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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seeking Validation and Love Through Men's Approval

daddy's-girlMy last three relationships have been a complete and total disaster. Above all, I want you to know that all of these men are beautiful people, none of which ever consciously set out to hurt me…I did that all on my own. We are all doing the best we know how, to fulfill what we think we need, and to self-fulfill our core beliefs.

I must be grateful to all of these men, because if they had not played a starring role in my life, which was finally left in a total shambles, I would never have begun to learn who I am at the core, or discovered the part of myself that continuously creates these scenarios, and how I have been hell-bent on setting myself up, to self-sabotage my relationships with men.

My ex-husband, whom I have written about briefly before, who was an abuser, and major dominator, which took me twenty-one painstaking years to escape from, I am ashamed to say.

The next two appeared to be so much different, and I will explain how these two men, who appeared nurturing rather than abusive, fit into the whole picture, and concept of this article in the next article(s), which may help you identify within yourself, this scenario I am about to explain, and how these two men appeared to be the complete flip side of my ex-husband, but still had their part and role to play in my self-sabotaging screen-play, and why I sought them out.

All my life I was raised to believe that we all have choices, and when we make those choices, we must be responsible for the consequences of those choices, which is very true. However, it took me until resent years, and has contributed to one of the biggest shifts, and breakthroughs I have made in my life, when I finally realized, and internalized that I am not a victim of someone else’s making, but of my own.

Although these two concepts may appear to be the same, they aren’t. There is a significant difference between the two. Not only are you responsible for the consequences of your choices, but you are responsible for EVERYTHING that comes into, and out of, your life. You are the one who sets the stage and scenery, adjusts the lighting, and writes the script. Every damn bit of it, including the stuff that you want to blame everyone else for.

Originally I felt I allowed my ex-husbands abuse, because I stayed, but it has been only recently that I have come to understand that I actually sought him out, (in actuality we sought each other out), or his type, along with his abuse, to subconsciously fulfill a need and core belief, I developed as a child.

I have, in fact, been going through life with a neon sign on my head that was flashing, “Abusive and emotionally unattached men wanted. PLEASE help me to continue to feel bad about myself”. I just was oblivious to the fact it was there, or how it got there, or what I was doing to supply electricity to the sign. However, we are all masters at subconsciously portraying, and seeking out exactly, what we are looking for, until we finally take on the responsibility to figure out what that is, why that is, and change it, rather than ending up at the very same dead-end, time and time again.

There’s a reason why we fall in love with the partner who doesn’t seem quite able to match our dreams. We see in them an ability to love us, in a way that we learned from people who loved us in our earliest years. We recognize that kind of ability to love in the partner we choose.
But however strongly we were loved, there was always a little bit of love we didn’t get. And it turns out that this partner we choose isn’t very good at providing that bit of love either, just like those who loved us when we were children.

That bit of love we didn’t get as children often goes back to some painful memories from childhood. When our partner can’t love us that way either, it touches some tender spots inside, and can bring out some of our deepest fears that we may have tried for years to hide away.

I believe, the only way you are ever going to be able to move forward, and be able to recognize how unhealthy and inappropriate these things are, is by getting to the core reason you don’t like, or love yourself enough to allow it to be different. You can’t get to the answer until you know what the equation is that gets you there. How can you correct a mistake in the future, if you have no idea what mistake you are correcting is in the first place? We can read articles by people who are pointing out that you do not love yourself, but until you understand why, you still aren’t going to love yourself, no matter how many times you stand in front of the mirror, and say, “I love you.” The core belief is still there, and it’s not going anywhere until you discover what it is.

I have already written about how we are attracted to what is familiar to us, good and bad…warts and all, based on those people who are nearest, and dearest to us…our parents. This is how I realized that I was seeking these men out, but I couldn’t understand yet, how that really fit in with my childhood, because I was raised in a loving, close nit family, and I never viewed anyone in it as abusive, in anyway.

I read an article about the "Three Faces of a Victim", and I discovered that my dominate role in this three way triangle is as a Rescuer, at least with my ex-husband, which causes me to feel the need to go into relationships where I can fulfill this role. I am uncomfortable if I don’t have something, or someone to take care of and fix. I never realized this about myself before. I never connected the dots. P.S. I have also played my part in the other two sides of the triangle, also, when my psyche felt it was needed to protect myself.

My ex-husband was given away as a child to whom he thought were his parents until his mother died when he was ten. His father met a new woman who didn’t want him to disrupt the scenario she had planned for their lives, at which point, he not only discovered that they were not his real family, but his father, then kicked him out at the age of twelve. This was how he became the “mama’s boy” (the link explaining below, P.S. not how you would think), always seeking validation of his masculinity through abusing woman, and who became the perfect victim to rescue. Not only that, but he gave me the perfect person to fail at rescuing, which fulfilled my core belief that “I’m not good enough; I’ll never be perfect enough.”

Through that article I understood what role I am playing, but I didn’t understand where it was coming from, and why I took on this role. Apparently, this realization was meant to come at this point in my life, as well as make a large shift on my course, because today I stumbled upon another piece of the puzzle.

