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Extremely painful breakup and confusion

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  • This topic has 128 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by anita.
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  • #426002
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    I suggest that (unless you already did this) that you find out when the work health insurance kicks in: immediately or after a number of months that you work full time (?), as well what services offered (ex., how many no-cost of hospitalization days each offers) and the costs of each service, and very importantly: how many counseling sessions each offers, how frequently (once a week, once  month..?) and at what cost, if any.

    Also, is there any security offered to you if you take the full time job, or is it possible or likely that you will be fired at any time? It will be a shame to give up Medicaid, start the new insurance only for it to be terminated if and when fired.

    anita

     

    Hi Anita I can’t thoroughly respond as I’m at work right now on my phone, but in reference to your suggestion I stay part time and keep my Medicaid: if I get full time at this job, I will be eligible for their health insurance plan. So I will still receive some help, but it won’t be as good as what I have now. Also, I’ll be making twice as much in a month since I’ll be working more hours and I thought this may help me to start actually saving to move out of this house. I think you definitely have a good point though and it’s why the decision is so tough…

    #426003
    anita
    Participant

    *Oopsie, I forgot to edit out the part at the end of my post.

    anita

    #426006
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for responding to me so promptly while I was at work.

    Also, thank you for the insurance question suggestions, they are really good. I’ll bring these to whoever I can as soon as I can. The only thing I know is that the insurance offered is a good insurance, but unfortunately my gastro doctor I really like is not covered under it. I’m grateful I will be getting coverage of ANY kind now either way, of course too. I assume that I wouldn’t be fired because my position has a bad reputation of high turnover and they are actively trying very hard to not continue that as it looks bad on us. My position is actually supposed to be a “specialist” position, but they broke this full-time position up into two part-time positions when I was hired. I am overqualified but my manager told me they won’t promote me because of budgeting, but that they are going to try to reevaluate the raise/promotion in the new fiscal year. That’s the only growth I could receive with my bachelor’s degree. However, I don’t think they will be particularly happy with me if I go back on my word about taking full time, so there is some concern there.

    “… I hope that you receive quality counseling soon. I hope that in counseling, you will unearth your I-am-not-special core belief, examine it, challenge it and resolve it. Once resolved, your ex will no longer have the place in your mind and life that he’s had for so long. You will no longer follow his social media activity, ruminate about him and verbalizing your rumination to friends, and in doing so, negatively affect them.” — Thank you, that would be a dream come true for me to no longer feel so controlled by what he thinks of me. It’s such an emotional and mental cage to be in because I would inevitably compare him to any future people I date, and also the trust issues I now have from him will negatively affect things for me even more too.

    “Imagine being covered by a large filter so that part of your immediate experience is completely blocked from your awareness while other parts are exaggerated or highlighted by the filter…” …”You have a belief you are socially undesirable“. — I think this makes a lot of sense. One of my biggest desires in a relationship is just simply being seen and made to feel like I’m special. My dad never paid attention to me and I never even really talked to him. He wasn’t mean to me, just absent. When I got his attention, it made me nervous and like I really had to perform to keep it up. But the attention was fleeting. I see this pattern with the men I date and I think another reason why I feel undesirable is because I can easily get men to find me intriguing or interesting to talk to at first, and then once they meet me in real life, or spend so many months together, they always start losing interest. It’s very difficult to not internalize this pattern of men repeatedly being so enthusiastic about me and so wanting to love and invest in me and then completely exiting the picture. It’s draining and makes me feel crazy. It’s what we’ve talked about here: this theme of inconsistency with the people closest to me.

    #426013
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    You are welcome. I wish your employers guaranteed that you get a significant raise in the next fiscal year (instead of trying “to reevaluate the raise/ promotion in the next fiscal year”), or better still, that they offered you that raise right away. It may be profitable for them to pay more to a specialist they know and trust than to hire new person, and then another new person, etc., given the high turnover. Is there a way for you to arrange for a significant raise for yourself as a condition for taking the full time job?

    “One of my biggest desires in a relationship is just simply being seen and made to feel like I’m special. My dad never paid attention to me and I never even really talked to him. He wasn’t mean to me, just absent. When I got his attention, it made me nervous and like I really had to perform to keep it up. But the attention was fleeting”-

    – like it said in the online source I quoted from yesterday, a child learns: a chair is something you sit ona school bus is something that takes me to school, and I am…, in your case, I am someone who does not deserve attention because I am not special. If I get any attention, I have to work hard to keep it, but no matter what, any bit of attention will disappear fast!

    “That would be a dream come true for me to no longer feel so controlled by what he thinks of me. It’s such an emotional and mental cage to be in”-

    -You felt special with your ex at times, for a while, a kind of special that you didn’t feel before, so your feeling of Special is tightly connected to him and what he thinks about you. It is as if he is keeping your Special in a cage, under lock and key, and he is the only one who can bring your Special back to you.

