If you’re involved in a relationship that’s crushing you, you already know it isn’t sustainable. If someone is treating you badly, you have to get out, or you’re going to die. I don’t mean literally, though there are too many cases where physical violence is a real issue, but I mean your light will go out. Without that light, that spark, that intuition, life becomes very dark indeed and it’s nearly impossible to know which way to turn.
Sometimes the biggest problem is that relationships of this kind become addictive. If you think you’re physically attracted to someone who’s tormenting you, I’d challenge you to go a little deeper. You may be attracted to the way a person looks or smells or touches you, but if that same person demeans and abuses you, you’re hooked on something a lot more menacing than their looks. It’s the dynamic. There’s something in the interaction between you and the other person that’s familiar, and probably harkens back to something very old for you. If you don’t figure out what that original wound is you’re going to keep playing it out in your present life, looking for a happy ending, a resolution, and release from your suffering. You’ll never find it like that. You’ll just have your heart broken again. You’ll participate in the crushing of your own spirit, your own resounding yes. If you want to be liberated from your pain so it doesn’t own you anymore, you have to turn inward. You’re the only one with the key, but before you can do that, you have to create an environment where you feel safe.
You’ll never feel safe when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with someone who has a history of hurting you, and if you’re loving yourself, you’ll never be attracted to a person who belittles you. I really do understand the pull of something like this, because I’ve been there. When I was seventeen I dated a man who was thirty-seven, who came after me with everything he had. Once he had me, he was incredibly mean to me. He said hurtful things on a regular basis and he made choices that brought me to tears on more occasions than I can count. He was cruel.
I was so thankful when he was kind and loving. I craved those times, I waited for them. Then I’d tell myself, “See? He can do it. I just need to help him be more loving more of the time.” I can look back and say with absolute certainty he was in a lot of pain himself. That’s obvious to me now, but at the time I took it to heart, I believed there must be something lacking in me, I allowed his words to get inside my head and play on my deepest insecurities until they were so large I really couldn’t see anything else anymore. I got hooked on his validation. Tell me I’m lovable. Love me so I know I’m okay and I exist, and you can see me. When you’re feeling awful about yourself, it’s very difficult to act on your own behalf, to think, “I don’t deserve this, and I’m going to pick myself up and get the f&ck out of here.” So people get stuck until they’re in so much pain the survival instinct kicks in and then, with barely anything left in the tank, they drag themselves out the door and collapse somewhere and wonder how things got so bad. But that’s the beginning, that’s the entryway. As Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” That’s the ideal time to start to figure out why you’re feeling so badly about yourself that you’d put yourself in a relationship like that and then stay there.
If you’re in a situation like this, even if it isn’t this extreme, get yourself some support. I get so many emails from people who tell me about relationships where they’re waiting for their partner to grow or change, to show up differently. They keep participating in the interaction, expecting or hoping for a different outcome even though no one is showing up with different tools. Some people will never get unstuck. Maybe because they can’t or because they think they can’t or they don’t want to enough. That part is about them, not you. If you cannot accept a person as they are, then you have to let them go. If they’re in pain, and that pain has been spilling all over you, you can love them and accept them and recognize their pain, but you have to get out of Dodge. If you allow your light to dim to nothing, you may as well be dead. You are not here to be dead. You, who could shine so brightly. You, who have everything you need to heal and forge a new path and begin again. Don’t succumb to the pull of what slices right into the most tender part of you. Protect that. That’s your gift. Don’t participate in its destruction. Don’t break your own heart. Don’t sleep with a person who would cut you down to nothing as the sun rises. You’re a gift to this world. Don’t throw yourself away.
Sending you love,