September 23, 2023 at 1:47 pm #422426
Thank you for your encouragement and understanding. And yes, the whole reason why I even went on a dating app was because I was tired of being so lonely and not having anyone in my corner or with my same interests. All my friends are married or living with others, and I am almost 32 and absolutely tired of spending all my days with my family and having no privacy and no real life of my own. Like I mentioned in previous posts, I was so excited to carve out my own life with him. Not just because he provided me with safety and acceptance but because we clicked so well and were on the same page about so many things. I think over time though, he saw he wasn’t on the same page with me about some things and just didn’t know how to admit it to himself. Maybe. He was so unique to me with his perspective on life and his sense of humor and his curiosity about stuff, constantly wanting to learn, being understanding to other perspectives without anger, etc. that really attracted me to him. He loved animals and critters so much, he was so gentle with all animals. It is a nice sentiment to believe that maybe all those things I liked in him were attracted to me because I exude those things too. I hope you’re right. I thought he WAS that person I needed to be around because he seemed to embrace every part of me and celebrate me. I miss having my person, the only person I could turn to and wanted to turn to. I had to take away everything he bought me and all of our shared experience items and box it all up and put it in the basement. I just cannot believe how little I ended up actually meaning to him, and I can’t believe how badly I misinterpreted things by my own expectations. I know I keep saying it but I REALLY cannot believe him. He seemed to adore me. And I still don’t trust that my boundary about liking photos was even warranted. I know that I can’t even begin to move forward until I feel that my trust being broken was even real. I feel like I overreacted. But he’s not doing anything to try to talk it out. I don’t know.
And yes, the banana thing really makes sense to me because I can eat a banana once in a blue moon with no issues, but most of the time a banana is a total no-go for me. I do notice the ultra ripe ones do better for me too. It’s just mostly best for me to avoid fruit smoothies nowadays since most seem to do a number on my throat. Since I switched out my medication, my throat has been doing very poorly with the foods I usually can halfway tolerate. I’m not sure if it’s just the medication, or a lot more to do with my constant crying and anxiety over this breakup.
I appreciate your words of encouragement and your faith in me to rise above this like I always have, but I’m genuinely worried I won’t. I never really have ever healed abandonment wounds and feelings of unworthiness after a breakup. I just keep adding baggage and trust issues with new men. But I also know that with this defeatist attitude, I’m disserving myself badly. It’s like I see what’s wrong, but my habits are so strong and my negative thinking is so automatic that I cannot even begin to believe something good about myself. When I was in counseling, we tried to rewire my brain to start believing the good stuff. I know I have to somehow convince myself. It’s just so incredibly hard when I keep being dumped over my issues and insecurities.September 23, 2023 at 4:35 pm #422427
It sounds like the break up has shaken you and made you doubt yourself. You mentioned that you don’t feel like you can move past this unless you believe that your trust was broken.
You’re not sure if asking your ex not to like sexy pictures was warranted. The closest experience I have had to that is earlier on when my partner and I were first dating he had lots of female friends (he still does). Anyway sometimes they used cute nicknames like honey and babe. I didn’t check his phone but he would pass his phone to me and show me funny videos and pictures and a text would occasionally pop up saying these things and it would make me uncomfortable. So he would show me the conversation when this happened to reassure me and it was otherwise normal. I still asked him to set some boundaries with his friends not to call him honey or babe while he was dating. He agreed with said that was fine. There have been no issues since because everyone is quite happy to respect that boundary which helps make me feel more comfortable.
Everyone is different and has different things that bother them. Part of dating is accommodating each others needs and boundaries as long as they’re reasonable.
I think it’s reasonable to feel uncomfortable when your partner likes sexy pictures on social media. It’s not something that makes me personally uncomfortable. But I do understand how it could make other people uncomfortable.
Your partner used the excuse that he didn’t think he would be able to promise that and keep that promise.
But I think what is important in a partner is not that they do everything perfectly. Just that they try and do their best.
Anything sexual with his previous history of porn addiction that behaviour could have been a long term struggle for him to manage if he tried.
I think a lot of people have long term struggles with specific issues. My husband is loud and raises his voice a lot when he’s excited, shocked, or upset. Because he this behaviour is present throughout his daily life it’s difficult for him to entirely eliminate during arguments. I have PTSD, so when he raises his voice during periods of conflict, it’s a trigger that upsets me. I shut down because I’m overwhelmed and he gets upset because he worries I’m trying to ignore him like previous partners have. He really does try his best to manage his behaviour, but he isn’t perfect. I try and manage my behaviour and recover as soon as possible, but I’m not perfect. No one is perfect and that’s okay. You can still be pretty amazing and not perfect at the same time.
When two people have conflicting issues it’s impossible for one person to resolve. Both people need to try. I think you’re a reasonable person. You would have been happy if you felt like he was trying.
For you, perhaps the long term issue was insecurity? Would you agree?
