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  • in reply to: Overcoming a bad romance #76434

    There’s three hours between your posts, and a world of difference. Of course you’re confused. But I really think you are going to be OK.

    Reading your first post it strikes me how clearly you see the situation and identify what went wrong. This is what happened, read this again:

    When the relationship started, I would try to talk things out and express my anger like a normal person but his arguing style was so weird. He got really defensive most of the time, he’d get up and storm out in the middle of conversations, he’d lie, deny, blame, use his PTSD as an excuse and scapegoat for his actions. And I just went along with it and adapted! I didn’t even think of myself or what was good for me. I just went with it!

    You adapted to somebody with a non-functional way of relating. You discounted your heart and your own needs. You turned into someone else. But your heart knew something wasn’t right, and it rebelled. Of course it did. No wonder you had an “attitude”. You were unhappy about certain things and he’d left you no other way to express it. And then he blamed you for it and told you to be “nicer”.

    Please don’t wish you’d bent over backwards for this dude. It wouldn’t have made him better. It wouldn’t have made you happy, or him. If some other girl wants to be his stepford wife, let her have it. You are destined for better things.

    The way you talk about this suggests to me that you have the emotional intelligence and maturity to have a healthy relationship. I agree it’s probably not a good idea to jump straight into the next thing, though. Take a little time to get to know yourself as a single person, let the lessons from this relationship and breakup take their place in your bones. And if someone comes along that seems suitable, now you know what to look for: how does he argue? How does he deal with setbacks and unpleasant feelings? How does he cope when you have a grumpy mood (we all do sometimes)?

    Believe you’re going to be ok. It’s obviously true.

    All good things to you.

    in reply to: I feel like giving up on being a "good person" #76432

    Shame is a tough one, and it hurts like hell. I don’t think you really want to give up on being a good person though. I don’t see how it would reduce your shame in any case.

    I agree with Kath, in both of these examples “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there/you didn’t seem to hear me,” is a possible response. The people in your examples were grumpy/rude, but the pain you feel at being “publicly shamed” doesn’t come from them. It comes from something in you. When somebody gives you shit, you don’t have to take it. It’s their shit.

    Rather than planning your transformation into a callous, uncaring supervillain, consider what it is in you that needs other people to always be polite and considerate to you, or that needs to be recognised for the hard effort you put into being a “good person”. Shame is the downside of pride. If you’re collapsing under the weight of your shame, look at the size of your pride.

    I recognise this is probably not the solution you were looking for. On the upside, if the source of your pain is within you, there’s something you can do about it. If the source is everybody else, you’re stuffed. They’re not gonna change.

    I hope my contribution is of some use. The other two responses are also good, and may be more to your liking. In any event, I hope your pain and shame will subside over time, and that you will truly feel the benefits of your kindness every day.

    All good things to you.

    in reply to: Problems with Grasping and Clinging #76430

    Hi Ik88,

    I’d like to rearrange your cause and effect structure, and advise a course of action based on that.

    You say: I find myself getting crushes on my friends > my friends are objectified, my mind is polluted and my perceptions of them are distorted.

    It’s not surprising you can’t see how to address this problem. You don’t play an active role at any of these steps. Let’s try this.

    Your perceptions of your friends are distorted > you start objectifying them > you develop a crush > your mind doesn’t feel like your own anymore and you get tangled up in conflict with yourself.

    (I don’t really like your “pollute the mind” phrasing. They’re just thoughts. Create the conditions for skillful thoughts and skillful thoughts will follow. You don’t have to clean up the mess in your mind, just let it dissolve. Anyway, that’s why I rephrased that part.)

    So, now you have four places to attack this problem, because you play an active role at every stage.

    Your perceptions of your friends are distorted? Remind yourself that they are your friends and fellow human beings whose company you enjoy. If you find yourself reading into innocent interactions and making them more intimate than they really are, notice, call yourself to order, and start again.

    You are objectifying your friends? Again, call yourself to order. Remind yourself this is a person, not a set of juicy body parts. Enjoy their appearance as part of their unique person. Remember it’s OK to enjoy the food you’re eating. It’s fine to see something you find appealing and think: hm, I like the look of that! Just don’t let that turn into “It must be mine!” and don’t forget it’s a fellow human being you’re looking at.

