May 31, 2016 at 7:45 pm #106126
Thanks Anita, I think you have given me a very clear and helpful comments on how to judge the incident. It’s a great guiding light for me.
I am reviewing what you were saying and I realized for the cheating itself it seems that I shouldn’t bear with the guilt.
however as I review my previous interaction with her, I began to feel that I hit a few of the emotionally abusive pattern, for example, I did accuse her for being too sensitive, i did disregard her opinion, i did blame her for things that she seemed to be not doing right, and she did have a feeling that everything that i said was right, and she has lost a part of herself trying to follow my path.
I did feel dominate and at times i did feel it’s a bit over sometime.
And from the way she said she needed to leave me, she said she was very scared of me, it just fit the symptoms of someone being abused.
I find it hard to really make peace with it, feeling that I might have abused her. I have always thought i was a compassionate and kind person, and i guess that’s where the guilt came from.
My friends have been telling me that even if you were not good to her,the cheating itself makes the game even. But I guess it’s not ‘even’ that i am looking for, I kind of just want to know what had happened and understood myself better.
Would you be able to help me understand the abusive pattern better?
Thanks a lot for your advice.May 31, 2016 at 8:03 pm #106128
I like you looking into your own behavior. You wrote that you may have been abusive to her in that you: “did accuse her for being too sensitive, i did disregard her opinion, i did blame her for things that she seemed to be not doing right.” Yes, this is emotional abuse, to disrespect a person, disregard her thoughts and feelings. Absolutely. And to unecessarily criticize a person, telling them repeatedly that what they are doing wrong that is abusive too.
In your other relationships, friends, acquaintances, pay attention to any tendency to disrespectfully disregard the person’s thoughts and feelings and to unnecessarily criticize people (and criticizing is unnecessary in 99% of the times!) Pay attention and monitor yourself. Change the way you talk to people. Apply EAR: Empathy, Assertiveness, Respect. While you assert yourself, taking care of yourself, you also respect the other. You do both.
Your way to forgive yourself for emotionally abusing your ex girlfriend is to correct your behavior with others (since you are not with the girlfriend anymore). This is how you earn your own forgiveness.
If you want you can write an email or a letter stating these abuses, not blaming her for those but taking full responsibility for those and apologizing sincerely. (Make sure you don’t apologize for her affair with the ex friend or for feeling angry that she cheated).
If you apologize to her for this, let her know that you are doing so not for any purpose but to correct these behaviors in the future with others.
What do you think/ feel?
anitaMay 31, 2016 at 8:19 pm #106133
I think this is very helpful for me. I will write her a hand written letter i think, so that she can at least have a choice of reading it or just chuck it away. I think hand letter reflects myself better as well.
I am very grateful for your reply, a lot of my friends are trying to protect me by asking me not to think, but I guess I am someone who can’t stop thinking until i feel i have done whatever I should do. I feel that something is not right and that’s why i am still lingering with strange feelings.
And yes I will need to observe my interaction with other people better, I just feel that I have the right to say things out and that I disregard what other people feel. It’s a hard lesson that I have to laern.
Again I am very grateful for your reply. Feel free to give me more advice.
ClaraMay 31, 2016 at 8:46 pm #106138
You are welcome. It is a skill to be assertive and at the same time respectful to another. If you want, you can come up with a situation where you in the past disregarded her feeling: you can write what she said, then what you said (disregarding her feeling) – and I will write what would be an assertive (if need be assertive) and respectful reply.
You can write another example: what she said (expressing a hurt feeling), then you telling her she is too sensitive, as you did in the past. You can follow with what you would now say instead.
You can come up with an example where you needed to be assertive but went overboard and was aggresive, verbally. Following that write what you would say now instead. I can read your examples and suggest what would be assertive and respectful in the different situations.
I will be back to the computer in twelve hours or so.
I appreciate your initiative and motivation to learn to be kinder to others (and to yourself!)
anitaMay 31, 2016 at 9:21 pm #106146
I have come up with a letter but just hesitating in whether I should give it to her. She seemed to be too scared to contact right before we stopped contacting which was just a week or so ago.
I am afraid I would trigger her with any kind of conversation that I initiated.
