Accepting Responsibility: In Defence of My Beloved
Some people perceive the agony I experienced when he cut me off and they say (or think) something along the lines of "Wow, what a jerk, he hurt you very deeply. How can you have anything to do with him now?"
For the record, we both did things that caused each other pain, but it was never intentional. The one time I did lash out at him, and said deliberately hurtful things to him, he went to his then-girlfriend-eventual-spouse for help and their conversation resulted in her saying something like "She's nuts, you broke up well over a year ago, you need to protect yourself and put some serious distance between you." Whether her motivation for those words had to do with wanting David to herself, or (I hope) motivated out of genuine concern based upon a lack of context, I'll never know. David didn't tell her that the behavior I exhibited that day was Very Unusual for me. He did not take the time to ask himself questions as to why I might have said those things, because he was still reeling from the painful impact of my words. And we all know how good I am with words, so imagine just how effective I could be if I wanted to be hurtful.
If he had been in a more rational place, or if he'd gotten different advice, things might have been different. And if I hadn't reacted as I had, things might have been different. There are things I didn't tell him that were very important. He knew about my Grandmother's death, but not my mother's, or Carol's, or Gerald's. He didn't know about the abuse from S. He didn't know why I'd so completely freaked out on him over his half-assed procrastinated fulfillment of a promise -- he only knew that I had. And here is where accepting responsibility for my own pain comes into play.
Yes, D was my soul mate, and him cutting me off was incredibly painful. But I turned that pain on myself. I didn't have the tools to handle so much loss or grieve such losses, and his disappearance from my life resonated with a time and place when 9-year-old me was dropped off at the Grandparent's by Mommy and didn't see her again for 8 years. So, emotionally, with regards our situation, I was 30 going on 10. I made my mother's abandonment mean there was something wrong with me, that I was not worthy of being loved. And I essentially did the same thing with D. I chose to see what he did, not as an act of self-defense, but as both abandonment and fundamental rejection. At a time when I really needed my soul mate, he'd walked away from me, shut the door, and barred it, ignoring my infrequent knocks. It didn't matter that I hadn't told him Very Important Things he needed to know that might have tempered his reaction. Like a mother, a soul mate is supposed to be there for you and love you always, no matter what, right? Uh, yeah. Right.
We hurt each other. And we accept responsibility for that. And the harm we did to ourselves in the aftermath -- we each accept responsibility for what we did to ourselves, too, rather than blame the other. It is important to make that distinction. He's not responsible for my suffering. My suffering was entirely subjective--it was the consequence of my mental and emotional responses to my experiences of pain and loss. Eventually, I found the way to alleviate my suffering, to transform it, to turn it into something transformational and transcendent rather than a perpetual cycle of tragedy and drama.
I obliterated him from my life story because I didn't have the tools to process the pain, and when I did go into therapy, my relationship with him didn't come up for processing. So in trying to find a way to relate with him in the context of my life today, I'm processing the past as fairly and efficiently as possible.
It is important for us to be complete with regards to the past, so it does not cloud today and tomorrow. If you've got any ex's in your life that you've loaded a lot of emotional baggage onto like a scapegoat, I'd encourage you to examine the role you played in your own suffering, process it, accept responsibility, make any necessary apologies, and then get on with your life. Real as it may seem at times, the past pales in comparison to the immediacy of the present.
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