    You develop crushes? Ah, well, here is craving. Watch it arise, abide, watch it pass away. Don’t get too attached to your need to let go of it, this is what’s here right now, this is where you are. You’re reaping what you sowed. Keep working on the first two steps: focus on your friend as a person, keep your interactions friendly. It’ll pass.

    The last step is to me the most crucial. If you go to war with your own mind, guess who wins? Nobody. You are your mind. There are only losers. That’s why I don’t really like “pollution” as a metaphor, although I know many teachers will talk about it in those terms. To me it seems that conflict with the self is just a way to heap a whole load more suffering onto your own head. If you’re crushing on someone you like, and your head is full of thoughts and images you don’t want, don’t freak out. Just be like: hey, look at all this stuff going on in my mind. This isn’t very skillful, this isn’t what I want. But I’m not going to reject it, because this is my internal reality right now. I can sit and watch it, and gently remind myself of the good, friendly feelings I have towards this person and the way I want to think about them.

    Be gentle with yourself. I hope this is helpful; let me know if I missed the mark or didn’t quite understand the problem. Peace to you, and your lovely friends.

    in reply to: Overcoming a bad romance #76356

    There are some things in your last post that make me wonder.

    You talk about being the best girlfriend you can be, and working to make your boyfriend happy. What worries me about that is that sometimes when we take it upon ourselves to make other people happy, this comes at the cost of being genuine and expressing how we feel. Then that gets in the way of real intimacy as well as your own happiness and before you know it everything’s fallen apart and nobody knows why.

    I know how this works because I used to be this person. And it didn’t work out so good for me, or my partner (now ex).

    The way I see relationships now is that it’s not my job to make anyone happy. What I try to work at is listening to what the other person wants or needs, and expressing honestly what I want or need, so that we can work together on creating the conditions for happiness for both of us. And it’s hard, you know? A lot of the time I don’t even know what I want, let alone what I need. But it’s worth trying because that’s how we get close to each other, by hearing about what’s going on on the inside.

    You talk about unresolved, repressed anger. It’s worth looking into the reason you repressed that anger instead of expressing it and allowing him to see what was really going on with you. Are you working with some programming that says you can’t be angry out loud? (A lot of us are. Anger is tricky stuff.) Was he the sort of person who would respond poorly to expressions of negative feelings, blow up, or turn it on you somehow? (Again, anger is tricky stuff, and many of us don’t know how to respond to it. But there are bad ways to respond and really really bad ways.)

    Scanning your posts again, I’m not sure if this applies to you. I do think you’re better off without this guy, he sounds like a piece of work. “Murder his baby” indeed! And I hope that you believe (in a deepseated way) that it’s OK to be upset because upsetting things happen sometimes, and it’s ok to express that upset and expect some understanding and support from your guy. And if you don’t get that, my advice is to get a different guy.

    That’s for the future though. For now, trust in yourself, take care of yourself, believe in love. You’ll be all right again.

    May you be well, at peace, and happy.

    • This reply was modified 9 years ago by Will.
    in reply to: 26 and still dontknow who i am #76352

    Hey Natty,

    It seems like you experience a lot of need for approval from the people around you. I’m not sure the problem is that you don’t know who you are (a pretty airy fairy question at the best of times, in my opinion) but that you’re worried the kind of person you are is “boring”.

    You probably are being a bit hard on yourself, and needing approval from others is certainly completely normal and not something any of us really ever drop, I don’t think. Maybe you just need to trust your own ideas a little bit more. Reading and writing, going to the gym and having an occasional night out with friends sounds like a fine life to me. If it’s not boring to you, then what’s the problem?

    It’s OK to be unsure of what kind of person you are. In fact, I think it can be useful not to have too clear a picture of what kind of a person you are, whatever your age. You might find you’re different from what you thought, even at 26 (or 66). Also keep in mind you’re always changing. Those friends who are out clubbing all weekend now will probably not do the same thing ten years from now. And even if they do, they’ll have changed in other ways.

    So being open minded is good. Just trying things and seeing how they fit is useful. But don’t judge yourself if something that works for other people doesn’t work for you. You now know that clubbing every weekend is not for you. That’s good to know, right? And living according to strict church rules doesn’t seem to suit you either. All right, that’s useful. Maybe there’s a different church that suits you better.