    Going back to your Sept 6 original post (3 months and 6 days ago), it is easy to see that he made you feel Special right from the start: “When we met on Hinge, HE asked me what my intentions were from the get go about 2-3 days into talking as he started flirting with me. The pacing felt right and I had never had a guy actually want to go ahead and address motives, intentions with me…  He expressed on many occasions how thankful he was and lucky to have me in his life“-

    – notice you typed HE in capital letters. He is The One, and Only One with a key to your Special, to your sense of worth, or esteem. But you did not bask in a euphoric warmth of Specialness day in and day out, throughout the relationship: you felt that he didn’t contact you enough in-between meetings and you were stressed about it, he told you this or that and it worried you, etc. It was more like you having a taste of Special with him, but not even close to having enough of it to satisfy your three-decades-long hunger for Special.

    This relationship made me feel seen and special“, you wrote back in September, but it was not an ongoing, trustworthy kind of feeling-seen-and-special, it was only a taste of it.

    On Sept 10,  I wrote to you: “You’ve been giving him too much power over how you feel about yourself, power he didn’t earn and does not deserve: WHO is he to determine your worth? What did he do to deserve this power?… What did he DO to have this power to determine your worth..? He is just a guy you knew nothing about a year ago. It doesn’t really matter what he thinks, what he meant when he said this or that.. except that it matters to you because you give him power that he does not deserve”-

    – He gave you a taste of Special, that’s what he did. And he is the only source of this taste that you know about. It is not only the words he uttered that gave you this taste, it is also his privileged and educated family background, and it is also about the way he delivered the words he uttered, something about his style, his mannerism, his way of looking into himself- to an extent- that touched your heart and gave you that taste of Special.

    Back to your post of early this morning: “I can easily get men to find me intriguing or interesting to talk to at first, and then once they meet me in real life, or spend so many months together, they always start losing interest. It’s very difficult to not internalize this pattern of men repeatedly being so enthusiastic about me and so wanting to love and invest in me and then completely exiting the picture. It’s draining and makes me feel crazy. It’s what we’ve talked about here: this theme of inconsistency with the people closest to me.“-

    – I am imagining that I am a man your age and I meet you, a very soon (in four days) 32-year-old woman, and she gives me a lot of positive attention (like that which you gave your ex). I imagine that I feel very good about it and want more of it. I feel important and I like it. But then I realize that I feel too important to her, that any word I say, any silence in between words, anything minor about what I say and do, is MAJOR to her, as in any word I say can make or break her.. I have too much power, I start feeling uncomfortable, so I withdraw.

    Could this be an explanation to the pattern/ theme you mentioned above?

    anita

    #426266
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I talked to a couple of coworkers to ask their opinion on the job. I just chose to go full-time. I concluded that I won’t really understand what is the better choice until it’s happening to me and I can just change my mind if it ends up being a huge mistake in the future. I really hope I don’t regret it but only time will tell.

    I had the ultrasound on my neck for the lump and my results came back negative for anything concerning, so that’s good. However, a few days after this, I woke up and noticed an even bigger lump on the left side of my neck that seemed to just pop up out of nowhere. I freaked out as I do and made myself sick all morning trying to ignore it and tell myself it was probably the same as the other lump that just got tested, but I decided to go ahead and call my doctor again. I feel so embarrassed and shameful to give into my paranoias so hard.

    Speaking of health anxiety and fears, I was scrolling through social media tonight and saw a reel of someone who had a mild heart attack from her heartbreak. That her anxiety and depression and extreme reaction to her breakup caused broken heart syndrome… basically something that affects blood pressure/heart function and can actually cause heart attack symptoms. I went on a spiral and I am now freaking out that any time I have my usual panic attacks, they will actually result in a serious situation. I feel so disconnected from humanity because of how neurotic and scared I feel all of the time. I’m so sick of myself, it makes me understand why people have to remove themselves from me. I can’t talk to anyone about this stuff without them getting annoyed and frustrated.

    – He gave you a taste of Special, that’s what he did. And he is the only source of this taste that you know about. It is not only the words he uttered that gave you this taste, it is also his privileged and educated family background, and it is also about the way he delivered the words he uttered, something about his style, his mannerism, his way of looking into himself- to an extent- that touched your heart and gave you that taste of Special.” — this is completely spot on. I’ve always believed I was too much for people and he was the first person to ever see these issues and not only accept them, but reassure me and joke about it to make me feel not so heavy over it. He really did have a way of handling it that makes me feel crazy over losing. It’s so heartbreaking. I’m so incredibly lonely. My birthday was very rough because of it. I had the tiniest part of me that hoped he’d reach out to wish me a happy birthday, but he didn’t.

