• Saj

Connections, Betrayals, Defining boundaries and Standing up when it hurts the most


The weather today is a little gloomy.

The sun is hiding today and its cold. But he is expected to come out partly today.

The wind has given this way an off-day and everything is standing still today.

I had an appointment that I had to keep in the morning, as I was driving back, few thoughts came along, uninvited and untimely of-course.

You see...... I have been caught in a world-wind of conflicts for quite some time.

I have been struggling to resist the growth universe need me to do.

I been kicking and screaming saying "no, no I don't want to go through the pain to get to the other side". Funny thing about life is that it has its own orders to follow. So, it kind of looks at the bigger picture than the slight discomfort it's causing you.

I tried to tell the universe that this is a very bad time for it to put me through things now, but it insists that it knows what it is doing.

So I am going to trust its choices, and bear through the pain and hurt it is throwing my way. But I have to say everything since I am touching this subject. It's not just pain universe is giving me, the pleasure too. It's sending tons of joyous moments my way. It has taught me to see beauty and good in the most ordinary things.

We human beings are wired to feel connected. We are wired to make, feel and live in intimate connections.

They can be physical, emotional, mental or any other ways. But it is what we are wired to do. The little gossip circle you enjoy so much, it is a form of connection you are experiencing. We all have different needs, emotional, physical, spiritual, professional and intellectual. Almost every need can be broadly classified under these five. The extent and intensity of the need is as unique as the human being who experiences it.

But we all have these after our basic needs of food, water and shelter are met. Most times we don't think about it, as these needs are met to a satisfactory level for the majority of the masses, on top, we are taught to adjust and compromise. It's a good thing to learn to be part of a pack, a tribe where you are accepted and valued for who you are, where you feel comfortable enough to adjust and adapt your own needs and values to be part of the group. Other than the occasional lonely mustang, most of us are pack animals. We seek out not knowingly our own tribes. We chose a leader, we divide ourselves into worker bees, and other tasks. We are nothing but an animal who wants to be part of a pack.

Intelligence and humanity are traits we hold to find the right place to fit in. Least I feel it is. I am not a scientist, or a researcher or a philosopher. I am an ordinary human being who is scared and yet takes the next step in life.

I was like everyone else, I wanted badly to fit into the pack I was born into. But after decades of trying, after being bullied by many, I reached a point where I was interested in learning who i am. It's a work in progress as I am still trying, failing, getting up and trying again. I wanted attention and love when I was a child, just like every child. The only way I was given those was by performing. The unconditional love that I was supposed to have given was not there. So I worked hard to earn attention, and during that time I learned an unhealthy lesson, love equals attention. I was good at everything I did, and I was given attention. The problem with that kind of attention is that they are not given to you as a person, they are given to your achievements. I didn't know the existence of unconditional love until I became a mom. It's then I saw the amount of love I could feel for someone else, without any expectations for me, but with the expectations of this tiny being growing into a good human being. It was about him, in few minutes I was holding him, I felt that rush of fear, being responsible for another human being. Terrifying and yet satisfying. Parenting is not easy....... But watching them grow is pure pleasure.

When I look at my two kids, I realize what most of us probably never got to experience in our childhood, unconditional love, and acceptance. So I grew up thinking I was unworthy of love. That I need to somehow do what I have always done to earn love, in my case it was performance. People who loved me, gave me attention when I did something good, but I was not looking for attention. Attention doesn't drive me, love does. By love, i don't refer to romantic love alone, all kinds. As I grew up, I learned how to give love, how to love others and make them feel that they are loved, but I never learned to accept love, I never learned to set boundaries. People came and went in and out of my life. Almost all experienced love from me. But I failed to receive that from them. I do take responsibility for that, past few years have been a rapid and yet long practical learning for me. I never set boundaries as to what my self-worth is, I never said out loud what I will and will not tolerate, I never spoke up even when people treated me badly, disrespected me and used me. In all that cases, I loved them back, hoping they will see it. Instead, what they saw was it as a weakness. They got the impression that somehow they were superior and they deserved to be loved that way. Because I failed to set boundaries. I failed to show that, it was not one-sided, that I was a human being too. Coming from Indian culture, I am taught to give and not to ask for what I need. But what got lost in the passage of rich Indian culture is that man was supposed to give his woman more than what she was giving him. That was lost in translation somewhere.

So what I was saying was about my struggle to break the conflict that I was carrying around in my mind. I want a life of truth and honesty and authenticity, which involves exposing my weaknesses and vulnerabilities and facing the push back. I didn't think I could do it. So I hide for a while. But the desire to be what I want to only grow stronger. I am passionate, and I am at my best when I feel connected to something or someone. Over the course last decade, I tried and failed many times. And at this present, after a very difficult and hurtful betrayal of trust, I am slowly recovering. Gaining my lost strength little by little every day, there are days when I cannot feel anything but a pain when I cannot breathe because I feel a block of ice is sitting on my chest. But I accept bad days, days I show my full weakness, show my pain raw, the day when I do something I despise. But then, next day I make a few steps forward.

