Excerpt from 'A Loving Letter to My Ex'
It’s important you understand that I’ve written this to you, not in the hope of reconciliation or even thanks, but from a position of compassion and love. One human being offering a friendly hand to another.
If you’re reading this then it’s very likely that all is not well. One relationship after another has failed, your barriers have grown thicker, you feel more separated from the world, happiness and peace of mind seem more out of reach now than ever.
I can’t help you directly of course. All I can do is gently point out a possible exit from your cycle of misery. I do this from the perspective of someone who has been close to you, who cares about you, who has witnessed your anguish eye-to-eye, and who has really tried to fathom the primary cause of that suffering. Any insights I may have gained have only become clear after eventually healing myself which has finally leant me some much needed clarity, and also through the benefit of distance, time, compassion, much searching, and much thought.
I could find no peace of mind for myself without at least trying to understand the mental chaos that I have felt over our time together. Over the past few months I’ve spent a vast amount of time, read many books, been on forums of all kinds (not to vent, but to listen), spoken to many people who’ve been through similar events, trying to make sense of the agony, confusion and contradictions present during and after our relationship.
Please know that I’m writing this from a place of love because some of what I’ve got to say here will very likely hurt like hell. But if you’re ever going to find peace of mind, to thrive rather than just exist, to feel easy joy instead of numbness, to connect rather than to hide, to truly love yourself and others, then I believe you’re gonna have to face this at some point.
I have seen you bravely endure this awful relentless flipping between either feeling like a victim or feeling like a monster, between feeling alone or feeling crowded, between idealising someone and loathing them, between feeling loved or feeling unloveable. But I am convinced this nightmare can be stopped for good. It really can. So here goes:
It seems you have a deep traumatic wound buried within you. How it was originally created is something only you will know or be able to discover. This wound is so painful that a protective-self fortress has been built around it. I believe this protective-self has been masquerading as your real identity for quite some time. Most people, including yourself sometimes, believe it is the real you. But it is not the real you. It is a construction. A most-of-the-time functioning, tightly-controlled, scared, charming, but disconnected construction. There is a huge chasm dividing this protective-self from your true, loving, happy core self. You try to fill this void with many external validations, all of which keep you nicely distracted for a while, but nothing really ever makes you truly happy because the real solution to this puzzle was always and only ever inside you.
The one distraction that works best is ‘the new relationship’. For a short while it feels wonderful, the dopamine flows ecstatically, and it appears to be the answer you’ve been searching for. You regale your new partner with stories of abandonment and awful ex’s. The relationship appears to be working very well for you both. And it is, at first, because everyone’s getting something nice. He feels like your saviour and you feel like you’ve finally been saved.
But suddenly, without warning, the feelings of elation are gone. You try not to panic, ‘It’s OK,’ you tell yourself, ‘they’ll soon return.’ But they never do. Very soon, the whole affair fails to fulfil its promise because nothing can ever fill the abyss which is bottomless. And so you quickly feel discontented again which produces confusion, hurt and distance in the relationship.
New partners will either run from this dissonance, leaving you feeling the victim of yet another abandonment, or they will stick around, like I did, and slowly have the life and joy sucked out of them, pouring every last drop of their happiness into the hungry void. This makes you feel like a monster as you end up despising your ailing partner for being such a pathetic sap whilst still not making you feel any better. Any subsequent outburst by your disoriented, drained partner is confirmation to you that he was clearly to blame for your continuing misery. ‘There you go…he’s another needy, angry, suffocating, weak, hysterical fool! That’s why I’m still suffering. Why do I always either get abandoned or end up with jerks like that?’.
So now you can tell the world of how he made the situation intolerable for you with his awful [insert any credible character flaw here] behaviour. Because to face the truth, that the love, the same love which had buoyed you up to incredible heights at the start, now leaves you feeling as empty as ever, is just too bizarre for you or anyone to comprehend.
But you’ll do this over and over and over, because ‘new love’ has become your addiction. Your heroine.
None of this is your fault of course, but you do need to take responsibility at some point for the considerable impact all this stuff has on those around you, especially those who get close to you. They are destined to suffer a portion of your pain too. I naively thought that just staying calm, present, and showing you unconditional love would make things better, but I can see now that no amount of that was ever going to fill that insatiable emptiness. This has been both my torture and my lesson.
So be in no doubt that in this process you do steal something quite fundamental from those romantically in love with you. And so, quietly and unknowingly, your personal wound is spread.
This miserable hamster wheel will keep you restlessly unhappy forever unless you decide to break the cycle and get some proper professional help. Heaven knows it won’t be easy because you’ll finally have to confront the enormous hurt that your protective-self has been hiding from you all this time. The protective-self is a stubborn and cunning creature which will do absolutely anything to divert your attention from the root cause of your misery. But the final prize is that you will eventually rediscover your core loving-self, thus reuniting mind, body, and soul. Only then will you properly be able to love yourself and thence others. However tough that long, difficult homeward journey is, it must surely be worth the battle.
I hope this helps,