Sometimes I feel as though I can never go back far enough in order to tell you how I got myself out of the emotional mess that I was in. Today I have been thinking about some of the questions that I began to ask myself in the process of emotional healing and some of the ways that I began to wake up to the way that I was devalued in relationships. This relationship dysfunction was present in almost all of my adult relationships.
Here are the “fog busting” questions that I asked myself; continued…
~Is there an equal amount of say in the plans, or does one person in the relationship usually get to decide? Do you agree to wait for someone, just in case there is a plan? Do you find yourself getting anxious when there are no solid plans but still unable to ask for a plan?
~When someone is consistently late, how does that make you feel? Do you feel like you are being a nag or a drag if you ask someone not to be late?
~Are you outspoken about your disappointments in relationships?
~Do you feel like you don’t really have a right to ask for fair treatment?
~What would scare you about asking for fair treatment?
~Do you feel like the success of the relationship depends on you?
~Do you feel like if the relationship depends on how compliant that you are; on how cooperative that you are; on how little that you ask for?
~If you don’t believe that you are worthy of fair treatment, how will someone else know that you are? I am talking about equal value. That if someone wants to wait until the last minute to make plans with you, and it bothers you, then why are you not willing to say that it bothers you or that you feel it is unfair treatment to you.
~Where do those feelings come from? When did you learn that asking for equal value and fair treatment was wrong or that you are not as deserving of it as someone else is?
These are the thoughts that came up for me in my process of recovery from depressions and abuse. I had never thought about most of these things before. I knew that I was willing to wait for a phone call and be mad when I didn’t come. I knew that I would fume when someone was late, but that I never really said how much it hurt me and made me feel as though my time was not important and therefore that I was not important. I knew that when people (friends and boyfriends, family, whoever) waited till the last minute to accept my invitations, (or to commit to plans with me) that I felt powerless to object, and that I didn’t have a right to have a say in if they waited till the last minute to inform me of what the plan was or if we were getting together in the first place.
Because deep down I believed that I didn’t deserve more than the scraps that they could throw me. Deep down I believed that I was darn lucky even to get the scraps. Deep down I felt less than everybody else.
Once I had a chance to think about this stuff, I realized that I do have and should have equal value to everyone else. The rebuilding process started with these realizations. I began to see the need for me to draw boundaries. But before my boundaries were respected by others, I had to believe that I was worth it. I had to repair my broken relationship with myself. I had to really believe that I had equal rights.
And I did that by realizing all the ways that I allowed myself to be treated. NOT from the familiar place of self blame but from a place of self love. I looked at my life and my relationships through the eyes of self love. I realized that first of all I had learned this compliance and acceptance of mistreatment and devaluing relationships at a very young age when I was powerless to have or to draw boundaries. The bridge between my childhood and adulthood was missing. I carried on through my adult life just as I had been as a child, powerless and without the knowledge that I DESERVED to be valued and loved. I looked at how dysfunctional most of my adult relationships were and had been. There was no equality.
Then I began the process of repairing that damage with learning to value myself. And when I got strong enough, my boundaries were visible to others because they were drawn in my heart. I believed that I was worthy. When I got to this point, others had to make a decision about how they would respond to my declaration of equality. (Be warned. Most of them didn’t like it.)
So one final question; ~ what message does your relationship with yourself give to others?
Please share your thoughts about this post. Feel free to answer the questions here too. As always, I look forward to the conversation!
Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;
Read the follow up post to this one ~ inspired by the comments ~ Self Esteem, My value and learning to love MY Self
related post ~ The deadly side of Accountability