A few years back I wrote about when you have an epiphany relationship:
“a relationship that caused you to have a sudden clarity and insight into that particular relationship, yourself, your actions, and potentially all of your relationships. There is a defining moment within this relationship where everything changed for you and suddenly you couldn’t escape the truth and it became life changing”
It’s likely that you have experienced a series of epiphany moments, which are various events in and out of your relationships where “whilst they didn’t immediately change your actions, they left enough of an imprint that when
combined with others, helped galvanise your change when you had your epiphany relationship.” – Source – my ebook Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.
For a lot of people, these are basically your ‘enough’ moments. Often you don’t think you have your limit when you’re in the thick of it at the time, especially when you’re used to having little or no boundaries, but then you find yourself experiencing something even more outrageous than the previous times that suddenly makes you call a halt to things and behave differently to how you have in the past.
Over the past few weeks, I have placed a lot of emphasis on reconnecting with yourself and getting real by having an honest conversation with yourself and being more authentic, as well as getting out of stuck to bring the positivity into your life and managing your desire to be the exception by not relying on anamolies as a basis for governing your thoughts about what you think ‘might’ happen in your relationships if only the stars aligned, the planets collided, and you effectively got struck by lightening.
One of the difficulties with getting ‘real’ with ourselves and putting truth and clarity into our lives is that when we are honest about the type of relationships that we have been involved in, the recognition throws the spotlight back on ourselves because if we truly being honest, we’ll recognise our own contribution that has kept us in the cycle.
We have series of epiphany moments because we don’t want to follow through on our judgement and potential implications.
It seems easier to continue with the familiar uncomfortable rather than take the judgement ‘all the way’ and get into an uncomfortable unknown that actually has the potential to give you a far more ‘comfortable’, positive life experience. An example of this is that people who struggle to let go of relationships become evidence gatherers like CSI’s who don’t process the evidence. Instead, they let the evidence pile up, look at it, draw conclusions, and then decide to go out and look for even more evidence, even though they already have an overwhelming amount to solve the relationship case – check out my post on obsessing and overthinking: processing the evidence of your relationship so you can move on.
When we are experiencing various epiphany moments, we’ll experience some to greater and lesser degrees but eventually (hopefully), we connect the dots on these experiences and trust our gut, instincts, and the knowledge of what we have already experienced to make a big judgement that acts as our epiphany relationship.
Until I had my epiphany relationship, I thought I was having an extended run of bad luck with dating and relationships, but had been having epiphany moments for years that had been powering my dramatic leaps out of relationships.
I tend to find that people who have a habit of being in unhealthy relationships fall into two epiphany moment camps:
When they have their ‘enough’ moments, they go out in a blaze of glory and don’t look back, although will still make their way into the next poor relationship until really learn from their experiences. These people are prone to the (polar) opposites game in dating and relationships – homing in on one particular thing and going for the opposite next time round and coming up with the same problems because they’re missing the bigger picture.
When they have their ‘enough’ moment, they go out upset, but keep looking back and hoping that the person has changed, and also keep blaming themselves. They too get information from their epiphanies that can empower them but find it difficult to get perspective and keep looking for reasons to go back. They only move onto someone else when they finally feel they’ve exhausted all possibilities, often ending up with a new replica…
I was in the blaze of glory camp – when I was done, I was done. I had a number of horrible epiphany moments that should have been more than enough to kick my bum into gear – realising that I felt utterly demoralised by an ex, his family and his friends, being shocked at the extent of another exes barefaced lies and manipulation combined with his aggression, and probably the worst – having a panic attack in central London because my ex Mr Unavailable, the one with the girlfriend, was having one of his jealous and possessive rants, and then almost watching myself from a distance as I let him put me on a packed tube. Alone. This was because he was more worried about getting back for a phonecall than making sure I got home OK…
You’d think these and a lot more would be more than enough on their own, but actually it was something a lot less painful and almost amusing – realising that my ‘barely there’ five month relationship wasn’t a relationship and realising that it was me who was letting myself be treated in that way.
