Have you ever been in a relationship so long that you don’t know anything else? Has the guilt of walking out on someone who loves you tear you up inside? Are you staying with a lover to avoid being alone? How about feeling paralyzed to the point of resigning yourself to the idea that you will never leave because you can’t afford to be on your own emotionally?
1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Synonyms: terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress;
We’ve all been there but the only way to save yourself is to look fear straight in its eyes. I’ve always been afraid two things. What others thought of me and failure. I knew there would be a time when I’d be tested.
The first couple years of divorce were a struggle. Outside of not having the love of my partner of 10 years. I was coping with an overwhelming feeling of failure and shame. There were plenty of gut-wrenching moments pondering how I let down our daughter by cheating her out of a happy family unit. My fear that an ideal did not come to fruition led me to think that nothing would ever be OK. The tail end of the relationship was spent hiding behind a masquerade. Top priority was ensuring my family’s needs were met even if it meant suppressing my aspirations and own needs. Not only did I adore my family life but the fear of abandoning a promise was strong. I was terrified of letting go. What would people think or say? I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The marriage ended when the option of an ultimatum was offered instead of a compromise. And just like that; a typhoon came in sweeping away everything that was familiar. Over time, I realized the vow to be the perfect wife was in conflict with my goal. To gain the authenticity that would give me the freedom to be myself. It was the point where complete happiness laid for me.
A divorce was inevitable. It was a relationship severed by animosity brought on from resentment of a marriage built on love but false pretenses. I was living to fill the shoes of a Stepford Wife. Months leading up the admission that I wasn’t happy were torture. It meant being honest about everything that wasn’t working. Disappointing not only myself but a husband and daughter. It took a lot of self-work to confront how afraid it all made me. I had to own too the fact I had changed. We were deadlocked because he wouldn’t accept my evolving and I couldn’t go back to status quo. We had to let go of the marriage.
Personal experience has helped me understand that fear is the underlying factor in most issues we encounter in life. Hanging on too long only prolongs the problems. We delay decisions at various stages or allow idle situations in trepidation. The emotion paralyzes us into a state of immobility. Playing a role in the reasons we stay at jobs we dislike or careers we don’t love. Remaining in relationships we’re unhappy with. Fear hinders us from trying out for the big promotion, learning something new or keeps us from a fresh start.
Many of us have difficulty letting go of unhealthy relationships. For many of us women being afraid of the guilt, loneliness or embarrassment can drive us into a standstill forcing a decision not to push forward. The most valuable lesson I had to learn in order to start the process of letting go was extremely difficult, it meant modifying my behavior. It was essential to stop defining who I was by what I have or what others think. We try to measure up to some fantasy love life. Not only is it unfair but unrealistic. We are all different. Each one with our own unique capabilities, experiences and desires. How can we think it is just to measure everyone by the same ruler. You can’t.
If the relationship you are in isn’t healthy or good for you – let go. Physical, emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse is never ok – let go without looking back. If it hurts you and makes you feel unworthy – let go. It the toxicity is depleting you of joy in life – it is time to release it. You don’t have to try to put on a show for the world. Live for yourself instead of living to satisfy others view of how things should be. A shift in mindset will design a window of options providing you with the courage necessary to break away. This is the one change that will ensure you confront the breakup with dignity finding strength in your resolve.
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