Cutting love cords

Ya know, I never thought that I’d see a day that I would find love for someone as being unwelcome. It’s just sort of a weird place… love is one of those things you just always expect to be something that you strive for, that you seek, that you work to build.

It’s never something that you really stop and think about
unbuilding… that always seems to happen on its own and be what you are fighting a constant battle against.

So its a weird place to be right now.

I’ve chosen to move on. Chosen to allow my own needs to create the decision for closure in the situation where I was being harmed by a lack of concern and value for my heart.

Over the past couple of weeks, a lot of healing has taken place. Emotions have subsided except for an occasional glip. The storm has calmed.

Peace has come… and even hope. I’ve had my worst fear come true and lived… what’s the worst that can happen now?

In spite of the great hurt he caused, I’ve chosen to forgive him.

I feel safe in saying that I’m ok now. Life is moving on.

But what do you do about that lingering love? That nagging feeling that still persists…

What do you do with it when it’s not something that’s returned, not something you’ll ever be able to act on, and not something that brings any positive element to the equation?

What do you do with it when you’ve chosen to detach from that which already long since detached from you, and that which you’d spent time and effort building with the intention of strength and permenancy is now the very thing that seems to create an unneeded tie to an already closed past?

When you’ve released your strained grip on the line, and found to your surprise that the tension didn’t slacken, what next? When letting go and reaching ahead, grabbing for new things, didn’t bring the complete release that was expected, what then?

What weapon will sever the chain that holds you to something harmful and cease the false guilt as you move towards renewal, towards hopeful lands, towards the future?

Will time eventually do its work if you just keep moving forward anyway?

Is love an obligation?

Is love an obligation?

It’s sort of an interesting question.

It wasn’t the original question. The original question was “Does loving someone require you to act from that love?”

Technically, no. It doesn’t require it. You can still choose to be a self-centered jerk to your spouse.

But, theoretically, you should choose not to. So it doesn’t require it, but it expects it.

But that is working from the standpoint of a commitment, and of a returned love. How much does that matter?

The latter shouldn’t matter at all. Actions coming from love shouldn’t be contingent on the actions of another person. They should be freely given, not with an expectation of a return.

But what about the commitment element? How much does the expectation to act out of love still apply when there is no certain commitment to loving this person?

Does love itself create a commitment when there isn’t an otherwise created one?

It seems like it should.

But getting into the land of “should” opens all sorts of
complications…. there are a lot of things that seem like they should be, but aren’t, and never will be, and were never meant to be.

Life should be fair, hard work should be rewarded, people should be kind to each other… on and on. But life wasn’t meant to be fair. People were meant to be able to choose their own actions and show their true colors, which means that some will choose to be cruel. And unfortunately, the way life is seems to frequently reward poor character and taking the easy way out more than it rewards virtues like hard work.

So “should” doesn’t always mean it does.

How much does love itself… outside of any commitment or
expectation… create an obligation to act from that love?

Does love itself create an obligation?

These are some of the questions running through my mind right now.

Notes, shorter pt 2

(Didn’t realize how I was posting these had a cut off limit…. hope it hasn’t cut off other long posts…)

The reality that you face today isn’t permanent. Reality is constantly changing. But it is up to you to take charge of it and move it forward.

He had to face the fact that the life he once had was gone. The life he faced was not one he wanted, but it was the only one he had. Only he could choose to make the best of it. He could have chosen despair, but he chose life.

Things get better when we are able to confront it and begin to see what we can do to make it better.

Your energy can be focused on fighting to retake your life. Use this time of surging energy, riveted attention, and acute sensory awareness to take on the challenge of rebuilding your life.

You now know where your emotional triggers come from and what your most basic needs are. How you choose to handle these feelings is crucial to healing. These deeply guarded emotions may well hae sabotaged you in the past; you don’t want to become disconnected from them again.

Lifting above, or overlifting, means that you’re using one of more of a variety of defenses: you’re ignoring feelings, self-medicating them, denying their existence, avoiding situations that trigger them, or staying so busy you don’t have time to feel them.

In some cases, overlifters are emotionally guarded and detached, obsessed with success or material gain, and closed off from intimate relationships. In extreme cases, overlifters can become the callous sociopaths who lack empathy for anyone’s feelings, including their own.

Your task is to stop emotional calluses from forming. Otherwise, they create an invisible shielf that make it hard for others to get close. People who might want to become and important part of your life are denied access to your most basic feelings, feelings that form the basis of true emotional connection.

How we handle our lingering, still-tender feelings determines why some of us will be positively transformed after a loved one leaves and why others will become remote, detached, and less likely to connect.