    “– I am imagining that I am a man your age and I meet you, a very soon (in four days) 32-year-old woman, and she gives me a lot of positive attention (like that which you gave your ex). I imagine that I feel very good about it and want more of it. I feel important and I like it. But then I realize that I feel too important to her, that any word I say, any silence in between words, anything minor about what I say and do, is MAJOR to her, as in any word I say can make or break her.. I have too much power, I start feeling uncomfortable, so I withdraw. Could this be an explanation to the pattern/ theme you mentioned above?” — this is exactly what I’ve been saying in my thread, when I’ve been saying that I pushed him away/I scared him away/too much pressure, etc. I do think it’s why he was so into me for awhile and was trying, and then gave up. It’s impossible to not internalize blame on my part. I realize he had a part in this because he wasn’t honest with himself and with me but I can’t understand why I had to lose him over this. Why couldn’t he have came into my life after I was in a better place? I keep replaying what he told me after the breakup, “It was wrong of me to not be planning or thinking of the future for us…” “…I was just trying to have as much fun as we could together and to make you as happy as I could until our problems inevitably broke us up.” It makes me feel so so sick. That he didn’t even see me as a long-term girlfriend. This has been keeping me up at night lately. I’ll never forget his face when I said I saw a future with him and maybe even marriage someday… he cringed his face in so much discomfort.

    I’m getting super concerned with myself that I’m not progressing AT ALL with this. It will be 4 months on Christmas since the breakup.

    #426277
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    I intended but forgot to wish you a Happy Birthday five days ago, Happy Belated Birthday! I remember that when I turned 32 I thought I was old. But then, I was old when it comes to how I often felt: hopeless, aimless, guilty, tired… old.

    You shared that you chose to accept the full time job, and that you can change your mind “if it ends up being a huge mistake in the future“, that the ultrasound for the lump on the right side of your neck came back negative for anything concerning, however, a few days later, you noticed an even bigger lump on the left side of my neck, you freaked out and called your doctor. You then happened to read online about a woman who had a mild heart attack because of her emotional reaction to her breakup, and you (about 7 hours ago when you typed your post, at about 2 or 3 am) were freaking out about your panic attacks resulting in a serious medical situation.

    You shared that you believe that people (including your ex) have to remove themselves from you because you are “too much for people“, too “neurotic and scared.. all the time“, that people get “annoyed and frustrated” with you because you are too much, and that when you mentioned to your ex a future with him, “he cringed his face in so much discomfort“.

    My input: there is a category of Cognitive Distortions called Magnification and Minimization. In the above alone, you exaggerated the magnitude of the possibility that choosing the full time job is a mistake, calling it a HUGE mistake. You exaggerated the frequency of you being neurotic and scared to the that of ALL THE TIME. And I guess that you exaggerated the extent of the discomfort that registered in your ex’s face to be that of SO MUCH.

    Look at the title you chose for your thread back on Sept 6: “EXTREMELY painful breakup and confusion”.

    From psychology tools. com: “Magnification and minimization is a cognitive distortion in which people exaggerate certain aspects of themselves, other people, or a situation while simultaneously downplaying others. This typically involves magnifying negative elements (e.g., the mistakes they have made) while minimizing positive aspects (e.g., successes or achievements)… It’s like looking at things through a set of binoculars. From one end, your problems seem much bigger and more terrifying. But if you look through the opposite end, your positive qualities look small and insignificant…

    “Magnification and minimization is often linked to an ‘inexact labeling’ of events. For example, a client might state that they were attacked by their partner for missing an important date, but in reality, this ‘attack’ might refer to a displeased remark or expression.

    “This distortion also overlaps with (the) concept of ‘awfulization‘, wherein the client believes that ‘a bad, unfortunate, or inconvenient circumstance is more than bad, it is the worst it could be – 100% rotten’…

    “In other words, magnification often involves exaggerating the unpleasantness of a situation while minimizing actual or potential positive elements.

    “The content of magnification and minimization tends to vary depending on the difficulty an individual is experiencing. In depression, it is likely to manifest as underestimating one’s achievements or abilities, while inflating one’s flaws or problems (i.e., negative magnification).. The opposite is true of bipolar disorder: here, individuals are likely to exaggerate their abilities and optimistic expectations (i.e., positive magnification) while minimizing the obstacles they will encounter..

