Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘red flags’

Relationship’s End for Empaths

Breaking Up for An Empath Isn’t Simple

Created with CanvaA friend’s recent break-up got me thinking about the rare (maybe 2) occasions I’ve had to end a relationship instead of someone ending it for me. With the notable exception of my marriage which was long overdue by the time I ended it, I still remember suffering emotionally when I had to tell someone what we had wasn’t working for me any more.

Even when it’s been a clean break, no further communication, both going our own way, it still seemed like a laceration to my heart. I’m not saying a lot of people don’t suffer when they end a relationship. What I am saying is Empaths get a double whammy. We hurt for ourselves and for the person we left. Physical distance means nothing when faced with emotional pain from someone we care about.

Sure, some endings come because we stopped caring (like my marriage), or because we’ve been betrayed. Though easier to get over since we effectively block the other person’s emotions, an Empath feels levels of pain others probably won’t understand. It comes back to bite us just like any other kind of grief. We re-live good times and bad, second-guess ourselves, and even entertain the notion that the relationship could be fixed if we just tried harder.

Holding On Too Long

Following that train of thought leads me to wonder if Empaths stick out relationships longer than they should, unconsciously trying to spare ourselves pain. Do we go beyond the last straw to save a relationship that isn’t really worth saving? Even more, do we ignore signs that our partner is no longer committed to the relationship and may even be cheating on us, simply to avoid being the one to end things?

For myself, years after I’d divorced my husband, people told me they knew he was cheating on me. Perhaps the signs were obvious and I chose to ignore them rather than having to end things. I knew when we were no longer connected in any way, yet chose to distance myself emotionally while pretending to maintain the relationship. I even treated him horribly, which I regretted later, hoping he’d be the one to decide to leave.

Early Lessons in Narcissism

In the end, I had to pull the plug, and he behaved as most narcissists do, though at the time, I https://www.flickr.com/photos/gastaum/14490581818/in/photolist-o5u28y-YfsirJ-k8x7MM-bxbe69-W1rTYx-arWoEp-9hSaAd-ahFY4U-dUPFnv-cbTML-9dRrhQ-nNcDz4-W1scJn-6Q5kQB-aPHuVt-dF2PfA-qsan3a-9Q3GD-7puXf-ca3kUb-8Qnh5S-7EPcJ1-9RZQ7L-2jv27s-3ytNAS-4Ax3Vm-7P6ms6-fLeJCZ-9eA4z4-dUzmHi-dJ2ajE-4s4eeJ-9ZWATV-4Ax3K3-6459Qr-r7YPq9-7ZBske-3ypqPa-7yi435-9uRzwZ-kdLtng-2c5brCn-HLfJSP-qTk7jd-oSdAwv-pNeYXi-3fqAZV-5btNtn-72Kth6-V4V7jqhadn’t made the connection. He was cruel, nasty, and abusive. Only distancing myself physically alleviated some of the effects of his vitriol. Surprisingly, his signature on the piece of paper ending our marriage legally was the most cathartic act of all for me. It’s as if the energy in his signature drained off whatever hold he still had on my emotional and energetic self. I felt drained but relieved, and finally able to move forward with my own life.

It still took a long time to rebuild myself after the damage he’d wrought, but I was already broken when we got together. Part of the rebuilding process involved creating an entirely new foundation containing components with which I was unfamiliar. Having been raised to contain my emotions and to believe taunting and teasing were symbols of love, I had to learn and forge a new path before I could rebuild on a foundation which would bear the weight of the years to come.

Creating Our Own Paths

I’ve experienced a lot of trial and error in the last 20 years or so. In some ways, it’s been a lot like rock climbing. You reach for the next handhold, testing its ability to hold your weight before using it to reach for the next rock or outcropping. Sometimes I fell back a few paces. Others, I lost a lot of ground and a great deal of skin as well. Those were painful but necessary lessons in who and what I could trust. It’s when I started learning how to recognize a narcissist and avoid being used to fuel their insatiable need for adoration and getting their own way. It’s also when I started seeing how many times I’d been bled dry in a fruitless effort to please one.

