Why I’m Happy, My Husband Pointed Out My Worst Quality
(And why it’s not a BAD thing.)
For the 12 years before marrying my husband, Luke, I jumped from one unhealthy relationship to another.
I always had something missing in every relationship.
I had something missing alright, but it wasn’t the need for a boyfriend.
I needed to find meaning in my life and work through the issues which were causing me to be so lonely and miserable.
The importance of being alone
I have had some DARK times in the past half decade. I lost my father, lost my sense of identity, and for a short while, lost hope that I could ever be happy or find a healthy connection with another human being. I would push people away like it was my job, but I never understood I WAS PUSHING myself away from those people by being destructively passive-aggressive, which not only brought the worst out in myself but also brought out the worst in my partners.
Why was I destructively passive aggressive? Well, because for the majority of my relationships I was depressed, anxious, unhappy, and suffering from an eating disorder. As well, every time I got out of a relationship, I would vow that I would take the time to be alone and deal with myself.
I pledged to everyone (except myself, apparently) that I would soul search and I wouldn’t make the same mistake with the next partner.
Now, If you’re anything like I am, you would do just about anything to get outside of your head. But to “deal with your stuff” — you gotta sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it if you REALLY want to grow.
So, if there’s one thing I have learned it’s this: The only way you can start to soul search is to become comfortable with being alone.
Along came Luke
When I first met my husband, it was like all other connections go.
You know what I mean, right? I’m talking about that period when the other person can have no faults and do no wrong — and neither can you.
The building blocks for “false happiness” — according to the relationships, I was used to cultivating.
Then we had our first disagreement, and his reaction wasn’t like the others I had always encountered in the past: he didn’t nurture my need to feel like a victim.
I was like…
Of course, I didn’t realise all of this at first, but my husband’s immediate call to action about my self-victimisation was HUGE for me. What I never actually realised before was this: I NEEDED to be a victim
Everything was always happening TO me. I convinced myself that I had zero control over the unfolding of my life and relationships, which honestly, is funny (and not in a “haha” kind of way) considering just how much CONTROL I needed to (feel) I had over everybody else.
At first, I didn’t know how to feel about how Luke had reacted to me, but then I reflected and played the conversation back and forth in my mind. I realised that I turned what he had intended to be a funny comment to one that felt like I was emotionally blindsided and wounded.
Much like I couldn’t process what had happened, neither could Luke. He immediately said (and I will never forget this),
It seems, to me, like you’re playing a bit of a victim right now, Erin.
I was like…
However, he was right.
It wasn’t immediate, but in the days and weeks following that conversation, I began to evaluate my past relationships.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t using Post-It’s to create flow charts of all my previous relationships (romantic or otherwise) trying to draw connections between my actions and why things hadn’t worked out.
However, it was a major Oprah-style “Aha!” moment for me.
I also refused to see this quality as something I forced myself into not like about myself. I had learned to be more forgiving of my self-criticisms (and judgments toward others) on the outside.
I had learned how to be alone with myself and allow the universe to provide me with limitless possibilities (if I let it be so).
However, this victim crap was the quality that had sabotaged so much of my happiness for far too long.
The power of knowing my worst quality
Have you ever noticed that throughout life we often end up hurting the people we love the most?
Do you ever really stop and think about why this is?
Or do you spend too much time focusing your battle scars on looking at the situation objectively?
The truth is, we’re all walking around bruised and battered in this life. However, some of us embrace these scars, and some of us walk around projecting them onto others and repeating cycles of pain and emotional turmoil, subconsciously or not.
I might sound like I’m back-stepping a bit here, but it wasn’t my fault when I was projecting and playing a victim in the past. I was only ignorant about my behaviour. However, now that I know I possess this quality, and have the awesome responsibility of not only being aware of it but also for making sure it doesn’t harm myself or anybody I love in the future.
With great responsibility comes great power.
Yes, I said that the way I meant it to read.
The very fact that we are all responsible for our happiness gives us a tremendous amount of power to cultivate it. Being given the responsibility of owning my unsavoury habit of playing the victim in emotional situations has forced me to harness the potential not only to choose NOT to be a victim but also the power to have a more profound and more insightful connection with the people I care about the most.
Insight is one of (if not) the most valuable and powerful things a person can have in their life. So, if someone cares for you enough to let you know when you lack crucial insight, it’s important to take the time to sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it.If someone cares for you enough to let you know when you lack crucial insight, it's important to take the time to sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it. Click To Tweet
Has anyone you love ever told you a harsh truth about yourself? Do you believe that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind? What’s one harsh truth about yourself that has prompted a significant change in your life?
This post originally appeared on BeetsPerMinute (my old blog!).