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Don’t WANT to completely let go the ex.

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  • #366262
    jenny
    Participant

    Thank You Anita.

    – You’re right. I will take some time to understand if I could have OCD as I’ve never really considered something like it but surely if my obsessive thought don’t reduce in a month’s time of dedicated efforts, I surely will consult with a mental health professional.

    – The self-doubt I have is really bad Anita as I did mention in my earlier posts and as you’ve also mentioned. It exists in every sphere of my life but since I attached greatest importance to my romantic relationship, this is where it manifested the most. I trace it to my childhood hurt only as even today when I doubt anything, anything at all that has my actions involved, it starts with just this that ‘what if I am not good enough?’ and I remember feeling the same when mom compared me to family friends, correlated me to a cousin who wasn’t leading a happy life and criticized my nature. I was a very academically bright student, I am at a high post at the company where I work and am regularly appreciated by my colleagues and seniors, both verbally and through promotions but still, still I feel immense self-doubt whenever I am presenting or leading a project, not just nervousness but immense self-doubt. Once when a colleague mentioned (he thought it was a fair joke to crack) after a promotion that my physical appearance had a role to play in it, I actually started considering it that maybe I am not actually that good a professional, maybe he is right despite all the tangible achievements. With my friends I feel sometimes maybe I am not fun enough, maybe I am not serious enough, maybe I’m just a fun friend, maybe I’m just a serious friend, maybe I am pretty so everyone thinks I am dumb, maybe I am not pretty, maybe my nature is bad. And in the relationship, now when I look back, I was one big pile of self-doubt because despite everything in front me of me, I couldn’t see it for what it is. I’ve started starting my day with positive affirmations to myself since the start of the year. Every morning while still in bed, I wrap my hands around me as if hugging me and say ‘ I am a beautiful creation of God who is confident, intelligent and deserving of love, respect and all things good’. It has helped quite a bit, it made me stick to my decision of staying away from my ex and has helped at work too. I will further find ways to boost my confidence and self-love.

    – The part about my dad and L is also true. I can’t believe you could see the link that I really couldn’t. I haven’t really ever seen dad’s suppressed anger, that I’ve never sensed it so I don’t know about that but yes, I remember never wanting to share that mom’s words hurt me with him because I felt he’d never say anything to her. I still don’t feel comfortable saying it but in my deepest core, I do feel that my dad doesn’t have an opinion of his own and will just say what mom says. there have been times, not now, but when I was in my teens, when I have wished sometimes that he were more assertive, that he’d call out mom for criticizing my nature. But I love him, everyone on the outside said that he’s an amazing husband and I for most parts saw him as that. But yes, I remember liking L’s attitude in the beginning, in a weird way, I saw his assertiveness, his self-assurance until it became too much, as masculinity that I found lacking in dad (Gosh it feels bad to say this about my dad). I remember telling my friend that I found his slight rudeness of tone attractive initially before he began shouting and shutting me out.

    Yep. Lots of self-work to do.

    Thanks a lot.

    #366263
    jenny
    Participant

    – Regarding my self-doubt point, on the outside my portray myself as very confident, when I tried telling my cousin that I have a lot of self-doubt, she was like you’re kidding, you’re one of the most confident people so maybe the fact that there was no one that could understand my self-doubt for long kept adding fuel to it without solution. I remember firmly calling out the colleague who commented on my promotion, for his joke, while literally thinking at that very moment what if he is right, he must be, he must have seen something to say this. But yes, my relation broke down my esteem further so much that I think that confident facade also came off and I became a crying, begging girl with him which I think I was since the starting, internally.

    Okay, I think I’ll go do something else now, got heavy in here. Do let me know if there’s something you’d like to add.

    #366265
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I read just a tiny bit of your two recent posts and will return to them later. Regarding your self doubt, I don’t know if you shared about how early they started. If you haven’t, when do you think that you started to doubt yourself, how early and under what circumstances?

    anita

    #366266
    jenny
    Participant

    I don’t really know Anita, I don’t know when it started. But yes, I remember I had it when I was 15. We had gone for a vacation for my 15th birthday and something upset mom in the hotel room and I remember her comparing me and talking about my nature then. Maybe since before that, that definitely wasn’t the first time that I’d heard her say that. But my self-doubt got really triggered since getting together with L only. Before that I think there was little in my life that I could become doubtful. Only good things were happening, school results, prestigious colleges so i think i was getting validation. Since L, when he began saying I don’t understand, I am this, I am that, when he avoided and ignored, then it really came out. I was 22 when I went to mom because only then i felt I had actual self-doubt and realized where it came from.

