So, it’s over. He’s gone and done the dirty D&D (devalue and discard, also affectionately known as ”˜diss and dump’) one last time. You’ve sworn, ”˜that’s it!’ a thousand times, cried your eyes out through the night, poured your heart out into the soggy pillow and vowed to get over him. You’ve ripped up all his pictures, thrown out the tokens (what few there are) of his love, including the dollar store ”˜crystal’ wine goblets and the fake diamond ring. You’ve told your friends, (what few you have left), that you will never, ever talk to the lying, cheating, manipulative rat bazturd ever again. Never. Ever. Period. Finito. Not until hell freezes over, or the Dow Jones climbs above twenty gazillion points.
You are adamant in your resolve. You are firm. Resolute.
And then the phone rings. You stare at it. Close your eyes. Dare you read the caller ID?
What if it’s him? What if it’s not? Dare you look? Dare you answer? Dare you wish it could be him calling to tell you he’s seen the light. He’s seen the error of his ways. You are his one true love. He’s been so blind. So wrong. So selfish. So sorry.
You lunge to answer.
It’s not him.
You rush to get the caller off the phone. Having given space to the thought that it might be him, you become fixated on the fear, he might call and find the line engaged. It’s not that you want him to call, it’s just that you want to know he’s still thinking about you, that he hasn’t gotten over you so easily that he can’t be bothered to even try to play one of his sick and deadly games one more time. It can’t have meant so little to him that he’s already moved on, can it? You can’t have had so little place in his heart that he’s already erased you?
And so the cycle continues. Your heart aches with every phone call, every moment he doesn’t call, doesn’t turn up at your door, doesn’t email or text or at least tell a mutual friend he’s hurting for the loss of you. (You don’t want to ask the friend but you do it anyway because”¦ well a girl’s got a right to know doesn’t she? It won’t really hurt will it? It’s not like you’re calling him yourself?) No matter how fierce your resolve to not see him again, you wish and you hope and you dream that maybe it could have worked. Maybe it could have been different. Maybe he will turn up and this time it will be different. Maybe this time Prince Charming will arise from the ashes of the fires of hell where you sent him to burn in eternal damnation the last time he walked out the door and you slammed it shut behind his cute little butt — and it was cute, wasn’t it? It was so, well just so damn fine you loved him in blue jeans and…. and the thoughts keep cascading as you crumble into tears as the realization hits you, it really is over. It has to be if you are to find any solace in your broken heart.
And in the silence of the vacuum of the space he used to fill in your life, you search in desperation for some sense to what happened. Some understanding of what went wrong, believing that if you’d known better how to please him, how to be who and what and how he had wanted you to be, he would still be there, telling you you’re lovely. Telling you you’re the star in his heart, the moon in his sky the sun that lights up his life. Conveniently and oh so capriciously, in the angst of your despair, you forget about the rest of the time when he was screaming and yelling and calling you names and tearing you down. You forget those parts as your mind fixates on the ‘good times’ no matter how few and far between, no matter how long ago.
In desperation, you come here. To this place where suddenly you find sense to his nonsense, understanding, support, relief. Desperately, you want to believe. It wasn’t you. It was always him. He was a sociopath, a narcissist, a jerk. He was a no-good, good for nothing, nothing to give lowlife of the lowest, most disgusting kind.
You want to believe and though you sorta, maybe, possibly do, you still can’t let go of the thought, it could have been different. Couldn’t it? And even though, slowly you begin to realize it could never have been any different because he truly was an S, a P, an N or some other letter of the alphabet, you can’t understand, “Why do I still feel so awful?”
When the sociopath/psychopath no longer in my life was arrested I stood amidst the devastation of my life and searched for a blessing to count — I was still alive, that counted for something. And while I knew I had gotten away from a deadly blow that would have blasted me into eternal sleep, and while I knew he was no good for me, he was the poison killing the lifeblood of my existence, there was still a part of me that wanted to hear from him, wanted to take him back, if only he’d asked. The reality of those thoughts were stunning. Imagine, he’d almost killed me but I still yearned to hear his voice, to know that he was still wanting me, needing me, thinking of me.
All I could do was keep counting my blessings and looking for things to count on to rebuild my life. One of those ”˜things’ in my life that had some monetary value — which after having lost my home, my life savings, my car, my job, and all my belongings there weren’t many — was the three carat diamond ring he’d given me with the promise to love me forever. It was a big, glittering thing set in white gold. It had to be worth something and with seventy-two cents to my name, even a tenth of its value was better than nothing.