We always are hearing about women who are “men haters”, which I never considered myself as, but have had men accuse me of being, stating that I blamed all men for the pain which other men in my life have caused. Today through finding this podcast on “Mama’s Boys and Daddy’s Girl”, I have come to realize that I have never hated men, but in actuality disrespected, and at times resented men, and writing this, and acknowledging this, leaves me with this overwhelming feeling of shame for some reason, Possibly because I never realized it was there, but now believe it was. When a girl/or woman has a belief that a man is dependent on her to be okay, or that they need her to take care of them, even when she is relying on them to be that way, or needing for them to be that way, she can’t respect him, and that belief also is a breeding ground for resentment.

They explain on the podcast that “daddy’s girls” are trying to take care of their daddy’s one of two ways. Either they are trying to fill the void of the mother who is not available either emotionally, or physically, or they are trying to be the man in their mother’s life, taking his place, thereby also taking care of her dad, by doing for him, but also taking care of their mother at the same time.

I believe that even through my mother was always there both emotionally and physically, I tried to take her place with my father. In doing that I tried to become better than her. How I think that happened was, there was a point when I was really young that dad wasn’t around much, because of his work. In fact, my mother has brought up several times over the years that one of my little friends saw him one day, and made the comment that she never realized I had a daddy. Then later down the line, my father crushed his heal, and was out of work, and mom had to go out and play the role of the sole “bread-winner”. Not only that, but I fit the typical stereotype of what most people view as the “daddy’s girl”. When I was really small, I used to go to work with my dad as often as I could; he has a picture of me when I was small hanging on the wall on his side of the bed, which is his favorite (no pictures of my sisters).

Other factors that played into it were, my father has always been that man that was the King of the house, and my mother has always waited on him hand and foot. He came home from work, sat down in his recliner in front of the TV, and everything was supplied to him from that point forward. So in trying to be better than, or at the very least just like my mom as a woman, I have grown into this woman who believes she must take care of everything for man, whether he asks for it or not.

In the podcast mentioned above, they also explain that when a “daddy’s girl gets to be 12/13 or so, that the father must release his influence on her to the mother, so she can learn her sense of femininity, which my father never really did. Ever since I can remember, he has been the main parent to step in and discipline me. Therefore, since I never learned my true sense of femininity, and instead was trying to mimic what I only thought made a woman a woman, and a man a man, through my little girl viewpoint, and then being scolded my him whenever I misbehaved, I took on the belief that I was not good, or perfect enough. He also was never an affectionate man, and not big on passing out praise, or “I love you’s”, as a rule. He wasn't doing anything wrong, just all he knew how to do.

Although I identified with the type of “daddy’s girl” they described as “the long suffering wife”, because I have to fight myself, and experience extreme guilt if I attempt to put myself first above the men in my life in anyway, which leaves me wide open for them to take me for granted, and then I secretly resent them for not giving me the love, and seeing me as the woman, the way that I need for them to.

“It’s all up to me”, was constantly being voiced in the back of my head.

I am like an animal that crawls away from the pack when it is about to die. Anytime that I am not right with myself, or perfect enough in my eyes, I start pushing people away, especially the ones that I love the most, and retreat into this cave, until I can fix, or at least appear to fix, what is wrong with me. I am a perfectionist, and when I’m not perfect, or at least as close to perfect as possible, I don’t want anyone to see me that way.

I have always believed that perfectionism was a good thing. It meant that I was striving to be the best that I could be, but at least one of the problems with this is, I could never quite live up to my own standards. Nothing was ever perfect enough for me, or the men in my life. This never ending striving to be seen and appreciated as, good enough.

I have learned in the past few years that I want more than anything for people to allow me to love them, and for them to feel and believe that I was worthy enough to accept my love, and for me to feel and believe that I was worthy enough to receive theirs in return. I am finally discovering why and how I wouldn’t allow that to happen, and was, in fact, subconsciously seeing to it that I would self-sabotage myself, all along the way.

I never found my sense of femininity, and I have been hunting for it all my life, and looking for it in all the wrong ways. Never totally understanding what that meant.

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6 Love note(s):

Loving Annie said...

Good Thursday evening to you, Searching Within...

So much of what you said hit home...

It took me until last year to see what I was doing in the self-destructive relationship pattern of my life and understand how I chose and perpetuated it.

What an eye-opener and a source of freedom and growth that has been !

Far less painful than how blind and habit-driven I was for years into choosing unavailable men who reinforced my abandonment and unworthy issues !

I saw clearly how what my father did/taught me set me up... and then I kept the script going perfectly. Scarily perfect, and I had no clue at all for so long that I wasn't even remotely going to be able to find love with what I was doing - not from anyone else and not from myself, either...

Parenting myself now, having a sense of what is healthy, supporting myself with my choices all make me feel better about myself, calmer, give me a self-esteem and self-respect and even self-confodence I never had before. Self-confidence that I will take care of myself in a way that I used to think had to come from outside, from someone else...

I still don't have a guy, but I also don't have pain. And that's pretty darned good progress. I'll take it, and give myself an enormous pat on the back for being willing to continue to learn and grow and not just continue to be broken and terrorized and saying there's no hope, love isn't for me...

I'm rambling, but much of your article really said it so well. If only we knew the questions earloy on that need to be addressed in a way we could hear them...

Shadow said...

oh girlie girl. i need to read this... thank you.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I am a firm believer that you MUST look within in order to heal and not repeat prior mistakes. Looking at our own flaws and accepting them is the hardest thing to do.

My ex husband could not under any circumstance own his own shortcomings thus he hasn't grown one bit as a person in all these years.

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