Loyal to a fault
Loyalty is a term I've struggled to process over the years, as a result of the severe self-betrayal that disguised itself as loyalty to me in my earliest years. Loyalty is a term that I've been focused on since my last relationship imploded. And I'm not talking about the romantic relationship implosion--I'm talking about when my last friendship imploded. Now, I have to admit--there are several relationships of mine that have really been tested over the last 5 years. And while very few of them have survived-- knowing where I am today, I trust in endings.
The simplest way to put it is that when I was taken advantage of by a trusted adult as a child, this misuse of trust carried on for years, and I found myself unable to be "disloyal" to this person. It created an intensely deep habit of self-betrayal in me growing up. As a result, I frequently found myself forming unhealthy attachments to people who on the surface were close to me in terms of proximity, but really kept me close because I was susceptible to their influence. What I have learned, most of my life about loyalty is that it's generally a one way street. I have been asked to provide a loyal attachment without being offered one in return in 9 out of 10 of my close relationships.
We tend to be the most loyal to our own wounds. We love to share our love and war stories, we love to trauma bond, we love to project our lived experiences over and over again, and many of us call an audience to observe this retelling of all of the ways we've gotten our soul scars. We have mistaken catharsis for loyalty. We allow loyalty to be the martyr for the betrayals we consciously commit. Staying loyal to the weakest moments of our lives is the deepest betrayal to the people we have grown into, in spite of those moments. I am no longer "loyal to a fault". My loyalty is fortitude and it is a gift that can be revoked with the blink of an eye. I am no longer loyal to anyone who is blatantly disloyal to themselves. I no longer seek loyalty from those who have none to offer.
I have found power in committing to an honest loyalty to my Self, with a capital S. I have found the most comfort in learning what self-betrayal feels like in the real time. I have found ways to process the moments when I've been vulnerable to toxic attachments and to understand the contrast between those and the healthy ones. I am sensitive to the people in my life who are committed to being loyal to my old wounds. I am sensitive to the people in my life who subconsciously choose not to see the person I am today--but who feels the need to project my old unhealthy patterns back to me. I try to learn something from the times I've felt less than loyal, or have been offered less than loyal. I'm learning there is no fault in true meaning of the word.