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He cheated on his girlfriend with me, but dumped me for her in the end

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  • #395857
    Helcat
    Participant

    I have been on a journey throughout life. At times to afraid to ask to be treat with respect. Wondering at any sign of affection, is this love?

    Many people have a desire to feel loved at any cost. I know I was the same in the past. This desperation opens you up not to love, but abuse.

    My thoughts on love are that it involves people mutually treating other with respect.

    He cheated on his girlfriend for over a year. He didn’t treat her with respect. Despite any feelings of attachment this is not love.

    He treat OP as a side piece and used her for sex. He didn’t treat her with respect. Despite any feelings of attachment this is not love.

    OP consistently allowed him to treat her and his gf with disrespect. OP treated him and his partner with disrespect by not demanding that he chooses between them or ending the relationship. Despite any feelings of attachment this is not love.

    To be loved and to love, means treating others with respect, and them treating you with respect in turn.

     

     

    #395864
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Reader:

    I am addressing this post to whomever would like to read it. I am not addressing it to the Original Poster (OP) because she deleted her account (“anonymous”) nine months ago and hasn’t posted since. Three members found interest in this thread this month, March 2022, so I thought I’ll see what I can learn today from the old June 2021 posts.

    The OP’s story: she knew a man for 3 months and then found out that he had a girlfriend. He then told her how unhappy he was with his girlfriend: “he felt suffocated, how he had to cut off his female friends because she asked him…there was never any trust and so on“, and “He said he wanted to get out of it but just didn’t know how“.

    The OP figured that his relationship with his girlfriend was toxic, which reminded her of a toxic relationship she once had, and she therefore empathized with him: “It reminded me of a toxic relationship I was in during my younger days, and I emphasized with his plight. I wanted to be there for him, so I stayed by his side“.

    And so, she stayed by his side for one year and 4 months (January 2020-May 2021), being “too emotionally invested and head over heels in love with him… in a situationship, I never got to go on proper dates with him (for fear of being seen together by someone he knows/girlfriend) and it was just always hanging out at his place“.

    In May 2021, his girlfriend found out about the OP, and a confrontation followed between the three where “He openly professed his love to his girlfriend right there and then… He never loved me, never meant any of the things he said to me

    At one point during the confrontation, “<b>(his girlfriend) was all up in my face saying, ‘he can choose to tell you whatever he wants to, but why did you believe him?'</b>”. The OP answered this question in her post addressed to me: “And as to why I believed him, I felt that (his girlfriend) of all people should be able to understand that. She chose to believe him as well despite having suspicions throughout the course of their relationship… Because she loved him. And I did too“.

    Back in June 2021, I didn’t realize that the above quote, starting with “And as to why I believed him“, is brilliant. The OP was not stupid except for when it came to love. In her otherwise brilliance, she made an excellent point: it is the girlfriend (or shall I say, the other girlfriend, the one with more seniority) who should have been able to understand because she herself believed him again and again.

    How does it happen that many women (and men) are stupid when it comes to love? My answer: because as children, when the people we love most, our parents, lie to us, we believe them because we love them, and unless we re-evaluate their lies, we proceed to build our lives based on their lies and contradictory messages, remaining confused, dysfunctional and… stupid. This has been the story of decades of my life, lots of stupidity and it started with the lies my mother told me, the contradictory messages that confused the wit out of me… leaving me… well, stupid.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by anita.
    #395943
    Helcat
    Participant

    @anita

    How does it happen that many women (and men) are stupid when it comes to love? My answer: because as children, when the people we love most, our parents, lie to us, we believe them because we love them, and unless we re-evaluate their lies, we proceed to build our lives based on their lies and contradictory messages, remaining confused, dysfunctional and… stupid. This has been the story of decades of my life, lots of stupidity and it started with the lies my mother told me, the contradictory messages that confused the wit out of me… leaving me… well, stupid.

    Well said, a salient point Anita! I don’t think you were stupid though.

    A quote I find apt. “Mother is God in the eyes of a child.”

