The More I Reveal My Vulnerabilities, the Stronger I Become - HUH????
When I can admit how weak I have been, it helps me to access strengths I didn't know I had. What a concept!!
Date: 11/14/2007 10:36:16 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 1725 times
I did something radical recently that surprised even me. Not only did I admit to myself how I screwed up, but more importantly I admitted it to the person involved.
A number of years ago I hired a coach/advisor to help me with health matters. I never actually met this woman but I made a real strong connection to her via phone and email. She is much older than I am (17 years older). Unfortunately our relationship became convoluted because one should never mix business with friendship. At the time, she was having many personal problems and me, feeling responsible for relieving anyone and everyone's pain, was the perfect person to 'save' her. Having no sense of personal borders/boundaries, I jumped through hoops to help her when in fact it was her being paid to help me. In retrospect, I realize that it was not my place nor duty to rescue anyone from their life's lessons as we each encounter challenges in order to evolve to ever higher levels of functioning. Who am I to prevent a person from experiencing these valuable life lessons? How misguided were my actions back then.
Anyhow, the result was that when things got a lot better for her, I became history. I had bent over backwards to help this person, spent a lot of my time and money researching solutions for her and sending her 'care packages'. She, meanwhile, had discerned that I was desperately seeking validation, love, and approval and she obliged by being very supportive, encouraging and complimentary to me. I literally became 'drunk' from how her validation of me made me feel - important, smart, and special. No one had ever made me feel that way before so I literally became addicted to those feelings (anyone see the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?"). I was very open with her about my life and she was very closed, having much healthier personal borders/boundaries. I so desperately wanted to maintain our connection but of course, sensing my desperation and neediness sent her running for cover.
She eventually distanced herself from me more and more and I was devastated. Finally I could delude myself no longer - there never had been a friendship there. It had all been a figment of my imagination and I was triggered into feeling deceived, used, abandoned and rejected (reminiscent of how I felt growing up in my family of origin). I now realize that I am solely responsible for interpreting what happened between us in that manner. I eventually became even more angry and upset at myself than at her for being so needy and vulnerable. Oh....to be so human!
Anyway, I quit using her program/services and would only occasionally send her an email (at Christmas). True to form, she never once initiated contact with me - I always had to make the first move to which she would then respond. There I was, grovelling as usual.
Anyhow, it has been about 4 years since our relationship petered out. So, what was the radical thing that I did recently? After a brief email exchange a few weeks ago, I decided to own my part in the relationship so I took advantage of the fact that we had been in communication and sent her an email containing a 10-minute audio clip of myself. In it I admitted that it wasn't the first time I had latched onto a much older woman and that I was guilty of 'looking for Mom in all the wrong places'. I expressed regret in how I handled myself in the relationship, ie. putting her on such a pedestal, having unrealistic expectations from her, getting drunk on her validation/approval of me, trying to coerce her into engaging with me by sending her gifts, long emails etc., trying to manipulate her into continuing the relationship way past the point where it should have ended. I totally admitted how vulnerable and needy I was at the time and how I now recognize how unfair it was to her - me being unable to be more respectful of the fact that she was extremely busy with many other clients and other family duties.
This exercise was about me owning my part in it, taking personal responsibility and letting go of my shame/embarrassment at my behavior. It was about forgiving myself for being naive, vulnerable as well as needy, and desperate for love, validation, and approval. It was about being accountable for what happened and my reactions and a willingness to admit that I attracted the whole situation into my life. It was an act of courage on my part. All relationships are mirrors but it can be oh so painful to look in that mirror and see what is reflected back.
I was not sure if I would have the guts to actually send that email and it sat in my DRAFTS box for a bit before I finally mustered the courage to press SEND. But I did it and I felt positively high after doing it. She never responded or maybe she never received it. Who knows and who cares? The most important thing is that I got it off my chest and felt a huge weight lifted from me. I was literally on Cloud Nine for the rest of the day, so much so that an old friend I happened to meet, when hugging me, whispered in my ear "You are absolutely glowing - you must be having great sex or something!" - LOL.
Of course I would never behave that way today in any relationship (my grovelling days are over!!) and I am learning to be way more self-accepting in terms of all my past mistakes. I am thrilled to have finally made the decision to release all this emotional garbage/baggage from my life. What a difference it is making...I FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO AND AM EVEN WILLING TO EMBRACE ALL THE WAYS I WILL SCREW UP IN THE FUTURE BECAUSE I KNOW GOOD THINGS ARE COMING MY WAY!!!
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