Friday, February 1, 2008

A little reflection

Dr. Will had a great entry the other day about dependent personality disorder. When reading his list of the behaviors associated with this disorder, I was struck by this one:

5. Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends:

– Within one day of her death, you move in with your mother’s sister.
– After a divorce, you submit a dozen profiles to eHarmony to find a new mate as soon as possible.
– As soon as your dog turns three years old, you get a new puppy in preparation for losing the older pet. You always have five dogs.

It made me laugh, as his stuff always does, but it also got me to thinking. We've all known people who just HAVE to be in a relationship. They aren't happy if they are alone. In fact, sometimes they have another possibility waiting in the wings, in case the relationship they're in just doesn't work out. They go from one relationship to another without blinking, and without looking back to see what went wrong, or what part they played in the failure of the relationship.

I used to be that person. I'm actually quite an independent person (maybe sometimes more than I should be), so the dependent personality disorder doesn't apply, but I just didn't do "single." After I got divorced, I always had either a boyfriend or lots of prospects. It's not that I was unhappy by myself, but I think I just wasn't quite sure what I wanted, or how to go about getting it. And I also believe now that I didn't value myself enough to know that I deserved a decent man. So after years of wasting time on philanderers, guys afraid to commit, guys who felt they had to be emotionally and verbally abusive, and guys who were just plain whoredogs, I took some time off.

After the end of my last dysfunctional relationship, I took myself off the market for a while, about a year. No boyfriend, no dates, just me by myself. It got pretty lonely at times. My low point was when I was talking to Dad about retirement, and he told me, "You might be by yourself...you need to plan for that." Ouch, Dad! (He was right, though.) But it gave me time to think about who I was, what I wanted and needed, and to basically get myself grounded. I learned to appreciate being at home instead of going out all the time, I started cooking and found out I enjoyed it, I learned that there were a lot of things that I could do by myself (I carried a computer and monitor up three flights of stairs--it about killed me, but I did it!), and I figured out how to enjoy my solitude. I guess you could say I became comfortable with myself. I had a lot of support from family and friends, but at the end of the day, it was just me.

If I hadn't had that year of solitude, reflection, and at times, loneliness, I don't think I would have been able to be in a real, solid, committed, and actual "grown-up" relationship. I've found that with Ken, and while my year off wasn't always fun, I don't believe I'd be the person I am now, and Ken and I wouldn't be the couple we are now, if I hadn't experienced it.

9 comments:

rdautumnsage said...

I was in a train wreck of a life to be honest...I've talked about it here and there in my journal. There is a reason I sponsor and have a few women who correspond with me about Domestic Abuse.....No one better to do it, than someone who has lived the horror...The thing is I didn't know life was suppose to be any different either. I didn't know how to not be hit....It had its own dependency wrapped up in it. People look at me now and say I can't believe that was ever you....Because after my last break-up....I was covered with so many bruises and once again had fractured ribs , the works..I finally woke up and said enough....

For a little over a years span I was on my own. I wouldn't date or trust another man. I needed to heal, to learn I was more than the worth of having to belong to someone in one shape or another. Then I became angry....Doc will tell you our first year together was hell...it was a long road to realize I could love someone and not allow that dependency to come out. Today....today is a good day....I'm teaching and coaching the lessons I learned. This is just another example of what dependency can be , from another pair of eyes....(Hugs) Indigo

luvrte66 said...

Indigo...Amen, sister. I admire you greatly for turning your bad experiences into helping others deal with similar ordeals. As you've written, how we deal with our past hurts is mostly our own responsibility. Here's to moving forward and not staying mired in the past.

Big hugs,
Beth

jimsulliv3 said...

The first step to any relationship and happiness in life is to learn to love yourself. How can one profess to love another without knowing how to love. It's the healthy first step !

Jimmy

luvrte66 said...

Exactly, Jimmy!

Beth

queeniemart said...

my mom has always needed a man to complete her. She always put men in front of me.....ending up abandoning me in '83 to move across country. I always said i would never be her......my 1st husband walked out on me and my daughter when i was 21. My daughter was 8 months old at the time. I spent the next year alone.....so scary, esp. at that young age. Then i met my current husband. I think it is a good thing for a woman to be able to live her life alone though i would not wish anyone to be alone as they age.
HUGS, lisa

luvrte66 said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that, Lisa, but a quote I love is, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." I really do believe that things happen for a reason, and it's up to us to make the best of whatever cards we've been dealt.

Hugs,
Beth

mpnaz58 said...

Very insightful, on the alone thing.  After my divorce, I wasn't alone either, and though I have a good marriage now, I should have spent some time getting to know me.  I was afraid of being alone, and being lonely.  Its tough to look in the mirror and not only not like what you see, be unwilling to change it.  We've come a long way, baby!
xoxo ~Myra

luvrte66 said...

Myra writes, "We've come a long way, baby!"

Indeed we have! It's never easy to deal with divorce or breakups, but managing to learn from the experience is invaluable.

Beth

fisherkristina said...

Great entry and fantastic wisdom.

Krissy
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink