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  • #334163

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Ok, I may consider going back to my therapist just to have someone to talk to about this stuff in person.

    2. the perfect man for me would be someone who is attentive and present with me when I’m talking. Someone who challenges me and inspires me. I’d prefer him to be a surfer because it’s a lot easier to travel and go on trips and live in certain areas if our priorities are the same, such as surfing. (my last bf did not surf and it was very difficult to travel and he didn’t understand my passion and love for the ocean/being by the ocean) I want him to be funny and able to take sarcasm. I want him to know himself well and recognize/express his own needs clearly and honestly. I want him to have a sex drive that matches mine. I want him to value his own health, mental and physical health. I want him to do things that make my life easier instead of more stressful–like bringing me food or cooking every now and then, or planning a trip. I want him to share things with me about his life, his family, his experiences openly. I want him to speak to me directly and not be passive aggressive or beat around the bush with things. I want him to also feel inspired by me and feel joy when I’m around. Someone who has their own goals/drive and is a hard worker.

    The relationship would be very respectful of space and boundaries–not spending ALL of our time together. He needs to have his own outlets and friends. Realizing its important to have a life outside of the relationship with friends and alone time. I don’t need anything too fancy other than a good connection and seeing eye to eye about things like society and the human experience. I’d like our time together to be light and fun, not tense or serious or jealous. There would just be an understanding of eachother’s freedom to be ourselves, but still committed to being exclusive with eachother. Any feelings of non-monogamy I’d hope would be communicated in an open and honest way. I don’t feel like at the moment I want kids or marriage. Unless I met someone who could change my mind or have me thinking in that way.

     

    #334131

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Thank you for this enlightening post and for pointing out what would inevitably happen if we hooked up again (because I had actually felt all those things the last time we hooked up–it caused me stress, frustration, and pain. So naturally it would be no different if we hooked up again)

    First: I agree he might want that. I also believe that in the past there was a point (after we hung out one night) where I realized I’m trying to make it work with him so much because I’m lonely. After that realization came, I began to focus on making friends with people, men included, as opposed to looking for dates/sex. I also recognized the role alcohol played in our hookup situations/the fact that the hook ups began after my dad got cancer and I needed someone so I grabbed onto him (interesting that this man is very similar to my father in his lifestyle and personality…..). All of this awareness is what’s allowing me to be more objective about this man and our situation. For some reason I have had it in my mind for so long that I can’t “just be friends” with a guy… that all guys just want to sleep with me, and therefore I tend to allow it to happen–when in reality all I need and needed are platonic friends and the ability to communicate my truth/boundaries.

    The only thing I want from him at this point is to express my emotions should the moment come–but again, I don’t feel I can be the one to initiate that conversation at this point. Unless there was a moment where we found ourselves alone (which has happened at the beach several times) where I felt we could have a private honest conversation. I can also imagine him wanting to hook up with me again, and there being a moment where I can say “No. I was actually really upset by our last encounter for reasons a,b,and c…and I just need someone who values consistency and wants to get to know me and match my energy, which you arent able to. So we should just be friends”. Or maybe just that, the truth that really what I need are platonic friends in my life… I think sex is very psychological for me and it really muddies my feelings when that’s involved.

    Yes I did feel emotionally constipated and disconnected around her. My mother I believe was probably emotionally closed off due to her own upbringing as well as being unhappy and fearful in her marriage.  She didn’t have the support she needed with raising my brother and I, and dealing with a husband who was almost like another child was too much for her to handle–so I do understand why she was that way. I wonder if there are exercises I can do with practicing feelings or practicing expressing my emotions? I think you are very spot on with how I felt more connected to my dad and his emotions as well. We’ve ALWAYS been very “in tune” with eachother. And yes, every so often I do feel sad and bored, which leads me to reach for higher goals and new experiences… this has mostly been a good byproduct though as I’ve reached success in my career goals and continue meeting new people and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone (for example, teaching yoga, planning yoga retreats, meeting inspiring like minded people)

    I also feel like yes, I wish I had talked to this guy about what I was feeling–which I believe that I can still talk to him about my feelings as time goes on, the more we run into eachother. But I want it to come from a place where it’s not for romantic interest or gain, but more for my own practice in expressing my truth and communicating my feelings and connecting with a person. The more time goes on, the more I realize we would have been a very bad match at that time, and he would actually have been a terrible boyfriend for me if we had agreed to make our relationship be that way.

