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It’s good that you decided to stop and see a therapist. But I think that might be because the whole situation went so far that you were hurt by it.
A good heartfelt apology details and takes responsibility for individual behaviours. If I say or do something hurtful, I describe the behaviour and I try and show that I understand how it made them feel when I apologise. For example, when apologising to my husband, I shouldn’t have snapped at you earlier, I’m sorry for making you feel hurt or uncomfortable.
Please discuss what happened with your therapist. You don’t seem to have a clear understanding of the impact of your behaviour on your partner or even yourself. I believe this is a defense mechanism, or perhaps you haven’t deeply thought about how other people are affected?
People have had to explain to you simple concepts such as cheating and how bdsm and other behaviours play with emotions such as humiliation, degradation and shame. You struggle to take responsibility for your part in it. I do believe that you want to learn. Because you haven’t disappeared when confronted with these things and after some explanation you do start to understand and take responsibility for parts of it. This and the fact that you are seeking therapy means that you’re trying.
The difficulty of these situations is that often people consent to things that they don’t really want to do, usually because they care about the person and because they have difficulty maintaining boundaries.
As Anita recommended, I suggest you do not participate in any more sexual communication with your ex. In fact, ask her to stop sending it to you. Ask your therapist about developing empathy for others. It will help you make the changes you need.
When you practice bdsm and voyeurism you are often performing behaviours that in any other circumstance would be considered abusive.
These behaviours are inherently humiliating and degrading for participants and you were excited by them. Some people enjoy being humiliated and degraded. Just because they feel this way, doesn’t mean the behavior is healthy. Clearly, her mental health isn’t good and these behaviors had a significant impact on her.
You said you used to listen and watch your partner with other men. You asked her to do these things with other men didn’t you? Or did she immediately offer when you suggested that you are excited by voyeurism? You already admitted that you feel that you talked her into somethings.
Just because you have a crush on someone, and you hang out with them doesn’t mean that people are naturally comfortable with voyeurism. My guess is that this addiction, like many sex addictions, spiraled out of control and you asked each other to do more and more humiliating and degrading things.
I would ask you to be honest with yourself. Are you still in contact with her because she is still sending you sexual content?March 29, 2022 at 6:12 am in reply to: He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end #396401
I have been less stressed since yesterday. I will probably take breaks from replying as before and leave you a note when things are feeling overwhelming.
You are very deserving of empathy Anita. It’s unfortunate that some parents just see children as possessions or an extension of themselves instead of as individuals with their own needs.
Thank you for clarifying that more original expressions of empathy are suitable for you.
I hated the phrase “It’s okay” for a long time. People would say it in an attempt to “calm” me while they were abusing me.
Ah thank you for explaining that this feeling of empathy was accessible once the relationship ended. I don’t think I have ever relaxed my views regarding my mother. I have difficulty forgiving people that refuse to acknowledge their mistakes. Some things, I believe cannot be forgiven.
I did remember thanks to our conversations that my mother was younger when she had me and my father was at least 10 years her senior, with an abandoned other family. He abandoned us too which is why there is little mention of him. As an adult I find his behaviour very concerning because birth control existed and he didn’t seem to care about the damage he left behind in either situation. When I was younger I fixated on him as an absent figure as a good person somehow because the moments I spent with him he was kind to me. Someone who wasn’t there was somehow better than the person that was there abusing me.
I am comfortable sharing these things with you Anita, as you share many similar experiences, are kind and insightful. I value our conversations, it’s just the topic that can be stressful at times. As long as I take care of myself by taking breaks when other stressors pile on I’m able to continue our conversations. I hope that you will take breaks if needed too? Please let me know if things become too difficult.March 29, 2022 at 5:45 am in reply to: He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end #396399
I’m glad the hospital staff and your friend have been taking good care of you and your friends and family are checking in! I hope the results will bring good news for you.
It was very kind of you to support your ex through lymphoma when he is very grumpy and difficult.
I bet your dogs can’t wait to see you tomorrow and they will smother you with love.
Things have calmed down on my end and I am less stressed now. Family drama lol.