    We all figure it out as we go along. Don’t stress it.

    All good things to you.

    in reply to: Confused #76223

    Hm. It’s a bit of chrystal ball gazing, this one, but I’ll have a go. Her freaking out given the situation is understandable, and not necessarily a bad sign. You guys not talking since might be of some concern. It’s not clear to me whether you’ll be moving in together in this new city, or be separately based. I’d say it’s not a great idea to move in together, at this stage. Be around each other in a more normal situation for a longer while, so you can feel out how you’d be living together.

    I’m afraid being crazy about someone isn’t necessarly a sign you’ll work well together. Hope, but don’t count on it.

    I do hope things work out, and best of luck to you both.

    in reply to: Overcoming a bad romance #76185

    This guy is not in a good way. His hatred will hurt him more than it could ever hurt you. Honestly, I can only agree with your assessment of him in your last phone conversation. He wasn’t a good person, and it’s come back to bite him. His feeble raging at you doesn’t mean that he doesn’t recognise he brought this on himself.

    Don’t worry about his hatred. That’s his burden to bear. Yours is only to let go without bitterness. As you said yourself, learn and move on. Have patience with yourself. The future will find you.

    in reply to: How to drop things after a row? #75984

    I’m a bit worried by the way he seems to treat your feelings. You’re under no obligation to put on a smiley face just because that’s what he wants, when things aren’t right between you.

    Have a look at these two different styles of treating feelings (your own and those of others):

    Emotion Dismissing

    Just ignore subtle or lower-intensity negative emotions.

    Negative emotions are toxic.

    Negative emotions are punished—even if there is no misbehavior.

    “You can have any emotion you want, and if you choose to have a negative one, it’s your own fault.”

    Introspection to understand what one feels is a waste of time, or possibly even dangerous.

    Feel bad about feeling bad.

    “Get over it.”

    “C’mon, give me a smile, honey!”

    Emotion Coaching

    Pay attention to lower-intensity emotions to prevent escalation.

    Negative emotions are natural and healthy.

    Negative emotions are discussed, given names, and empathized with.

    “Negative emotions happen sometimes because bad things happen sometimes.”

    Introspection to understand what one feels helps you have a sense optimism, control, and effective coping.

    Feel accepting of feeling bad.

    “Move through it.”

    “You cry all you need to, honey.”
    If he’s a bit too much like the first list and you’d like more of the second, think about how you could ask for that. You deserve consideration for your feelings. Feeling put out after a fight is completely normal, and I don’t think the current agreement of “Let’s just not talk when I’m upset” is going to be healthy in the long run.

    If you’re upset because of something he said, then he should know, and he should learn to deal with the feelings that produces in him, and learn that maybe he shouldn’t say that stuff.

    Just my opinion.

    My best wishes to you, I hope it works out.

    (The emotion stuff taken from this site: http://www.thedirtynormal.com/blog/2011/09/21/emotion-coaching/ NB: it’s a blog about sexuality. No explicit images or pornographic content.)

    in reply to: How do i let go? #75983

    Yes, ask yourself why you’re holding on to this jealousy.

    Specifically, imagine there’s some part of you, some corner of your psyche, that thinks it’s really important to stay jealous and fixated on this other girl and find out once and for all if he’s really really really over her. Then ask this part of your psyche (you can imagine it as a creature or animal if you like) Why? What would happen if I wasn’t jealous anymore? What would happen if I let go? What does it get me to hold on? What’s the benefit of holding on?

    And please, you’re not being crazy. You’re just stuck on something, or something is stuck in your head. You recognise it’s not rational and it’s bothering you. That’s normal enough. And you are here asking for advice on how to address it or work with it or learn to let it go. That’s totally rational and you’re taking care of yourself. So try giving yourself a little credit when you start to feel like “Ugh why can’t I let this go already!!!???” You’re working on it. You’ve worked at getting stuck on this for four years. It may need a little time before it’s ready to loosen. Be patient with yourself.

    in reply to: Negativity, Mistakes, and Regret #75982

    Let go of your need to be forgiven by your aunt/cousins. Let go of your need to have everyone be happy. If your mother is upset, it’s her upset. It’s not for you to manage. You’ve owned up to your mistake and asked for forgiveness. There is nothing more to do.

