My enemy, myself
Twelve years ago I divorced a man who committed adultery then left me. I was so afraid to be in a relationship that I waited four years before getting involved with someone again. That man also cheated on me. Since then I have had two other relationships and in both of them, the man left me. I have been in and out of therapy, read numerous books, etc., and yet I still feel like a victim of myself. Obviously I am attracting these painful situations, so apparently I have not yet learned whatever I should be learning. I seem to be my own worst enemy. Any ideas?
When you’re drowning in your thoughts and emotions, the only way to save yourself is to jump into a bigger pool, not a smaller one. So here we go: What if there is no leaving and no arriving? Whoa, you had to read that twice, huh? Good. If you believed that there is no leaving and no arriving, you would be aligned with a belief that is at the core of many religions, which is, “We are all one.” To believe that someone leaves or arrives is essentially to believe in separation, which nullifies the concept of being one. It could be said that none of these men ever left because they never arrived because they were always with you. Or if you really want to startle your mind: they were always you.
One way this can manifest is when we project so much of our hopes and fears onto our partners that we don’t allow much room inside ourselves to experience them. For example, if I begin to think that a boyfriend is just like my mother (and I have), it’s a sign to me that I am engaged with my history about my mother instead of being engaged with my boyfriend or myself. To tidy up my emotional life, I need to forgive myself for thinking that my mother should have been different than she was. This will ripple into my other relationships and keep me aware of how I instigate drama. Another benefit: as I grow, I attract a higher quality of relationship. Isn’t that appealing?
If you think you are your own worst enemy, there’s only one thing to do: love your enemy. Begin this practice by telling potential dates, “Do you tell the truth? That’s important to me so, if you don’t, let’s stop before we start.” Then be a person of your word and move on. This will help you to develop self-trust so that you can hear and respond to the wise voice within you. That’s a good thing, because that voice will teach you more than any self-help book can.
When I try to “just be friends” with the opposite sex, I always get hurt. A couple of times (because I’m bipolar, although that’s not a valid excuse) I did really stupid things and the legal system got involved. Now a woman says she thinks of me as a brother and she wants to be friends. What should I do?
Think of her as a sister. Tell her that you would like to learn the art of friendship. Being bipolar means that your tendency will be to cycle between extremes of elation and depression or to simply have episodes of manic behavior. But believe me, there are plenty of people who are not bipolar and who appear incapable of having a non-sexual relationship with another gender. If attraction or neediness distracts you from being a good friend, don’t hide those thoughts. Talk to a supportive psychotherapist about them immediately.