Okay I admit it! Deep down I had dreams that prince charming would arrive and whisk me away on his beautiful horse and save me from the sad life that was mine. I was sure that being loved and treasured by the right guy was the answer that would solve all the problems and sooth all the hurt. As soon as that guy showed up, everything would be okay and I could start my real life. (Man oh man I waited a dang long time before I gave that dream up.)
But I had been victimized; I had a victim mindset and I was attracted to broken men. I was attracted to guys that needed me to rescue them, and for some reason I believed that if I did rescue them, then they would love me enough to make my life worth living.
I had this idea that if I did all the right things and soothed their pain, I could prove how much I loved them and they would love me back. I never noticed that I had this same belief about my parents. I didn’t realize that I believed that love is something that comes from doing something “good enough” for someone else. I didn’t know that deep down I thought that I was missing some key thing which is why no one would rescue me from my pathetic life.
Have you ever made excuses for someone because you knew that they had been hurt by life? Have you ever stayed with a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, because you wanted to somehow communicate that you would not hurt him/her like the rest of the world had. Have you ever had a deep desire to prove to someone that not all life is bad, that not all people will hurt each other and that you could be the one person who understands; that one person that could make the big difference?
I had a few relationships like that.
I made these kinds of excuses for others. I seemed to have a soft spot when I knew that someone had had a tough break in life, and I felt sweeter towards them. At the very heart of my heart, I wanted to be understanding and I wanted to think only the best about others; I didn’t want to believe that they might actually intentionally hurt me, so I let it go when they did. I believed these people when they said “You know I would never hurt you on purpose, I love you, you know me” So I was cheated on, hit, forced to do things I didn’t want to do, degraded, devalued, stood up and so many other things and when I complained I was told there was something wrong with me and that I just didn’t understand. They assured me that they loved me so much. I adjusted and I believed, just like I believed my other abusers; just like I believed my parents.
Something that comes to mind when I think about all the boyfriends that I “understood” and believed I could love into wholeness and ease their pain with my amazing love powers, is that I never cut myself any of that same slack. I was always willing to be the one who tried harder. I was always willing to say “oh that’s okay honey, I know you didn’t mean to hurt me”. But I was also always willing to chastise myself and tell myself that I was a bad person. I never thought that I deserved that healing love power myself.
I didn’t consider that I deserved to be loved and saved by ME. I didn’t even think that if I loved and cherished myself, that my dreams of feeling and being “good enough” would come true. I didn’t consider that if someone cheated on me, degraded and forced me, that I didn’t have to take it. I didn’t have to TRY HARDER; I just needed to get out.
Today I don’t have that same definition of love and I certainly don’t think it is up to me to rescue, sooth, restore value or carry all the burden of the relationship. I have learned to value and respect myself and to look at myself with the empathy that I have always had for the ones who treated me like crap. I declared my own value and I embraced it and believed it. When I finally figured out how my value had been defined by others, and where they were wrong and why I believed it, I was able to re-wire that belief system and eventually I knew who I was and what my value really was. It is others who treat us like we are not good enough to be loved; it is not that we are not good enough to be loved.