As a teenager and young adult I didn’t know how to work through conflict. I was young, dumb and scared to death. The only way I knew of resolving conflict was modeled to me in extremes. If there was conflict, or a difference of opinion even, it meant that eventually someone would get beat, jailed, emotionally abused to severe degrees, raped or killed.
Believe it or not, I was never afraid of those things for myself, because it is what I grew up with and all I knew. I was terrified however, when it came to affecting the people I cared about and loved the most.
So, when I got scared that something bad might within my personal relationships or if I worried someone I loved might get into bad things – I ran. I tried to escape. I physically and emotionally left, thinking I was somehow saving them and us from ever getting to an extreme point of hating each other or treating each other like that. I also thought I was saving myself (maybe believing or at the very least fearing) that eventually everyone would resort to such behaviors if I wasn’t behaving, agreeing, thinking or feeling the way they wanted me to.
I cannot adequately express to you what kind of damage and loss, unhealthy thought patterns
like this can have on your life. Believe it or not, they can cost you absolutely everything.
I realize now that it was a survival instinct (a coping mechanism) and although, it cost me that which I loved and valued the most, I believe it helped save my life while working under cover and in leaving abusive relationships later in life. (Hindsight being, of course, had I not allowed myself to react on those fears in the first place or had I learned how to work through things at an earlier age, I probably would have found that I didn’t need those survival instincts anymore.)
It is bittersweet how much this experience has taught me and continues to till this day. It taught me not to fear conflict anymore and not to be afraid of heading straight into a battle (yet, to do so with knowledge and wisdom.) It taught me never to let the opportunity for that which is good, pass you by. It taught me how to become more transparent and that I needed to allow myself to be vulnerable to others. It made me realize that communication and honesty, above all else, is the core of any solid and successful relationship (although, you have to be able to be honest with yourself first.) Mostly, just like becoming a parent has proven, it taught me what unconditional love really is.
To the degree I loved
is the degree I feared,
The degree I feared
is the degree I failed,
The degree I failed
is the degree I learned.
I learned not to fear
to such a degree
that I lose love