Sunday, May 2, 2010


If you read my blog post about not always getting it right, I've already forgotten the precise title, then you know that my biggest "regret" about MY LIST is all of the repeats. What is that old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I don't know what they say about fool me three, four, and five times. You're an idiot, I suppose. In reality, I think we keep getting the lesson until we learn it. Period. Once it penetrates our thick skull, well then we can move on to the next. And there will be a next. That is the deal. The lessons just keep on coming. That is why we are here. Of course, some of them are good. It isn't all a school of hard knocks, though it may feel that way.

Anyway, as I said, the lesson continues to repeat until it gets learned. My ex was a tough teacher and I got a lot of schooling. Frankly, I thought I learned my lesson. After my divorce, I would jokingly say that he had taught me to see a manipulator from a mile away, and this was just my "training," so that when someone much more handsome, and with money, but with those same "mad skills" came along, I would spy him from a mile away, and run, not walk, to the closest exit. That sounded really clever and funny. Turns out it wasn't true.

I suppose if I hadn't met Right Guy, it might have been true. However, my judgment was upside down, inside out, and I was drowning in a pool of my own misery. So, when a more polished version of my ex came along, I totally didn't recognize him for what he was. He really wasn't more handsome, just more polished, but he was the same animal. However, he came from money, but was down on his luck. I could relate. I was down on my luck, too. He kept telling me he was going to bounce back any day. Until then, he was living with his mother, who was going through a *nasty* divorce. It was one of those stories that just could be twisted up to make sense. Mom needed him. And she did. His mom was a mess. Anyone with eyes could see that. Plus, it was hard to judge, since I was living with my parents. People who live in glass houses and all that....

I am not going to do a relationship breakdown on this thing, because that would get tedious fast. But, there is a *point* when one person goes too far and that is the time to end it. I hit countless points in my marriage and I stayed. When I hit the *point* in this relationship, I tried to end it, and this guy handled it just the way my ex would have. Constant phone calls. Aka harassment. Before it was over, I was the one feeling like the bad person, which was the point of the phone calling. And, this tenuous relationship began again, even though it should have stayed dead. It didn't last because there was no trust. Eventually, we hit a point where I just couldn't go on. However, I knew from past experience, that me simply saying that I wanted out was not sufficient. For some people "no" doesn't register. So, I brought the pastor of our church into the mix. Maybe it was dirty pool, but I needed third party interference. (Does this worry me that another manipulator is waiting around the next corner for me? Yes. Because I still haven't figured out how to shake one of these people all on my own!)

Well, except that I did: I found out what I was doing wrong. You cut off communication completely. You don't answer the phone when they call. You don't respond to the email. Someday, you might be able to do this, but not when you are vulnerable in the beginning. The pastor of the church was great with analogies. I love analogies. He called our lives our gardens. When you're a couple, you combine your gardens. You tend your own garden and your partner's garden. When you decouple, you can't worry about your former partner's garden anymore. It is up to them to take care of it. Taking care of your own garden is all you can do. That was where I always fell down. I spent too much time worrying about their garden, and not enough time worrying about my own. Meanwhile, they were absorbed with their own garden, and spending all of their time trying to get me to focus on it, too. Usually, it worked. Meanwhile, everything in my garden was dying, because no one was paying any attention to it at all.

As I typed the preceding paragraph, it hit me like this tidal wave that the above strategy is precisely the one Right Guy used with me. I don't think he chose it because he saw me as a manipulator. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten an "I miss you" email, out of the blue, two years ago. I think he chose it to protect himself from what he saw as a whole lot of heartbreak headed his way, and maybe he saw very clearly that he needed to focus his efforts on tending his own garden. *sigh*

My friend, Sharon, over at Musings of a Mercurial Woman posted today about contentment. And, somehow, that sparked this post about tending your own garden. I suppose, for some people, that could be a real garden. Not for me. I have a brown thumb. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what that means, but I know that it is about who we are, what we believe, what we think is important, who we think is important, and so much more. I really don't have any kind of handle on it at all. The only thing I am pretty sure about is that it is a state of mind. Sharon said it would take her at least a day to figure this puzzle out. You really should read her blog if you haven't already. It is very thought provoking. I am thinking it's going to be several days, if not weeks, or months before I get mine into order. Or maybe it is a process that is in a constant state of evolution. I do believe that once we stop growing, we start to die. So, it's time to start gardening. Destination: contentment.

I got the above picture here.


  1. I liked your comment over on Chris's blog...chalk full of wisdom. :) Good writing here on your blog. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Robin, you have amazing insight and I know that we are both on separate journeys to the same destination. You've made me think about "Illusions" with this post. You know, the quote about "Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished..." I'm so glad I found you. Many blessings.

  3. I'm definitely going to think about this one. I know that every time I've been manipulated by someone its only been cause I let them. I also think that a person may be crappy in one relationship but true and honest in another because the boundaries are more defined (whether this be friendship, love affair or familial ties). All your garden needs is a few boundaries. A nice clear fence!


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