"After splitting with my boyfriend, I feel like I failed this relationship somehow, and failed myself. How can I heal my hurting heart?"
First of all, I wanted to say thank you for all the wisdom that you share. I find your insight very valuable.
I am a 32 year old female who has struggled a lot in romantic relationships with men as well as with my education and want to break my patterns. I consider myself a strong, intelligent, compassionate, fun, loyal, and spiritual person. I am committed to self-development, and do feel that I have come a long way in terms of self-esteem, but I want to heal in a deeper way from the inside. My first boyfriend when I was 18, was psychologically and sexually abusive; later I entered another relationship in which the man wanted to marry a woman of his own religion, but kept me on the side. I was in a "relationship" with a man for 3.5 years who never committed. I've had a few shorter healthier relationships, but I feel scarred from the pattern of these longer relationships. I fear that I lack confidence to attract and maintain a healthy relationship, and feel insecure about my attractiveness. I struggle also with jealous feelings, though I do try to own them and not place blame on others. I fear that someone else will always be better and more lovable than me--and hence my partner will abandon me. I don' t know how to get to the root of healing this pattern, but I would very much like to. I would like to know how to love myself more but I don't know what that looks or feels like.
Another issue that I am struggling with is feeling passionate and worthy about my life and its value. I aspire to be a holistic healer, and the more I heal myself, the more I can help others in their path. However, even here, I struggle with feelings of being good enough and finding enough passion within myself for my endeavors to be fulfilling in and of themselves. In this way, I admired my recent boyfriend(as discussed below), but also felt inferior to his apparent ability to be focused and whole in his life and endeavors. I don't know why I compare myself in this way, and I am also noticing that in his current absence from my life, I miss the energy and enthusasism that he brought; yet this energy is the same. In part, I think I need another human around to love and nurture--and to be loved by-- in order to give me the fuel for my dreams. I would like to rely at a deeper level on myself, not just on the surface as I have been trained to do.
These are my general issues, and I would like some guidance on the specific scenario I am about to describe as a way to target my underlying patterns: About a year and a half ago, I met a wonderful, unique guy, the one I refer to above as my recent boyfriend- intriguing, honest, caring, self-developing. We attend the same school and lived in the same building, which in some ways unnaturally accelerated certain aspects of our relationship, such as a day to to day companionship . I was cautious about entering a relationship, especially because he is 9 years younger than me, but his maturity in many ways and our connection seemed to trumph that of age. Over time, I grew to care about him and fell for him; I am more cautious, he is more headstrong and professed strong feelings for me early on. However, our relationship had struggles--we both trigger each other in many ways, and while we are both self-aware people, I think at times we did not know how to best handle or direct some of the feelings that came up for us. But we both made our best effort to communicate, which I believe kept our relationship healthy and strong (though sometimes devoid of romance).
My concerns about him were his ability to actually commit (not just be exclusive, a distinction that you draw nicely) and to prioritize me into his life in a way that felt satisfying to me. I tend to be a busy person, but he is even more busy, and while we would literally see each other, I felt that over time his energy and attention could not stay focused on me. Another concern through our relationship--a spin off of the not prioritizing me-- to me was his relationships with his female teachers. He literally idolizes them, and while I want to support his spiritual and academic endeavors (we have common goals in this arena), I felt very secondary to them. I felt that he valued their love and support more than he valued mine. I know that I am somehow manifesting this as a belief in myself, but I don't know how to change that belief. It felt very strange to me to compare our relationship to that of his teachers, especially as I trusted nothing romantic was going on, but feelings of inadequacy were triggered in me. I remained honest and expressed to him how I felt but I'm not sure that he got it. I felt confused because overall he treated me well but I wasn't getting the depth of love and commitment I so desired.
Several months ago, he wanted to move out of our building, a student apartment complex--a decision I mostly supported, even though it meant that our relationship would be impacted. However, as a guy with many female friends and as someone who likes to prove he is the exception to every rule, he wanted to move in- alone- with a female friend, a woman who I have met but do not know very well myself. I felt very uncomfortable and disrespected by the idea, and told him as such, though I never told him what to do. While I trusted that nothing was going on with them, I felt very very uncomfortable with the idea of him essentially setting up a domestic partnership with a woman other than myself, especially when he and I had shared so much of our daily living and lifestyle together. Moreover, I realized that I was harboring resentment towards him because I felt that he had more power to "call the shots" in our relationship, in which I would have to go along with whatever he wanted, even at the expense of my own needs and feelings. I also wondered if I felt truly more secure in the relationship and his commitment to me, whether I would have felt as bothered by his choice of roommate.