These days, I’m still on the fence. I’m mentally ready to find someone and commit, but emotionally, there’s still a lot of trepidation. I don’t entirely trust myself to see the signs of a narcissist and run the other way. I’ve seen my savvier Empath friends fall victim, which causes me to distrust my own instincts too.

Trusting Ourselves and the Lessons We’ve Learned

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/10197031243/in/photolist-gx5s8v-jFvehZ-ceYKvY-gx4Gcf-Qv32MQ-gx58Ji-aavAwk-k15Tk9-gcokN-jYnA9p-pts3CH-KErQUu-fMFuKi-5gvfXp-gx5zqD-594W8Y-gx5GPp-gx4EMG-S7Jpw1-P5f7sP-VMMRHL-oiRYiu-7pPH6E-2bXKRhj-2cLerFQ-oxWTqS-psDwB2-ceXTFN-amxUkM-2bsd6t6-N7Lj5T-cbSXFd-YtbGJE-bNJ5H-RNvZP3-kiboPh-WmzxPu-7UzoSM-24eKtUM-cjgru7-n3pBeq-7PK4bp-ajX4J8-nk5bJN-88HFFJ-W18WBb-jBnrh2-ciDDMd-TzUwZm-8wqYSTYet I know I already have a healthy array of red flags at my disposal. Despite the wiliness of the average narcissist, they’re bound to trigger one of those red flags before I get in too deep. And probability-wise, I don’t have a lot more decades in this meat suit, so I might as well give myself a chance to live what’s left fully and completely, even if it means having to go through the painfully unpleasant process of admitting I made a mistake, and ending things once more.

We all make choices, but rarely do we choose pain. Instead, we choose to take chances on things we know have the potential to end painfully just as they have the potentially to bring us great joy. Do we avoid the opportunity for great joy so we insure we don’t get hurt? Or do we risk potential consequences to reap equally probable rewards?

I’ve taken the safe route for a very long time as I clutch memories of the painful times close. But there comes a time when we all realize the painful stuff can only hurt us if we allow it, and it’s time to take away its power. If there’s pain to be had, we have it within ourselves to minimize the pain and decrease the longevity based on what we’ve learned from previous experiences.

What it comes down to is trusting ourselves.

Do you trust yourself, or are you still wrapping yourself in cotton wool to save you from making more painful mistakes? How’s that working for you?

 

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, even if they were painful for a long time.
  2. I’m grateful for choices. I can be what, where, and who I want as long as I’m willing to accept some risk, and some unknowns.
  3. I’m grateful for love. In its many forms, it truly does heal all wounds. Especially self-love.
  4. I’m grateful for opportunities and ideas which come to me when I learn to let go.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, love, light, ideas, support, collaboration, joy, compassion, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

 

Keeping Hope Alive

Hope Will Always Spring Eternal

This week I was reminded of the power of hope. So many times in my life when things looked bleak, a tiny spark of hope kept me putting one foot in front of the other. So many times, my efforts seemed futile, but a single glimmer, a slim possibility of success kept me soldiering on.

Many have written about the power of hope, and likely just as many have trashed the concept. Yet, how many achievements would not have occurred? How many obstacles would not have been overcome were it not for hope?

It’s interesting to me that both love and hope are often called blind. Yet, what are they but taking gigantic leaps of faith that all will turn out for the best? How often do we enter into either one with no idea of the outcome, and nothing but trust in ourselves, in circumstances, and even in someone else that the end result will be amazing?

Trust is an Action Word

Long ago, I put my trust in the Universe. It’s not that I stand around waiting for everything I want to land in my lap. Instead, I believe I will achieve my heart’s desires, and that in many cases, the results will be wonderful beyond my most outlandish imaginings. But I trust that opportunities to achieve those desires will appear when I’m ready for them, and it’s up to me to not only be alert and recognize them, but to also put in the effort to make the next opportunity manifest.