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 18 hours ago by  Anonymous.
    #334087

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Wow! Well that is very impressive. Well done !

    I did have a run in with this man tonight at a big show in our neighborhood… luckily I was with a group of friends, guys included, so not much of my focus was on him. (although he DID come and approach me again and linger around, asking me how I was, etc. I eventually turned away and continued focusing on my friends–not to be rude but just because I’d like to create this boundary for myself and he is no longer all of my focus anymore). It felt good to begin recognizing small steps to take to regain my self-confidence and self-value. I felt so devalued by him before, but slowly I’m realizing that’s not real. Later that night by random chance, I learned from a few new friends who happened to mention him and that apparently “no one is able to connect with him, and he has never been able to be vulnerable with anyone–just not in his personality and it’s actually sad because hes a nice guy”. I thought it was interesting hearing this–of course I held my tongue and everything between him and I is not known to these people. I found it interesting because he was vulnerable with me a few times, and we were able to connect, but I also found it validating that other people find him confusing and no one can really get through to him–as that is just his nature I suppose.

    As for the CBT exercise:

    I didn’t love girly things because in my mind they were boring. I got a lot of attention from boys and I think I fed off that attention, so I wanted to continue that and be a part of their circle. The group of boys I hung out with (including my brother) always wanted to do fun things outside and get messy, and I just had more fun with them (skateboarding, video games, playing tag, climbing trees, playing pranks on people, etc) I didn’t care about getting my shoes or clothes dirty, or messing up my hair. That just wasn’t “in” me, because I cared more about the inclusion, fun, and attention probably. I liked hearing that so-n-so had a crush on me. I also loved being competitive with them and trying to beat them at activities.

    Girls at that age also seemed more whiney, catty, and sensitive about things. I remember a few of them also being very bossy. I always wanted to do more adventurous things. And yes I did find those few girls who were also like me, more adventurous and tom-boyish, but overall I remember feeling bored and missing hanging out with the boys whenever I was at a sleepover with girls or at a girls-only party.

    #333965

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Were you, or are you currently a therapist? I ask because obviously you know a lot about psychology. And although my therapist who I saw last year did help me see my core belief is the “im not good enough” belief, she didn’t help me understand why or how that formed, and what to do about it. My sessions ran out, so I never followed up to dig deeper. But I have to say you’ve really helped me along and helped me realize quite a few things, thank you.

    So you are saying, if I find peace in the fact that I couldn’t make that big of difference in my family life as a child, I will be at peace with the fact that I couldn’t make that big of difference in this mans life either? That does make sense to me, but much easier said than done of course.

    As for the CBT exercise, not sure exactly what to write about but heres my interpretation:

    Core belief: I’m not good enough, I need to be better/the best

    Evidence in support of this: Didn’t have a lot of girlfriends growing up and didn’t love girly things as a child (felt like an outcast and awkward), didn’t have boyfriends in high school, the man who first introduced sex to me didn’t choose me over his gf, one guy i really liked didn’t talk to me again after I didn’t have sex with him (because I was nervous about it), don’t have THAT many friends–just a few good ones, this current guy doesn’t want to date me, I dont have the fake “plastic” look which a lot of guys seem to be attracted to, my last boyfriend needed to go online to email people he met about sexual meetups/fantasies rather than talk to me about them (though to be logical, he was struggling with a transgender fetish/sexual addiction which stemmed from his own early childhood experiences/abuse, but it still made me feel like I wasn’t good enough and proved I wasn’t good enough in my own mind)

    Evidence against this belief: My family loves me, I have an amazing job as the rehab aide at a children’s hospital where I help kids learn how to walk and live again after traumatic accidents, I take really good care of my body and am in very good shape, I know how to cook healthy food and enjoy cooking, Im a talented artist, I am a talented and focused surfer and yogi, I’m a yoga teacher and enjoy holding space for those in need, I put myself through college without the help from my parents and am the first college grad of anyone in my family, Im financially independent and live on the beach, I’m extremely present and listen to people who are talking to me, I care about people and am very thoughtful, I’m super friendly and get along with almost everyone I meet, I have really pretty eyes and pretty/genuine smile, I’m smart, I have good style, I’ve been told Im very disarming and people trust me easily and quickly, I have a great sense of humor

     

    Without hearing your feedback yet, I can clearly see a lot of the belief is evidenced in my mind by my relationships with men, sex, and dating.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Anonymous.
    #333773

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,
    I’ve read over these posts again and have processed more of what you wrote.

    This stuff certainly brings up the question for me at how can I stop relating to men that I’d like to date in the way that I related to my parents/father ? I find myself continuing to think of this man in relation to all of this. And I’m guessing your answer might be: to work on my core-belief of not being good enough.

    How do I unlearn this core belief? I suppose this is the first step, at least identifying where it comes from. I’d imagine if I did unlearn it, a whole bunch of things in my life might change. And I might start realizing other ways in which this belief has led me to making certain decisions or keeping certain relationships. What an enlightening moment.

    The man I want to date shouldn’t be someone that I desperately feel the need to offer everything to in order to impress or gain approval from.

    This also has me wondering, do a lot people develop romantic relationships with people who just feed into that parent/child relationship they once had ?

    I feel embarrassed that this man probably now saw me and sees me as nothing at all, just a girl who has no boundaries and was easy to take advantage of without any effort or commitment. He has no desire to know me any further than what he already thinks of me, despite his apparent interest in being near me/talking to me when I see him in person. He isn’t thinking of me at ALL, while I’m obsessing over him and the experience we had. I’m embarrassed that he thinks I wanted to date him—when now I’m feeling like it would actually be a lot healthier if we just had a platonic friendship this whole time, and I wish I didn’t decide to have sex with him without knowing him better. I have a voice in my head (which is that of friends and society) saying its impossible to be friends with someone you had sex with in the past… but is it?? I feel like it could be possible, without the hope of it materializing into a romantic thing.

    I definitely hear what you are saying about how it’s easier to obsess over a current situation, than focusing on the childhood and formed beliefs. That is certainly a harder and more abstract pill to swallow. But again, I’d like to start thinking about how I can unlearn this core belief.

    I REALLY don’t want to feel upset when I find out this guy is dating someone or gets a girlfriend, or if I see him flirting with a pretty woman. I’m actually dreading that moment (eventhough I’m almost certain it won’t be as bad/or hurt as much as I’m making it out to be). I’d like for it to just roll past me, and I’d like to feel peaceful enough in myself to remain friendly with him—as it seems we are heading that way (with all the run-ins I’ll inevitably have with him at yoga and around town/out with friends).

    Thank you Anita for taking all of this on. I often wonder how you have it in you to hear everyones issues on this forum, and respond with such kind honesty. I also really appreciate your honesty in sharing about how you felt guilty for not being rich and making your mother happy. Humans are such complex creatures… so much to learn and UNlearn.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Anonymous.
    #333691

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I certainly have a lot to process with these last few posts. I am at work so I’m not allowing myself to really “go there” with how I’m feeling. But as soon as I am home and relaxed I’m going to re-read and face the probable distress that I’m currently trying to avoid haha.

