THIS HURTS; I'M LEAVING Leaving is not a magical cure BY : Troy Murphy | April 2015
Loving people nourish those around them; we need them. When we lack love, our health suffers (emotionally, physically and spiritually). Conversely, when we receive love through warm attention, appreciation, acceptance and affection, we grow. But when love isn’t felt, running isn’t the only answer.
Unfortunately, many relationships lack love. Outsiders often advise, without full possession of facts, to simply leave; you deserve better. As if leaving is easy. Sometimes leaving is appropriate, but not always, creating more disruption than it solves. Working for improvement and staying, may be a better course. Intimate relationships develop through time, care, and skill. Quickly abandoning the imperfect relationships, before sacrifices and learning begins to mold the tender shoots of love, establishes a failing pattern of bonding. Relationships never succor every need. Sometimes leaving, or even fleeing, may be appropriate, creating safety and inviting emotional stability. But escaping salvageable relationships that we have invested in, without examining personal responsibility fails to address the fracturing characteristics we bring to the relationship. We miss our contributions, obscured by ego, protecting our broken soul from itself.
We leave to escape the emotional harm; but harm exists within.
Ending a relationship, often described as closing a door, doesn’t leave the past completely behind. The experiences our stored, constant relics remind, and joint commitments remain. The division adds more chaos. New relationships must contend with drama carried over from the old relationship—both external issues (finances and children) and internal issues (emotional connections, fears, and hurts). Simply leaving doesn’t make the old relationship vanish—the relationship still exists, just under new conditions.
When we make the decision to leave, after evaluating consequences, and examining future conflicts, we still must live through those consequences. Sometimes the pressures of separation haunt the decision and waiver resolves. Doubting our decision, vacillating in between two vastly different worlds, we fail to move in any positive direction, neither repairing the relationship nor building a healthy new life. Guilt demands solace, driving us to seek acceptance from those hurt. Financial obligations, complex child custody arrangements, and emotional separation interfere with forging new relationships. These difficulties give rise to anger, sorrow, guilt, and sadness. Maybe these complexities, often overlooked initially, are worth the pain—but many times they are not.
A partner’s shortcomings (significant or minor) are convenient. We selfishly use their imperfection to justify the struggles. We blame partners for their personal inadequacies, while blindly overlooking our stupidities. We dismiss our harsh responses, obtrusive actions, unrealistic expectations and awkward social skills while labeling a partner inconsiderate, selfish, or mean. The all-encompassing character labels, once in place, influence perspective and bias our opinions. Instead of compassionate understanding, we attack citing imperfection as proof of a partner’s badness. When we believe our partner is bad than blaming them is easy. We begin manipulations to force need fulfillment.
We are in the relationship because we loved them. What happened?
Before abandoning ship, ask what you bring to the relationship. Do you bear the fruits of love: attention, appreciation, acceptance and affection. These loving traits are perishable skills; proficiency demands practice. Only in healthy environments can love exist. Manipulation through angry words, harsh accusations and hurtful labels never establishes intimacy or repairs weaknesses. Some may argue, “But then she’ll never do what I want her to do.” It’s true, manipulations successfully motivate others. Others respond to avoid discomfort, preventing nasty looks, cold rejections or violent reactions. But actions motivated out of fear come at a cost. The victim of harshness harbors feelings of resentment; not feelings of love. We fulfill our need at the expense of connection. The acquiescing partner acted to avoid punishment—not out of love. Eventually this channel of control closes. Hidden resentments accumulate. And shades of love give way to the darkness of hate.
Mastering skills require effort and resiliency. New behaviors often fail. We stumble through foreign behaviors. Natural abilities, alone, don’t create intimacy; successful relationships require conscientious work. Genetically we have the tools for connection. But we must develop skill to artfully use of these tools. This development requires study, practice, therapy, grieving, and observing. We must catch habitual behaviors, skeptically examine the soul and move in new directions.
True intimacy is a life time’s work. We fall short as partners—our chosen companions fall short. We all have limited relationship resources. Learning to navigate around and through these limits without blaming and manipulating, will determine the success or failure of relationships.