Love - We're All Doing It Wrong

She’s In An(other) Unhealthy Relationship: Here’s How You Can Help

She’s attractive. She carries herself well. She knows how to dress. She is funny, smart, and witty. She has a good attitude and she handles life pretty damned well. Anyone who knows her enjoys her. She seems to have her act together. So, why does she waste her time with a guy that you think is a d-bag?

It just doesn’t make sense, right? Her guy is basically a lousy human being. Oh sure, he has talents and skills and may even be successful in his work but when it comes to treating her wll or just respecting her he more than falls short.  And, for the life of you, it is hard to imagine why she stays with him! 

Maybe the information here will help you understand what she is doing or what she is going through. You can’t save her, as much as you would like, but you can learn to understand and help her along her way. In the end, it has to be her decision to separate from Mr. Not Right – and that is a very tough decision for her no matter how simple of a solution it is to you!

First of all, and this is the pink elephant in the room, the girl has self-esteem that works like a roller coaster. Some days she seems full of confidence and ready to conquer anything and other days she wants to crawl under the bed and hide from the world.

WHY?

Because she wants to feel loved. She wants to feel she is special to someone. She wants to know that she is important. She wears this incredible curtain that is super impressive upon first meeting her but as you get to know her you see what’s behind the curtain and she is not as strong as she looks.  It is like the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz where there is a great big presentation at first only to be met with a meek person behind a curtain.  Take her curtain away and you will find a similar meek person who is terrified of what’s behind curtain.

The flying saucer in the room is another serious challenge for the girl. What do I mean about “flyer saucer”? Well, it is a factor you can see and recognize but she denies it.  For the girls who go after the really “bad” guys (aka d-bags) that flyer saucer is attention, which is being mistaken for interest.

What the hell does that mean?

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

The “good” guys will show their interest in a girl and turn that into positive attention, which gains the girl’s interest and then attention is reciprocated. This is the potentially healthy making of a balanced relationship.

The “bad” guys will give attention as the girl works her tail off for it in order to get what he wants out of her. This is an unbalanced relationship and you don’t undertand why she sticks it out.

As her friend, you will hear about all the bad attention consistently but very little about the good. When you inquire about anything good in the relationship she will defensively shrug it off as, “Oh, we have good times, too.” You probably wonder if she can hear herself over and over again? Frankly, she can – which is why she eventually stops talking about him prompting you to ask her about him.

Why does a girl put up with a guy she has to work so hard to receive so little from?  

Because it is what she is most comfortable with and is all she knows. She is conditioned for it.  It is a sad and very real statement for the women out there struggling with unhealthy relationships.

Your gal pal holds on to those the chump that disrespecst her will do so because she doesn’t recognize it as an unhealthy relationship. What many of us women don’t understand is that all abusive relationships are unhealthy but not all unhealthy relationships are abusive. There is a fine line that tends to become blurred as the “relationship” develops. This is the territory where one-sided compromising comes into play.  Where rationalizations and explanations start showing up. This is where she makes excuses for him. Once she crosses that line she is hooked and there is little you can do to bring her out of it. Meaning you can’t “save” her and it is important you accept that.

So, what can you do as the loving friend or family member?

1. Be patient. She is smart. When ready she will put two and two together  and realize she is not enjoying a good thing but it is on her timing, not yours.  It will be difficult and frustrating but it is her experience to grow from.

2. Be supportive. You don’t have to like what she does to support her and you don’t have to enable it either. When she wants to talk listen to her. When she isn’t talking ask her. Yes, you are tired of hearing about the D-bag but you need to give her the outlet because she will get tired of sounding like a broken record player.

3. Be respectful. Maybe she is not showing herself respect with her messed up ideas of relationships but that is where you showing her respect is important and most vital. And don’t insult her by putting him down – she only feels the need to defend him unnecessarily prolonging the relationship. Be respectful of her…and (ugh) him. *eyeroll*  Just don’t over do it, okay?