I think lying about his trans friend from work is clearly breaking your trust too. He should have been honest about things that would have concerned you, but he wasn’t because he wanted to avoid talking about it.
What’s ironic is by refusing to deal with these situations he caused a lot of problems in the relationship. Individually these are fairly small things. He could have done his best to try to alter his behaviour with the pictures and been simply been honest about his coworker friend. He could have asked his friends not to smoke around you and introduced you. He could have easily picked up the phone and called you.
I had a friend who was like your ex, in that he was uncomfortable with conflict and would say anything he thought the other person wanted to hear to get him out of it. Yet, he wanted to change nothing. This lead to me getting fed up with being lied to and ultimately, I ended the friendship.
You have a wonderful gift Stacy, to be able to make the person that you’re talking to feel special. I think over time, he started to realize the impact the issues he was causing had on the relationship. It’s possible that he felt like he was disappointing you.
You’re a very patient and empathetic person. Combined with your uncertainty about maintaining your boundaries. It sounds like you don’t tend to be the person who ends relationships. You would have tried to work things out.
But sometimes, even if you love someone things don’t work out. I once had to leave someone I loved because they refused to talk at all about difficulties in the relationship. They just shut down entirely and ignored me for a month.
I don’t think you meant nothing to your ex. I don’t think the good times that you had together were lies.
There were multiple factors at play which lead to the relationship ending.
Lifestyle – his weed addiction would have been impossible for you to live with. I’ve had people live with me smoking weed before and I also have asthma. It honestly sucks even when they’re only doing it outside, the smoke is strong and clings to them when they come inside.
His mental health – was clearly a large reason why he had difficulties with accommodating you in the relationship.
Would you like to discuss difficulties you’ve had with other relationships ending?
Wishing you all the best 🙏September 24, 2023 at 10:14 am #422441
“I feel that my eating issues and health anxiety is objectively hard to live with and be around, as everyone in my life has admitted this to me“-
– your mother and sister are the most influential of the people in your life who admitted this to you, right? But thing is, you did not develop in a vacuum, but through interactions with your family members, and those interactions led to your health issues. Let’s say you end up living with an emotionally healthy-enough man, one who sleeps through the night (unlike your sister who suffers from severe insomnia, yelling at her son in the middle of the night), a man who (unlike your mother) does not watch Gunsmoke all day, tunning you out.. in these different circumstances, you will have the opportunity to experience much improvement in regard to your eating and health anxiety issues.
“I just really miss him..“- you miss escaping your home life during the weekends with him, don’t you?
“My mom has always loved me in the ways she knew how – cooking for me and trying to take care of me when I was sick.“- amazing, when I used to think that my mother loved me, I thought of these same exact two things as evidence of her (alleged) love.
“She’s preoccupied by her own misery… I know her way of showing me love has been Christmas presents and monetary expressions of love when she can. It’s why Christmas is so depressing for me, I want to fast forward straight through it“- if she truly loved you during Christmas, you would be looking forward to Christmas, wanting Christmas to last forever.
“I see her attempts to love me with this“- failed attempts.. (the proof is in the pudding, like I mentioned before).
“I constantly look at other places to stay and you’re right that any other place with a peaceful schedule could be better. My car broke down AGAIN last night. I’m stuck at home physically when this happens, but also stuck because I keep having to put my paychecks into fixing the car rather than saving to move.“- I am sorry that your car broke down again. I am guessing that there is no public transportation in your small town, so you can’t work and save money not owning a car at all..?
“Everyone knows my sister and brother around here… This is a very small town… I can’t seem to make new connections without them being connected to someone else“- moving far away will be a good thing for you, away from everyone who knows everyone.
I know that your situation is difficult, objectively and subjectively. I hope that it gets better very soon on both fronts.
anitaSeptember 26, 2023 at 11:29 pm #422530
Thank you. I wish I had made it clear to him that I wasn’t expecting perfection from him. It hurts to know that he was probably telling me what I wanted to hear a lot of the time. It’s hard to know what was real because of that. Him liking those photos made me see him differently because of what you mentioned with his possible sexual struggles – there seemed to be a pattern I was seeing with him being sexually unfulfilled by me. He told me that his best didn’t seem good enough and that his best will never be good enough for anyone the night he broke up with me. So maybe he just gave up, or just used this opportunity as an out he had been looking for. I think you’re right that he may have been feeling like he was disappointing me for awhile, or that he didn’t want to try harder out of a lack of passion for me and guilt set in over time. He told me on several occasions that he felt that I didn’t trust him and he assured me each time that his intentions were good and that we were a team.
