All my life I've been brought up to believe (RUSH song cue) that respect is earned and not given. And I've had my share of respecting someone and then having it disappear. Usually do to their actions not matching their words or worse....their actions actually scaring me and making me feel as if everything I've been taught is wrong, as with the rapes.
But recently I've discovered that sometimes people just don't know how to respect others, or treat others the way they would want to be treated. I've also been taught this lack of compassion is more an only child thing, and yet I think I'm one of the most compassionate people out there, even having survived everything I've survived, and I often times will try to think of the situation from the other persons point of view first. This is great for the other people in my life but not so great for me. Mr. Selfish used to say to me that being selfish is not always a bad thing. And I never really understood what he meant until now.
You can be the most nurturing person in the world. And give until you can't give anymore, even if you know it's wrong. Like my years of being a mistress. I knew it was wrong, but I did it more for the unhappy men that found me than for myself. I'll admit that loneliness was a powerful decision maker and so was love, but in the end all it seems I have left is a huge lack of respect from my family and friends. Not all my family and not all my friends, but I have noticed a great exodus from my companionship. Even from the men I tried to bring some love and understanding to.
I know what you are thinking, 'What did you expect?' Well....honestly.....I guess first and foremost I expected understanding. Not judgment from people that I love that say they love me. Perhaps even curiosity, and honest questions and communication about why. Why would someone like me, who'd been cheated on, ever cheat? Why would someone like me who had cheated on the best guy in the world and felt like shit for it, EVER want to feel that way again? Or bring that feeling of emptiness and complete success devoid of any feelings of love or attachment? No loyalty. Loyalty is very big with me. And when I break a confidence or show a disloyal side of myself, it is usually because I have tried every I could think of to save the relationship and have felt cast aside myself, or it is because I have nothing left to give and find the relationship to be a lie. Have I always been proud of how I ended a relationship? Of course not. Have you? If you can say yes to this question then I would expect more understanding from you not less. I would expect you to have advice for someone like me, not disdain.
I am the only person exactly like me in the entire universe and I am a wonderful, caring, loving, loyal, understanding and respectful person. And I didn't get here just from discipline as a child. I got here by making mistakes, choices that seemed right at the time that ended up being wrong. It is how I have learned in my life, and I know I've broken patterns.
I know I've gotten better at picking friends and men to love. (I just need to make sure they are single) And I know I still have a great capacity to love and experience joy. I get that every day as a nanny. NOTHING is more healing than a child's laughter. Nothing is more honest, sometimes brutally so, than a child's opinion. Children don't lie about important things. They tell it like it is, even if it will hurt you or get them in trouble. They also don't lie about despicable things that happen to them, or when they have been hurt, emotionally or physically. Children are wise beyond their years. They understand through lack of experience, that the best thing to do is make the mistake, learn from it, forgive themselves, and move on. How I wish we didn't loose that ability. What a wonderful world it would be if we could be that honest with ourselves as adults. Confrontation used to be hard for me. When I was a child and struggling alone with the rapes and not knowing who I could trust to tell. How would it help anyway? That feeling of 'I don't want to face it so if I don't talk about it, it will go away.' The feeling of 'it will fix itself in time, if I just keep trying to be good.' But sometimes things need to be faced. No matter how ugly or evil it makes you feel about yourself, or others. Sometimes you have to go there....to that dark place in your memories and really see who you are. What happened. What you chose. Or that it wasn't your fault. Forgive yourself, if you share some of the blame, and move on. I know this can be a very difficult thing to do. But you know what's harder? Try to find something good that came out of the experience. I can do that with every past relationship. But I still have some issues with finding anything good that came out of the rapes. I suppose that is to be expected considering I was five and twelve when they occurred. I guess the only good thing I can point to is that my anger, that I didn't even know I was surrounded by, has lifted. And a stronger me has appeared to protect those wounded children left inside.
And it is a much wiser me as well. Less likely to judge, much less quick to show my anger, and at the same time, a much quicker actor on what is right and what is wrong. One of my favorite quotes I recently read on line was, "If you don't know right from wrong it's not religion you lack it's compassion." That hit a cord with me and helped me on this leg of my journey. I truly am sorry for hurting anyone that I thought I was helping. I guess it's true, you can care too much. But this time my armor is not going to be impenetrable, plate mail, splinted or chain. This time my armor will be supple, yet strong leather. And besides, I look good in leather. ;)