    If you want forgiveness, practice forgiveness. Forgive yourself for making a mistake. Forgive your aunt for being upset. Forgive your cousins for separating themselves, and for your generally not-stallar relationship. Forgive your mum for being upset about your aunt maybe not coming, and forgive yourself for being upset about that. Forgive yourself for being unable to forgive. Then do it all over again.

    Keep practicing, keep calming yourself, trust that however things turn out will be an ok way for them to turn out. And let everyone be upset if that’s how they’re going to be, including yourself.

    My best wishes to you, and good luck for your marriage.


    Don’t be too hard on yourself, sister. It’s not your fault you got pregnant, you were acting in line with the medical advice you received, and it turned out to be wrong. Under the circumstances, I think it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable that you want an abortion. It certainly is scary, and I hope the medical staff will be understanding and helpful, and you don’t live in a place where ideologues are going to try to guilt or scare you into having a baby you don’t want.

    Maybe at some point in the unknowable future you will want to become pregnant and it won’t work out. I hope that if that future occurs, you can look back at this time and think, “I took the best decision that I could at that time. It was not the right time to have a baby, and you can’t have babies just to put on the shelf in case you want them later. As heartbroken as I am now that I can’t get pregnant, I understand and support the choice my former self made.”

    I wish you strength and all good things. This is a shitty thing to have happened to you, and the blame is not on you. If people try to put it on you, you can just be like: no thank you. Good luck.

    in reply to: When to move on when Partner passes away? #75944

    Presumably he thought of his close friend as a good person. Why else be his friend, right? And presumably when he said you should move on and find someone, he wanted you to find someone good. So then you made a good choice.

    I think you’re dealing with guilt that’s not about how you feel or what you want, but about what other people might expect or what’s proper or right according to society/culture/your mother/I don’t know. Tell those voices to butt out. This is your life, this is your mourning process, and if, at this time, you get some comfort or joy or pleasure out of sleeping with a man, and if that’s what feels right to you, then that’s what’s right for you.

    And if you don’t feel good, then you now know it was too soon. Wait a while before you try again. But make sure this not-good feeling is coming from you, and not everyone’s opinions.

    And be kind to yourself. You walked a tough road. All my best wishes.

    in reply to: How do i let go? #75943

    Is it intuition? From what you say, it seems he’s stopped thinking of this girl ages ago. No, I think this is pure insecurity, and a strange fixation on “firsts”. You know, the first time you do something, you’re generally not very good at it. You have a chance to have a relationship with a more mature, experienced version of him. This is a good thing.

    Maybe you were told too much about their relationship, but after all this time it is time to let go. Clearly they didn’t match. They weren’t perfect for each other. That’s why they broke up. And actually, no, I never think that when I see a couple, because you don’t know. Especially standing outside of the relationship, all you can say is, well, they seem happy. But you don’t know.

    OK, so you’re jealous. You recognise this is something for you to fix, so that’s a good start. Here’s an idea you may not have tried. You don’t want to be jealous, but you feel it anyway. You want to let go, but you return again and again to obsessing about it and getting worked up.

    Some part of you is feeding itself on this jealousy. That is, you get something out of obsessing and feeling this way. Otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it.

    Try thinking about what that something could be. What are the upsides of being jealous and angry at him over his previous relationship?

    You need a degree of fearlessness to work this method. You’ll need to look into yourself and see some of the ugly faces of your psyche. But if you do, you have a way out of your predicament. Once you know what this part of you is after, you can try to find other ways of providing it, that don’t have anything to do with this other girl.

    Let me know if this confuses the hell out of you. It’s kind of a weird one. I’ve known it to work very well with stuck patterns of emotion, though.

    All my best wishes.

    in reply to: Love or let go? #75906

    That’s it. Be gentle with yourself, have patience with others, and you can’t go far wrong. It sounds like you’re doing OK.

    Best wishes.

    in reply to: Feel cold/distant #75854

    If the coldness and distance is bothering you, try metta meditation, and vary it with the detached observer kind of meditation you practice now. They can really help balance and deepen each other.

    Good luck.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 264 total)