Well I'm not gon cry, I'm not gon cry, I'm not gon shed no tears No, I'm not gon cry, It's not the time 'Cause you're not worth my tears
- Mary J. Blige
Ok, I have to admit that this is a really tough one for me, I am legitimately admitting that I have issues. Whew chile y’all are really getting to know me early on in this relationship and we haven’t even been out to dinner yet. This here my friend is true vulnerability, and while vulnerability is scary it is so needed in any meaningful relationship. Here’s the thing ,I have been through some janky intimate partner relationships, a mess that could have been the inspiration for all my favorite R&B heartbreak songs. When it comes to men, I have been in so many situationships and entanglements (our new favorite word), and my success rate is a whopping 0%. And then there is this constant reminder that I’m single. Because I just love how people that I love so dearly seem to want to compliment me by saying “I just don’t understand why you’re still single” (insert eye rolling emoji), ugh the agony. Let me get back on track, where was I at, oh yea my relationship trauma. One of my college friends had this poster in her bedroom that read, “Loving someone is giving them the power to hurt you and trusting that they won’t use it”. Not sure who’s heart this originated in but it’s a word and boy has my judgement been off.
See this is what my relationships typically look like. Girl meets guy, guy is infatuated in the beginning and then there is this shift. Something changes, so I leave before I get left, and for a moment I can’t really identify what it is, and then I see red flags. And most of the time I get manipulated into believing that I was the problem. Like seriously, how is it that you stand me up for a date to go hang out with your “people” and I’m the problem because I address your lack of communication and my frustration with it. Reality check, Nakia you’re not the problem, sis it was him. One thing I realized is, I never gave myself permission to acknowledge how I felt, to deal with the trauma and sit with it, because it was always one situation to the next, and if I’m honest some of them overlapped.
There is this assumption that “something must be wrong with me” because of whatever narrative I have been telling myself, because of the information I have absorbed from my cultural structures and world views for what’s accepted in relationships. Truth moment, I have been in some truly hurtful and abusive relationships, but the problem was, I didn’t view them that way. Until therapy I wasn’t able to place my finger on what that thing was. Because like most people I saw abuse and trauma through this lens with these very specific terms, I wasn’t battered and beaten, so I was just like hey another one bites the dust (shrugs). But emotionally it just wasn’t it, and for a long time I couldn’t figure out what this hurt was because it was unidentifiable. Listen, there are so many forms of abuse, there are ones we are very familiar with and some that can be hard to identify; it can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial, spiritual, and of course verbal. The reality of it is, what defines trauma and abuse for you is the impact that it has on you emotionally and sometimes physically, not the behaviors of the other person, you have no control over that.
Recently I read a quote on Instagram that said, “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself” But here’s the thing, I’m not my brokenness, and if you have a similar story neither are you. But it takes some real hardcore, multilayered work with a professional to get to that place where you are able to reshape your story around how you do relationships, establishing your needs in relationships, and how to identify those moments when your needs aren’t being met emotionally. Therapy allows you a safe space to survey your pain and the subsequent emotions from whatever trauma that came packaged with it, all the while establishing coping strategies for the future. And if no one else tells you, there is power in your story, no matter how messed up it had you.
BGH Tip #5 After assessing your needs for relationships, create a wellness plan (i.e. meditation, hanging with friends, journaling etc.) that helps you cope in those possible unbearable moments of loneliness, so that you don’t return to those unhealthy relationships.
Until next time take care of yourself, I love you and I mean it.