I am learning how to love myself, so that I can find the right person to love me. Over the past years, I have done a lot of self-reflection. I was aware of my insecurities. I acknowledged my personality flaws and put forth an effort to fix them. I always kept my hair done and dressed really nicely. With all of that, there was one still thing that caused me to be insecure and have self doubt. That thing was my smile. Although, my smile bothered me, I only considered doing something about it. I never took the steps to actually improve the one thing that was causing me to have so much low self-esteem. One day, I took my children to the dentist for their annual cleanings. My oldest son was in the chair, while my younger son was sitting next to me. He looks up at me and he asked, “Mommy, why does your teeth look like that?” I was completely stunned and utterly embarrassed. I know kids say the darndest things, but because my teeth were already a big insecurity, I took this thing my child said to heart. My child didn’t mean any harm. He’s just a kid, but the mere fact that he was aware of my teeth, made me take action. I decided to get my teeth fix. I didn’t want this one thing holding me back any longer. This was the beginning of my journey to helping me accomplish my goal of really loving myself. At 40 years old, I got Invisalign braces. People asked me, why I was getting my teeth fixed at this age? I told them, I was doing it for me. I wanted to love my smile as well as the skin I am in. I figured out, you have to love yourself, before anybody else can love you. You should do whatever it takes to make that happen.
I wrote a book called The Match Disaster and their were events in the book that were inspired by some of the things I went through in relationships. I was asked the following questions by some people who were familiar with my real story. Why did you stay in a relationship that was clearly wrong for you? Why didn’t you know better? I was even told, you are divorced, didn’t you learn anything from your failed marriage? What the people who were asking me the questions didn’t understand was that I technically knew better. I did learn lessons from my failed marriage, but the mental abuse from my marriage was the reason for some of the decisions I made in my relationship. I tried to explain to my inquirers that although, I look put together on the outside, I have some deep scars on the inside. I have no problem admitting that I suffer from low self-esteem. It is something that I am definitely working on while I am single, but I have struggled with my self-esteem for a very long time. I know I am smart, driven, and successful in my career, but I doubted other things about myself. I felt like it was unlikely that I would be considered the pretty one. I didn’t see anything special about myself. I lacked self-confidence, so when a guy showed what seemed like genuine interest in me, I fell for him hard. Throughout the relationship, I felt honored that he chose to be with somebody like me. I felt like I didn’t deserve him, which led to me allowing him to treat me poorly. I knew that he wasn’t treating well, but I felt like it was a privilege for me to be with somebody like him. Now that I am completely free from this relationship, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection. I am confident that low self-esteem leads to you accepting anything in your relationship. We have to learn to love ourselves first, so we can obtain the love we deserve.
It seems like most good girls falls for a bad boy at least once in their lives. The question is why? They are totally different. You would think that a good girl would want a nice upstanding gentlemen that treats her with respect, but that is usually not the case. Opposites definitely attract but is it the danger that attracts a good girl to a bad boy? Is it the challenge of transforming a bad boy to a good guy? I had a bad boy in my life and I was attracted to the danger and the challenge of changing him. I felt like I could show him a better life and help him realize that he didn’t have to be bad boy. I actually saw the good in him. I eventually came to realize that I couldn’t change him. People are who they are. Now I question, why did I really fall for a bad boy in the first place? I know that I want to be treated well in my relationships, yet I continue to fall for guys with some bad boy traits. I read an article that stated that women often fall for bad boys, because they are trying to fix themselves. This may actually be true. Both guys that I was with, were very handsome. At the time my self-esteem wasn’t exactly where it should be, so I felt privileged to be with them. That caused me to ignore the things they were doing that weren’t right. Another reason that was mentioned in the article is that bad boys exude masculinity. Most women want a strong, masculine man. There are many theories why good girls like bad boys, but it is still a conundrum that most of will never understand.
I have been in many romantic relationships, where I took the blame for everything that went wrong rather it was my fault or not. I felt like if I did this it would make the other person feel better or it would avoid additional conflict. I was taking on the burden of keeping the relationship stable. I would apologize for the sake of apologizing, even when I didn’t have anything to apologize for. The other person in the relationship was rarely taking responsibility for their actions. It seemed like they were not self-aware and didn’t realize that they were doing things that were inappropriate or hurtful. I remember a situation where I was in a relationship and we broke up because of a misunderstanding. This person was treating me pretty badly but blamed me for the entire situation. We eventually reconnected and decided to meet to talk. After the conversation this person attempted to apologize to me, and then they asked me if I had anything to apologize for. I was appalled. I literally didn’t have anything to apologize for. I was silly enough to apologize anyway. It made this person feel so much better. We got back together and this continued throughout our relationship. Anytime there was a problem I apologized, even if I wasn’t wrong. We since broke up permanently. After some self-evaluation, I realized, I should not have been apologizing to this person over and over again, when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The lesson here is don’t apologize when you have done nothing wrong. This is not a healthy habit to have in any relationship.
I guess I am old fashion but I prefer talking on the telephone when I am dating someone. It is hard to get to know someone over text. I feel like texting can be impersonal. It can also cause a lot of issues. You can’t tell what someone’s tone is really like through a text, which often leads to miscommunication. I would much rather hear the person’s voice and tone when we are having a conversation. I want to hear the person’s real laugh instead of seeing LOL after a statement that is suppose to invoke laughter. People type LOL all of the time and they aren’t even laughing. Texting can also get very cumbersome if you are trying to have a serious conversation. How deep can you really get over text? There is one plus to texting instead of communicating over the phone. If the person says something inappropriate or gets on your nerves, you can easily end the conversation, by simply not responding. At the end the day, I am a telephone girl, all the way. What about you? Text or telephone?
