"We broke up, but I want to do whatever I can to save our relationship"
I'm 26 years old, and have recently experienced a relationship that digressed into a breakup. Its a breakup I wish never happened, and I want to do whatever I can to save it.
The story is as follows:
I met this girl out of boot camp one summer (army national guard), over the internet. We started to talk on the phone, and eventually started seeing each other. Things were going great, but then we found out that she had to go to Iraq for active duty for 18 months, with a 2 week break in the middle of her term. We decided to try to work through it together. But then she left in early November, and I was lonely, and my friends had all moved to Boston, and I hated my job... so I eventually quit and moved to Boston. Well, I get to Boston, with only $2000 to my name. I don't have a place to live, my computer is broken, I don't have a phone, I don't have a job, and I'm kinda freakin out. This is my first attempt at making it on my own. Anyway, I started to get really stressed out and full of anxiety. I didn't know what I wanted to do, I didn't know what I was doing, where I would live. I only had so much time to remedy all these things, before my money would run out, or at least start to decrease my options of where to live, etc.
Anyway, I ended up focusing so much on myself that I started to neglect my gf who is in Iraq and scared and who knows what else. But then there is my issue with WEED. At the time I was a big smoker. I smoked to get away from the stresses in my life. And at the time I didn't realize that it was a big problem, but when I was doing with writing cover letters, sending out my resume's, going store to store looking for work, looking up apartments that I could afford, scheduling appointments to see them, etc etc, I'd come home and just want to get away from all the stress, so I'd smoke and forget about everything... including to give my gf a call. Now I'd email her almost everyday, but I think she was way too hurt by my lack of effort to call her.
To give you what little background on her I can: Her family moved to the US from Brazil when she was 12. She didn't speak any english and is a Tom-boy type of girl. She recalls being made fun of all the time in the school systems, and it made her feel horrible. She had an incident where she blacked out and came to, only to find herself having stabbed another kid with a pen. She got in trouble all the time, and felt that no one liked her. Her family abused her growing up and now they won't touch her, in the fear that they will be arrested as they have been warned already. She is a very tough acting/sounding/looking person on the outside. She's very shy, and gives everyone an attitude prior to knowing them. But inside, she is a very insecure and defensive girl. Thats pretty much what I feel.
As for me, I grew up without a father, and practically without a mother. My mom had to work so much since my father died when I was 6 that I never had any nurturing in my life growing up. I'm pretty bad with relationships myself, and sometimes I get really confused when it comes to matters of the heart.
Anyway, I have created a document that contains ALMOST all of the emails between her and I from the time she arrived in Iraq (early November, through the breakup which was in mid February). I've attached it for you to read, and am hoping that you can tell me what happened, and what my best course of action is from here to save this relationship. I do love her, and I do want her back. I know I might not be able to get her back right now, but I at least want to open a door for that possibility. Please advise me! Thanks in advance! And I've also copied my Paypal confirmation below so that you know I've paid for your services.
Hi - well, I read some of your letters to each other, not all, but enough to get a sense of you both. I think, James, that you really need to focus on and heal the hurt you have about basically being an orphaned kid growing up. Your anger at your mom got triggered - your feelings of abandonment, your deepest wounds came up when your girlfriend told you your mom loves you - and what happened then was, you were so caught up in the feelings of abandonment and anger and deep hurt that you shot them out from inside of you, turned them on her, and abandoned HER. You gave her, in other words, the same experience that you had, and have - the experience of being abandoned. We all do that - we give another person our experience when we're so caught up in the energy of it that we don't have a way to express the hurt consciously. What we're really trying to do in those situations is say: "See, this is what it's felt like for me, all these years. Get it?!" But, because we lash out and it's not a clear, conscious way of communicating our feelings, we pass on the same hurt we ourselves were given and experienced. So, it never works, and only continues the wounding stuff.
When we have lived for a long time in a certain energy, or experience, or belief, like abandonment, we carry that energy inside of us. It's like a program in a computer. Until you take the program out, the computer will keep printing it out and operating on it. It has to get deleted, in other words.
Since you never felt nurtured or taken care of as a child growing up, I'm sure that there is a lot of anger and hurt inside of you that you will need to explore and heal so that you can truly be in a relationship in a healthy way. Both you and this woman have been very wounded and abandoned as children - and that would be one reason that you were pulled to each other - you both mirror that in each other.
You both have a huge fear of not being accepted for who you are - for instance, when there was a question about your degree of smoking, your answers to her were usually pretty curt and sharp: basically, just accept it. That's who I am and the way it is.
She sounds to me like a very caring person with a lot of love - and you do, too. I was very touched in your letters with the amount of caring and honesty and willingness to share with one another you both have. You would both have to face and deal with this issue of abandonment and abuse - and these are deep, deep issues. If you are both committed to doing this, and can recognize the symptoms when they come up, and deal with them in a clear and healing way, then I think you'd have a good chance at a healing and healthy relationship. But this means both of you being able to confront your own wounds and each of you being willing to heal yourselves. Facing one's own pain is not an easy task - it takes a lot of strength and courage, and there are many layers to the wounds we all have. If you are committed to doing the inner work you need to do, then a relationship stands a good chance to succeed. However James, that means not going to anything external to escape from it all, from the stress and pain you feel. That's the easy way out, and not much can heal when you go that route. Your strength has to come from within you, not without you.
