So, I was digging around in my desk to find a clean writing tablet, and came across an older one. I started flipping through it and found this letter I wrote myself a couple of years ago. Here it is, word for word:
The first time you wrote yourself was last year when you were trying to figure out your life. In that letter, I told you to be strong…be happy…be true to yourself. I told you deserved so much more than you had gotten (from ex-partner). Than what was done to you. And I thought you were listening and believed that all to be true. But were you?
I thought you were going to die last summer. I was so scared for you. You were nothing…a shell…a body with only emptiness inside. When you’d get up every morning, you cried…knowing it was another day to get through. And the question was always there: would you survive it? Or was this the day you decided to end your pain?
J did so much mental manipulation on you…messing with your mind. But, you made the choice to stay. To keep letting it happen. You’ve been teaching your classes for years about abuse and you’ve always said emotional abuse is the worse kind of abuse out there. Physical injuries heal. Psychological ones leave scars that never fill in.
Is that why you took J back time and time again? Because you knew that he’d been abused and you were sacrificing yourself for a chance to fix him? It’s like being a mom…we don’t mind going hungry as long as our kid is fed. So, as long as you were helping J, it was OK you were being hurt?
Just this week you learned that J had been talking to that other woman for months. All of the months you were taking his abuse, making excuses for him, and trying to love him out of his moods. Instead, they were still in a relationship. His cheating wasn’t a lapse in judgement or a momentary lack of control…it was a calculated, planned continuation of what they had started years before. It wasn’t about you. It was about them. There was nothing you could have done to stop it. Nothing. Would you have tried so hard had you known that?
How do you get over months of deception? Months of lies? Months of giving all you have to someone who is giving their all to someone else?
You’ve always felt like less than, but until now, you never felt like nothing. Think about it…none of your love, devotion, help, etc. was returned. You were used, wrung out, and left…just like that. One day he was with you, and the next he was telling someone he loved them. He was sharing experiences with her he wouldn’t share with you. He let his kids be with her, and you were planning on being a family. All the while, he ignored you…rejected you…because you were nothing to him. She was everything.
Deep down…in a place you didn’t want to acknowledge, I knew he didn’t love you. You don’t hurt what you love. You protect it. You nurture it.
I’m starting to think you’re unlovable. Really. No man has ever fought for you. Has ever done for you what you have done for them. Why aren’t you worthy? Are you going to die…never knowing what true love is? I’m really afraid that might happen to you.
Kristi…I’m going to tell you some truths you need to hear.
- You can’t make anyone love you. Period. They either do or they don’t. You can’t force it.
- You can’t make anyone give you more than what they choose to give.
- You can’t fix anyone…can’t undo all of the bad someone has suffered. As much as you want to make up for things in peoples’ lives, they are going to have to come to terms with it themselves and decide to forgive or live with the anger and bitterness.
- It’s OK to struggle with trust and respect even after you forgive.
- You need to ask yourself if you want a man who can’t hold you when you need it the most. Who fights to win at all costs. Who puts himself above you every time. Is this what you truly want? I hope not.
- The most important thing is this: no matter what happens to you, you have so many gifts you can give someone who might be able to reciprocate themselves. And if you don’t find that person, you are going to be OK with you. Just you. Period.
Wow. So there it is. I’ts hard to remember feeling so empty. I’m not ‘full’ yet, but I am so so much better! I can laugh and smile and have fun! I’ve decided that I am lovable, and have also come to the realization that I’m OK being alone. I like me, and I think I’m really close to saying I love me! When I see where I was, and where I am now, I’m proud of myself. I see growth. I see change. I see possibility.
You know, some people say you should just forget the past and move on. I happen to disagree. I think it’s healthy to remember the past (to a degree…not ruminate on) because it’s the history of you: your lessons, experiences, mistakes, and triumphs. And we need those to remind us where we’ve been, and what road we should now take in our own personal journeys forward.