Can You Love Someone With Endo?
I have had so many people ask me what got me through my marriage when I had endometriosis. How I survived. How I came out on top. They say I’m strong; a warrior. That I always smile and I always find the positive. If they only knew the negative. Tonight, I’m going to share a demon.
Tonight it’s quiet in my house; I can hear the music but it’s being overran and overpowered by Kellan’s voice and the own voices in my head.
I feel like I lost my balloon.
I look at myself in the mirror, and I’m pretty. I may not be a model but I’m pretty. I’m of average build and looks; I don’t have anything that particularly stands out about me. Except my heart. I truly have one of the purest hearts of anyone I know.
I would never deceive you. I would never mislead you. I would never hurt you. Hurting you would hurt me. I’m honest to a fault, sometimes I even tell on myself without meaning to. I hate secrets, I cannot stand lies. I will find beauty in you when all you can see is the ugly.
You’re not ugly. You’re beautiful. Even if you can’t see it, I can.
People say that they want these traits in people they surround themselves with. They want those good people who they can count on and who will go to war with them. I am that person. I have those traits.
So, why am I never enough?
Kellan’s voice is so loud tonight. Him telling me I was lazy, that I never did anything, that I took up too much time with nonsense. He didn’t support my passions. He didn’t support me as a person. He didn’t nurture me as a wife.
I, at my core, am an empath. He, at his, is a narcissist. That’s why we are no more. I could only nurture him while he tore me down and by the time it was over, I didn’t know how to love myself.
He says he doesn’t feel any ill regard to me for being sick. He says it broke his heart to watch someone he “cared about” be in pain and be helpless. But, I know better. He hated the time it took. The medicine. The doctors. The mood changes. That’s the narcissist in him talking, and trying to make me feel guilty.
It didn’t matter that I was sick, nor tired. What mattered was that the chores were done and his needs were met. I learned to turn my endo off so that I didn’t bother him anymore. The funny part is, I still can turn it off in the blink of an eye.
It took me a long time to rebuild the confidence I lost in myself over the years I spent with him. When I was sick, I know I was a burden. I know there were times people couldn’t stand me. There were times I couldn’t even stand myself. And honestly, I wish I could take back the hurt I caused people. But I can’t. And I can’t apologize for the decisions I made when I was sick.
I was lonely when my marriage ended, and I know my illness had a huge part in its demise. But one day I realized that it was a different lonely. I missed the little things. I missed being told good morning; or goodnight. I missed having another adult to talk to. It wasn’t my heart that was lonely. I was adjusting to the life of a single woman, when I’d never known that.
Here’s what’s funny. The quiet did get to me. But the empty bed didn’t. Him not being here didn’t. I realized that my mental health was getting better, I didn’t feel as stressed, and I was becoming comfortable with myself…slowly. It took a lot….a LOT….for me to admit that the emotional neglect and abuse had taken a toll on me. It took him several years, but he’d finally worn me down to the point that I didn’t believe in myself. Years it took him to bury who I was and turn me into what he wanted me to be.
After Kellan, learning to love myself was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I had such a low image of myself, I set low standards because I didn’t see myself as being worth more. This led me nowhere but a lot of bad decisions and a lot of lonely nights/mornings. And then….one day I put on makeup, and I did my hair. And I smiled and thought “Hey, Is. You’re kinda pretty like this”. So I did it again. And again. And again.
Endometriosis takes so much from you physically, emotionally, and mentally that you spend all your spoons just trying to LIVE. Not taking care of yourself, just living…but without living. You don’t notice sunsets, or the way the leaves smell in autumn. You’re too tired from hosting a family dinner that you had to use energy for. You don’t notice the smell of the rain or how the snow melts into perfect puddles because you’re too tired from three doctor appointments this week.
And most importantly, you don’t always notice your partner when they do something good for you, even if it’s bring you tea in bed. You don’t notice when they try to make you laugh when you’re crying from pain. You become selfish and absorbed. Or maybe that’s what you’re told you’ve become.
….You don’t notice when they stop bringing tea, or when they stop trying to make you laugh because it didn’t work the last two dozen times. You don’t notice the conversations become less frequent, and that you’ve stopped holding hands. You don’t notice that they don’t look at you with sparkling eyes, and that it’s been three days since you last kissed goodnight.
You just don’t notice.
Babies, know that I am not comparing my situation to yours. My relationship was abusive and brutal mentally and physically. It was compounded by my endometriosis and the time it took. While I blame endometriosis for my divorce…I also thank it. Because of my illness, I was able to get away from something that would have ultimately destroyed the essence of who I am.
And one day, I woke up, put on my makeup and my smile (though fake at the time) and kicked life’s ass that day. And the next. Little by little, Kellan disappeared and Is started showing back up. The next thing I knew, I smiled without knowing it and my eyes twinkled.
I had myself back. FINALLY. After so many years, I saw ME when I looked in the mirror. It was my voice I heard, not his. Oh, my girl…my sweet girl was back.
I’m still healing, both from the endometriosis and the effects it has on me even now…and from other things. But I’ll get better. I’m a fighter.
One day you’re gonna meet someone, and it’s going to be okay that you’re sick! They’re going to see who you are beyond those scars, the flares, the medicines, and the doctors. They’re going to see past the heating pads, the messy hair, and the days you’re too swollen to wear normal pants.
They’re going to bring you tea in bed, and they’re going to make you laugh when you want to cry.
They’re going to see you. And they’re going to love you.
You CAN love someone with endometriosis. But it’s hard to let them. I know that better than anyone else. I almost shy away at the thought of being that vulnerable with someone because I know how hard it can be on relationship.
But, babies, before they can love you…You have to love yourself. You HAVE to. You have to love the girl beyond those scars, heating pads, and messy bun days. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else, or let anyone else take care of you.
You are worth love. But most importantly, you are worth SELF love. Love yourselves. Please. It’s the truest and purest love you’ll ever get, and you’re worth it. And so much more.
You’re not ugly. You’re beautiful. Even if you can’t see it, I can.