I’m in the middle of transitioning all of my personal posts and stuff on transformation to another website, but in the meantime, I really wanted to get this out to you. I can imagine I’m not the only one who’s seen dysfunctional patterns from childhood show up in romantic relationships (oh wait, has anyone NOT seen that?!?!?). I’d been writing this post the last couple days and ended up recording a podcast with my friend this afternoon. Here’s the podcast, followed by the post 🙂
I am a hopeless romantic. Have been my entire life. My fantasies of love started pretty early on. Tom Cruise in Cocktail and Jordan Knight from NKOTB were the most prominent heartthrobs. I would dream about them for hours at a time, imagining being swept away to a land of passion, connection, and unswerving love. Yes, I was 10, but who cares. The fantasies were all that kept me sane living in a home where that kind of love didn’t exist.
As young as I can remember seeing my mom and stepdad fighting, treating each other badly, I’d say to myself: “I don’t know how, but someday I’m going to be married and it’s going to be the opposite of this.” Really, I didn’t know how. I had no role models around me. All I had was a dream. A dream that pulled me into an assortment of relationships and sordid affairs in my late teens and early twenties. I fell in love with practically every boy I kissed, asking myself each time without fail: “Is he THE ONE?”. He wasn’t. But even on the days of the most extreme heartbreak, there was a knowing inside of me that he was in fact there, he was in fact coming.
There was actually a time that my faith began to waiver. See, when a girl as sensitive as this one has her hopes dashed, her heart broken, her dreams popped too many times, a bit of a thick, crunchy shell can form. There was almost no place to find relief in these moments: I wanted so badly to be able to drown the pain in the arms of a casual stranger, but those encounters provided no relief. It just made it worse. I’d drink. That helped a little. I ate. That helped more, but then I became fat and sick.
Over the last couple years, and especially the last 6 months, I’ve taken quite a bit of ground. I’ve been to countless relationship courses, sex courses (ok just one of those), courses on being a woman, courses on understanding men. I’ve uncovered kleenex boxes full of illusions about myself, about men, about love. I’ve had a couple men come into my life to test just how far I’ve come, test whether I’d truly learned the lessons this cross I bear has been meant to show me. I’m not there yet, but I’m close. I can feel that I am. Do you know why?
1. I’ve learned a really important lesson: there’s nobody out there. All of that love that I think is “over there” in another man sometimes available but usually not…isn’t. The deep feelings of love and longing that have been in me for so long belong to me, were created by me, live in me. I am the source of all of them. Some men much more than others stir this love up in me, and I get tricked into thinking it is them, but alas…its me. Now don’t take this the wrong way: I have encountered a couple really special dudes in my life who have had much to offer, much to give. But ultimately the wellspring of love that I think is OVER THERE with them…isn’t. This was a bitter pill to swallow at first, but then I got really excited: WOW, I have so much love in me. Like, insane amounts.
2. I hate this one: the “daddy issue” part of the equation. My mom got pregnant with me really young by a man who was not suited to be a dad. There wasn’t really a good reason for her to keep me when she learned she was pregnant (no money, no home, no man, no support system), but she did. Phew! Close one! She met my stepdad when she was 3 months pregnant with me and they made an agreement that I would be told he was my dad. Pretty early on, I began smelling something fishy: I had my moms last name, my brother had my dad’s, dad wouldn’t give me money for anything (part of the deal was I wouldn’t be told he wasn’t my dad AND he was not required to support me financially…great deal for him), and I looked nothing like him.
I unconcealed this year that this setup a filter in me: MEN DON’T WANT ME AND THEY DON’T WANT TO PROVIDE FOR ME. I hadn’t seen it so clearly before, but once I did, it made perfect sense that the experiences with and of men that I kept setting up were through this filter, leading me to run a business pretty much solo and either being single most of my 20’s or pining after boys who weren’t into me.
It goes deeper than that.
I had been told by astrologers in the past that I needed to deal with my “abandonment issues” which was really quite frustrating because I had no idea how to do that. I knew that there was this pattern of falling for guys who weren’t into me or emotionally available for a relationship, and then holding on just certain they would come around, but again, it wasn’t a conscious thing I was doing. Last night I read this that had it fit all together:
“Attractions of deprivation– when we are drawn to people who embody the worst emotional characteristics of our parents. Basically, the theory explains that we are attracted to people who can wound us the same way we were wounded in our childhood, as our psyche tries to recreate the past void and save us by changing its ending. The child in us believes that if the original perpetrators — or their current replacements — finally change their minds, apologize, or make up for that terrible rupture of trust, we can escape from our prison of unworthiness. Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which hurt us the most as children.”
I’ve never heard this stated this way, but this year i’ve been unearthing the roots of why i’ve been attracted to unavailable boys/men pretty much my entire life: to reconcile having not met my biological dad (even when i reached out he still didn’t want to know me) and having a totally emotionally absent stepdad.
Decided to record a podcast to open this one up a little deeper. Hope you like it 🙂