Equally important is to find someone who can truly care about them, someone who is emotionally responsible and unlikely to abandon a working relationship.

Experience has taught these folks that exposing their neediness almost automatically turns off the other person, so they learn to hide the feelings that most desperatey need attention.

Your goal is to seek emotionally substantial relationships.

If you cover up deeply held desires, you’re far from emotionally present. Pretense creates an invisible shield to intimacy.

There is nothing to be gained by defending yourself against your feelings of vulnerability, wishing them away, or holding yourself to blame for having them. The vulnerability, self-doubt, and shame rising out of your past are as much a part of your personal truth as your talents and accomplishments are.

There is no perfect mate. There is only the love, caring, and respect you create between yourself and an emotionally capable person.

This powerful human bond is far more than a feeling that suddenly overwhelms you. Love is something you can create.

Love is an action, an attitude, a creative process. It grows with wisdom and often relies on initiative and self-discipline. Commit yourself to take the necessary steps toward reaching it.

The antidote to abandonment has been found: commitment to love.

Notes and highlights

You may go from the shock and devastation of shattering, to the withdrawal feelings of desperately needing a love fix and not being able to get it, to the shame and self-condemnation of the
internalizing stage, to the burning anger of the rage stage, to moments of hope and clarity of the lifting stage, and then back again, over and over, one stage following another in rapid succession.

As when you were an infant, you’ve been suddenly disconnected from everything that gave you comfort, warmth, and sustenance. The infant calms when it is wrapped snugly in warm blankets; it reminds the infant of the warmth of the mother’s womb. But what about you? You have been cut off as well. Are you in no less need of the comfort and human warmth you are suddenly missing?
The tendency even for adults is to cry out for what is lost as if your very life depended on it. As an adult, of course, this desperation is a feeling, not a fact. Your life does not depend upon your lost partner. It only feels that way.
Shattering has indeed delivered you to a state of stark separateness. But who is there to receive you this time? Who remains to answer the urgent needs that have been activated? Only you.

The recovery task for this stage is to take hold of yourself one moment at a time, to recognize that you are a separate person, a fully capable adult, responsible for your own self-care.

Most of our life energy is spent making ourselves safe so there won’t be a shattering. Then, when it happens, it knocks the wind out of us. But once we catch our breath, we are in a position to rebuild our lives and not just to self-medicate with the illusion of security.

You have been jolted out of complacency, thrown out of equilibrium, and forced to find a new way back.

Sometimes there is no one else; your mate left because he just stopped wanting to be with you, needed his space. Your grief becomes fraught with feelings of self-reproach, anxiety, and lack of closure.

Some abandoners are able to bypass these pangs of guilt by remaining oblivious to the effect they have on others. They’re in a general state of denial about the devastation they’ve caused. It helps them maintain an image of themselves as decent, caring human beings. This denial often comes across as callousness and cruelty to the one who was left behind to pick up the pieces.

Memories of that earlier loss come to the surface, forcing you to deal with not just your current loss but the whole issue of loss in your life. Your whole being is thrown into a kind of emotional time warp. Past, present, and future are thrown into the emotional turbulence. Shattering brings you in touch with feelings that may seem
pathological when taken out of the context of grief.

Your neediest feelings—the ones that leave you emotionally
helpless—keep flooding your consciousness with primal urgencies. You feel—albeit temporarily—that you can’t survive on your own.

When you attempt to disown, deny, or supress feelings, you deny yourself the opportunity to better understand yourself emotionally.

Better to accept the cold, hard facts of the situation: that abandonment is a powerful enough trauma to arouse your body’s self-defense system, to reactivate old emotional memories, and to create a temporary condition in which your need for attachment is uncomfortably intense.

Ironically, Alby’s ability to withstand the intensity of his feelings was a testament to his emotional health. As one abandonment survivor put it, coming to Alby’s defense, “Only the strong can endure the shattering; the weak need their defenses.”

Those around you wonder how you could want someone so badly who has treated you poorly. What they don’t understand is that your partner’s leaving automatically aroused symbiotic feelings that had been stored deep in your emotional memory. You are left to cope with feelings that stem from psychobiological processes that operate independently of your conscious thought and beyond your immediate control. It’s common, for example, to become temporarily overreliant upon friends, family, and professionals for nurturance. Some people seek sympathy in ways uncharacteristic of them. They’re driven by an internal craving for nurturance they can no longer find in the lost partner.

These feelings of dependency, triggered during the shattering stage, place abandonment survivors in a painful emotional paradox: The more you experience the impact of your loss, the more you are compelled to seek your lost partner.

