I have thought about the process we go through from victim to survivor, and just how much we change and grow. The changes may be so great, that sometimes we outgrow some relationships. Whether with family, partners or friends. There can be many reason we move on from a relationship. Maybe our partner cannot deal with the dwindling amount of attention bestowed upon them. Perhaps we are no longer willing to stand for even the slightest signs of abuse. Who knows, maybe we have simply outgrown the dynamic we find ourselves in.
As I thought about this, and how it applied to me and my partner, I wrote a letter to explain what has happened.
To My Partner
Sometimes I get too emotional or confused to be able to put into words what I want to say to you. So I will revert to doing what I do best and that is pouring out my feelings into a letter. I hope one day I will be brave enough to give it to you.
When we met I so wanted to be with you, spend every spare moment together and bask in the love that I so desperately needed. What I imagined was that you and I could have a perfect relationship, we would willingly do everything for each other, our love would last eternally and no-one in the whole world would ever be as loved as us. After all neither of us was in the first flush of youth. We had so much experience of being let down by past significant others. We could do this.
I can’t expect you to understand what even I could not understand then. My desperate need for you to love me was because no-one in my life had ever loved me without conditions. It had made me believe that I was not worthy of being loved, and in a last ditch attempt I tried to find love with you.
I turned inwards and worked out why I needed you and why I have never known myself.
My whole life collapsed around my ears. It has been in my journey since that time that I have learned who I am. The real me, a person who has needs, desires and goals of her own. Someone who is allowed to be herself. To be loved and respected for who I am, not what someone else thought I should be or behave how they might want me to.
All of my life I put myself on the back burner to keep the peace, to fix problems that were never my problems, to take the blame and feel the guilt so that others could feed off me. It became a way of life that I never questioned nor in fact tried to. It was simply me and who I was. In reality I was made that person. It was never necessarily what I wanted, but what was expected of me. The result is that I would do anything to keep my relationship with you, because I didn’t know I had to find me before I could be me.
The difference between the past me and the present me is that I do not need approval from anyone else.
I approve of me and that is enough. Obviously I like to be liked and to be loved but I really don’t care if people take a dislike to me or think I am self-centered or full of my own importance. The truth is I spent a whole lifetime believing I was worthless and it was clearly mirrored back to me that I was and now I know the difference.
Today I am worthy of respect and loved, and should be treated as such.
I am taking off my old rags and putting on a whole new suit that reflects who I am. Of course it still feels very stiff and different. Still the more I wear it the more comfortable it will become. It will show the respect I have for myself. My hope is that now I view myself in a different light, people will see the change and respect what they see.
I have changed and in my opinion of myself for the better. If that is not your opinion of me, then that has become your problem not mine. I have had a lifetime of criticism, of not being good enough or appreciated for what I do and now I insist on a change. Stay with me and it will become your time to change and grow. And whilst acknowledging my new boundaries allow me the freedom I need to spend time with my family of choice, without making me feel guilty. I will now only take responsibility for my actions and choices, no longer will I feel bad about asking for what I want.
Whenever I hear criticism in your voice it cuts me to the core.
I have too many scars tattooed on my heart, there is no room for more. When you shout at me I outwardly shudder. It hurts that you don’t love for me who I am. Inside I will never accept that it is right for you to attack me with words. When you try and restrict my freedom, I become more determined to fly free.
I have never been free and it is time for me to spread my wings.
What you don’t seem to understand is that by tightening the chains that hold us together, you are not holding me close to you, but are making me want to run. Loosen the chains and I will come back to you by choice.
You and me should be equal in everything, but what I see is inequality in the way you treat me. We need to work together for us to survive. Words alone cannot bring about a change, actions will show me if you are sincere.
I want to be happy. I deserve to be happy. If you are riding on my train then you will want that for me too.