Updated: Dec 29, 2019
My beautiful Soul Sibling,
If you are reading this, chances are good that you are currently going through at least two deaths: the death of your relationship to another person (THE person), and the death of the person you *thought* you were in the relationship with.
It turns out they were a character you made up in your mind based on how the ACTUAL person *acted* in the very beginning, when things were more magical than the entire 7-book-set of Harry Potter plus the spin-off books and maybe even the entire fantasy genre as a whole, because this person was *perfect* in practically every way (that you didn’t turn a blind eye to...you know, like the CODEX of warning signs). But this was NOT the person they ACTUALLY REVEALED THEMSELVES TO BE ON MULTIPLE, CONSISTENTLY HORRIFYING LEVELS, and reality has finally kicked your heart enough times for the pain of refusing to accept it all (which is eerily physical pain now, as well as emotional pain) to trump the comfort of denial any longer.
I know because I did this. With many people over the course of my life. oops.
Your relationship is dead (and chances are, you didn’t even get the comfort of some kind of funeral a.k.a. closure), and the thing shining your light back at you is gone. Things feel so dark that you are convinced the light must have come from them, and not you at all.
That’s no fun. At all.
If science and magic are really the same thing, it’s time to put the magic back in the relationship with YOU. Get out your lab coat and safety glasses, we’re going to play mad scientist and bring some things back to life!
When significant people walked out of my life, it hurt almost worse than death.
That sounds really, really odd, but with death, there is the comfort that the person didn’t *want* to leave.
You may still feel abandoned, of course, but knowing that death is not a continuous voluntary choice to be absent, that one could regret if they just cared about you enough (or worse, if you “were good enough”), is weirdly comforting and offsets the finality just a tiny bit.
There is some very final closure.
And even though all you want to do is see them somewhere, communicate with them…you can’t and there is a certain resignation and finality and acceptance to that. There is absolutely nothing you can change or go back to there.
You can’t humiliate yourself by reaching out to them when they made it clear they don't want you; they can’t cruelly reject you; you can’t see how much of a better time they are having without you there; and they can’t come waltzing in, back manipulating you with what you want to hear, or preying on your desperation by giving you the opportunity to “apologize and have one.more.chance. to try to be good enough” for them.
(I have experienced all of these multiple times over—isn’t this hideous cycle of make-up-break-up the worst?! The highs are SO HIGH but the lows are soooooooo lowww, am I right?!!!!).
With someone still living, even though all you want to do is see them somewhere, communicate with them, find out why...
You can’t and it hurts in some ways worse because you are being continually rejected.
Every time you want to reach out but know you will be ignored or verbally abused, you know it’s because the person you want most has told you “you are not wanted”, and that is just.the.worst.
Because what we want most in any relationship is to be wanted.
Because wanted things are inherently valued and taken care of.
And then there is the special hell of the constant contradiction mind games of they-love-me, they-love-me-not.
I constantly felt like I could do something to salvage the situations, I was convinced that there was something for me to go back to or stay with (because if there was, I could totally work with that and there was hope).
I constantly took all the responsibility (a.k.a. blame) for the relationships not working (because I was told to take it, everyone else seemed to know things I didn't, and I just wanted to make it work and make them happy which was impossible because they were deep down unhappy with themselves).
It would not work unless I were to cease to be a thinking, feeling creature with needs or wants because the relationships were with Emotionally Unavailable Narcissists and would never be mutual and only 1000% on their terms. I stupidly ignored their blatant disclaimer that things had to be 1000% on their terms.
Are you that naive/oblivious to your own value that you stay around to try to build your life around this person instead of believing their very words and fleeing and changing your telephone number right then and there?
Parent, friend, or significant other, I subsequently felt the constant shame of being the homewrecker of my own home (could there be anything lower?).
Plus, when you inevitably see/hear about whatever your ex- is doing, or when they miraculously contact you, it always seems to happen at the worst possible moment.
Have you noticed that too?