And yes, in reference to your question about relationship difficulties from the past: trust and my own insecurities are my biggest issues I’m carrying. I dated one guy for four years who didn’t have social media for most of the time we were dating. Then he suddenly made an Instagram account behind my back during one of our “breaks” and I found it and saw that he was exclusively following pantyhose fetish model accounts, barely legal girls in lingerie, and more sexually explicit content. I felt like I didn’t even know the guy. I approached him about all of this hurting my feelings so much and he told me I had changed – that I was being controlling and jealous and wasn’t the girl he signed up for. His excuse for the barely legal girls he was following was to “network.” He had a local small business in our neighboring university town and he was following 18 year old girls in their freshman year of college who had visited his business. (He was 33 at the time). He was also incredibly controlling and judgmental, racist, sexist, homophobic. Had no empathy, told me to just go ahead and get on welfare like the rest of my family because I would never be a functioning adult and that I was bringing him down/holding him back with my negativity and anxiety. He also came from an upper middle class family and so I never felt I could measure up to him or his family’s standards. They were incredibly pretentious like him. I ended up finally breaking up with him for good in July 2019 after so much emotional abuse and confusion. I didn’t believe I ever had the right to be upset or stand up for myself with him because all the issues he had with me were rooted in truth. It is absolutely foreign to me to expect someone to change for me or to adjust their behavior because I’m uncomfortable with something. My brain just tells me they have the right to do what they want to do and no one inherently deserves or owes anyone anything. It’s like I’m being unfair. This is the problem I have where I don’t know how to advocate for myself or set boundaries. I rationalize everyone’s behavior and judgment but my own, I guess because I feel my perspective can’t be trusted. I feel like I still haven’t moved on from the issues this guy made me see about myself and my family.
I wish I could be unbothered by the liking of photos and such. I feel like if they aren’t liking photos, they can be flirting on another platform, and it just boils down to trust and that’s where it’s my problem. I also understand the loud voice/raising of voice during conversation, that one is also a trigger for me. I just still cannot believe my ex also lied to me about the trans coworker. I sincerely wanted to believe that he was just protecting their pronouns. I’m still in so much denial, I guess.September 27, 2023 at 12:08 am #422531
Yes, it’s true that my mom and sister are struggling so much with their own issues that they are just incapable of giving me the energy and patience I need. I kind of feel like I’m not able to be a present daughter either right now, I’m struggling with my own issues. You hit the nail on the head with how I feel about Christmas, thank you for putting words to my scrambled feelings about that. It’s such an empty feeling. Maybe someday I can give someone a more healed version of myself. I know I have to take responsibility for how this all has affected how I show up in relationships and yet also be able to stand up for myself. It’s a very hard balance for me.
Also no, there is no public transportation in my town other than a van. It’s not as sketchy as it sounds but it does not travel out to the woods where I live. Also, thank you. I have the game plan of what will help make me feel like a capable woman, but shorter term goals need to happen and I need to see value in myself right now too. If you don’t mind me asking, but did your work in therapy help build your self-worth and self-trust? I say that because you mentioned earlier in one of your posts that even after you moved out and met your external goals, that you still struggled with negative feelings. I know I have to feel good with myself while I work towards those long term goals and it just feels impossible to go 30-ish years feeling so insignificant and like a burden to suddenly loving myself. It’s the biggest void I’m trying to fill.September 27, 2023 at 3:54 am #422534
I think with your recent ex you’re placing too much responsibility on yourself. People struggle with the same issues they’ve always had in relationships. Likely, he’s always struggled with difficulty during natural conflict. He strikes me as a wishful thinker in positive times. I don’t think he meant harm during conflict. He just wanted you to feel better with minimal effort. Whilst he had his own issues and unhealthy behaviours. I don’t see things on the same scale as your abusive ex.
I’m so sorry to hear about your 4 year relationship with your abusive ex. Some of the things he said to you were awful. No wonder you experience difficulty with being assertive and boundaries. He emotionally beat you down to the point where you didn’t believe in yourself.
There’s a lot of information out there about assertive communication and ways to manage relationship conflict in a healthy way. A website I used to teach myself about it is called Skills You Need. It provides lots of theory, examples and it’s free.
You’re right, ultimately no one has to make any changes that they don’t want to. But if you think about healthy relationships, they’re about compromise. It’s not about making unreasonable requests, that would be controlling and abusive. But reasonable requests a partner may choose to consent to, because it enhances the relationship.
For example, with trust issues. I too don’t like the idea of flirting and I’m aware it does sometimes happen in relationships. My husband chose to consent to my request because it was reasonable, I was in no way attempting to limit his contact with his friends. He was aware that if he didn’t, I would likely continue to be concerned by his friends calling him pet names which would add unnecessary stress to the relationship. It’s all about working together to reduce stress. He cared about my comfort in the relationship.
I totally agree with your concerns about the previous ex with the Instagram account with the sexual pictures of barely legal girls. It would make me uncomfortable too. I am aware that some men think it’s okay to lust after younger women who are of legal age. Ethically, I don’t because of the age difference and differences in maturity. These are valid concerns. He was gaslighting you when you confronted him about these issues.
