Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It was a little more than a month ago that Shelly asked if I would like to be a guest blogger here.. I loved the idea, and I really struggled with what to write. Last night, it finally hit me. The struggle is actually my feelings about the book Respect-me R.U.L.E.S.
I love it, and I hate it.
Let me explain.
Four years ago, I was in a marriage that was physically and emotionally abusive, and I didn't know it. I refused to believe it. I sat with a church leader who showed me a list of behaviors that constituted abuse, and I knew I had experienced everything on the list, but I also knew it wasn't abuse. I knew I deserved it. Really, I knew a lot of things that simply weren't true... about me, about him, about love, about relationships.
I had been taught since I was very young that love = sacrifice. Love is always patient, kind, long-suffering. Love is never selfish, and thinking about myself or what I wanted was selfish. I believed it was my job to never get angry or offended - no matter what other people did. I believed that no matter what anyone else did to me, I had to take it. At the same time, I was angry, depressed, anxious and very suicidal. (And strangely enough, I used those things as just more "proof" that I deserved to be abused.)
I started going to therapy. When asked what my goals for therapy were, I actually said, "I want you to help me not be angry anymore. I want you to teach me how to just take it like I should."
I'm very grateful for what he said next, "Then you better leave now and go find a new therapist. I will NOT be a part of that."
That was the beginning of my journey. I went through a lot of therapy, read a lot of books, did a lot of soul-searching, crying, yelling, screaming, and fighting to regain my life. Last year, in my wanderings, I found the book, Respect-me R.U.L.E.S.
It disagreed with everything I believed about relationships. It talked about boundaries. It talked about standing up for myself. It talked about a lot of things that I didn't understand, and I completely disagreed with. I hated it.
It also gave me hope for something I had never known. Maybe one day, I would be able to stand up for myself. I could have different relationships, because my marriage was not the only place that I felt used, angry, or abused. (I did eventually learn to call abuse, abuse, but it took a while.) I felt used in most of my relationships. I knew that people cared about me. I understood that most people didn't want to hurt me, but I didn't understand how to do it differently. In many ways, I didn't understand that there was another possibility. The book gave me specific suggestions and ideas, and got me thinking about things differently. I loved it.
I still feel that same love-hate towards the book. My copy is beat up. I have actually thrown it across the room, and cried out in frustration, "I SO don't want to have to know this stuff!"
Lately, respecting me is becoming a little more natural to me. I'm very different from when I started this journey. I've come to realize that I don't "have to" know anything, however I want a better life. By becoming aware of what is, I'm creating the life I've always wanted.
I'm still in the process of discovering me. I have so much to learn. I've also come SO far, and I'm excited to share some of my journey with all of you.
A little bit about me: I love horses and nature. My horse, Sunny, pretty much saved my life by teaching me how to trust another being and how to ask for what I wanted. I'm divorced. I love funny movies and books that make me think. If you want to know anything else, you're welcome to visit my personal blog. I'm pretty open over there about whatever pops into my head.