    #366268
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    You are welcome. You did mention the origin of your self doubt: when your mother compared you unfavorably to family friends and to a cousin. This self doubt now extends to your professional life in spite of your tangible success and achievements, as well as to your social life with friends.

    You shared that as a child, you didn’t want to tell your father that your mother’s words hurt you because you “felt he’d never day anything to her”, feeling that he “doesn’t have an opinion of his own and will just say what mom says”. You used to wish, as a teen, that “he were more assertive, that he’d call out mom for criticizing my nature”. You needed your father to shield you from your mother’s criticism but he didn’t.

    “everyone on the outside said that he’s an amazing husband and I for most parts saw him as that”- he was too submissive to be an amazing father to you. He was in the background of your childhood, almost non-existent as a power in your young life. He was the weak, while your mother was the strong, dominant parent.

    Fast forward, you meet L, you noticed his rudeness right from the beginning, in the way he talked, and others told you that he was rude to people,  and you liked it.

    “I remember liking L’s attitude in the beginning, in a weird way, I saw his assertiveness, his self-assurance… I remember telling my friend that I found his slight rudeness of tone attractive initially”- he was like the father you never had, the father you needed to have, the strong father you longed for. Your attraction to and desire for L is about your early desire for a strong father.

    As L became more and more rude and abusive, you were still holding on to your early-life desire for the strong father that you did not have.

    anita

    #366269
    jenny
    Participant

    Come to think of it, I’ve all my teens wanted that kind of a partner, that’s what I found attractive. I used to describe my dream guy as someone broody, mysterious, with attitude.
    My typical lines used to be these

    – I want a man as a husband, not a boy. I don’t like very ‘good boy’ kind of men who are too polite and too nice to everyone. I like rough and tough men. It’s a fact, subtle rudeness attracted me. I always told L I liked the way he looked at someone, that firm, straight in the eye look.

    I think somewhere repelled by my father’s extreme submission, I swung to the other extreme of rudeness and arrogance, failing to see that a middle ground of someone respectful and polite but also assertive who could call a spade a spade is right.

    I get it now. I think it’ll take a few days for all this to sink in, but I’ll work through it all. With the pandemic, I thankfully have some extra time on hand.

    #366270
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    You do get it. I am impressed. A child’s thinking is naturally that of extremes, and in that extreme-thinking of the child that you were, you made your future choice of a man like L.

    What you needed as a child was your father’s protection. But he was weak, submissive, too polite. Fast forward, you equated rudeness to protection, without being aware of it. You kept being drawn to L- not because he was rude, but because you distortedly equated his rudeness with protection.

    anita

    #366271
    jenny
    Participant

    How do I solve this Anita? I’m 28, since teens I have been attracted to these kind of men only. It’s like physically emotionally it is the hyper-masculine men that turn me on, I think now even at a chemical level. How can I possibly change that. Men who are actually polite and good don’t attract me that way, and the too good, dropping everything for you kind of guys literally repel me. I see them as I don’t know what. I don’t want to end up with a genuinely good guy and not feel that attraction and innately feel that for the chauvinist kind of men. So many genuine guys I didn’t feel love for, the friend I told you about in my early posts as being one of them. So there were all these nice respectful guys giving me the time of their day and I was running behind  a man who wasn’t even answering my calls. I think I’m feeling too overwhelmed with all this right now. I’ll just take a break and leave my laptop alone.

    #366274
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    It’s this time of the day when I need to be back to you tomorrow morning, but for now, after reading the first two sentences of your recent post, it is clear to me that you will need a man who is unlike your father and unlike L, assertive but not aggressive. Feel free to post more on the topic, if you want to, and I will read and reply to you in about 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #366296
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I read your two recent replies on another thread, excellent replies. As to your most recent post, you wrote that you are “too overwhelmed with all of this right now”- do take breaks along the process any time you need a break. You don’t have to read or answer this post until you are willing and able to answer it. You can take days, even weeks, take as much time as you need.

    You shared that ever since you were a teen, you were attracted to and turned on by “this kind of men only.. hyper-masculine.. chauvinist kind of men”, unattracted to men who are “polite and good.. nice respectful”, and repelled by men who are “too good, dropping everything for you kind of guys”.

    “How can I possibly change that”?- as the very intelligent young woman that you are, you know that it is easy for you to learn something new academically. But to learn something new emotionally- that is a process that is gradual and takes a long, long time time (because emotional learning is literally about changing elaborate biochemical processes in the brain/ body). You can’t will yourself into being attracted to a nice guy, you can’t be attracted to nice guy just because you now understand the Why.

