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    You did this because of deep insecurities and wanting others to think highly of you. In the process, you hurt someone else and inadvertently revealed your peer group of the time to be shallow people.

    I would suggest the first thing to do is to really look deeply at your motives and what’s behind them. Why did you want their approval? What feelings about yourself were you searching for that prompted you to lie at the expense of another? Ultimately, this will help you understand yourself on a deep level, which will let you forgive yourself. Once you have found this peace, I would reach out again to this person you wronged, let her know the work you’ve done to understand yourself and let her know how remorseful you are about it, should she forgive you or not.

    Don’t ever forget that you’re human, and we all succumb to temptations we later regret. You need to cut yourself some slack and forgive yourself. Learn from this and strive to be honest with yourself and others.


    Doreen, Maggie,

    Thanks for your thoughts! We are both trying to view this as a new beginning, not just of bliss, but a new beginning of lots of work we need to do to make our relationship better than ever.

    I think what REALLY helped a lot was sharing and understanding each other’s childhood pain, which drives much of our adult angst. We’re both from upper middle class families that appear perfect from the outside, but had significant challenges that linger today (probably like everybody else’s families). Once we started exploring those family of origin issues, it became much easier to view the other’s angry behavior in its proper context.

    And perhaps most importantly, that exploration helps us forgive ourselves, a prerequisite for asking forgiveness from each other.



    Thanks for sharing your story. I think the whole American (which i am) concept of marriage is very much we-share-all-our-pain-and-joy, which may lead to expectations. I’m struggling with that right now, trying to come out the back side in a more enlightened state.

    A lot of this will involve re-hashing my childhood, which while mostly joyful, has its influences that linger to this day.


    @practicingpatience said:
    Hi Todzilla,

    I struggle with this too. Our situations are a lot different, but I have recently made the realization that my expectations are getting in the way of my happiness and ruining my relationships. So I am trying to release them as well. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice, but am grateful that you posted this because of the responses it’s prompting!

    Matt – thank you so much for sharing your insights with us! I am frequently blown away by your perspective and I really can’t tell you how much you’ve helped me deal with my daily struggles in a much more peaceful and positive way. This topic in particular I am loving your responses to. I love your analogy of the King coming home to his Queen and not rehashing stories of the battle. BUT what I continue to struggle with (albeit less and less frequently!) is the worry that by not sharing things that are bothering me (little things that happen at work, etc) there is a distance that is created between me and my boyfriend. Like I’m not sharing my day with him, so this must be a bad thing. I think the more I just let myself be present and enjoy moments with him and not poop in his face, the more we BOTH enjoy each other and THIS is what strengthens our relationship, not the constant-sharing-of-shitty-moments-of-the-day. But, I am just curious about your perspective on this?



    You just blew my mind in the most glorious way.

    Not only have you provided very insightful metaphors, but you have some actual quotes that I will memorize and use when the time is right. I have felt so wounded, but my impulsive reactions are working against my interests. I know I embrace Western impulses to keep score and view difficulties in a relationship through a zero-sum lens.

    But figuring out how change this is very difficult. And that is my challenge, though you’ve helped a great deal, especially with this last post of yours.

    @aMatt said:

    Even the most loving lioness roars when a thorn is in her paw. Her motive is the same as it always is, she’s trying to find happiness. Said differently, there is a big, huge, difference between having afflictive motives, and trying not to take ownership of her own thoughts, feelings, and actions. “I hit you from love, I swear it” is garbage of course, but it doesn’t mean she wants to hit you, perhaps is afraid that if she exposes her imperfection, you’ll do terrible things with it. How much fun would you have, for instance, were she to say to you she lashed out in anger. “I knew it, you have bad motives!” Rather than “of course, my love, your anger makes sense, come to my arms and find comfort”.

    I don’t know about good Buddhists, but perhaps letting go might be “set aside your fear that she intends harm”. It seems more like she is afraid herself, perhaps that you don’t love the real her, warts and all. So she tries to hide them, and can’t.

    You’re right to notice she doesn’t fight fair… but consider that you perhaps seem much stronger than she feels, and so any tool to do the needed job. Like, Toddzilla looms over her, and she kicks at your balls. Perhaps the lesson is less looming? Less “trying to ferret out the truth”, and more “invite her to love you.”

    With warmth,


    @inky said:
    That is a great breakthrough! I hope that it will soon become an instinctive, automatic response in both of you. May it get out of the mental and integrate into your being!

    Yeah, that’s the easy part.


    Just kidding. It takes work and above all else, forgiving ourselves and each other for the inevitable backsliding into old habits.

    Thanks for your support, Inky!



    Many good vibes your way in finding peace with it all.

    I’m optimistic that my spouse is pretty open to a fearless examination of all this. That said, there is enormous work ahead and many deep ruts we’ve developed by treading the same dysfunctional paths over the years. So, it won’t be easy nor without its pitfalls.


    I’m sorry your in-laws are saying such hurtful things.