It is about feelings that bewilder you with their potency, induce panic, and have you believing you are weak, dependent, unlovable, even repulsive.

The energy involved in shattering is the life force, the inborn need for attachment. When that energy is thwarted, grief is the result. Its pain is our psychobiological reaction to being suddenly cut off, held back from the relationship we so desire. This powerful impetus to attach is ever present. It can be the source of pain, but if redirected, it can be the first step toward healing.

Staying in the moment provides an alternative to drowing your feelings in alcohol, abusing drugs, or acting out in self-destructive ways. It allows you to stay with your feelings, to let them wash over you like waves. You will emerge from the storm. You can bear the very worst of these feelings because you know that they are normal and temporary, part of life’s unpredictability and impermanence.

Shattering involves a painful transition from oneness with another to a state of sudden and involuntary separateness. You are left to experience the powerful forces that are at play as you strive to regain your balance.

The secret gift of abandonment is that it has helped you find your way to old wounds from traumatic events you may not even recall. Finally you can address unresolved feelings. Shattering has accomplished what many psychoanalysts strive for in years of therapy—bringing you to the seat of your unconscious conflicts.

People going through the anguish of love loss often feel that their lives have been permanently altered, that they will never be the same, will never love again. I’m writing to assure you that as devastated as you may be right now, your feelings of despair and hopelessness are in fact temporary, and they are a normal part of grieving over a relationship. In fact, only by grappling with the feeling that your life is over can you begin to rebuild.

To compound matters, your lost partner may be oblivious to the pain you feel. Often while you are still suffering through the worst of it, your lost partner has already moved on to a new life or perhaps a new lover. So even though your relationship was lost to both of you, the one who was left carries a far greater burden of emotional pain than the one who did the leaving.

In grieving over a death, the mouner gets to keep the love of the person who has died, cherishing it, perhaps even feeling comforted by it. In contrast, when a loved one chooses to end a relationship, the love we once felt has been love taken away – perhaps to be given to someone else. It is an ambiguous loss.

During the worst of it, you can’t get away from your conviction that without your lost love one, your life is over. This belief comes from the child within. The child keeps telling you that you must get your loved one to come back at all costs, or you’ll die. A primary relationship is a matter of survival for a child; no infact can exist without its nurturer.

The more time that passes, the longer your needs go unmet, the more your body and mind ache for all that you’ve lost. No matter how hard people try to hold themselves together, a profound sense of loss intrudes on every waking moment.
The effects of withdrawl are cumulative and wavelike. They often have to get worse before they can get better, a point lost on friends who expect to see your desperation dissipate, not mount day after day.

Without hope, you stay buried in despair, and these feelings evolve into profound grief, creating a bottomless well of tears.
But with the tears, something else is released. Making its way to your consciousness, through memories of the times you were left unprotected and rejected, is your right to be loved. Withdrawl is the stage when you listen to the child’s cries. You recognize that her needs are your needs ; that you must nurture your most important feelings.

During withdrawl, you mind automatically seeks an emotional bond it can no longer find. This seeking is your emotional brain (your mammalian or limbic brain) trying to capture what it is conditioned to believe is necessary for your survival. Try as you might to control this, you are usually unable to stop the futile search for the person whom your rational mind knows is no longer there. In spite of your efforts to regain your composure, your mind goes right on searching for your lost partner.

Just because the object of your attachment is no longer availible to you does not mean your need to bond goes away. On the contrary, it pulls with all of its might to regain what was lost. During withdrawl, you feel the potency of this instinct most keenly because it is being thwarted. When this energy is thwarted, the urgency will not abate until it finds something else to attach to, until it reinvests instead elsewhere.

The self searches desperately for its lost love, then turns its rage and frustration against itself. The wound becomes a self-contained system where self-doubt incubates and fear becomes ingrown.

The question most people can’t help but ask during this stage, no matter how strong their self-esteem is: What did I do to deserve this?

As painful and potentially destructive as these thoughts are, they serve a temporary purpose. They provide a sense of control over what has happened. By holding ourselves sulpable, we feel we have the pwer to change the things that brough the relationship to an end. All we have to do, we reason, is correct our faults, and we can get our lost partners back. Even if they don’t come back, at least we can learn what to do (or what not to do) for the next time.

At the very heart of the shame is the belief that you are undeserving of love, a crucial and potentially dangerous belief. Remember, this is a feeling, one commonly experienced by abandonment survivors. But as potent as it is, it is only a feeling, not a fact. You are deserving of love, as we all are.

Your isolation does not mean that you are unworthy, but that you are in a period of transition and profound personal growth.

