When The Heart Stops Beating (111)
And there it was, John was truly engaged to be married and Olivia had no idea until she received that infamous phone call. When she pressed John for answers, his best response was that he truly loved her and didn’t want to lose her. Naturally, that response was not good enough for Olivia; she felt insulted by it. In the weeks that ensued, John tried countless times to contact Olivia, but she refused to pick his calls. She had had enough and was now focused on mending her broken heart, but this process will prove challenging for her. She blamed herself for missing all the signs and being easily charmed by his charismatic personality. If only she had persisted and asked those questions, if only she listened to that nagging feeling within her and exercised some restraint, if only she never met John, if only, if only, if only………… but it was too late now.
It’s been 6 months, with numerous therapy sessions and Olivia has finally forgiven herself for ignoring the signals. During her therapy sessions, she realized that she had unresolved emotional issues stemming from her past unpleasant experiences. As a young child growing up in a dysfunctional family, she never experienced the warmth and affection from her parents and she lived in constant fear of her alcoholic father who was physically abusive towards her and her siblings. Olivia erroneously assumed that upon leaving her parents’ home and finding her own place, she would be freed from those “emotional demons”. She had tried to mask the pain and disappointment of her turbulent upbringing by working hard, staying busy and dressing up in the most fashionable clothes. She mastered the art of looking great outwardly yet inwardly, that little wounded girl was drowning in sorrow and low self-esteem. She was screaming for help, but her inner voice was so soft that no one could hear or help. Paradoxically, her encounter with John was the very thing that would save her soul from further “carnage”.
Her therapist helped her realize that until she resolved to forgive her past, love herself and embrace the future, she would continue to have an unhealthy longing for love and the cycle will repeat itself. Part of the action items prescribed to her by the therapist included her making a trip back home and expressing her emotions to her parents. It had been 7 years since she communicated with her father but after realizing the need to be free, she made that 6-hour trip back home. For the first time in 39 years, while holding back tears, Olivia spoke fearlessly about how she had been traumatized by her early childhood upbringing. It was a meeting that would last 3 hours and there was no holding back. Bearing in mind that this was a family that never discussed any matter, this was in itself a major victory; one greater than winning a million dollars. At the end of it all, she felt relief not because her father (who by this time was no longer an alcoholic) apologized for his past behavior but rather because she could literally feel a heavy weight being lifted off her. That feeling was inexplicable and cathartic.
Olivia is a much better person now than when she first met John and she knows that her next opportunity at love would be a success for it will be based on a healthy desire to be with the right person.
Lessons from Olivia
If something appears too good to be true, it probably is
Take time to know people before giving them your heart
If a nagging feeling persists, don’t ignore it. Intuition exists for a reason
Sometimes, obstacles and other mishaps in life could become opportunities for personal growth