Whatever closure you were trying to cobble together gets messed up, your wounds all get re-opened, your triggers start firing, the questions you will never be able to fully answer that you tried to let go of start draining all your brain power...making the already bad-enough difficulties of life feel f*cking impossibly overwhelming!
But when you finally, finally, finally accept that the one you loved no longer exists, and maybe never did (you start to wonder if they were a character acted out for you, to get you to do what they wanted), you are able to kick up your heels and let go in every way!
It was suddenly easier to forgive myself. I hadn’t understood the rules to a game I didn’t entirely believe I was playing.
And it was suddenly easier to forgive them too. They were emotionally retarded, and just as it would be wrong and pointless to deny that a mentally retarded person has a handicap, and wrong to assume they should be expected to do what the average person can do exactly as an average person does it, it would be pointless to expect empathy and generosity from a person who is obviously seriously stunted in those areas, for whatever reason.
I had to focus on and mend my own emotional retardation as well. Giving yourself the gift of emotional ableness is a life-changing experience! ***** Five stars, Highly recommend!
But still, you will *literally* grieve and feel that same awful, permanent void that you feel at a funeral when you realize the person is gone and not coming back (not coming back in the same exact form at least, and probably not for a while).
Well, here we are. We survived. Our family and friends have comforted us as best they can, there is leftover casserole in the fridge, and everything is very hushed and still now as if the world has stopped.
But it hasn’t! It’s just waiting to see what we’re going to do.
(Lab coats on? Goggles on? Did you forget you were holding them?)
You know what? The relationsh*ts and the people I *thought* existed are dead. Very, very dead. There’s not much to be used from relationsh*ts and non-existent exes (an ex- can be any relationship: parental, friend, lover, etc.) other than the lessons we learn along the way.
There’s still plenty of material to resurrect here though!
We have it right here, and it’s 100% entirely OURS, up to US, and not someone else:
I realized a lot of *other* things in my life had died while I was preoccupied in my relationsh*t.
I found that, even though I still had to go to the job I hated and that left me drained at the end of every work day, I was amazed at how much energy I still had without dealing with all the constant issues of the relationsh*t: the mind games, the abandonment and heartbreak, the blame and guilt, the walking on eggshells, the non-stop second-guessing, the expectations and disappointment.
I had SO.MUCH.MORE of me than I thought I did when I decided to (cliché as it sounds) stop waiting and start living!
I realized that because I had chosen to spend so much time with and on certain people, I had let other really important things in my life die, things that I had never gotten closure on and never stopped missing.
The things that were my responsibility but I was always too pre-occupied, too stressed, too tired, too poor, too emotionally dependent, too every-excuse-under-the-Sun-whatever to take care of properly:
· I missed not getting I-borrowed-money-from-the-mob-but-I-can’t-pay-them-back-style emotional beatings all the time, always feeling unheard and unreasonable and unappreciated
· I missed having a sense of being in control of myself
· I missed not questioning my sanity
· I missed focusing on the needs of my health, from what I ate to getting enough sleep
· I missed shopping at the stores the other person didn’t like
· I missed doing the things I liked that they saw no value in
· I missed listening to the music that I wanted to listen to
· I missed living in a house that was not a dirty mess
· I missed reading
· I missed writing
· I missed making
If something doesn’t feel right, it ISN’T right.
I had stopped creating, I was struggling through the thick muck of misery. I constantly felt like I had nothing to look forward to, because I didn’t.
I had stopped all activity (besides obsessing over people I couldn't control) that I found at all interesting or slightly rewarding.
It was work, exes, sleep.
I was taking very little ACTION in the directions that I knew I wanted to go.
Nearly all my energies went into unhealthy relationships, a soul-crushing take-the-work-home-with-you still-worried-about-finances job I hated, and trying to get enough sleep to recover so I could deal with it all the next day.
