The Girl on the Side

The Girl on the Side

It will probably come as no surprise that I have struggled in relationship for most of my life.  Until I had children, I never felt like a priority to anyone.  And I can hear that inner part who tells me that my children have no choice in the matter.  So I guess the real statement is I have never felt like a priority to anyone who had a choice.  That sounds pitiful.  And I am not looking for pity.  I am just being honest because let’s face it, somebody has to be honest about this stuff.  And I’m going to be very honest.  This discussion feels a bit risky, and for me, that is saying something.  But risk is becoming a part of my daily life these days, despite how much my controller hates it.

My relational life has revolved around this concept of “low priority”.  When I have truly fallen for someone, they have always been unavailable.  By unavailable, I mean they were either involved in a relationship or healing from a previous relationship.  I was an afterthought.  I was someone to pass the time with.  I was the person who would get them from one real relationship to another.  But I was never going to be that real relationship for them.  I was never important enough to them.  And the most significant problem was I didn’t know this.  I would tell myself they would focus on me soon.  I would tell myself they were going to leave that other relationship anytime and make me the priority.  I would tell myself things would get better.

But that was never going to happen.  In those few cases where someone decided to make me the primary partner, I lost interest pretty quickly.  Deep down inside, I knew something must be wrong with them if they picked me.  I wasn’t good enough to be the priority.  I knew it without a doubt.  And in reality, these people did hold a tremendous amount of pain.  Their pain rivaled mine as it does in relationship.  They were addicted to something and it wasn’t me.  And I was addicted to the running, the busy, the people-pleasing, whatever it took to distract from the lack of connection I felt.

And because of my repressed memories, I never understood what was happening.  Why was I always the “girl on the side”?  Why was I never the priority?  I was successful at my work.  I was persistent.  I wore my perfection mask well.  I fit the mold of what society thought was right.  I knew what to do in all areas of my life except relationships.  And relationships were always a nightmare.  So what was the problem?

But then my questions were answered.  And while the answers were good to have, they were also painful to have.  I was the “girl on the side” because that was my pattern.  I was always the “girl on the side” from the time I was born.  (And here is where it gets cringe-worthy.)  I was never someone’s daughter.  I never had parents.  I was involved in one affair after another from a very young age.  I was “the other woman” when I was 8.  I was competing with my mother and my grandmother for attention from my father and my grandfather.  And this was not good attention.  This wasn’t even attention I wanted.  This was sexual attention.

And I was shamed for it.  I was treated as though I was the problem.  I was a horrible person for creating this triangulation between myself and the marriages around me.  It was shameful what I did to them.  I created a strain in their relationship because I was the shameful little “girl on the side”.  I was the shameful little secret in the family.  And when it came to the public image, it was my job to pretend.  I had to pretend I wasn’t the “girl on the side”.  I had to pretend I was in a different role, a role I didn’t play on a daily basis inside the home.  I had to act like they were the couple and I was just the daughter, the perfect little daughter.

But in reality, I was learning a toxic relationship pattern.  I learned how to compete with women and accept my role as the low priority in the love triangle.  I learned I only mattered for one thing and I should be ashamed of it.  I learned that I would never win the competition for priority in relationship.  I learned that my needs would never matter.  And of course, that became my life pattern …

until I woke up.

And now I am learning something new.  I am learning I will never be a low priority again.  I am learning my way to a better life is in breaking this pattern.  I have said “enough is enough” to this relationship pattern.  I will not live it anymore.  I will no longer accept that kind of love because I am worth more than my parents showed me I was worth.  And I am willing to walk away from this kind of “love” until the universe gets my message.

No more will I be the “girl on the side”.

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22 Comments

  1. Wow. I read some similarities there for sure. Thank you for being so vulnerable. <3

    Reply
    • Thank you Victoria for that validation! Love to you.

      Reply
  2. Working with giving myself the quality time I feel I’m lacking in my relationship.
    Marriage to myself.
    Definitely helping.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • That is really the only way to stop our patterns. Thank you.

      Reply
  3. I learned that sex meant acceptance and approval. So that when as an adult, our (my partner and I) libido fluctuates, and I’m not having as much sex, I feel like there is something wrong with me.

    Reply
    • This has been a powerful belief for me too Katie.

      Reply
  4. My little girl is crying for your little girl and my heart goes out to both. Blessings to where you are now.

    Reply
    • Thank you Joan. Blessings to you too.

      Reply
  5. Thank you, thank you for daring to BE. That is so beautiful! I feel the grief, yet it does not define you or I. Much love to your little one, she deserves all the best…no seconds for you 🙂 It is your birthright.

    You provide such clarity for others which serves us all. <3

    Hugs.

    Reply
  6. Elisabeth,
    You are so brave to share your raw feelings…and they are such a mirror of my own. Thank you. Thank you for putting words to my feelings. 💕
    Love and light,
    Michelle

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Michelle!

      Reply
  7. Sending love!! I believe there’s someone for everyone or maybe even two or three people over a lifetime!

    Reply
  8. That was very powerful writing Elisabeth, you named it !!!
    I felt that I was only good for one thing too, that the rest of me wasn’t important as no one had valued it before. A heartbreaking pattern of behavior to learn as a child and undo as an adult.
    I am seething with bubbling anger at the thought of how “those” kind of people treat innocent children. THEY are disgusting!
    yvette x

    Reply
    • You are right Yvette. They are disgusting. Thank you so much!

      Reply
  9. Wow! Elisabeth you brought this to light and Yvette nailed it right on the head!
    “A heartbreaking pattern of behavior to learn as a child and undo as an adult”

    That statement clearly shows that we were just innocent children – the behavior was TAUGHT and learned from guardians who were supposed to show us the way – show us Love – but they didn’t know what Love was.

    The important thing to remember is that there is NOTHING wrong with us – were were/are innocent, we are not broken, unworthy or undeserving – this was all TAUGHT to us. Put the responsibility back where it belongs.

    Love to you all.

    Reply
  10. Elisabeth, when you said, “never a priority until you had children jumped right out to me. How true this was for me. I got married right out of h.s. to someone I didn’t even know to escape my home life. We started a family right away, I was 18. Then over three marriages I have 5 children that became my life. I spent the time from 18-50 being a mom and trying my hardest to never make the same mistakes that I grew up with. I vowed that my children would never ever feel unloved or unwanted. Then at 50 when my youngest graduated and went off to college is when my world came tumbling down. Left feeling all so abandoned and alone the memories started flooding my brain day and night never being able to escape my childhood again.

    Reply
    • I completely understand that Grace. When we define ourselves by these relationships (which we are encouraged to do by our trauma), this becomes the result. Redefining ourselves takes time to work out. Our trauma recovery work is so helpful with that though. Love to you.

      Reply
  11. Congratulations! Welcome to the other side of self-worth. Hoping everyone who reads this will join you in the sunshine.

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder to let old patterns go so new belief systems can emerge. Thanks also for being so brave! You rocked it Elisabeth! Big Smile.

    Reply

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