4. Be loving. Remember, her idea of relationships is a bit twisted. She needs examples of what being loved means and you might be one of the few who can help her re-condition herself. This means being a good example to her as a friend AND encouraging your man or mutual male friends to be good examples.  

It is heartbreaking and frustrating to watch as a friend puts herself through such unnecessary heartache while wasting her valuable relationship resources. You could tell her until you are blue in the face that she needs to drop him and she will still turn to him for the attention she craves. Sometimes it is sexual attention that has been falsely translated into a relationship. Sometimes it is constant quarreling twisted into quality time. Whatever it is, it is up to her to wake up and see what is really going on. Until then, be there for her and forgive her as she will have a hard time forgiving herself once is it all said and done.

Love - We're All Doing It Wrong

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.

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You Weren’t Enough For Him Because He Wasn’t Right For You

“Why wasn’t I enough?”

These are the words that make me cringe. They make me grit my teeth. They break my heart. I have yet to hear these words from a woman who deserved to say them. These are the words of a woman devastated by her man who decided another woman (or path, whatever) was the way to his future.

Let me say this to you loud and clear…

Him Leaving Was NEVER ABOUT YOU Not BEING ENOUGH!!!

Yes, it more than sucks that the man you call “the one” would consider anyone or anything else over you but honestly, if you think about it, do YOU really want to be with someone that is thinking about someone else? Do YOU really want to waste your time with someone who isn’t happy being with you? Do YOU really want someone to fake a life with you?

I sincerely hope your answer is “NO”.

Yeah, I know. It’s commitment and it is supposed to be an extended one, maybe even lifelong because that was the mutual agreement. You made a promise.  You made a vow. You devoted your life. Therefore he was supposed to do the same. And yet, he didn’t.

Why!? Why didn’t he!?!?

I know there are so many of you wondering why the man of your dreams left you behind. So, the super sucky thing about his decision is that you may never know the real “why”.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

What sucks more? He probably won’t be able to tell you because, in the end, he may not ever really know.

Eff that, right? I know. He should know, shouldn’t he? You are owed an explanation. You are owed the reason behind his actions. It is only fair that you be given an understanding!

Is it, though? Is it? Is life that fair and right and just that we all know why we do what we do when we do it?   I would be lying if I could give you a reason for everything I have ever done AFTER I did it. Sometimes, things seemed like a good idea at the moment then hindsight kicks in and I’m bustling to kick my own ass for being stupid or I ‘m wondering what the hell I was thinking.

Quite honestly, you have to get over being left! 

woman with red long sleeved top

If you are still pining after a relationship that someone else flushed down the toilet you might consider the contents of the toilet. Maybe what you had in the relationship was not worth spending eternity in. Maybe you value commitment over happiness. Maybe there is a lot going on in that commode that you didn’t see. And then again, maybe it wasn’t a wasted flush. Bottom line, someone didn’t want you – why in the hell do you want them???

Moreover, why even ask about being enough? You’re not designed to be “enough” for another. You’re not structured to be the filling putty for another human being. You’re a person. An individual. You are YOU. Consider yourself as something more than someone’s “better half”!!! You are NOT a better half or a worse half! You are a full wonderful, beautiful, incredible you. Doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like to have someone special in your life but he should NOT complete you.  Your continual evolvement will continually complete you.  But he?  He is a GREAT compliment to you. Like wine with a meal; either can be great on their own or they can be thoroughly enjoyed together.

(I don’t even know you and I believe that about you!) 

adult attractive beautiful beauty

So, do you and me a favor? Don’t limit yourself as “enough”. You’re not just “enough”.  You’re an individual – a special creation that no one else in the world could possibly be!  Maybe you’re a handful of crazy.  Maybe you are that ever elusive unicorn.  You must be more than he could see and that’s just fine! Not everyone will see you in that special way. There will be more than one that will see you. The better guy will believe in the way you do you.

