A Photojournal for the month of March
My friend Diane got me thinking and wanting to do this. The idea is a photo a day for the month of March. Her friend Shannon suggested it to her, so I’m linking to both since they are awesome posts, both of them. So day one is “Document A First” This is Rob. He’s my boyfriend…and no, he’s not my FIRST boyfriend but that’s not what this is about. This is about the first time I have attracted and enjoyed a relationship where there is no drama, where there is no need to fix him, where there is healthy communication and buttons aren’t pushed without immediate and easy communication, and resolution. It’s all very easy and loving. This is a huge deal for me, having had drama or stagnation in all of my previous relationships. Either there was conflict or there was lack. Most of the time there was both, woven in with the good times and the strong love I felt. A man I had been involved with deeply for a few years broke up with me in July and I was compelled to go back into therapy, asking some deep questions. Since July when I began looking again at this pattern, wondering why I tend to attract men that don’t give as much to the relationship as I do, or were abusive in some way, or simply were disrespectful often enough that it was an issue, I have learned some things. First of all, there was no way I could have learned any of this when my mother was still alive, or while I was in the first year and a half of grieving her death (she died two years ago). What I was taught about my role in relationships was deeply rooted in my relationship with my mom. My core lessons were that, more than simply to “care take” her, my job was to be her emotional self. I needed to be perfect in order for her to know she was a good mother. I needed to align with her to counter the behaviors of my sister who was challenging her belief that she was a good mother, and any time I was less than perfect, I heard about it. She would cry, she would collapse emotionally, I would scramble to make it all okay. I knew that until she – and everyone else around me that I cared about – was happy, there was no way I would give myself permission to be happy. I was the wind beneath her wings, in many ways. What I learned, and how I grew, I taught to her and she took that into her world and was well-loved for all she brought to others. Meanwhile, growing up and well into adulthood, my dad took care of me…he was the go-to parent for my emotional upsets, my boy problems, the parent I could rely on to support me and who would accept me being less than perfect. I could lean into him. When he died almost twelve years ago, on some unconscious level, I went into a underlying crisis-mode. No one was caring for me, and my job (to take care of everyone else) became HUGE. My dad passed away the same month that my husband moved out of our house, and even though it was me that asked him to leave, it felt very much like the important men in my life were suddenly not there. Just like extreme stress can trigger physical health issues, I believe this event triggered the awakening of these deep patterns and I scrambled to find someone to fix and take care of me at the same time. I had a Missing Piece, and there was no way I was going to attract a relationship that didn’t mirror my inner need to provide salvation, someone who needed me, and also reflect my core belief that I would always experience lack in relationships. I fell into a series of relationships where I took it upon myself to save the men I was with. To give more than they wanted or perhaps even needed, and to get to complain that I was never getting enough back from them. Discovering the origin of this pattern released me from it. It was at a time that my daughter moved to live with her dad, my mom had passed away, and the man I had been with broke up with me. For the first time in 20 years I was not a girlfriend, wife, full time parent or daughter. I could focus on me. I let go of my mom, and I let go of my “job” to be her emotional self. I acknowledged for the first time that there were two moms: The wonderful, loving, creative, affectionate, wise and caring mother and also the critical, angry, emotionally manipulative one that sometimes threw things at me and my sister when she was upset. Bringing it all into the light helped me let it go, let her go. I love my mother, and miss her every day, but it is such a relief to be able to acknowledge that she was not the Best Mom In The World. Doing that inner work over the summer opened me up to attracting a relationship where I don’t need to Fix. With Rob there is no drama. There are times when I startle, and wonder if what I am feeling is love. Because for so long Love = Drama and Saving and Fixing. Love = Being Needed. There is so much room in this relationship that sometimes I notice Fear….am I loved? Will I be loved if I am not needed? Turns out, yes. YES!!! I think of when I began working with these questions in July and how the image of a big, vast, light blue Space was all around me and how it was terrifying. Terrifying because I had No Idea where my boundaries were, where the Other was to tell me where I ended. Now, I think of that light blue vastness and it is freedom, full, and light, and serene. The opposite of Drama is not Boredom, as it turns out. It is Peace. And Rob brings me that. And that is a first.