I've been in a lot of pain lately.
I just read a book that transformed my life.
No kidding, folks.
Now, I'm not so naive as to think that everyone will respond the same way. This happened to be a symbol set that -reached- me, right at a time when I -needed- it. It won't reach everyone.
But for them as are interested, the same book that I found by chance at Half Price Books tonight is also available for free, on-line, here:
Basically, I discovered I've been addicted to the concept of romance, as a symptom of a need for external validation. I thought I clung in relationships because I was afraid of abandonment. But taking that a step further, I've not been afraid of abandonment, but been afraid of losing the good feelings I have about myself when I tell myself stories in my mind about a relationship. Because I was afraid of losing the good feelings, I clung to the relationships, and did all sorts of things to try to "make" them work, "rescue" the other person and "make" him stay with me. Oh, nothing overtly controlling... but analyzing every move and modifying my emotional responses in order to evoke emotional response in another person -is- control, and not unconditional love. I learned a lot of this at another fabulous website, http://www.coping.org/coping/titles.htm.
Now, intellectually I have known that external things don't have to affect my internal self-perception, self-validation, and sense of being. I've read and heard those words over and over and over.
Until tonight, I'd never -experienced- them.
And though I've known it intellectually, now I *understand* that I can create these good feelings all by myself. What a tremendous weight to be lifted - to no longer feel compelled to change anyone, for my happiness to not be dependent on anything but me!
This is definitely one of those experiences that just doesn't translate into words. But boy, it feels good.