No More Mixed Messages: I Love You, Go Away (Part I)

I’ve given a lot of mixed messages to C over the last 81 days. Many of them have boiled down to the simple refrain of, “I love you, go away.”

That message has seeped out in a 100 subtle, and not so subtle ways.

For example, Day 49 was a particularly hard day fraught with emotional landmines for both of us. During the course of the day, what should have been an issue between two adults negotiating the end of a relationship became a group project involving at least six people with varying information, maturities, communication skills, motivations, and opinions.

From my perspective, it was an ambush of ill-informed people drawing conclusions about me and my motives. Their actions were once again motivated by contempt prior to investigation and a self-serving, condescending, and grandiose idea of chivalry that completely underestimates C.

Their perspectives perhaps vary.

My clumsy attempt to complete an assignment from my doctor resulted in a narrative defined by self-deputized crime fighters treating my efforts as narcissistic abuse, manipulation, and a dangerous control issues.

Why and how this happened is a disagreement between C and I…if we were debating. Which we aren’t.

The problem is my natural and human anger at being judged, ambushed and humiliated spilled out resulting in C being judged, ambushed and humiliated. I lashed out at her because of other people’s self-serving behavior hurting me, so like an emotional 12-year-old, I hurt her.

Instead of walking away, I dug my heels in and fought back against multiple mischaracterizations of my intent and ended up providing fodder to fuel the ghost stories and confirmation bias. As the poet, Tennyson wrote, “Often a man’s own angry pride is cap and bells for a fool.”

I played the fool. For the third time, I let my pain, insecurities, and humiliation be manipulated by a third party interloper.

It won’t happen again.

The result is an understandably hard situation becoming an unnecessarily ugly – and unnecessarily public – spectacle.

As a result, at the day ended I sent three mixed messages to C:

  1. Go away: I immediately and angrily wrote her and told her to never contact me again
  2. I love you: I wrote her a second email telling her the door is always open to her and I love her
  3. Pursue acceptance: I sent a group email pursuing understanding and inadvertently punished and humiliated her

Is it any wonder she is confused about who I am, what I need, and what I want? Not really.

As they are fond of saying in AA, “we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.” There has, in the wake of my infidelity discovery, been a great deal of toe stepping, resentments, and retaliation by both C and myself.

But again, individual perspectives may vary.

When I returned to my doctor’s office a few days later to tell her I completed the assignment we discussed the immaturity at which I occasionally respond to emotional pain. She is helping me see how my lifelong experiences with abandonment, worthiness, abuse, loneliness, and isolation motivate me to undermine my own success in the most intimate of relationships. To my credit thought, I am willing to own it, talk about it, and not hide behind ghost stories and other people.

On a shallow level, I believe C is ending the relationship because of my infidelity and secrets. However, at my core? At my core, I believe C is ending the relationship because I am not worthy of being loved.

That is an emotionally messed up way of interacting with the people that love you. It doesn’t have to be true to feel true and I feel everything.

I knew this thinking and feeling existed within me but I thought I had it managed. In reality, it managed me. Self-deception creates self-destruction.

8 thoughts on “No More Mixed Messages: I Love You, Go Away (Part I)

  1. You’re beating yourself up for what you perceive as giving mixed messages. All of us dealing with betrayal have gone back and forth with feelings of anger one day, love the next, hate the next, sadness and a whole gamut of emotions in between. My purpose in getting on Twitter and reading others’ experiences was to see if my bipolarish reactions were normal. Seeing others dealing in similar ways convinced me this was part of the process.

    Your comment that ” At my core, I believe C is ending the relationship because I am not worthy of being loved” bothers me. It reminds me of my son and his perception of issues he is dealing with. Everyone is worthy of being loved, it’s just a matter of finding the right person. Perhaps C isn’t the right person for you. Perhaps she is. Perhaps when the dust settles and the pain becomes manageable, you’ll be able to talk. Perhaps you won’t. Perhaps what has happened will be a lesson for you to learn from and bring to the next relationship if things are truly over with C.

    But please don’t tell yourself you are not worthy of love. My son has self-destructive thoughts that pull him into despair. Inner dialogue matters. He would frequently say ‘he’s not good enough’ and ‘nobody likes him’ and no-one wants to be his friend no matter how hard he tries. And yet, every time I see him at school, kids keep coming up to him and talking. His perception doesn’t match the reality.

    Change your inner dialogue. Accept that this is a rollercoaster for the time being. Stop beating yourself up. (I know it’s easier said than done). xoxo Dolly

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    1. Thanks Dolly. I’m actually in an outstanding place. I’m mostly content with the way things are. I’m simply talking about what is happening. I’m very lucky to have an experienced and knowledgeable professional to counsel me and my friends have been a constant source of strength.

      Carrying secrets warps the sense of self. It will work itself out. I’m on an excellent path, with or without C.

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