How My Daughter Lead Me To Self-Imposed Celibacy
People tend to underestimate their children, and how close their children are watching them. During one of my daughter’s speech therapy lessons, they gave her a fake cell phone, to see if she knew what to do with it. She immediately put the phone up to her ear, placed her hand on her hip and said: “Hey!” That rocked my world, because even though my daughter hasn’t started saying complete sentences yet, I didn’t realize how closely she was watching me. That caused me make a drastic decision in my life.
Do you remember when you were in elementary school, or even with your own parents/caregivers, and you were allowed certain liberties, but the moment you seemed to abuse the privilege it was taken away? My mother was big on doing that, even slamming the door in friends’ faces when they came to ask if I could come out to play. “No, Kendra cannot come out to play until she learns her lesson.” I decided to channel this mindset after I stayed with a man who was hitting me. I took away my dating privileges.
I don’t have a large background in dating; and I know that not all men are jerks, but I do know that there is something that I’m doing that is wrong. For the men that I have dated, two relationships really stand out to me, because both of those relationships turned abusive. One was emotionally abusive, with my then mate isolating me, belittling me, taunting me until I began to think horribly about myself. The second one was physically abusive.
What people don’t understand about abusive relationships is that they never start out as abusive, and (at least for me) I could always make an excuse for why it was happening. The guy I was with at that time drank a lot, and smoked a lot of weed. I don’t really drink that much and I don’t smoke. The abuse wasn’t something that happened everyday. Within the year and a half that we were together, I was physically abused about four times. With the first three times he would always say the next morning: “That’s not me, I was drunk and/or high. You know I’m not like that when I’m sober.” So, I stayed, because when he was good, we were really good. It wasn’t until the last time he hit me, he was stone cold sober. In fact, it was the reason why he hit me. He was upset that he couldn’t get his drink or weed, so he took it out on me. After that altercation, I immediately packed my things and moved away; never saying goodbye, never acknowledging him again.
Once I met the guy that I married, I began to think that maybe this one will work, but as anyone who is familiar with my writings, we all see how that turned out.
My family will occasionally ask me about potentially dating, or marrying in the future; but honestly, I’m still healing from everything that I’ve been through. But, once I saw my daughter imitate me talking on the phone, I knew that I had taken advantage of my liberties and had to have a massive time out.
One thing that dating has taught me is that I don’t know what the crap I’m doing. It would be easy to put all the blame on the men that I’ve dated, but I know that there’s something that I’m doing wrong to attract these types of men, because I’m the only thing they have in common. Even when talking to an ex a while ago, needing answers, closure, to why he hurt me, his answer was: “I was attracted to your joy and your confidence, and I wanted to see if I could break it.”
That’s a scary thought, to see that there are people who seek out others as a challenge to see how long it’ll be before they can hurt them, but it’s reality. You watch enough episodes of “Snapped” and “I Survived…” and you get confirmations of that.
One thing that being a parent taught me was that my life is no longer mine. I don’t have the luxury of messing up and choosing the wrong person to have in my life, because they are also in my child’s life. Best case scenario, if I pick an abusive guy again, my daughter will see her mother get abused and think that that type of behavior is normal. Worst case scenario, the person I’m with begins to hurt her. Neither one of those options, or any of the possible in between ones are viable for me. So until I get some counseling, to help me see these red flags, I’m in self-imposed time-out when it comes to dating.
I’ve learned to NEVER say never about anything. So, I’m not declaring that I will never date again, but until I get it right, my dating privileges have been taken away. Kendra cannot come out to play until she has learned her lesson. *Slams door.*