Margaret Ruth answers this question for a reader.
Question: I dated a guy for three years when I found out that he was a porn addicted transvestite. As you could imagine...my trust issues; not to mention my self esteem, had been tossed in the trash! I am actually wondering if/when I will be able to actually "see" the guys I'm interested in for who they are?
Many people ask themselves after a break-up why they were so deluded to get involved with someone who eventually turned out to be carrying many secrets or really unhealthy. Along with that comes the ubiquitous Self-Critic that is getting her chance to really rag on you and she typically goes for it! That inner critic is calling you names like: Stupid, Dumb, Idiot. Boy - that is fun.
So the first step is to have a few (or many) conversations with your inner nag. From my perspective, a metaphysical one, no relationship is a waste. Many times, people are drawn to each other for what you could term "bigger reasons" in terms of their larger life path. In the beginning of these types of connections there is a pull and an attraction that is irresistible, and the two people start a relationship. Later, when things fall apart, we forget that we did have a reason for getting involved in the first place. Thus the self criticism.
And the reasons people are attracted to each other are varied. Relationships are mirrors that help us learn more about ourselves. Discovering what you learned about yourself is the fastest way to get the critic to stop her harangue. Ask yourself whether you were emotionally healthy -- meaning fairly free of fears, doubts and insecurities -- when you got involved. (Answer = No). Instead of your critical voice calling you Dumb, if it has to pick at you (and it does), have it remind you that you won't have perfectly happy, fulfilling, emotionally healthy relationships until you are there yourself -- until you are a happy, fulfilled, healthy woman. There is absolutely no way around the law that it takes two healthy, joyful, whole people to make one healthy, joyful, whole relationship. There are no exceptions.
The interesting thing about this case is that you DID have internal warnings along the way that you chose to ignore. In our culture, we are taught to care much more about what other people think and feel than our own thoughts and feelings. Not that you don't care about your own, it is just that you, too -- like many of us -- have gotten good at stuffing your own instincts, intuition and inner wisdom, in the name of, oh, a bunch of other things: logic, reason, what others say, fear, cultural norms, and so on.
The best way to have great antennae for others is to develop great antennae for the inner you -- all of it. This may seem counter-logical, but it is how it gets done. The more tuned-in you are to you, and the more centered, calm, and in-harmony with yourself you become, the easier it is to pick up on others who carry around mixed signals and inner conflicts. As you know, if you are healthy, happy and whole, then you will quickly pick up on others that are carrying that energy or vibrations that are off from that vibe. That is your goal.
Then you can be confident when meeting people. Does this make sense?
UPDATE -- her response to the blog:
Thank you so much for answering my question! You hit it right on the head; you were right about everything! But you already knew that! LOL! I definitely have learned a lot from that relationship. I really hope it does help someone else out there; thank you for blogging about it!
Contact Margaret Ruth anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.margaretruth.com, go to www.margaretruth.com or visit her Facebook page with your ideas and suggestions.