I was married for a year before getting divorced in 2015. The subsequent years that followed were a dark time in my life. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had completely shut myself off emotionally from other people. I even shut myself off from myself, I didn’t communicate with myself, I didn’t sit alone with my thoughts and process my trauma and my emotional state. I just drifted from distraction to distraction, from alcohol to weed to video games to casual sex, hoping to find some kind of release from my own mind.
I just got out of a relationship after a year and a half with someone recently. A big component contributing to the breakup was my inability to open up emotionally, to be vulnerable and intimate. I had developed a deep-seeded fear of intimacy from my marriage/divorce. I didn’t really process this till recently, but I had completely boarded myself off from the world. I was living an inauthentic life, some hollowed out shadow of myself that I thought people wanted me to be. I didn’t realize that I had been emotionally traumatized from my marriage.
I was in a completely dysfunctional relationship with my ex-wife looking back. We had met in 2011 in college after she had had a brutal breakup with her first long-term boyfriend of three years. She was emotionally devastated and I happened to be there. I was the rebound, but I didn’t see the harm in it at the time. I had been alone for about a year after a pretty bad break up myself and so I decided to give myself to this other person who seemed to be in need.
As I look back now, I see that she was dealing with a trauma and was developing her own fear of intimacy. This eventually led to her shutting down and not validating my emotions throughout the relationship. I didn’t see it at the time, but she was slowly eroding my authentic self, she was pushing that vulnerable side of myself down by not providing me with hardly any emotional nourishment and support. As a result, I built up walls, I became insecure, and I slowly began to construct a false identity around what I thought she wanted me to be. I was playing a character at this point. Some stoic, serious, no-nonsense kind of being. It was miserable.
Our marriage eventually fell apart. I felt completely insecure and invalidated and she was fed up with the fighting, the arguments, and the disjointed nature of our relationship. After we split up, we kept in contact and I still carried with me that false identity she had constructed for me. This identity was being reinforced every time we were in contact with one another. I eventually cut things off with her completely when I started dating my then girlfriend about a year ago.
I realized how much I was still holding onto this false self, how much I had completely emotionally neglected everyone who wanted to be a part of my life. It took breaking up with my recent girlfriend for the message to really hit home for me. My ex-girlfriend was amazing and nourishing, we had things in common I haven’t had in common with anyone else. I thought she was my girl, but I was not emotionally ready and I had not taken time to process my past trauma and to slowly take off the costume of this false character I was trying to portray and maintain.
I broke up with her and moved away from everyone, my family and friends. I sensed that I needed space, room to decompress. I live alone now and I have been slowly processing the last eight years of my life now that I have some space to think. It has seemed like a blur, but I can see the patterns of behavior unfold. I can see how my ex-wife’s own trauma infected me and that in turn infected the people who wanted to get close to me after the divorce. It’s like I can sense now this pattern of energy exchange, how our energy and behaviors infect others like some kind of mental/emotional vector.
Perhaps this view is a bit linear and oversimplified, for an endless number of factors go into making a person develop in a certain way, but there is no doubt that the energy you put out there, the energy you absorb has far-reaching consequences. The energy you release affects people, influences people, shapes people and vice versa. We all are molding and shaping one another. I take my energy very seriously now. I see the long-term damage it can do to people down the road. I see how it can infect other people, create traumas in other’s lives, and cause them to shut themselves off as well. It’s a cascading effect, a blossoming, ballooning phenomenon. I want to make sure that the energy that flows out of me now is authentic and full of love and compassion. That’s how I want to impact the world around me.
I know that for the last couple of years following my trauma, I have forged a path of devastation for a lot of people. I have cut them off, invalidated their emotions, their humanness, and I have left a trail of pain and destruction behind me. I used to be cynical, indifferent, and nihilistic about this sort of thing but no more. My growth had been stunted and I was living a depraved, disconnected existence. No longer. It is time to grow up, finally. It is time to understand the power I hold and to use my energy in the best possible way. To spread love, joy, compassion, and understanding is what I want to do now. It’s what I am doing now. Self-reflection, brutal honesty, self-love, and meditation are bringing me out again. I have felt myself slowly come alive again. I feel myself waking back up from its emotional slumber. I feel much more connected with the people around me now and my relationships with my family and my parents has greatly improved.
Life is tough and you don’t always realize what is going on as it is happening, but it is a continuous journey of both self-discovery and self-creation. I want to use my experience to jettison forward into a higher self, to have my energy blossom out and show people love and understanding so that they may show it to others as well. I am tired of living in self-absorbed bubble. It no longer serves me or anyone else. It had its time but now it must pass. I want to be an agent for change, for expanding consciousness and compassion. My past has not been easy but I wouldn’t trade this past for anything. I know that everything had to fall into place as it did for this realization and this new self to emerge.
Wherever you are, I hope that you know that as bad as it can get, there is always a way to turn it around and create something beautiful out of the ashes. It’s life, it’s how we learn. Failure and suffering are amazing building blocks of life and can bring a renewed sense of clarity and purpose to anyone’s situation. It’s funny the different characters we play throughout this life, the pressures to conform a certain way. I was bound to other’s expectations for me and that molded me into something misshapen, inauthentic. I am still working through all of these issues but I am now listening to my authentic self and have a much clearer vision of myself and my future.
Listen to your own voice, find your authentic self and let it shine in whatever way it decides to shine. Don’t be afraid, you don’t need anyone’s validation. Trust me, you are beautiful and perfect. There’s no other point in the universe like you. Step outside of yourself, feel the energy you possess, and use it to live for others. What will blossom will be contagious and full of light. And this world can always use more light. Remember, we are all in this together so when you help someone else, you are helping yourself. Much love ❤