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Comparing, Feeling Inadequate and Insulted for being who I am

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  • #358373
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Okay, here were go. This is my second post. You can read about my issue with a difficult relationship in my first thread. This one is related.

    My question is: how do you deal with feelings of rejection from former romantic partners?
    I find myself seeing women around town I’d bet he’d want to hookup with, and I can’t help myself but compare, or feel that sick feeling in your stomach when you realize something you thought was solid and true and is actually false.

    I do find that I have often had problems comparing myself with other women (she’s thinner than me, wears better clothes, is prettier, is more relaxed and laid back), etc etc. I live in a very artsy-cool laid back kind of place and while that sounds super cool, well, it’s also highly competitive-feeling, and there are a lot of yucky player-boy types who love to hookup with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl type.

    What I think makes it worse is the guy I knew (who this feelings are connected to) was very sexual and very obviously always looking for girls. When I wasn’t sure about wanting to move so fast with sex he’d try to manipulate me into doing it (I feel like you don’t want me… I cannot imagine a sexless relationship… I’d have to find someone else if we aren’t going to have sex.. —— this, mind you after a week and a half of “dating”. Total jerk.)

    I know deep down this behaviour, this attitude, is selfish and downright rude (coming from a guy who’d call himself a feminist ally, no doubt. Newsflash—sex positivity means you can choose not to have sex as well as choose to!

    So, to be precise, I’m just wondering what I can do. It’s not like I go out looking for these women to compare myself to, I actually just happen upon them in the city (and we both live here, in a relatively small city and have small social circle so people know people and then my mind races…..). It’s gotten to the point where I actually just want to move cities (just there for school but I can do that from anywhere, since I am writing my thesis atm) to be away from these things that remind me of him. Like the school, for example, which were both attend and departmental events where he might be present. Every time I get an email from school my heart does backflips thinking he might be even mentioned in the text, or be on some committee which is working on some project or whatever. It’s terrible. I wish he could just disappear.

    I am working on building my resilience here, and to living for myself—quarantine has been great, actually, for re-assessing my priorities (what and who falls away, what you keep doing and who you keep in touch with).

    #358408
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannawannabe:

    Welcome back. You refer to this man as a “Total jerk”, and to his behavior as “selfish and downright rude” (which I agree with, having communicated with you on the previous thread and reading this one).

    But you are still infatuated with him, and that’s why you view him as a very important person in your life, so much so that you compare and compete with other women over him (“I find myself seeing women around town I’d bet he’d want to hookup with, and I can’t help myself but compare.. she’s thinner than me, wears better clothes..”), to the point of wanting to move cities (“to be away from these things that remind me of him”). Every time you get an email from school, your heart “does backflips thinking he might be even mentioned in the text”.

    Do you agree with me, that you are still infatuated with him?

    anita

     

     

    #358411
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi anita,

    I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and forgiving these past months. It’s helped me to put a lot of this experience to rest.

    As for being infatuated, maybe not with him, but definitely still infatuated with my fantasy idea of him. I also know that in the times since when I have seen him, sometimes in the company of another woman, I feel really really ill, like I’m going to pass out ill. It’s a really strong reaction but I’ve built him up in my mind as this huge threat so my body reacts accordingly.

    However, I’m one of these highly sensitive types and in the past I’ve had to spend a long hard time getting over things. This could be learned behaviour (my dad does the same thing, about people who wronged him in the past) or something about my brain chemistry. I can see everything clearly, logically in my brain but that hurt pride is a deep wound. I don’t tend to make myself vulnerable with people very much so it felt like a very big deal.

    I think one of the hang-ups has to do with this idea of sex. I’d consider myself a very sensual person (tmi? lol) and definitely interested, but with the right fore-play etc. It was very hurtful to hear that I wasn’t enough in this capacity (as a lover) because I was A., a virgin and B., not ready to enter that part of a relationship yet (I was getting used to the idea that someone wanted to date me). So anyway, while I know why my reaction was to pull away from wanting to have sex with him this criticism still hurts and makes me concerned that I won’t find someone who will be patient and loving. I mean, there must be someone else, but with all the quarantining business it feels like I will never get back out there!