I don’t think you’re a negative person Stacy. Yes, you have anxiety and trust issues. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many people have similar issues, though they can manifest in different ways. I see these things as a product of your environment. You’ve experienced so much in your life. That ex you had lacked empathy for all of the painful experiences you’ve been through. Instead of praising your strength for doing your best to work your way through it all. He tore you down which is disgusting to me.
It comes more naturally for people with easier lives to be more confident. For people who have experienced a lot of trauma in their life these things are more difficult and take effort and active nurturing to achieve.
I’ve come from an abusive background growing up. I think the main thing a therapist did was challenge my unhealthy thoughts and teach me to spot abuse from others. Her belief in me as a person was very healing.
Outside of therapy I did a lot of work on my own to heal parts of myself that struggled with self-worth. This meant practising being kinder to myself. Restructuring and reframing negative thoughts. Lowering my anxiety. Forgiving and accepting myself. Working on personal development, so I could like myself as a person. Practicing meditation. Developing skills in assertiveness and practicing maintaining healthy boundaries.
After doing these things, I felt like I had all of the right pieces, but it didn’t click and fit in my head. Practising loving kindness meditation was the final step for me. I focused on nurturing positive loving feelings for others and in time that extended to myself.
At the end I realized that simply pursuing these changes, and starting this journey is an act of self love. Even if you don’t feel the results yet.
I was wondering, if you have a central negative thought about yourself? Mine was not feeling good enough or feeling unlovable.
You are truly a beautiful person Stacy! Your strength and kindness despite the difficulties you’ve experienced is inspiring.
Wishing you all the best! 🙏September 27, 2023 at 10:13 am #422540
“Also, thank you“- you are welcome!
“I have the game plan of what will help make me feel like a capable woman, but shorter term goals need to happen and I need to see value in myself right now… I know I have to feel good with myself while I work towards those long term goals and it just feels impossible to go 30-ish years feeling so insignificant and like a burden to suddenly loving myself. It’s the biggest void I’m trying to fill.“-
– a severe lack of self-worth is a huge void, a vacuum, and a very painful one. Like any vacuum, it quickly gets filled with whatever is around it. In this case, it gets filled with self-doubts, self-judgment, guilt and shame, and you find yourself occupied with these painful negative feelings.
Like other animals, our first, instinctual, most urgent need is to survive, and therefore, we instinctually focus on pain for the purpose of confronting what’s causing it (ex., an injury), healing it and stopping the pain. When an animal is experiencing significant or severe pain, it is not motivated to eat or sleep or mate, pain is the singular focus. Similarly, when a person experiences significant to severe emotional pain, the person’s focus is on the pain and what’s causing it; the person is not able to focus on something positive, such as the goal of becoming a capable woman.
You have a game plan to become a capable woman, having long-term goals that depend on short-term goals.. but these painful negative feelings are in the way: how can you feel like, and become a capable woman, if you are filled with self-doubts, judgment, guilt and shame? (I’ll get to it in a moment).
“you mentioned earlier in one of your posts that even after you moved out and met your external goals, that you still struggled with negative feelings“-
– you are probably referring to my sharing that at the age of 24, I flew across the world by myself- far, far away from my torment-filled relationship with my mother- ending up in New York City during Christmas time (talking about Christmas!), feeling HAPPY perhaps for the first time in my life, positive and hopeful. It was a magical time, a thrilling time. But then.. seeing all the magic, I felt sorry for my poor mother who so often complained about having had a miserable life, never traveling, never seeing the world.. I was filled with empathy for her (I cared too much for her) and guilt, so I arranged for her to fly and stay in NYC. Once she arrived- and even before she arrived- gone was the Magic and back was the Torment.
Imagine that you move out of your loud, chaotic home (as you described it), and find yourself living in a quiet, calm and peaceful home. At first, you enjoy the newness so much, it’s magical! But then, you think to yourself: my poor mother, my poor sister: they are living in a loud, chaotic home.. Oh, how they’d love living where I am now. And so, you invite them to live with you, and.. gone is the newness and back is the same old, same old loudness and chaos.
“If you don’t mind me asking, but did your work in therapy help build your self-worth and self-trust?“- (1) It helped having a person listen to me and talk to me respectfully. What a refreshing experience. (2) It helped having a person being curious about what I think and feel, a person caring about what’s happening in my heart and mind. Invisibility is what I was used to before. (It was like war was happening in my mind and heart day in and day out.. and no one noticed, or cared).
My mother used to conduct those Shaming Sessions against me, sessions she said I deserved: she would corner me and facing me, she would say out loud, very loudly, the most shaming words, humiliating me in any and every possible way she could think of. She’d shame me in one way, then figure that there was a better, more effective way to shame me, so she did, and she’d go about it enthusiastically. She was very creative that way, and very motivated. She wouldn’t stop shaming and guilt-tripping me, and hitting me (telling me that the only thing she liked about me was that I silently looked down at the floor when she hit me) until she ran out of words and breath. “Look what you did to me”, she’d say, looking at her hands, “you made my hands hurt” she’d say, referring to having hit me to the point that she felt pain in her hands.
