I am the Queen of pushing people away. Vulnerability… it isn’t easy for me. Well… it gets easier and second nature with the people that are closest to me. With my best friends, I can tell them my whole heart and not bat an eyelash. But when I’m hurt or scared…. I turn into freaking Fort Knox. I can’t even help it… it’s just a knee jerk reaction and sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
Growing up as a kid… being vulnerable and crying was the quickest way to getting a beating. So I learned how to lock down my emotions and hold a poker face quite well. Thing is, that quality… doesn’t help in adulthood. Vulnerability can be a superpower. It’s just one that… takes a lot of effort from me. It’s not easy. And I’ve been actively focusing on it. Sometimes it still even happens with Davide.
I feel like so far I’m in the healthiest relationship that I’ve ever been in. While a big part of that is because of how incredible Davide is… I have so much trauma in my past and he has been patient and steadfast with me. He doesn’t abandon me. Never makes me feel not enough, which are huge triggers that I have. He has become just this huge source of comfort and love. Even though, I’ve never really had like a healthy family life… he has become that. He’s the support system I’ve never had. The one person, who ALWAYS has my back, no matter what happens. It’s been so grounding for me, to have someone who takes care of me for a change. Who accepts even the worst things about me.
But… the biggest difference, is me. *I’m* different in this relationship.
The abuse that happened to me as a child, it affects your whole life. It truly does. It’s like you get knocked into this different path in life and become a magnet for more abuse. Sometimes, I wonder what I’d be like if those things hadn’t happened to me. When you’ve been groomed for it, it’s like is just keeps reappearing in your life. In situations, where I was wayyyy too young to even know… it just kept reoccurring to me.
Even in relationships I chose. I look back and see patterns that I was repeating. Early on, my boyfriends were controlling. My first fiancé was crazy possessive, which turned into him being physically abusive. Even after I left that… there was an element of mental or emotional abuse in other relationships. I’ve done so much self work over the years, but when my last relationship ended, was when the biggest chunk of self work happened. I had to realllly face myself and fix everything that I had spent years running from. I had been using my ex and our relationship as a band-aid, relying on someone else to bring me happiness.
To be clear, I’m not at all acting like I’m perfect here. I have made major screwups. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. And back then… pushing people away… that was unparalleled. I remember during the worst fights Josh and I had, where he had completely crushed me… I would walk away and not speak to him for weeks. I’m not proud of that. Or I would break up with him often. I gave up constantly. Pretty much each mistake was a way to run from the trauma, but it wasn’t until I stopped to really fixed the broken pieces of me (which is incredibly hard work) when things began to change. And for that reason, I am super thankful… for everything that happened before. For my mistakes, exes, and heart breaks. I learned something from each situation. I wouldn’t have stopped to face it all… if it hadn’t been for that.
Even when the most perfect guy, just fell into my lap… I pushed him away. lol. I felt like as perfect as he was, there was no way I was going to give up being single just yet. Even after spending a month together, when I realized how much he could hurt me… I didn’t feel ready for a relationship. I didn’t want to be in one. So I told him that it was nice getting to know him, but I was headed back home to The States. I had on such a poker face the entire time, but it was really hard. I just figured it was better to go through the heartbreak then, rather than prolong it… since there was no way we could work out. Back in California, he never stopped calling. He chased me half way across the world. Didn’t take no for an answer. Convinced me that a relationship was the only way to move forward. That he was all in and convinced me that he was so serious he wanted to get married. He stuck around when I was indecisive. No matter what, he hasn’t given up on me and on us. Because of that, now I have the relationship… that I had always dreamed of.
I feel like how I operate in relationships is so much different now. I don’t shut him out the way I did with my exs. While I love Davide deeply, I also know that if something ever happened and we weren’t together anymore… I’d be okay. I don’t want us to end, ever. Yes, it would hurt a lot but I know it’d be okay because he isn’t my source of love and joy. I am.
I had to learn how to love myself deeply, before I could really be a great partner to him. Like be able to look at myself naked in a mirror and be able to say to myself “I love you. I love your heart. I love the way you live your life. I believe in you.” And to truly mean every word. I am genuinely proud of myself. Not in a egotistical way, because there are always things I’m working on and growing in. But because of my background… I never truly was deeply loved or even knew what that would look like… so for me to be where I am today…. where I know myself so deeply and I developed a deep love and respect for Me, it was huge… groundbreaking even. Everything else just fell into place once I figured that out.
Yet… my vice is still pushing people away when I’m scared or hurt. Shutting down. I’m still trying to figure it out. And I’m struggling hard. I do genuinely believe that the quality of your relationships determine the quality of your life. So it’s so frustrating to me… when I want a friendship/relationship to be strong and fun, despite all the other shit that has gone on… but I often instead up hurt. So I shut down. And I think I’m just trying to figure out what it’s going to take for that not to happen anymore.