Hi there! So, I did end up having my appointment with my counselor after all!!!! And I’m so, so glad that I did. I want to document all the good I experienced with her today so that I commemorate it to my memory as well as I can, and so that I can always come back here to re-read and remember.
So today’s session was dedicated to my relationship with Nick, and how his cheating on me affected me. I talked about how I had residual feelings of inadequacy, as though something were wrong with me and that’s why he did it. I talked about how I was scared that I would never be able to maintain a proper relationship without harbouring the fear that the next person would hurt me in the same way, no matter how good the relationship was.
I talked about all those deep fears and anxieties, and the insecurities that manifested themselves as a result of what happened. I also mentioned how I was thinking about being friends but the fact that I didn’t know how exactly to go about it.
We started off with the EMDR process by her asking me what symbols or images came to mind when I thought about our relationship and him cheating on me, and what I came up with was: I realized that I hated being at school because of how many memories he and I made together there. It made me feel lonely that he was gone, and the school itself had somehow become the symbol/image of our relationship.
But the specific image that I tied to him cheating on me, was the staircase in which he told me he did. I remembered it clearly: the way I was sitting and he was standing, the door on the left, the orange pizza paper and strewn napkins that were next to me. And then we began the process.
I remembered the staircase, the moment he told me, the heart break in my voice when I simply asked him “why”, the way I wanted to scream because of the unending and unbearable pain in my chest. I remembered it all. I imagined his face once more, the way he held onto the bannister as though he couldn’t bear to hold himself up any longer.
Tears came to my eyes as I told her how I could not understand how someone who claimed to love someone else, could hurt that same person in the way he betrayed me. Slowly, as the process went on, I realized that I still harboured resentment towards him. I realized that it still caused me pain, that there was still a heaviness in my chest at the thought of it all. I moved away from the memory of the staircase as I analyzed our relationship after the fact, and how I changed. And then, the healing began.
I went back to the memory, but this time I re-wrote it. In my mind, a new me stood before him. A stronger, confident, more self-loving me. I told him that I loved him, but I loved me more. And that although I wished our relationship could continue, that it was not my responsibility to ensure that he grew as a person as a result of what happened. Because I realized – in staying with him, I chose him. I chose our relationship over myself. I stayed because I didn’t have what it took to be self-sufficient on my own. I stayed because I didn’t know if I could generate my own happiness without him. I chose to internalize the pain, rather than to break things off and heal on my own.
As the process continued, another realization dawned on me – even though I knew what I should have done in that situation, I had no regrets whatsoever over my decision to stay. Because if I hadn’t of stayed, I wouldn’t be the person I am right now. Everything happens as it’s meant to, and all my decisions have led me down this path. And I truly believe that this is the path that I was meant to be on, in this very moment.
In staying, I learned how to recognize and understand what I wanted. I learned how to really look at myself to confront my deep insecurities. I reached out for help. I’ve bettered myself. I am more aware now, than I have ever been in my life. And in staying, I think I might have saved our friendship, which I now know more than ever that I do want to hold on to, somehow. I understand that we both need time in order for the romantic feelings to fade away, but I don’t want to lose someone who pushed me so much for the better, who encouraged me and supported me. And though I can no longer depend on him for those things, he’s a big reason as to why I can look for that encouragement and support in myself, after so long.
One last huge realization I had during the process, was the one that made me feel as though I was floating somewhere up near the ceiling. (Such a strange sensation!). In everything that happened, and after all this time, I never once said the one thing that could ultimately set me free: I forgive him.
I do forgive him. I think I’ve finally accepted what has happened. I now understand that what happened had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with him. Whatever drove him to make the decision he made had everything to do with his own personal problems or insecurities or stresses, whatever they may have been at the time.
I’m not perfect, but I know what I brought to that relationship. I know what I have to offer, and it’s a lot. I have always been a good girlfriend. Again, not perfect – I have my flaws and I accept them for what they are. But, my strengths outweigh those self-perceived flaws; I’m whole-heartedly loving in every way, I’m super affectionate, I’m extremely passionate, caring, fun, occasionally funny, daring, adventurous, and a good person with nothing but good intentions.
I always put my all into that relationship with no holds barred. And one day, when I decide I’m ready once more, someone lucky is going to be able to experience everything I have to offer, and it WILL BE ENOUGH. Because I AM ENOUGH. And I know that now, through and through.
After the session, I felt light as air. I practically skipped half way across campus. I went back to the staircase that began the inevitable end of my relationship. I walked up the staircase, turned around, and sat down in the same place I sat in once before. I imagined him there in front of me. And I softly whispered, out loud into the open, “I forgive you.” It was as though a ghost that had quietly been haunting me finally floated away because it had found peace. It was such a beautiful feeling.
And so, I now understand a lot more today than I did yesterday. Yes, I want to be friends. But I can’t feel like I’m forcing myself to message him out of guilt over how long it’s been since we’ve last talked. I can’t be nervous, I can’t pick a day and stick to it whilst ignoring how I really feel or what I really need and want. If we can be friends and talk every so often without the slightest inflection of any kind of feelings beyond friendship, then that would be amazing.
However, I know that it’s easier said than done. I don’t know what the appropriate time frame for that is. But, I do trust myself more now than ever. I trust my emotional capabilities and maturity. I trust that when I do decide to be friends again, that I will be honest with myself and as equally honest with him.
So we’ll see! Sometime midweek, I’ll check how I feel and see if I’m really ready to do it. If I get even the slightest flicker of hesitation or nervousness, then I won’t do and I’ll wait longer. There’s no drawn out timeframe, and this isn’t a black and white situation. I don’t believe that “cutting someone off” completely being the only way possible for healing. There has to be some kind of in between where you don’t lose the person, yet you’re still able to heal. I believe that, and I’m going to try to find that in-between.
If in truth, it really doesn’t exist because the feelings don’t dissipate, then I will accept defeat and do what needs to be done. But I’m not giving up without a fight first. I believe in friendship! I believe that one can learn to differentiate between feelings of friendship and the feelings that go beyond that. And so, I will embark on that journey when I am good and ready.
It’s been a really, really good day and I am very, very proud of myself! I’ll write tomorrow when I get home.