    In an abusive relationship, a child doesn’t dare question their mother. As teenagers and even  adults, many of us who haven’t been taught how to protect ourselves by our families are naïve and still learning about the world and how to interact with the people in it.

    My family taught me to accept abuse without protest. This normalised a lot of abusive behaviours, to the point where I  had difficulty identifying poor behaviour as well as protecting myself from it. As you know, abuse victims have a tendency to gravitate towards people that perpetuate their cycle of abuse. It doesn’t help that various forms of abuse are prevalent throughout  society either!

    Sadly, these experiences are part of human nature. We can only hope to learn and grow as a result of our experiences.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Helcat.
    #395945
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Helcat:

    I very much appreciate your post, thank you! I want to re-read what you posted tomorrow morning (in about 11 hours from now), when I am more focused, and reply further.

    anita

    #395954
    HoneyBlossom
    Participant

    Dear Emma,

    If you happen to be reading this, I really feel for you and what you are going through.  He really wasn’t a quality man.  As hard as it may seem to believe, in time, this will pass.  You will love on and be glad he is no longer in your life.

    #395956
    HoneyBlossom
    Participant

    Well Anita,

    I think I am ABSOLUTELY stupid with the men I chose to remain with.  My stupidity is so bad th a t I can just never trust myself to be in a relationship again – and now I think I’m way too old.  After every breakup, I thought I hadclearnt, but obviously not.

    What went on between my parents was terrible.  Sickening actually. I got away as soon as I could.  I left to go nursing in my teens.

    #395965
    Helcat
    Participant

    @HoneyBlossom

    I’m very sorry for the difficulties that you experienced in childhood and with partners as an adult.

    It seems like you blame yourself a lot for relationships with partners that treat you badly.

    I disagree! If you grew up with a healthy family it would not have set in motion the events that happened with you. Your family would have encouraged you to date people that treat you well and been angry at anyone who tried to hurt you.

    It has taken almost a decade of trauma therapy for me to learn to set boundaries and avoid people with unhealthy behaviours.

    It is not at all an easy thing to do when you were taught from a young age that abuse is acceptable within a household.

    Additionally, the partners who treat you badly are responsible for their own poor behaviour. Not you!

    You are not stupid, you have been through a lot of trauma. That takes a toll. It’s not your fault.

    #395967
    anita
    Participant

    Dear HoneyBlossom:

    I read in your own thread (and we agreed that if you want me to reply to you there- or anywhere- all you need to do is mention my name) that you started to feel anxious about your planned stay in the hospital this coming Monday, about having a tube placed in your bladder and about hospital staff, particularly nurses, having physical control over your body and its functions: “I’m sure it’s because of my over-controlling family and upbringing, my marriage as well – that the thought of other people controlling me physically fills me with anxiety“. Understandable. I am wondering if a fast-acting anti-anxiety medication can help during your stay in the hospital, such as any one of the benzodiazepines (to be prescribed to you short-term, only for the duration of your stay in the hospital)?

    As to your post on this thread, you have lots of company being stupid when it comes to relationships, including my own decades-long stupidity. You wrote: “What went on between my parents was terrible.  Sickening actually. I got away as soon as I could” -what went on between them sickened you; you got away as soon as you could but not before being made sick. I can very much relate: my mother made me sick and as a result I suffered in many ways, one of which was that my intelligence itself suffered!

    All we can do is emotionally heal best we can, and with emotional healing, our intelligence improves, not only in regard to relationships but overall- at least, such has been my experience!

    anita

    #395968
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Helcat:

    Many of us who haven’t been taught how to protect ourselves by our families are naïve and still learning about the world and how to interact with the people in it” – my mother did not teach me how to protect myself from her. It would have been against her self-interest to teach me to stand up to her, how to stop her from saying whatever she felt like saying to me; from doing whatever she felt like doing.

    I remember little but I remember this one scene: she was hitting me, with her hand across my face on and on, and she said to me, she praised me, saying the only thing I like about you is how you look down at the floor when I hit you. You don’t talk back to me, like other people’s children do.