    I think that he probably felt slighted by that. I do know from someone else who had slept with him that he is, in fact, not “great” in bed. So, I was right there, hah!

    #358413
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannawannabe:

    “As for being infatuated, maybe not with him, but definitely still infatuated with my fantasy idea of him”- what if you remove your fantasy idea of him.. from him? I mean, really see him as he is, as the “Total jerk.. selfish and downright rude” man that he is?

    I mean, if you know that what you are so infatuated by is a fantasy, then peel that fantasy off him.

    “I consider myself a very sensual person.. and definitely interested.. “- while you compare yourself to other women who may dress better than you etc., you have something way more desirable for most men than a woman’s fashion style, and that is your sensuality. Thing is, you need to find a man worthy of you.

    So.. peel the fantasy off him and look for a man who you can genuinely appreciate and respect.

    anita

    #358414
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi anita,

    Yes! It is a work-in-progress…

    I think what bugs me is the idea that he will go on being this way and I won’t get any kind of “I was wrong, I am very sorry” kind of response. There’s a lot of guys who think this sampling women and casual sex attitude is the way to go about dating. I tend to disagree. At least, it’s not for everyone. What do you think?

    LW

    #358415
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannabee:

    The attitude that women are to be sampled and used for casual sex has hurt many, many women for many years, all over the world. It is very painful for a woman to be treated as a sample, and to be treated casually. At the least, it is painful for women who don’t view men as samples and sex as casual. I personally don’t view people as samples that should be .. sampled casually.

    If you agree with me, why not look for a man who will appreciate your sensuality, be sensual himself and also, one who wants a serious relationship with you, a lifetime relationship?

    anita

     

    #358417
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi anita,

    Yes, this is what I am ultimately looking for, and what my closest friends have told me I should look for too.

    I replied to another thread about being single and suggested that my guard was kind of down for this guy (who I had heard rumours about, and who had shown some questionable behaviour in the past). I think I really fell for his infatuation and his near-love bombing. Add in that he claimed to have had little success with women (perhaps his behaviour is to blame?) and that he’s not exactly handsome and I kind of went for it, feasting on the breadcrumbs he’d offered as he was “courting me” so to speak.

    I will look, but I also know I need to forge my own way in life. I want to finish my degree and when done that I have plans to do another and then enter the job market with that accreditation. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone through work. What I know for sure is I want tot stop putting so much energy into thinking about my “singleness” as some kind of life-defining thing. It’s not a physical characteristic, or a personal flaw. It doesn’t define me, my interests, who I am, my worth as a human being.

    For some of my friends, one in particular, her singleness has become an obsession, and she views almost every guy she meets and is attracted to as a potential life partner, I think. Very very intent to “fix” this one thing and cure all of her underlying psychological issues. I love her dearly but it is hard to be around that kind of energy and not have some of it enter your own psyche, you know?

     

    LW

    #358418
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannawannabe:

    “I need to forge my own way in life. I want to finish my degree and when done that I have plans to do another and then enter the job market”- most important, to forge your own way in life, to make plans, to follow the plans, to evaluate your objectives and plans over time, to adjust, improve and keep going.

    “I want to stop putting so much energy into thinking about my ‘singleness”- and I hope you do focus on your studies and your career and independent living otherwise, but when you do find yourself thinking about men and singleness, focus on removing the fantasy off that man and on reasserting to yourself that you are interested not in casual sexual relationships with men, but in a long term, respectful and committed relationship.

    anita

    #358420
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi anita,

    May I ask if you have any advice as to desensitizing those things that remind me of him, or are associated with him? How can I not feel so horrible every time we inevitably run into one another?