To be accepted, you must first accept yourself - all of your journey - and that includes the pain and the wounds too. If you ask yourself, "What was the brilliance and purpose of me creating a life where I was abandoned at an early age?" what would the answer be? What did you come in to learn? If you can take responsibility that you set up this life this way for a reason, then you begin to start on your healing journey and you begin to release the blame and anger you feel. As I said, there are many layers to it, and it's not a quick fix. There are healing techniques now that do heal traumas much, much faster then ever before, but you still have to confront the pain, face it, to heal it. So far, it sounds as if you have taken the not facing it, go numb way out. So, it's up to you. But, my advice to you, dear one, would be, if you want this relationship, or any relationship to work out, then facing it with inner strength is the way to go. When you go numb and go to externals as a quick fix, you are, in essence, abandoning yourself, because you are not helping yourself heal or being there for yourself in the way you need to be.
If I were you, I'd think about this for a while and see if you can commit to your own healing and if you are willing to let go of the weed or anything else external in order to grow your own inner strength and clarity. If you are, then you will develop the ability to be present to give and receive love without, eventually, the fears of abandonment rearing up.
If you decide you can TRULY do this, and it's a 100% commitment on your part for your own healing, then I would write to your girlfriend and tell her that this is the path you have chosen, and that you would like to try again, that you will continue to heal and work on being able to support each other in both of your healing - and then if she is there for that, then you both need to get some really clear ways to understand the problems and how they show up, how to recognize what's going on, and then work deeply with methods to heal these traumas.
As I said, there are some great healing methods available now to help with this. I can offer some - and there are many people who can help support and guide you with this.
I think you both have beautiful spirits and have a lot to offer one another, and the world.
I understand what you have said. I am working on myself and have already quit smoking. I'm trying to open up my mind and my eyes to things, and feel that I'm making good progress.
But what I want to know, is how I can get through to her. If you read through the rest of the emails, especially hers (you can skim through mine, because a lot of them are just me freaking out and begging and pleading and trying to explain, and basically being scared), you will see what her responses are. I don't know what I can do to get through to her at this point. I wonder if she's okay all the time, and I hear nothing from her. I have hurt her and she turned her back and walked away.
Aside from giving me advice on what to do with myself, which I know will eventually help everything in my future, what can I do now to break through to her. Could you give me advice on that?
One thing we can't do, and that is control anyone else's choices. All we can do is honor them, and accept their choices, accept that they are where they are. All you can do is be honest with her and yourself - it sounds as if you are already making progress in your own healing. All you can do with her is tell her that you know that she is hurt by what happened. You know that her deepest wounds and fears got triggered. But, that these wounds can be faced and healed, and that you are willing to do that together. When a person has these wounds, until they are healed, they will show up in any relationship one has. And that is true. For her, I'm sure this triggered all of her abuse and abandonment issues, and it's up to her as to whether or not she is ready to face her own issues and begin to heal, as you are choosing to do. Abuse is a HUGELY deep issue, and it will take all of your strength and clarity, if you are in relationship with her ever again, to be understanding of what she is up against to heal. There is a great book out called 'Survivors and Partners: Healing the Relationships of Sexual Abuse Survivors' - so one thing you can do is read up on what she is dealing with, read up on abuse and what it does, how it affects people, etc., so you know what you are dealing with here, and you gain a deeper understanding.
However, if she is not ready to heal yet or face her stuff, that has to be honored - then, what the Universe is asking you to do is: do your own healing, regardless of what she chooses to do or not do - that is the BEST thing you can do for yourself and everyone else - and, hard as it may feel to you at the moment, if she is not ready, then that means that you are meant to create another relationship that will be healthier for you, because YOU will be healthier.
So, take a look at your fears of being alone - work on that - it again would be the fear of being abandoned - of thinking you're not good enough for someone to want you or love you - which isn't true, of course - but that is probably your deep fear or belief - and work on healing that. YOU must be healthy in order to attract and create a healthy relationship and partner who can face her own stuff and work through things, as you are choosing to do for yourself.
You can obviously tell that I'm really concerned about immediate contact with her. I don't want to push things, I don't want to pressure her or anything like that. I just want to reach out and touch her, and open up a line of communication. What's the best way to go about doing that? You obviously have some understanding of her mentality, what can I do from here?
Since I didn't read all the e-mails, I don't know what went on to finalize the break-up, or where she is now, but my suggestion is call her and ask her that you hope she'll talk with you - tell her where you're at with yourself and what you truly want for the two of you, and what you're willing to do, regarding your own healing, in order for the relationship to work. But make sure that if you say you're going to do such and such in order for the relationship to work, make SURE you do it and keep your promise - both to her and to yourself. In order for you to not lash out and let your wounds dictate what you do by being reactive to them, or run by them, you'll have to heal them. Otherwise, they'll stay unconscious and your old patterns will run you, carry you like a strong undertow and create the same kinds of things happening again. So, make sure of that in yourself first - no empty promises that you can't back up, OK?
One last thing: since, for you, this experience is another experience for you of abandonment, it will be important for you, I think, to use this as an opportunity to get to some of the deep emotions that you need to get to and release in order to not have them continue to create more of the same for you in your life.
I feel that beneath your anger is deep grief - and grief is an emotion that is hard for most people to allow themselves to get in touch with or feel, especially men - but it's there and it will need to be released.
I know that right now your overwhelming need is to get safe with and re-connected with her again. I know how strong that feeling can be, and how overpowering it can feel, especially if there is grief and need and missing someone so deeply behind it; but what's even more important - if you can accept this - is that you see this as an opportunity to heal and get past these wounds and patterns that continue to create abandonment situations for you in your life. Because if you don't, then even if you DID re-connect with her, these patterns could still sabotage things again.