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Posts Tagged ‘changing relationships’

Something happened this weekend that has me second-guessing an important relationship in my life. What actually happened was not earth-shattering, and to most people, it probably would not cause them to question whether they should continue having this relationship in their lives. Most people would find what happened to be “odd” and a bit bizarre but not some sort of “deal-breaker.” However, I am not most people, and my experiences are such that I cannot take having people f@#$ around with certain areas of my life.

The pain of what happened is too raw for me to talk about right, and it is also very personal. However, one thing I can talk about is the shock and adjustment to recognizing that the lens through which you viewed an area of your life has been skewed.

I have been through this dynamic before. I thought that a relationship was one thing (a close friendship) while the other person wanted distance. She had downgraded me to acquaintance status without telling me. So, I would act and react in certain ways, receiving very different results than I would expect through my current “lens.” However, when I changed the lens to recognize that this was not an acquaintanceship and no longer a friendship, suddenly her actions and reactions made sense.

This is similar to what I am dealing with now. I am feeling very disillusioned and uncertain about a particular relationship in my life. I knew it wasn’t stellar, but it was workable. Now, I am second-guessing everything. I have come to realize that my lens was skewed. I need to examine this relationship through a more realistic lens and decide what, if any, changes I need to make. I also need to figure out if I want to continue investing in a relationship that is so far off the mark from what I thought it was.

I have talked to a couple of offline friends about what happened. Both believe I need to talk with my therapist about it all. I am considering this but have not called him yet. I guess I am just still reeling and trying to make sense out of this new reality while, at the same time, let the dust settle a little to make sure I am not just overreacting. That is possible, too, although I don’t think so at this moment. Please send lots of positive thoughts and/or prayers my way.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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This post is part of a series in which I am providing an overview of my healing process from child abuse. The story begins here.

As I continued to heal from my abusive past, I changed. I experienced an enormous amount of emotional growth. While I felt much better about myself, this rapid growth changed every single relationship in my life. That was challenging and continues to be a challenge to this day.

Relationships start out with a certain dynamic, and there is an expectation that the dynamic will continue indefinitely. The problem is that I am no longer the same person who entered into these relationships, and I am no longer willing to be the passive doormat. All of my relationships changed. Some became much better, but others felt the strain. Some went from what I thought was “really good” to being very challenging. (That was particularly true of family relationships.)

My husband has told me more than once that I am no longer the woman he married. He’s right – I’m not. I told him that I would understand if he wanted out, but he doesn’t. He wants me back the way I was, where I lived to make him happy and protect him from getting upset about life in general. That is not who I am any longer, and I cannot go back to that place. He has changed just enough to make it work, but it is a challenge. I am not the little girl who entered into this marriage many years ago.

I have outpaced many of my long-term friends in emotional growth. This has changed our friendships. There are characteristics that seem like “new” unhealthy behaviors that I have to recognize were always there: I just didn’t want to see them. Some of them are not people I would choose to befriend today, and yet I love them, so it is hard to figure out how to make those relationships work when we are in such very different places. When I love, I love deeply, so I continue to nurture some relationships that really are not the healthiest for me until I reach a place where I have to distance myself because it simply does not work any longer.

And then there are the challenges of new friendships. I have developed some newer friendships over the past year that both thrill me with the possibility of true emotional intimacy while, at the same time, scare the h@#$ out of me because they “see” me. I have always both wanted and feared being seen. These healthier friendships drive home how broken I still am. I am now too healthy for many of my unhealthy friendships to work and yet I feel too broken to trust that the healthy ones will work, which leaves me feeling isolated.

Unfortunately, this continues to be a struggle for me, so I have no answers for those of you in the same place. All I can offer is to travel the path with you.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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