I spoke my truth as clearly as honestly as possible, and while he was trying to be sweet and respectful, he ultimately made the decision to move out with her. He told me he was not in a place to make "lifestyle concessions"-- which was confusing because he was putting in so much effort to actually change his current living situation. I wasn't even asking that he and I move in together, just that he not live alone with one other woman. In order to preserve my self-respect and maintain my personal values on a matter that was important to me, I broke up with him. I told him that it was important for me to set a boundary around this matter, because he was not respecting my feelings on an issue that I felt was legitimate. He was kind and understanding, and yet sad-- I think he did not ultimately think that I would go through with the decision.
I was very upset and hurt afterwards, not understanding why a man who said he was crazy about me and loved me would throw away our relationship for the sake of a new living situation. I felt hurt and betrayed and confused. Moreover, his move happened right before some important steps in my life--applying to medical school and studying for an entrance exam into medical school. I could have really really used his support and love through this time, especially as this has been a long-standing goal for me and I struggle with academic anxiety. He is already in medical school, and was studying for his Boards before he moved out; I supported him and respected him through this process. Thus it bruised more that he did not understand how his decisions impacted me--everything from missing living in the same building as him to my sadness about our breaking up. This badly impacted my ability to study--another wound I struggle to heal from, from early failures in my late teens.
A few weeks after we broke up, I ran into him on campus. We had some really good, honest conversations. He told me how sad he felt and that he felt that he might have moved as a way of rebelling against me and his feelings for me. He said that he realized he wanted to create more distance between us as a way of protecting himself. I listened, and also expressed my own feelings of frustration and sadness to him. After several run ins and conversations, he called me and asked me out. On our date, he expressed many deep feelings for me and a desire to get back together. While emotionally I was very very happy to hear his expression of emotions, I felt cautious because at the end of the day, nothing had really changed the underlying reason of why I had broken up with him--i.e. he was still living with another female, which demonstrated to me his inability to commit to me.
In any case, after a few days of his expressing feelings and being vulnerable to me--and against, my better judgment, sleeping with him--and also, just ENJOYING BEING with him in a way that was difficult to do amidst our studies, he told me that he had woken up in the morning with this "feeling" that we weren't going to end up together. This really confused me--I didn't know why the future was coming up when the present seemed to have so much to work through. He told me however that his feelings for me and his love for me were so strong that he was putting aside this other "feeling" that we weren't going to end up together. I didn't really understand this contradiction, but he didn't seem to either. I just wanted a chance for our love to grow and deepen, in the right soil.
After a few more days of just being together again--I didn't push any conversations at this point because I was feeling the situation out--we were having a casual discussion and within the span of 20 minutes, he went from "I do'nt see this as a temporary relationship" to "I don't think this will ever go anywhere." Huh??? This is the same guy who that morning was holding me and telling me how much he loved me? I was very confused, and the next day I called him just to clarify what had happened during our conversation. He was acting more cold at this point, and also saying how his spiritual teacher (female) told him that if he was feeling confused, I must not be the right person for him. I told him that he was swinging from one extreme to another, that it was ok for him to be confused, but what he was communicating to me was deeply contradictory. In his confusion, he seemed to agree and said he would think about it a bit more and "get back to me." At this point, however, I felt too hurt by his hot/cold behavior to "wait around" and told him to either get clear or not contact me. I was already hurt by his decision to move, I had already broken up with him, and now suddenly I felt that he held all the power of the relationship in his hands.
I have not heard from him since--he left the country shortly afterwards for a trip that we were supposed to be on together.We were going as part of a holistic medical learning experience (his new female roommate was going too--though a guy she is dating is on the trip as well). I ended up canceling my trip because my studies were so affected that I had to postpone my test and also because I did not think we could heal from the situation by being with each 24/7. A part of me wanted to go in order to salvage the relationship, but knew that was not the way. I have been feeling so badly all summer, esp that I have been "stuck" here studying in a way that's not fulfilling, while he gets the respite of a vacation and a new country and bonding with his new roommate and others, as well as one of the aforementioned female teachers.
