I am getting emotional.
My last depression episode changed my personality in a weird way. I am less… who I used to be. And I am more…
not who I used to be. I am less harsh on myself and on people. I stopped being too demanding when it comes to my abilities. I am less of a perfectionist. I am more “Let’s do it and fix it along the way.” I am more “It’s not good, for now, but I am so freaky sure it will get better.” And the weirdest thing of all is I am more open to feelings.
Yes my people.
I am more open to feelings.
That’s the reason why tonight I want to talk about relationships, what I do not usually do. If you think you will get some juicy details about my love or sex life, please. Please. Please. Just close the tab and go back to whatever you were doing before clicking on the link to this post. It is not about me being in love. It is more about the way I handle love relationships.
I had a wonderful conversation a few days ago with two of my favorite people. You guys know who you are, and I really want to thank you for having been there, through all this, supporting and cheering me up. Thank you for being in my most intimate circle.
I told you guys. I am getting emotional. But let’s get back to business.
I had a wonderful conversation a few days ago with two of my favorite people, and we were talking about relationships. It was ignited by some affirmation I saw on Instagram and reposted in my story. It basically said this:
Don’t worry, I will not be a sissy here. If you are a man and you read me on a regular basis, then you know what I think about all these women stuff. I do not care. So I will not tackle the topic from that angle. What I will talk about is unresolved issues. Let me say it again.
I am doing a lot of introspection lately, and I am noticing a few things I have to fix in my personality. It is never easy to admit we have flaws, especially tragic ones. The discussion triggered by that affirmation was an eye-opener to me. Talking with a man and a woman about the way I experienced my love relationships and all the shit I went through was… good. No. Great.
I realized I was messing up because of the many unresolved issues I have. And it goes way back to when I was very, very young. The way I saw my parents handling their relationship, what was said to me about love when I was a teenager, the books I read (can someone burn Harlequins and everything by Barbara Cartland?), the lyrics of the songs I used to listen, and so on and so forth.
Bottom line is I am flawed.
And after each and every break up, I thought all the drama went down the drain with it but it never did. Those people were not even part of the major part of the drama. I was partnering with the same kind of men because of what I needed. I needed to be useful. I realized this morning, strolling in a market with my mother, that I really thought I couldn’t be loved or accepted if I was not useful. I thought me being useful would make the person stay with me. So I was always 0_o when the guy was like “Girl, I am done”, or when he cheated, or when he hurt me, or whatever else I went through. I really thought being useful was sheltering me from all the bad things that could happen. And I genuinely thought they were missing something, not giving me the spot I wrongly thought I deserved.
The thing is being in a relationship to be useful was me putting myself in a position where I was inferior to the person I was with. I needed the person more than he needed me. Why? Because I needed to be there for him more than he needed me to be there for him. Either the problems I was working to resolve did not really matter to him, or he was not ready to work on them, or he did not even notice they existed. And to tell you the truth guys, a problem is definitely resolved only when the person having the problem takes the bull by the horns and really want it to be resolved for good. Meaning for-FUCKING-ever. And that was usually not the case.
So I was useful but useless at the same time.
I stayed in a relationship for years. Literally. Years. I took all the shit one cannot even start to imagine. Why? Because I focused on the resolution of a problem. Him growing up and trhiving thanks to the potential I was seeing in him. Please people. Please. Never date potential. It is a killer. Date achievements. Potential may never materialize. Do not even waste one second of your life on potential.
So I stayed. Suffered humiliation, unthinkable pain, with no resentment. Because I was convinced once the problem I detected would be resolved, everything would be fine. And the more time it took, the more I thought I was not efficient enough. Not good enough. Not worthy enough. Not beautiful enough. Not smart enough. It was my fault. I was there to solve a problem but nothing changed. It was my fault. It was my fault if he was not happy. It was my fault if he was abusive. It was my fault if he cheated, or lied, or disrespected me. I was not working hard enough.