I would agree with you that your past is the source of the issue. I’m sorry that your parents scolded you and shamed you by comparing your grades to others when you got bad grades as a child.
Do you want to work in the family business? What is it that you want to do? Do you have any interests or hobbies that you are passionate about?
When i asked my parents on what is my sister doing right now… she told me that she’s studying now unlike you that time (my sister is really smart, she’s smarter than me at my age)… well they said it with no intention of hurting me… but then i feel really ashamed of myself after hearing those words…
I disagree with you that there was no intention of hurting you. Whilst your parents no longer scold you, this habit of shaming you by comparing you to others has remained. Your parents could have simply said that she was studying and left you out of it.
Perhaps you could try talking to your parents and ask them to stop comparing you to others? Do you think they would be receptive to this?
I think academic performance is very much influenced by our parents. This can certainly follow us into adulthood.
You can’t change your past, but what you can do is forgive yourself and potentially make an effort to learn about interests, hobbies and develop new skills, if this is something that you have an interest in? You could also make an effort to take notice of when you do something intelligent or skillful to build up your confidence in this area.March 29, 2022 at 4:50 am in reply to: My nightmarish day. I want to have a strong heart and a strong future #396389
Sorry I’ve been busy for a few days. I made a mental note to reply to you, forgot and finally remembered again today! Well done on entering a contest. That was very brave of you. I’m glad that your artwork got many likes. I’m sure in the future you will be able to win. Keep up the good work practicing.
Regarding your questions about subconscious and conscious.
There are things that your conscious mind believes.
Then there are subconscious emotional beliefs.
For example, throughout childhood my subconscious absorbed a message that “I am not good enough” and formed a belief around it. My conscious mind as an adult knows this isn’t true.
What kinds of thoughts make you feel upset and want to give up?
Fortunately, there are things you can do to change subconscious beliefs and make them easier to deal with.
Keeping a gratitude diary is important. Writing down when people compliment you and keeping a list of that is important. There have been many compliments in this thread. Finally, learning to challenge negative conscious thoughts is important. Whilst validation from others helps, they cannot change your beliefs about yourself. Only you can do that.
In time you will learn that negative thoughts aren’t necessarily true and be able to see them for what they are without being upset by them. Mindfulness is a skill many people practice to help with this.
Please see an example of how to challenge negative thoughts below:
“I’m not good enough.”
What does being a good person mean?
What does being a bad person mean?
What historically has made me feel this way? What is the context of the current situation that made me feel this way? Is there another way to look at the situation? What would I say to my best friend if they were in a similar situation?
To address this negative thought, I would keep a list of all of the good things I do and the good things I like about myself and add 1 or 2 things to it every day. These good things can start out small.
I held a door for someone.
I cheered up my friend.
I picked up someone’s keys and returned them when they dropped them.
I try to be kind and caring to others.
I am intelligent.
I try my best to work hard.
You did lie to her, use her and waste her life. You can only be truthful with others once you’re truthful with yourself. You’re not even honest with yourself about why you keep her around?
The only way you are going to change is to face what you did. You seem set against doing this.
You asked her to humiliate and degrade herself for your excitement, because you enjoyed watching her suffer. Can you imagine how painful it must be for someone to care about to ask those things of you? And even more painful to actually do them. And even more painful to understand that they like watching you suffer.
Then! You cheated on her despite being in an open relationship. You could have easily told her the truth. So why did you lie? To further add to your excitement by watching her suffer? And after all of this. You grew bored and tossed her aside, after everything she did for you. The amount of suffering you put this woman through is unbelievable.
Do you know what you did? Do you empathise with the horrific amount of pain she is in that you caused? Do you feel guilty about it? Do you feel ashamed? Do you hate yourself for what you did?
Do you think an apology is enough? Saying the words and not understanding the pain you caused is easy. Part of apologising is making amends. You have not made amends. You don’t even appear to understand the pain that you’ve caused. You don’t even appear to regret your behaviour. It appears that you can’t even connect to those emotions.