    “Magnification and minimization are also apparent in anxiety disorders, contributing to the sense of vulnerability underlying these difficulties..  Anxious individuals tend to magnify the threats they are facing while simultaneously minimizing their personal resources and ability to cope…

    “Many treatment techniques can be used to address magnification and minimization, including: * Decentering… describes the ability to stand back and view a thought as.. an opinion, and not necessarily a fact.. * Cognitive restructuring with thought records. Self-monitoring can be used to capture and re-evaluate magnification and minimization as it occurs. Useful prompts include: ‘If you took the ‘magnifying and minimizing’ glasses off, how would you see this differently?’… ‘Are there good things that you might be minimizing right now? What positives are you dismissing or discounting?’, ‘What evidence makes you think this thought is true? What evidence makes you think this thought is not completely true? What would be a more balanced way of seeing this situation?’… ‘“Imagine putting this thought on trial. Would an objective jury agree it is 100% true? Why not?’…

    * Acknowledging the good and bad. Magnification involves selectively attending to and exaggerating the negative aspects of situations while downplaying the positives. Help the client overcome this bias by identifying both the good and bad aspects of events…….

    “* Positive data logging. Starting a daily log of positive experiences can help clients overcome habitual minimization. Depending on what the client tends to minimize, positive data logs can focus on recognizing personal strengths, positive actions by themselves or others, or other positive events. Note that the client is likely to find this task challenging, so practicing in the session beforehand is often essential….”.

    Back to your today’s post, your last sentence is: “I’m getting super concerned with myself that I’m not progressing AT ALL with this. It will be 4 months on Christmas since the breakup.”- there’s the exaggeration (boldfaced).

    Overall, in the past, you negatively exaggerated yourself and you positively exaggerated your ex and his parents, for example: “I have never been chosen or wanted by a guy who I find attractive and impressive. Not until this guy… he was super impressivethis guy from this impressive upbringing and who has had a really impressive life with a ton of experiences with travel and other people, who claims to love me so much thinks I’M impressive? Then I’ve won” (Sept 11).

    Personally, from what you shared about him, I am not impressed with him. On the other hand, I am impressed with your intelligence, with how well you use the English language to express yourself.. you sound very educated and kind.. You have significant Positives that you’ve been Minimizing while greatly Magnifying his positives, or alleged positives.

    anita

    #426344
    anita
    Participant

    M e R R y       C h R i S t M a S,      S t a c y  !!!

    anita

    #426399
    Stacy
    Participant

    Ah, I missed it by two days! Merry (late) Christmas to you as well, Anita! I wanted to pop in before but had to work Christmas Eve and was so tired afterwards. I’ll go ahead and wish you a Happy New Year as well just to stay ahead. Also, thank you for wishing me a happy birthday too.

    “In other words, magnification often involves exaggerating the unpleasantness of a situation while minimizing actual or potential positive elements.” — I agree that I do this. I think the minimization is also a protective technique to try to prepare myself for any possible disappointment: if I never get too enthusiastic about anything and downplay its importance, then I won’t be so embarrassed or hurt when it inevitably blows up in my face. That never really saves any embarrassment or hurt, though. I hid my relationship from social media and most of my friends until at least the 6 month mark in fear I would “jinx” us. The messy part comes in where I worry that I really DID exaggerate something I perceived as negative that actually wasn’t… or my life is just a complete set of self-fulfilling prophecies. My first therapist said it was. I’ve now had every guy I’ve ever dated tell me I look for problems and believe in them so hard that I eventually create them. I can’t trust my own judgment after hearing this much feedback. I can’t tell what’s real from what’s not anymore and if I’m truly at fault for sabotaging my relationships – especially my latest and he was right, then I feel hopeless. The self-blame overwhelms me, and like you said, I don’t really allow myself any room to consider that my ex wasn’t perfect. All I have been able to place and blame him for in any of this was not being honest with himself and me, especially after all the relationship check-in opportunities I gave him.

    “* Positive data logging. Starting a daily log of positive experiences can help clients overcome habitual minimization.” — this is interesting you mentioned this because I actually was trying to do this every day at lunch in high school. I was always miserable during lunch period because I couldn’t eat so I would sit there and journal trying to focus on anything positive that was happening during the day. I guess the effort was there but it was still missing the point of this exercise. I will take the other points you listed about how to challenge the pattern of magnification and minimization.

    “I’m getting super concerned with myself that I’m not progressing AT ALL with this…”- there’s the exaggeration.” – I feel like I’m getting worse because I’m realizing he didn’t even try to argue with me and tell me that he still found me attractive after admitting to wandering eyes for other women. He seemed fed up with my paranoia and over me. The thought of losing me should be too much for someone who was in love with me. At least, that’s how I see it. Everyone is different and I understand he wasn’t equipped to meet me where I was at, but I see that his passion for me/us fizzled from where it was originally. I’ve read the whole point of going no contact is to work on myself and focus on moving on or else the effort is pointless. Sometimes all I want to do is just reach out and try to get closure of some sort, or maybe say goodbye to him. I know that’s not going to work though, it probably would cause me more damage. I had a dream last night where I confronted him and started arguing with him, telling him everything I’ve been wanting to say. I woke myself up yelling at him and crying.

