The fear of being alone is one of the most power emotions I have ever encountered. As the view of myself has cleared somewhat in recent years the realization has come that some romantic relationships, even long-term ones, were not about love but instead about trying to fight off loneliness. That such unions never worked out is testament that having physical contact with someone is NOT a cure for feeling alone. Worse yet was the discovery of being lonesome while living with a partner is pure agony. A deserted and empty feeling while in a relationship is far worse that being miserably alone.
If you marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons,
then no matter how hard you work, it’s never going to work,
because then you have to completely change yourself,
completely change them, completely – by that time, you’re both dead.
Six years ago I went through a painful break up that ended an eight year relationship. Being truly in love with my wife, I was heartbroken when she filed for divorce. Old bad habits of medicating my problems conjured up a compulsion that caused her to push me out of her life. No, it was not drugs or alcohol, but sex for sex sake. That old compulsion I had managed to stave off for quite a few years took me over at a difficult time. There was little to no physical intimacy happening in the marriage, so I went else where. I regret it to this day. Yes, there are factors I can blame like divorced parents who set a horrible example, abused their children emotionally and caused them to feel neglected and without self-worth. That’s all true, but was a good excuse only into early adulthood. That I was still lost in the haze of dysfunction that screwed up my life 50 years later was my fault and not my parents. For the majority of people getting into recovery is because something deeply emotional happens. Change usually takes a jarring catalyst, just as the breakup and divorce was for me. When the pain to stay the same exceeds the pain to change, we change.
Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions
that can change your life forever.
My accumulated history can pull me into the quicksand of my thoughts. At times remembering wrongs done and actions regretted I fell dingy, soiled and permanently stained. It feels then like everyone can see the dirtiness all over me. The weight of such thoughts can drag me down into depression if I am not careful. I cannot undo what I have done and my past can’t be rewritten. There is no benefit to anyone pretending things did not happen as they did. In the muddiness of my thoughts, I can become lost in the darkness if I don’t take care of myself. The best way out of the gloom is to use my errors and mistakes as self-teaching tools. Only in the bright light of full acceptance do the shadows of my past no longer show.
Remember today, for it is the beginning of always.
Today marks the start of a brave new future
filled with all your dreams can hold.
Think truly to the future
and make those dreams come true.
Sometimes it is difficult to accept responsibility for mistakes I have made or wrongs I have done without feeling the need to explain. That’s a reflex action taken with a mostly false sense that an explanation somehow changes what happened. Unless I have been asked to talk about my actions there is no good reason for jumping to rationalize and justify them. In most cases it only makes things worse by reliving the blunder and dragging someone else through it as well. The appropriate words to say are “I’m sorry”; apologize and move on. In all circumstances, feeling misunderstood and the need to make myself abundantly clear usually comes from a weak view of myself; a shortage of self-esteem. Thinking I am what I do as it is perceived by others is not healthy. What matters most is accepting myself as a fallible human being. I am perfectly imperfect and will make mistakes and do wrong things. To see myself otherwise is to expect myself to be something other than human.
If people refuse to look at you in a new light
and they can only see you for what you were,
only see you for the mistakes you’ve made,
if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes,
then they have to go.
Until a few days ago it never fully occurred to me that my view of imperfection in others is mostly a shadow of my own imperfectness I was casting on them. Not a single human being on Earth is “perfect”. No amount of success, exercise, education, money, willpower or plastic surgery can change that. I have missed out on a lot because my focus was too much on what I saw as flaws in others, especially women. It is a symptom of a ‘love avoidant’, as I have been diagnosed, to find fault in a subject of their affection. Within such thinking I held imperfection up as a barrier to prevent a woman from even having a chance to become fully emotionally intimate with me. The realization is painful, but the knowing now means I am not nearly so prone to repeat that dysfunctional behavior. As long as I have life, there is always the chance of living it better.
When nobody around you seems to measure up,
it’s time to check your yardstick.
Plenty of disappointments have come. I have known the loss of loved ones. I have hated and lacked forgiveness for what was done to me. Worse yet, I have despised and lost esteem for myself. Nothing has even been as insufferable as breaking the heart of a woman I truly loved. Not knowing what I had until it was gone is now a personally proven fact beyond question. My guilt lessens, but haunts me like a ghost keeps one from being able to fully rest. Of all things to bear, regret has proven to be the most difficult to bear. I regret my lies. I regret not going to her, not telling her the truth and not saying “I screwed up, let me try again.” like I should have. Deep down I wanted to make her proud, but instead I practiced my dysfunction and made her leave. It has been in being an upstanding man and shouldering regret that my redemption was planted and now self-forgiveness grows.
Dishonest people conceal their faults
from themselves as well as others…
Christian Nevell Bove
Going far beyond what is expected to be good, helpful and caring the majority of the time does not make up for indiscretions some of the time. Cheating within a committed relationship is wrong, no matter how many things you do to make up for it. Being emotionally abusive, or worse yet, physically abusive can not be compensated for. A basket of ‘rights’ does not make up for a ‘wrong’. The only possible way to save a troubled relationship if you are the cheater or abuser, is to make lasting change, correct your ways and then ask for forgiveness. It may be too late, but you won’t know unless you try.
When people are ready to, they change.
They never do it before then,
and sometimes they die before they get around to it.
You can’t make them change if they don’t want to,
just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.
Lies may hurt others but always hurt the liar most. Little damage, if any, comes from relatively harmless fibs to a question like “does this dress make my butt look big”. It’s veritable wrong a man does that is then amplified by dishonesty that does damage. For every indiscretion covered up, the person telling the untruth will always know what he did. Lying turns the act into a landmine that could be found out and explode at any time. Little by little each fabrication and the ongoing worry of being discovered weakens the trust a person has in their own self. The quagmire gets deeper and deeper with each new deceit and, though hidden away, self-respect slowly is swallowed by the quicksand of lies. Truth is always the right answer. The damage it might do is almost always less than that done by deceit found out later.
The truly scary thing about undiscovered lies
is that they have a greater capacity
to diminish us than exposed ones.
They erode our strength,
our very foundation.
A young apprentice applied to a master carpenter for a job. The older man asked him, “Do you know your trade?” “Yes sir!” the young man replied proudly. “Have you ever made a mistake?” the older man inquired. “No, sir!” the young man answered, feeling certain he would get the job. “Then there’s no way I’m going to hire you,” said the master carpenter, “because when you make one, you won’t know how to fix it.” Moral of the story found in a Fred Rogers book: An unlearned lesson of a mistake creates a destiny for it to be made again. Making a mistake is usually not the worst thing. Not learning from it is!
The only real mistake
is the one from which
we learn nothing.
One strong symptom of codependence is when a man feels his life would be great if others would only do what he wants them to do. Trying to control others is CODEPENDENCY in capital letters. There is only possible way to influence change in others: change yourself. Then by your example others may be inspired to better themselves as they have witnessed you do, but it must be without any coercion. Ultimately every adult’s life is theirs to live as they choose, and should be respected no matter how misdirected their choices may appear.
You will become as small as your controlling desire;
as great as your dominant aspiration.