As we are born into this world, we seek comfort in other human beings. The most reputable bond is that of the mother and child. This bond unites after a nine-month incubation period. Of course, this is a generalization of what society envisions all lives are like. I will go out on a limb and suggest the next most impressionable bond would be that of the child and the paternal parent (that did not carry the child).
In today’s more modern society it is common to adopt children, artificially inseminate, or opt for surrogacy. Emphasis is placed on the importance of skin to skin bonding. Adoptive parents are in the delivery room as are new moms-to-be via surrogate, waiting to bond with the new arrival. Pictures are plastered on social media with shirtless dads embracing their newborn everso gently reinforcing these findings.
But what about the moments during our formative years when we seek approval and guidance? I would classify the formative years to span from six years old to teen. I suggest it is in these years we are most impressionable and if we are not reassured we spend our lives in a twisted love affair with rejection. During this phase, our need for guidance sets the tone for who we are to become and the sense of self develops according to the response of our caregivers.
This, of course, is my opinion and not proven fact. I built this opinion based off of my own experiences with rejection. I tend to shy away from discussing this topic which has resulted in no improvement leading me here today. Shame and embarrassment have held me, hostage, long enough!
“When we go in search of our true self we must be open to the habits and routines we have created that are unhealthy and affect us negatively”.
An Honest Observation
It is only recently I have been witness to this torture cycle in my life. The evidence is in the intimate relationships I seek with unavailable men. Not unavailable as in married (although I was involved with a married man for two years) but in the emotionally unavailable way.
As I mentally scan over my history of relationships I see the seamless pattern. In high school, I wouldn’t have but one significant relationship that began my junior year but throughout high school, I had a ” friend”. Whether or not either of us was in a relationship, we would come together in secrecy. I can remember going through phases of wanting more from him but withheld my feelings out of fear he would no longer want our “down low” sex sessions. And this very pattern has weaved itself throughout all of my relationships. Never to reveal my true feelings because of the friends with benefits arrangement agreed upon. An agreement that has been the preface of all the relationships I have entertained.
Up until now, I contributed it to commitment issues when in reality it is because I was taught, during my formative years, that attention is attention albeit negative or positive. Having the reputation of a heartless, freaky girl landed me in many relentless, toxic, unforgiving relationships. Each day was a mystery. Would I play detective and follow the clues of their lies or would I sit back and look pretty? Thriving in chaos is an addicts livelihood and I gravitate towards those similar to me, doubling the drama.
It is always in the back of my mind that I can change them, help them, and mold them into loving me. Convince them I was enough. I leave you to imagine how it has ended time after time. Most importantly I rejected myself by not expressing my true feelings about situations. Minimizing my need for acceptance has not gone without damage. On an evolving mission for connection, I failed to realize it is the connection with myself that is missing.
“Rejection attaches itself to your purpose and amplifies your need for acceptance while diminishing your self-worth.“
Determined to break the cycle, I have chosen 2019 as the year to embark on a self-discovery journey and I am fortunate this pattern presented itself. While I cannot control how another feels I can validate my own feelings by expressing them and not entering into relationships with meaningless sex and rejection.
One thing that I have learned in sobriety is that no one can take away or change the way I feel. They may not reciprocate the same sediment but that does not discount mine. I have allowed others to control how I feel based off of their own feelings. This is true even with my Ma. Sharing how I feel has not been met with smiles and rainbows rather continuous excuses and examples of how I do not feel that way. When this happens I pause and polity state that that….” is how I feel and just because that wasn’t your intentions does not mean I do not feel that way.” That statement is powerful for someone who has always allowed others to tell her how she feels.
With each failed relationship I have internalized the belief that I was not good enough. I cannot recall exactly at what age I began to feel less than but being able to associate this is monumental for my healing process. It was with my most recent friend I discovered my exact contribution to my relationships up until this point. I have always held myself accountable for the toxicity I brought into the relationship without knowing where it was rooted. Now I move forward with a sharp-shooter shovel digging that bitch up!!
I have come to accept that my paternal source was broken. From what, I will never know, but in order for me to forgive, I must rationalize. His well had no love to give. The saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup” is suitable in relation to the lack of love I received from my father and is what I have tried to do for others. You cannot possibly love another without loving yourself first.
Fortunately for me, I have had enough love to share with my daughter however I am guilty of not being emotionally available, as I never fully developed in that area. I began drinking and using drugs during maturation, stunting my ability to rely on myself for coping. Instead, I used substances to change the way I felt. Choosing to do so went on to destroy the innocent, imaginative girl that was, replacing her with a calloused, angry, hurt, and lost fragile girl. And now here I stand stripped down, vulnerable and ready to learn to love the unique qualities I was told were no good.
A note from me to you:
The topic of rejection is a hard one for me to approach and I am not sure I did any justice but perhaps sharing my story will open up the conversation. The feeling I associate with rejection is humiliation. This has branched out into many areas of my life. I do not like to be the center of attention or have attention drawn to me. The level of discomfort rates high on any scale. Another thing that I would like to mention is that while in and out of institutions and rehab facilities my counselors would refer to me as having abandonment issues and I did not relate to that anywhere on the spectrum and one day it just clicked, I am in a twisted, self-sabotaging love affair with rejection.