Btw despite your desire to change. The only reason that will actually cause change is a desire to stop passing your pain onto others. You are going to have to learn to care about others this is something your therapist can help you with.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Helcat.
This is the pain that you are hiding from every time you attempt to reshape the situation to avoid responsibility for your actions.
I appreciate that you want to change. Why do you want to change if you don’t mind me asking?
The thing about this type of change is that it is difficult and painful. It requires empathising with the people you hurt and acknowledging and apologising for the pain that you have caused.
It requires developing self-control so that when you have an impulse telling you that you want something, you choose to resist it because you value doing the right thing and caring about someone more than the pleasure that fulfilling the temptation would bring you in the short term.
It requires truly connecting with your self-hatred. And after you have done all the above, you have to figure out how to forgive yourself and find a way to live with the reality of the pain you caused (this is actually the hardest part).
Repeating your past abuse is easy. Saying that you want to change is easy and can make you feel like a better person (the thing is though if nothing actually changes, it’s just a lie). Actually committing to change is a difficult process that will mean putting yourself through suffering.
The way you phrase things puts distance between yourself and your responsibility in the situation.
“She calls me a liar.”
An open relationship means telling people when you plan on seeing someone else. You didn’t tell her when you were seeing someone on the side. You kept it a secret. This is a lie by omission.
The way I taught myself empathy when I was a child was to imagine how hurt I would feel if someone did the same thing to me. I feel like you have difficulty with this specific scenario.
So I would suggest imagining that someone you loved and trusted did something terrible that hurt you deeply. Something that made you feel betrayed, that you could no longer trust them, that made you feel worthless.
This is how a partner might feel when they learn that they’ve been cheated on.
Some people believe that what people don’t know doesn’t hurt them. But it does because you aren’t treating your partner with respect and are willing to risk damaging the relationship. Even if they don’t know about it, the truth exists and is often expressed in other ways.March 28, 2022 at 12:51 pm in reply to: Can’t get over relationship abuse from many years back #396361
I’ve been following your thread. I found that trauma therapy was extremely helpful for moving past a similar experience. Would that be a possibility?
In India, the highest rate of sexual abuse is experienced by women between the age of 18 and 30. The second highest rate of sexual abuse is experienced by women between the age of 30 and 45.
You have learned the reality of the situation and it is terrifying. But it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good people out there. It’s horrible that he shattered your dreams and it’s understandable to grieve that loss, but in time you may have new dreams. Whilst this betrayal has hurt you deeply, and made you feel afraid. I have hope that you will learn to protect yourself from people such as him in the future because of this experience.
He blamed you for his actions saying that you should have stopped coming. But if you were with someone who was safe, you would never have been harmed. He is 100% responsible for the abuse.
I will however suggest that the reasons why you went are very important. The first time, you didn’t know what would happen. You trusted him, it wasn’t your fault. But and I say this with love and kindness, you were responsible for repeatedly putting yourself in danger. Once you understand the reasons why and overcome them, you will be able to protect yourself in the future. It is very important for you not to blame yourself, only understand the reasons why you repeatedly allowed yourself to be subjected to his abusive behaviour.
From my own experience, even people we trust can betray us. But not everyone will do that. The main thing we can do is look out for “warning signs” of bad behaviour. For example, when he chased you and you weren’t interested. That is a warning sign because he didn’t respect your lack of interest. Proposing when you weren’t ready, was manipulative and has the effect of suggesting that the relationship is closer than it is. His comments about other women and on your weight are also warning signs.
If someone displays warning signs, take great care not to be alone with them.
I would pay very close attention to what your parents say about partners in the future. They suggested that it wouldn’t be a good fit. Did they explain why? Did you ask? Loved ones are often afraid of pushing us away by being critical of partners.
Another thing that is important, is building strong boundaries and practicing assertiveness. People like your ex target victims based on how they respond to their boundaries being breached. You didn’t maintain your boundaries when you said that you weren’t interested in dating him. You didn’t maintain your boundaries when you said that you weren’t ready to marry him. To him he would have thought great, I can do whatever I want with this woman. She will say no at first, but then I’ll be able to convince her to do it.
