Those Things You Hate About Your Ex
There’s a song by the Black Keys that goes
something like this:
"Oh, my next girl . . . won’t be anything like my ex-girl . . ."
And I'm here to say,
“Don’t be so sure.”
Because I’ve been on this Ferris Wheel a couple (dozen) times myself.
And I can tell you, if you don’t acknowledge the aspect of yourself that your ex mirrored back to you, you’re setting yourself up for another go on the ride.
It won't matter how much you swear that things will be different. If you don't pause and look inward, then you'd better buckle up.
As Oprah likes to say, “He (or she) is just gonna show up wearing a different pair of pants”
And isn't that really good news?
Relationships can be an arena for growth if you're willing to stand in the centre and know the truth about yourself.
It took me YEARS to accept this.
I wanted the fantasy kind of love. The YOU COMPLETE ME kind of love.
I wanted flowers and cake and round-the-clock adoration.
Romance was the opiate I used to escape all my childhood baggage.
When issues came up, I didn't see the turbulence as an opportunity to evolve or learn something about myself.
I saw it as evidence that something had gone wrong.
Things weren't working because I hadn't found the right guy.
So off I'd go, shopping for Mr. Right.
And I always found him, in one beautiful form after another.
And yet the same dynamics played themselves out over and over again.
After awhile, I realized that the common dominator was ME.
If I didn’t do something about my low sense of worth, my carried shame, my self-rejection, and my absolute lack of boundaries—it wouldn’t matter how amazing my partner was.
I’d never be happy.
Romantic love can’t fill the bottomless pit of your own unmet needs.
But (hurray!) it can certainly reveal them to you.
The truth is, we've all got unhealed issues or limitations from childhood. And our deep need to be whole is often the driving force behind romantic attraction.
This understanding is the cornerstone of Imago Therapy.
If you've never heard of this, then here's a quick intro in my own words:
Imago Therapy is based on the belief that the emotional pain you experienced in childhood is SURE AS SHIT going to come up in your adult relationships.
An “imago" is the image that's stamped into your subconscious that holds all the positive and negative qualities of the humans who raised you.
This becomes the check-list for the romantic partner you're unconsciously looking for.
If you're feeling disheartened right now, I get it.
But I can tell you, from my own experience, that there's HOPE.
As my own coach likes to say, "It doesn't come up to show you what you're stuck with. It comes up to be healed."
Marriage and partnership (and even friendship) seems to be Life's way of offering us an opportunity to work through unresolved issues in order to heal childhood wounds.
Your relationship can be the doorway to a greater awakening if you allow it to be.
This doesn't mean passively accepting unhealthy behaviour. Continuing to stay in a harmful, painful, or abusive relationship in an attempt to better yourself isn't enlightenment. It's co-dependence.
If you're not safe, GET OUT.
You can focus on your inner work when you're in a stable, supportive environment.
Just please don't think that leaving is the answer to the problem.
Because anywhere YOU go, you take your limiting beliefs and vibrational habits with you.
This is the truth I finally arrived at after years of imposing my impossible expectations onto my partners and then blaming them when they couldn't fulfill it.
I started to educate myself—learning about healthy family systems and the importance of boundaries—and as I did, I was able to see my own core issues.
I sought enmeshment instead of interdependence.
I had unhealed trauma from childhood.
I had low self-esteem and expected my partner to fill that gap.
I was overwhelmed by intense emotions.
I had issues with control.
As I began to work on these things, I noticed that all my relationships improved.
But the biggest change? My own relationship with ME. The happiness I had sought from other people was suddenly coming from my own sense of wholeness.
Looking back now, I can see that my love life was actually a path to higher learning—that each relationship was my classroom, each partner my teacher.
I may still have a long way to go, but at least I'm no longer confused.
I'm not looking to someone else to be my salvation.
If you're not there yet, take all the time you need.
Have fun in the playground.
Ride all the rides.
But if you find that you're getting tired of the Merry-Go-Round, then maybe it's time for a change.
Perhaps those things you hate about your ex are really just arrows pointing you home.
Sending you so much love,
For the last nine years, I've been in a relationship with this handsome man. You may know him from my blogs as "Sir James." But what you may not know is that when I met him, I'd already been married twice, had 4 serious, long-term relationships under my belt, and was just recovering from a recent divorce and a love affair
that had flamed hot, torching everything in my life.
Then along came James. For the record, this wasn't a rebound. I didn't confuse him for a knight in shining armour, there to save me from all the pain. I'd done enough work at this point in my life to see him for what he was. A gift. Another opportunity to learn and grow. I sensed that James was a willing partner, someone with whom I could learn how to be in a healthy relationship with, and I was right. People often ask me if he's THE ONE and I honestly can't answer them. I've needed many relationships to become who I am and perhaps I'll need another before this lifetime is done. Or maybe James will. And I'm okay with that. I know for sure that my real love relationship is with my (higher) self and my own part in the Universe. Everything else is whipped cream and frosting. But I promise to let you know how it goes. xo