Monday, October 18, 2010

Who would you be without your story?*

I said something hurtful to Gentleman Jack.

It was something I'm quite sure I said to my ex-husband numerous times when we were married, without thought of how I would feel if he were to say it to me. The difference is that Gentleman Jack expresses hurt and my ex-husband didn't.

As I've been learning since divorcing my ex, I honestly believe he felt hurt... but simply never expressed it. Maybe it was due to being the baby of the family and then going on to marry a strong-willed, dominant, first-born, Capricorn woman! He still doesn't speak up for himself, even beyond the end of our marriage. He will act out passive-aggressively or gripe about things he agreed to after the fact.

Now that I think about it, perhaps that is why he didn't feel comfortable with me expressing myself or my hurt... or for the things I decided upon because he didn't speak up.

Initially, when Gentleman Jack has spoken up about hurt feelings, I've felt annoyed. I still do sometimes! Then I stop and ask myself how I would feel if I were in his shoes.

I've learned to be thankful for Gentleman Jack's honesty. And because he feels allowed to voice his opinion, speak up for himself and express pain, he allows me that too.


I wonder if there is much tenderness hidden deep in these men that have been in my life.

Perhaps there is love hidden beneath born identity, environment, experiences, learned behaviors and beliefs. On top of that tender place, we all have our stories. Story after story, we become victims or heroes. We start to identify with those stories and cloud over the tenderness that is our true identity.

Even with narcissistic behavior, as I witnessed in my previous relationship, there is a core belief in abandonment. Soldier would fight me in defense of his story, believing so completely in that fear of abandonment that he actually forced the fear to play out.

I eventually tried to see him beyond his story and he hated me for it. I also hated myself for believing his story of victimhood for so long. But I believed it about myself too, up to that point. Maybe that was what attracted us to each other.

All of us fight for our stories. This is how we identify ourselves. This is who we believe that we are. In choosing to see ourselves this way, all that we see are witnesses to these beliefs. All that we attract are those who will believe our stories too. As we begin to question our stories, we become aware of those who question with us.

Then, we are challenged to grow. Some will continue the path of growth. Some will grow tired of the fight.

Gentleman Jack and I try to remember and remind each other that we're NOT our stories. We each have to be willing to let our own personal stories go. We also have to be aware of each others' stories, beliefs and fears. If we both agree to do this and see beyond the false beliefs to the tender place that lies beneath, then that is what we will appeal to - in ourselves and in the other.

How could this create anything other than a beautiful relationship?!


I still feel bad for the hurt I caused in my marriage. I feel bad for the hurt I cause Gentleman Jack.

Then I wonder that maybe we HAVE to hurt each other though, in order to be aware that what we do or say CAN hurt. Maybe it makes us aware of the power of our words and actions. More than that, maybe it makes us aware of the power of our thoughts!

How am I seeing this person? How am I seeing myself?

Maybe Gentleman Jack's admittance to feeling hurt is nothing more than his saying, "I have this fear or belief about myself. Please be aware of it but see me beyond it."

Maybe my initial annoyance to his admitting is my saying, "This is not my normal experience. Please be aware of my past experience but see me beyond it."

Maybe pain, anger and annoyance is nothing more than a reminder of each others' stories so that we can learn to see our true identities. Maybe they remind us to see through them into the heart of love.

* Post title from The Work of Byron Katie... examining false beliefs to lead to a happier life.


  1. My story is very similar to Rascals. I tended to shut down when hurt and in the end it would cause resentment and hurt to build to the point I would let it all out at once.
    I am learning to be open and honest and take the hurt that it causes in stride.
    I love that you are both learning each other together and I agree.. let the past go.

  2. Yes! My ex-husband does this... He's either agreeable or shuts down, only admitting to hurt later. Sometimes YEARS later, as in the case of my affair.

    Rascal tells me RIGHT AWAY when he's been hurt. It's taken some getting used to but now I can't imagine NOT having it.

  3. Good for Rascal for expressing emotion. As for narcissists - I believe they desperately need the world to love them because they don't love themselves.

  4. This is a great post to remind me that my actions and words have an effect on Casey even if he doesn't show me they do. The sad thing is I shouldn't need this reminder, but I do.

  5. I do believe that we all hurt, even if we don't show it. Some people are able to show hurt, others burying it away down deep. But we all feel it.

  6. honesty is a beautiful thing and elicits the same honesty out of others (at least it does in me). I think that makes for a beautiful relationship, and it's evident between you and Rascal. And I love the premise behind what you say abou "who would you be without your story?"

  7. As much as we hate it, hurt is essential for growth.

  8. Honesty is good, but I'm having to learn to adjust to brutal honesty. He knows no other way. He never learned how to talk pretty. And though after seeing my reaction he will pause and admit that he was a bit harsh, he fails to develop and edit button before speaking. Luckily this crab is tough. And it's getting easier. (Thick shell.)

    What I do see is how we force each other to grow. And that's a beautiful thing.

  9. It took me years to realize my ex is very passive aggrssive! Almost no matter what I said, he would not respond. I said many hurtful things trying to get some response out of him. He also kept most of his feelings inside. I didnt fully appreciate this until we were divorcing. The reasons he gave for wanting a divorce, were things that happened early in our marriage. One particular situation I think occurred before we were married. What could I say? I recalled the situations but not what I was feeling or thinking. All I could say was "I am really sorry that you've kept that in all these years." I think our conversation was 5 or 10 minutes. At least any conversation when he was sober. After 20 years thats all our marriage was worth? Thats all I was worth? Pretty unfair. Well it is what it is now. Over.

  10. I don't know if we're using the same definition of a "story", but I wouldn't discount the importance of them. The narratives of our lives are an essential part of who we are. The hard part is when your story has a different ending than the one you envisioned.

    Good for Rascal that he lets you know when he's hurt. In general, I'm always a fan of more communication rather than less.

  11. We're human and we will make mistakes and hurt those we love. As long as we can forgive ourselves, make an amends for the wrong that we've done, and learn from the experience, I think we're doing pretty well. It sounds like you and Rascal are still going through growing pains as you both mature emotionally. We have to fall before we can learn to walk.


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