I was in a relationship with a guy who liked to appear busy.
Every morning he’d jump out of bed and go to the gym or for a run or maybe a ride. He would race out the door with barely a goodbye over his shoulder. He was amazing at making himself appear busy, powerful and important. The only time he slowed down (a little) is when he’d travel to visit his kids or for work. When he was away on those trips, he’d call me and want to talk because he was lonely.
My ex was perfect at avoiding face-to-face connections. His priorities were exercise, work and (his) kids. He would come home from a weekend away and go to the office even when he could hear in my voice how much I missed him and wanted him to come home, at least first. He would spend his time at home zoning out in front of the television. Or, he would hide away from my boys and me with his iPad and headphones. I can’t even count the number of times I would go to him and say, “I am in pain and incredibly lonely.”
I planned dates and trips and tried to adopt to his habits and activities. He shut me out. He made me call him before I stopped by his work. He guarded his phone, iPad, computer, his successes and intimate secrets with his life.
The day I discovered the secrets he was hiding on his iPad, he was furious. That day my life went from bad to worse. He confiscated my computers, phones and iPads in a desperate attempt to see with whom I had shared this information with. Soon after he moved out.
The weeks that followed were scary; he hid outside my house, followed me everywhere, called and texted nonstop. He was desperate to find something to make me look bad. My entire life was falling apart around me.
However resilient I may have seemed on the outside, there were many times I thought for sure I was going to have to give up it all up. I couldn’t pay the mortgage or rent, and he wouldn’t help. Even before he left, I begged him for help to no avail. Instead, he ridiculed me for my passions.
He has stolen money, clients and friends; yet, despite all of this, I am in a better place. My separation from a narcissist has forced me to be creative, expand and move forward in my life.
Through this experience, I have let go of the need to receive anyone’s approval for the choices I make and am instead learning to trust a deeper knowing. I am finding that the more I surrender to a natural flow, the more abundance I attract in my life.
During my breakup, I accepted that I was not alone in my experience. In the book Broken Open by Elizabeth Lasher, she speaks of reading the words of Chogyam Trungpa and finding that these words resonated with her at the deepest level.
“You feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time. That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warrior ship.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa
Like Elizabeth and so many women who walked a similar path to mine, I followed a simple formula to help me identify my previously imposed limits and expectations. I began to rediscover my true self. Here’s what I learned:
1. Do something different.
I discovered the fastest and most effective way to detour my brain from its old ruts was by trying as many new things as I could, making changes and challenging myself by seeking out different experiences on my own.
2. Be fearless.
My relationship should have ended hundreds of times before it actually did, but I refused to see an ending. I was terrified of my greatness, and he provided me with boundaries to exist within—until one day those boundaries broke open. It doesn’t matter if I would do it again or not (though I would); the point is, I am strong. I am fearless.
3. Be yourself.
My relationship was emotionally and physically unhealthy. I had to face my own sh*t and, honestly, it wasn’t pretty. I can’t even count how many nights I spent crying in bed. Through the darkness of those nights, I began to see the light and understand that I had a Phoenix burning inside of me.
4. Be confident.
When my relationship ended, I quit people pleasing mode. I spent years with a man who was capable of convincing me that he was the better half. He sold me a handful of self-limiting beliefs, crushed my self-esteem and self worth and then isolated me my friends and family. In order for me to arrive at myself, I had to accept myself and unapologetically and live a life that I love. I accept that I will make mistakes. I will have days when I feel like running away.
5. Be wild.
“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” ~ Isadora Duncan
After my relationship ended, I learned to live the life I want. I believe in magic and mermaids. I gaze at the moon and wish upon stars. I practice yoga, paddle when I desire, walk on slack lines and maybe have a glass of wine before the mood strikes. I’ve realized the best things in life are full of contradictions, and I have lost the desire or need to apologize for mine. Said best perhaps by Janne Robinson: I Will Never be a Well-Behaved Woman.
(1) http://culteducation.com/ group/795-3ho/1228-my-second- divorces.html
Author: Heather Leo
Editor: Caroline Beaton