I love this quote "I'm not punishing you, I'm protecting me." That came from my dear Auntie (in my head) Iyanla Vanzant. But this quote hits home for me in so many ways because I can distinctively remember when I broke out the big girl panties and finally declared, "I'm not punishing you, I'm protecting me". I was 19 years old and I was cohabitating with a man who was four years my senior. It may not sound like a lot of years but his worldly experience and outlook on life made me feel as if I was involved with a man twice my age. To say it was a tough journey is an understatement.
I was learning myself and I questioned myself internally so much during this time because I allowed him to infiltrate my space. I allowed his thoughts to become my thoughts and because we were intimate on a consistent basis, our energies were intertwined which produced much confusion in me.
When I tried to step away and dissolve the relationship, I wasn't strong enough so I kept letting him back in. We lived together for two years and then one day I broke free and by his reaction you would've thought I had just severed his arm or something. But in his mind, he really did feel like I was hurting him, but all in all, I was just protecting me. I had no choice as I noticed my hair thinning, I was becoming a little withdrawn from friends, I became stressed out often and I experienced my very first panic attack. It can be so easy to succumb to the life that you'd become so familiar with even if it is detrimental but it's imperative that you move! I learned that lesson very early in my life and I have applied it on so many levels and it has served me well. Of course, there's so much to that story, which we all have a story but I'm extremely thankful for that experience now more than ever because I can relate to so many people who are trying to remove themselves from toxic environments in order to secure self-preservation.
Take some time, if you will, and reflect on Queen Vanzant's words and let it resonate with you. Are you not protecting yourself in fear of hurting someone else? If so, remember in order to give, you have to have something to give. It's really not that deep, it is what it is. Have you had to make that declaration before? If so, how has it affected you?