This is a follow up to yesterday’s post.
After posting that, I met with a close friend. She has known me since we were teenagers. She also has known my ex-husband since I met him. She sang at my wedding 25 years ago. She saw the friend she once knew become a shell of the person I once was (while presenting an image that all was well….which she wanted believe ) and then emerge again after I left him. This friend, despite huge challenges in her own life at this time, still is there for me….we are there for each other. Because she has known me for so long and so well…and also knew my ex and the dynamics of my marriage, she has a way of bringing insight to things that is so incredibly helpful to me.
Two important things came out of that conversation for me:
1. I am still taking too much responsibility for anything that goes wrong in relationships with men. Even in my post yesterday, I did to some extent. I am only responsible for 50% of the communication. I am only responsible for my end. I might make mistakes in my communication, but I am not responsible for what someone else hears. Other people have filters and emotional triggers from their past that create issues on their end. I can’t take responsibility for that. Yet, I tend to.
2. The reason I tend to do this is because of how my marriage worked. Every issue that arose in my marriage. ..no matter how big or small…. was always my fault. Early in the marriage I used to try to raise my concerns or make it more equitable. That resulted in a two hour lecture about all my faults and how I am too defensive and don’t take responsibility. It always resulted in me apologizing. My apologies were usually not accepted. I was told they were not good enough. So, then I would spend hours or days showing him how sorry I truly was by making it up to him. I lived this pattern so long, for so many years that it became normal to me.
My brain became hard wired to believe that my needs don’t matter, it’s my job to make a man happy, that when I inevitably fail to do so… that’s my fault too, and that nothing I ever do to apologize or make amends for that will be good enough.
The deeply rooted belief that resulted: I am not enough.
I thought I dealt with all of this and was past it.
But, recent interactions with men…in which I found myself taking on 100% of the responsibility for miscommunication, including their misinterpretation of things on their end….and then apologizing profusely. …. showed me I have more work to do.
I am enough. I am human. I make mistakes. I am worthy of grace and forgiveness and should be honored with a willingness on the other part to own their part too. I am deserving and worthy of a willingness for someone to work through this with me and take responsibility for their part. My apologies are enough. My attempts to have healthy relationships are enough. I am doing the best I can. I am enough.
I need to stop allowing this pattern to continue. I need to lovingly hold someone accountable for their part, while honestly owning mine. I need to make sure anyone I enter into a relationship with is capable and willing to do this.
I have more work to do.