Just Checking In: What’s Love Got to Do With It?
The title of this series is ‘Just Checking In’. I will be examining certain areas of personal growth that I’ve been working on where blockages still exist in an effort to finally move past them. Your comments and ideas are always welcome.
We all want this in our lives. We desire this and from an early age we are geared toward the goal of finding love. It is without question the one emotion that over the span of time, throughout all ages and regardless of culture renders and defines us as human.
From the earliest forms of the written word and likely beyond songs and scripture are dedicated to finding and losing the love of your life.
Broken hearts have poured out their souls of their loss, just as those having been bitten by love and are drunk with it, espouse its beauty.
Present day love is a very marketable emotion. Valentines Day looms ever closer and if you don’t get your loved one something on this day then surely, the relationship is doomed. Having been single for the better part of an eon, personally this day is simply one of many. Still, it is an interesting and a curious notion that this day has been marked on our calendars to honour love, should we be so fortunate to have found it.
Of course, I have love in my life…just not THAT kind of love.
Have I been in love? Oh yes, and well I remember surrendering to it. Still, I never gave in to it completely, though I did not know this at the time.
Where does love start? How do we learn of its nature? Are we born with it or does it need to be nurtured?
It begins with the relationship that considerable studies aside, is deemed to be of the utmost importance in our development. So important that it will likely set the stage and affect your intimate relations throughout the course of your lifetime.
I am speaking of the relationship we have with our parents. The influence this has on us is paramount in many cases to our success in relations as we mature.
What happens though, when this relationship is not the safe and trusting space required for a child to build upon?
Sigmund Freud tore into human sexuality and love in a big way back in the 1800’s. I am not certain if he was the first to look at love in a scientific manner. Likely not, though he did and still does have an enormous impact on how we view these two elements.
I’ve read books and essays over the years by many in this field trying to understand just where my development, or lack thereof, placed me on this hierarchy.
From my own experience of growing up in an abusive home, I do believe that love is something we are born with. I think it is embedded in our DNA along with a host of other memories and emotions, good and bad. How we respond to our environment and what dominates our psyche varies for all of us, though there are generalities that can be markers in terms of stunted personal growth regarding our sexuality and how we view ourselves.
Despite my father’s abuses and rejection, I began at an early age trying to do things that he would find favorable in order to garner his praise. His behaviour was directed at our entire family and not just myself. It is how we react to certain occurrences individually that influence our choices later in life.
This pattern of seeking praise would develop into a heart-breaking scenario for me. I would try in vain to become the woman I thought my love interest wanted. There was no regard for self as I never really developed that sense nor was it nurtured.
Over the years I have been able to earmark when and where various portions of my emotional growth and well-being became stunted or stopped entirely. Quite often when a trauma break occurs, if it is not remedied, then it will play itself out repeatedly in various forms.
Even in the workplace the desire to do a fabulous job and be praised for it has often come into play. So that singular behaviour pattern that developed in my youth has had an incredibly negative impact on many facets of my life. It impacted friendships at an early age as well.
For example, in high school I wanted desperately to be accepted so I started to smoke. Not a good habit and detrimental to good health. When I met other girls who I found really cool I would parrot certain behaviours wanting to be like my counterparts. And I suspect that we all do this to some degree and that is simply an aspect of growing up on many levels.
For me, however, this behavioural pattern became exaggerated in my early 20’s and would manifest itself in at times, very dangerous actions on my part.
At the age of 28 I decided to walk away from love entirely. I shut down my sexual self completely deciding that it was just not to be and I threw away the key. I focused on motherhood, friendships and career exclusively for the next 25 years. Along the way though, I began to seek out assistance and therapy as memories began to emerge. Painful and devastating their impact was at times brutal. Through this though, a woman with very tender sensibilities and a heart so full to bursting evolved and grew.
Today as ready as I feel am to enter into a loving relationship, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve left it too late and what should I expect. What I’ve come to realize as well, is that many people, despite having rough beginnings, go on to find deeply satisfying relationships.
There are those too, who have fabulous beginnings and yet they find themselves in a relationship that ends in heart-break.
Once cut, the scars for many of us are hard to heal. While some of us learn from these experiences, there are those of us that repeat this pattern letting the scars build at times to the point where we don’t want to feel anything anymore.
What I do know as I close this first chapter of this series, is that I love the woman I’ve become and who continues to evolve. And that’s where it starts really.
The last ten years of my father’s life, I really had no contact with him. I was with him when he died though. I felt it was necessary let him know that I had forgiven him.
Forgiveness is necessary. It is a balm that will soothe the battle scars surrounding the heart.
And sitting beside him as his life was drawing to a close, I told him that I’d forgiven him. That I needed to do this so that I could move on. Tears fell that day and an apology was offered and accepted. I held his hand and he uttered those words that so rarely I had heard in my lifetime. ‘I love you, girl.’
It didn’t make me feel wonderful, it didn’t even make me feel good. In fact, it simply made me feel sad. He’d never gotten to know me or is granddaughter. He’d never really gotten to know any of his children. Not really. In truth, I never really knew the man either.
There was a time when wanting to talk to my dad about anything of a personal nature illicited such fear that I would at times begin to shake uncontrollably. Too often that voice of mine, when it tried so desperately to be heard, was shot down by this man with contempt and ridicule. The message quite simply was I didn’t matter.
His death left many questions that will never be answered and I can’t dwell on them. I can only move on and continue to grown and accept the love that I know is there and am deserving of.
What I need to work on is verbalizing my emotions. I can write them down. I’ve become accustomed to it and actually really good at it. But to have someone standing before me, where I want to express myself, the words that roll off the tongue are often pitiful. There is still that fear that I will be ridiculed for feeling what I do. And that is one of the blockages that still exists.
Dealing with things on a daily basis has no script and so all I can do is push through. I’ve done some excellent workshops to assist with this process and will continue to work at this.
Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day.