Perhaps that is the conundrum. When first we encountered, 'true love' we thought he/it was too good to be true, and set out to prove ourselves right. We didn't want to be right, however, we wanted to be in love! We didn't want to lose. We wanted to win someone's heart and make it true. What we never realized, was, we can never make someone else's heart true. We can only be true to ourselves. We can never lose love because love is limitless, love is all there is, it is who we are. We can't lose something that cannot stop. What we can lose is the manifestation of that love when it appears in the form of another human being. Because I believed Conrad could give me all the love I needed, I couldn't see that love was not his to 'give' me. Like the fake diamond he gave me once upon a time, nothing could make the lie of what he offered true. All the wishing and hoping and dreaming upon a star could never fill my hungry heart. No matter how much I yearned for his love to be true, to be more than I believed possible, there was never enough more that he could give me, because I was looking out there for what needed to be filled from 'in here'.
Recently, I was speaking with a woman who had come through an extremely abusive relationship. I had told her about my experiences and how no matter what Conrad did, said, was. No matter how many lies he told me, how many untruths he wove around me, I was still responsible for my choices. I created the drama that kept me tied to his lies because I was unwilling to break free and let go of that which I thought I could only get from him -- Love.
"Does that mean I'm responsible for my husband's abuse?" she asked.
"We are never responsible for what someone else does," I replied. "We are, however, responsible for the choices we make. You chose not to leave him even after the first time he beat you and you knew what he was willing to do."
"But I couldn't leave him," she said. "I had three children."
"You still have three children. And he's no longer in your life. You have chosen to break free of abuse."
"But I didn't choose to be abused," she replied.
"None of us choose abuse. The first time someone calls you stupid, or hits you, you are a victim. The second time... You made a choice. Never forget, however, regardless of the choices we make, to stay or leave, there is one fact that cannot be disputed. We never deserve to be abused."
She looked at me and replied quietly, "I never deserved it." She took a breath. "I never deserved to be abused." She smiled and gave me a hug. "Thank you. I never deserved his abuse. I didn't know that before."
When in an abusive relationship one of the greatest challenges to breaking free is we begin to believe the lie. This is what we deserve. This is what we are worth.
We tell ourselves, we have no choice, we cannot leave. We defend our position, vehemently opposing any thoughts that sneak in and whisper there is another way because we believe we're trapped. They tell us this is what we deserve and we choose to believe them. Because we fell in love with a prince, we are blinded to the truth of the toad standing before us by the starry-eyed wonder of love come true. If he abuses us it must be because we were not worthy of the prince. We are the ugly step-sister, not the beautiful Cinderella of our dreams.
No matter who we think we are, abuse is wrong. It destroys families. Decimates self-esteem. Tears apart dreams. Abuse rips to shreds joy and laughter. Abuse hurts. Truth is, I cannot stop someone from being an abuser. I can stop abuse in my life.
That is my choice. My truth. My reality.
I cannot stop someone from being who they are, doing what they do. I can stop them from doing it in my life by standing true to me, to my values, principles and beliefs and by turning up for myself in all my woundedness, pain and sorrow and stating unequivocally, "I do not accept the unacceptable. Abuse is wrong. I do not deserve it. I will not tolerate it. I am free to leave."
There are many things we need to do to safely leave an abusive relationship. The first step is to acknowledge what is really going on and to let go of the lie that we deserve what we get.
No one ever deserves to be abused.The same is true for any situation in life -- abusive or not. We must acknowledge reality to create the change we want to see in the world.
For me, I want to create a world of joy. To do that, I must acknowledge where joy is missing in my own life and make choices to restore the balance of my nature.
It is my responsibility. My duty. My right to create the life of my dreams. When I come from love, when I lovingly move into my world, I create a loving world around me.
Once upon a time I was an abused woman. Today I'm free to be all that I am meant to be. Wondrous, miraculous, magnificently alive and well on the journey of my lifetime.
May your day be filled with the wonder of your world. May your dreams come true with every breath you take as you move lovingly through your day.