Katherine_Kingsley_as_Lina_Lamont_in_Singing'_in_the_Rain

Dignity – Always Dignity: Oops! I Gave Up My Power

Dignity- Always dignity.

It’s a line from one of my fave movies Singing in the Rain. It’s a funny quote because the character Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly) is a comedian who has to do the most undignified things in order to earn a wage: he has cream pies thrown in his face, he is doused in cold water and generally has to make a total fool of himself.

I lost my dignity after this breakup – or did I?

After a break up there can be times when you feel that your dignity has been crushed. I feel rejected, embarrassed and like a failure. So who is making me feel this way? My ex? Hell no! It’s ME making myself feel lousy! In the article How to Move on from a Lost Relationship or a Crush Gone Wrong I found a couple of nice words on dignity:

‘Many times, it’s our own ego that causes the pain; we feel rejected and deceived, embarrassed. We doubt our self worth and adequacy. A breakup, especially one in which your partner has cheated on you, can really undermine your self-confidence and shake your self-esteem to the core. Help rebuild your inner stability by impressing yourself with accomplishment – volunteer, take a class, do things that remind you of your value as a person’. That quote is from wikihow and it’s very true.

Dignity and Ego

My partner didn’t cheat on me, but the break up still feels like that because I feel cheated in other ways. Plus he is probably moving on – but I’m not sure because I am maintaining my dignity and not contacting him – even though I wish I could. On a side note (and this is personal but all names and circumstances have been changed to protect the innocent) my former partner cut contact with his past four exes (including me) and I was always mystified by this.

“Why don’t you ever speak to Gwyneth, Delilah and Shoshanna anymore?” I’d ask (not their real names!). My ex would then rattle off a bunch of stuff that they had done wrong. In the two years we lived together I never heard heads nor tails of these women and I found out subsequently that the last one (before me) specifically told him that he would never, ever, ever hear from her again.

And by Joe – she kept her word.

I was enormously impressed by this – thinking that she must have had very strong resolve to maintain that level of personal discipline. What she was saying to him by not communicating with him AT ALL was – “You did the wrong thing. You can no longer be in my life. You have lost the privilege.”

“Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don’t think you can, hold on.” ― James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Of course, I am not that strong. I have never been able to cut contact with people and I have never wanted to. I have to say that there were many times in my relationship that I lost of forfeited my dignity. This has been common to most of my relationships. There have been times when I literally begged on the floor for something, there were times I cried and yelled like a child. There were times when I didn’t feel like I could be loveable unless my partner told me I was. I forfeited my power over and over again.

Why would I forfeit my power?

‘When you feel powerless, you feel afraid to express your needs because you fear (often rightly) that what little you have will be taken from you. You may have learned powerlessness if you were kept in powerless positions repeatedly and/or over long periods of time (possibly during childhood) by those who used external forces (money, physical strength, legal status, and/or military force) to control you’. This is according to Psychotherapist.org.

It’s true that I was often afraid of appropriately expressing my needs for fear of being rejected. Really, this is a crazy thing to do. I am a people-pleaser and self-sufficient and I often find that it’s simply easier to get things done on my own, or to do what the other person wants.

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” – Michael J. Fox.

I will not be able to solve these personal issues with this blog post. If you can help – give me advice. If you are going through the same thing – follow this blog.

Photo is Katherine Kingsley as Lina Lamont in Singing’ in the Rain

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