Jun 03 2020

The choice

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 1:05

I have a writer’s block again when it comes to technical stuff, so here I am on a Scotland rainy day thinking again about my past relationships and drawing new conclusions.

When somebody asks me these days how come I am still single I do not have an answer ready. I could list a lot of reasons, but this world is so big, and there is so many of us that if I look, I would probably find at least one person with similar background and circumstances that is not single. So… I have to admit to myself that it is a choice now. And I should have made this choice many years ago when I first had my heart broken in the worst way. Instead, I chose to believe that there is a soul mate out there, that there is somebody that would love me and will want to spend their life with me. And because of that belief I had my heart broken again and I broke a few hearts too, and I cannot take that back.

I grew up in a family that was disorganized, chaotic, with a lot of conflicts and passive aggressiveness. I was never in denial about my home environment, but for a long time I used to think that when not seen by anyone all families were like that. And although I hoped the family I will start will be better than that, I was also terrified that in time it might become exactly like that.  So exactly like a time traveler caught in a time paradox, I probably caused the demise of my previous relationships while trying to avoid it.

The sad truth is that the place where we receive our training for being part of a family is within the families we are born in. What we see happening between our parents we tend to replay with our partners. It’s not really about love really, it’s more about creating and maintaining a partnership. Because you can love somebody to the moon and back but maintaining a partnership has more to do which your behavior than with your feelings.

It should be obvious that early family dynamics influence the way you yourself will behave in your adult relationships because it teaches you to communicate to people close to you. And it does it in a natural way, without forcing you, without testing your understanding. Since you are living with the same people for a long time, you get contaminated with certain elements and do not even realize it.

A personal example: for a long time I was unable to deal with criticism in a healthy way. Code reviews and professional evaluations used to give me nightmares. Where did I learned to react like that? In the arms of my toxic family of course. Both my mother and father were very critical, and when I say critical, I mean abusive. How I did in school never satisfied them, how I behaved was not acceptable and so on. I finished university with the words of my father haunting me: “You are not beautiful, and you are not smart, if you marry a guy that doesn’t drink and doesn’t beat you, consider yourself lucky!” Any mistake had as a consequence either some verbal/physical abuse, either some mockery. So I learned criticism was bad, and dreaded it for years. But having to survive, I swallowed my feelings, cried in the bathroom, whatever was needed to get the job done. And in time I learned to appreciate negative feedback and criticism. Because you cannot improve if nobody tells you that you are “doing it wrong”.

But my dread in the face of criticism/ negative feedback was probably the root cause of the cancer that destroyed my previous relationships. I would take criticism way to seriously and I would try to change. I would fail and feel like shit and end up despising the person next to me for making me feel that way. Or, I would never provide feedback, never criticize until the glass was full. And by that time it was almost always too late. Because the time when the glass was full, it was the time when in my mind I would have decided the relationship is not worth saving anyway.

Another thing that saddens me about growing up in such a difficult family, is that I have no idea how a healthy relationship feels like. I know what it looks like, but I do not know how it feels like, and instinctively I choose partners whth who I can recreate a familiar environment. Which obviously, in my case … it’s not a healthy one.

Once I became aware of how my past family life has affected my adult relationships, I made the choice of staying celibate until the toxic persons and toxic relationships will not be familiar to me anymore.

And this year, on the 20th of May I made it to six years of celibacy. And I am not feeling lonely, I’m not miserable and I’m definitely not feeling like I’m missing something. My only regret is that I did not have the knowledge and I was not brave enough to make this choice earlier. I would have avoided a lot of heartbreak for me and for others, and also prevented myself from losing some friends by turning them into partners and then into nothing.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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