Throughout my life there has been many situations where I have let people in my life make me feel so small or so badly that I lost my voice. I am not just referring to romantic relationships, but also other relationships in my life. If I voiced my opinion about any situation, I was looked at as a troublemaker. I didn’t matter what I said or what tone I said it in, the end result would be the same. I got so tired of people misinterpreting what I was saying, thinking that I was mean and being seen as a troublemaker. I decided to just stop talking. I had to pretend like I didn’t care about things. I had to act like things didn’t bother me or affect me. I knew my opinion didn’t matter, even if I was hurting. I went into a shell and I was no longer myself. Being outspoken is a part of my personality, but I could no longer be myself. I had to mute a major part of what makes me, me. I no longer want to be muted. I no longer associate with the people who didn’t want me to be me, or didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I can’t have people in my life who don’t accept me for who I am. So I am free. I will no longer be muted. Don’t try to mute me!
I had no idea that I was most likely in a toxic relationship with a narcissist until after I released my book The Match Disaster. My main character had a lot of the characteristics of someone I was dating. It wasn’t until I received a review declaring the main character in my book a narcissist that I started to analyze whether the person I was dating really had narcissistic tendencies. I mean I wouldn’t even have considered this person to be anything close to a narcissist when I was dating him. In case you are wondering if you are dating a narcissist below are some of their characteristics:
Superiority and Entitlement – the need to be the best, the need to always be right, the need to do everything their way
The need for attention
Perfectionism – everything has to be perfect or done perfectly
Need for Control
Lack of responsibility – Blaming or deflecting – when things don’t go their way they blame others
Lack of boundaries – they don’t like to be told no
Lack of empathy – they have a hard time understanding other’s feelings. They are unapologetic, never remorseful and never feel guilty.
Perceiving everything as a threat
Emotional reasoning – when you try to explain to them how they hurt you, they don’t understand, they are only aware of their thoughts and feelings
Splitting – they only see things as good and bad. There is no in between.
Fear of rejection and ridicule
Anxiety – they deflect their feelings of anxiety on you by accusing you of being unsupportive, not putting them first and being selfish
Inability to be truly vulnerable
Inability to communicate and work as part of a team
After looking at all of these qualities, I can honestly say my ex definitely had quite a few narcissistic tendencies. Now I have a better understanding of some of the events that happened in our relationships and why I couldn’t seem to get through to him, when I was hurt or feeling rejected. He was never going to get it, because his personality didn’t allow it.
The reference article for the narcissistic qualities is called 15 Signs You’re Dealing With A Narcissist by By Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT.
I often look back at my past relationships to see what they had in common. Where did I go wrong? How did I fail? I finally realize they all have the same common denominator. I failed to stand up for myself. I always put my significant other’s feelings ahead of my own. I did not want them to feel hurt or pain. I didn’t want them to be disappointed. I didn’t want them to doubt that I loved them. Meanwhile, I was getting hurt. I was feeling unheard. Sometimes I felt unloved. I was made to feel like my feelings were unimportant. I was convinced what I felt wasn’t valid or that I was over-reacting. I would allow them to say things to me that were hurtful. I stopped expressing how I was feeling to keep the peace in the relationships. I didn’t tell them I was uncomfortable with certain things that they wanted to do, I just went along with the program. I should have spoken up. I should have stood up for myself. If they didn’t care or want to hear and understand what I had to say, I should have walked away. In the end, I only hurt myself by not standing up for myself. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself. It’s not worth the pain and heartache that comes with not doing it.
There is a saying that says, “once a cheater always a cheater”. I don’t know if I completely agree with that, although I have experienced it. I married someone who was considered a cheater and he did indeed cheat on me. But what about the case where someone has a single indiscretion. They fell into temptation. They asked their partner for forgiveness and vowed to never cheat again. Does that mean they will continue to cheat or cheat again? I have heard stories where a husband has made the mistake of cheating on his wife, but he loved his wife so much that he vowed if she forgave him he would never cheat again. He didn’t ever cheat again. As a matter of fact, their relationship became stronger. This example is one of the reasons I don’t believe the saying, “once a cheater always a cheater.” Now it is definitely a different situation if the person is a chronic cheater. They are less likely to change, unless they get some professional help. I am not saying that cheating is ever ok in any situation or for any reason. I am just saying making the assessment once a person cheats, they will always cheat is most likely an inaccurate statement.
I was reading this article on elitedaily.com by Candice Jalili. It had 12 tips that will help you have a good relationship. I want to blog about a few of these. The first tip is you must communicate. I totally agree with this point. You must be able to communicate in a healthy and productive way. The communication in a relationship can’t be one-sided and it has to be done in a way that is effective. When people asked my parents, how they sustained their marriage, they stated the second tip, never stop dating each other. Continuing to treat your partner like you did when you were courting them, keeps the spark in the relationship. It makes them feel special and wanted. The third tip is recommit yourself to your partner daily. Make sure you are consistently taking out time for your partner. You need to listen to their concerns, desires and needs. Have fun with them and try new challenges together. This one is an important one. Know how to fight without feeling attacked. It is actually healthier to disagree with your partner than to agree with them all the time. You are two different people, but you need strategies in place to handle your disagreements in a healthy way. This goes hand and hand with knowing how to communicate. The last one that I want to talk about is finding someone that you are compatible with. Oftentimes we get into relationships for the wrong reasons. You can be physically attracted to someone but not be compatible with them in all of the other areas in your relationship. Physical attraction is not enough to sustain a relationship.