    Regardless, I have to say I’m happy I’m delving into these ideas at 29 years old…. better to go through this now than later in life.
    I will write much more tonight. Thank you.

    #333623

    Anonymous
    Participant

    That’s great Anita you are feeling better!

    Thank you for your analysis. It seems quite accurate and makes sense to me as to how this belief came about. Although it sounds harsh to hear something like “I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in my family life as a child”, I just wonder was it even possible for me to do so?

    Does anyone make a big enough difference as a child? Is that even something that should be expected of a child? There were certainly times where I felt like the parent/peacekeeper of my family which is not the role of a child. I wonder if I spoke up about MY feelings more that could’ve made more of a difference? Maybe, but probably not. (?)

    And relating this to the current situation with this man, why do I feel bad/upset thinking that I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in his life? Is this because it is triggering the past feelings of not making a big difference in childhood? How can I NOT feel upset at the thought that I didn’t make a big difference in his life? It frustrates me because I know I’d have so much to offer, yet it seems he doesn’t see this and it bothers me. Or maybe he does see it, and for whatever his reasons he doesn’t want it.

    Fast forward to now, I KNOW I make a large positive difference in my family life as we are all adults—my dad recently got cancer and I took care of him for two months as he went through treatments. My mom and I have a closer emotional relationship as well and she is able to confide more of her true feelings in me. As an adult I’m more feminine and enjoy feminine things, which is something my mom and I can now have fun doing (things like hair and makeup and shopping—something I wasn’t into as a child) She is happier with her new partner, and they’ve been together a very long time.

    Everyone in my family tells me how grateful they are for me and how much they love me.

    Anyways, thanks again for helping me talk and sort through these ideas.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Anonymous.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Anonymous.
    #333541

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Well hope you’re feeling ok and taking it easy.

    To your questions about my parents: When my mom would say those things, it made me feel like being sad was a bad thing and I should avoid those feelings or try to change them asap. It also feels like I wasn’t able to peer deeper into those feelings because questions /follow up questions weren’t asked of me as to why I felt that way.. so sometimes I may not have even understood fully the WHY behind my emotions. They were kind of glossed over and then moved on to the next subject quick.

    As far as my dad goes.. I feel like he was always uncomfortable around feelings talk, even now he admits hes never been good at “that stuff”. I feel like I never really could show him my feelings, I wasn’t as comfortable verbalizing my feelings to him. They would manifest in silence or irritation, and he would just sense my mood and sort of stay away… not ask so much how I’m feeling or what’s going on with me, just wait till my mood/feelings passed. Or even when he would ask I’d act or pretend like “im fine” because for whatever reason I didn’t want to be vulnerable with him. Maybe that has to do with my tomboy attitude and him sort of favoring me over my brother? Maybe I felt like I had to impress him and being vulnerable for some reason was a sign of weakness– usually a very masculine trait I guess, possibly learned from all the boys I hung out with constantly at a young age.

    #333469

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I’m so sorry to hear about your fall Anita! I hope you can get some rest. Definitely no rush in your response… I really just appreciate the words of wisdom and time you give to reading through all my postings.

    I don’t remember too many early experiences. I just know my dad was very selfish in that he always wanted to go surfing rather than prioritize his family… my mom always said it was like having another child. I don’t believe they really planned about having kids.
    They both worked a lot, full time. I just remember my parents fighting a lot and my dad cussing a lot very loud. My mom would get scared and withdraw or not even want to have a conversation. How could she have a reasonable conversation with someone who was drinking so much?
    My mom never really showed sadness or anger.. she always wanted everyone to just “be happy” and “positive” all the time. Was always the time to say “Dont be sad” or would maybe not acknowledge certain feelings at all when it was clear I was upset about something.
    My dad also was good at not acknowledging my feelings if I was quiet or mad or in a certain mood.  Perhaps it made them uncomfortable?

