“You have the right to enjoy good relationships”

by Annie Kaszina on April 4, 2007

The past few weeks have been the soggiest of my adult
life. As I clear the marital home where
I’ve lived for decades with a view to my imminent move, (April 5th)
I have cried as I never cried for the end of my marriage. (Do I wonder??!)

In fact, in those years I learned not to cry, for fear of
falling apart and never being able to get myself back together. So in some ways crying feels healthy and
constructive.

What am I crying for? Many things. The good times I’ve
had with friends in this house – strange to say, the then husband never
featured in them. My daughter’s
childhood toys and clothes that we won’t be taking with us. My daughter’s childhood; she’s lived her
whole life so far in this house. 

(On a bad day, I’ve managed to shed tears for the birds’
song, the parquet floors, the heated towel rail! Not bad really for someone who three weeks ago was saying: “Hey,
this moving thing isn’t really that traumatic!”)

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done a wee bit of
wallowing in self-pity. The fact is on
occasion I have become overwhelmed by emotion and gone back into a very old –
and unsavoury – pattern. In this
pattern, which I am sure dates back to early childhood, feeling intensely
miserable is the only comfort there is. 

If I am right about this, it grew out of not being
comforted as a child and, instead, really milking that distress. I liken it to the short-term ‘pleasure’ of
peeing into a diaper, before the diaper becomes soggy and cold. (Although I have no conscious recall of that
experience either.) 

Happily, every so often my rational brain has surfaced and
it has struck me that I have sometimes seen this attachment to despair in some
of the women I have worked with. These
women have felt so bereft that their despair has become their only bleak
comfort. I have known a few who have
stayed in that state for years and years.

I can’t honestly say I’ve thought a great deal about my
marriage of late. But I have thought
about the choices that I made, specifically the choice that I made and
kept making to stay in an unhappy relationship.

And because it has been a very unsettled time, all of this
negativity and tearfulness has been interspersed with watching “The Secret” and
thinking about the Law of Attraction.

Anyway, somewhere along the line I had a true
‘revelation’, or ‘light-bulb moment’ as coaches call it: I had chosen and
repeatedly settled for this profoundly unhappy relationship, because I had
never believed that I had the right to a happy relationship. 

Sure, I’m not a complete fool and I had wanted a happy
relationship. But, it had been
programmed into me that long-term relationships were either mind-numbingly
boring or miserable. I knew enough
about boring family relationships not to want that and so I believed I had to
settle for a bad one.

What you believe is what you get. It’s the old story that what you focus on
increases or becomes more present. It’s
like the way you really notice teenage boys when you are a teenage girl and
then when you get older and have different interests, they become
invisible. I believed my entitlement
was a bad relationship, and I got it. 

So now what? First, no looking for a new relationship until that belief has been
totally and utterly eradicated. Otherwise, you know what, I’d attract one or a multitude of ex-husband
clones. Second, a little time spent
replacing that old belief with the more useful one: “I have a right to a happy
and fulfilling relationship.” As an
adult woman with plenty of human resources, that sounds about right to me.

The old, destructive belief goes back a long, long way to
the time when I was prepared to believe that other people knew more about me
than I knew myself. 

These days I know different. I know that they didn’t know too much about me and they
definitely didn’t know how to go about creating a happy, meaningful life. They didn’t know that it is a skill
that you can learn quickly and easily. Equally, they didn’t know that you can access vast inner reserves
of strength and talent. I do. Do you?

Of course, you can always do it the hard way. Doubtless they taught you, as they
taught me that everything has to be done the slow, hard way. That’s why they are still living a
fairly joyless life. But as well as
having a right to a good relationship, you have a right to do things the easy
way. So how about it? 

When will you be ready to believe you can take the easy,
joyful way and have good things in your life by right?

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