    Understanding the Why is necessary to start the slow process of becoming attracted to a decent, assertive man. In that process, you will learn to notice assertive behaviors and appreciate those. Over time you will feel attraction to those behaviors.

    When you encounter an aggressive man and feel an attraction toward him, you can reframe your thinking and your feeling of attraction will follow the changed thinking. For example: you are at a restaurant with a man who yells at a waiter/ server, if that turns you on, look at the server’s face and notice a hurt feeling there, or anger, and focus on how the server probably feels- that will lead you to feeling empathy for the server and anger or disgust at the one hurting the server.

    anita

    #366319
    jenny
    Participant

    Thanks Anita. I think there’s a real mind-heart battle here. I think with reading up a fair bit in the last one year and exchanges with you in the last few days, my mind has a fair idea about what is right and can suggest decent perspectives to others, it’s just that when it comes to applying it to my own life, in my heart and emotionally, I’m taking time accepting it and coming on the same page as my mind.

    You’re right, I will take a break for a few days. I’ve been going through the discussions between Peter, Marie, You and Me here to let it all sink in without getting overwhelmed. I’ll get back to you in a couple of days with all that I have understood out of it to discuss my next steps towards a better future.

    Again, thank you so much, Anita. I can’t stress enough how much clarity, engaging with you, has brought to my mental state. Definitely showed me that the kind of people you engage with makes a world of difference to the way you start thinking. Engaging with more positive people and maybe not being very close to some of my friends is definitely one of my priorities hereon.

    Will be back.

    Jenny.

    #366344
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    You are most welcome. I will  be here when you are back.

    anita

    #366507
    jenny
    Participant

    So Anita, I took a break and read the thread again to let it sink in. I also went through a few other threads on the site that were on similar lines.
    Yesterday when dad called, I spoke to him about what I felt, I hadn’t planned on doing it but it just flowed out of me. I told him that I had felt unsupported by him as a teenager when I needed him to comfort/shield me when mom scolded/criticized me and that while I’ve moved on from all that now, it still disturbs me at a sub-conscious level. Surprisingly, he understood it. He accepted it, understood it and told me how he’s himself felt bad about it for a long while (I was surprised that dad remembered so many incidents and he categorically told me that here and here I should have stood up for you but I didn’t just to keep peace but I know it came at a cost). I don’t know if it was the right thing to do or not but I felt so nice. I didn’t want to live with a knot in my heart against my dad and once I told him all about it and more importantly, as he understood it, it felt nice and sorted.

    Now onto my romantic relationship which is my main focus in this thread-

    1. You were right, I do obsess about him. But after a lot of introspection (I literally made flowcharts at a point of time yesterday), I realized that all my obsessive thoughts are like streams coming out of this one umbrella thought that I have, and that is at the root of all of it. It goes like this: I loved him a lot- He left me- I was hurt- I wonder if he will ever regret letting me go/ see me as the one that got away. Everything feeds into this major obsession that I have with whether or not he will regret losing me. That is why I keep thinking if I was bad because I question am I worth regretting, and keep thinking if he’ll be better with someone else because that’ll show he doesn’t regret losing me. So that is my major issue. That is the thought that I have to let go. I can’t think of any way to do that besides just telling myself that it doesn’t matter whether he does or doesn’t. The relation is over and that’s that. If there is any other advice that you have in this matter as to how do I end this obsession with constantly wondering if he’ll regret anything, do let me know.

    2. Mom had told me this a few years back after one of my breakups with him when I was just waiting for him to be back aka obsessing to a level higher than even today. It had helped me but then I fell back into the relation and back into my previous doubting/obsessive tendencies. She’d told me that God has a plan for you, he does for all of us. He thinks about you. If you keep obsessing over all of this, what should I do, what should I not do, what will he think, will he come back or not, will he miss me/regret or not, you are doing all the thinking and worrying for your life, God will be like okay, she’s worrying/thinking about her life enough for both our parts, so let her do it, I need not worry about her life. Leave some things on God, let him also think for you, let him show you a path, have faith in what the universe has planned for you, if his coming back is what is best for you, that will happen, if his staying away from him is best for you, that will happen. Have faith in the universe’s plan for you and stop overthinking. Have faith that what is best for you will happen.
    I just happened to remember this advice and it stuck and made sense. For now at least, it is making me feel very calm. So I think this is what I am going to do, to let it go. Try reducing my obsession with him regretting letting me go and leave few things to the universe and take each day as it comes.
    This is what I’ve been able to figure out so far, will reach out as more things clear up.