    I remember being so mad when he drove me home drunk that I couldn’t even speak to him or express my anger. My mom was obviously very upset too but I don’t remember her talking very much to me about it. Maybe she didn’t really know how or was so ashamed of it to talk about it with me.

    My dad seemed to sort of favor me over my brother… I don’t know why. But he had always been mean to my brother, calling him names often. I’d always get furious with my dad and “call him out” on that behavior and he’d listen to me because he always felt bad making me upset. My brother eventually struggled with alcohol as well and I always felt like I was the responsible one in my family and more mature, even though I’m the youngest.

    #333461

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Anita,
    Thank you for your perspective. It has been very spot on and you ask all the right questions that sometimes I don’t want to face or ask myself.

    I think you are right in that if I see him out with another woman, or he gets a girlfriend, I would be pretty hurt (as I was that night when I saw him out with another girl). Not because he did anything wrong, but because yes I would be wondering well why not me? What does she have that I dont? I should’ve done a,b,c and THEN maybe he would’ve picked me. And obviously none of that is a positive or healthy thinking pattern. And this does stem from the core believe of not being “good enough”.
    I’m still unclear at where the core belief stems from. I have a few theories at where it MAY have originated or began. If you’d like to read:

    1) Childhood– I’m a very petite woman, and have always been smallest in all my classes and out of all my friends. This does bring me a lot of attention, but it also brings the idea that I can’t do things, or people assume I can’t because I’m smaller. I also was a tomboy as a child, hanging out always with all boys and my older brother. The idea that I always needed to prove myself and keep up and not show vulnerability or cry, has been an idea that was instilled in me at a young age (6-7). This was re-enforced by my parents praising me “shes so strong! she never cries! she’s so independent! she’s stronger than the boys!”

    2) In middle school/highschool I didn’t feel like I was one of the “pretty girls” because I had that tomboy idea still in me…I was a competitive surfer, and have been surfing since I was 7. I didn’t like makeup or fashion like all the other girls liked, so I didn’t think guys would like me because I wasn’t into that stuff. I didn’t realize or feel like I was pretty and feminine until later in life. I thought the things girls liked were boring and at sleepovers I wanted to leave early so I could go surfing the next morning.

    3) In college at 18, unfortunately my first sexual experience was a bad one. My best friends older brother (who had a girlfriend at the time) got me drunk and got me to do things I’d never done, even when I said “no this is wrong, we can’t do this” over and over). He made me believe if I told anyone that everyone would hate me and lives would be ruined. This experience was deeply difficult for me and caused many trust issues and relationship problems for years after around sex and men. as well as conflict with my best friend. I was very hurt by this because it confused me why this man who claimed to love his gf wanted to do this with me/seemed to like me, yet still wanted to be with his gf and didn’t want me as his gf. Why would he do this, knowing I’d never had sex before, why did he pick me?  It took years to process this experience and the pain and anger that came with it–It wasn’t until therapy and a caring ex boyfriend who made me realize this was actually considered a type of “date rape” and emotional abuse with the threats that I couldn’t tell anyone and everyone would hate me if I told.

    4) As far as parents go, my dad was an alcoholic with a loud/intimidating voice/anger issues. My mom was emotionally closed off, and unhappy with their marriage. I’ve come to realize she struggled with setting her own boundaries and standing up for herself. They divorced when I was 7. He once drove me home when he was really drunk when I was 13. He was a good dad in many ways, but quite a few issues. We have a good relationship, but I too struggle with boundaries with him as well.

    Obviously after #3 happened, I had so any walls and defenses up. I didn’t want to get close to ANYONE and felt very lonely in my life. And I caused pain/confusion in guys that did show interest. I was confused and just extremely hurt inside and hadn’t dealt with any of it. No guy was really patient enough to try and understand what was going on inside me (understandable)… but eventually therapy and my first real boyfriend helped me see.

