Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wisdom for Survivors in Relationships or What I Learned From Russell Brand Today

I am a short time Russell Brand fan, having discovered him about one month after he married Katy Perry.

I do the fan girl thing of Googling him every day to find out what he is doing.

Mostly it is mundane drama.

Today he treated me to something thoughtful.

Perez Hilton, or someone like that, quoted Russell Brand speaking about his failed marriage to Katy Perry, “I don’t have to let anything go. I don’t hold on to anything negative. It’s the same as zeroness. It’s not about letting it go. You can’t let go of someone you don’t hold, you know.”

I thought about that as I am divorced too.  We survivors have trouble maintaining our marriages, and Russell Brand is a survivor of child sex abuse among other things.  I guess Katy was away on her concert tour so long that Russell felt a bit abandoned, but he is trying to take the spiritual point of view.  Clearly he wants someone by his side -- a lot.  We survivors often feel the need for reassurance of our worth from other people or we go in the opposite direction of running away from relationships because so many have hurt.

I guess Russell is trying to come to terms with his feelings while having compassion for Katy.  She is at the top of her career.  She didn't abandon Russell on purpose.  It just happened that way.

In any case, I liked Russell's quote so much, I needed to share it.

The point is we can't control other people to meet our needs.  Actually, controlling other people to meet our needs is a very good definition of abuse.

I know because I know what it is like to have someone try to control me.
I left my husband because he held on too tight. If he had given me more room, I would have stayed.  I wanted to stay.  Even when we were fighting with each other towards the end of our marriage, we still made time for fun with each other -- going to bookstores together and discussing politics.  OK, not very romantic, but it meant much to us at the time.  

Before I married my husband, I traveled around the world a few times. I worked as a lone female U.S. government Fisheries Observer on a number of Soviet fishing vessels operating in American waters during the Cold War and visited Jordan alone right after the First Gulf War.  I was not one to be told "no,"that something was too dangerous for me to do.  I don't understand why my husband didn't understand that he could not hold me down. I needed to be free to be myself instead of always being what he wanted me to be.  Maybe he was too young to understand or maybe he didn't understand because he was from another culture that gives that freedom less readily.

So we go through these struggles with relationships and marriage and divorce.  We are supposed to learn 
from our troubles.  We are supposed to grow.

The lesson this time is that love cannot be demanded. It can only be freely given.

Me, in 1987, as a Foreign Fisheries Observer on a Soviet fishing vessel.  I am the little woman in the center.  The guys are all members of the trawl crew.

Me at a Women in Black demonstration in May 1991.

Soviet fishermen on a port call in Dutch Harbor Alaska in March 1989.

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