Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Thought-provoking post on Tumblr

The other day, I saw this post on Tumblr:

It made me think of the process I went through recently, that brought me to the point of removing Jacob from my life.  Heck, I broke the links I had with him, and then literally had to MAKE him break them from his end of things.  I have to wonder why he was so attached to looking down on me.  His insistence on believing negative things about me, when he had evidence to the contrary, is symptomatic of someone who has that need in their life, to force someone else down.  To chop of another's head to make themselves look tall, as the song goes.

Although he wasn't directly abusive to me, he did force upon me a lesser view of who I am.  I disliked all the time I spent alone after our breakup, which made me cling to the friendship, as it were.  Still, that aloneness gave me clarity.  Through his "friendship," I gained insight into the life I had been living.  As I gained distance, I could see the lies, the manipulations, the staggering selfishness, and the negative twist to the role he insisted I take in the relationship.  Through his moodiness and self-absorbed habits, the message was communicated to me that I was lesser and that I deserved rudeness, mistreatment, and to be ignored.

After receiving this message day in and day out, I started to believe it was all I deserved.  I tried to model the treatment I would have preferred, instead of risking a confrontation, but I suppose you have to notice someone other than yourself to pick up on such cues.  That was never going to happen.  It explains why every little kindness he bestowed on me meant so much - it was a rarity that I took as assurance that I really did mean something, so I tolerated even more bad behavior.

And this is why my teenager was worried about me staying in this relationship long term.  What would I come to accept as time went on?  She was already seeing me tiptoe around his temperament, to avoid confrontations and unpleasantness.

Looking back, the manipulativeness was masterful.  And it continued into our "friendship."  If I spoke up for myself, I was told I felt that way because I couldn't be happy for him.  This was even after I congratulated him on his engagement - which I learned about the same was 900 other "friends" did on Tumblr.  The double standard is amazing and appalling all at once, especially given that I was still accepting it.  I still thought I deserved to be treated that way, on some level.

Being alone actually did me a favor.  It gave me the space to let the fog clear.  To remember who I was and am.  To see who I was expected to be and to decide that it wasn't respectful of me.  I learned to stand up for myself again.

My brain is being re-trained.  I'm being offered love in a way that carries no expectation and no demands.  That says, "I love you for who you really are and all that's made you."  I don't have to tiptoe anymore.  My walk can be confident again, without the fear of someone emotionally punishing me for it.  I don't have repercussions for being capable and knowledgeable.

I have to keep my eyes open and not let anyone take it from me again.

And this "me" is a much better example for my daughter, of how a strong woman really is and should be.  I've accepted a lesser version of myself for long enough now.  That version doesn't exist - and I won't believe it does again.

I need to remember that, and keep telling myself that, and not be trapped again.

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