Even if your relationship is completely over and you have already been through the devastating breakup, you still face the process of wrenching apart. You are wrenching apart from the need for that person, from the prescence of that person in your thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

As adults, having someone in the background fulfills a similar need. A background object is the person from whom we dervie our primary sense of connectedness, belonging, and security. If your lost relationship was like most, having your mates in the the background meant that even when you weren’t physically together, you enjoyed the security of knowing they were there.

Many people function as well as they do precisely because they feel so secure in their primary relationships. They are self-confident, self-directed, and content because they know someone is there for them.

Being left has temporarily placed you in a subordinate position. You’re astounded by the power of their absense; your’re emotionally overhwelmed bu the strength of your attachment to them. Feeling at an emotional disadvantage, and powerless to change things, the natural tendency is to create a hierarchy in which you place the abandoner somewhere above you.

You elevate their status and power as a way of justifying why you feel so devastated. You convince yourself that the reason you feel helpless and dependent is because you have lost someone who was completely indispensable and irreplaceable.

You may feel your power has been overthrown by your lost love because you cannot control them or make them come back. However, you can control your own actions and set new goals for yourself.

Try to take an active rather than passive role in your own healing. Avoid submissive posturing, and resist the tendency to diminish yourself. Instead, stand up and assert your self-worth.

Rage is a protest against pain. It is how we fight back, a refusal to be victimized by someone leaving us, the way we reverse the rejection.

The fact that we can express anger is a good sign. It signifies active resistance to the injury. Rage tells us that the beleagured self, under siege from self-recrimination, is ready to stand up and fight back. Rage insists upon righting the injustice and restoring your sense of self worth.

Rage becomes offensive aggression when it is used to perform destructive acts of retribution. Your task is to transform its energy into healthy self-assertiveness – that is, to take positive actions on your own behalf.

The challenge is to convert your resentment into healthy aggression.

One of the most vexing problems for many abandonment survivors is closure. Often there is too little closure, and most find themselves left with agonizing questions that won’t go away. An ongoing search to understand what went wrong feeds the insidious process of self-injury. You do not need to remain in suspended animation, struggling to put the broken pieces of your former life back together again. Now that your anger has reached critical mass, it is time to take back control. Your task is to rewrite the story of your broken relationship on your own terms, from a position of greater strength, wisdom, and
objectivity. Rather than being the one who’s been left, you get to decide how to end things on your own emotional terms. You are not the victim anymore. Put your aggressive energy to work and create your own ending.

During the rage stage you have an opportunity to change the way you respond when a relationship comes to an end. Communicating with your lost loved one—standing your ground and sharing your own thoughts and feelings—is one way to practice becoming separate. This development is a slow process, but you’ll reap the rewards each time you resist the temptation to let your needs be overshadowed by someone else’s.

The ability to be separate allows us to sustain our own identity within a relationship. The rage process enables us to break the bonds that have robbed us of our self-expression. Once free of those bonds, you can begin to dismantle old people-pleasing patterns and assert your own preferences and needs.

As Marie discovered, you grow by expressing your anger and other complicated feelings to your lost partner. In doing so, you assert your emerging self.

The need to express the changes you are going through in a tangible way is universal. As superficial as these changes may seem at first glance, they are a sign of taking action, of turning rage energy outward.

You were naturally so hurt by your loved one’s rejection, that you have a hard time finding the strength to fight those negative messages. The barrage of criticism weakened you, making it that much harder to dethrone your abandoner.

As you begin to expel the self-deprececating asusmptions you have made about yourself, you relieve yourself of the damages wrought by self-doubt and self-recrimination.

Anger is a sign that you’re ready to stand on your own two feet again. Your anger shows you’ve chosen to defend yourself rather than to flee or freeze.

Babies and messes

A friend/coworker of mine who started dating her current bf right at 2 months before Prince Charming and I started dating…. had her baby this week (almost a month early).

Do you know how completely weird that feels?

He’s a guy she wasn’t all that serious about…met in a bar.. the bad boy biker type… the type that had a keg party for a diaper shower.

And yet, they’ve settled down, gotten stable… he’s able to support her while shes off on maternity leave.. they have been living together and things seem to be going swimmingly in spite of the reluctant start.

Meanwhile… I went for the guy that I was serious about, with long term intentions… went for the guy who seemed like he was in it for the long term too… the guy who knew what he wanted and was working towards it even if he got down on himself for not having gotten there yet… the one who was responsible and seemed to have his act together on being an adult.

And my sane, smart, responsible guy turned into a complete mess… while her complete mess turned into a dad who seems to have his act together now.

