I don’t know if it is the experience of heading into a New Year, but remnants and memories from the past, most especially my past relationship keep popping into my mind over the past few days. I have maintained friendship with my ex partner’s brother in law that most often does not involve any discussion about my ex but today he came into the conversation. My friend was saying he admired my ex’s ability to move forward and do exactly what he wanted to do in life, regardless of how it hurt others.
I do realise that this is a positive quality. It shows a healthy narcissism. In this relationship I often did things he wanted to do, even though it wasn’t the best thing for me, just for the sake of togetherness. I loved him a lot and was willing to make some sacrifices, he wasn’t. Of course things imploded and it wasn’t only that, it was my whole style of being, in the end that didn’t suit my ex and so he chose to shut the door.
Having the door shut on me was very painful for at least 18 months. I had a lot invested in the relationship, had moved and given up the place I lived to go travelling and when he broke it off I was away visiting family for Christmas and New Year, and all of this occurred on the very painful anniversary of my father’s death. It felt like being exiled and there was huge fight with my Mum as I tried to express grief and was basically told to get over it.
I’ve done a lot of grieving over the five years since. I have had to spend a lot of time on my own and get to know myself well. I have had to deal with terrible feelings of not being good enough, pain at being discarded (again). I think am nearly fully recovered, but today when my ex enters the conversation I find myself, yet again having to swallow uncomfortable truths and not only to do with this relationship but with all the relationships in which I have put my life on hold out of care for or a desire to be close to someone who was going through loneliness and difficulties.
Yesterday I had a major blow up about a family member ignoring my on my dead sister’s birthday. I have not been able to express any grief much with this particular person, only been told my sister would not want me to grieve. One thing is true she would be wanting me to be happy and getting on with my life, but not to be able to express my grief and work through it with family had been fucking hard and painful for my body which has buried so much.
Yesterday was her birthday and Mum wanted me to go to visit her memorial. I just could not do it as I wasn’t feeling very well. I have been so emptied out by the past four years of sickness, psychiatric stints and illness in female family members that I just had to say no. But I still got very upset when I was told my nephews had made contact with my Mum and not with me.
Today I have accepted it. There is nowhere much to go with my family to express past pain, my ex didn’t want to know about it and saw it as an impediment. At least he was clear about his capacity. The alternative when I met him was to be alone and I wasn’t strong enough to choose that option at the time, after having spent a few years in almost total isolation following my marriage, (plus at the outset he lied and said he would support me through anything). I had hoped for compassion, support and empathy. I didn’t get it.
The ending of this relationship (the anniversary of which in about 10 days) was, I see now, a good if painful thing I had to go through. I am getting pretty clear messages at the moment that I need to take care of me, I tend to be the person in the family who is the siphon for all of the family grief, my therapist pointed out yesterday. To be honest I am sick to death of the role and the burden. I’ve never been very good at shutting the door on things. But it seems to me at present that that is what the universe is demanding of me.
I have done enough inner work now to know that the resolution of loss lies in feeling the grief associated with it (the personal grief I feel, as opposed to the collective grief I carry and express as an empath). The grief over my sister goes back to very early pain of having her go away when I was 3 and then have her own family. I missed her like crazy and when she did return it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships as she encouraged me to drink alcohol which really didn’t agree with me. She then became very ill with a cerebral bleed and was in a coma for some time.
After her haemorraghe, breakdown, abandonment by her husband and my father’s death I felt a responsibility to be there for her. I came back to Australia after an attempt to make a new life in the UK with my then husband. It wasn’t a healthy choice and I knew that at the time and yet my guilt and love and sense of responsibility caused me to bury what I needed.
I see now that I attracted a relationship with someone who was living out the shadow qualities that I most needed. My last partner (not my husband) had a strong Sun Mars aspect and my Mars is debilitated by Saturn. He didn’t understand my sacrificial, duty bond self and I see why now. He was selfish in a way I could not be. He also didn’t want to support me in the grief work that would be necessary for me to undergo the letting go process. His leaving was the nail in an already nail filled coffin.
Today I found the memories of my ex trying to pop their head around the door of my consciousness. While I don’t want to dis anything I know I need to keep the focus on moving forward and being present for me.
He blamed me a lot at the end of the relationship and pointed out all the ways in which I was wanting and its taken four years of therapy to see it wasn’t my fault. We just didn’t fit.
Today I am on my own. I don’t have any huge yearning for another relationship with a man. Its not like I am against it but I know that I can survive alone. At times it is lonely but its a hell of a lot less lonely than being with someone that just doesn’t “get” you.
I’m not even sure if all of this rumination even deserves a blog but for some reason I feel the need to express it. I am beginning to realise that sometimes we need to close the door on the past. It doesn’t mean we deny what is behind the door but we do at some point have to make a decision not to be dominated by it. Its perhaps not even a decision really its just what happens when we feel finally that the issue has been resolved and reached a natural conclusion.
In a few days time we have the annual Sun Pluto conjunction. I was given a bunch of flowers the other day and they were half dead by the time I received them. Meditating on them I was thinking of how nature lets forms decay. It doesn’t hold onto them. It allows them to break down and be transformed. So it should be with us. We need to allow the processes of shedding, grieving and letting go, without holding on too tightly. As William Blake wrote its the same with what is good and brings us joy.
He who binds to himself a joy
Doth the winged thing destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternities sunrise
I feel this is not only true for joy but for other emotions and experiences too. The young girl who could close the door and held on to her pain is now transforming in me, into a woman who can gaze upon it lightly and let it go. Today I feel her gently closing the door to be alone for a time with the feeling of wholeness that comes only through hard won acceptance.