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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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  • #426698
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    You are welcome!  Before I respond, having read only the first few lines of your post, I want to say first that I realized yesterday that I mentioned to you before that there was a part of your behavior with your recent ex that was wrong. Most recently, 3 days ago, I wrote: “You fit only the part of the definition (of a toxic person) 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“, but I don’t think that I addressed this behavior thoroughly before, partly because I dislike your ex. I was turned off to him by so many things you shared about him. And I always thought that he wasn’t and wouldn’t be a good choice for you.

    But I will thoroughly address it today because if you met a good guy, this behavior (misbehavior, more accurately, so I’ll refer to it as Misbehavior) on your part is destructive enough to destroy any potentially good relationship in the future. It is going to be difficult for you to read but it is necessary to address thoroughly. Please remember that I still think highly of you and that I know that this Misbehavior which I am addressing today can be corrected, making you an even better person than you already are!

    Now to your recent post: “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”-

    – First, regarding trust built, I re-read your original post (Sept 6, 2023), and it is clear to me that in regard to your recent ex, trust was never built, it was never there beyond a moment here, a moment there at the most: “Relationship check ins were happening probably too oftenHe assured me SO MANY TIMES…But I also wasn’t born yesterday… I know my triggers and paranoiasSomething was off. So I panicked and went through his Instagram“, etc.- 

    – Repeatedly and for an extended period of time, accusing him of wrongdoings, frequently needing him to reassure you (that he is trustworthy), etc.,  does not equal trusting him.

    Second, regarding expressing your concerns to your recent ex, you did much more than expressing your concerns: “I do not like being controlled myself or monitored like a child so the last thing I want to do with my guy… He assured me SO MANY TIMES…. I asked him if he..  He assured me absolutely not. This made me feel better…  I appreciated his patience with me. He always reassured me that we were a team and he wasn’t going anywhere….  he had been liking all her bikini photos… he admitted and took accountability for letting me down and he felt a lot of shame and disappointment in himself. I told him I really didn’t want to reprimand him constantly“-

    – More than expressing your concerns, you controlled him (tried to), monitored him as if he was a misbehaving child, asked him for reassurance too many times, accused him of wrongdoings and reprimanded him a lot. This Misbehavior will turn any man off to you because it’s an off putting and draining behavior.

    Thirdly, at least at times when you argued with him, your position was faulty: “Then I asked him why he likes those types of photos and he tells me it’s a mindless reason. I said but liking them requires effort” (original post)- liking photos online is easily a mindless activity and it does not require any effort!

    Fourthly, the effect of this Misbehavior on the receiving end of it: “He said he was so upset with himself… that he was failing“, etc.- the result of being placed under a magnifying glass by a person looking for faults, real and imaginary, being monitored, accused of misdeeds (ex., going to a restaurant with a coworker or coworkers), accused not only of misdeeds but also of mis-thoughts (as in thinking wrong), and mis-feelings (examples: being attracted to bikini photos online, not being attracted to you at any one time) hurts the person on the receiving end of this Misbehavior.

    Fifthly, even though you are somewhat aware that this Misbehavior, going all the way to referring to yourself as a toxic person, you are not thoroughly aware that this behavior is wrong: “I said, ‘Umm. What? Are you breaking up with me?‘ He says, ‘Yeah, I guess so.’ I couldn’t believe this had just ended everything. I tried to bargain with him for what felt like an hour… I just kept asking what did it. Why just give up out of nowhere… I asked him if it would help if I could work on moving closer. He rejected it with frustration..  I asked again what was the thing blocking us from just working on this instead of giving up out of nowhere“- 

    – the breakup was not out of nowhere. Even if he was (and he is not) a standup guy, he would have broken up with you because of this Misbehavior. You weren’t adequately aware of it, and therefore you were very surprised that he broke up with you,  and you offered to move closer to him, as in to bring this Misbehavior closer to him. No wonder he rejected the offer with frustration.

    Back to your recent post (which I didn’t yet read):

    “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”-

    – in this paragraph you responded to what I said, which was: “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”. Notice that I was referring to people in your family.