I feel regretful of having told him to "get clear or not contact me," because the pain of not communicating may have ultimately been more detrimental. I even did something dumb as to e-mail him as he was out of the country, in a place where there were bombings, to make sure that he was ok, and I took it a step further to say that I forgave him for his mistake. I was on a spiritual kick, but it was a premature forgiveness, which was not totally authentic of me in retrospect...I think I just wanted to feel relieved of the pain. He did write back saying thank you, he appreciates me, and that he is still learning how to love purely and hence needs to be free--but apparently I am "free" because I love so purely. I thought this didn't sound right--we are both growing beings, learning to love and be loved, so it felt more like an excuse to run away. He also said to "stay in touch" which I thought was really strange, especially as we are in the same holistic healing program and will HAVE to see each other. It also hurts to have someone I cared so deeply about, interacted with daily for a year and a half, to essentially diappear from my life and be so casual with me. The e-mail, with its impersonal tone and still confusing--and quite honestly BS vague excuse, hurt me and I decided not to respond.
I am in so much pain and heartbroken, and struggling with depression and feelings of powerlessness and voicelessness, and bound to my studies, so I don't feel like I have the energy to enjoy my life right now. I'm having a hard time being motivated with my studying, and falling into destructive patterns of procrastination. In addition, I feel like I failed this relationship somehow, and failed myself. Moreover, he and the group are coming back this week, and I will soon have to interact with him in our shared spaces. I still feel so hurt and confused inside, and unsure of what to do.
A part of me wants to believe that he just got scared, and that when we see each other, his feelings for me will still be there. A part of me is tempted to talk to him when he comes back, to connect with him and understand what went through his head. A part of me wants him to apologize to me for treating me the way he did.
But mostly, I want to know how to proceed, both with him and this situation, but more significantly, myself, my healing, my beliefs. Learning to trust myself and feel that I am deserving of love and success. What are the energetic roots of theses issues, how can I heal so that I can realize my potential as a healer, and also attract and create a relationship that nurtures me and I nurture it? I feel it is possible with this guy, but I realize I do need to change. I also want to know the best way to interact with him- whether there is any hope for us, or if I need to completely let go of the idea of our being together. How to heal my hurting heart, how to refocus my sad feelings into feeling good about myself and good enough for a relationship and for my life.
I know this is a chance for growth, change, healing, I just need some guidance as to where to direct my attention.
I eagerly await your response. Thank you so much Ayal, you are a blessing.
Hi - well, there is a lot here going on for you. And, you have already clearly and correctly identified what your issue is: not loving and valuing yourself. Where you have gotten lost and off track is swinging it back to your boyfriend, thinking that he has done something wrong, has "hurt you", (it's never about another person, place, or thing..... we create by our energy, vibrational patterns and beliefs, hidden or otherwise, as you know, I think, what comes to us) and thinking it's due to his behavior, and looking at him to change, apologize, do this, do that, etc., instead of sticking to truly healing yourself. However, I hear that you want to, and you know that this is what you need to be doing, and are willing to do, so you're way ahead of the game already.
When this issue is the core one, what is needed is to learn to get into your own Heart energy - in this way you are self generating Love - the Love you are so desperate and hungry for - You are living constantly within and from and surrounded by the Loving, Cosmic energy of the Universal Heart, of which our own individual hearts are simply and actually a microcosmic extension. It's the exact same energy. Within the Heart, there are no agendas, no needs, no polarity.... no me, you. It is infinite, timeless, pure Love - that is the ONLY energy of the Heart. It is from the heart that we create and generate energy - if we want passion, we must be living in the heart to feel it and let it fuel us. It is not separate or worried - it just IS the wholeness, shining, sunlit energy of Love. When we look to anyone or anything else to fulfill us, it is because we are outside of our own hearts. Most people live inside their heads, of course..... and you have been doing this big time - analyzing this and analyzing that - trying to figure it all out rationally - if he did this, or said that, how could he do so when he also said this.... etc. etc. and that is a great way to drive yourself crazy. Round in round in circles one goes, trying to talk it out over and over, thinking somehow this will change it, and make the other person change.... feeling hurt, taking everything personally, because there is no Inner Heart energy feeding you and sustaining or loving you. If we live in our heads, we will always feel less than, worried, separate, sabotaged, betrayed, and afraid.