I wanted to feel ALIVE. Like attracts like. I needed life. So I chose to resurrect these “phantom limbs” of myself that I had cut off, buried, or neglected to stagnation. I resurrected them by *choosing to act* on them, by working towards them, by MAKING little changes and MAKING time every time I saw the chance, every time I remembered to. I resurrected by MAKING.
Things I Made:
· I made myself find the answers to why I was so dysfunctional in every close relationship I had ever had
· I made myself read and read and re-read until I understood and could take action to be reborn from the brokenness of my heart and self
· It’s still an on-going progress every day, but I’m making a new and better me!
· I made myself clean the mess that my home had become (because the outer surroundings often reflect the inner state—like attracts like)
· I made myself discover the joy of turning the newly cleaned home into a space I had always dreamed about: special and *me*
· I made the air quality and energy in the house better with lots of live plants
· I made myself pay closer attention to work and got things done sooner and better so I would stress less
· I made myself take naps and sleep when I was tired so that I could feel better and function well
· I made myself pay attention to what I was eating, re-think my shopping staples
· I made myself cook real meals with these new healthy ingredients and found the simple joy and convenience of meal preparation
· I made a huge 3-level cat cage into the home of a pet rabbit (which I had always wanted)!
· I made myself re-discover how much I love reading!
· I made myself start thinking about the next projects I want to work on and start stealing like an artist again in preparation
· I made myself re-discover the joy of going for walks
· I made myself pay attention to when something cool came on T.V. like a retro film that I would love to watch, and I would now watch it and steal like an artist from it
· I made it sound like there were people around and I wasn’t alone by leaving the T.V. on (usually with the picture off) all the time
· I made myself say yes to opportunities I would usually have passed on (and had an awesome time in the process!)
· I made myself start writing this blog, to help others and myself heal
· I stopped spending a ridiculous amount of money trying to make these extravagant memories and "bonding experiences" I couldn't afford, and paid off my credit card debt! (WHOO!)
Humans are, by design, creative beings. You were made to MAKE too.
If you feel like you have nothing but a massive blank wall staring at you where you used to have a house, I want you to look a little closer.
· “Your” house (the one you built for your emotions and identity) was built on the most active fault-line on Earth if you built it on your exes.
Why do you think you took so much blame? (Get it, fault, blame?) (*rimshot*--Thank you, I’ll be here all night).
Seriously, no one’s emotional house can survive unless it has been built on their own selves, with a boundaries-reinforced foundation of self-love and self-care and self-esteem and emotional self-regulation and self-object constancy and all that good stuff that you get when you consistently show yourself you think you have value.
You can’t see that house any more because for once you’re not the outsider looking in, it doesn’t belong to anyone else and you aren’t locked out! You’re on the inside, and that wall is well and truly, exclusively yours.
· If you look closer, you will actually notice that your wall is not blank. That wall is primed (with your experiences and all that you know) and ready to be painted!
· In fact, if you look, a lot of it has been outlined paint-by-numbers style (with your likes, your needs, your hopes, your dreams, your goals, things you miss, things you’ve picked up and put down in the past, things you’ve talked yourself out of, things you’ve been struggling to save up for or find the time/way to get to do). YOU know this picture because it’s yours! Even if you forgot, it’s been there, somewhere, the whole time! And there’s still lots of blank space to keep adding to it, and it’s drawn in pencil so you can erase and change it as you wish, but all of it is still there to work on, piece by piece. Every stroke you paint is going to make your “house” that much more you, and your life that much more satisfying and meaningful.
I want you to notice, as you look at this mural, how you didn’t have to throw any of yourself away. Because the colors and some of the outlines are not yet filled in, of course you can’t see how it all ties together, but everything there, that is YOU: your seemingly completely unrelated hobbies, pursuits, subjects, and collections are all there, paying off in ways unexpected and delightful!
You are a harmonious riot and a riotous harmony.
Don’t forget to DO you.
Keep inventing and re-inventing, my precious mad scientist!
I believe in you!
Keep experimenting. You are never alone!