Deserving of Love

Most of my life I haven’t felt deserving of love. It dawned on me recently about how this probably came to pass. My evil stepmother was not good to my sister and me. She resented us. As time wore on and her true colors came out there were a lot of one-sided fights between her and my dad. Loud, screaming, violent fights. I had to hide out in my room and listen to them.

This manipulative woman was loud, and would scream at my dad calling him all kinds of nasty names and accusing him of various atrocities. She would also call my sister and me nasty names. I had to hear that. Feeling totally powerless. Over and over. My dad would capitulate every time. He would rarely ever raise his voice no matter how loud she screamed. If he stood up for me I never heard it.

The result of this was a feeling that people felt I was worthless and not worthy of love. I spent most of my life trying to show my worth. That I am a good and valuable person. Smart, hard working, etc. But nothing could convince me I was deserving of love.

My mother had her own insecurities which enhanced this feeling for me. She would often complain to me how horrible typical men were, and I could not be one of them. I needed to treat women like they were goddesses if they showed any interest in me.

My mother felt as if her son would not be able to attract a good woman, however she defined that. I have no idea why she felt this way. Perhaps because I was odd. I have always been odd. Whenever there was a woman in my life my mom treated it as a most precious thing that I was so lucky to have, and if the relationship failed it was because of a failure of her son. It was always a man’s fault when a relationship failed. That put a lot of weight on an otherwise insecure young me.

When you put all of that together I never really felt deserving of anyone’s love. Never felt I had any reason to ask for it or to seek something special for me. Any kind of exploration would have been a selfish act. That was where my thinking was early in my life. I had no hope of a woman loving me. Especially not an incredible woman who fulfills my every dream.

In walks my future wife. She doesn’t reject me. At least not the parts I let her see. She cares about me. She showed me love. Sure there are things that were missing, but love was there. I had to hold onto her. If she left me it would be my fault. I could not let everyone down, and let them all think I was a failure. I persevered. I won. She became my bride. I was convinced I was happy, and it was great. The major problems were because of me. All relational problems are because of men. That is what I had been told, and subconsciously had coursing through my veins.

During our marriage I had visions of other women. Women I would read about or heard quips about from other people. These women intrigued me, but they seemed too good to be true. Like characters in a movie. They were not real. I was convinced that the best I could possibly hope for was my wife. She was a picture perfect, text book wife. These other thoughts didn’t add up to reality, and I needed to ignore them.

“It’s nice to meet you Meredith.” I said when I met her for the first time. Completely unaware at the time that I would embark on a six month affair with her almost three years later. A period of intense self discovery. It was with Meredith that I learned the truth about me, and about my expectations and upbringing.

She loved me for me. Not for who I projected to be. She loved me when she had no right or need to love me. She loved me even when I actively pushed her away. She loved me when I violated all the rules I assumed one had to do to keep a woman. She loved me because I am worthy of love. Because I am a wonderful man, and can be a gift to the right woman.

She broke the mold for me. Everything I thought about myself in terms of love was wrong. It was tainted by my upbringing and it was wrong. Meredith showed me that there is a woman out there for me who fulfills my desires. That a woman like that can love me. Will love me because of my oddness. Because of my desires. That I don’t need to be somebody else. I am good enough. More than good enough. I am actually a gift to the right woman when I am myself. Not to insert too much of my ego but I am a wonderful man. I just need the right partner.

Meredith will never know how much she changed me. She helped me overcome decades of insecurities. Forever. It would be nice to send her a thank you, but not prudent.

Now my life moves forward with new knowledge that there are women out there who do fulfill me. That I am an attractive person to them, and that I am worthy of love from such a woman. It is not so strange now that I have so quickly stumbled upon another woman. The logjam in my brain is gone. I have changed. I have grown. I am a new man.

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9 thoughts on “Deserving of Love

  1. We are all a product of our upbringing, and some of that ‘damage’, no matter how well-meaning it might be at the time, is often irreversible. Understanding it is key to being able to work with it, and find some peace with it an to lead a better life. Perhaps this is what your counsellor should have been focusing on with you to enable you to understand your current situation. If anything, it sounds like it is helping you to understand a little bit more about the choices you have made, and the direction things are going in now.

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  2. There is a form of therapy called EMDR. According to a relative of mine who is a therapist it is used to help you find those capsules of pain that you have locked away in your brain and cannot get to. There is something almost magical about this type of therapy because it does unlock a lot of those hidden memories. Your description of your stepmother is why you want to be in the dominant position in a relationship. The other feels too frightening and to powerless. Before you embark on any other relationships you need to get yourself into some serious therapy. You will probably always want the kind of relationship you are missing with your wife but before you can become a whole human being you need to go back and look at those memories. The therapy does not remove them but it makes them so much less painful but you can finally come to terms with them. Instead of sharing your liaisons I think this is the important information you need to share with your wife and why your marriage no longer works for you. I think she is bright enough to understand that your childhood is sitting right there on your shoulder and until you get that straightened out nothing else matters.

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  3. “Now my life moves forward with new knowledge that there are women out there who do fulfill me. That I am an attractive person to them, and that I am worthy of love from such a woman. It is not so strange now that I have so quickly stumbled upon another woman. The logjam in my brain is gone. I have changed. I have grown. I am a new man.”

    Have you?

    You seem to be looking for validation and fulfillment of yourself as worthwhile and lovable in other people instead of digging deep to find it within yourself. As such, it remains outside of your control to set a value for yourself independent of these other influences.

    There’s a bit of a Catch-22 in finding self-esteem and self-confidence in the approval and receptiveness of other people. In this updated pattern, your stepmother and father have been replaced with Meredith and Sydney. Your value (lovability) is still being determined and controlled by others.

    Do you think that is a healthy, sustainable dynamic for you over the long term?

    Do you think you can ever be in control of the love and acceptance you crave when you willingly hand over your power of determination to others?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lynn is right. I’ve found that I needed to step away and spend time totally on my own to really see how much I required validation of my self worth from people and ‘things’ outside of myself. Job title, accomplishments, compliments, attention, feeling needed, etc.

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      1. I would certainly enjoy the time to do that, and I may yet. But I also enjoy the company of a companion. I feel a constant pull from being alone to being with people.

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    2. No idea. I guess we will find our. I’m not handing over my power of determination to others. I’m searching for love. Like many others. I feel you may be reading a bit more into this.

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      1. “I’m not handing over my power of determination to others. I’m searching for love.”

        Revisit these statements in a few year’s time, and perhaps then you will see what is so clear to your audience.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this was a very honest, true post and with this knowledge I think you need to spend some time alone. If you move on to someone else directly after leaving your marriage you will not heal from this but only transfer it onto someone else, who will eventually make you feel unlovable again because that’s how you really feel inside. You’re the only one who can repair that and it will take time.

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