So, as you can probably guess by the time stamp on the last post… the info is bugging me a bit.
It shouldn’t be. It wasn’t anything that I didn’t already suspect. It wasn’t anything that changed anything. It’s a closed book now even if it would have changed things then.
But it still has been hard to shake off.
Couldn’t really put my finger on exactly why though.
But even before this… I’ve been catching myself indirectly blaming myself for everything that happened. Being mad at myself for letting it happen.
Most of it has been in the form of "should".
What I should have done… should not have done. What I should do now and in the future to prevent getting hurt like that again.
There’s a million things I should have done to protect myself.
But… it comes down to feeling like if I would have just found the right combination of things to do differently, I could have controlled it. Could have either fixed it, or prevented the relationship from even getting to the point where I could be hurt.
Which in turn comes down to blaming myself for not having done so. Blaming myself for having let myself get hurt.
Which… I know I wouldn’t do if it were someone else. I’d admit that maybe they might have made mistakes to make it worse, but if it had happened to a friend instead of to me, I know I’d place the blame on the person causing the hurt.
So I know that I’m not being fair to myself.
I know, logically, that there wasn’t much I could have done that would have actually prevented it. Reduced maybe. But the actions I took were honestly what I felt were the best responses in the moments in which they were made.
But there’s still an urge to attempt to protect myself in the future.
I should be more guarded… trust people more slowly… keep people with any risk of drama further to the outskirts.. should stay less emotionally invested… etc etc etc
I got as far as "should be less tenderhearted."
Once, back in about 2008, there was a sort of an interesting occurrence.
Over the spell of about 2 months, I had conversations with three different people in my life at that time, and each of the three had used the word tenderhearted to describe me. One was a friend, discussing an approach to another friend. One was a coworker, discussing my dealings with someone. One was someone with a website that I was helping with at the time, describing my dealings with some of the site members in private conversations.
All three used it as a compliment. It had come along with words like sweet, patient, kind, caring.
And the thought struck me… do I want to give up my "tenderhearted", in exchange for safety? Especially when it isn’t even all that likely to gain true safety?
And I thought about each of my should’s.
I should have kept more emotional detachment to keep myself from getting hurt. But, do I want to be someone who doesn’t let themselves be attached emotionally?
I should have avoided letting someone with past issues that could resurface into drama into my life. But do I want to be the kind of person who refuses to let people be real and honest about being human, or refuse to respect the fact that the past does not always predict future if the person chooses to address their problems?
I should have forced things to go slower early in the relationship. But given that I was already very attached even as friends enough to react poorly at losing him as a coworker, do I really want to be someone who would choose not to follow their heart and kiss someone that they deeply cared about when they really wanted to, out of fears of possible hurt that they saw absolutely no signs of happening at that point?
I could have laid down the law at the very first signs of issues…. told him I refused to be disrespected by not being informed of changes, and that I would not tolerate being treated like I wasn’t worth his effort to let me know. But, do I really want to be someone who doesn’t allow others to have an occasional issue, when it hadn’t been any sort of a pattern yet, and to be someone who they treat with respect to avoid harsh reactions rather than out of true respect and concern?
I should have insisted on more even investment into the relationship… but especially given the recent battles I’ve been slugging through with depression and even the past few years in my life in general, do I really want to be someone who requires others not have down spells, to expect them to bring their A game even when they are struggling at times to put one foot in front of the other?
Would I want to be someone who said that they really cared, but then didn’t feel enough for someone’s hurt to at least offer what they could do to make the darkness at least a little bit brighter, to offer at least a short chance to smile, even if they knew they could never come even close to doing enough to fix anything?
Over and over… the answer was no.
Yes, I could have protected myself better. I could have been more assertive and stayed less emotionally vulnerable.
But no, I would not want to be the type of person who would have chosen any of those responses with the limited info that I had at the time.
Yes, there’s a balance… that’s not to say that it’s wise to jump into every situation and to allow every wrong. But to prevent any wrongs and any chances of major hurt would require my being someone that I don’t want to be.
Could something I’d done at some point have prevented what I found out about yesterday? Maybe, maybe not.
But, I don’t want to be the type of woman that it would have taken my being to do so even if it would have.
I’m a bit sad and hurt by knowing what I know. But I’m a lot more glad of the person I am.