I believed her and proceeded to lived a life that a bad, shameful, guilty person deserves. I was filled with severe self-worth-void, a vacuum filled with shame and guilt. Dissociated much of the time, wishing to die.. and feeling sorry for her, overwhelmed by empathy for her, and none for me. She was still- throughout all this- “the best mother in the world”, her words=> my words. She did buy me things, toys and clothes and my favorite cake, a chocolate marzipan cake.
Back to your question: “Did your work in therapy help build your self-worth and self-trust?“- it helped but it didn’t build my self-worth and self-trust. What helped me most has been better interactions with people in real-life and my daily participation in the forums of tiny buddha May 2015-Feb/March 2023, resumed recently, including my communication with you and this very post that I am about to submit to you, one I’ve been working on for 3-4 hours so far.
What I shared with you, those Shaming Sessions, I never shared about them the way I did with you this very morning. In the past, when I shared about my Torment with my mother, I was detached, dissociated and didn’t quite believe that it really happened and that it was that bad and I didn’t believe that.. she was the one at fault.
It took figuratively giving my mother the badness that belongs to her, so that I don’t carry it anymore within me. Removing that badness that filled the void, made it possible for a measure of self-worth and self-trust to take the space previously occupied by shame and guilt. I still feel empathy for my mother (with whom I had no contact for ten years), but I also feel empathy for myself. My sister contacted me six months ago, suggesting that I reconnect with my mother, telling me that she’s getting old, that she has “a lot of good in her”, and that she and admits having “made mistakes”. No elaboration on “mistakes”. I refused the suggestion.
The pain is still within me this morning, but it is my pain, not her pain. In other words, I now belong to myself and what is mine- is mine, not hers, not my mother’s. My life is not hers and it is not about her, not anymore.
You wrote in your most recent post: “it’s true that my mom and sister are struggling so much with their own issues that they are just incapable of giving me the energy and patience I need. I kind of feel like I’m not able to be a present daughter either right now, I’m struggling with my own issues“- their issues and your issues are not separate issues for as long as you are living with them and for as long as you care about them more than you care about yourself. Choose you over them, be number 1, own your life, make it your own.
anitaSeptember 29, 2023 at 8:40 pm #422596
Thank you for your kindness, I wish I could believe I’m being too hard on myself but I feel I deserve it. I cried so hard this evening as my sister walked in on me and she yelled at me for allowing him to hurt and control my mood so much still. I’m scared of how hopeless I feel. My best friend also told me a few nights ago that he would be embarrassed of himself to allow someone to have this kind of control over him and it would motivate him to level up.
Now that I have had several years of perspective and two more failed relationships under my belt, I can see that my abusive ex was a very dangerous person. However, I am not over what he confirmed about my self-concept. My current ex made me finally see myself and my family in a more positive, accepting, and lovable light, but then showed me the same message in the end. You asked me what is my central negative thought about myself – it’s the same as yours, basically. It’s everything my abusive ex shamed me about and confirmed. It’s that I’m poverty trash and my family is stupid, ignorant, dysfunctional and unhealthy in all ways, and so I am too. It’s that I have the body of a 12 year old girl, that I’m not desirable. I can’t really eat food so I’m a lousy dinner date and it’s not fun to be adventurous or travel with me because of my anxiety and limitations. That men only date me because I’m easy to get attention from and they know they can use me because they are above me and out of my league. Then they bounce once they are done with me. I do not feel like a high value woman because it has not been proven to me by someone I value that I am high value enough not to leave.
