I recently read a story. This guy falls in love and moves in with his girlfriend. Soon after he finds his girlfriend having sex with her ex-boyfriend. He goes crazy, beats the crap out of the guy, screams at his girlfriend, grabs some stuff and leaves the apartment. He becomes bitter and angry. He now doesn’t trust women or relationships. For awhile he only uses women for sex, but doesn’t get involved deeper than that. He doesn’t acknowledge how hurt he is, he only acknowledges that he is pissed off at the world.
In time he meets another girl. However, this time is different. This time he feels more than just a sexual attraction. He starts to fall in love with her. This is when he should finally be able to let go of his past anger, learn to trust again and live happily ever after right?? Well, as we all know, life just isn’t that easy.
He doesn’t acknowledge how afraid he is of being hurt again. He doesn’t admit he still has unresolved pain and anger from his ex. However, it comes out in his actions. He starts breaking up with his new girlfriend for no reason. Then in moments of panic, he begs her to come back. When things start to go well, he finds a reason to start an argument. They continue the cycle of breaking up and getting back together. He knows he is in love with her, but doesn’t know how to withstand the vulnerability that true love brings to a relationship. He believes if he is a jaded and bitter jerk then he could never get hurt again. He continues to push her away even though she begs him to take her back.
She finally moves on because she can’t handle his hostility any more. She starts dating someone new. He realizes that he pushed her away with his negative emotions from his last relationship. He wants her back, but doesn’t feel he can ruin what she has now to ask her to come back to him. He starts to analyze why he pushed her away when he truly did love her. He starts to heal the wound that has been haunting him and realizes he wasn’t avoiding the pain by being a jerk after all. He was still in pain even though he was trying to push his pain onto someone else. He now knows he ruined a really good thing because he couldn’t get past the betrayal from his ex.
He runs in to her a few months later and admits to himself that he has continued to think about her every day. He doesn’t tell her this, but he does tell her he still loves her and misses her. He asks her if she is happy. She says that she is content in her new relationship. He realizes she is still in love with him. She starts to kiss him and he knows he could have sex with her if he wanted to. He stops himself when he realizes he would be causing her to cheat on her boyfriend and he doesn’t want to bring her further into his negative emotion cycle. He doesn’t really want to hurt her current boyfriend the way he was hurt by his ex.
He knows that her current boyfriend, even though he isn’t making her overly happy, is providing commitment and emotional stability that he wasn’t able to provide. He tells her that although he had no problem breaking up his own relationship, he couldn’t break up hers for his own selfish reasons. He admitted that he was terrified of hurting her again. Even though he wanted to be with her, he couldn’t reassure her that he wouldn’t push her away again. She told him she understood, even though she was sad, and left.
He wasn’t able to ask her to leave her current boyfriend, although this is what he hopes for. He had to let the one girl he truly loved go, and he isn’t sure if she will come back. In the mean time, he finally broke down and cried about all the pain he had been going through and holding back. He finally wasn’t ashamed to show how he was really feeling. He was learning that he had hurt a lot of people because he got hurt, and this wasn’t the way he wanted to continue to deal with his pain. He hopes that one day he will be more trusting and vulnerable in a relationship. He hopes the girl he pushed away will come back someday. Until then he will continue to be single, take care of himself, and improve those areas he struggles the most with.
It is torture to live with pain. As counselor, I have learned that if someone dumps a pile of crap (pain, anger, hurt) in front of you, you have three choices in how to deal with it. First, you can pretend the pain isn’t there. You can ignore it or try to forget it ever happened. In time, most people will need drugs, alcohol, sex, food or other distractions to help them stay in this type of denial. Pain has a way of sticking around even if you try to continue ignoring it.
Second, you can pick it up and try to throw it at someone else. Many people try to give their pain to others and feel justified in doing it. Pain can make someone very irrational. The only catch is, it never really goes away. It stays with you, only now you’ve spread it out farther than yourself and others are suffering as well.
Third, you can put some boots on and start wading through it. Facing the pain and moving forward is the only way to truly get through it. I believe you don’t really “get over” things. However, I do believe you can get through things. It isn’t easy to face your pain, but it is worth it. You can handle it, because you are stronger than you think. You also don’t have to dwell on your past to deal with it either. It’s just being able to acknowledge it and feel the pain that you haven’t let yourself feel before. The pain does lessen in time if you let yourself actually feel it. You can choose to deal with it alone, or ask someone you trust to help you through it.
Also, realize courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is knowing what you fear and being willing to face it anyway. If you fear pain, then I hope you will have the courage to face it in your future.