    … “Not until this guy… who claims to love me so much thinks I’M impressive? Then I’ve won.” — this point here where you quoted me reminded me of how right before we broke up, he admitted his biggest celebrity crush being Taylor Swift and how if a man were to get with her, then that’s the “ultimate prize and indicator he’s won in life.” (there’s a lot more to this story and why we were even talking about celebrity crushes. Let’s just say it was an ongoing argument and it hurt my feelings… shocking). It just hurts knowing how much he meant to me and how little it seems like I meant to him by the time he was checking out.

    “Personally, from what you shared about him, I am not impressed with him. On the other hand, I am impressed with your intelligence, with how well you use the English language to express yourself.. you sound very educated and kind…”  — Thank you for this. It means a lot to me to be perceived as capable and smart, and I value your perspective.

    #426416
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    You are welcome, and thank you for the Christmas and New Year wishes!

    “I think the minimization is also a protective technique to try to prepare myself for any possible disappointment: if I never get too enthusiastic about anything and downplay its importance, then I won’t be so embarrassed or hurt when it inevitably blows up in my face”-

    – when we were children, as is true to every child, early on we were enthusiastic about everything.. could have been anything. And in that optimistic, enthusiastic, trusting state of mind and heart- we were hurt, disappointed and the pain was acute. We were oh so terribly surprised. It is the Surprise Fall from that complete trust and optimism that hurt us as children so very much. Once that happened, we become careful to never again be that optimistic, enthusiastic, and trusting. In a forever-careful, alert state, we hope that if we fall, it will be an expected fall, not a Surprise Fall, and therefore, it will be way less painful.

    The messy part comes in where I worry that I really DID exaggerate something I perceived as negative that actually wasn’t“- I think that you exaggerated everything about the ex, the positives and the negatives. And everything in between.

    “I’ve now had every guy I’ve ever dated tell me I look for problems and believe in them so hard that I eventually create them. I can’t trust my own judgment after hearing this much feedback”-

    – trusting yourself to evaluate people and situations correctly is something that you can learn and develop. It’s not a life sentence to distrust yourself. You can learn little by little every day, and find yourself in a few months or a year or so.. surprised by yourself.

    “I can’t tell what’s real from what’s not anymore and if I’m truly at fault for sabotaging my relationships – especially my latest and he was right, then I feel hopeless. The self-blame overwhelms me, and like you said, I don’t really allow myself any room to consider that my ex wasn’t perfect..”-

    – Well, your ex wasn’t perfect, not even close to how perfect you .. greatly exaggerated him to be. I wonder about your self blame as it took place in your childhood. Do you remember what thoughts you had when blaming yourself for your family’s dysfunction?

    I feel like I’m getting worse because I’m realizing he didn’t even try to argue with me and tell me that he still found me attractive after admitting to wandering eyes for other women… I see that his passion for me/us fizzled from where it was originally“- what do you feel, I wonder, about the fact that every man’s passion for any one woman fizzles out over time from where it was originally?

    “I’ve read the whole point of going no contact is to work on myself and focus on moving on or else the effort is pointless. Sometimes all I want to do is just reach out and try to get closure of some sort“- what would be the best sort of closure for you, if you met him soon?

    “Sometimes all I want to do is just reach out and try to get closure of some sort or maybe say goodbye to him“- if only you could say goodbye to the perfect version of him(“I don’t really allow myself any room to consider that my ex wasn’t perfect“)

    “I had a dream last night where I confronted him and started arguing with him, telling him everything I’ve been wanting to say. I woke myself up yelling at him and crying“- I wonder (I hope you’re okay with all my wonderings..?) whom, if anyone in your family of origin, you wanted, for a long time, to confront (but didn’t), argue with and yell at (.. but didn’t..?), tell him or her everything you wanted to say for a long time.. but didn’t?

    “Right before we broke up, he admitted his biggest celebrity crush being Taylor Swift and how if a man were to get with her, then that’s the ‘ultimate prize and indicator he’s won in life.”… It just hurts knowing how much he meant to me and how little it seems like I meant to him by the time he was checking out”- putting aside the issue of what you meant to him at that point, his comment about a celebrity reads.. immature to me, like something a preteen would say.. don’t you think?

