Harassment

As a woman, I must be on my guard and aware of my surroundings every single minute I am not safe in my home.  This even happens in my personal vehicle!

Friday night I was leaving my sweetheart’s house around 12:30.  It’s about a 30 minute drive to home, and I stopped about ten minutes in at a 7-11 on a busy, well-lit corner to buy a bottle of chocolate milk.

A male customer, who I barely noticed, with whom I made no eye contact at all, who I certainly did not encourage in any way, got in his car and began to follow me home.

I was frightened.  He periodically would pull up next to me and drive parallel to my vehicle, beeping his horn and waving at me.  I grabbed my cell phone and put it to my ear, pretending to make a call.  This did not deter him.  He continued to drive parallel to me whenever possible, slowing down when I slowed down, speeding up when I sped up, and stopping well short of traffic lights just to stop his car directly next to mine.  Occasionally he would resume beeping his horn repeatedly to get my attention.

My heart was beating fast.  I was scared.  I didn’t know what his intentions were, but I just wanted him to leave me alone.  I didn’t want to drive home because my children were there, fast asleep, and I didn’t want to lead an unknown person to my home.  I was trying to think who to call that would be any help, where to drive where I could be safe, when he finally decided to leave  me alone.

I checked my mirror all the way home, looked all around me, and drove around my block to make sure there were no cars in sight anywhere before pulling onto my street and into my driveway.  I was still frightened for quite some time.

As scary as this experience was on Friday, it’s mild compared to what this woman went through on the subway one day.  Her story is important to read, especially if you are a man.  Men, please know that you have no inherent right to be spoken to or responded to by a woman.  Being in our personal space or following us isn’t a turn on, ever.  It’s scary, always.  Before you interact with the next pretty female you see, think about an unknown male interacting with your sister, mother, wife, grandmother, or other beloved female in your life.  Think about her being frightened by this unknown male’s proximity or other aggressive behaviors.  In short, please think twice before you treat a woman like an object, like something you have a “right” to be with, speak with, or pursue.

Because this is terrifying.

Romance

I am in an emotionally healthy relationship!  One that does not trigger codependency, anxiety, or clinginess in me!  This is a new thing.

I’m beginning to realize how much I appreciate the small things in a relationship.

  • A man who wants me in his life, is not afraid to say that to me and to the world, and goes to great lengths to pursue me.
  • Being able to text “I miss you” in the middle of a workday, without stopping to wonder if that’s too clingy.  Every text from me is welcomed wholeheartedly.
  • Pacing the relationship properly:  being able to enjoy the early stages of a relationship without jumping right into bed with someone.
  • Getting two or three phone calls a day from a man who wants to talk to me and hear all about my day.
  • Sweet texts at unexpected times.
  • Roses.
  • Being treated to lots of dinners, movies, and concerts, with no expectations of anything from me in return.
  • Holding hands in church.  Holding hands at dinner.  Holding hands on a walk.  Holding hands at the movies.  I love holding hands!
  • Two-hour phone conversations.
  • Being able to be a bitch accidentally, realize it, apologize for it, and move on, without it ever turning into an argument.
  • Not having to check myself for codependent, approval-seeking behavior.  I already have his approval, and he verbalizes that approval regularly.
  • Hearing every day that I’m beautiful.

I was not looking for this.  After the fairly recent pain of a broken relationship, there was no way I wanted to put myself out there to get hurt again.  However, looking for it or not, I found it, and it’s wonderful.

On My Birthday

Here is what Father (and Hal) have to say to me today, on my 40th birthday.

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.  ~Psalm 103:3

My child, I am still healing ancient wounds in your soul.  The process is slow and often hidden from your view.  But I tell you, of a truth, it is taking place.  You are not marking time and your circumstances are not accidents.  So lift up your head and your heart, and receive each day as a gift.  You do not know the end, but I do, and I am leading you toward My goal for you.     ~Echoes of Eternity, August Twenty-second, Page 179

Choosing Differently

I’ve been thinking a lot about this “I break relationships” mentality I have carried around about myself, and I’m coming to a new conclusion.

I actually don’t break every relationship I find myself in.

Rather, I find myself in lots of unhealthy, breakable relationships.

There is something about people who, like me, were raised in dysfunctional homes, which is attracted to the “addict” personality.

Regarding alcoholics, the Big Book says:

Selfishness–self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt (Page 62).

I have found this to be true of alcoholics and addicts of all types, regardless of whether they are choosing to use their given substance at any given time.  The using might stop, but the self-centered behavior remains.  This is only my personal opinion, of course, backed up by the experiences of my Al-Anon friends to the man.  It has also unfortunately, been widely tested by me over the years, as I seem to have an attraction to people such as these–friends, work situations, spouses, and lovers alike.  But still, it is not empirical data, just personal opinion.

I have historically been attracted to people who are predisposed to attempt to manipulate my emotions and cross my boundaries.

How can I blame someone for hurting me, when I have a proven track record of putting myself with such people who are likely to hurt me?

What happens next is the broken relationship part.  I place myself in a relationship with a person whose behaviors are triggers for my unhealthy, codependent behaviors.  I then find myself constantly monitoring myself, working the steps hard, calling my sponsor frequently, and journaling for hours in an attempt to not react with unhealthy codependency when faced with those triggering behaviors.  I do not resent this, because it is good for me to practice intentionally relating in healthy ways.  However, I’m beginning to see that these types of relationships are going to be way more likely to fail.

Wouldn’t it be easier to simply not become emotionally entangled with such individuals to begin with?

Well, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So I’m doing something different this time around.  I’m at the very beginning, getting-to-know-you stages with a very nice gentleman, and interestingly, I’m finding his emotionally healthy, non-controlling ways strange and foreign!  There is no game playing!  He’s attracted to me, wants to be with me, and shows it by calling me regularly, either to talk at length or to simply have a two-minute “how’s your day going?” conversation.  He doesn’t disappear when I show any desire to be with him (though I don’t really have much opportunity to test this, as he calls me before I have a chance to miss him!).  He doesn’t run hot and cold.  He doesn’t try to manipulate my emotions.  I so far feel no unhealthy desire to do the “right things” or win his approval, as I have in the past with family, friend, and romantic relationships.  In short, I do not have to work hard to fight off my codependent tendencies.  They are simply not being triggered.

Obviously, I don’t know yet where this relationship will go, and I’m taking it very slow, of course.  Snail’s pace, really.  My breakup was tough, it was only six weeks ago, and I have no desire for another broken heart.  My heart still hurts from this one.  But if you’ve read my blog, you may know that I like to analyze myself, and to learn and grow from my mistakes.  It will be very interesting (and fun) to see what happens as I continue to spend more time with a man who does not tend to trigger my codependent behaviors.

God is good, all the time.

Father has pursued me lately, and I like it!

I have been so, so, so very sad lately over a tough breakup, and Father has gone out of his way to make sure I know I am loved.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending 72 hours with my best girlfriends on earth – friends who have been in my life for more than 12 years and still love me!  They loved me really hard last weekend.  A wonderful reminder that I don’t break every relationship I touch.

This weekend, Father brought a new friend into my life.  I’m looking forward to experiencing what else He has in store for me.

I love you back, Dad.