The Search for Love and Acceptance

I stepped into the first SLAA meeting on September 16, 2010. This day means a lot to me because it was the beginning of my recovery. And it has so much emotional value to me because it was the day that I finally felt that I belonged somewhere.
I have always felt that I was different and it was different in a negative way. My childhood was not peachy and rosy as I had hoped it to be. If anyone asked me what I remember of my childhood, I remembered feeling very lost and lonely because I could not tell anyone that my uncle was doing things to me that felt wrong because it was painful, I remembered spending hours in my bathroom attempting to clean my body till it bled, I remembered cutting myself with a penknife and having that sense of relief when I saw blood trickling down my legs, I remembered masturbating in the middle of the night because I could not sleep.
Shame was very crippling for me and due to the immensity of it, I never felt that I belong. I could not talk to other girls because I felt that I was not good enough because I wasn’t a virgin, I wasn’t pure. I was 8 at that time. I have gained the concept of being a virgin and pure from the religious classes that my parents enrolled me in. The more classes that I went for, the more guilt and shame I felt. If God himself could not accept me because I was dirty, what can I expect from mankind?
I was seeking consolation in acts of masturbation and pornography from the age of 6. I had my uncle as a teacher. This conflicting act has somehow served me over the years until I found something better at the age of 14.
I had my first real boyfriend at the age of 14. It started off as an act of curiosity. I could not connect to him because I felt that if he were to know me as who I am, he would not want to be with me. So I made sure that he didn’t know me. I did not show him how broken I was, always putting up a facade. That didn’t faze him. He kept trying and finally on the day I graduated from school, I finally opened up to the first person in my life about my childhood. I told him because I wanted him to love me for what I am. I did not want to pretend anymore. I wanted to be accepted for me. I was 15 at that time.
Needless to say, a 15 year old couldn’t give me the respond that I needed and I went deeper into my shame and loneliness. That sense of abandonment set me looking for love on a rampage. There was this part of me that could not believe that no one would accept me for what I am. It was my survival instinct. I could no longer bear that desperate sense of loneliness. At that time, it was either me going out there looking for someone to love me or I will cut myself to death. Instinctively I chose the former. Today, on hindsight, I am glad that I chose that. That choice did set me on a painful and tumultuous journey but I had the chance to see the beauty of life as I write this and I found myself in the process. That were the choices presented to me at that time and at 15, I did not have the resources to see what the other options were.
So I spent the next 13 years of my life looking for that man who would love me for me. And the only way I knew for sure that they would love me for me was to tell them on the first date of my history. I was afraid that if I were to tell them later and they decided to leave me, the feelings of abandonment would kill me. I was trying to cut my losses by telling them as soon as I could so that I would have time to look for another one. It was all planned. I have planned to stop feeling. I didn’t want to go to that emotional place where I ended up cutting myself or end up on the hospital bed because I overdosed on sleeping tabs and painkillers.
I have met men who have accepted me for me. So it seemed. They too came with lots of pain from their past. In my list of men that I have been in relationships with, it included addicts, from abusive homes and others with some form of psychological issues. I reckoned that it took one to know another. I would think back then that after meeting a man who accepted me for me, life would be good finally. I would feel normal again. It took me years to realize that it wasn’t that simple.
As soon as I felt accepted, the pain of my childhood infiltrated the relationship. My soul was so broken and amidst trying to deal with the pain of growing up, my personality development took a different road. I did not know how to connect to another being on a healthy level. All the pain of not being able to trust, the insecurity, the shame, the guilt and so many others was projected to the relationship and all that it stood for. I went out with an equally broken person and his pain infiltrated the relationship as well. None of us could see how debilitating our past was to the relationship. I didn’t have the maturity, nor the understanding of it all to recognize the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship. What kind of ungrateful woman would that make me? I became a certified martyr.
At that time, I had thought that whatever abuse that I was going through in a relationship was still much better than cutting myself or finding ways to kill myself. Along the way, I have found other ways to ease the pain even when a relationship is crumbling. Along with the regular dosage of masturbation and sexual fantasies, I ensured that I had a string of suitors to fall back on. When things were dreadful in a relationship, I would get into an emotional intrigue with another man. That made me happy and satisfied. I felt assured that in the event that my current boyfriend were to leave me, I would have another to love me. It came to a point that intrigue was not enough for me. I went on to multiple relationships. It helped me ease the feeling that my boyfriend was going to leave me. My life was madness. There were days when I could not remember who I was talking to and I got confused with the details of a man’s life. I have professed my love for each and every man and it never occurred to me that I did not know what love meant to begin with.
My life took a turn when I met a man who was older to me by 12 years. Like all the other men, he had issues of abuse that he did not openly admit. From stories that he told me, I could sense that he wasn’t ready to deal with it. The issues that I had in this relationship was no different from all the other issues that I have had in past relationship. He gave me a set of his house keys on the first date, after we had slept together and I stayed with him for the next four years. I cheated on him the first year of the relationship after which I realized how this man could satisfy both my sexual and love addiction. He satisfied my sexual needs and would come home after work to spend time with me. We worked together so I saw him every single day and since I knew all of his friends and did not feel that he will abandon me at some point. I went on to full-blown love addiction.
He eventually left me on April 27th, 2010. I no longer had to act out with another man and he changed his number so that I would stop harassing him. He got married on September 2010 and I stepped into the SLAA meeting rooms to get help.
It has been a painful journey of self-discovery for me from that time forth. I struggled to accept the principles of the program, mocking the simplicity of it. I have always thought that the program was an insult to my intelligence. Throughout all these months, I have learnt that it is the simple things that is the hardest to follow and I am humbled by my painful experience and the experiences of others in the group.
I am now 30 years old and I am single. I have never been to this place in my life before and I have never been happier. I have had hurdles and disappointments along the way but I would opt for this life a hundred times than the life I had before. For once, I am no longer afraid to be on my own and I have found true friends that are on the same journey as me. I am beginning to understand the true meaning of love – love that is not self-seeking. I have not understood all of it and I am not sure if I ever will but I will continue learning and searching for the self that I have lost. With every small discovery I make, there is this warmth in my heart and that sense of freedom, that I am not held by the toxic bondage of love addiction.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.