Do not, by any means, define your life as an extension of another, ever. You are not an extension to a guy (or anyone, for that matter) – you are a compliment to him as much as he is a compliment to you! You two are not “one” – you two are a powerhouse! Be proud of you and only allow a man into your life that is just as proud because if he isn’t you end up asking yourself…”Why wasn’t I enough?”

…And then you might just tear yourself apart unnecessarily.

Get your ass into gear and be you taking nothing less from a man that doesn’t strive for you to be you. It’s not about being enough – it’s about being YOU.

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

Are You Unknowingly Inspiring Others?

You may not know it but you are impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it.

close up photography of person s eye

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in; soak it up.  Don’t just read the words like you would a random post.  Hold on to it for a moment.  Believe it, don’t believe – that’s up to you. But, give the time necessary to really understand the message.  Once you have done that, take a breath and then absorb this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

There is nothing scarier than the person in the mirror and yet it is that single person who is supposed to be your biggest fan, not your mortal enemy. That person in the mirror is an intimate heart you are supposed to trust and embrace, not fight and doubt. That person in the mirror is supposed to love you first because it might seem as though no one else does….and that is quite alright.

We live in a society that tells us we should place a higher value on the opinion others have of us over our own opinion. With that in mind, is it any wonder we are a country with the highest depression rate? We have a limited sense of self-appreciation and an overwhelming curiosity of “What do YOU think of ME?” (Remember Bette Midler in “Beaches”?)

We have it bass-ack-wards.

man old depressed headache

Marianne Williamson has it figured out and yet what her quote fails to mention is that while you are building yourself up you could be doing it alone. However, there are silent rewards and they are incredible: “…you give other people permission to do the same.”

Not too long ago a co-worker of mine left her job to pursue her own business venture. During her departure tour of the office, she stopped by my desk to wish me a good day. During our conversation, she told me how inspiring she thought I was. I had a puzzled looked on my face. She told me that when she first met me, when I started at the company, she saw that I was tall, just like her and yet I wore heels and held myself up high. She saw my confidence and that made her feel comfortable. She thought, “Hey, if she can do it, so can I.”

I unknowingly gave her permission to enjoy something about her that she had tried to hide and for six months I had no idea. I was clueless that by being me, unapologetically, I had given her the validation she was looking for to enjoy something others found “unusual” about her.

My former co-worker had tried to shrink herself because she was one of the few tall women in the office. She didn’t dislike her height but she did try to minimize it because she was in a class of few.  She gained confidence in herself because of my confidence. Someone showed her it was okay, even good, to enjoy who and what you are even if it doesn’t fit the average mold.

closeup photo of woman with brown coat and gray top

What’s the point of my story? I’ll tell you. You may not know it but you’re impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it. As you struggle and hurt, as you fall down repeatedly and rise up again, and again, you give someone the space to better herself because she is looking from the outside in on your world. She is watching you and learning from you. YOU are making a difference, whether you believe you or not.

Remember, you may not be impressed by you but someone is inspired by you. Just because you don’t get to hear it doesn’t mean it’s not happening…hell, it surprised me.

You’re doing it and you don’t even know it!

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

When Facing The Unknown You’ll Need Attitude And Optimism

Changes are a test of attitude and optimism. Attitude is how you look at or view change and optimism, despite common belief, is realizing there are negatives and positives to every situation; it’s your ability to adapt or adjust to change that makes the difference.

My attitude and optimism were tested some time ago.  I am an optimistic person. I don’t just find a way to make the best of a situation, I realize there is a time frame with every positive or negative event.  I know that I have the ability to choose how I view a situation and the ability to choose how I emotionally respond to it. I may have control of the situation or I may not, but the important thing is that I can control myself even during my most difficult feelings.  So when I was laid off from my favorite job, I took it better than others expected.

grayscale photo of person in parka coat

 

It is tough being forced out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Honestly, the moment I realized I was being laid off, it was an upsetting one.  I won’t lie. My security had been ripped away from me and my ability to provide for my kids had been scrapped. My comfort zones were threatened if not erased; a part of me wanted to break down and cry huge crocodile tears and scream out in fear while running away in shame.  However, the mindful part of me took over and eased the fear within. The confident side of me took the lead reminding myself of the very thing I offer others facing challenging changes, “You can do it!”

