This is a message to the woman who got involved with someone she thought she could change.
Maybe you met him while he was still involved in another relationship. Perhaps he was a drinker, a gambler, a sex addict, or an abuser. Maybe you knew someone else who was involved with him in the past and had heard stories about his toxic behavior.
However it happened, here’s the bottom line: you thought your love for him was strong enough to overcome these challenges. You believed that the feelings you had were so true that it would cause a fundamental shift in who he was. When he said he would change, you believed him. Maybe he even believed himself.
But now that it’s some months or years later, you’ve seen that his problem hasn’t been cured. He’s turned out to be the same serial cheater, or porn addict, or manipulator you knew he was all along. Your relationship merely paused his negative actions; it didn’t cure anything.
Now, you’re feeling like this is all your fault. I’ve got news for you: it’s not.
Why “I Should Have Known Better” is a Damaging Mindset
Your disappointment at this turn of events is extraordinary. There are dozens of thoughts swirling around your head right now, and not one of them is kind to you.
“I can’t believe I was so stupid!”
“Why did I think it would be different this time?”
“Everyone warned me, and I didn’t listen.”
“I wasted so much of my life on this.”
“I’m so ashamed.”
In each of these statements, you’re putting blame on yourself, but let’s step back and think about that for a moment. The relationship didn’t fall apart because you believed in him. It didn’t crumble because you took a chance for the sake of love. This all happened due to his behavior, his choices, and his actions. You’re aiming negativity at the victim, not the perpetrator.
You didn’t cause his behavior, and you therefore can’t cure it. In fact, as difficult as this may be to believe, his actions likely have nothing to do with you at all.
His addiction is on him. His acting out? His responsibility. When two adults enter a relationship, you do so in the good faith that you will both hold up your end of the bargain. If he didn’t seek out help or support to take control of his actions, then he didn’t do his part. Believing that you would be a cure-all to the addictive behavior he showed in the past is merely misinformed, not “stupid” or “foolish.”
We Now Have To Face Where You Are
There is going to be some painful soul-searching that happens in the wake of such a breakup. The truth will have to come forward, and for you, that truth is that you signed on to a relationship even though you knew there might be problems. That’s neither a good nor a bad thing. It’s simply true. And because it’s true, you’re hurting even more.
However, even though it might seem like you’re hyper-focused on your role in all of this, ironically, you’re not actually focused on “you.” You are part of this. You matter. Your health deserves to be addressed, especially now.
Too many women try to deal with the entirety of the breakup all at once, and that will never work. Instead, we need to do something that many women unfortunately aren’t programmed to do.
We need to put you first.
Self Care, When You’re Not Feeling Much Love For Yourself
By ignoring your needs, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you focus entirely on your perceived guilt in this breakup, you’re not doing anyone any favors. If there are people around you – children, family, friends – who depend on you for care and support, you won’t be able to give that to them if you don’t stop and see to your own care first.
You’ve heard the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This is what that means. You need energy and strength to get through your days now. If you’re going to face down work, school, childcare, or social situations, you need a safe space in which to work through your feelings, and a constructive way to face them.
You Don’t Have To Do This Alone
You are very hurt right now, and your healing process is going to be long, personal, and difficult. I won’t mince words with you about that. But you can reach out and get help now by contacting Compulsion Solutions. I know that you don’t want to sit with these feelings anymore, so call us, and let’s talk about how we can begin moving you forward.
Each woman’s healing journey will be different, and we’re going to walk with you every step of the way. All you have to do is commit to putting your needs ahead of the needs of others, and ask for help. We’re listening, and we don’t think this was your fault.