The other day I got news of the death of an old boyfriend who I met when I was 18. I was telling a friend that we fell out after a few months and the boyfriend broke into my apartment while I was sleeping and watered my plants with white spirit in revenge, cut up photos and damaged my books.
“Ah goodbye to him then!” he exclaimed.
I laughed and told the friend that far from goodbye, I ended up staying with the guy for a further couple of years.
‘Oh you liked it?!‘ he asked, obviously wondering why I stayed with a person who behaved like that towards me.
No of course not I thought. But it is a valid response. If I stayed with a boyfriend after that treatment then I must have ‘liked’ it. Some years later I split with him finally and that boyfriend ended up spending 6 months in jail for attacking me physically .
It took a couple of decades to get to the bottom of all this after it became a pattern in several other relationships. I was brought up in a well off, educated and middle class family with expectations to go to university and enter a profession. My choice of men however was incongruous with that side of my life and somehow my unconscious knew exactly the ‘right’ troubled guys to choose, which matched my unconscious expectations. These expectations can be traced back to my family and childhood experiences, I wasn’t taught how to be kind and gentle with myself and I learned watching my mum and dad, to expect pain and abuse from relationships.
In recent years I have been repairing my relationship with myself and learning to be kind and compassionate with myself on a day to day and hour to hour basis. I am re-parenting myself, and been learning what I wasn’t taught. What a bonus that this is possible! I am loving this restorative journey and feel more happy and at peace than ever before.
Looking back at these relationships now, I see that I played a full part in these relationship dynamics. I got exactly what I asked for, and what I felt I deserved at the time, albeit unconsciously. To take responsibility for my part in this is tremendously freeing and strengthening. I wasn’t actually the victim, but an active participant!
Now that I have a good healthy relationship with myself if anybody were to be abusive towards me they would be shown the door immediately. In fact I wonder if they would even get the chance to be abusive as I am no longer unconsciously attracted to those with that tendency.
I wish peace, abundance and beauty for us all. To live this is possible, but first the demons have to be faced, and this takes courage to see the part we are playing and to take responsibility for that part. It means giving up victim status which can be difficult if we have based our identities on being a victim. But the desire for victim status is the wish to purchase our innocence at the expense of another’s guilt. What others do is actually none of our business, what we do is our business. I am learning to mind my own business, by facing everything without flinching and carrying the precious tools of self compassion and kindness every step of the way.
“Let Santana, the current of life, carry the expectant travelers to the new shore. There are many waiting. Let them learn first about the difficulties of the journey, and clearly understand the fight with darkness. Let them not hope to avoid it. The path to joy cannot be easy. There will be joy. We shall speak more about joy, but first let us forge the armor of the spirit”. Helena Roerich