Losing a job is one of those situations that single parents don’t think about because it scares the hell out of us! Not knowing where your next paycheck will come from can be enough to send anyone over the edge.  Being jobless is a terrifying thought to wake up and yet, that didn’t bother me despite having three children, a mortgage, a car payment and a (strong) desire to shop.

Given all this, you could understand the panic I felt.  I was well within reason to panic, should have I opted to!  So if I made a scene by yelling at my boss, accusing him of being a heartless bastard for letting go of a single mother, you would likely understand and not fault me.  A reaction like that might seem natural.  What may surprise you was my response to the sour news.  I told my boss that I did not envy his position, as he had a difficult decision to execute.  I told him I was grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed my time on the team.  I understood it was business and it was time for me to move on. I left that office with the respect of my boss and supervisor and my dignity intact.

I could not have been more proud of how I handled such an extremely stressful situation!  

blonde hair blur daylight environment

After leaving my office building, I took with me the unknown future and the biggest smile on my face. Typically, that kind of smile would be accompanied by having an idea of where I would be going or how to get there but not this time. I knew where I was going; I was headed to start my new path and a new chapter in my life. My job might have divorced me, which was a much easier process than my previous divorces, but I was not worried.  My job might have made a choice for me and I might not have had a say, but that didn’t matter.  What mattered was my ability to pick myself up, dust off and keep moving onward and upward.  What mattered was my ability to adapt to the situation!

Life goes on…and so should you! 🙂 

It would be fair to say that my being laid off was the proverbially lemon to my life.  I could have taken that lemon and made matters worse by squeezing it into my eye to gain further sympathy.   That doesn’t seem to solve any problems, though.  It is definitely more constructive to retaliate the citrus attack with sugar or even vodka as a means of enjoying life’s sense of humor.  I mean, maybe that part of my world at work came to a sudden stop it didn’t mean any other part of my world was also going to stop.  So, I squeezed that lemon and made something I could work with…I didn’t necessarily like what I got but then I didn’t stop squeezing that lemon or any lemon thereafter.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white backgroundYou may be curious as to how I can do that?  How could I possibly have such a “get-er-done” attitude?  How could I have such optimism for a situation that is out of my control?   For one…I don’t take “no” as an answer, only an obstacle. Two: I don’t give myself a break when there is work to do meaning it doesn’t make sense to use my sitting bones when there is a need to move.  And three: I tried the pity party and self-wallowing only to learn that they result in (spoiler alert)…NOTHING.

The key thing is to understand that what you ARE doing may not be nearly as important as what you ARE NOT doing.

You ARE NOT going to feel sorry for yourself when the lemons strike.

You ARE NOT going to beat yourself up with the lemons.

You ARE going to dust yourself off and move!

Fear of the unknown is what makes things scary!

The loss of a job, or the like, are not easy situations to pilot through, even with a positive mindset. The fear of the unknown tempts us every day. The panic wants to creep in and overwhelm you and I. The voice of self-defeat likes to whisper daily to whoever is listening.  I could easily look myself in the mirror and say, “I give up.” If I did that I would not be the person I encourage others to be; I would not a good steward of my beliefs of personal empowerment. If I cannot be an example of what I preach I cannot be credible.

woman wearing strapless dressYour attitude determines how you look at any given situation or change. Your ability to adapt and adjust projects in your level of optimism. Without change, it is hard to grow and develop as a unique person.  Changes are not meant to tear us down but give us the motivation to evolve into better versions of the person in the mirror.  They are designed to move us forward, not stall us.  If you think about it, you have been through some pretty bad situations.  In terms of those, where are you?

We won’t always be prepared for life when it happens, but changes help us to realize we are more ready than we know. As we receive new chapters in our book of life it’s important to remember the pages are unwritten and the pen is in hand. (Points if you know the song loosely referenced here!) 😉

What are you going to write?