A few months into dating my recent ex, I told him the story about how my abusive ex created the social media account behind my back and was following all of those accounts. My (recent) ex not only validated how wrong and creepy that was – it became a running joke with us up until the end. It was so nice to be able to joke and laugh about it all finally and to have a guy genuinely seem to love me and not want to hurt me like that. I guess he just didn’t think he was on the same level as my abusive ex at all when he did something similar because he didn’t see what he was doing was wrong. For one, the photos I got upset about were from someone only three years younger than him and he was still friends with. I don’t know if they hooked up when he was backpacking through Europe or not, I can’t remember. Regardless, she WAS a Tinder match at one point and I always had trouble accepting he was still connected to her. You know how you said your husband tried to assuage you with compromise and prove to you that you could trust him? My ex tried to do the same thing when I first brought this topic up to him – he showed me her profile and explained he was still connected to her because they had shared travel experiences and he liked being reminded of his own travel memories when he’d see her on his feed. He even showed me all of his messages and tried to reassure me that I was the only female he was regularly talking to. The last time he had spoken to her was right when we had started dating last year. So I felt he was honest and trying for me. So I guess I feel a little silly for getting upset at seeing him like her sexy photos… or even her photos in general. He ultimately insinuated I overreacted and was being unfair after he had tried his very best for me this whole time. Sure, he acknowledged he “f***ed up” and that he fell for the thirst traps and had wandering eyes. I said I was just so jealous over her because she was attractive and traveled, how I couldn’t compete with that. He responded with, “I’m jealous too! I wish I was also attractive and traveling the world!” I went back to her page tonight only to realize he has liked almost EVERY SINGLE photo she’s posted going back to at least 2015. It just really hurt because it shows she’s obviously still someone he pines for to this day. Clearly he’s getting something out of still looking at her and liking her posts. So it hurts me so much but I worry it’s literally just my jealousy. I know that compromise is vital in a relationship but I worry that after he tried to reassure me, I just saw something malicious that wasn’t there. Or maybe I know better and him still pining over her grosses me out and makes me sick to my stomach. I keep going over this because I think if I can just decide and make peace with THIS part, maybe I can trust myself to start accepting the outcome, if that makes sense. Or maybe that’s an OCD mind trick with needing the certainty, I don’t know. My problem is I FEEL that I’m irrational about this stuff but I can’t help but FEEL so much betrayal from it. I know I will always run into this in future relationships and even if a guy in the future compromises for me and doesn’t like photos, I’m still gonna find something to get jealous of until I actually believe I’m attractive and high value.September 29, 2023 at 9:41 pm #422598
I wanted to start off by sharing something interesting that happened to me at work yesterday. I came into work crying as I have for basically this whole month of the breakup. Constantly ruminating as usual but had cleaned myself up trying to be presentable. One of my coworkers came into the room and needed me to help her locate some books and prizes for an upcoming event. So I showed her where things were in our storage closet and gave her some suggestions. She stayed in the closet for a good 30 minutes while I sat back down at my desk trying to refocus, with no success. As she was leaving, I told her I hoped she had found some good items to take with her. She turned around and looked at me with several things in her arms and said, “I did. These will work well. Thank you for always being so sweet and… capable.” I thanked her and she walked out of the room only for me to not even register what she had said until seconds later. The way she delivered that line, I cannot even describe how eerie that was in person. She paused in that sentence and you could tell she was searching for what to say after calling me sweet. The thoughtful pause before that “capable” delivery sent chills down my spine and I burst right back out into tears. I had to go to the bathroom and gather myself. I thought of what you and I have been discussing with this “capable woman” theme lately. I still do not understand what possessed her to say that to me because for one, I hardly ever even see her and she doesn’t see my daily work effort. Also, what I helped her with was hardly difficult. For it to be that on the nose made me feel like there was some reason for it. There had to be. I’ve told no one about this yet and I say that because I’m usually inclined to immediately share everything that happens to me with my sister or mom for reassurance or validation. I know they’d appreciate this story and believe it meant something for me, they are both very spiritual. But I also know that if I tell them this, they will then try to tell me that this was my sign I need to move on now and get frustrated with me for not. They keep dying for me to, anyway. I would rather this be something between you and I because I feel that at least for now, it confirms that what I’m doing RIGHT NOW by posting here is meant to be happening. Also, that I appreciate this forum and your perspective. I am so happy to hear that your experience posting here and with me has been helping you too.
Your scenario of me moving out but still struggling internally makes a lot of sense, it’s like that saying, “wherever you go, there you are.” I am very fearful of never shaking the guilt of distancing myself physically from my mother and my sister. But you have moved through it and it’s inspiring. I do miss having the voice of objective empathy from my old counseling sessions too, indeed it is so refreshing. I think I found that voice in my ex because he was curious about how I think and feel, and encouraged me to always be transparent with him about anything bothering me. He’d say, “I want you to feel comfortable coming to me, I want you to not feel scared and I want to always be there for you to work through things.” The switch up from what he claimed has been SHOCKING to say the least. Still haven’t heard from him in over two weeks, no change from the last time I’ve posted here. He told me early on in our relationship when he was admitting to struggling with commitment and trust issues from being cheated on recently (at the time) by his ex that he had a hero complex and was frustrated with himself for it. I am beginning to wonder if he had tried to “save” me in a way too and saw that he bit off way more than he could or was willing to chew anymore with me.
Hearing what your mother put you through physically, psychologically, emotionally, etc. is absolutely horrible. The lack of accountability for her abusiveness wasn’t yours to hold and I am so glad you are and have been working away from it to heal. I know your decision to continue your distance from her recently was not an easy one and it’s good you had the self-respect and self assurance to know what was right for you, despite your sister’s stance. I think I am beginning to see that my sister’s experience doesn’t have to be my own, because it’s not! We had and continue to have entirely different experiences with our mom, despite sharing so many of the same. And yes, I suppose living with them is only keeping me enmeshed. My car is still in the shop and I’ve had to be driven to work all week by my mother (she won’t let me drive her car). The experience has been demeaning and not at all helpful for feeling like a capable woman… lol. As you can see from my my most recent post to Helcat, I’m a basket case right now. I think my lack of independence with my car issues is partly the reason why I feel like I’ve sunken even lower this week emotionally.September 30, 2023 at 2:28 am #422604
I think it’s really healthy and important that you are allowed to express painful feelings.
