Last week my ex emailed me – the one I mentioned in this post. My relationship with this person and our subsequent breakup unearthed a range of mental health issues, new and old. It was an intense relationship considering I was dating my best friend at the time, and I spent the better part of a year rebounding from it while in therapy, and then almost a year and a half (up to now) being single so I could heal from it properly.
Dear Rat Brain,
Whenever I come home, I notice the pattern we immediately fall back into. We’re snappish, quick to criticise, sometimes immature. It’s a frustrating thing to deal with when you try hard to move *away* from this kind of behaviour when you’re not at home — but as soon as your foot steps over the threshold, I hear you squeak, ‘Ooh, I know this place! I know how we used to act!’
Part of this is the stories other people have about us; other times it’s the stories I still carry around myself/my family.
‘I must defend myself. They don’t understand me. I don’t know any other way to be besides passive aggressive’. The walls we put up as a teenager for our safety were needed then, but not now.
My goals for this Christmas are to try and unpick these stories, bit by bit. To extend some kindness for myself and for our family, who are trying their best and almost always have our best interests at heart. Even when they unknowingly hurt me, fight with each other or try to control each other, they are acting out the stories they hold onto, too. I can’t begrudge them that.
Dear Rat Brain,
Let’s face it, we spent about 90% of our teenage years, and the first part of adulthood so far, in relationships. And I spent 100% of that time trying to force you out of them.