When you read the title above, You Like Me! You Really Like Me! did you think of Sally Field in her acceptance speech for Places Of The Heart back in 1984? In researching her original speech, I found that what she really said was, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me.” But most of us remember the other one.
Feeling liked and loved and accepted are keys to peace and bonding in any relationship. Self-acceptance, self-love, self-worth all tie into how we feel about ourselves. Many times we allow others’ judgments and views of us to cloud our own self-understanding. I know I can judge myself harder than anyone else can, but when I hear harsh criticism, the self-loathing can fall to an even deeper level than I thought possible and I would double my efforts to move mountains to please.
So how do you climb back out of that dark place inside that’s filled with unworthiness, pity and sadness? Do you think to hell with all of you naysayers, I’m great just as I am? If you can do that, then awesome! Go for it. But for people like me, that would have been far out of my comfort zone of sensitivity and the endless wondering if they were right about me, to have ever had that kind of reaction. Instead, I’d fret and be licking my hurt feelings in a corner. Then I’d rally and try to show them how not worthy I was of that criticism. And that’s not healthy either.
After my divorce, I suffered because I believed I wasn’t enough for my former husband to stay. I took it all on as my fault. I couldn’t make him happy enough to stay. I wasn’t enough and all the other self-flagellation that comes with being dumped in a relationship. I went through every stage of grieving over and over, repeating the past, scrutinizing my efforts to keep a marriage alive when it was dying, criticizing myself over and over for what I deemed not enough because…bottom line…he left me. What I didn’t even take into account was that it wasn’t all about me. Holy sh*t! What an eye opener when someone who had been divorced for awhile from a narcissist, listened to my story as I poured my heart out and finally just stated that fact. I was blown away. It was like I turned a huge corner that I’d been trying to get around by myself but I just couldn’t see past my own thoughts and I didn’t know that much about narcissists at that time.
Because it wasn’t all about me, since I was willing to do whatever it took to keep the relationship. And that wasn’t healthy. Nor was thinking that it was just me who held the full responsibility of the marriage. Through the brain-washing of my past experiences, I had no doubt that it was all my fault. What the healthier me has finally realized is that the love we shared wasn’t a two way street in the end. It had, over time, become unbalanced and while I was trying to please him, he was making little to no effort to connect, nor to please me. He had walked away long before he said I don’t want to do this anymore and I was too blind to see it. Instead of being mad that he wasn’t making any effort, I shouldered all the blame.
Looking back, I can now clearly see so much that I was blinded by before in our marriage. I lost myself. I was no longer the authentic me who lived with a loving and not a fearful heart. And I allowed it to happen over time. My fault. My experience. But now my return to being a healthy and authentically me with the past knowledge from that experience is to help others.
I struggled for so long and if I can be your friend to help you turn the corner, here I am. Because really, that was a priceless gift I was given and I’d pass it along gladly so that you wouldn’t suffer needlessly for as long as I did.
Anyone feel like sharing their struggles and experiences?