Being a psychology and sociology professor, I understand the importance of both nature and nurture. Nature is our biological inheritance and how our genes are affecting our behavior. Nurture is environmental and says we are more influenced in our behavior by things that happen to us in our environment. When this concept was first introduced in in the mid 1800’s, there was a debate as to which one of these is the basis for our behavior and was coined nature VS. nurture. Now of course, we know that both our genes and our environment affect us with the only question being which is more influential in our lives. I believe (and this is just my personal theory) nurture is much more influential than nature. I believe we’re born with a temperament but that we are ‘socialized’ into our personalities which in, of course, our behaviors reside. I believe experiences are extremely significant and can leave lasting outcomes.
So, why am I lecturing you today? My friend and I were talking at school this morning, and we were talking about the hold Sarge has on me and how I’m struggling with being able to go no contact again. As we were pondering this, she said this to me: “Professor K, when are you going to stop using the REASONS for your co-dependency with Sarge as EXCUSES for your behavior?” Wow. This really intrigued me and I have been thinking about it all day.
First, I know that my being an empath is probably biological…like my eye color. It’s just the way I’ve always been…as if it were bred into me. But, when I start looking at why I can’t let go of Sarge…why I cling to men who are toxic…why I can’t accept what is in front of me, I have to go back to my past, and when I do, I see a pattern evolving:
- Boyfriend #1 – dumped me
- Prom Date #1 – dumped me (the day after the prom…hmmmmmm)
- Psychologist – sexually abused me then simply acted like I didn’t exist when I began to question his behavior
- Hubby #1 – dumped me
- Hubby #2 – dumped me
- Hubby #3 – dumped me
Hmmmmm…see the pattern? I have NEVER ended a relationship on my terms and all of these dumpings, I believe, have made me want SSSOOOO bad to have a truly successful relationship. The commitment. Lasting love. Security knowing that I don’t have to ‘be’ a certain way to be accepted by my partner. I want to be needed back. Wanted back. And when things get tough, I want to be able to come together, not pull apart.
When Sarge and I met, the love bombing was intense. He was everything I had wanted and needed in my life. We had so much fun doing things together, talking, laughing, cuddling, etc. and I was put on a pedestal which made me believe I was his dream as well. He made me feel as if there were no other woman in the world for him. Just me. With all my foibles and all my faults. He was perfect for me and accepted me for who I was. It was an awesome feeling! And I genuinely believed the relationship was going to be my happily ever after.
Of course, you know what happened next. The criticisms. The contemptuousness. The manipulation. The triangulation. The infidelity. The emotional abuse. The physical abuse. It was all there. Yet I welcomed him back after every discard and never lost my emotional connection to him. I’m struggling with that right now. Every text I read from him, (and YES…I AM going to block him…I promise), brings that emotional connection back. Just like that.
So the question is WHY? Why is that connection so powerful for me…for all of us who have been in such relationships? For me, I see my past ‘patterns’ and to be brutally honest, being ‘dumped’ that many times by men I truly loved, makes me feel as if they just threw me away. And what do you throw away? Trash. OK. There it is. I feel like trash. Like I’m not ‘good enough’ to be in a relationship. That I can just be tossed aside while these men move on in their lives.
Is that why I stay? Because I simply can’t stand the thought of being thrown away again? Are my past experiences of being discarded (nurture) paired up with my natural tendency to be an empath? Who can blame me for hanging on? Who can blame me for being co-dependent on this man? Look at what I’ve been through…of course I’ll have hope for ANY relationship I might be in to be successful. Because, in all my 50 years, I haven’t had that. Period.
What’s that you’re saying? That Sarge is toxic? I know! BUT…and there’s always a ‘but’…it was PERFECT in the beginning. EXACTLY what I wanted! I ache for that man who made me feel so accepted and loved and cherished and listened too. He’s in there. Somewhere.
But he’s not. He’s a narcissist. He will never love me as a woman, but only as an object fulfilling his supply needs. The love bombing was fake, but he did it so damn well. So well in fact, that I can’t let go of the dream of getting it back in a sincere way.
But narcissists don’t change, do they? I HAVE to accept this. After I whined to my friend at school (and bless her heart for listening), we began to e-mail. And this is what she reminded me of (word for word):
- He’s already put you $21,000 in debt.
- He falsified a title and basically STOLE another motorcycle from you.
- He gave you HPV, DAMMIT!!!!!
- He CHOKED you and didn’t stop until his son walked in!
“Come on, Profess K! GET MAD!!!!! Say ENOUGH!!!!!”
And I know I need too. I have to come to peace with my past ‘dumpings’ and not let those dictate my behavior in future relationships. I have to STOP using the excuse of my past experiences and look at this situation rationally and for what it is. I have to STOP saying: “Well…I feel bad about myself because these guys dumped me so I can’t help but cling to Sarge.” Bullshit. I CAN help it. I can use the past and learn from it…not hide behind it. So what those men dumped me. It was their loss. It doesn’t make me trash. It makes me 1 of millions who have been dumped in their lives. It’s gonna happen. I married my first hubby way too young…we were doomed from the start. Hubby 2 and I just got too complacent in our marriage and by the time we sought help, it was simply too late. Hubby 3 walked out, but he’s still in my life. We talk everyday and I’ll always love him dearly. High school relationships? OMG! I can’t believe those ended!! And that psychologist. He was a predator…another sociopath and his abuse was HIS problem…I was the victim. I was innocent. Him ‘dumping’ me was the best thing that ever could have happened. The abuse needed to end.
Wow! I’m reading back through this and can’t believe what just came out. I AM NOT TRASH. I DON’T NEED A MAN TO MAKE ME HAPPY. I DON’T DESERVE WHAT SARGE DID, AND I WOULD BE A FOOL TO EVEN THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN. NO MORE EXCUSES. I’m going to be in charge of my future…not sinking in the past. And you know what? Not always feeling as if I’m drowning is going to feel good. Damn good.
This is what I know: you can’t let your past dictate your future. There comes a time where you have to take responsibility for YOUR actions and force yourself to forge a new path. If not, those people that hurt you are going to continue doing so forever. And no one deserves that.