a flash in the pan… a rain drop in an ocean that ultimately has no value to them beyond some random lip service. When it comes to investing anything emotionally, I simply wasn’t worth it.
In essence… they taught me how to be unafraid to be myself but ultimately that wasn’t good enough.
This doesn’t help me.
And how long will I justify waiting for that validation? It’s becoming more and more clear to me it will never come no matter what I do…. or frankly… what they do.
And that’s just not fair to anyone.
So what more is left?
The Catch .22: As I work on my self-esteem that says I demand better, I fight off residual remnants of the disease to please. If I take a stand, then I lose whatever place in line that I thought that I had – which, depending on the day – was something that made me feel like what I did made a difference to people and meant something special. If I issue the ultimatum of, “Treat me with the respect I deserve or I walk away,” I’m scared that I will simply be dismissed and in short underscore every negative thing I’m trying to train my brain to erase.
The last thing I need is to be discarded like a dirty, torn paper towel that no longer serves any function but useless clutter.
As you can see, these two thoughts work in opposition of each other. For the last year or so it’s been an emotional upheaval that has had me chasing my proverbial tail. It’s hard to fight for my self-esteem when I give too much of it away to people who clearly don’t give a damn if I’m around or not.
That leaves only one real choice, and the thought of that hurts just as much as staying in the situation.
Frankly it scares me, because it will just reinforce my feeling that I’m not good enough to sit at the “cool kids” table. I’ve been edged off the map by those who are different (prettier, smarter, bolder, more successful, more desirable – more whateverable,) which I have always interpreted as “better.”
It’s hard to see it any other way when the personal preferences of others clearly put me at the bottom of the list with zero (honest) communication as to why… so I get to fill in the blanks with the absolute worst scenarios because that’s all I’ve known all my life. But these people would never know this because I’m not a person as much as I am a resource. There was no getting to know *me* beyond what meant anything to them because there was never any interest to.
So there was really no two-way street. No give and take. Just what felt like were enough crumbs to keep me on the line and some promises that never saw the light of day.
Pacify and ignore… rinse, lather, repeat.
I deserve better than that.
Especially when I don’t ask for a whole lot. Common courtesy, trust to participate in the relationship and make my own decisions accordingly… these are NORMAL things. Yet it feels as though I get punished for respecting or expecting these boundaries, simply because I had the misfortune of feeling more emotions than what others felt I “should.”
I’m not going to apologize for feeling something for someone. The heart goes where it wants. If that kicks me off the list, then so be it. I refuse to accept that’s a failure on MY part.
When I love, I love A LOT. And I’m fully aware that scares the shit out of people. Maybe in a way it demands that they continue to grow and elevate themselves to be worth it, I don’t know. Maybe I really am a force of nature that emotionally swoops in and wreaks havoc on a safe and predictable emotional existence simply used to giving half-way.
But you know what? Maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Maybe I should stop being afraid of this and just embrace that power. Maybe I wasn’t put on this earth JUST to learn something from someone else but to teach them something in return. My love is undeniably transformational and anyone would be lucky to have it. Very few can claim it as it is a gift that is too precious to be squandered just because someone is afraid.
Whatever you feel it demands of you *I* never made those demands… nor would I or will I.
All I ever wanted was to be treated with respect and appreciation – both of those things I’ve earn in spades by being dependable, loyal, kind, loving and accepting.
BUT … that doesn’t mean I have to accept the bullshit. And anyone who truly cared about me would never expect me to.
I get a right to my own rules of engagement, and no one gets to set those but me. I get the right to manage my emotions and my life like the adult I am, and be trusted by those who say they care about me to do so.
Bottom line I’m never going to make the changes I want to make until I take a stand for my right to feel what I feel, whether other people think I have a right to or not. It’s never going to feel right or authentic or genuine until I do, and I will continue to punish myself in one form or another for not having the courage to demand fair treatment.
Until I make a stand I am doomed to be disillusioned in the one person I absolutely cannot allow to let me down.