If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. Duh. This seems like an easy concept to not only grasp, but to put into action. Change. Just do it. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Why is it so hard to recognize our own faults, yet we stay in the same old rut we’re always in?
I am not afraid to admit that I grew up in a less-than-desirable household. My parents verbally and physically abused each other until I was 9, when they had both finally had enough to divorce. Then, when I was 13, they decided to try again at a relationship with one another, and of course, the abuse began again. I was sometimes verbally abused in the way of my mother calling me fat (AFTER she fed me fried food or fast food or what-have-you). Very twisted behavior. Needless to say I didn’t have any self-esteem growing up, and I’m just now gradually starting to have a little. This was the example that was set forth before me. These were the role models I had. I never really had any idea of what a loving, normal relationship looked like. My mind and emotions were formed around dysfunction. This was just normal. At 18, literally like 2 weeks after I turned 18, I tucked tail and RAN. I moved in with my boyfriend at the time, and proceeded to attempt to play house, and genuinely thought I could have a better relationship than my parents. I thought surely this was easy. This set me off on a series of lots of different boyfriends from the age of 18 up until now. That’s 16 years of attempting and failing at having a long-lasting, stable relationship. I’m 34, and I’ve never been married. Aside from one person, I’ve been the one to end all these relationships when I had finally had enough. My method of dealing with anyone has been to just leave them and close that door for good. I’ve burned more bridges than a pyromaniac. I can look back on all these unions and see where I was at fault. I can see where I acted just like my mother. Nagging, yelling, belittling, cussing, fronting like I didn’t care, when in reality I cared so much. I went from wanting to marry these people one day, to cheating on them and wishing they’d leave me the next. This doesn’t mean my significant others didn’t also have their flaws. This doesn’t mean they didn’t make mistakes. At that time, though, all I could see was their shortcomings. Each and every time, when the relationship was over, then and only then did I step back and see all the ways I messed up and all the ways I could have been a better mate. In reality, with one relationship in particular, I had an almost perfect partner and was blind. All I was focusing on was what he could do better, and how he could improve.
So now, here I am, at 34. I started yet another relationship almost 2 years ago. We are in counseling to learn to communicate better. It seems that maybe we’ve both had the same checkered, dysfunctional past. I am trying, this time, to stay and face my demons head on, because my love for this man far outweighs the desire to call it quits. I can only change me. I can only change the way I respond to him. I can choose grace, forgiveness, and love over revenge, malice, and harm, and I will. After all, if you know better, you should do better, and I definitely know better!