How is it that the party types can even manage this relationship thing smoothly… while it seems like such a mess trying to make life work to the more responsible types…. who you’d think would have the better odds?

Logic seems like it ought to give some sort of an advantage towards the couples who are doing their best to be responsible adults…. but somehow, it seems like the ones who seem least likely somehow manage to keep relationships going even in spite of irresponsibility and poor behavior on both sides.

How does that work?!?

Replacing connection

Now that I’ve finally gotten a grip on things, I know that I don’t need Prince Charming, nor is he irreplaceable as I’d once felt.

Yes, I do still miss him… but I’ve accepted that things will never be as they were, life has moved on, and things are very different now. For both of us.

While I don’t want to get into any sort of a deep relationship right now, my previous stance that I would not date again has changed.

Which has me thinking about what I really want in a relationship…. what I really don’t want… what I need if things are to get serious with someone again… what I can’t tolerate if things get serious so need to beware of before they do…

And so, I’ve made my lists… as much as I know they will shift a bit as things progress.

But the thing that I don’t know how to get…. don’t know how to find…. is the sort of a natural connection that Prince Charming and I had.

I did a lot of dating during my rebellion spell… and never did I ever have anything like that. How do you go about finding that again, or deliberately creating it?

There was just a way that we clicked… a way that it felt like I’d known him forever.

It was honestly the first time in my life that I’ve felt like another human really completely understood me… and yet, still challenged me and my thinking gently and without even seeming to try to.

I’ve never been one to believe in soulmates… to believe that one person had another assigned person without which they wouldn’t be complete…. but if there was a person who would have convinced me of that, it would have been Prince Charming.

How do you go about trying to find that again when it’s something so rare? Where do you even start?

Maybe it just comes down to looking for what you do know that you need…. and assuming that the rest will eventually either fall into place or fall out of place if it isn’t the right fit.

Knowing that I can’t really be hurt worse than I have been… and knowing that I don’t need a partner and that I’m not dependent on one but that I can choose to look for someone to keep me company and be a companion… maybe looking for the connection initially is a bit much to ask anyway.

Right now, I’m more of looking for an affectionate male best friend with hopes of someday that growing into more… so maybe the connection is something that will come someday to let me know which one is the one to keep forever and not just for a spell of my life. The one that it’s truly safe to let myself depend on…. and let myself become seriously attached to.

Let’s get physical…

This morning was one of those mornings where you could see the sunbeams coming out from behind a cloud’s shadow and going across the sky.

One particular cloud was closer to me than another one… and so, part of the first cloud’s shadow blocked part of the cloud from getting directly in the beam, which made most of the cloud glow bright white, while the rest on each side was still a bit grey.

That felt like a good analogy of how I’m feeling right now.

Mostly things are back into the sunshine… but there are some areas still looking a bit grey… a bit shadowy.

But my body is physically finally catching up with where my mind finally made it about a week ago, and is now finally getting on board.

When I’d originally purchased the non-workbook book, I still wasn’t really sure that I was looking at the right path… but the emotional symptoms I was dealing with matched a whole lot better than the general grief and codependancy ones I’d been looking at previously… so I figured it couldn’t hurt to explore that direction.

And I found that the book hit the emotional symptoms dead on… even down to some cravings that I’d have never actually admitted to anyone.

But it also went into physical symptoms… hitting those dead on as well… again including some that I would have never mentioned.

And it went into great detail as to exactly what was causing those symptoms… what was triggering the primal fear response but also what chemicals that was releasing into your system that created the symptom. It even explained the two competing hormones that create the situation with eating being very hit or miss.

It was a bit boring at first… but then I came to really appreciate it… because it made it so much easier to relax about them, knowing why they were happening. Knowing it was normal… that there was a reason… and that they would go away.

Now I’m finally starting to see them doing so.

Finally sleeping more… having less post-meal aftermath incidents… finally getting my shoulder muscles to stop cramping and relax some… not being as jumpy… having more of my systems finally going back to normal and out of danger mode.

But, the interesting thing was… while I knew some of the things were clearly related… there were a lot of other things that I’d never connected.

Actually, at the doctors appointment just after the meeting (6 weeks in), the blood tests showed that my chemical levels were majorly out of whack enough that they decided to do a referal to a new
endocrinologist.

It never occurred to me that it might be connected…. that what was causing the weight loss and not eating and not sleeping and obsessive thoughts might be dumping chemicals into my system to do so that would show up as being off on tests.

It’s still more than a week before my specialist visit…. wonder how much different the blood tests will look then.