Did you ever hear the common saying that it takes half as long as you were in a relationship to get over it? So you dated for a year? That would mean that taking 6 months to process the break up is normal.
It’s really awful that you’re in a situation where friends and family are so wildly uncomfortable with people expressing normal healthy emotions. It’s abnormal to suppress feelings. When sad things happen, it’s appropriate to be sad. That’s what I meant by these feelings being normal.
No one should yell at you for having feelings. It’s really appalling to me. I’m so sorry that people are treating you like this. It’s like you’re being shamed for how you feel. I wish that I could tell them off for you and tell them if they don’t have anything kind to say, they should say nothing at all.
I think that what your ex said was very telling. I’m jealous too. I wish that I was attractive and travelling the world.
He’s very much telling you that he finds her attractive. All along, you have expressed concern about him being attracted to other women.
I think this is slightly different from liking sexy photos of someone he didn’t have any connection to. I think when there is a connection it’s actually hurtful. He’s got a habit of liking sexy photos of women he knew. It’s not like pornography. I can understand why you would feel threatened by that.
My husband was in communication with his ex that abused him when we started dating. He had a hard time expressing to her that he was actually hurt by the things she’d done. It made me uncomfortable because in the back of my mind I was afraid that they might get back together. I think the reason I accepted the communication and wasn’t as threatened by it was because of the abuse. I thought he needed time to process and actually stand up for himself. Eventually, he did!
It’s a different situation from what you experienced, but it’s very normal for people to have these feelings of concern about their partners having connections with others.
I think that you deserve a kudos for not overreacting. Contrary to what your ex believed. There are some people who behave unreasonably. Trying to ban contact with those they feel threatened by. There are some people who habitually check their partners phone because they don’t trust them. It’s different when your partner openly shows you.
I think that your request not to like sexy photos was a very appropriate boundary. You show a healthy understanding of boundaries and care for how your feelings impact others. I think because you’re aware of your insecurity insecurity issues you kept a watchful eye on it.
Wishing you all the best! 🙏September 30, 2023 at 11:55 am #422609
“I’m poverty trash and my family is stupid, ignorant, dysfunctional and unhealthy in all ways, and so I am too. It’s that I have the body of a 12 year old girl, that I’m not desirable…“- imagine someone posting here on the forums, telling me: anita, you are poverty trash! You are stupid, ignorant, dysfunctional and unhealthy in all ways! etc. Would you stand up for me?
I think that you would. I will do the same that you will do for me: Stacy, this is not okay for you to talk about Stacy this way! It is not okay to shame Stacy for the financial status she was born into, or for the family she was born to, and for all choices made by others!
As a matter of fact, it is not okay to shame Stacy for ANYTHING!
You wrote to me in your most recent post: “Hearing what your mother put you through physically, psychologically, emotionally, etc. is absolutely horrible. The lack of accountability for her abusiveness wasn’t yours to hold“- (1) it is not okay for you, precious Stacy, to put yourself through psychological, emotional abuse! I am holding you accountable: no more self-abuse, okay? (2) thank you for your empathy for me. Please extend the same to you.
If you could go back in time all the way to my childhood, and you told my mother to stop shaming me, and she’d say something like: but I am saying what I honestly feel, she (anita) really is worthless, etc…. Would you tell her to keep shaming me because she really believes what she’s saying? Or would you tell her to treat me respectfully regardless of what she is thinking and feeling?
I am asking you to treat yourself (in the ways you talk about yourself) respectfully, no matter what. Make this commitment to yourself.
“I do not feel like a high value woman because it has not been proven to me by someone I value“- entering relationships as a self-perceived low value woman, hoping to be proven valuable by a man.. is not going to work.
“I came into work crying as I have for basically this whole month of the breakup…. She turned around and looked at me with several things in her arms and said, ‘… Thank you for always being so sweet and… capable.’… She paused in that sentence and you could tell she was searching for what to say after calling me sweet. The thoughtful pause before that ‘capable’ delivery sent chills down my spine and I burst right back out into tears…I’ve told no one about this yet and I say that because I’m usually inclined to immediately share everything that happens to me with my sister or mom for reassurance or validation… If I tell them this, they will then try to tell me that this was my sign I need to move on now and get frustrated with me for not… I would rather this be something between you and I because I feel that at least for now, it confirms that what I’m doing RIGHT NOW by posting here is meant to be happening. Also, that I appreciate this forum and your perspective. I am so happy to hear that your experience posting here and with me has been helping you too.“-
– (1) I appreciate you sharing this with me! (2) Yes, my communication with you is definitely helping me. Thank you! (2) I like what your co-worker said: this IS the way to talk to Stacy and about Stacy: positively and appreciatively! (3) Better indeed that you don’t tell your mother and sister about it and that overall, you stop sharing everything that happens to you with them, looking for their reassurance and validation because they provide you with reassurance and validation only at times, and partly, conditionally, bringing in a negative to you with every positive they extend to you.
