Wow! I remember how shocking it was to realize that I was attracting emotionally unavailable men because I believed that unavailable men were all I deserved.
I didn’t think any more of myself than that.
Down deep, I thought I would have to beg for love if I was going to get any love at all.
What’s the Story I was telling myself?
That men are just as broken as I am and that I was attracting men like that because that’s all the men that were out there.
I had an incident in my Back Room when I was 13 – you know, the age when you’re waking up to love and you still believe that Prince Charming will solve all your problems?
I had a crush big time on a guy who was 2 years older than I was. My heart would skip a beat every time I saw him. I made excuses to hang out where he was. I guess (those who know me will roll their eyes here) I kind of wore my emotions on my face for the world to see so I would talk too loudly, laugh too much, flirt outrageously with him. I thought it was a secret love held closely guarded in my heart of hearts but, as you can imagine, the whole world knew it including him.
One day, it was as if I was brought out into the room filled with all my friends …naked!
I discovered that he was laughing at me and making a joke out of my romantic feelings for him. It was one of those moments when the veil that had been keeping reality from me was lifted and I was flooded with that horrible sensation called “shame”.
What was his nickname for me behind my back? “Squirt”. He was calling me, “Squirt”.
That fact alone told me a lot. I wasn’t good enough. I was a baby to him. I was pathetic and delusional and he was laughing at me for daring to even think that he would ever see me as anything but a child.
At least, that’s the meaning I gave that situation in my 13 year old mind. That’s the Story I told myself.
And, though I was only 13, that Story stuck.
I wish I could say things changed as I grew older but I can’t. That one incident (it only takes 2 or 3 in your life to set the stage) shattered my trust in my own worth. In how desirable I was. How attractive.
He played with me. He made a show for our friends so they could laugh about it later.
My humiliation was tied to the meaning I gave to what he did. My Story told me that it must be me.
Feelings are such good friends because they lead you to what you believe. And, depending on what you are telling yourself, you take action.
My action was to go into hiding.
I shut down the real me – almost instantly. I became someone who had to please people so they would like me, including the guys I dated. You never really knew what people were thinking!
Each relationship became the same especially with men I really admired. I would nearly bend over backwards to be who they needed.
But the men I really admired rejected me. I know now it was because they knew something wasn’t authentic. And that was a red flag.
When I was 24, I settled for the man I married. Though there were issues from the start with him, he wanted me. I thought that was all I could get to love me so I’d better grab him.
So how did I break the hold the Stories in my Back Room had taught me?
- I saw the pattern. The patterns were all tied to how I saw myself. And what I believed about myself.
- I raised my standard. Know what I did? I looked at how amazing I was and how much love I have to give to someone who can love me back.
It was an incredibly, deep amount!
- I looked at how often I misinterpreted actions toward me, jumping to HUGE conclusions when what was going on wasn’t about me at all.
It was about someone else’s Story. That’s what made me realize that some men are Tree Stump Men. As much as a tree could not love you if you asked it, even if it was a perfectly good tree (try it sometime), some men simply CAN NOT give you what you want.
And it had nothing to do with me. It’s where they were in their own Story.
- I looked at how much I wanted to respect myself. And I discovered so many things that I could do to stand up for myself and lift the level of that respect.
I could show up as I truly am. I could start being who I know I am and live by what I really wanted and needed from love.
That led me to the most amazing transformation and FREEDOM.
- I became the Chooser of men instead of letting them choose me and doing whatever I could to hang on to them.
I came across differently – more confident, more courageous.
I began to express myself by saying how I felt.
I described what I wanted and what I didn’t want.
I asked for what I needed.
I was open to ask what the man I was with thought about a situation, a question, a topic. And then I listened. And I decided if he was the man for me.
I’ve been married to my Perfect For Me Man for nearly 7 years now. Our relationship hasn’t changed. We have the kind of love that gives and grows because we both make it that way.
Realizing what this one incident from my Back Room had done and how it had set the stage for all my loves in the future was an eye-opener.
So I closed the Back Room Door, turned by back to it and realized that that was me then – but this is me now.
I have learned from the past. And I have let it open the door to my Sun Room – a richer, freer, wiser future.
Lovely Lady, that’s what you will find if you don’t give up…if you keep looking at your own heart as you walk this Open To Love Again Pathway.
P.S. I always want to remind you that I am there for you if you want to figure out your own Back Room beliefs. I can help you to determine how you may be keeping your foot in the Door and preventing yourself from moving forward. Set up a free Strategy Session with me and let’s take a look together.