    Thank you for this. It means a lot to me to be perceived as capable and smart, and I value your perspective“- thank you and it is true: I do perceive you as capable and smart. What we’ve been discussing here, your difficulty with correctly evaluating people and situations (via minimizations and magnifications and placing him on a pedestal of perfection where he does not- at all- belongs) is not a result of lack of intelligence but a result of your emotional blind spots that make it difficult to see what’s there.

    anita

    #426484
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    “Do you remember what thoughts you had when blaming yourself for your family’s dysfunction?” — When my sister would get upset, I’d feel that I was at least partially responsible for annoying or upsetting her if she’d get really frustrated or depressed. I know this is basically the freeze/fawn trauma response. I try to notice my physical symptoms that come up when triggered and tell myself that I’m safe and that that person’s emotions/behavior are their responsibility, but I still don’t know how to not have that gut reaction response.

    …”what do you feel, I wonder, about the fact that every man’s passion for any one woman fizzles out over time from where it was originally?” — I know it’s human nature for the honeymoon stage to settle into a more comfortable partnership overtime, but I can’t help but just want to know that my partner has only eyes for me. And maybe that’s my issue – I expect something not possible. With my generation, it’s inevitable that your partner is going to lust after other people online, whether they are actively liking photos or not. And there are so many platforms for them to lust. He made me feel so cherished for the first few months and didn’t make me question his intentions, not until he started backing off of that and started complimenting other women and talking about exes, etc. I got paranoid and jealous.

    “what would be the best sort of closure for you, if you met him soon?” — Unfortunately, I will never see him in person again. The 2 hr. distance never bothered me but it apparently did him, and unless he were to reach out and offer a meeting, I guess that’s it. I wish I could tell him that him trying to be poetic by recalling our first ever conversation on Hinge was the most immature and heartless way to break up with someone. I wish I could reiterate that I didn’t want marriage with him, that I only mentioned it because I was trying to explain how invested in a future I was with him. I wish I could also ask him why he lied to me for so long and lied to me about wanting to stay friends and that we would “work on it together.”

    …”I wonder (I hope you’re okay with all my wonderings..?) whom, if anyone in your family of origin, you wanted, for a long time, to confront (but didn’t), argue with and yell at (.. but didn’t..?), tell him or her everything you wanted to say for a long time.. but didn’t? — You’re fine, I appreciate your curiosity in trying to better understand me. My sister is really more the ongoing trigger for me because we are living together. I’ve just given up on bringing concerns with her up, I’d rather live trying to stay in my lane and get out of here when I can. We aren’t going to see eye to eye on a lot of things. She’s emotionally flooded with her own issues too.

    …“putting aside the issue of what you meant to him at that point, his comment about a celebrity reads.. immature to me, like something a preteen would say.. don’t you think? — He joked about the hall pass idea… you know where you ask your partner the hypothetical question of if you had a free pass to sleep with a celebrity, who would it be and why? Well, he asked me and I had no answer because I was so in love with him. I couldn’t think of anyone off the top of my head, even with it being just for fun. He had trouble too until he came to Taylor Swift. He was reluctant to say it because he knew it would upset me. I dug myself into a hole as usual and asked WHY her, and then he goes into detail about her long legs, etc. I’m very short so I felt inadequate. I asked him what his ideal type is. He told me he didn’t want to do this because I’d get more upset. He admitted his type is dark-featured and olive-skinned women. I’m pale as a ghost and very blonde and light-featured. When I suggested a celebrity for him, he scoffed and said, “Oh no, I’m not attracted to her. She’s a great actress though.” I don’t think he remembered that he had told me months prior to this that I sort of looked like that celebrity. I lost sleep over this but I told myself I asked for it and that humans can hold the capacity for several types of attraction. But his passion for me had seemed to be fading around this time too. Fast forward two weeks later, we were hanging out again and TS came back up. I asked him yet again. He said, “I’m gonna be really honest with you. The way I feel about Taylor Swift is very misogynistic. I don’t respect her so I want to have my way with her. I respect you so I want to make love to you. If that makes sense. If a guy gets with a woman like her, it’s like he’s won the ultimate.” Basically saying bagging her type would be a status symbol/ego achievement. And this really crushed me because he had never spoken about women around me like that. So I think that’s why the social media liking of sexy photos of the Tinder match girl and having dinner with the trans coworker really upset me a couple weeks later. It didn’t help the Tinder girl is very tall and looks like Taylor Swift. I realize that I’m coming across very immature here too. I’m just exhausted with myself and why I even get so upset over this stuff. It’s like he made me feel like the only girl in the world and then THIS stuff just kept compiling in little bits over time.

    #426485
    Stacy
    Participant

    Also, I’m sorry for the formatting… I’m not sure what happened there.

    #426489
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    I appreciate your curiosity in trying to better understand me“- I appreciate your appreciation of me, thank you!

    I read your most recent post, and in this reply, I will tell you what I understand about you, and you can let me know what you think of my understanding:

    You are a very intelligent, well spoken, patient, kind and gracious young woman who is absent from her own awareness.  It is as if you are not a factor in your own mind and life. As if you didn’t yet take center stage where a person belongs in one’s own life, as if you are sitting in the audience. And who is on the stage where you belong? This guy, just a guy (not a national or religious leader that lots of people focus on).