You need consistent reliable support, not a mix of support and opposition.
“I am very fearful of never shaking the guilt of distancing myself physically from my mother and my sister“- you feel very fearful and guilty. I accept and respect you feeling whatever it is that you feel at any time.
“I do miss having the voice of objective empathy from my old counseling sessions too, indeed it is so refreshing“- objective empathy, or .. consistent empathy is not your experience with your mother and sister.
“I think I found that voice in my ex… Still haven’t heard from him in over two weeks… He told me early on in our relationship.. that he had a hero complex… I am beginning to wonder if he had tried to ‘save’ me in a way too and saw that he bit off way more than he could or was willing to chew anymore with me“- he doesn’t belong on the pedestal that you placed him on. He isn’t a hero who can save you, never was. He did say all the right things though, at times. It could have been a result of growing up with two PhD psychotherapist parents.
“I think I am beginning to see that my sister’s experience doesn’t have to be my own, because it’s not! We had and continue to have entirely different experiences with our mom, despite sharing so many of the same“- siblings often take opposite roles within a troubled family, and therefore they think more differently than strangers do.
I hope that your car gets fixed soon and that it stays operational for a long time!
anitaSeptember 30, 2023 at 10:39 pm #422616
A continuation of my reply earlier.
I would say that your ex liking every single a Tinder matches photo since 2015 is concerning. I think logically you know this. Even if he did most of it in the past before he dated you, it sounds like he was still doing it during the relationship. His behaviour could suggest an obsession with this person. It’s not a nice feeling to be dating someone obsessed with another person.
He did you a disservice by dismissing how you felt about these issues. I’m guessing that you were being considerate and gentle with bringing up these issues and asking him to stop linking her sexy photos. A gentle inquiry was easy for him to refuse. Did you go a little deeper in your enquiry? If not, why not? Were you afraid of upsetting him? It’s tough because when people try to avoid discussing serious issues, sometimes you do need to push the issue and be direct about what is hurting you.
I can see how much pain you’re in about all of this. I think it’s really important when you’re in a lot of pain to try really hard to practice self care. Is there anything that usually you find comfort in? For me, this is talking to friends, petting my dogs and cat, walking the dogs, going outside (I really hate being stuck indoors), watching tv. Everyone has their own unique needs. What do you need that comforts you?
I’d like you to read this next part when you have a calmer moment.
So when we experience a lot of verbal abuse in our lives, we internalise it and begin to abuse ourselves. One trick to changing this behaviour is taking a key theme and practicing repeatedly negating that.
Hearing other people say nice things to us and reassure us cracks the door to the possibility of the negative thoughts being wrong. But it’s practicing intentionally challenging your own negative thoughts that changes the belief that you hold about yourself.
You expressed a lot of different themes. Picking one reoccurring thought in your own words is most helpful. For me, it was I’m not good enough.
I would suggest only practicing the following exercise when you are feeling calmer. I found it can trigger abusive thoughts otherwise, which isn’t helpful.
So for me, the phrase I challenged was not being good enough.
Step 1: What is a good person? What does it mean to you?
Step 2: What is a bad person? What does it mean to you?
Step 3: Do you share any traits in how you describe a good or a bad person?
I found a balanced approach to be helpful at first because my mind would totally reject being overly positive initially. I think I found considering things equally and logically made it hard to deny the good things about myself. I worked up to being totally positive after a lot of practice.
Step 4: Now that you’ve identified some good traits. Record evidence of these traits occurring in daily life. I found this to be a difficult task initially. Starting out small can be helpful.
For example, a stranger dropped their keys and I returned them. I treated my friend dinner. When X person was sad I comforted them.
Another helpful tool, was writing down compliments other people gave me.
Over time, repeatedly doing these activities can be helpful in changing internal beliefs about yourself.
When we abuse ourselves and have low self-esteem we don’t see ourselves for who we actually are. These exercises help us to acknowledge the good things about ourselves that we habitually ignore.
I don’t think you’re like your family. I think you’re like a flower stubbornly growing in the desert or the darkness reaching towards the light. You have faced challenging circumstances your whole life, ones that would make a less capable driven person give up and become cruel. You persist despite your challenging circumstances and you do so with kindness.October 3, 2023 at 9:55 pm #422697
Hi Anita and Helcat. I just wanted to pop back in to say thank you for your responses and I’ll respond soon. Work and my car issues have been crazy!October 4, 2023 at 12:31 am #422698
No worries, take your time! Good luck with the car and work issues.
Wishing you all the best! 🙏October 4, 2023 at 9:55 am #422715
You are welcome, Stacy, and thank you for your note!