    I have gone down the path of being angry and hostile about them, but in the end this doesn’t exactly help. I should probably add that my “removal” from his life didn’t come without its own drama (from me, because I was so upset by his ignoring me and my request to “chat”). I guess he thought I wanted to get back together (I did, to be honest, and his avoiding me probably was for the best but, it still hurt that although he “didn’t not want me in his life” when we ended things, he didn’t seem to think it mattered that I was upset. I suppose I can imagine not wanting to face me but, it seems only respectful, you know?

    So, having said some harsh words and severing him in a very dramatic way, I still feel uncomfortable in his presence. Maybe he does in mine, too. It’s just kind of sad, how people treat each other.

    But it makes me feel lame, I guess, for expecting more from the guys I date. Expecting to be treated with some respect and not just shrug my shoulders and move on immediately once it’s over.

    I’m not too sure why these thoughts have come up for me lately. I think it may have to do with my impending return to the city. The very apartment where I was living… it all has some bad memories, you know?

    LW

     

    #358421
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannawannabe:

    “any advice as to desensitizing those things that remind me of him, or are associated with him? How can I not feel so horrible every time I inevitably run into one another?”- I suggest desensitizing his image in your brain. Your fantasy image of him is such that warrants all your time and attention, leading you to think that it matters what he thinks about you, and what he might think about you in the future (“I guess what he thought.. he didn’t seem to think..”)

    It will heal you to see him as he truly is. Let’s bridge the visible with the invisible so to create a desensitizing imagery exercise for you: his character is as beautiful as… a very ugly man. Picture in your mind the ugliest man you can imagine. Don’t describe that image here on your post, keep it for yourself: whatever is the ugliest physical image of a man, picture it.

    Next, every time you think of him, bring that image to your attention and keep that image in your mind for a while, while taking slow, easy breaths. Every time you see something that reminds you of him, do the same thing.

    “it makes me feel lame, I guess, for expecting.. to be treated with some respect”- expecting to be treated with some respect by a “Total jerk.. selfish and downright rude” person is unrealistic, it is like expecting a rock to feel like soft cotton to the touch.

    anita

     

    #358467
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Iannawannabe,

    I know I’m late to this conversation but…

    One thought I had was that this pandemic is a BOON for women! We get to be treated with RESPECT! No more casual hookups! “You want to see me? You can’t! Now sit down and write me a poem!” Romance is back!

    This jerk brain is bad in bed and isn’t getting laid, I promise you! No one will have him now! I mean, he has to put in, what? Time, respect and energy! Through a screen no less!

    You won! He lost! Believe it!

    Best,

    Inky

    #358473
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Inky, I love you!

    Seriously, I love reading your replies on threads, they’re always sassy and confidence boosting 🙂
    Hah, I know… in my city, I think hookups are proceeding more or less as usual. Guys on apps are now boasting both being “feminist” (eye roll) and “Covid-free”. O.K.

    LW

    #358595
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Good morning, @anita,

    Yes. I will work toward desensitizing in this manner. It’s a good tactic.

    Here is a bit more of the story post-break, when I was becoming increasingly crazy about this very brief affair…

    I remember the first time I saw him after a few months post-break, I had this sense he would appear and there he was. I actually hid myself under the desk I was at (leaned down) and busied myself with my phone. I was the only other person in the room!! It was a very intense fear reaction, and he just left without saying anything, which I thought was kind of cowardly but I guess under the circumstance, not unbelievable.

    So a day or so later I took the initiative to ask, or rather say, “We should talk?” indicating, I’d like to talk. Maybe he took this as, we should be on speaking terms. His reply “Yeah, it’d be nice to be able to co-exist.” I called him out on this one, since it came across pretty rude, which he apologized for (I think) or said like, “Sorry, wasn’t meant to.”

    So three months or so go by and no talk, different excuses like “I’m really busy”… which maybe, but also, if it were important enough, you’d make the time.