    Sept 6, 2023, you started your thread with: “Hi, everyone. My boyfriend who I met on Hinge”, and you continued: “HE asked me… hehimHe..”. Fast forward 3 months and 23 days (yesterday, Dec 29) and: “He joked about… he asked me.. He had trouble… He was reluctant… then he goes into detail.. He told me… he scoffed and said”, etc.

    On Sept 10, I wrote to you: “You’ve been giving him too much power over how you feel about yourself, power he didn’t earn and does not deserve: WHO is he to determine your worth?… What did he DO to have this power to determine your worth..? He is just a guy you knew nothing about a year ago. It doesn’t really matter what he thinks, what he meant when he said this or that.. except that it matters to you because you give him power that he does not deserve“.

    Eight pages later, I think and feel the same as I did in the above quote.

    Limerence: “the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship” (online dictionary).

    “Limerence is a term that describes an infatuation or obsession with another person. It stems from romantic attraction that involuntarily develops into obsessive thoughts. You might feel unable to stop thinking about that person, spending much of your time in thoughts, fantasies, and ruminations that center around that person… Replay and rehearsal involves obsessive thinking about interactions you have had, or wish to have, with the love object… the love object is the main focus of your attention” (psych central/ ocd and obsessive thoughts about another person)

    “Limerence is the desire to be desired… The experience of limerence can include… an irrationally positive evaluation of that person’s attributes… Limerence has also been tied to trauma. Early childhood abandonment or neglect may correlate to the likelihood of experiencing limerence, and it has been associated with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (psychology today).

    I don’t think we discussed limerence before (I just went through your 8-page thread and saw no mention of it), but it fits, doesn’t it?

    anita

    #426525
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    “You are a very intelligent, well spoken, patient, kind and gracious young woman who is absent from her own awareness.  It is as if you are not a factor in your own mind and life. As if you didn’t yet take center stage where a person belongs in one’s own life, as if you are sitting in the audience.” — Thank you for saying all of that. I worry about being a toxic person so much that I think I completely take myself out of the equation when it comes to what I should have or be entitled to. In counseling, I learned to focus so much on what I was possibly doing to project onto others that it has since made me feel like all of my feelings are invalid. I’ve learned that everything I’m jealous over is a chip on my shoulder, everything I’m hurt or paranoid over is an insecurity. And then exes and family and friends reinforced the idea that I was indeed just always projecting and being too sensitive and overblowing situations so now I just feel like my perspective really doesn’t even matter. I’m not dissing therapy, I just think I’m taking in information incorrectly sometimes from counselors. I’m learning I’m so easily triggered and hurt by men that my perspective is tainted, and I’m tired of sabotaging myself and others. I just don’t know at what point my expectations are warranted and at what point they are irrational and unfair to put on others. I hate my boyfriend lusting at other women. I hate it so much because it’s happened to me in every relationship. Does that mean I can set that boundary? What’s the point if it’s not realistic or immature? I’d rather be single than deal with this again because of the shame I feel from the expectations I put on my ex about it.

    “I don’t think we discussed limerence before (I just went through your 8-page thread and saw no mention of it), but it fits, doesn’t it?” — We haven’t, and it’s interesting you mentioned this because I was reading something the other day about this and how it can happen during a relationship and after a breakup. Some people refer to the deep longing after a sudden and unexpected as dark limerence – where the memories and rumination keeps you in this dark place you can’t get out of but you hold onto it because it’s all you have left of that person. That’s where I’m definitely at. His birthday is today (technically because it’s past midnight) – New Year’s Eve. Last year on this day, I spent the whole day with him going to thrift stores, singing and laughing in the car together, getting ice cream and watching movies at his house. We went on the Blue Ridge Parkway just above his house and watched the sunset. I had dinner with his parents and they loved me. It was a really special day. I knew this day was gonna be especially hard for me so I volunteered to work all day to try to distract myself from the pain.

    #426531
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    You are welcome. “I worry about being a toxic person so much that I think I completely take myself out of the equation when it comes to what I should have or be entitled to”-

    – my mother was a toxic person in my life if I define toxic people according to psychology today as people who are “self-centered, manipulative, abusive and lacking in empathy”, and people who “drain others’ energy by constantly demanding attention, sympathy, or validation”, and people who “disrespect emotional and physical boundaries”.

    You, Stacy, are definitely not self-centered, manipulative, abusive, and lacking empathy, nor are you disrespectful of others’ emotional and physical boundaries. You fit only the part of the definition in regard to repeatedly asking for validation that you are physically desirable by bringing up the topic, complaining about him liking photos online, etc.,  which is energy draining on the part of the romantic partner; unpleasant, but I wouldn’t say abusive. So, as far as I understand, you do not fit the category of toxic people.

