I’ve been in college awhile and I’m set to graduate this semester and so I’ve been reflecting on this journey as I’m looking toward my future and a brand new start I’ve been working my ass off to have.
The summer before I started school my parents divorced and it was really, really messy. Unnecessarily so. I won’t go into all the details of it because I really want to focus on the impact. I ended up separating from my dad for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he told me to go. Later on, I realized that I don’t want a relationship with him and thus I ended up losing that side of my family and more recently I’ve decided to separate from my other side of the family as well.
Now I’m sure whoever is reading this is wondering what all happened and how can it be that it’s everyone else and not me; the numbers are certainly in their favor. For a long time I actually would have agreed with you. I really did think it was me. I had a lot of guilt and fear of doing something really wrong and really hurtful to a lot of people. It’s taken a lot of introspection, a lot of counselling, and a new found love of change to realize I really did make the best decision for me. This is how I know:
For one, there was this sense of over-whelming freedom. I felt for the first time I really could do whatever I wanted and it was ok. I mean even things like travelling which my family before was really against, or getting an ear piercing or wanting to move away or even study science. All these things that I really wanted I couldn’t say I wanted out loud. I didn’t realize it then, but anyone that makes you walk such a fine line that you can’t even express yourself or your desires is only giving you conditional love and in the end, it simply isn’t enough. You will always feel imperfect, you will always feel wrong, and it will twist your mind until you think that this is what you deserve and the only thing you will ever have. I still have some of these hang-ups, I still feel like I’m not going to find someone that treats me really well. My first course of action though was to make room. I walked away from overpowering relationships and the ones that made me feel so inadequate. For those I didn’t altogether end, I built some walls and created some distance. This on paper seems really simple, but it hurts and it really stings in the moment. If it’s something you ever go through you are going to feel so vulnerable and broken and on the edge. However, it does really get better and it will in the right time. Then I looked at any friendships that I had that I could “grow.”
What relationships did I have that were with healthy, positive people, that really cared about me? I looked and I found one. One really solid friend. It was enough of a start. I made a point of communicating more with this person and really letting them know what I wanted and you know, they wanted something similar. We started working on our relationship and it has been one of the most precious and important events in my life.
Later on, I met someone else looking for relationships like I am, and we also forged a relationship. I feel like I have the healthiest most accepting and rewarding relationships I have ever had. We respect each other, we aren’t afraid to disagree, and we are not afraid to share our experiences or what we a really feeling. This will happen for you to, but you have to be really honest with yourself and these people. These are not easy people to find, but they are there.
Be careful who you choose and take it slow, these relationships have a natural way of happening and progressing and they are the most rewarding you will have.
For two, I’ve learned a whole hell of a lot about manipulation and it’s scary how many manipulators I had in my life at one point. This is something therapy and my friends have really helped me with. Growing up I was manipulated with guilt and fear; if I said the wrong thing or someone had a bad day it would mean part of the house being destroyed, something broken, a wall needing to be patched, etc. If I said no to something or I did something they disagreed with I would be commenting an act of betrayal or the biggest offense for even the smallest of things. When my parents divorced there was a lot of lying, gas lighting and guilt. And then even later I had someone who was supposed to be a mentor start grooming me by guilt, through my education and job, and later absolute fear. Fortunately I got out of these relationships, but they still affect me today. My greatest fear and part of what got me into counselling was that I would never have healthy relationships and I wouldn’t be able to ever trust anyone again. I slowly realizing that this isn’t true, but in order to come to healthy place you have to leave these situations completely. You don’t just walk away, you purge. A complete separation and when you’re ready, you face them and deal with them so you really can start anew. I’m in the second to last phase and I’m looking forward to moving on now. I’m confident in my decisions and I’m working on my confidence in myself.
For three, I understand that I have a lot of value as a person. My family has done some undeniably shitty things. I deserve the biggest apology they could ever give and I deserve respect. I haven’t received either of these, really ever and so I moved on. I’m not someone you can walk over or spit on and it be ok. The price of this is me and I’m simply not going to accept being treated this way. The beauty of adulthood is that now I get to choose. We are all adults at some point and we have the responsibility to be loving and respectful to those in our lives, we also have the responsibility to trim dead vines and take out the trash. Having dead things in our lives only takes up space for things that could really thrive in their place. To use a cheesy metaphor, let’s use a river. All pollution does is make weeds grow until the point the water can’t even run it just stagnates and becomes something terrible as well. I’m actually watching this happen with my siblings now and it is so sad. I’ve heard them say how unhappy they were in the same relationships and yet now? They are perpetuating more of the same and it is such a waste. Maybe if they had gotten out things could be different, but what you surround yourself will influence you and the people you choose are so, so important.
I think I have ranted enough for one post, but I hope reading this has helped you in some way, it has helped me to share. Until next time!