But for the things that I have said, for example, when she missed out dates, i would blame her for being careless, and said’ why couldn’t you just try another way and be less stubborn’ She would say ‘it’s hard for her to try new things’ and I usually would dismiss her feelings and said ‘it’s not that hard actually, give me your phone and let me set it up for you’June 1, 2016 at 6:31 am #106183
The example you gave is very mild as far as an example of dismissing her feelings. When she is late for a date with you, or doesn’t show up at all, it is time to assert yourself: “I am not going to set dates with you anymore because you’ve been late 3 times in a row.” When she said it is hard for her to try new things, instead of saying” “Give me your phone and let me set it up for you” You can say: “I can see you are distressed about setting it up, let me hug you (hug her nice and long), “Do you feel better?” and if she says Yes, “Do you feel well enough to set it up?” If No, and the thing needs to be set up, “Would you like me to set it up for you this one time?”
As far as sending her the letter, you can wait with it or never send her a letter of apology. It is not a have-to.
anitaJune 1, 2016 at 8:16 am #106189
Frankly I can’t recall much of those abusive behaviour. I might have commented on her professional as well thinking that is of little value to t he society.comparing her profession to other helping professional.
I guess I understand what you are saying, just cater for her emotions first before working on te task.
As far as the letter. I have put it on the desk once I finished it. Will see if I still want to give her later on.
Thanks so much for your insights!June 1, 2016 at 8:56 am #106191
You are welcome, Clara, anytime: no time or lenght limit of thread here, so any time.
The example you gave doesn’t seem abusive to me. We all get impatient with others and it takes practice and patience to be kinder and kinder. But never “perfect.” So I am still puzzled by your claims to have been abusive to her. When an adult feels abused by another, it doesn’t always mean that the person was in fact abused. So I don’t know if you were abusive to her other than the one time you slapped her.
anitaJune 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm #106258
You know what, I am also very confused as to what I did to her. On one hand I recalled her feeling very depressed because my comments about her work, about her way in dealing with people and things, on her personality etc. and on the other hand, I did encourage her to go and explore her interest(Although that did not necessarily involve me joining all the activities).I recalled feeling she wanted my attention and approval so much to a point that I felt stressed out. I am an introvert and am someone who needs independence, yet if I was just be myself it seemed that I couldn’t satisfied what she wanted, and she got depressed and couldn’t feel my care at all.
But in any case, may be how I look exposed what I truly thought, I didn’t find her inspiring or very attractive at times, I guess that’s where her complaints stem from.
however, reminding myself to use EAR in the future won’t harm at all!
And yes I know I shouldn’t slap her or use any physical force. I recalled I did hit her backpack and arms for one or two times in the first few days when I discovered the incident. Probably that has imprinted some scars on her as well
After that I did have very intense outburst at times, to a point that I grabbed my own arm very hard, there was times when I almost wanted to bang my own head. I did nothing phsycial to her, but I guess emotionally she was very scared already, seeing me in such intense emotions.
ChauJune 1, 2016 at 8:56 pm #106270
Dear Clara/ Chau:
It seems to me that she blamed you a whole lot, giving you responsibility for her feelings, when it is not your responsibility. I just remembered that she complained to you that you hurt her by… being hurt and suspicious of her after she cheated on you. That is absurd. She hurt YOU and then she turns around and says: you hurt me. No, no, no: it was the other way around.
Reading your posts, it is now my understanding that she mistreated you, not the other way around. She blamed you for what she felt, even for being hurt by her own cheating. No wonder you are confused, or hopefully were confused. Glad you didn’t send her an apology letter- please don’t. She owes you an apology.
I mean it: she owes you a big apology, for blaming you so much for what you were not guilty of, and then for cheating on you, and then for blaming you for reacting for her own cheating. I don’t like this woman.
anitaJune 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm #106275
Thanks.I don’t know if I should be happy to hear this or not. Afterall we have been together for a year or so and I truly believed she did give me her heart during that period of time, and did try to treat me really well(I think). But now i realize, being with a person doesn’t only involve being good to the partner, but also improve yourself and be good to yourself so your partner would have a truly good companion.
I think all my friends said what you said, but when I saw her crying like hell on the date we broke up, I did believe that she was very hurt and this is out of her control, and i did think “may be I really treated her very bad when we were dating”, and that she was just a silly little girl who was very lost. I know her friends didn’t like me either, apparently because she said I was very harsh on her. May be i didn’t love her enough, or may be i did not express love in a way that she wanted so that she felt neglected or disrespected. I have no idea now and I wouldn’t be able to figure that out. I just need to learn from my experience and let it go.
