"The only way anyone is leaving this marriage is if one of us is dead.”
“You are my forever soulmate.”
“You are MINE.”
“You gave yourself to me.”
“You made a commitment to God to stay.”
The DARK SIDE.
Back in the old days, I believed loyalty was one of my best qualities. I could stay through thick and thin. I could hold on like a fucking pitbull. I was tenacious in all the worst ways.
Absence? I can find my own things to do.
Drugs? I’m a great babysitter.
Stealing? I’ll get better at hiding things.
Verbal abuse? I can tune it out.
Loneliness? I’ll find ways to numb it and distract myself.
Abuse of power? I’ll minimize it. That’s not really you. You’re just hurt.
Lack of contribution? I’ll hold the weight for both of us.
Secrets? My mouth is like a steel trap and I’m a master at pasting on a smile.
Betrayal? We’ll try again next time. Someday all the love I’m giving you will be enough for you to love me too.
I was loyal to my marriage because I was obligated. It was the RIGHT thing to do. I was COMMITTED to my vows - my WORD. And, my LOVE was UNCONDITIONAL, right?? No matter how bad life got, I wasn’t letting go.
But everyone has their breaking point.
All this pain contributed to a HUGE lesson for me. This was a lesson in LOYALTY. Over and over, I was loyal to OTHERS, while I betrayed MYSELF. I was more tenacious about staying in a dishonoring relationship, than I was to my own health, growth, and self-care.
I learned to be LOYAL TO MYSELF.
I also learned the difference between LOVE and LOYALTY. It was very important to me that I hold a space for unconditional love for all people, especially those close to me. I was torn, because I was viewing love and loyalty as the same thing. THEY’RE NOT.
I can unconditionally love EVERYONE. I can fully accept them exactly how they are - unacceptable behavior and all. I don’t have to be in any type of relationship with someone to love them. I can love them from across the room or across the world.
I am LOYAL to a SELECT FEW. People who have earned the PRIVILEGE of being in my space. I am loyal to MYSELF FIRST - I am true to myself. I am honest about who I am regardless of who it disappoints or makes uncomfortable. If anyone cannot honor me and accept all of me, they can GET THE FUCK OUT. My loyalty is conditional - based on mutual HONOR.
How have you confused LOVE with LOYALTY? Where have you hung on out of obligation and tenacity? Where have you abandoned yourself, for the sake of someone else?