I let my beloved get on a plane and fly across the world away from me, in order to finally understand the truth about abandonment.
Actually he left. I had to experience my man leaving, to learn that he never wanted to and never will…
When time for departure finally came, we passionately embraced each other, shaking with sobs, in the total paradox of emotional extremes: hearts bursting with love for one another, and a deep knowing that space was what we needed if this relationship was going to thrive.
We knew we had to ‘break up’ with this version of our relationship, and these versions of ourselves that were destructive. We knew that this way of being alive together was not what we saw as our ideal relationship together – and not how we wanted to be showing up for one another.
We didn’t know if we could bring it back together in a sustainable, healthy way – but we did know we had the potential. We had visions of a life together that was full of slow beauty, respect, and trust. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, admitting that this wasn’t it, right now.
It wasn’t out fault that we had this powerful wave of things needing healing moving through.
Letting him go was one of the hardest things I’ve ever endured, and in the weeks that followed I danced the thin line that weaves between clarity and despair.
It wasn’t ‘giving up’ to take some space. You know that old cliche, “If you love someone, set them free.” Yeah, it was like that.
As I reflected on my lessons in the absence of my beloved, alone, I had space to witness the last dying breaths of some patterns as they atrophied and withered.
Space was necessary for this. Solitude was the missing ingredient in my process of metabolization of the lessons we learned together. Togetherness and Solitude are both needed for a healthy relationship, I found.
This year I’ve learned about how I want to exist in relationship with others. In particular, in a romantic partnership. When I met this man of extraordinary measure a year and a half prior, we decided to make a bold commitment to each other and ourselves: to interdependence and openness. We made a promise to each other to never hold back.
To me, interdependence is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. What they have is a balanced relationship. They don’t seek out validation, they know how to self-soothe.
Before the event of taking space, my journey of discovering interdependence was illustrated by a lot of leaning on my partner for soothing and validation.
Attempting to live my life with awakened permission to be seen for who I am has been a bit of a rollercoaster. A byproduct of exploring interdependence for me was getting really intimate with the dark skeletons in my closet.
I found out that I really didn’t want to see (or be seen for) the most painful parts of myself. I had some beliefs that these parts of myself were unworthy of love.
I was very committed to hiding this for a awhile. Unfortunately, that commitment conflicted with my commitment to be interdependent and open. This created a bit of a conflict in me. (Read: Earthquake)
It was really tumultuous inside of me, I felt hijacked. Old versions of myself came rising to the surface. It was all in the name of healing old wounds – but it sure felt like war.
Patterns that I’d used for years to manipulate people into giving me the things I needed to feel safe, started to get really loud. I started acting out these patterns, despite my deepest commitments and desires not to.
I got hard and defensive, and everywhere I turned inside of myself I made conflict. I lost sight of how to care for myself, how to be soft and undefended. I began to blame him. I began to feel victimized. I began to break my commitments.
I made drama and tried to manipulate him into giving me what I feared I lacked. The ironic thing is, I already had it all.
My beloved, bless his patient heart, kept turning toward me with love and support, over and over again. It was obvious that he didn’t reject me in my darkest places, that he still saw me for the radiant woman I am despite these behaviors. But somehow, I couldn’t see it. I was too deep in my abandonment story.
Dark Skeletons: I have a few confessions to make. I do this not to self depreciate, but to demonstrate. It’s okay to be seen for your bullshit. It’s the only way to make compost out of it.
#1: I struggle with finding my voice and my own wisdom sometimes. I have a history of falling into other people’s wisdom, and betraying my own. I even share my pain in order to draw out their advice, and that’s a form of manipulation. I feel inadequate and unworthy in those moments, and act this way to seek validation from men. I square up, if my wisdom is good enough in comparison, I feel validated and safe.
#2: I have a history of allowing myself to take action out of stressful states, where I use a dramatic display as a way to get what I want. As a way to gauge another’s trustworthiness I make drama to measure their commitment to me, like a test to see if they will leave me in the most desperate times. I inflate simple things into large disputes and waste a lot of life on trying to feel safe from abandonment. Ironically, this is what makes men WANT to leave me.
#3: I do all kinds of weird shit to get love from men. I accommodate their behavior when I know it’s not healthy for me – meaning I people please and suck it up, in hopes of not ruining their fondness for me. I don’t take initiative when I feel off course, in fear of loosing connection if we take different paths. I fear love will be lost if I do not sacrifice and compromise, and I fear being left alone because that will ultimately mean that love WAS lost.
So this is how we decided to move forward – by jumping out of the sinking ship of all our old patterns, and giving them time to atrophy and die.
This time alone has been all about me learning to self-soothe. To lean in, instead of out, when I feel alone. When I feel lost. When I feel like love, trust, and wisdom are lacking. It becomes a beautiful exploration of imperfection, fault, and flail.
THREE KEYS TO INTERDEPENDENCE:
Wisdom. Trust. Love.
- In those moments when I urgently desire to find the answers from outside… When I just desperately want someone else to tell me the right decision, or I want to lean into a higher power source outside of myself… I can slow down and drop into myself. I can tune into the slightest feelings of pleasure. If I can meditate on these feelings of goodness in my body until they magnify and grow, and I will find WISDOM within.
- When get busy measuring the outside world for trustworthiness… When I am hyper-vigilant on determining whether other’s actions and words make them worthy of my trust – when I forget that I cannot rely on anyone else to fill the gap of lack of trust in myself – I can slow down and drop into myself and find TRUST within. It’s been there all along, I just failed to recognize it.
- In those moments when love feels lost, and I don’t recognize my own wellspring of love – when I think that praise equals love, or acceptance equals love, or when I associate love with a shot of dopamine… I can slow down and drop into myself and find LOVE within. I can locate the deep current of love that I have for myself, for all my flaws too, and differentiate that from the quick bursts of hormones that do not last.
Interdependence was how I finally broke free of my abandonment fears. In leaving him at the airport out of choice, and seeing that he still loved me, I knew that what I had feared all along was simply not possible unless I WAS THE ONE TO ABANDON.
He was not not an abandoner. All along I was afraid of my own abandonment of myself, and of abandoning him. Because I knew how to be abandoned, I knew how to abandon others… I saw so clearly that this fight was within me.
The mind is super tricky isn’t it?
So I am slowing down more each day with myself. I have seen all my skeletons, and I have no need to hide them anymore.
Discovering this has been totally invaluable for all my relationships, not just my intimate partnership – with parents, siblings, business partners…
I imagine I will always be learning how to exist in life without self-betrayal, but learning through this experience gave me the internal blueprint of interdependence. Similar to childbirth, it’s difficult to understand until you’ve gone through it.
To love myself without expectation. To trust myself fully. To rest into my own innate wisdom.
This is where interdependence is born, Where I stop the lineage of manipulation and claim myself as a empowered woman.