When one has this issue, everything, and I do mean everything, is filtered through the lenses of "I'm not good enough" - and so no matter WHAT anybody else says or does, it is seen as an abandonment, or a put down - your whole being feels like it's one raw nerve that keeps getting hit over and over again. And soon, as you expressed, you feel berated, less than, beaten up, and bloody. The only thing most people can do then is to withdraw, and become depressed, as there is no energy left to deal with all the hits you feel you are getting - and nothing to fuel you or sustain you. BUT, the truth is, what is actually happening is that your mind is spinning everything to look and feel this way because you have not yet learned, as you said, to love yourself. It's an illusion, a false reality you yourself have created, but then everything that you experience is received that way.... for you.
As long as you put that burden for supplyng you with love and safety and passion onto someone else, it will:
A) Either drive them away, as they will never do it good enough for you - they can't - it's like trying to pour water into a sieve - it's an impossible, exhausting task - and plus - IT'S NOT THEIR JOB TO LOVE YOU. IT'S YOUR JOB TO LOVE YOU. Someone can share their life with you, and their own good loving energy, but they can't fill you up - and this is what you asked him to do - you can't suck off of his ability to love and be enthusiastic and passionate. You did try to do this, and it didn't, can't work. I think this guy saw and knew the real you, and loves you for that - but he couldn't handle the burden you put on him, and it caused him to have to move away from you.
The other thing this kind of need can create is:
B) Drawing to you someone who wants to control you or feels that he will be loved only if he takes care of you, so he goes into smother love and has to, must make you inadequate in order to show how capable he is and how much he can give, how well he can "rescue" you, so that then HE feels worthwhile - which matches, if you can see this, your own inadequacy, not loving yourself issues.
So - what do you do to get into the Heart? There are many techniques - the one I enjoy the best comes from Drunvelo. I invite you to go online and type in meditations to get into the Heart, or live from the heart, and then see what appeals to you. I invite you to look up Drunvelo's techniques with this.
Once you get into your heart, imagine a sphere of glowing light around you as you feel yourself in your heart. This helps to keep you in there. Then, like sunshine, you just bask in it - let it fill you up, flowing into all parts of you.... for me, it feels like how I feel when I'm at the beach. It helps to visualize yourself inside of your heart, and add into your Heart any things you love or that feel good to you - I put in crystals which help me stay grounded in there - you can put in items or Nature scenes, etc (not other people - but things that you have a connection to that YOU love). If you find that you have moved out of your heart and are no longer in there (check in - where are you...? It usually feels like you're sitting outside of it) just move your comfy chair back in, so to speak, and go back in there, sit down, relax, take a deep breath, enjoy, soak up the energy, and go "AAAhhhhh.".
Keep doing this all throughout your day until it becomes natural to be in there - THIS is what you need to do to create the Love you yearn for. When you have it within yourself, and you ARE that energy, and no clutching or hurt or blame or neediness then comes out of you to be projected onto others., YOU, YOURSELF, Are It. This is the best advise I can give you in regards to dealing with your ex boyfriend. Just work on staying in your own heart energy. Realize that you have seen everything and reacted to everything from a false belief that you yourself have carried around (like a virus). Knowing that, you can stop, take a deep breath, and find your way back into your own Heart energy, where you will receive all the love and peace and energy you yearn for. That's your work now. Then let life unfold for you, as it will, as you will be creating from the Heart in a clear, clean way.
P.S. I wanted to add 2 more things you can work with to support you in your heart work...
The first is working with Byron Katie's book, Loving What Is. She has a fabulous technique in there that helps us get back to seeing our own stuff in a gentle, loving way - and staying conscious with ourselves.
The second is a great 5 step exercise, fun to do yet profound, by the Buddhist woman monk Tsultrim Allione in her book called Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict - another great way to lovingly get through issues.
Both of these will be fabulous ways to do your inner work and get clear.