Today my best friend of fifteen years texted me with a very thought provoking question. She is struggling through a difficult time right now with her husband in pre-deployment training in California. They get no contact with each other for a month. Not only does she deeply miss him, but it evoked some emotions that occurred last time he was out in the field.
She texted me:
“Why are women cursed… so cursed that when a man does wrong to us we suddenly feel like we deserved to be wronged so… we are the wretched and they are the saints… when they were the pigs. Why do we do that to ourselves.”
I was walking back from class in the snow when I read this and it made me literally stop in my tracks. Why do we do that to ourselves? I flash backed to the countless times I made an excuse for someone who hurt me, saying it wasn’t his fault because I was being bitchy or because he is having emotional issues, etc. Why did I do that? A quote I read from The Perks of Being a Wallflower popped in my head. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And that is entirely true. I will be honest about this – I have very low self-esteem. Any of my friends can tell you that. I have a history of douche-bag boyfriends. When I get treated awfully, I immediately go to “It’s my fault. I acted crazy and I deserve to be treated this way.”
No. No it isn’t my fault. I do not deserve to be treated the way I have been. I deserve better. So why, every single time some sort of wrong is done to me, do I put blame on myself?
And then I thought about my relationship which ended about a month ago. We were long-distance with him being stationed in Kansas and myself attending college in Oklahoma, so contact via phone was vital. However, there were strings of days were he wouldn’t call, he would barely text. I would cry to my best friend and worry that there was something going on, and she would tell me that I needed to get rid of him. I would say no, and create reasons for him. And then he would call and I would be okay again, but it would happen again and again and each time I would have a different excuse for him. She would always ask me “Why are you making excuses for him?” And just recently I discovered why.
I would much rather make excuses for him and put blame on myself than admit that I let the wrong person into my life. If someone has hurt you, or acts like he doesn’t care about you, then sometimes that means we made a mistake in letting them get so close. I put blame on myself or make excuses because it is better than admitting that I fell in love with someone who could hurt me. I didn’t want to tell myself that I was in love with the wrong person.
Let me make this clear. If someone you love makes a mistake that ends up hurting you, then it is a mistake. If you ask yourself “Did I fall in love with the wrong person?” after they made one of those mistakes, the answer is no. You fell in love with a person. A human being. Someone who will make mistakes. Someone who is sorry they wronged you. Someone who will learn. However, if they make the same mistake again and again, it is no longer a mistake. It is a habit.
Stop blaming yourself. Stop saying “Oh, well, he had a bad day.” “He is struggling with some things.” “He is tired.” It doesn’t matter what he is because guess what? We all have bad days. We all struggle. We all get tired. But that does not give anyone permission or the right to hurt someone, no matter how many times the word sorry comes out of their mouth.
I had to make the decision to stop making excuses for him. I had to admit to myself that he is hurting me because he no longer cares, not because he is tired. He no longer loves me. And that was the most painful thing I have had to do, but it has been the most freeing as well.