When I (FINALLY) left him, I thought everything would be fine. It took years to heal. Years of me being with myself, working on my self-esteem, working on myself to become the person you guys know today. It took years of wounds licking to appease the pain and get on my feet. And when I started dating again, I thought everything would be different. The guys were more mature, more respectful, more kind, more gentle, more not-potential-only, more… everything. They were different to the point I thought I moved on. Truth is they were as broken as all those I left behind me. Each of them in his own way. And I was there to fix it. No matter how different they were, they all had a common denominator. Brokenness.
I was the problem. Not them. They were never the problem.
I could run around the world, change scenery and entourage, but my own brokenness never left me, and it matched theirs. My unresolved issue was part of me. I needed to be a provider, so I was always attracted to people who needed me. But as I said, I needed them more.
A woman should stand by her man. She is his strength, the shadow behind him. Always.
Please, never teach that to your daughters. Or sisters. Or even friends.
You cannot imagine how much it can mess up their lives. I do not feel like a woman, but teaching is teaching. I was taught that just as I was taught English. It is not my first language but it is now part of me to the point that I think and better express my feelings in English. That was taught to me through books, music, family dynamics and so much more. It broke me even before I started thinking of having a boyfriend. I was taught to be the provider, that everything was my fault, that I was the one to fix stuff for my men to be ok, and if they weren’t, I was not working hard enough.
This is my own unresolved issue. It may not be yours. But from what I observed, we almost have at least one. Fix it. Yourself.
No one else but me can fix my existential issues. Why? Because if anyone tries, they will find themselves in the same position I was in: trying to fix things for someone who will not take the bull by the horns. They will lick the wound, but never heal it. And they will be drowned trying to fix me, drowned by a problem that is not theirs, and that will not kill anyone else but them. Why? Useless perpetual efforts. It will drain them, just like I used to be drained. Tt will break them more than they already are because they will be mad at themselves for not being smart enough or worthy enough to be able to solve the problem. It will affect their self-esteem.
No one should be there to make anyone else happy. Happiness may be kind of enhanced by the presence of someone else, but that presence should not be the source of happiness. No one can make me happy if I don’t know myself what makes me happy, how to be happy and how to enjoy happiness in a healthy way. Unhealthy happiness and dependance is often mistaken for strong attachment, or even love.
Me letting anyone else than myself fix my issues is me putting my happiness in their hands. They become the guardian of my well-being. My emotional state will entirely depend on them and they will be to blame if I am not ok. Just as I was blamed or blaming myself a few years back. And again. And again. And again.
Funny thing is these men never asked me for anything. I was attracted to their flaw, and once I paired with them I went into fixing-mode without even thinking. I had to be useful, fix them and make them happy to be happy. This is my unresolved issue.
I realized I had that problem during the conversation I mentioned earlier when the woman said “Women are raised to be provider, no matter what”, and the guy said “But it is wrong. I will never let my woman go through that. I am here to shelter her, protect her, be there for her. I am here for her not to be worried.” I was like Jeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzz!!! How is it that I never realized that was the problem, and how is it that I never stumbled on a guy that was not broken, that did not need me in one way or the other?
So now I am working on that unresolved issue. And several others. But this one is the only one I wanted to tackle tonight. Maybe because it is the one I am starting with. Or maybe because of the enlightnening moment I had surrounded by pieces of cloth at the market this afternoon.
Do not get me wrong here people. I am still against getting married. Opening that window for you guys to peep in does not mean I am looking for Prince Charming. The only thing I am looking for now is money. If in the process I stumble on a Prince Charming type of guy, I may consider his case, but only if my issue is resolved. And he may have a chance to last long if he never makes the mistake of putting a knee down and asking me to marry him.
Oh! One of my exes reminded me recently of him asking me to marry him and me bursting into tears and breaking up on the spot. I totally forgot about that episode of my life. I laughed so hard meeeeen! I have to admit it was not that funny to him… Maybe I will tell that story one day. Who knows?
PS: the affirmation I posted earlier is a quotation from an episode of the podcast Hey Girl, a podcast I strongly recommend. The episode is about self-care, boundaries, and showing up as our best selves.
Photo: Global Africa Chicago
Hello, my name is Befoune and I have unresolved issues. Share if you enjoyed reading this text. And share even if it is not the case. I need you to cheer me. For real.