During the one month try out period after the incident, she did say she would stand by me and would like to listen to me vent out, or cry or whatever, but it’s just too much for her i guess?After the break she said I have hurt her and put her through all these. She just puts the blame on me so she can move on easier.But that’s another stab on me, especially because she approached my ex-friend immediately afterwards.
And yes, she blamed me for getting hurt, either by not responding well to her expression of love and care, not giving her the attention she wants when we were dating(thinking of that we really aren’t too compatible). I think i did blame her for not understanding me enough, not giving me enough space etc. But I guess that’s a matter of how to interact with each other.
But then eventually she blamed me hurting her through all the accusation, shouting and yelling because of the the cheating.
Now I remember why I wanted to escape from her when we were dating, I have to owe her feelings too and that’s a burden on me.
Anyways, lesson learned.
1) Even if I don’t like this person, I need not to be mean or criticize her(and apply the EAR)
2) If I can’t help but want to criticize her or be mean, I should leave this person
3) I should set my boundaries better( I guess I let her hurt me one and again by the cheating and by the accusation afterwards)
4) Never get together with someone when I am not emotionally ready, it never works. (i do feel i brought some wrong expectation to this relationship because of my previous relationship)
I think afterall, we need to give meanings and learn from whatever happened, however harsh or difficult situations are.
ChauJune 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm #106276
Now I do remember why I thought I abused her.
For example I didn’t really like the genre of music that she liked, I think I am biased in a way that I thought those who like electronic are people who are playful(no basis at all now I think of it) , may be I did express my dislike on that, and it became a bit personal.
I also said comparing with the helping profession, graphic design(which she does) did not contribute that much to the general well being of the world(and that did go a bit personal in the end)
I probably did think(or even say) what her friends thought or did was a bit childish(and probably did go a bit personal in the end).
I remember feeling not very accepting towards this person, and I guess she felt rejected all the time.
Well, I guess I just didn’t love her enough afterall, which caused all the disrespectful and biased comments. SighJune 2, 2016 at 6:56 am #106293
You were imperfect. She was imperfect. (Everyone’s imperfect). But here is the dynamic in the relationship you had with her:
She blames you; you blame yourself.
Could have been a different dynamic: you blame her and she blames herself- not the case. And could have been each one of you looking into her own self (like you do), communicate honestly and correct behavior along the way. But that didn’t happen.
She blamed you and you took the blame. You still are.
When she cried, and you saw that she was hurting, it doesn’t mean that you caused that hurt. My mother used to cry a whole lot in front of me, heart breaking crying, misery. And she said I caused it, I hurt her. I took the blame and continued to live fifty years of misery as a bad, guilty person.
Reality was: she was hurting; her pain was real, but I didn’t cause it and it had nothing to do with me. I just happened to be there. All it took was me looking at her and she interpreted it, incorrectly, to mean I was thinking badly about her and then she felt hurt. I didn’t think badly about her; she inaccurately projected that and I was not responsible for it.
So when you said something to your ex girlfriend and it hurt her, it doesn’t mean you were abusive.
I hope that the legacy of this relationship is not that you will be carrying this undeserved, unrealistic guilt with you. That will hurt you simply because it is not based on reality.
You listed above ways in which you can be kinder to people (by the way, regarding EAR, the A for assertiveness and R for Respect are good rules in interacting with everyone, but E for empathy, that is not required in every interaction or with everyone. If someone is disrespectful to you or hurtful otherwise, empathy for that person is not a good idea!),..
you listed those things. If I was reading your ex’s thread there would be a list, instead of what you did wrong to her. See the difference?
anitaJune 2, 2016 at 10:04 am #106300
I understand what you mean. Thanks for sharing your own experience as well.
I think it makes much more sense to me now, and I finally realize the whole interaction.
I kept reading your last paragraph and I think you are right, I am trying to see myself better and improve on whatever mess that was left behind, while she puts the blame on me and might not be doing the same thing. Whatever that i try to do with our relationship, it wouldn’t work because relationship works from both ends.
I probably should love myself better and stop putting all these blames on myself.
Thank you so much. I really love your sharing and your insights.
ChauJune 2, 2016 at 10:58 am #106313
You are welcome. I like seeing reality for what it is and do my share in exposing reality for what it is.
She blamed you; doesn’t mean you are guilty.
She experienced pain in the relationship with you; doesn’t mean you caused it.
In a new relationship, pay attention as you get to know the woman: does she take responsibility for her feelings or dooes she regularly point the finger of blame at other people in her present life? If she does the latter, you are next.
Please do post anytime; just bring up this thread or start a new one.