Letters to my exes

The other title I considered for this post is ‘The best $500 I’ve ever spent.’ I am currently attending the Landmark Forum, and I can already confidently say, this is the best $500 I’ve spent. Ever.

The Forum works to show people how to live life powerfully and how to live a life they love. One huge benefit I’ve experienced so far is an inexplicable freedom from crippling fear. As I mentioned before, this is a fear that has played itself out in panic attacks when I was in college. It’s this fear that has kept me from connecting meaningfully with people throughout my life. Fear that has kept me from truly sharing my feelings, because I believed that certain emotions are bad, wrong, and not normal for me to feel. Fear that has continuously kept me from being my authentic self, even with my favorite people on the planet.

In the past three days of the Forum, I’ve experienced real breakthroughs with loved ones. With my parents, ex-boyfriends, and close friends, I’ve created possibilities that did not exist before. Here are a few examples of my interactions over the past three days:

My recent ex-boyfriend Eric is someone who I love tremendously. He is fantastic, and inspiring, and beyond intelligent. A week ago, I sent him an article called ‘Hold Me Tight,’ which walks through the notion that the biggest reason why people fight with their partners is due to perceived emotional disconnection and a lack of touch. The story I told myself when sending this to him was that I was being thoughtful in sharing an insight he could learn from. When I got real with myself during the Forum, I was able to admit to him that I sent that article to make myself feel better. One of my ongoing complaints about our relationship was that he wasn’t affectionate enough. I would literally count the number of times he held my hand, planted a kiss on me, put his arm around me, and when I wasn’t satisfied with the number, I’d spiral into my own world of sadness, loneliness, and anger. I focused my energy on proving myself right in that theory during and after we broke up, and sent him this article with a smug feeling of, ‘See! I was right!’ What ‘being right’ did for me was keep me from really expressing my love for him. Being in the moment with him. Grabbing his hand! Having fun with him. When I called him up to admit my inauthenticity, apologize, and share with him the possibility I see of us starting a new, amazing relationship, he listened thoughtfully, thanked me, shared insights I had never heard, and truly accepted me. It felt wonderful!

Yesterday, I called my mom to apologize for all the times I’ve chosen to fight with her instead of really listening to her. I let her know that I’ve created the possibility of no more pointless fights, and no more blaming her for how I feel. I reassured her that I am happy and leading a life I love, in large part due to the amazing job she did raising me. Finally, I asked her, ‘Mom? Are you there?’ My mom is usually VERY chatty! Then I heard some sniffles, and realized she was crying. I got worried and asked her if she was okay. After a brief pause she then said, ‘Thank you. Thank you so much for calling me to tell me that. It makes me really happy.’

Another person who I reached out to, totally nervous and unsure, was an ex-boyfriend from over seven years ago. Bizarre, right!? I shared with him a letter that I had written to him while in the Forum, and what it opened up for us was a mutual respect and, in my opinion, the best conversation we’ve ever had. Here’s the letter, which I appreciate him allowing me to share on this very public blog:

Dear C,Β 

I came to the Landmark Forum to learn more about who I am and why I act the way I do. I also came to gain greater confidence and peace with my past.
What I am actually accomplishing so far is greater responsibility for who I am and more authenticity in my relationships.
One possibility I have created for myself is to let go of my anger and resentment toward you. I have blamed you in the past for my feeling small, and I have been focused on being better than you, stronger than you, and ‘right’ about us. What I now know is that I am to blame for feeling small after we broke up. I was insecure, and I victimized myself. You are someone who I care about, and you are a great guy.
I apologize for ever trying to make you feel inconsequential, or wrong, or guilty for how low I was feeling. It’s not your fault that our relationship didn’t work. And it’s certainly not your fault that I was sexually assaulted by a stranger while we were together. That is never something I blamed you for, but the association I made between our relationship and that incident certainly made it easy for me to feel bad around you after we broke up.
I am taking responsibility and creating the possibility of us being okay and of me being truly myself in our interactions.
Thanks for reading this letter. I have a much healthier view of relationships and I am at peace with the assault, and I thank you for your part in both of those things! You’ve contributed to my positive development.

A special thank you to my wonderful friend Jen, who inspires me and cared enough to share her experience of the Landmark Forum with me.

With courage, love and (definitely) intensity,
Kristen

Photo credit: Diaβ„’ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

11 thoughts on “Letters to my exes

  1. Hey K, I’m glad you’re doing well πŸ™‚ In relationships I think it’s also important to realize that if you need something, then you need it, and if the person you’re with can’t give it to you then no matter how great they are, they’re not right for you. Needing affection doesn’t make you insecure, it means that it’s something you need and value in a relationship for it to feel fulfilling. I had relationships that drove me because I need something that they couldn’t/wouldn’t give me and I always blamed myself. But it’s no one’s fault, just a fact of life πŸ™‚

    • Hey Megsies :),

      Thanks for reading the blog and supporting me, like the good friend you are. I completely agree, it’s okay to want qualities like affection. I’ve just been able to flip my perspective and understand that focusing on my negative story isn’t nearly as constructive as connecting with the people/world around me. It’s a work in progress, but I do feel much happier and at peace these days.

      Lots of love,
      K

  2. Normally I am emotionally very strong but guess what I cried after reading this post … I can definitely relate my life experiences specially where you “called your mom”…my best wishes and prayers are with you.

      • BTW I have started my journey of freedom and self discovery two weeks ago when I quit my job even thought without that job I will face tough times but I guess this is not at all important in life. Life is like a canvas with different colors and now I want to paint my life with all available colors…

  3. Congrats, we all have much to learn from lessons that involve living life with purpose and being more aware.

    But beware, Landmark Forum is essentially an offshoot of Scientology. Always make sure that you’re doing what you want to do for the right reasons. Don’t hesitate to question it if it starts to feel wrong.

    • Hi Mr Oblong,

      Thank you for taking time to leave me a message, and I appreciate your concern. Another friend of mine reached out to say that Landmark was started by someone involved in Scientology.

      It’s a good message to be careful and follow your gut/intuition. Don’t be blind.

      What I’ll say now about Landmark is religion, aliens, and other things I associate with Scientology was not present in the forum. In fact, they were very upfront that Landmark is a business, and they of course benefit and make money from people registering for it.

      I decided not to sign up for the subsequent courses because I want to see how life goes for me for the next few months/year, see how I absorbed it all. So far, I can say I’ve had great breakthrough with myself and people I love. I experience fear in a very different way, and that is huge for me.

      Anyways, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. πŸ™‚ I’ll keep sharing my journey here, if you ever want to stop by again.

      All the best,
      Kristen

      • Excellent, glad to hear it. I know a handful of people who have been to Landmark courses, and all of them have positive things to say about how some of the tenets have influenced their lives.

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