I have a lot of wisdom on relationships — not because I’m smart, but because I stink at relationships. I say this with a grin on my face because I know it’s true. Slowly, very slowly, I learn about myself through my mistakes. If one door closes, another one opens and I get a new opportunity to screw things up. :-P
I don’t think wisdom comes from intelligence. It could come from the willingness to see the shadow aspect of ourselves, to own our patterns. I still don’t understand it all and am willing to experience more messiness in relationships to gain more wisdom, insight and self-knowledge that relationship messiness brings. I will never completely close my heart off.
I will keep it open.
I will let it break again.
I will never give up.
If anyone out there thinks relationships are to be neat and tidy all the time, they might be dreaming or just very very boring people. ; ) Humor aside, I think all the growth comes from the messiness. And I wonder if sometimes we test each other (unconsciously) to see if the other party is in this for the long-haul. I still cannot figure out exactly why I sabotage close relationships. It’s either because the closeness reminds me of abandonment (since my first experience with intimacy was in the womb and so much love came from my birth mother post-natally and then she left me inadvertently teaching me that abandonment follows intimacy) or because I am testing the other person to ensure they are my people….. or both. I am never conscious when I am testing others. I might have tested my husband so many times before we got married. I broke up with him and got into so many fights with him before our wedding.. I gave my to-be husband a really hard time. If people saw us, they’d think we were an old couple or similar to the Castanzas on Seinfeld. ;) Was I just seeing if he could handle me? After months of continuous fighting and me showing my worst sides to my to-be husband, he started to (reluctantly) pull away and just as he did, (according to my husband) that is when I gave him the call. He had been on a trip and once he got my call, he flew back home right away and our very first really real date was on Venice Beach at night on the Forth of July watching fireworks as we laid in the sand together circa 2001. And from the moment he stood in my defense and confronted my mom firmly when she was being abusive to me, I thought “this man is SO mine!”. I feel secure and safe, so there is never any jealousy, fear, doubt, insecurity, or need for me to “test the waters”. He is the really real deal. My husband is the first time for me to experience full-on friendship security. It was my dream and it came true.
Setting the bar to standards as high as my husband sounds like I’m being too demanding or unrealistic, doesn’t it? But I deserve the best. At the same rate, I see my tests are traumatic and it is most unrealistic to expect others to pass it. Duh. But I still keep giving people my tests (if that is what they are?) I am THAT picky about who I give my realness and vulnerability to. Because vulnerability (for me) is a gift. I don’t give it freely. If I give you my vulnerability, it means I am trusting you with my heart and fragility. But I remove it when I feel a threat to our security as friends.
I wonder if people are testing me sometimes too. All I know is that I cannot be the only one out there that needs to feel secure in relationships. I need to know my friend isn’t going to bail when I start showing real parts of myself: my needs, my fears, my shame stories, my tears, my vulnerability, my traumatized insecure parts…. Can you handle that? I need to be sure you are committed and take friendship loyalty seriously for me to be loyal myself.
I have so much to learn about myself. I am not completely conscious of what I am doing all the time and only in hindsight do I learn. I am not completely aware of my entire internal family that lives inside me. And I learn slowly and from lots and lots of pain. Growing pains. Bittersweet.