    Of course, I wanted to be a good girl, I wanted her to think of me as a good girl, I wanted to please her while at the same time I couldn’t help the anger that made my face and inside my head feel such heat, wanting so badly to hit her back, it was instinctive.

    My family taught me to accept abuse without protest. This normalised a lot of abusive behaviours, to the point where I had difficulty identifying poor behaviour as well as protecting myself from it” – I could have written these two sentences!.

    As you know, abuse victims have a tendency to gravitate towards people that perpetuate their cycle of abuse” – we gravitate toward people that remind us of our abusive parent, hoping by proxy to change the abusive parent into a loving parent, is my experience.

    We can only hope to learn and grow as a result of our experiences‘ – well said. Thank you, Helcat, if it helps you and I to share more about our experiences of abuse and the consequences of it, if it does, let’s share and grow a bit further here, together.

    anita

    #395970
    Helcat
    Participant

    @anita

    I’m very sorry that you were treat like that! Your mother’s behaviour was horrible. You were quite right to feel angry and a desire to protect yourself from her abuse.

    I would very much appreciate sharing more about our experiences. If there is anything else you would like to share, please feel free.

    Sadly, I don’t think it’s possible for a child to protect themselves from an abusive parent. The nature of this abuse means that the parent is seeking out to abuse someone who is vulnerable, under their control and unable to protect themselves.

    These people are manipulative cowards, because they behave completely differently with people who aren’t vulnerable or under their control and are able to protect themselves. This proves that they are in control of their behaviour, otherwise they would behave this way with everyone. There is a level of predatory behaviour, as abusers identify victims based on how they respond to their boundaries being crossed.

    Children typically rely on their parents for everything. Such as food, clothing, transportation, healthcare, comfort, entertainment, education, socialisation and boundaries. The nature of the relationship gives parents a tremendous amount of control.

    Physically, children are too small to fight effectively until at least teenage years (depending on gender and weight). By this point, an abused child has been conditioned to act in a way that the abusive parent approves of.

    For a time, I compartmentalised different kinds of abuse because I felt the pain from certain kinds were so overwhelming that I couldn’t cope with the additional pain of other types of abuse.

    After much therapy and as an adult I see the devastating impact of verbal abuse. It shapes our minds. The behaviour you described and her words shaped so much of your life both internal and externally.

    Why? Because she was in a bad mood and wanted to take it out on you because causing you pain and watching you submit made her feel powerful.

    You were always a good girl Anita. You were never the problem, she was. Children are inherently innocent and deserving of love and protection. You didn’t deserve to be treat the way you were. You are a very good woman. Your kindness and compassion inspire.

    Sorry if anything is too emotional. Please let me know if there is anything that you wouldn’t like me to say.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Helcat.
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Helcat.
    #395973
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Helcat:

    Thank you so much, for your kindness, understanding and for your time! I have this strange feeling that I have the opportunity to communicate with a member about this personal topic of abuse here, with you, like never before. It is now Wednesday 8:30 pm my time and I want to reply to you further Thursday morning.

    anita

    #395993
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Helcat:

    I want to start with something that occurred to me before I turned on the computer this morning: when you share about your personal experience with having been abused, and when I share about mine, there is something to be cautious about that perhaps you noticed too; maybe this is true to you too, to one extent or another: I am so used to my childhood abuse experience being denied, downplayed, explained away/ rationalized, misunderstood, excused and so forth, that when you (or other people) positively respond to what I share but include an assumption that is not exactly true to my experience, or an assumption that I feel is not true to me, I experience, or used to experience a frustrated, an anger, as if: here I am misunderstood again!

    Is this your experience as well, to one extent or another?

    Next, I want to acknowledge your excellent post at the top of this page and add my thoughts to it. You placed respect as a necessary ingredient of love (“To be loved and to love, means treating others with respect, and them treating you with respect in turn“), and according to my understanding, you made a distinction between love and affection when you wrote: “Wondering at any sign of affection, is this love?

    What I get out of this is that the combination of affection and disrespect is not love. So, when my mother felt affection for me, and I assume she did, at times, it didn’t mean that she loved me because she also disrespected me too many times and for too long.