    In the context of your recent ex, I agree that you overblew situations and overreacted (see Misbehavior above), but not in the context of your family when you were growing up. Back then situations were really bad and you reacted; you did not overreact. When family members (who are aware of how bad it was for you, particularly family members who made it bad for you) accuse you of .. (proportionally) reacting to how bad it was, it is them being insensitive at the least, abusive at the most.

    “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“- first, it is known that when a person is harshly interrogated by the police long enough, they’d admit to crimes they are not guilty of. Secondly, he told you that the antidepressants and ADHD medications were killing his libido (his words). Thirdly, it’s not a crime to lust or feel anything at all that one is feeling and you do not have the right to persecute anyone for what they are feeling. Fourthly, one significant thing among the other things he wouldn’t elaborate on is.. the Misbehavior I am talking about.

    How do I not take that personally?… my pain feels warranted when I remember he admitted to what I was fearing over his actions“- You (your subconscious part) had a very personal agenda from the start of this relationship: to prove that you are indeed physically undesirable, and you “proved” it. You hoped for another result, but you went about it like a prosecutor (focusing on the alleged crime), not like the defense (focusing on innocence).

    “It’s like I feel that I don’t have the right to say I was mistreated because I sabotaged and overblew the situation… 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“-

    – When you have the time and when you are calm, following processing this post, can you define “THE biggest mental block” as it stands now?

    “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!”-

    – thank you. I want you to do the work needed so that next NYE will be so much better than the last. My NYE was calm enough. I used to suffer a lot and unnecessarily, because of a miserable, difficult childhood. I did- and am- doing the work and what a huge difference it has made in-between-my-ears. I want the same for you!

    Like I expressed repeatedly before: I like you and I think HIGHLY of you. You are positively amazing in so many ways!

    anita

     

    #426732
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    …”It is going to be difficult for you to read but it is necessary to address thoroughly. Please remember that I still think highly of you and that I know that this Misbehavior which I am addressing today can be corrected, making you an even better person than you already are!” — No worries at any chance of hurting my feelings. I’ve really appreciated you being there for me for all of these months and I think very highly of you as well, and for your honesty. I read this post on my break at work, and then again when I got home and I’ll admit it was really hard to take in but it’s only because it’s what I’ve thought this whole time. It’s why I’ve been saying since it happened with my first posts here why I feel that I sabotaged my part of this relationship, why I feel that I interrogated him, why I feel so much shame for accidentally shaming his sexual kinks/preferences, and why I feel responsible for turning him off of me and the relationship. It’s so embarrassing that I feel like I should reach out again and just thoroughly apologize for projecting so much onto him and for throwing his issues he struggled with in his face. With no other expectation other than to just apologize. But I try to remember I already did that once, even if it was too soon and reaching out anymore would be disrespecting his choice again. I know I’m not ready to be with anyone anyway, in fact – I’m even more self-conscious and feel even more beneath him now so this absolutely couldn’t work again.

    I know months back that you focused more on how little my behavior had to do with what his behavior and choices were based on his internal struggles of his own, so that’s the only part where I’m a little confused. I don’t know the extent I am responsible for the breakup. Back in September, you said, …”he spends his time in pornography and sexual fantasies…” …”His way has been mostly to distract himself from this thirst for love via kinky sexual fantasies, porn and thirst traps. He is trying to quench his sexual fantasies, not his quench for love. The way I see it, if you try to quench his sexual fantasies, you would be part of his distraction, that would be all…”  in reference to me being upset at him for admitting to losing attraction. I thought it was in moments like this where I understood that my hurt in him looking at other women and feeling undervalued was warranted. But also with him being entitled to feel lust or express attraction to other women is something I overreacted? At the beginning of our relationship, when I expressed my boundary of social media flirting, he agreed with it. I know I’ll always be very hurt over a guy lusting over other people – but I also think it’s really ignorant to control someone’s natural urges and human reactions. But at what point am I just molding myself for someone else? The hyper-vigilant urge to speak every time something hurtful came up for me by him was totally a response to completely losing my voice in my past toxic relationship. But unfortunately you’re right – why would my current ex want me to continue with him or move closer to him in the future and just continue the energy I gave him like this? It was draining!