    Easy for me to say, but I would keep in mind that they must be in great pain, suffering great insecurities, if they find some sort of misguided comfort in belittling you. It sounds like your husband’s family has developed a dysfunctionality with a particular circle-the-wagons emphasis of supporting each other’s belittling.

    I would try, hard as it seems, to view his family as truly suffering, and deserving of great happiness that their own actions prevent them from achieving.

    I’m not sure there’s much you say, other than “Well, I’m doing my best to be the best I can be, and it’s not always a straight path.” But keeping in mind their dysfunction is based in suffering will help you step out of the direct path of your pain and see it for what it is.

    Lastly, you may consider not attending all the family events. If they cause you discomfort, you can take a pass.


    An update: The individual tendered her resignation, it was accepted by HR with no effort to retain her. She is distraught that her threat of resignation did not result in the company reconsidering her argument. She’s spreading rumors that I am somehow engineering her demise and that I harbor ambitions to take over the organization.

    I must admit that it’s fairly easy for me to overlook these crazy accusations, as they have no basis in fact. It makes it easy for me to feel great empathy and compassion for her. She’s clearly in enormous pain and is lashing out for reasons I don’t fully understand. Also, I have full support from the CEO and the Board on this matter, so the only stress I’m feeling is out of concern for this person.

    This is an old expression, but I just learned it recently and it applies perfectly here: Hurt people hurt people.

    I wish they was a way to reach out compassionately, but I’m pretty sure her view of me is so negative that it would only cause her further pain. So, I sit back and send out vibes of peace.



    Don’t forget that your actions, fortunately, did not take anyone’s life (I’m assuming) or cause much destruction beyond your own circumstances. In this sense, you may try to feel the good fortune that events have given you a great opportunity to grow. You can use this to help others and help yourself heal.


    Thank you, Tir. I’ve been struggling with how egolessness relates to dysfunctional relationships. You’ve succinctly helped me, while doing so compassionately.


    Thanks Matt, your advice (and occasional charming curse words) are great.

    I should state that I definitely feel loveable, which feeds my impulses of anger that I’m not receiving love (or at least according to my counterproductive impulses).

    The other impulse I’m feeling is a competitive one: it feels like she’s putting a lot on me, not asking for what I want and expressing her expectations for the work I need to do. It’s not even that she’s wrong, I just feel angry that she’s putting so much on me, when it’s clear we both have enormous work to do. I fear, however irrationally, that we will both work toward indulging her needs and any pain I have will be considered irrelevant.

    Toward this, I am trying to disengage with my wants, pain, expectations and disappointments in her treatment of me, then selflessly and lovingly address her points above. I know that’s the route to take, but man, oh man, it’s not easy to undo many decades of thought patterns.


    The best help you can give her starts with you acknowledging to yourself that you’re not responsible for her happiness.


    The OP sounds like he is choosing between expectations, rather than deciding to expect or not.

    Try not to look at it as whether the universe is benevolent or malevolent, it just is. Bill is correct too that completely abandoning expectations leads to utter meaningless. I look at expectations as leading to a sense of entitlement, which almost always leads to disappointment and is borne of a sense of being the center of the universe.


    “He said that he never told me to take mine off and he never tells me what I can do or not.”

    “I don’t listen to him and to his advices, that this is a lack of respect that I never want to try what he sais”

    Sounds like he is sending you mixed messages. I think you need to find out where he’s really coming from. He wants you to take his advice (which sounds more like his commands), yet he justifies keeping his profile on a dating site by claiming he’s fine if you do the same. It sounds like you two have very different expectations from one another.

    I would be concerned.


    So, things are getting “better” in that we’re being more positive in our interactions. A weekend in the mountains was good, although there were moments I felt great anger toward her. Rather than suppress it, rather than let it boil over, I stepped outside myself and examined the anger, acknowledged it and let it go.

    She wants to undergo joint counseling, which I welcome. Of course, we’ll need to find the right person, as I’m trying to let go of anger and expectations and I don’t know if it will help to engage in a therapeutic course that follows the paths and roots of anger. I still feel the wounded child in me seeking justice and craving her deep acknowledgement of the pain she caused me. I know that child won’t be satisfied and that I need to follow a different and more enlightened path.

    My partner is starting to acknowledge her own anger and the role her unprovoked rages play in our relationship. She explodes, says devastating things which she lately blithely dismisses and then wonders why I’m guarded, untrusting and inferring bad motives in her behavior. Where I would normally feel vindicated from her new-found self-awareness and think “Hell yeah, you’d better apologize,” I’m trying now to feel joy that she’s observing her own anger in order to let it go. And I prepare myself for future rages which I hope to view as profound expressions of pain, not as an excuse to see my self as its victim.

    I cannot consider myself “cured” from the impulses of my wounded child, not ever. But I will focus on getting outside of the anger from those impulses and see her behavior not as wrongs against me, but as expressions of her own pain.

    All for now.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)