I remember asking him what made him think that I was the type of woman that would be OK with some pathetic little relationship where he could dip in and out when it suited, but then realised I could answer my own question – he thought I was that way because I had been that way.
One thing I do know is that having an epiphany, period, is about being ready to listen, ready to see, and ready to act.
You might not know you’re ready or may have an inkling and so I guess the key in moving forward to a better place emotionally is being willing and ready to hear, see, and act, even though it may mean hearing, seeing, or doing things that take you out of your comfort zone.
Honestly, my wake up call truly arrived when I stopped bullsh*tting myself. It was scary, distressing, and even downright nauseating at times because there were so many revelations and realisations. I was even able to laugh, cry, and cringe at the same time, but I could finally look myself in the eye when I stood in the mirror. I couldn’t help but be annoyed with myself but then quickly realised it wouldn’t get me anywhere and I’d only remove my own power to sort my life out if I wallowed in negativity.
Remember: we are human, we make mistakes, we want to love and be loved.
Cut yourself some slack and be compassionate to yourself instead of cutting slack for everyone else and being compassionate to them whilst sidelining yourself.
A short while after the wake up call started reverberating through my life, I went back to the lung specialists for my checkup where they told me that my disease Sarcoidosis had flared up again and that I needed to go back on steroids immediately or keel over from pulmonary heart failure by the time I was 40. I was petrified and almost said yes, but decided to take a chance on me and say a very resounding NO, telling him that I needed to explore other options, and if none of them panned out, I’d go the steroid route.
I suddenly realised that my life was not about men and relationships and that I had to fight for me and explore other options.
Unwittingly, I ended up doing this across all areas of my life. I was 28 years old and felt like my life was shrinking and I suddenly felt very tired at the prospect of squandering my life to pandering to assclowns and Mr Unavailables. I needed to focus on me, take care of myself and get better. Thankfully I never had to take steroids again and have been in remission for four years next month.
I needed to do things differently every single day and until I had as much evidence that things were equally horrible on the new route as they were in my past, I was going to keep trying.
Today I found out that an acquaintance passed away suddenly three months ago. When I foolishly locked myself out of the house a couple of years ago, she let myself and the very young baby (I only had one then!) come in for tea, and as people tend to around me, she ended up filling me in on her rocky life with her Mr Unavailable. She told me she was tired, that she wanted to live life so differently, but kept going back after she’d end things – nothing big enough seemed to trigger a major desire for change because the drama with him was the familiar uncomfortable. Unfortunately nothing will trigger that change now.
If you spend a lot of time thinking about an old relationship or an ex, or instead, focus on berating yourself, you’re stealing time from you and focusing your energy on the wrong things. Likewise, if you’ll place your bets on other people instead of taking a leap of faith on yourself, you won’t act in your own best interests.
You can’t go forward if you’re not getting on with living the life you’re in now because you’re trying to hold on to something that has already passed by and was potentially making you miserable.
Keep challenging yourself to be honest. Keep challenging yourself to see things as they are instead of how you thought they were, or how you’d like them to be. Ask yourself what your part is in things, not because you should be blaming yourself, but because we are all accountable for where we are, especially when we keep finding ourselves in the same patterns. Ask yourself what you don’t want to think or talk about – and then think and talk about it. Ask yourself what you’ve been avoiding doing and evaluate whether you should actually be doing it. Be willing to hear and be willing to ask the uncomfortable questions that prevent you from getting lost in illusions.
Treat yourself like a valuable friend who you trust to act in your best interests, even though it means that at times you’ll make uncomfortable decisions that work in the favour of the greater good of yourself.
Wake up! Many of us are sleeping on the job – coasting through life, letting life and relationships ‘happen’ to us and thinking that it must be ‘fate’ and what we want. We’re relying on staying as we are and hoping that life turns in our favour. Raise the alarm, set it, and keep setting it every day because if you want something different to what you’ve had, you’ve got to live life differently and be different to what you’ve been. That doesn’t mean fundamentally changing who you are – it’s recognising that relationship insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.