    And now, in regard to your recent post: “You were quite right to feel angry and a desire to protect yourself from her abuse” – the feeling of anger was instinctive, the instinct of an attacked animal. When I wanted to hit her, I didn’t have self-protection on my mind, it was an instinct, to hurt her.

    The ruminations and mental torture, the guilt about feeling anger at her and wanting to hurt her, that was after an attack and in between attacks, especially when she expressed affection for me. I felt guilty because I didn’t understand that the anger and instinct to fight an attacker is built-in in me as an animal species, nothing to do with me as an individual.

    The nature of this abuse means that the parent is seeking out to abuse someone who is vulnerable, under their control and unable to protect themselves” – the last time my mother sort-of ran toward me so to hit me with her arms extended in front of her ready to hit (she used to run the couple-few feet between me and her when intending to hit me, because she didn’t have the patience to walk toward me. She had a… <i>passion </i>when it came to hitting me), was when I was about 20. I extended my arms in front of me, grabbed her hands in my hands and exerted just enough force to block her from getting to me. She instantly retreated. I remember how disappointed I was in her quick withdrawal. I asked myself: this is ALL it took? All these years… and that’s all it took for me to stop her? (I would have done it earlier if I only knew it was that easy!)

    These people are manipulative cowards, because they behave completely differently with people who aren’t vulnerable… This proves that they are in control of their behaviour, otherwise they would behave this way with everyone” – normally, she was sugary sweet with everyone else, extremely and insincerely sugary sweet.

    There is a level of predatory behaviour, as abusers identify victims based on how they respond to their boundaries being crossed” – well said, just like other things you say so eloquently.

    Physically, children are too small to fight effectively until at least teenage years (depending on gender and weight). By this point, an abused child has been conditioned to act in a way that the abusive parent approves of” – when I looked at my mother much of the time growing up and later, I did not see an abusive adult, I saw a hurt little girl whom I wanted to love and protect. In my child’s mind, she was the good, innocent child and I was the bad, guilty adult.

    For a time, I compartmentalised different kinds of abuse because I felt the pain from certain kinds were so overwhelming that I couldn’t cope with the additional pain of other types of abuse” – I wonder what kinds of abuse were most painful for you and what kinds were the least painful.

    After much therapy and as an adult I see the devastating impact of verbal abuse. It shapes our minds. The behaviour you described, and her words shaped so much of your life both internal and externally” – she told me with that passion of hers: “You are a big Zero!!!“, and I proceeded to live my adult life as if I was indeed a Zero, internally and externally.

    Why? Because she was in a bad mood and wanted to take it out on you because causing you pain and watching you submit made her feel powerful” -yes.

    You were always a good girl Anita… Children are inherently innocent and deserving of love and protection” – you were always a good girl, Anita. You deserve love and protection. I said it to myself, to the child entity in me, the child that’s always there. I pictured her in my mind’s eye and said it.

    I think that what separated me as a child and as an adult from people was that I felt that I was a bad, guilty person. That Bad-Guilty core belief kept me isolated, not wanting to hurt others with my assumed badness, not expecting others to accept a bad person into their lives.

    You were never the problem, she was… You didn’t deserve to be treated the way you were. You are a very good woman. Your kindness and compassion inspire” – thank you.

    Please let me know if there is anything that you wouldn’t like me to say” – thank you for this offer. Yes, I would like you to not say (to me, this is not a suggestion that you don’t say it to other members) that you are sorry about what you are not responsible for (ex.: “I’m very sorry that you were treat like that!“). I understand the sentiment behind saying it, but I don’t like reading it.

    I would very much appreciate sharing more about our experiences. If there is anything else you would like to share, please feel free” – thank you and please feel free yourself to share more about your personal experience with abuse.

    anita

    #396006
    Helcat
    Participant

    @anita

    Thank you for sharing your feelings and requesting things that will aid our communication. I encourage you to tell me whenever something crops up that you would like me to change in the future and please clarify any assumptions or misunderstandings. It wasn’t my intention to elicit these feelings.

