Emotional Maturity-Love is not enough
At this point in my life, I’ve learned to not ignore the signs of manipulation simply because I have a genuine feeling of love for someone. I also refuse to get all giddy and optimistic.
Love just isn’t enough.
I’ve lost myself way too many times and the aftermath of that was always voicing “But I Love Them” all while not feeling protected by those who are lashing out from unresolved emotions.
An ex tried to destroy my reputation and paint me as the villain and my response was “But I Love Them” Even though, they've caused an ample amount of pain. I've never voiced that. I am responsible for staying through the pain. I am responsible for healing.
My most important relationships taught me the value of remaining silent and that I am in charge of processing my emotions. While my exes have not been the nicest people after our breakups I was able to mend friendships that were on the rocks. I did not play victim, processed how they were feeling without passing judgment, and did not resort to petty/hurtful tactics.
If I loved you, I’m going to love you forever. I never want to be the person who hurts someone repetitively simply because I lack self-accountability. However, I am now guarded.
Let’s talk about emotional maturity and how lacking the ability to process what you’re feeling, communicate efficiently, concluding without proper knowledge, and putting other’s needs before yours, can destroy genuine relationships.
When I was fourteen I met this girl who was driven, rebellious and so sure of herself at such a young age. Throughout the years we developed a strong bond. We did everything together. We even started to look alike. I loved her more than I loved myself and would jump whenever she wanted to hangout. Over time, I found myself becoming more social. Our circle started to expand. We were meeting like-minded people and for a while tried to bring both worlds together. However, there were times when I just wanted to be alone.
Back then I wasn’t knowledgeable on feeling drained as an introvert. I was too afraid to express feeling suffocated by the relationship in fear of losing her and It didn’t help that no matter who I brought her around, no one seemed to like her. I loved her so much though and completely cut off the rest of the world because she made me feel like I was all she ever needed.
We grew older and her drive, dedication, and self-esteem grew with her. She was surrounded by a supportive family dynamic while I obsessed over boys and setting temporary goals for securing the bag. Yet, we never lost our connection.
One night, I found myself sleeping on her couch after a night of heavy drinking. She had company over and I felt bad for invading her space but, grateful to be able to be somewhere safe. In the early morning, I heard footsteps and then a soft thump on the couch. We would cuddle sometimes and I thought she was waking me up. A deep voice spoke, “you know I’ve been feeling you right”.
I opened my eyes and froze. He proceeded to move closer and slowly worked his fingers up to my thigh. I jumped up, grabbed my stuff, and ran out the door.
I was furious but, felt the need to protect my friend. Later that day, he texted me “Let me know if you want more”.
My friend called me a few hours later and asked why I left so abruptly. I told her what happened. Her response was “well do you have proof?”. I was offended but sent her the text he had sent me earlier that day.
She tried to apologize but, her initial response was such a turn-off.
I questioned. How was I able to jump into protection mode but her response was to question my character? There were a few minor occurrences that I didn’t speak up about and felt her response was justified due to battling my internal demons. I was not a perfect friend and although I was a tad boy crazy my friend’s significant others are always off-limits. I am a big supporter of having a girl code.
Over time, I distanced myself. Silence helped me view the situation at all angles while her friends were reaching out and defending her actions. It took her a few weeks to even ask if I was ok.
She did eventually apologize and even mentioned pressing charges.
We became passive-aggressive towards each other and the friendship slowly started to fade away. We both did not take the necessary steps to mend our friendship. She panicked and involved other parties while I shut everyone out.
Looking back at situations that are similar to this one I realize everyone handles pain differently. Some of us play the victim role while others process and move forward. Her actions were not the worst and forgivable because we were only twenty-one.
Now, moving forward I understand the importance of communication, forgiveness, and owning my emotions. If a situation happened like that in the present time I would hope my first instinct is to make a sound loud enough that expresses “I do not consent”. I would like to hope I’d wake up my friend instead of staying silent to protect them. And, I would like to hope we are all mature enough to sit down and not cause more harm to an already difficult situation.
Developing Emotional maturity has been super rewarding. I have been able to hash things out with friends/acquaintances while truly being appreciative that they too have learned forgiveness. There has been such a rise in sisterhood within my circle of peers. We have communicated our differences efficiently, encourage growth, and we do not take minor misunderstandings personally. There is genuine love although, my walls are up.
I hope that in time, I’ll start to feel safe and love will be enough with healthy boundaries.
This journey is a blessing and a curse. There are times I want to result in unleashing all the anger embedded inside of me but, it just never feels right. Trust me I love so deeply but feel rage even deeper. I always express how unfair it is that individuals get the opportunity to lash out and victimize themselves. How do you hurt someone out of spite?
I am still trying to figure that one out.