So, I did what any jilted, broken-hearted penniless woman would do, I decided to sell it. I took it to a jeweler to have it appraised and imagine my surprise when the jeweler looked up from his loupe and said, “It’s fake. A good one, but fake nonetheless.”
I laughed and I cried and I vowed to never again put my faith in another man (well that’s another story but at the time, I really, really meant it!).
I was desperate. What could I do?
The falseness of that ring represented something. It was a symbol of all that was fake about him — and that was everything. Like him, it too was a lie. He had given it to me as a symbol of our eternal love — “Nothing’s too much or too good for you, Louise,” he’d said when he slipped it onto my finger. “You deserve beautiful objects like this diamond because you are a beautiful diamond, a real gem.”
Of course, that was the second time he’d slipped it onto my finger. The first time, surprise, surprise, it had been too big and he’d taken it to be resized but then it had disappeared and then reappeared two years later — after the other woman had had a chance to wear it ‘proudly’ for awhile, I later discovered.
But back to the ring. I had believed it was real. I had believed it meant something. I had invested great meaning in its beauty. I had to do something to disconnect from the ”˜story’ of what that ring meant so that I could let go of my need, my want, my desire to believe it wasn’t all a lie, he hadn’t really meant to hurt me.
I decided to throw it away. Into the ocean.
On a picture perfect summer afternoon, a girlfriend and I headed to a cliff overlooking the sea and performed a ceremony to send the ring off into the waters of life. I had the ceremony all mapped out. It was perfect. I’d written a letter, read it out loud under the clear blue skies, burned it, and blown the ashes into the wind. I had done all those things, had released him and myself from the hold of his lies. Had said I forgive him. Had promised to love myself enough to forgive myself too. And yet, when it came time to cast the ring into the ocean, I hesitated. “What if”¦ the jeweler was wrong? What if it really was real?”
I stood on the rocks, the waves crashing below me, the sun beating down and I cried and I cried for fear, it was all a mistake. The ring was real and so was his love and it was me who had been so wrong all along.
See, we want so desperately to believe in the perfection of what we perceived their love to be we fear letting go, just in case it’s all some cosmic mistake that will be set right the moment we open our eyes wide enough to see, he really is the prince of light — it was just a dark cloud blocking his true love from illuminating us in the rosy glow of his promises of happily ever after.
In our need to believe we didn’t make a big mistake, or even worse, fools of ourselves, we cling to the faint, lingering hope that the cosmos got their wires crossed and left us to clean-up their mistake. If we could just find the magic crumbs that will lead us back to our happily ever after, every thing will be okay and he will once again appear on the horizon of our dreams.
Reality is: Ain’t gonna happen. Just ain’t possible.
I threw the ring into the water that day and as it spun and twirled in its descent I still wanted to grab it back. I still wanted to hold onto it, to never let it go.
That ring has long ago washed up on shore somewhere far away, or been eaten by a giant man-eating shark and I have long since let go of ever believing there was anything about him that could possibly have value in my life today.
But I remember. I remember those moments of wishing and hoping and fearing that what was, really was. I remember wishing upon every star that he wasn’t really a liar and cheat. He didn’t really consciously, knowingly, willfully do the things he did. He didn’t really lie and deceive and manipulate and destroy everything and everyone around him.
In my acceptance of the truth — he was the lie, the ring was a fake — I let go of ever having to hold onto the hope, it wasn’t true.
In my acceptance, I stepped into the truth of what happened to me and let go of thinking about him as anyone other than a liar, a cheat, a manipulator, a deceitful, deceiving and destroying being of the human kind.
In my letting go of that ring, I set myself free to explore the possibilities of who I can be when I no longer look for my truth in someone else’s lies and instead, spend my precious breath finding the truth in me.
Reality is, when we ask, “How do I stop loving him?”, we are avoiding asking, “How do I begin to love myself enough to stop believing I will find the truth in him?”
If you are attached to believing you cannot stop thinking of him, ask yourself, “What in it for me to keep believing I can’t?”
If you are running the story of him through your mind again and again, ask yourself, “What’s in it for me to keep the story of him alive? What’s in it for me to avoid writing a new story of my life, a story where I am the architect of my joy and happiness, where I am the heroine of my story of love?”
We are our thoughts, our thoughts become our reality. What we focus on becomes stronger in our lives. If your thoughts are focused on him — change them into thoughts that support and love and honour you. As Louise Hay writes, “It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed.”
Change your thinking. Change your life.