The Staggering Price of Loneliness

I MEAN IT WHEN I SAY LONELINESS DOESN’T HAVE TO HAVE THE FINAL WORD!

Is loneliness kind of this “thing” that follows after you wherever you go? Do you feel lonely in a crowd full of “friends?” If you do, you are certainly normal!

The price of this intruder is staggering in a variety of ways and this is why. We are constantly trying to fill the void. That’s what loneliness does. It creates an unmistakable void. I think what’s behind the void, the feeling of loneliness, is a feeling of unworthiness. We don’t feel worthy to have close intimate relationships.

We don’t feel worthy to have close intimate relationships. We look at ourselves with critical eyes refusing to see those eyes are not those of truth.

A friend of mine told me how this very thing ruined her life. When she was about 18-19 years old she met a man that blew her away with his kindness, loyalty, adventurous spirit among other things. Over the course of a couple years, she fell in love with him and she knew he felt the same way.

He was a bit shy so his way was to show her he loved her, but not really say it. She did the same. When he was thinking of moving to a different town to finish college she was devastated, but she never told him. She didn’t want to stand in the way or make him feel bad for doing what he needed to do.

All the while, all he wanted was for her to ask him to stay. Neither one told each other how they felt so he left. Why couldn’t she bring herself to tell him how she felt?

Why couldn’t she bring herself to tell him how she felt?

Because she felt unworthy of him. She didn’t feel good enough. She thought he was way out of her league. This decision proved to be disastrous in her life because she didn’t know how feel confident in her own skin. When she looked at herself, thought of herself, all she could do was see what she hated. She couldn’t possibly imagine she had anything good to offer this man.

So, she settled in every relationship after that furthering her view of herself. She self-destructed. Her expectations of others were awful low because of how she felt about herself and this furthered the self-destruction.

Some people use drugs, alcohol, food, eating disorders, shopping, striving for success, pretending to be someone they aren’t, just to name a few, to try to fill this gaping hole and thus self-destruct.

But the question of the day is how in the world does a person finally feel worthy of love and acceptance? I’d be lying if I told you it was easy. but I can tell you what worked for me.

I had to settle the question in my mind, in my heart, in every fiber of my being of who God was. That may be confusing to you, so allow me to explain.

If God doesn’t exist, then I will have to strive in all areas to prove to myself I am worthy. Tried that. Didn’t work.

If God does exist, what does that make me? Where do I stand with Him? Is He loving or is He cruel? Does He want me to succeed or does He stand up in Heaven waiting to bring the gauntlet down when I screw up?

After years of what I would call in-depth research, I found God to be kind, protective, confusing, mysterious, patient, justice orientated, loyal, truthful and crazy in love with me. What did I just say? Yep, He’s crazy in love with me…and you too! When that truth set in it crushed me. I felt so awful for holding God responsible for all the crap in my life.

I don’t know about you, but religion is not my thing. People warp it and use it to hurt others, so I’ve chosen to put all my eggs in the Jesus Basket.

Back to the question. How does a person feel worthy of love and acceptance? 

Knowing who God really is & knowing who you are to Him. If God is who He says He is, then arguing with Him about who I am, how important I am to Him, and how I fit into this mess called life is laughably ridiculous.

He is the God of ALL. He is the King of Kings. That makes you and me Princesses and Princes of THE KING. That also means we have an inheritance from Him if we choose to accept it. The cross solved the question of how important we are to Him. No one in their right mind would give everything for a nobody. No one in their right mind would do that just because He loves us so much He wanted us to be in Heaven with Him for all of

The cross solved the question of how important we are to Him. No one in their right mind would give everything for a nobody especially when that ‘everything’ entailed extreme torture here and in Hell.

But God isn’t like us. We are made in His image, but that doesn’t mean we will even come close to understanding His ways.

How do we fit into this messy, painful world? I like to look at it as God is the author and all of us are characters. We all have our part to play and only we can do certain things. And if God is love then I want to do my best for Him.

Doing my best for Him means I cling to the fact He loves me, gave up His life for me, sacrificed it all for me. And He did the same for you too.

When we have a rotten, critical thought come into our minds that would be a good time to say, “Nope, I’m a child of God. He loves me and He does not see me that way.”

Over time, we can then begin to see the loneliness drift away. We see ourselves more accurately acknowledging, yes we will always have faults and things to work on, but who we are at the core is deeply loved by the only One that matters.

And with that comes a feeling of worthiness. We begin to see we have something of value to offer. We also realize whatever that something is can only be done by us. I think that’s pretty cool! I will forever be humbled by how much God loves me and my girls and how much He has done and continues to do for us.