    In counseling, I learned to focus so much on what I was possibly doing to project onto others that it has since made me feel like all of my feelings are invalid“- All your feelings are valid. Some of your feelings indicate the reality of your childhood but not the reality of your adulthood. Often, a child who is really rejected by a critical parent grows up into an adult who assumes (projects) that others are also rejecting him or her when it’s not the case.

    Everyone- every single person- projects. For example, when you see someone crying, you connect in your mind, crying and feeling sad, because that’s your experience, and you project this personal experience into the crying person, believing that he or she is sad. This projection would be an accurate projection in most cases because in humans, sadness and crying are instinctually connected. But, if the crying person only pretends to cry, this projection, that he/ she feels sadness, would be an inaccurate projection.

    “I’ve learned that everything I’m jealous over is a chip on my shoulder, everything I’m hurt or paranoid over is an insecurity. And then exes and family and friends reinforced the idea that I was indeed just always projecting and being too sensitive and overblowing situations so now I just feel like my perspective really doesn’t even matter“-

    – To have a chip on one’s shoulders means “to have an angry or unpleasant attitude or way of behaving caused by a belief that one has been treated unfairly in the past” (online dictionary). In your personal life you really were (and still) treated unfairly by some people in your family of origin, and therefore your anger is natural and understandable. When people in your family who have mistreated you accuse you of being too sensitive and overblowing situations, that’s further mistreatment on their part, mistreatment on top of mistreatment. It is sad when your perspective really doesn’t even matter in your own home.

    On the other hand, when you inaccurately project being mistreated by others, for example, taking it personally that he liked bikini photos,  as if those likes indicate that he feels that you are not attractive, and expressing that he was a bad, guilty person for liking those photos, that’s having a chip on your shoulders, I suppose.

    “I just don’t know at what point my expectations are warranted and at what point they are irrational and unfair to put on others. I hate my boyfriend lusting at other women. I hate it so much because it’s happened to me in every relationship. Does that mean I can set that boundary?”-

    – this hate is a projection of early life VALID anger. If your view of your adult life situations was free from this projection, life would be easier for you and you would know what boundaries are appropriate to set.

    it’s interesting you mentioned this because I was reading something the other day about this and how it can happen during a relationship and after a breakup. Some people refer to the deep longing after a sudden and unexpected as dark limerence – where the memories and rumination keeps you in this dark place you can’t get out of but you hold onto it because it’s all you have left of that person“- or more accurately all you have left of his best moments in the relationship, or all that you have left of an overall fantasy of him.

    “I knew this day was gonna be especially hard for me so I volunteered to work all day to try to distract myself from the pain”- how are you this New Year Eve, Stacy?

    anita

    #426636
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for your explanation and perspective on why you don’t think I’m a toxic person. I get very in my head about stuff.

    “Often, a child who is really rejected by a critical parent grows up into an adult who assumes (projects) that others are also rejecting him or her when it’s not the case.” — Also, I feel that my new rejection wounds are from men who leave me after expressing my concerns. And men who reassure me for an extended period of time and then leave me after trust was built. I didn’t have such activated rejection fears yet in my first relationship.

    “When people in your family who have mistreated you accuse you of being too sensitive and overblowing situations, that’s further mistreatment on their part, mistreatment on top of mistreatment. It is sad when your perspective really doesn’t even matter in your own home.” — I’m not trying to be difficult here; I’m sincerely trying to have something click for me. How can I say that I have been treated unfairly from people saying I’m too sensitive and overblow situations when I actually DO overblow situations and react very sensitively to things? I guess I am thinking black and white here. If I’m the problem, I don’t feel I have the right to say I’m being mistreated or “deserve” a better partner.

    “On the other hand, when you inaccurately project being mistreated by others, for example, taking it personally that he liked bikini photos,  as if those likes indicate that he feels that you are not attractive, and expressing that he was a bad, guilty person for liking those photos, that’s having a chip on your shoulders, I suppose.” — But he admitted that he was lusting after those photos and losing interest in me in the process due to that and the distance and other things he wouldn’t elaborate on. How do I not take that personally? It’s like I feel that I don’t have the right to say I was mistreated because I sabotaged and overblew the situation, but yet my pain feels warranted when I remember he admitted to what I was fearing over his actions. I’m not trying to argue with you, or with any of these points. Again, I’m trying SO hard for this to click with me because I feel this is THE biggest mental block that is keeping me from moving forward.

    To answer your last question: NYE was very hard even though I worked all day. The past couple of days have been rough too from the usual rumination. I had another nightmare about him this morning. I hope your holiday was nice and you’ve had a good start to the new year!

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