If you put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price. ~Anonymous
By all rights I should have been getting ready to dump this guy, but instead I was getting sucked in deeper and deeper. When he came over that fateful night, I was worried that I had not “performed” up to his standards, and he was getting ready to call it quits. Had I offended his spoiled brat of a son? Had I not been a good enough lover? Or was I unacceptable to his friends? What friends? He had none, but at the time, I was not thinking rationally. I was in desperation mode, convinced I had to be everything to him, so he would find me acceptable, which in turn meant I could find myself acceptable. What a crappy placed to be, but I was there – deeply entrenched and sinking in the mental quicksand of my own fears and doubts.
In hindsight, I recognize my negative core beliefs about not deserving a healthy relationship, which was obviously born out of what I saw my mother enduring with my father. At the time, I was caught up in my victim-hood – enslaved by believing I deserved no more than I had witnessed as a child.
Unfortunately, women who enter shelters are also operating under their own negative core beliefs. It is the only conceivable explanation for why they would return to a shelter an average of seven times in their lifetime (the national average.) It is hard to imagine why an abused woman would repeatedly return to the same abusive partner or to another partner who fits the same M.O. They do it for the same reason I did – they rationalize and make what is happening acceptable until they cannot any longer. For them, and for me, it felt/feels “normal” because that is what we have seen and all that we know/knew.
When my fiancé dropped the honesty bomb on me, telling me that years ago he had sexually abused his six year-old stepchild by masturbating in front of her that sealed the deal. A sane woman would have gone running the other direction. For me this was the hook that solidified the catch. You see my dad was a convicted pedophile. I believed my ex when he said he had gone through therapy, and he was healed. I wanted to buy his story about showing up faithfully for therapy when the other sex offenders skipped out, but I also knew enough about pedophiles to know that there is no cure. Still, in my distorted thinking, if my ex was cured, then somehow I could heal the relationship with my dad.
This was my point of no return. Looking back, I wish I had mustered the strength to walk away, but I did not. I had to see it through. I married him, and three months later he decided he was in love with someone else. At the time, I was devastated, and then as the days and years slipped by, I began to realize he had done me the greatest favor imaginable. He had done for me what I could not do for myself. He had set me free from my self-made prison. Had he not done that, I would have hung in there, determined to make this work.
Did you go through a similar situation – something that happened that should have given you the warning and the insight to know that the future was destined to turn out the way it did, but there was this part of you that could not let go? Maybe he cheated on you, or hit you, or lied – but he swore to you it was an isolated incidence, it would never happen again – and you believed him – because you wanted to, because on some level it somehow seemed to heal some deep wound you carried from childhood. That was my motivation, yet now I see how screwed up I was.
What I learned from this experience was not how wrong he was, but how wrong I had been. For me, it was the only way to learn how to make different choices. If I had stayed mired in that tempting mode of blaming him for everything that had gone wrong in our marriage, I would have gone out and found someone else with whom to repeat the whole story again. That or I would still be telling my story of being the victim over and over again today. I was a victim, and I made all the choices that got me into that situation. Now I am a creator of my own life and my own destiny. I wrote Too Much Gold to Flush about this relationship and the lessons I learned from it. I always donate half of the sales price to the women’s shelter that the buyer designates.
For Christmas I am delivering copies of my book to women’s shelters. If you would like to help fund this project, you can go to https://try.tilt.com/empowerment The campaign is closing December 15th, so act now. I hugely appreciate your support, and I know every woman in shelter who reads this inspiring book will appreciate it as well.
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread. ~Mother Teresa