As I struggle to understand how I ended up in another unhealthy relationship, I am looking at this as an opportunity to understand the dynamics of cultural trauma, the wounds we develop from the shame of not meeting cultural norms. I am beginning to see that I had become the victim of the intersection of (internalized) sexism and singlism: As a woman, I am supposed to define myself through being in a coupled relationship! I am unworthy of anything if no man has given me his stamp of approval.
For some reason, the shame of not being in a coupled relationship had gotten to me. And, yes, you bet, there was plenty of shame of that shame! What’s wrong with me to feel this way? I, the singles activist, should know better! Though when I really think about it, this simply (and sadly) shows how pernicious these stereotypes can be – and how hard it is to undo them in a culture that reinforces them constantly. Reigniting my desire to fully understand and heal these dynamics.
One of the things I learned about me through my exploration of the solo-poly life is that I thrive on deep, emotionally intimate connections and lots of touch. I sort of knew this before. Now I am convinced that I might need more of both than others (possibly because I didn’t get enough of that as a child). And for whatever reason, I seem to have trouble establishing relationships that include these things outside of a coupled relationship. I suspects that’s at least in part because we’re taught that this is where those needs should get met. Another cultural wound: Non-conformity with this cultural norm gets “punished” with unmet needs.
So, I am back at the realization that to really heal my trauma, I need to build a new culture!