Today I feel very differently than I normally do when I write this blog. It's been almost three full months since He Who Is In Personal Crisis pushed me away (much like Laura Munson's husband did), and I desperately want this period of uncertainty and exposed vulnerability to end. I'm emotionally exhausted and unable to sleep, and He Who Is In Personal Crisis gets back in town in eight short days. What will happen then?
He and I have been communicating fairly regularly, and I've been holding my ground emotionally -- neither persuading nor begging, as I know that this is not about me and that my happiness is not dependent upon him. It would seem that this strategy has worked thus far, at least to some degree. Maybe my refusal to discuss this period of distance in terms of our relationship has convinced him that he was wrong in demonizing it, and that's why he's letting me in. Irregardless, ever since I took that stand he's been increasingly more in contact, which is nothing if not evidence that he cares about and values me more than he said he did.
Nevertheless, there has been no grand resolution and, as Laura Munson said, "that bastard - consciousness" is trying desperately to remind me of this, to make me worry that his arrival will bring with it nothing good and possibly something very bad. Trying to point out that what he said was meant to damage me, to so wound me that I never spoke to him again. Trying to convince me that he meant what he said -- that his decree was meant to be absorbed and then accepted, and that I should beware.
But I don't buy it now, and I didn't buy it then. I have never truly questioned his love for me. Instead I said, "I know you think it is, but this isn't about me. And I know that you are hurting right now and, therefore, lashing out at me so as to inflict the pain and thereby hurt less. But I don't buy it. Your hurt has little to do with me -- I merely triggered it. And I refuse to throw away this relationship just because you can't see that this is bigger than you know or have accepted. This about your untreated trauma and grief, not me. In fact, only someone for whom you care about as much as those you lost could trigger it."
But there are times when I want to suffer. When I want to be angry, defensive and equally damaging. There are times when I forget that his heart has wounds so deep that no one else can fathom (much less heal) them. There are times when I want to view him as a devil with a "sick need to give love then take it away." (Thank you for that brilliant line, Taylor Swift.) Times when I feel victimized and as if I will never recover from losing him again. When I forget that I am responsible for my own happiness, with or without him. When I see not beauty but willful and arrogant destruction. When I want, I want, I want!
Thank god, then, for research. What they say is true: knowledge is power. To understand what someone is going through is to understand why it isn't personal. To learn about what that person has been through is to be humbled by the thought that you're not sure how you would have survived it. To read about someone else's pain is to be grateful that they entrust you with the heart in which that pain is hidden. At least when that someone else is someone you love more than anyone else, including yourself.
And so understanding itself is therapeutic. It gives us the tools we need to accept life for what it is, and it arms us with the knowledge that is necessary to move forward in a way that is not only healthy but essential in those relationships. It gives us opportunities to interact with those we love more compassionately and also feeling a little freer -- for we can help our loved ones work through their underlying pain, but we can't do so without their help.
Today that is my one small step out of suffering: doing research about what got us here in the first place. I'm humbled by this knowledge and grateful that books were written to impart it.
Trust. Go slow. It's going to be okay...