    “When you have the time and when you are calm, following processing this post, can you define “THE biggest mental block” as it stands now?” — The biggest mental block I have is feeling like I caused all of this because I’m a walking self-fulfilling prophecy, just like he said. That he was right when he told me I looked for reasons to criminalize him and I found them. All of these realizations make me feel like I made my bed and now I have to lie in it. I feel incredibly shameful about messing the relationship up with my past issues and projections/insecurities. So I feel like I have no room for compassion for myself and he’s the good guy because he thought more rationally and removed himself from a controlling and jealous relationship. He deserves someone better who won’t pressure him so much and I deserve to be alone and sit with what I did until I can get do better. The other block I have is knowing I’m not okay with seeing my boyfriend lusting even though I know it’s human nature and I myself would not want to be controlled either. I want monogamy but I also understand that humans are not even wired for this long term so I feel I don’t have the right to be upset that he was getting his kicks to other women while claiming to be exclusive to me. Do you see how I have all of these contradictory battles in my head constantly? I feel like a mediator over my thoughts constantly seeing things two ways and not being able to pick a side, so I can’t live any truth for myself or have my own moral rules to guide me. Kind of like your metaphor of me watching others in the play of my life but I’m not on stage.

    Also, thank you for hoping this year will be an improvement for me. If I don’t make some kind of breakthrough, I feel like I will continue to suffer unnecessarily. I am happy to hear that your mental state and peace of mind has improved with doing the hard work.

    #426746
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    “It’s so embarrassing that I feel like I should reach out again and just thoroughly apologize for projecting so much onto him and for throwing his issues he struggled with in his face. With no other expectation other than to just apologize. But I try to remember I already did that once”-

    – Because of your pre-existing shame, you are overreacting to your.. less than desired, or wrong behavior with him. Guilt is an emotional state that benefits us only to the extent that we correct our wrong behaviors. Any more guilt than what is required for us to correct our wrong behaviors is unnecessary and pointless suffering.

    Shame in this context is all unnecessary and pointless suffering. There is a term for it: Toxic Shame.

    I hope that you don’t call him and apologize again and instead, correct the part of your behavior that was wrong in the future, with other people. And remember he was and is far from being perfect.

    I know months back that you focused more on how little my behavior had to do with what his behavior and choices were based on his internal struggles of his own, so that’s the only part where I’m a little confused. I don’t know the extent I am responsible for the breakup“-

    – Here is what I think: a healthy, satisfying, adult relationship with him was and is not possible because he never had one and because he lives with his parents and because he spends too much time online and because he seems to have no career aspirations, and.. and… And so, the issue for me is not that you are responsible for the breakup, but that there was no promising future to the relationship at all.

    “Back in September, you said, …’he spends his time in pornography and sexual fantasies…” …”His way has been mostly to distract himself from this thirst for love via kinky sexual fantasies, porn and thirst traps…’  in reference to me being upset at him for admitting to losing attraction. I thought it was in moments like this where I understood that my hurt in him looking at other women and feeling undervalued was warranted… But unfortunately you’re right – why would my current ex want me to continue with him or move closer to him in the future and just continue the energy I gave him like this? It was draining!”-

    -like I said, so many things about him make him NOT a candidate for a lifetime relationship with any woman, including the fact that he spent much of his time watching pornography and distracting himself with sexual fantasies instead of focusing on employment and forging his own independent life away from his parents.

    Your focus on him liking photos of women in bikinis etc., that’s your deep emotional wound that his activities triggered. An appropriate partner for you would be one who is busy working, doesn’t watch pornography, and doesn’t like girls in bikini photos, not because you told him not to, but because that was not his habit to begin with.

    The biggest mental block I have is feeling like I caused all of this because I’m a walking self-fulfilling prophecy, just like he said. That he was right when he told me I looked for reasons to criminalize him and I found them. All of these realizations make me feel like I made my bed and now I have to lie in it“-

    – The bed you couldn’t have ended up in (if there was no breakup with him) is living with a partner who is independent and responsible. I guess you did cause the breakup as it happened, but.. there was no future to the relationship regardless.