    Once I tried to make it easier for him to say something by quickly packing up my things and leaving just as he did. I guess pretty sneaky but, standing by the elevator to go out and looking over at him as he left the workroom, he very carefully kept a neutral expression, kept eyes straight ahead, and walked into the bathroom. Mind you, it’s a small space and I was the only other person there. Perhaps I seemed to be trying to corner him, I don’t know. But then some days he would greet me and say “Hi” or whatever, and then there’d be days where he would flat out ignore me as above.

    Finally after these months I was like, o.k., I’m sick of this tension, I’m going to start the conversation. And it was okay, just pleasant, but he avoided my eyes and so it felt rsther one-sided. Later, over text, he asked if I was going to a colleague’s party and I said, maybe. He said he’d let me know if he got his work doneon time to go… and of course did not. I half knew no message would come but that night was a breaking point. I decided, okauy, I’m done with this guy’s games for good.

    This may be a tactic of freezing me out, passive aggression, I don’t know. But it’s pretty slimey and cowardly, I think, considering A. all the romantic-y lines he freely used (“I was playing the field but now I only wanna focus on you” (at the time I was like, LOL!, and I should have listened! Thought it was just an awkward guy’s awkward flirting), and later suggesting he really did care about me even if it wasn’t going to be romantic (I get it, guys do this)

    B. That we have to work together. And, that he has made other women in our department feel similarly uncomfortable coming into work. Like, who keeps doing this!?

    So began my now 5 month stint of not working on campus. I guess it’s avoidance-coping, which isn’t exactly the best, I know. But neither is the extreme stress and sadness I feel when I see him around… And I know that being away from the trigger just makes it seem bigger in your mind but, since changing up my routine I have brought in a lot of new, really positive things into my life and new positive people who actually appreciate me and don’t have me questioning my worth.

    I have long been a shy and quite reserved person. I don’t let people “in” very easily so when I do it’s like my vulnerability goes from 15% to 95%, you know? This is probably why it has been so hard to get over this problem. That and having to actually see the creep on a regular basis.

    But now here I go, inviting him into my mind when he is not here physically. An unfortunate thing. I’ve wasted so much mental energy on this loser.

    Sorry to end on a down note!! Hah! I must get back to my editing work…

    I hope you have a very pleasant day, dear anita.

     

    LW

    #358613
    Kiawaki
    Participant

    Hi Iannawannabe,

    This might sound either too abstract, or too analytical, or too cliche, depending of the reader, but I work with people and I see over and over again how both the sense of inadequacy, and the sense of abandonment after break up, and even the triggers to fall in love, are almost always subtly related to what we experienced in our early family.

    Does your idealized image of him, what you desired from him, and subsequent disappointment, resemble your early relationship with any of your parents? Can you track your feelings of inadequacy to anything you felt in your family? It’s often not obvious at the first glance, but in my experience, whenever an emotion is unrealistic or too intense, it usually comes from the past, not the present. It might take a bit of digging to recognize what it is about it, but it might be worth it.

    Best,
    K

    #358617
    anita
    Participant

    Dear lannawannabe:

    Thank you, I hope you have a pleasant day as well.

    This man was your first physically intimate relationship, however short it was, it was the First. You wrote in your previous thread, last month: “I’m 28, never dated.. I’ve often dreamt about it, and have wanted a partner but in an abstract way, never a particular person“-

    – this man we are discussing was your first particular person, and the experience with him was your first non-abstract experience. You used the word “abstract”, let’s look more into this word. Merriam Webster gives the following as synonyms and words related to the word abstract: conceptual, ideal, metaphysical, theoretical, hypothetical, speculative, intellectual, mental, nonphysical. Antonyms (opposite meaning): material, physical, tangible, actual, factual, real.

    What you had before him was a mental/ theoretical experience, and what you had with him was your first physical/factual experience- big difference. No wonder you have felt so strongly about him.

    In your recent post you wrote: “I’ve wasted so much mental energy on this loser”- unfortunately most of what you’ve experienced regarding your first physical/ factual relationship is.. mental/ theoretical.

    What I wrote here, is it interesting to you, does it mean something to you?

    anita

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