Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Month: September, 2014

Emotional Stalemate

What happens when you find yourself at an emotional stalemate?

A lot of times, we are so guarded that we don’t recognize a good thing when it comes. Then, when we see how amazing it can be, we dive deep into the welcoming, warm water without any thought to safety. And we float on for a while,  enjoying this amazing feeling. Until one day, we are tossed so violently from this pool of happiness into the murky darkness of our worst imagination.

So now what?

I always talk about being secure with yourself as a female. Because we cannot expect a man to come and “save us,” nor to “complete us.” But I also feel that we need to be open to new experiences, and not let past experiences prevent us from feeling those amazing emotions that can be so addicting.

This presents a problem, though. How do you find the right balance between guarding your heart, but opening it enough to allow someone in? Is it all or none? Can you really still be guarded but open to a relationship?

As women, we are programmed to be more emotional. Yet when we try and hold back these emotions, we are seen as unfeeling and cold. I myself try to limit the strength of emotions that I share with the opposite sex. Because it isn’t fair in my eyes for a man to use those emotions to take advantage of you. However, what do you do when the guy has let HIS guard down, and now expects you to do the same?

From experience, I can tell you that you can do two things: you can also let your guard down, and expose your heart to the possibility of being hurt. Or, you can continue to hold your ground until you know the guy is being sincere. The latter option may create some problems, as the guy might feel you aren’t taking the same risk he is, and therefore he might not think you are serious about him. That’s a bit tricky, so you’ll need to play it as it comes. The first option often ends in heartbreak (at least for me).

So what do you do? It’s honestly hard to predict. I guess it depends on the guy. All I know is, I almost had my heart broken recently, but I was able to catch it just in time. The reason being, I gave myself a time limit on when I could emotionally “let go.” I bet that sounds odd, and you’re thinking “how can you place a time on emotions?” Well, it’s simple. I told myself that if I did not receive a promise of an engagement in the future by the three month limit, then clearly this guy was not serious. And it isn’t like I didn’t tell him my plan. He knew. It was our agreement when we first started talking. I made sure to remind him (but not too often), and genuinely enjoyed our time together.

But I was starting to fall for him, and I knew that unless I placed an ultimatum, I would have my heart broken. So I did. And my answer was what I expected, so I am glad that I forced him into an answer. Because I am too good of a person to be dragged around for months while he made his choice. I want to move on, and this way it is so much easier to bounce back because really, the emotions I invested were very minimal. While I enjoyed his company, a serious future would not have materialized, and I need more than that.

So, I guess my lesson here is this: don’t be afraid to experience life and love. But, as females, we have to be smart about it. Especially those of us in our 30’s. We don’t have the same time to bounce back as we did in our 20’s, and so play it smart. Have fun. And, depending on who you are, YOU set the time limit you need to figure out if he is the one. Always remember though to stay true to yourself, because that is who will always be there, even after he is gone.

The Cost of Abuse

This subject is a bit more heavy than what I usually write about, but it needs to be said. With all that has been going around in the media and social networks about Ray Rice’s video showing his assault on his then-fiancee, there has been a lot of victim-blaming. And it needs to STOP.

It is so easy for those who have no experience with any type of abuse to judge the woman and say she could have left, or that she allowed him to continue to abuse her so it’s her fault. But what many people don’t know is, it is not that easy to walk away. Lately, there has been a hashtag on social media, #WhyIStayed that has been trending. Women have been telling their stories on why they ultimately stayed in an abusive relationship.

It is easy to read these accounts of physical, mental, and financial abuse and blame the women. It is easy to stand on the outside, looking in, and wonder how weak these women must be to not walk away the first time they were mistreated. We can judge and say “I’d never be that stupid; I’d fight back or walk away the first time.” But really, without being in that situation, can you really say these things?

When I was younger, I was taught that men abusing women was NOT okay. I grew up in a home where my dad never laid a finger on my mom. My parents came from families where the men never hit the women. So I was lucky. I was shown a way of life free of physical abuse. However, many of my friends were not as lucky. They came from families where the mother was abused by the father, the sons hit their sisters, and ultimately, the girls were married to men who would hit them as well.

The first time I encountered a friend who was physically abused, I was shocked. It didn’t seem real; yet her bruises told me another story. I felt helpless; what could be done? She would run away to her family, and they would send her back to her husband. She had children; her husband threatened to take them away. He of course would buy her gifts as an apology, but just like clockwork, he would abuse her yet again. It was a vicious cycle.

Because she had no support from her family or the community, she was stuck in this circle for a while before she finally summoned up enough courage to walk away. Of course, the community saw it as defiance of her husband and blamed her. But she stayed strong, got a job, and found a place to live. Today, she is finally free from that life.

Over the years, I have seen other types of abuse. Emotional abuse can be just as scarring, since the man can strip you of your identity and self-worth. What we need to realize when blaming the victim is that if they already have low self-esteem (which men who abuse try to find from the start), then it is easy for them to be sucked into a whirlwind of emotional abuse. And since these women are afraid to speak up, the continue to let their abuser proceed with the torment.

Financial abuse occurs when a woman doesn’t work, or if she does, he money is managed and controlled by her husband. This makes sure that she always relies on him for anything she needs, and also secures the idea that she cannot leave as she will have to financial means to do so. Her husband will control where she goes, what she buys, and anything she wants to do. Along with emotional abuse, this will result in the woman feeling helpless to try and leave as she does not know how she will survive on her own, especially if she has no family or friends to stay with to get her on her feet.

I have seen all these types of abuse in my life. The one thing that I can tell you, is that women in these relationships often will hide what is happening to them for fear of humiliation. They do not want their closest friends and families to know that they are victims of these lifestyles. A lot of times, since they see the victim being blamed for not walking away, they are embarrassed to share their story. But, not anymore. It is time we stopped judging and blaming them for staying. We need more dialogue. We need conversation and understanding.

The reason women don’t walk away is not because of the power of their abuser; it is because they are afraid that when they turn for help, they will be greeted with a mob, pointing accusing fingers at them.

Let’s change that.