(I meant to write part 2 right away, but life got busy… So here you go.)
When my ex accidentally sent me a friend request on Facebook, I sort of freaked out. It’s been 3 years since I broke up with him, yet he will never get the point. So, I’ve given up and just ignore when he tries to shove himself into my life.
This time, though, I don’t know, I got so angry. And then my mom found out and started messaging me all about him and his continuously expanding arrest record. She was trying to help, but she doesn’t understand. I NEED TO KEEP THAT PART OF MY LIFE AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE.
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit weakness, but even after all this time, there are parts of me that I struggle to regain control of. Recently, that’s been my guilt. And the sudden reminders of the past brought it on strong.
I grew up with the guilty treatment being used against me. I was never the most rebellious or independent-acting person because I would inevitably end up feeling guilty about it. By the time I met my ex, I was just used to it.
He used this tactic on me so many times, I just started accepting the blame for everything. He was tired? My fault for running late at work. He stood me up? My fault for assuming that, after checking 3 times, we were still going out. He got hooked on drugs? My fault for stressing him out/not telling him not to/being a snob/insert more ridiculous reasons here.
Anyways, I eventually learned that nothing that was happening was really my fault at all. They were HIS decisions and HIS actions. That was a big weight off of me that helped me leave. It’s not something I learned from society… They tend to think differently. Blame-shifting runs just as rampant as always.
Fast forward to this year. Somehow, my guilt complex decided it wanted to come out and play. After hearing about all of his arrests, my guilt started saying, “Maybe he was right. Maybe you gave up on him too quickly. Maybe he wouldn’t be where he is if you had stayed. Maybe he is only doing this cause he has nothing to live for anymore.”
I really had no answer to this. I’m very good at torturing myself with maybes. It wasn’t that I wanted to go back to that at all. It was just me wanting to prevent bad things from happening.
Then I realized… Every single one of these doubts was a condemnation he had used against me when we were still together. These weren’t creations of my over-active imagination; these were inventions of someone who wanted nothing more than to own me.
I can’t feel guilty because I didn’t cause any of this. In fact, I was pretty darn close to the perfect girlfriend. I NEVER said no.
So, I’ve taken ownership of my guilt again. It’s freeing really. No more what-ifs. No more allowing others to control me through guilt. No one is allowed to have that kind of power over me. I’m not perfect, and I’m not really good at not feeling guilty about everything, but I’m trying. And sometimes, that’s all any of us can do.