    I’m at a point where I’ve done a lot of internal work, mostly through yoga, vulnerability practice, some therapy, and just focusing on the things that make me happiest. But after recent encounters with this new guy, it’s made me see I have more work to do. I’m not sure how else to work on my own self-worth. I just got my yoga teacher training certificate which is VERY exciting to me, and I’ll be going on yoga retreats/meeting new people in the coming year and just continuing the inner work.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Anonymous.
    #333449

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I will reply tonight. Thank you for your perspective!

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Anonymous.
    #333293

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    So something that happened and is bound to happen much more as time goes on…. he actually practices yoga at the studio that I practice at (neighborhood studio, since we live in the same neighborhood naturally its happened this way). I’ve seen him there a few times recently, and the last two times he came and sat with me after class– just talking about yoga or asking how I’ve been, etc. Theres always a lot of people around and sometimes other friends of mine, so it feels like a very inappropriate setting/time to bring up what happened so long ago.

    It’s a little confusing for myself personally because when he sits with me and we talk, I’m completely content and happy to just be friends and I don’t actually feel mad in that moment at all (I completely forget about it) And it just seems SO dumb to be hanging on to these words he said so long ago and say something like “oh by the way I was mad when you said this even though it was months ago” … especially when I’m not even that mad at HIM. You know? I’m just mad at ME for not clarifying intentions earlier on, and I don’t know if he needs to know that or if it’s worth sharing that information. I also don’t even know how I would– I don’t feel close enough with him to call him up. I just feel torn and when I say why I’m upset out loud, i just feel like “really thats it?? that happened so long ago why would i be hanging onto something so in the past??”

    It’s clear we are just friends, and things would never be physical again. Personally I’m a fan of how things are– the fact that I now only see him in a healthy safe setting such as a yoga class, as opposed to out at a bar with alcohol involved, feels really nice and safe to me, especially now that there is no sexual pressure anymore. And I’m still trying to figure myself out after my last break up and dating again and what I want. Maybe it’s a good thing this is happening and I have this setting/space to see him in.

     

     

    #332933

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks loveandkisses! I really like what you said about thinking of my own needs instead of analyzing his needs. I think in our culture as women, we often want to care for others so much, and worry about others emotional states or how they are doing… so it’s almost natural to put others needs first and try to meet them. But that doesn’t do anyone any good if I neglect my own needs in order to do that. Thanks for the article!

    #332771

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thank you Anita for your wisdom. I believe the time will come to talk with him. Especially since I see him so often around town, and I happen to hang out with the same crowd as well, and I’m just certain in time we will reconnect. When we do, I will let him know. Seems like he wants to be friends or at least keep some connection with me, and if thats the case he should know my feelings. Thank you for asking me the right questions and telling your observations. Really its helping me accept the situation as it is and move forward with my healing and own self-love and growth.

    #332723

    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I actually did see that happening at some point, a time coming where I can say “I’m mad at you. And I’m mad at me for xyz”.

    But I don’t think I could do that by reaching out to him out of no where through phone call or text. It would need to happen naturally, when I see him in person around town. I’m sure he wonders if something is going on in me because I don’t respond to his messages, when in the past I always would. And when I see him I give less attention and enthusiasm. I’m never mean.. just not as upbeat as my usual self is.

    Or perhaps next time he responds to my social media I can say, “I’m mad at you and mad at me” . Otherwise he’s over there thinking everything is fine and he can be friendly to me when in reality I’m over here still upset about what happened. I just need to be clear on why I’m mad… and it’s because we didn’t communicate earlier on about what we wanted or what our intentions were. But to be truthful I really didn’t know what mine were… I just wanted to get to know him first before deciding if I wanted more… and how can you know if you want more before hanging out with that person for a little while?

    But this is something where I’d need him to make the first contact in order for me to express that to him. Otherwise I will just continue to find focus in other areas and accept his lifestyle and decision. And this time of not seeing him so much will help me heal and forgive both of us I hope.

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