    Would you mind clarifying why you feel uncomfortable with me saying “I’m very sorry for the way you were treat!”? Of course, I will no longer write anything of the sort in further communication.

    Yes, I too feel angry sometimes when people make assumptions, because I feel like I’m being misunderstood. We are both different people, with different experiences.

    You are correct Anita, that is my interpretation of love. I don’t mean to offend anyone, I’m just very rigid with boundaries. It can be very tempting to tolerate abuse for the belief that you are loved or there is the potential for it. So I choose to define abusive people as incapable of love.

    Many people exhibit some type of abusive behaviour. If these behaviours are not severe, rather infrequent, overall the relationship is good, empathy is shown for others experiences and a willingness to change unhealthy behaviours when asked is displayed. I would suggest this is a loving (mostly) healthy relationship.

    I encourage you to share your own definition of love if you would like to.

    she was hitting me, with her hand across my face on and on, and she said to me, she praised me, saying the only thing I like about you is how you look down at the floor when I hit you. You don’t talk back to me, like other people’s children do.

    In this quote your mother essentially stated that she didn’t like you. To me, this means that she didn’t love you either. It is a rather horrific thing to say to a child. It made me feel sad and angry for little Anita.

    I can understand your feelings of guilt. I had feelings of guilt with my own mother. I occasionally unsuccessfully tried to fight against my mother’s abuse and fantasised about her death as a child.

    These feelings of anger and a desire to hurt the person that abused you is understandable. Even if you had fought back, I wouldn’t believe that you were the guilty party. As you said, fight, flight and freeze are instinctual responses to danger and the purpose of this instinctual response is to protect yourself. I hope this clarifies why I used those words?

    Do you honestly believe that she would have stopped being physically abusive if you had attempted to defend yourself as a small child? I have some doubts.Do you think your mother did or said anything to elicit those feelings of her being a hurt little girl that you should protect?

    My own mother attempted to achieve a similar thing. As a small child she used me as a confidante. Telling me all of her fears and pain. Frequently, she explained away her abuse as she was “treating me the way her parents treat her” and saying that “she didn’t know better”.

    It sounds like you had a lot of empathy for your mother, assumed responsibility for her care and potentially blamed yourself for her condition. Would you agree? If you don’t mind me asking what are your thoughts about this now as a mature adult?

    I would say that I found sexual and physical abuse most painful and disregarded the impact of verbal abuse and neglect as a child.

    It has been a pleasure communicating with you as always!

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Helcat.
    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Helcat.
    #396046
    HoneyBlossom
    Participant

    Hugs and thank you to both of you.  I’m not working today and though it’s almost midday, I have had to go back to bed. Staff meeting yesterday. We had 3 full-time workers off last week and 2 of our 6 clients with COVID so was exhausting.

    I will reply properly later when I have gotten up and showered.

     

    I also wanted to say that despite receiving the same type of abuse as you both, as I read your words, I wanted to punch out both your parents and mine too.  How dare they.

     

    I have no doubt you were both beautiful children.  One of my dogs, I’m quite obsessed with and diet on was very obviously neglected when I got her couple years ago.  I don’t know if she was physically abused – she is so happy, it’s hard to imagine. I wondered if my doting on her is because I feel such love for neglected and abused animals. They are so easy to love and so deserving of kindness. Perhaps so see myself in her and in caring for her, I am caring for myself.  My parents did not like animals and would not permit us to have any.

    So much of what happened, I cannot write about. I did discuss in therapy, but it will always be painful. My mother is 85 now and frail. She is losing her mind with dementia.

    I could never have treated my child as I was treated. I suppose my son and I are close despite living maybe 350kms from each other. Still, when he was young, I struggled with feeling too unworthy of such a beautiful child.  I spoilt him – but he has grown up to be very confident and is living his dream life.

    #396089
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Helcat:

    I read your post this evening but am not focused enough. I appreciate communicating with you, it’s a special experience for me. Will reply further in the morning.

    Dear HoneyBlossom: will reply to you too in the morning, take good care of yourself!

    anita

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