Looking in the mirror I faced a reflection of a woman I didn't recognize.
Cliche - but honest.
I realize you've heard this story many times before my dear reader, but stay with me.
I didn't recognize myself because moments before, I set an appropriate boundary. I did not cry, cuss, or stonewall myself out of conflict... I checked my intentions and set a boundary that allowed me to clearly communicate my needs, respect my partner's emotions, and for the first time in my life, I was not a victim.
No one tells you about how hard it is to unlearn the harmful behaviors implicitly learned during childhood. There's no user manual on how to get through having an insecure dismissive attachment style and what to do if you run into someone with abusive, controlling behaviors. We all know we wouldn't read that thick ass manual anyway.
For background, that is my attachment style - insecure dismissive with some traits of preoccupied attachment. I spent a long time feeling unworthy of the connection I so desperately desired. So I oscillated between being utterly obsessed with the perfect, ideal relationship (preoccupied) and dismissing people, emotions, and relationships entirely (dismissive). I'd go out of my way to not express my feelings. I constantly reiterated that I was fine when I wasn't, or I would remain quiet because I believed that no one would ever care.
It took falling head over heels in love with an empath who allowed me to open my heart in a safe way and losing that relationship to recognize that I had been so silent for too long; people around me didn't really know who I was. I started taking a hard look at the way I communicated my needs (or lack thereof) and got serious about addressing it.
Almost two years later, I'm setting boundaries, giving those around me space to express their emotions, taking criticism like a champ, and asserting myself. I don't recognize this emotionally stable queen looking back at me. Although, I must admit, I'm at the stage of learning to balance my assertions with more lighthearted matters. I am proud of myself.
For my fellow dismissive types, you can heal. You can grow to a more secure/balanced attachment. You won't believe how fulfilling it is to be able to separate yourself from the insanity of feeling inadequate, unworthy, and unlovable. You, my dear reader, are worthy of every last bit of love you desire and then some. No matter how broken you've been, no matter how used you have felt, no matter how damaged you may feel - you deserve love, peace, and prosperity.
I hope you can one day look at yourself in the mirror and recognize a healed you too.