“When the storm rips you to pieces, you get to decide how to put yourself back together again.”
― Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life
Broken little pieces shattered everywhere. Whole as I was when I was born into this world, a happy, always smiling baby, today I still feel the effects of my past relationships with men. I realized, last night, all the time and effort I’ve attended to my « soul-crafting », rearranging the pieces and putting them back where they belong.
At first I refused to use the term « broken » however, that is exactly how I felt sometimes. I allowed a man to break me. To whittle, like a fisherman carving his pipe, every bit of my self-worth until there was nothing left but a hole you can breathe into. The air sucked out of me, it seems like it is taking forever to catch my breath
The above is defined as: “Gaslighting“, where I was a “victim” for 7 years without even noticing until the 5th year, by that time, I was planning a way out.
Gaslighting, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline is: A form of psychological abuse. “This term comes from the 1938 stage play Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by dimming the lights (which were powered by gas) in their home, and then he denies that the light changed when his wife points it out. It is an extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power (and we know that abuse is about power and control). Once an abusive partner has broken down the victim’s ability to trust their own perceptions, the victim is more likely to stay in the abusive relationship”
Since I left him (3 years ago), I worked on rebuilding myself and nurturing the “brokenness”. 3 years of my life is a long time, however, if you count the 40 something years it took for me to break, well, the amount of years it takes to finally feel 100% does not matter. The quality of the love I give myself matters.
The ups come, and so do the downs.
My latest breakthrough came right after the date I had Wednesday with this guy Michael (I wrote about it here).
Speaking to my therapist about how frustrated I was with him for not telling me « I’m just not that into you » meant that I cared (even though I argued with her that I didn’t) and I was magically hoping for another date, even though he didn’t treat me like a lady. Truth is, I haven’t been shown (or it has not sunk in) how a woman should be treated on a date with a man. In truth, I should have had him take me home right after lunch…
The question she asked which startled me is :
« Did he check in with you at any time during the date? »
« Check in? » I said…
« Yes! Did he ask you : Are you cold do you need my jacket? How is your dinner? Do you want another drink? How about dessert? Are you feeling ok? How is it going so far? » etc.. etc..
Not that a man should ask all these questions on the first meeting, however, at least check in once or twice. Well, not once did he check in with me. NOT ONCE!
Apparently this is NOT normal, and I never even thought of that.
And I was upset he didn’t call me back? He actually did me a favor. The flags waving red all over the place, so bright I don’t know how I missed them. They were right in my face and I didn’t even flinch. I thank my falling stars my therapist pointed this out to me, so we made a list of things that I must look out for when going on a first meeting with a potential date.
Even though I get so upset at myself at times for taking so long to heal, I realize I need these experiences to teach me how a woman is to be treated. As I continue to increase my self-worth and build a strong inner foundation, my spiritual and mental immune systems gets stronger, and less prone to abuse.
I hate that my last relationship « gaslighted » me to the point of shattering into jagged little pieces. I hate that it took so long for me to realize I matter. Yet, at the same time I am grateful for the experiences which brought me to the point of wanting to survive, then wanting to LIVE.
I am shaking and crying as I write this today, because the emotions are so strong. I am at that point of digging into the root of the root of the root. So awful to look at….all I want to is shut my eyes.
But I wont. I refuse to unsee what was seen. I want to acknowledge, feel and heal.
Acknowledge, feel and heal…
Feel and heal…
To be continued…
For more info on Gaslighting see: Are you being Gaslighted? by Robin Stern, Ph.D.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.”
― C.G. Jung