Sunday, February 05, 2006

Patterns of Disillusionment

"There is no substitute for genuine risk." - Mark Nepo

I'm sure you have heard this one before. . . That we will find ourselves facing the thing (or things) we most need to work on or work out in our lives, over and over again, until we get it. Until something in us changes. It isn't the outer circumstances that need to shift, it's what is inside us.

Take me for example. My father was an alcoholic and for the greater part of my growing up years, he was distant and depressed. I craved his approval. I wanted to be enough so he would pick me (and our family) over drinking or feeling sad. I never felt good enough- no matter how funny, smart or obedient I was. I internalized those feelings and have, time and time again, found men with whom I can repeat this pattern. Often, they say they love me but their actions don't match up. A lot of the time, I feel as though I am waiting for them to prove their love to me. I enter into these romantic entanglements seeking approval at an unhealthy level. Sure, we want to be accepted and adored but to what extent? When does that need become too much?

And then sometimes I think I might be overthinking the whole thing.

But I am not. I overthink lots of things. But this thing? It needs to be mulled over and pulled apart. It needs scrutiny. If I don't figure it out, how will I ever be in a relationship or be in love. And I want to be in a relationship. And, god help me, I want to be in love.

I have repeatedly attracted the same situation. Different man, same feeling. They are not available- emotionally, physically, spiritually. They will profess their love but not act on it. I am left feeling empty, lonely, and not enough. I have tried to pretend it doesn't matter. That it doesn't hurt. But, it does matter and it does hurt. I have tried to control these situations much to our detriment. I've closed my heart up and put it away for safe keeping. But being safe isn't really living. . .

As they say, "the only way out is through." So I will keep trying to love. So I will keep taking the risk. So I will keep finding myself on the threshold of a promise.

And each time, it is my own self-worth that I am looking for. . .


Claire said...

I know just what you mean when it comes to finding myself in different places, with different people, and yet it's the same, because I haven't changed.

'Wherever you go, there you are.'

Anonymous said...

I hear ya, I am right there with ya!!!!
Don't ever stop always told me that our love is a gift to whomever receives it, and there is absolutley nothing to be ashamed of....they should be so lucky.
I suppose we also need to chew on the ever-lasting gobstopper of self love as well.
I it will be my mantra for a few years to come.....

Melissa said...

One thing that took me a very long time to learn was that if someone isn't loving you the way you need to be loved it doesn't mean they aren't loving you with everything they have.

Fate brings people into our lives at different times for a reason. Sometimes to show us that we have grown beyond that level of acceptance that we used to have and are now able to believe that you deserve someone better. Other times just to remind us that we can still love. A little prod, if you will, to remind you that you are still capable of that deep, trusting, emotional connection with another person.

Mr_Rodacre said...

If I may play "Devil's Advocate" here...

These men that profess love but lack action...

What is it exactly that you are looking for? Someone to propose to you when you don't want to get married? Someone to move in with you when you don't want to live with anyone? Someone to uproot their own life and forsake their dreams just to be with you in yours? What does it take? How much does one give up before they lose themselves to someone else? How much does one compromise?

What actions would YOU be willing to take for someone you say you love? What action DO you take?

It's not easy - this whole love business... it's messy, complicated and plain sucks... and it really shouldn't have to be that way. We just get all tangled up as adults with "shoulds" and "coulds" and "what ifs" when what we should be doing is be honest and communicate and love unconditionally. Instead we worry about what others think, worry we are insignificant, worry that we'll never have what it is we really want.

And mostly we create our own drama because what we really WANT is too scary to imagine actually having. And we feel we aren't worthy of actually having it when nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Dan said...

Flippant or not, one word: therapy. But what do I know. I've been and am still attracted to the wrong type. But then, that wasn't what we were working on!

Sizzle said...

i have had plenty of therapy. there is only so much talking about it one can do until you actually have to DO the thing you are afraid to do.

Mr_Rodacre said...

“Do the thing you are afraid to do and the death of fear is certain”.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nihilistic said...

Overthinking is my biggest hobby!

Krisco said...

Oh Mz Sizz,

I so relate. And it is so hard. Supposedly when you acknowledge it, you can get over it. But it's not that easy, is it. Or easy to recognize when you're sliding that way again. I realized all kinds of things from my childhood. Then still realized there was more to figure out. Damn.

I love this quote from Mr. Rodacre:

"And mostly we create our own drama because what we really WANT is too scary to imagine actually having. And we feel we aren't worthy of actually having it when nothing could be further from the truth."

That sums up about 25 years of my life so far.

Bill said...

I don't know how this relates but since I came across it, I thought I'd throw it in. From Tom Robbins:

The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.

I like that last line.

sue said...

Wow. You guys are way over my head this time... I know I got wrapped up with the wrong guys several times because of my own lack of self-esteem and the desire to be loved (we've talked about my parents on Dark Madness) and I know it was my own weakness that kept on bringing these people to me professing love but not being what I needed.

It was only through a miracle (yes, I really believe that) that my Hubs found me and through his love I was finally able to accept that I could be loved... thereby loving myself... thereby being able to fully love him. Oh, man... is your head spinnin' now?

alissa said...

I've realized recently that my problem is letting go of what I thought love would look like. The fact is, it probably won't look anything like you thought it would.

It's hard, hang in there, you'll appreciate it so much more than others who've had an easier time finding it. Any man would be lucky to be deserving of your love.

Will said...

Rumi - Guest House
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.