When I was young, around 16 or so, I remember a friend of my mothers who seemed to bounce from one unhealthy relationship to another. She would meet someone and INSTANTLY fall in love…this was it! This was the man she was going to marry; this was the end of the dating road for her!!!! Within weeks, however she would find that he was withdrawing, treating her unkind, not tending to her needs, the list goes on. Rather than seeing this happen and walking away she would start to try even HARDER. She would be unable to think of anything else but him…why he was starting to reject or mistreat her and how she could prove her worth to him. The more she would try the more he would mistreat her or push her away until eventually he left entirely and she was despondent until the next man came along and the cycle would continue.
I should explain that this was not some desperate, dependent woman. She was a very successful business owner; she was financially independent and didn’t typically rely on anyone for anything. She was what most would call a self-actualized woman. The issue for her seemed to stem first from the fact that she saw her romantic life as the one area in which she wasn’t successful and that simply was not acceptable to her and 2) she perceived those who mistreated or rejected her as a challenge she had to conquer.
She would see the efforts she made not as her tossing away her dignity one desperate phone call at a time but rather as her showing him why she was worthy…that she wouldn’t abandon him, that she would go the distance. Too bad they didn’t want her to go the distance lest of course that distance included her putting up with their bad behavior so that they could continue to mistreat her while taking the entirety of what she had to offer. She began to apply effort and chase these men; one after another much like a drunk will watch the clock tick by until it’s an “appropriate” time to have their first drink of the day. She came to be addicted to love, or at least to the notion of it. The men would see that she was addicted to the potential, to the notion of love and they would often take advantage of it. They would forget to call…they would place everything before her. They would come in and out of her life when it befitted them. They would mock her efforts but then also grasp at her when she would pull back. This left her confused, scattered and emotionally bankrupt.
Despite the fact that she would NEVER allow anyone in her professional, familial or platonic life to treat her in such a manner she would do very little when the romantic men in her life spared no expense making her feel less than nothing. If anything she seemed to almost associate love with this mistreatment. She would make up excuse after excuse for why she was treated like this. “He is afraid”. “He isn’t any good at love and relationships”. “He doesn’t know how to love”. “He has issues” (duh). The list would go on and on. Unfortunately she found many books, so called experts, even friends and family who helped to affirm these potential excuses.
In the end, however, it was none of those (save for the fact that he has issues which is rather apparent); rather it was her. If you continue to place yourself in one compromising position after another, chasing after men or in some cases women, who mistreat you and your efforts then you will be in the same situation. If you allow yourself to make excuses for why someone fails to treat you well you are essentially making excuses for why you do not place your security, worth and esteem above theirs. They are responsible for THEIR behavior, yes, and there is no doubt that those who take advantage of someone with an unhealthy perspective on love are making the wrong decision. YOU are responsible for YOUR behavior just the same. If you allow someone to treat you like dog mess in the end you have to point the finger just as much at yourself as you would them. Ultimately we teach others how to treat us based on how we treat ourselves. If you do not want to be treated like a door mat stop lying down and pretending to be one.
You can go down a long list of reason why you continue to put up with it. They can range from the fact that you believe you love him (when in truth you more likely are in love with your perception of him, the idea of him) that they love you (no-they love what you offer and that you love them) to the fact that you know there is potential and that it could be fantastic if only he did (was)….
The problem is “potential” only has worth if it’s actualized; realized. If it never comes to fruition then that potential in the end isn’t worth the gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Placing your efforts and emotion on something that MIGHT be possible is a rather risky venture. I understand that love in general is a rather risky and a quite fickle beast but in this case it’s less love and more your addiction to love/potential for love etc. You may tell yourself over and over that you love him but if you only receive half of the man…only see half of what he is as a whole you are only “loving” half of that person. You are basing the remainder on what you believe him to be…what you think he could be to you if that aforementioned potential came to be. You love what he could potentially represent.
Love is not conditional. Love is not meant to be degrading or self-destructive. Love is not “me” centric but “we” centric. Just as you work your butt off to provide love and attention and compassion to the person of your heart’s desire they too should reciprocate that. It’s not always 50/50 but it shouldn’t ALWAYS be 80/20. If you find yourself giving to a fault ask yourself why and be honest with yourself. Seek out those who you know will tell you the truth even if it hurts. Take off the rose colored glasses and view the man not as you have romanticized him to be or how you feel he could be if this and that aligned but rather the MAN AS HE IS! Does he impart good to your life? Does he add to your life? Does he help you mold and shape your life in creatively beautiful and expanding ways? If not then why are you wasting your time? Just because he may not be “the one” doesn’t mean “the one” isn’t out there. It does mean, however, that you only prolong if not entirely miss, meeting “the one” because you were too busy subjecting yourself to one nasty hang over after another. Your time and emotion is precious. Make sure that those you impart them to are worthy.