    I feel incredibly shameful about messing the relationship up with my past issues and projections/insecurities. So I feel like I have no room for compassion for myself and he’s the good guy because he thought more rationally and removed himself from a controlling and jealous relationship. He deserves someone better who won’t pressure him so much and I deserve to be alone and sit with what I did until I can get do better“-

    – your toxic shame is telling you wrong. Again: you didn’t mess a workable, promising, mature relationship. You messed up continuing to meet him a few times per month and then going about your separate ways after every meeting..  for some time longer than it lasted.

    Also, thank you for hoping this year will be an improvement for me. If I don’t make some kind of breakthrough, I feel like I will continue to suffer unnecessarily. I am happy to hear that your mental state and peace of mind has improved with doing the hard work“- you are welcome and thank you again for your kindness.

    To not suffer unnecessarily, you’ll need to resolve this toxic shame. Can you tell me later, when you have the time, what you think about the concept of toxic shame (did you read about it.. I don’t remember if we discussed it before, did we?). Also, what do you think of my input in regard to the nonpromising aspect of a relationship with him to begin with?

    anita

    #426971
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I’ve been stressed with work and trying to keep up with my new responsibilities there, I apologize for my absence here.

    “Can you tell me later, when you have the time, what you think about the concept of toxic shame (did you read about it.. I don’t remember if we discussed it before, did we?). ” — Yes, we’ve discussed this at the beginning of my thread because you mentioned that my ex and I both have inner toxic shame in common. That the theme of his life seems to be shame, as does mine. Your explanation about toxic shame makes sense to me. I can see how much I’m beating myself up about this all – yet it feels equivalent to the issues I caused. However, I’m sure that I’m overreacting as well because it’s what I do in every area of my life. Hence why I don’t trust myself. I see that it’s not serving me; it’s not productive. I can’t hate myself into loving myself, but I can’t get over the fact that I pushed him away so hard to the point to where he even lied to me about wanting to stay friends after the breakup.

    “I hope that you don’t call him and apologize again and instead, correct the part of your behavior that was wrong in the future, with other people. And remember he was and is far from being perfect.” — I didn’t, and haven’t. I’ve been in No Contact with him since the last time we talked after he ghosted me back in September. He actually posted an Instagram Story last night of his cat sleeping on top of his “I’m Kenough” hoodie I picked out for him to buy back in July. I’ve been waiting for him to post that hoodie because when I saw it was available for preorder after the Barbie Movie came out, I showed it to him and we both laughed and he immediately ordered it for himself. Sounds silly, but when we met, we were so excited about that movie and by the time we went to go see it in theaters, it had been something we were waiting to do together. We dressed as Barbie and Ken in my homemade outfits I painted for us and we had such a great time just bonding over that all. So for him to be showing his hoodie online knowing I’ll see it… it just hurts and my knee-jerk reaction is to assume it’s a jab at me to make me upset, or it’s an attempt at baiting me to reach out. I had to stop those thoughts though and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around me and he probably doesn’t care at all or even had those thoughts. It’s just that me being that hyper-sensitive and sentimental person could not do that or even wear that hoodie without getting sad. I contemplated “liking” the photo just to acknowledge it, but that would be me breaking my own attempt at No Contact and giving him space. I also recognize that this reads like a 15-year old’s diary, and yes I’m embarrassed of myself.

    “What do you think of my input in regard to the nonpromising aspect of a relationship with him to begin with?” — I think I don’t see the red flags you can see in him as clearly because for him to not have a clear aim in career in life, living at home still, or to be playing video games doesn’t sound so bad to me. I also like video games and also still live at home at this age. I guess I at least have the goal of ultimately working my way up to working in a museum with my library experience, though. I also don’t spend all day playing video games, I do it a couple times a month. And I absolutely HAVE to move out for my own sanity. But ultimately, all of these typically undesirable traits in him didn’t bother me about him because of our connection. He wasn’t a bad guy, he was kind and understanding. I know you’re not saying he’s a bad guy, more so that he’s just aimless. Maybe I was attracted to him because we are on the same wavelength, and maybe that’s not a good thing.

