There are times when what someone does or says that is so expected it takes you a minute to gather yourself, process and respond. That was the case last week when an unexpected apology happened was given to me. It threw me for a loop. I needed time to process. And when I did and we finally had a conversation, it was truly healing for both of us – Twelve years after it all happened.
And there was no yelling, there was no blame, there was no defensiveness or demands. He never demanded anything of me in this conversation, and I did not demand anything of him. It was simply an exchange – he wanted to make amends and allow me to tell him all of how he hurt me.
And I did. And something amazing happened. For four hours we had a very honest conversation about what happened. About how it affected both of us and why, about the details and things we remembered, and some things we had forgotten. And I cried. A lot. Even after so many years passed, even after going through it and processing and “getting over it” on my own, it was still cathartic to speak freely and honestly about how it all developed.
And he took responsibility for his part – all that he had done and said, all the heartbreak and misery. He told me that I truly did everything I could to save the relationship, but because of the issues that were inside of him, it didn’t work. What happened had nothing to do with me. And he wanted to acknowledge it and apologize. Because at the time of our relationship, he was in so much pain himself that he did not see what he was doing, how he was doing it or the damage that was being done to both of us.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to have that conversation. And I applaud him. I respect him greatly. In that moment, he was the man that I truly knew he could be. He was strong and humble and honest and sincere and kind and noble and human and vulnerable. And he allowed me to be all of those as well. In that moment, his spirit soared above the highest mountains of self-discovery and alchemy into the calm streams of empathy and understanding. In that moment he was the greatest man I have known.
And he took me to task too. When I told him about still having trouble being vulnerable, he pointed out that was my choice after this much time had passed. And he was right. He also held me accountable when I told him I was not sure if I believed someone could love me as much as I could love them…He said if I settle for less than what I really want in a relationship or partner, then I am setting the relationship up to fail in that aspect, because I would not be happy in the long run. And he was right.
When you are truly honest and neither party is angry or defensive you can be open to hearing such searing truths. And so I changed my mind right there. No more settling for half of what I want, I want the whole thing, the fairy tale. And from now on, I will not move forward without it.
With the honesty came another unexpected gift: The release of the responsibility of my relationship with my last ex Michael. He was broken. And no matter what I did or how hard I tried, it was not enough for him. The more I loved Michael, the more he loved to hate me, the more he loved to make me pay, the angrier he was at me and the more he lashed out. The happier I was, the more determined he was to destroy that happiness, even though it was what he wanted to be a part of most.
The reason mine and Michael’s relationship failed had nothing to do with me or my parents passing. It had to do with him and his issues. There was nothing I could do to fix it because that damage was done to him long before we met. And there will be nothing the next girl will be able to do or the girl after that, or the girl after that…Until Michael fixes the issues left over from the abuse he suffered, he will do to others what his abuser did to him. He will destroy all those with whom he comes in contact.
But none of that has to do with me and was never my responsibility to fix.
Moving forward what I am responsible for is making sure that I accept what I am worth, what I truly want and make sure that I never settle for what might be fun in the short term. I am responsible for making sure that I am aware of my “dating pathology,” or pattern. Now I that I realize it, it is up to me to change it. And if I don’t change it, then I have no right to complain about it or blame others.
The amazing thing is that all this truth and healing came from one man being willing to say “I am sorry.” And then truly being willing to talk, discuss and understand. All this truth and healing came from from a simple act.
Do not underestimate the power of compassion, of empathy, of honesty, of speaking your truth without hesitation, without ego and without agenda. If you are sincere, God will take care of the rest. Because from great honesty comes great truth and only great things can come afterward.
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.