As I continue my Summer of Me (which turned into the Year of Me, and then the Two Years of Me, and now Three Years of Me), I’ve taken the time to shine a light into all my dark corners and scare away the spiders.
Or maybe I should say snakes…. I have noticed more snakes here at home, even had one of those little gardener snakes try to bite me. Until I bludgeoned him to death with a 2×4. Now he won’t bite anyone anymore. Sounds disturbing, doesn’t it? Me, whacking the snake with the butt of the board? Yes, yes I did.
The saying goes, when you say you have a snake problem, you really have a mouse problem. And there are plenty of field mice in the yard.
That’s how it is with my dark corner spiders. I don’t really have a spider problem. I have a belonging problem.
Or an attachment problem: I didn’t feel attached, at least not securely, in my marriages.
If you want to go back to the whole psychological depths of how we pick people to heal our childhood wounds, then here it is: I feel like I have to earn love. In return, I pick partners who either are emotionally unavailable or unable to love me the way that I want or need.
The psychological term for such unconditional love is secure attachment: the ability to depend on others, ask for help, express the need for closeness, and trust that our loved ones have our backs…It’s all about feeling special to the people we love, and that turns out to be the most important – and healthy – way to live our lives, whether we’re tiny children or full-grown adults. No one wants to feel like a faint flickering light in the vast universe. We all long to feel like the brightest star to someone, in some way, cherished above all others around us. ~ Dr. Craig Malkin
To myself, I know I’m a good person, a hard worker, a smart cookie, a loyal friend, a funny bunny, the list goes on… I know my good points. Yet somehow I align myself with men who describe me as “common”, “boring”, and “can’t stand” me. Instead of kicking them to the curb, or even standing up for myself, it’s like a magnet – because if I work hard enough, they will see the special person I am inside. I’ll show them, I’ll prove it, I can do it by earning my way in, doing more for them, making their lives better…
A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
I didn’t feel like Husband #2 respected me. I didn’t have the boundaries in place to say, “Hey buddy! You can’t ignore me and put others first! I’m your wife, not your backup plan.” I was used to being pushed aside and didn’t even realize it was happening. I was a faint flickering light who burned herself out trying to earn love.
Burned out. Yes, that’s what I became, and my patience and attitude went down along with my tired body. After we liquidated the business, I sat on the couch for a solid two months just resting and getting my energy back.
I was so tired.
And I didn’t even realize how burned out I was until I recovered.
I also lost most of my patience and empathy during that time. Yes, I was cranky, bitchy, critical. And empty.
In “Hope Springs”, Merle Streep’s line goes, “I think I might be less lonely if I were alone”. It’s true. I’m lonely, I miss having someone else around to cook for and take country drives with, but I’m less invisible now than I was when Husband #2 was here.
Because when he was here, he wasn’t really here. He checked out mentally long before his body left.
I’m no longer empty, no longer invisible, no longer someone’s backup plan.
And when I’m tired, it’s because I stayed up late hanging out with my friends who don’t make me fight for a spot in their lives.