    “Your focus on him liking photos of women in bikinis etc., that’s your deep emotional wound that his activities triggered. An appropriate partner for you would be one who is busy working, doesn’t watch pornography, and doesn’t like girls in bikini photos, not because you told him not to, but because that was not his habit to begin with.” — I guess I just don’t feel that this kind of person exists in my age bracket anymore, so I feel silly for my concerns and hang-ups about it to begin with. I would love to believe if he were a suitable partner that the night of our breakup could have gone differently. Perhaps my blowup on him could have ended in him caring too much about hurting me to leave me and instead trying to understand me better and work through it together? I tried to be understanding to his decisions and thoughts that night but I know that my behavior came across as if there was no repair he could have attempted for me anyway. It’s always been hard to understand whether my desires for a different outcome are due to my delusional expectations or if they were perfectly reasonable with someone ready for that level of commitment.

    #426972
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    I thought about you this very day, a bit earlier. So good to read from you (and I only read the very beginning of your post of five minutes ago. I’ll be back to your thread tomorrow morning (about 12 hours from now)

    anita

    #426973
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita!

    So kind of you to say you’ve been thinking about me. I’ve also been thinking of you and trying to gather my thoughts for your questions this past week. I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Have a good night.

    #426992
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    “I’ve been stressed with work and trying to keep up with my new responsibilities there, I apologize for my absence here”- no reason to apologize: being here on your thread is not one of your responsibilities. You can be here when it suits you and only when it suits you. And you are always welcome here.

    “Yes, we’ve discussed this at the beginning of my thread because you mentioned that my ex and I both have inner toxic shame in common. That the theme of his life seems to be shame, as does mine. Your explanation about toxic shame makes sense to me. I can see how much I’m beating myself up about this all…  it’s what I do in every area of my life. Hence why I don’t trust myself. I see that it’s not serving me; it’s not productive. I can’t hate myself into loving myself“-

    – I never read this last sentence written by anyone.. what an interesting way of saying things. I suppose the two things: hating yourself and beating yourself up are synonymous. Question is how to stop and change this into loving and trusting yourself.

    but I can’t get over the fact that I pushed him away so hard to the point to where he even lied to me about wanting to stay friends after the breakup”- I sense this strong need within you to condemn, prosecute and persecute yourself. No forgiveness for Stacy… no putting down that whip.

    “I’ve been in No Contact with him since the last time we talked after he ghosted me back in September… and yes I’m embarrassed of myself“- here’s that shame. Shame here, shame there, shame everywhere within the self.

    I think I don’t see the red flags you can see in him as clearly because for him to not have a clear aim in career in life, living at home still, or to be playing video games doesn’t sound so bad to me… ultimately, all of these typically undesirable traits in him didn’t bother me about him because of our connection“-it was  an emotional connection of the kind that is rare in your life, maybe a first. Maybe it is that with him, at times, you experienced a much needed break from toxic shame.. moments of no shame. What a difference no-shame can make: a highly elevated quality of life, isn’t it?

    “I would love to believe if he were a suitable partner that the night of our breakup could have gone differently. Perhaps my blowup on him could have ended in him caring too much about hurting me to leave me, and instead trying to understand me better and work through it together?… It’s always been hard to understand whether my desires for a different outcome are due to my delusional expectations or if they were perfectly reasonable with someone ready for that level of commitment”-

    – (1) It seems clear to me that he was not a suitable partner for you, but I understand now, more than before, that the nature of your emotional connection to  him was, at times, exhilarating, unique and very intense. You experienced with him a kind of acceptance and approval that you didn’t experience before him. But notice that you were far from being, always or even often content and exhilarated within the relationship. You were often worried and concerned, just as you were at the time of the blowup.

    (2) Considering the intensity and longevity of your toxic shame, I don’t think that there was anything he could have done to make your shame go away, even if he was able and willing to work it through with you. Shame would be just around the corner and there’d be something new to worry about… My eyes just drifted to the title of your thread. Would it be appropriate to title your thread.. Extremely painful toxic shame and confusion?

    anita

    #427617
    Stacy
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I hope you are doing well. Just checking back in to say that I’ve been sick for the past two weeks on antibiotics and have also been out of work trying to catch up from home. I will respond once I can get settled back into my routine. I will be going back to work tomorrow.

    #427633
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Stacy:

    I am fine, thank you. I hope that you fully recover soon and get back to work and to a routine you are comfortable in. Thank you for letting me know. I will be looking forward to reading from you again!

    anita

     

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