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I always felt like I was just an option to them—the men from my past.
I felt like I had to be grateful for being chosen by any of them. Even when I felt like the third choice as they were in another connection with a different woman.
I felt like that’s all I deserved.
I never thought of choosing a man of my own kind. A man of my liking. A man who would spark in me a flame, a passionate desire, or a breathtaking way of being cared for.
I never thought this was an option for me.
My deeply low self-esteem, my trauma(s) as a child, and my complicated relationship with my father, who was never present with me, took over my psyche. My delicate heart always bled. I never really felt loved with the same intensity of love I gave.
I am just now starting to realize how my relationship with my father affected my choices of men and previous partners.
That first relationship with the first male in my life screwed all my other relationships that came after it.
They would fall into one of these categories:
>> emotionally unavailable
>> addicted to sex (or any substance)
>> distant and cold
>> issues with expressing their feelings
>> childish behavior
>> narcissistic by nature
The list of the toxic love I fell for goes on and on.
I thought that was all love and men were all about.
I hated those men for breaking my heart so many times. I held resentment and grudges for a long time. I held deep anger within my heart for almost every one of the men who crossed my path. They made me feel like I was not good enough, not pretty enough, not lovable, not worthy of love, and sometimes made me hate myself for being “stupid” or “failing” at love.
I did not know then, but I know now how our first relationship with a male in our lives affects our self-esteem, worth, and, basically, all relationships with men in life.
I had to try so hard to win my father’s love, and I failed every time. My father (a former army guy), was never really present at home.
The messages our fathers imprint in our little minds as children is that we are not doing enough; we are not obedient enough; we are not “good girls.”
We start to believe we do not deserve their love or the love of others—love they struggled to give.
I did not know then, but I know now: my father was a man in pain.
His inability to give and receive love, his seriousness, constant anger, and his appearance of “authority,” was just a disguise to cover his deep inner pain.
He never lived a life of his own or followed his own passions. So he felt miserable. He lived his life by his family’s and society’s standards.
I did not know then, but I can clearly see now, that his, or any other man from my past, inability to love me has nothing to do with my worthiness or my capacity to love deeply and intensely. It has to do everything with them and their upbringing and their life experiences.
With this deep realization, I am finally allowing myself to be free. I will be whoever I choose to be, without wanting or needing a man to validate me or give me their love.
Now I can be aware and see the red flags as soon as they appear in my connections with men.
Now I walk away.
I don’t fall in love with a man’s potential. I see their present. I observe how they are living their lives and what patterns show up in their behavior.
Then I decide if he is a good match for me or not.
Now I give myself my full permission to choose (or not choose) to have or allow a man to be part of my life.
Now I don’t allow anyone to treat me as an option.
Now they don’t choose me.
I choose (or don’t choose) them.
Now I know my boundaries and what it means to have them in any type of relationship.
Now I am more real and authentic with my inner prompts and compass. I navigate my life, depending on my deep inner intuition and wisdom that has never left me.
Now I allow myself to be sexy, seductive, wild, innocent, and raw at the same time.
Now I allow myself the freedom to be me and recreate my being every day.
Real authentic love will find me as I walk my path. Or rather, we will find each other—when the time is right.
Until then, I have solemnly declared and promised to myself that I won’t participate, invite, or allow any destructive patterns from myself or another. I will not enter into dysfunctional relationships with men who cannot meet me halfway where I am in my life right now.
I am done with that type of “love.”
I am done with what my father taught me about who I was—that is not who I am. I am me.
And no one can define me—except me.
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