Self-healing is a journey for people like me, we don't forget and move on to matters of minutes or hours. When people like me feel and express, it comes from a genuine place inside the heart. There is nothing fake, we give unconditionally, we are reasonable, we trust and we value trust more than anything else in this world. When we love someone, if you are lucky enough to be loved by one of the scorpios, you know the intensity of it, you know the depth of it and integrity of it. To us, to me, love is a spectrum, it's not just romance, it's love. A feeling of genuine care and concern. A fight, an argument, a disagreement or any normal human reactions are nothing more than that. Expression of conflict, we don't carry it around as judgments. This is where I was wrong. I was fooled by the reflection of someone and I ignored all the red flags. When I did make a choice to leave, I was begged to give an ear to a story. A true story, which to-date I believe is truth. I stayed because of two reasons,

1. I thought, I been here before. I have made mistakes and I have confessed them. But no one was willing to give me a second chance and help, so if I can't give a second chance, who else will.

2. I trusted the tears that were shed and promises that was given. I trusted that no one would go to a level and use someone else's vulnerability.

But I was wrong. I spent weeks trying to figure out the answer to why. But I only made things worse, the expectation was for the question to go away. And I was incapable of letting the question go away as the trust was stronger and fall was the most hurtful of all. I was confused at first, but I did what I was asked, what I needed to give peace, in return I expected one explanation that never came. Instead, names were called, accusations were made, anger was spread, threats were sent out when all it would have taken was one sentence of explanation.

At some desperate moments, when things were rough, I apologized for something I didn't even do knowingly. Because I felt it was the right thing to do. I never wanted anyone any harm, I was confused by the mixed messages and complicated lies. People are selfish, which is justifiable for their existence. I was caught with my truth in the middle of a web of lies. I never stood a chance, and it took me a while to learn that. I was the perfect villain of a story that was scripted and perfected on the go.

We blame others or god for things that go wrong with us. We don't think a lot before we assign a blame, it's easy to blame, then we immerse ourselves in anger, forgetting what the other person meant to us, what all the other person did for us, how much they loved us and how much they tried to help, how much ridicule and embarrassment they suffered through just because they loved us. We only see that one thing that was missed out of the 100 that was there, missing the 99 accomplished. We do this to our own selves too. We lose ourselves in "how could he/she do this" and let go of every good that was there. Sometimes we forget that it was us who dragged them into it all.

But what I learned recently is that blame and responsibility is different. What happened is done and gone. There are two sides and a side of truth to everything. I am glad of everything that happened, saw the truth of many people, someone I trusted hurt me very badly, called me names that I have heard growing up, he used everything I shared with him over streaming tears to get a punch line, he did the exact one thing I asked him to not do on humanity basis. I am not someone who walks away from people I care about so easily, even when they treat me like I am worthless, I try to help. It's how I am wired, and this time I learned valuable lessons. This time I am using the heartbreak of betrayal of trust to make a template for something that will never happen again.

I am worthy of genuine human connections. I am worthy of what I give, and people who have the courage to be authentic and vulnerable and genuine. I decided to forgive that person, he is not sorry for what he has done, in his little world what he had done is right. And sadly, knowing him, having seen his soul and his darkness, I no longer feel mad. It's very hard for me to forgive him, as what I feel is sadness and anger over the question of "why". After everything, why would anyone choose to do what he did to another human being? But I also understand why, fear is a good motivation. Fear of society, fear of disappointing others, fear of being looked down upon, fear of what others will say and one last possibility of I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I thought about something I read recently. Everything in life has a value, and it is based on what meaning we associate with it. To me, this experience shook the very root of my existence. I took a chance to trust someone after a decade, took a chance to love someone and care for him, and I was betrayed. All it would have taken was one heartfelt sentence...Instead, I was dragged in front of a family to lie, which I did hope it will be the end of it. But it was just beginning of my decline. I couldn't live with not having an answer to why was it done when all I asked for was honesty. Honesty, integrity, and honor were something that I held so far upon my mind and being aware of this, I was not able to let go of not knowing why was I not worthy of one answer as to why. But time has passed, it has lost its importance, the very reason I write this today......

The man I cared dearly said I was a woman who traps people. Then many more accusations. It was hard to hear and bear. But then I also know that I am none of those. I have started this journey, the real hard one where I try to be as truthful to myself as I can and try not to harm others and yet live a life as authentic as I can a while ago. I knew this is not going to be easy, but it is important to me. Important enough that I am challenging some very basic customs of my own community. I have been called names and accused of things, but I know that universe and god are witnesses. I have been only truthful to ones I loved and cared for, I have not intended harm for anyone or ever will. I will not force anyone to be part of my life, or I will be part of ones who chose to walk away. I wish them happiness and good.

People like me are what others call dumb ones, we are easy to fool, easy to put blame on, easy to make villains out of. But days will change into months and months to years, and then one-day truth will come out, it always does. When that day comes, I hope to be as far as possible. I hope to be with someone who is genuine and brave, courageous and owns his shit. Who would look at me and change nothing about me? Who would hold me close when I weep uncontrollably because I saw a bird sitting alone. Who would sit and watch reruns of sherlock holmes with me? Who would listen to me go on and on about women's right to chose? Who would sit beside me not asking anything when I get home after a bad day. Who would make love to me on the floor because he couldn't wait to be with me? Who would tell me how beautiful I am when I talk nonstop about coding....

My heart is open, and I am daring again to toss the coin.

Heads or tails, I am prepared best for either option, equipped with all the lessons life has offered me, all the hopes and worries.

I am more than "some one to discuss things with". If that is my place in your life, I will walk away from you with my head held high and my dignity held close to my heart. I will still help anyone who asks me for a hand of help, in whichever capacity I can. But I am no longer "the person on retainer" for anyone in this world. Thank you for reminding me who I am.



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Sajatha Jaffer  |  sajatha.jaffer@gmail.com

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