Some days, it’s difficult to continue to keep that spark of hope alive. Some days, the darkness creeps in and frankly, scares the crap out of me. But every time things are at their darkest, I get a flash of insight, or an image of things to come, reminding me that as long as I keep hope alive in my heart, I will somehow find a way to keep moving forward, to keep my head above the rising water of despair.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Let Go

Over the years, I’ve seen many things come and go; friendships, a marriage, relationships, jobs, lifestyles…but the endings have one thing in common. Every single one left me open to something far better. Granted, some of those better things took years to actually show up, and often I wandered down a lot of dead-end roads on the way there. But the Universe hasn’t let me down. Not once.

These days, I’m really being pressed to keep the hope alive, to remind myself that what I’m experiencing is part of a greater plan. It’s not always easy. I’ve pared my life down until I live more leanly than I have since the days of a handful of cashews and a glass of wine for dinner. Yet I’m more at peace than I ever was.

I’m able to start my day on my own terms, reading, writing, and exercising 3 times a week. My stories are being told, one page at a time. My circle of friends is growing and includes many who are teaching me more about being a patient and compassionate human being. And I have plenty of days when I have only the companionship of my cats which is a good thing. They are my peace when I’ve had too much humanity.

Taking Time to Get to Know Myself

In the 3 years or so that I’ve withdrawn from the day-to-day routine of the working class, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know that I need a lot of time to decompress from contact with humanity, even when the energy is compatible with mine. I know I’m more effective when some of my life is conducted on a schedule even though I go nuts when I’m always at someone else’s beck and call. I’ve even learned how to put myself on a schedule which works for me and allows time for creativity, physical activity,  and mental clarity but still allows some flexibility when life takes a hard right turn.

However, if I’ve learned one thing about hope, it’s that you need to infuse it with at least a modicum of common sense. If someone says “the house is burning and you have to get out now”, you don’t plant yourself on the floor and hope somehow it’ll burn all around you and leave you unharmed.

The same is true for those pesky interpersonal relationships I’ve been avoiding for so long. When the signs, signals, and even words are telling you it’s not going to happen, you have to trust that too. All too often I’ve turned a deaf ear on the words and ultimately made a fool out of myself. This goes for the red flags too. Ignore them at your peril. My personal favorites are men who are too charming, and those who drink excessively. Call me hypersensitive, but if it takes a guy more than one beer to relax and enjoy dancing with the ladies, he’s someone I’d do well to avoid beyond the superficiality of an occasional dance partner.

Taking a Step Back to See Where Hope is Still Viable

When it comes to life and career, I can honestly say I’m not seeing red flags at this point, nor do I believe I’m ignoring any signs or signals telling me to turn back or get the hell out of this place I’m in. Instead, I’m getting some wonderful insight from many directions, a lot of encouragement to keep scribbling, and the same strong feeling I had 3 years ago that this is the direction my life needs to take. And of course, I’m getting the occasional nudge which leads to posts like this. And no small percentage of posts like this are finding their way in one form or another into Forgotten Victims.

Writing here has become my brain dump, my sounding board and my practice space. I put words together in different ways, eventually finding the combinations which feel most comfortable to me.

Remembering Always to be Grateful

Tonight’s gratitudes are:

  1. I am grateful for this outlet. Brain dumps are being elevated by sending them here.
  2. I am grateful for the choices I’ve made and the ones I’ve yet to make.
  3. I am grateful for the continuing inspiration triggered by diet, exercise, and an ever-expanding circle of friends and acquaintances.
  4. I am grateful for my time alone. It makes me appreciate the time spent with other people.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; friendship, love, inspiration, motivation, healthy habits, joy, hope, peace, harmony, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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