Another danger, is that some people don’t like to be told no. Some may pretend to accept it initially, then retaliate in the future. It really is key to never be alone with people who aren’t worthy of trust.
The sad truth is even if you follow my advice, bad things can still happen. But it is my opinion that I can’t live in fear anymore. I would miss out on all the good things in life. All we can do is our best to move on and build a new life for ourselves, do our best to protect ourselves and pray that nothing of the sort happens again.
It is my opinion that the best revenge we can act on those who sought to hurt us, is to be happy and live a good life ourselves and ignore that they ever existed. Karma will take care of the rest.
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Helcat.
I’m sorry for your difficulties.
My understanding of your situation is that you have feelings for someone that will never return them.
Why do you think you are emotionally invested in someone that is unattainable and will never be able to return your affection in the way that you desire?
My advice to you is to put the time in and make some friends. It might not be immediately fruitful, but in the long run it will be much healthier. LGBTQ+ friends might be a good place to start, you never know if you will develop feelings for someone else. Maybe part of the problem is the attachment to your friend? What do you think?March 28, 2022 at 9:30 am in reply to: He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end #396357
Thank you for your thoughtful reply! Apologies for the delay, it’s been a stressful couple of days. I find it difficult to discuss a stressful topic and manage daily stressors at the same time. How are you doing?
I really appreciated that you shared your feelings with me. Now that you’ve explained, I can understand why you feel that way. Needless to say, this was not my intent. In my experience, there are three main contexts for saying sorry. The first you outlined already, the second is a meaningful empathetic apology when correcting a more serious mistake or poor behavior. The third involves empathising with a painful experience. The latter was my intent.
A question occurred to me. Did your mother ever apologise to you?
Language is very much open to interpretation. We are not mind readers and we don’t know each other’s intent. I think the sensitivity of the topic can further add to that. I don’t know about you, but I do find that discussing such things brings up old feelings. But I am finding it helpful for identifying when this occurs throughout my day. It is helping me reframe things. I understand now, that I’m not necessarily upset by what is in front of me, but that certain things such as arguments cause painful feelings from the past to arise.
From what you have shared about your mother, my mother seems very similar to yours. To the point that I find myself joking that we could have had the same mother.
My guilt as a child was about fantasising that she would die so I might be free from her. Fortunately, I no longer carry that. I think it was understandable given the situation.
Another main difference, is that I didn’t have a lot of empathy for my mother. When I was younger I did, but as I matured I became more aware of the abuse and I grew very tired of her behavior.
From my perspective, people choose how they behave. Not all who are abused go on to abuse others. The ones who don’t, don’t want to pass on the pain that was given to them. They also understand the importance of doing something more difficult like practicing self-control as opposed to lashing out at others, which is very easy. I made that decision when I was 12, I believe that there are opportunities that people have to repeatedly make that decision.March 28, 2022 at 8:58 am in reply to: He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end #396355
Sorry for the delay, it’s been a stressful couple of days. My thoughts have been with you. Good luck with your surgery! Please take it easy and rest afterwards, I hope you feel better soon.
I love dogs too, they’re such beautiful souls that radiate joy. I feel like they’re more trustworthy than people.
It sounds like you’re a great mom. Congratulations on breaking the cycle.
I remember asking my therapist if the pain would every go away. She said it’s unlikely, but the pain gets smaller and easier to bear in time. Personally, I have found this to be true.
March 25, 2022 at 2:25 pm in reply to: He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end #396123
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Helcat.
To me it sounds like you made sensible choices that fit your circumstances. It is very kind of you to want to help with the family business.
If you would like to learn more about accounting, you could get certification in the financial software the family business uses.
It sounds you’re overthinking a little and compare yourself to others, which is something many people do. Congratulations, you are human!
Joking aside, it sounds like you have a great head on your shoulders and are making logical choices. If you feel like people are being judgmental, you can be honest and explain that you are going to help with the family business. People will view this positively.
It might be worth writing down any information that you find helpful or reduces anxiety about this topic, so you can revisit if you question your choices in the future.