I hope you take the first step in the long journey to know God, know what He’s like, and know who you are to Him.

xoxo

-Teresa

My toxic boyfriend & I can’t stay away from each other

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Have you ever had a toxic relationship where you were with a person that wasn’t good for you, brought out the worst in you and mistreated you? Have you ever had a relationship that was all consuming? Me too.

A young woman wrote in, we’ll call her Vanessa, about her on & off relationship with her boyfriend. We’ll call him Max. When Vanessa met Max she described it as “magnetic.” They had never been so attracted to anyone else before.

Things were great for a few months when Vanessa started to feel like Max only wanted to be with her when something sexual was going on. He started not being reliable and when she would try to talk to him about it, he would get angry with her.

They hadn’t spoken an unkind word to each other until this. He began choosing his friends over time with her. Then his family over time with her; then everything over time with her. She understood they both should have time with their friends and family, but it seemed like he just wanted to use her.

In the beginning of their relationship, they talked about lots of stuff. He was a good listener and they were there for each other. As time went on, she couldn’t tell him anything without him either taking offense or tuning her out. He would play games on his iPad or watch a football game while she was trying to tell him about something.

Their friendship was slipping fast. As time went on, he began turning things around to be her fault, twisting things she did or said and then tried to make her defend “why” she did what she did or said what she said instead of just asking her about it. It was always some twisted version of his negative and demeaning thoughts about her.

He became incredibly selfish only looking out for what was most comfortable for him. He stopped taking Vanessa’s feelings into consideration. When she would try to tell him how she felt he would scoff at her, roll his eyes, call her a “real piece of work,” and “too sensitive.”

Vanessa admits she isn’t perfect. She admits she got very angry and didn’t handle Max’s verbal assaults on her very well. I can relate. I totally get it. When you’re in a relationship with someone who has a warped way of interacting with you, it can be very hard to keep your cool and not say something you shouldn’t.

After almost a year of misery, she ended the relationship with Max, but they still text each other. They’ve ended up back together only to break up days later when the toxic cycle starts again. They get nasty with each other with both of them saying things they would never say to someone else.  She said it is a cycle that can’t seem to be broken.

Vanessa is wondering how she can have a normal relationship with Max.  She cares about him, loves him even, but doesn’t know how she can change how she interacts with him to make this a healthy relationship.

There is a great book called Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A guide to knowing if your relationship can or should be saved by Lundy Bancroft. I think this is one of the better books I’ve read in addition to “Why Does He Do That?: inside the minds of angry and controlling men,” also by Lundy Bancroft. I’ll put my affiliate links below in case you’re curious.

They are helpful for us to see when we’re being taken advantage of, seeing how the other person thinks, and what to do about it.

Some relationships are very complex. And because we love the other person, we’d like to know what we can do to make it better. That is totally healthy.

What is not healthy is holding out for someone to change when they show no signs of sustained change. Max doesn’t want to change. He wants Vanessa to be okay with him being a jerk. That will never work. And what is always interesting to me is the “Max” of the relationship usually blames everything on the other person, then talks trash about them, only to move onto the next relationship to repeat the pattern.

The “Max” often doesn’t see what his part is. He often thinks if everyone else would just fall in line then this would all be a piece of cake. Not going to happen. People don’t like being treated like dirt. Even if that’s all they know, they still wish it were different.

Even in healthy relationships, there is going to be conflict. It’s “how” we handle that conflict that will determine whether or not this relationship will thrive. If there isn’t the utmost respect and care for the other person going back and forth then it’s not going to be healthy.

So back to Vanessa’s question: How can she stop this toxic cycle? The only way she can do that is to not have contact with Max. This cycle has been going on long enough to have it firmly engraved in how they treat each other. She has tried and tried to talk to Max about it and it hasn’t worked.

This no contact thing will feel like you’re weaning off of an addiction and to some degree you are. Both people get some sort of payoff by having these hyped-up interactions with each other. Now all that’s left to do, is to starve it. If getting healthy is REALLY the goal and ending the cycle is truly what is wanted that is the only way.

Ask anyone coming out of something like this and they will tell you the same thing. I’ve seen this cycle over and over again. The key after you’ve accomplished this is to now get some help so you don’t continue with this cycle later in your life.

You may not have started it, but it’s been ingrained to the point of habit now. You don’t want this again, right?! No one does, so taking a hard look at ourselves is the only way to make sure we get healthy. We have to, or we’ll attract another Max.

When we have high expectations for ourselves and others we will attract that. That’s really good news!

Here are some affiliate links to some great books by Brene Brown that you might find helpful 🙂
Take care & let me know how it goes if you’re in a similar situation 🙂
xoxo
-Teresa

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can–and Should–be Saved