    Love

    Jenny

    #366512
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jenny:

    I attentively re-read a few of your recent posts, and your most recent. I will comment on part of your today’s post. If you have a question, or questions, about any part of your post that I didn’t comment on, let me know.

    You wrote that all your obsessive thoughts “are like streams coming out of this one umbrella thought..: I love him a lot- He left me- I was hurt- I wonder if he will ever regret letting me go”. You called this one umbrella thought, “this major obsession”, and “my major issue”.

    “I keep thinking if I was bad because I question am I worth regretting”, you added. And you asked me: “If there is any other advice that you have in this matter as to how do I end this obsession with constantly wondering if he’ll regret anything, do let me know”.

    I understand that you became aware of this umbrella thought after getting together with L, but I think that the origin of this thought is in your experience way before you met L. Let’s look at this umbrella thought:

    “I love him a lot- He left me- I was hurt- I wonder if he will ever regret letting me go”- I will now rewrite this thought with a different pronoun: she, referring to your mother:

    I loved her a lot- she left me- I was hurt- I wonder if she will ever regret letting me go.

    You definitely loved your mother a whole lot, no greater love. And when she criticized you in the ways that she did (the look on her face, her voice, the words she used, the repetition of the criticism)- she left you. More precisely, her approval of you as an okay, lovable person/ her validation of you-  left you. You were very hurt, and you wonder if she will ever regret leaving you.

    Your mother criticized your nature, you shared repeatedly (“criticized my nature”)- it was a heavy-duty criticism, it dug deep into you, and it is in the core of your “immense self-doubt”.

    You wrote in a previous post: “Every morning while still in bed, I wrap my hands around me as if hugging me and say ‘I am a beautiful creation of God who is confident, intelligent and deserving of love, respect and all things good”- this is what you needed to hear your mother say to you, with a smile and a tender voice.

    “But my self-doubt got really triggered since getting together with L only. Before that I think there was little in my life that I could become doubtful. Only good things were happening, school results, prestigious colleges, so I think I was getting validation”- no validation can replace a daughter’s much needed validation by her (invalidating) mother.  You needed her validating smile, her validating voice,  her validating words, such as: you are “a beautiful creation of God.. deserving of love, respect and all things good”.

    School achievements did not, and could not replace your need for her validation. L’s invalidation of you triggered your deep hurt, that deep emotional injury,  about having been invalidated by your mother, and you became obsessed about him changing his mind and validating you, driven to make him change his mind about you.

    If you “completely let go the ex”, of L, it is as if you completely let go of your mother ever validating you. The umbrella thought is about L changing his mind in the future, validating you some time in the future. But really, it is about your mother changing her mind about you.

    What to do now, where to go from here: got to heal that deep emotional injury created by your mother’s heavy-duty criticism of you.

    anita

    #366981
    jenny
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Hope you’re well.

    So I took a long break, tried sorting things out in my head. Few things that I’m doing that is helping me on a daily basis:

    – I spoke to my mom. I’d told in a previous post that I spoke to dad. In the last few days, I spoke to mom too, about it and I poured out all that I had to say, everything that I had kept in. I’d never really said it all out and it went well. She understood it, apologized, we cried together over phone and for the first time in my life, I felt something that I can’t explain. I felt I don’t know, I felt safe. I felt as if I’ve won a battle, I felt as if now I can take anything that life throws at me. I felt safer than I’ve ever felt and the feeling has persisted. I felt ‘right’ for the first time in life. I hope this will continue.

    – I’ll be lying if I said I’m not having thoughts about L (my ex) anymore, however, weirdly, it’s now down to just one thought. It’s like a broken record at the back of my head going on and on. It’s this- I’ve read men on some platforms (Quora/reddit/real-life conversations) talk about their old loves from 30-40 years ago, men who say I’m happily married but a part of me still misses my ex-gf, men who say I will always think what if I had ended up with her etc etc and wonder, will he ever think of me like that or will I just be forgotten”?
    I don’t know why I think this. On the positive note, I’ve stopped thinking many other thoughts, I think I’m slowly accepting things so maybe they don’t bother me anymore. Like I no longer wonder if he’ll regret leaving me. Somehow I’ve accepted that if he couldn’t see things when he was with me, it is useless for me to think that he will see things after he leaves me and it doesn’t bother me anymore. But I do still keep thinking if I’ll be his ‘one that got away’. Will I be that Anita? I don’t know, I think it’s just one of those things that you can never really know.

    Rest, things are looking up. I’m on the whole feeling better, free, confident and most importantly more sure about myself and my thoughts, less constant questioning.
    Not much else on my mind right now, I’ll be glad to read anything that you’d have to say about this.

    Love,
    Jenny

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