March 22, 2020 at 12:47 am #344556
Thanks. Yeah, I guess the fact that they were friends and it lead to Steve confessing his feelings is kind of what scares me. It’s almost this thought of “what if they become friends again, and Steve can’t help himself or can’t control himself this time?” I know there’s no chance their friendship can be rekindled though, and trust in my partners lack in wanting to rekindle or restart the friendship ever. But, the thought still scares me.
kiwiboy0897March 22, 2020 at 4:17 am #344570
Just want to add… I’ve realised I feel an underlying sense of humiliation. I think it’s because I was very proud about my relationship and never expected anything like this to happen, and because my partner told Steve.
Any advice on how to deal with this?
kiwiboy0897March 22, 2020 at 7:39 am #344580
“how do you suggest I conquer this fear?”
1. You started your thread this way: “I have been with my boyfriend for 9 months now. Our relationship has been nothing but perfect.. he is everything I ever hoped for in a man”. Most recently you wrote: “I was proud about my relationship and never expected anything like this to happen, and because my partner told Steve”-
– we people often idealize the person we are in love with, that’s pretty much in the definition of in-love, and in the nature of romantic-love. We put up the person on a pedestal, like he or she is god, all good, all loving, all .. everything, perfect! And then, we realize that person is not perfect after all and many fall-out-of-love at that point, or after a period of struggling.
Your partner reads like a wonderful person from all that you shared about him, better not give up on him! But like anyone else he is not perfect. He can’t be everything you ever hoped for in a man (quote above), no person in the whole wide world can possibly be everything you ever hoped for. No one can behave at all times in the exact ways that will make you feel pleased and content, no worries. Especially with those embers lying underneath and ready to catch fire at any time!
So first thing to do is to understand this concept that I detailed here, and be willing to see him as the wonderful yet imperfect man, who will sometimes say and do something that you will not like. Just as you will say and do something that he will not like. As long as it is not a major transgression (ex., violence, sexual affair), then become willing to accept that your partner cannot read your mind at all time and live his life so to accommodate all those thought, hopes and wants, so to make you feel calm in regard to him on a regular basis.
2. “the thought of my partner simply even being friends with Steve scares me.. I can’t shake the fear.. the thought still scares me”- notice that you wrote twice (in the previous page and here) that it is the thought that scares you. Back to the embers comparison I made to your original fear? Same as the comparison to an itch I made earlier: the embers are there, capable of catching fire at any time, the fire is the distress that you feel, similar to an itch, something unpleasant that you need to free yourself from. What causes the embers to catch fire is either an image or a thought in your brain, for example, having an image of your partner and Steve in your brain, or a thought of Steve. That image/ thought triggers the embers and fire/ itch results. What happens next is more images and thoughts are added to the fire and the fire is roaring for a long time.
This is how OCD works- there is an underlying fear, the original fear I referred to (added to fear in general as we are all born with fear in us), then over time, a collection of thoughts that trigger this fear come about, and trigger those embers, a fire takes place, that fire is acute distress that we want to stop feeling, so we do the exact opposite of what we need to do, we add even more thoughts as we try to solve whatever problem we think we have. We are compelled to think more, and to do something about it (ex., to ask your partner).
Key is to stop adding fuel (thoughts) to the fire, to resist the compulsion to think more. Without additional fuel, the fire will die down. Ways to stop the thinking: distract yourself with exercise, or a hot/ cold shower or a guided meditation, or one of the mindfulness practices (there are books about it, magazines, probably blogs about it on the main page of this website). Take a time out from thinking.
3. To lower that original fear, go back to the short post where you told me about your childhood, and retell it in a different way, the emotional way, best you can. What happens to a child who is afraid often, witnessing aggression/ violence in the home, is that the child disassociates, numbs out his emotions, so to not feel fear so intensely. Later on, as you look back, you see what happens, in your mind’s eye, in a way that is empty of emotions, which is very much not how it felt then, when it was happening.
So, when you are relaxed, maybe so tired that you are also relaxed, sit in front of the computer, or have a pen and paper in front of you and type away: imagine you are the child that you were, lying in bed, and you hear screaming from the next room where your parents are. Don’t worry about writing perfectly, grammatically correct, neatly, accurately, don’t bother with the details, just the sounds that you hear, how your body feels, relax and type away as if you are now the child that you were there and then.
anitaMarch 22, 2020 at 2:59 pm #344660
If I’m honest, when I started this blog post, I didn’t think I would encounter such help. I understood that I had underlying fears and issues I needed to address and conquer, so I sincerely thank you for guiding me in this whole process and journey thus far. But in reply to you:
1. He is a very wonderful person, and I am grateful and humbled to have him in my life. I won’t give up on him! I agree with what you’ve said, and it makes lots of sense. Very relatable. Reading that, I have begun to understand that he is a loveable, wonderful and great human being and partner. He is not perfect, yet his imperfection makes him perfect to me in his own way. And his imperfection makes him who he is, and I am satisfied and content with who he is, so I am content with that. Thank you for giving me this newfound reality and perspective!
2. Yes, that’s a good observation. If anything, I have escalated and intensified the thought process so much more than the reality was. I thought ‘worst case scenario,’ and thought that if I adapted and thought about that, then the reality of the situation (which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was in hindsight) wouldn’t be as intense. An example to explain this would be my partner would say something like “I admire Steve’s ambition,” and in my head I would hear something like (or intensify it as something like) “I am falling in love with Steve’s personality,” and I think it does have something to do with the embers that you have explained. The itch analogy made a lot of sense to me, and this one you have also discussed makes a lot of sense as well. I am glad I am learning more about myself and my patterns through your observations. If I’m honest, when you explain how it happens (how the embers catch fire), that is exactly the process in my head. I always thought that if I added more thought, then it’d go away. I didn’t truly realise to achieve this was to in fact do the opposite. Also, thank you for giving me some methods to stop adding more thoughts!
3. I will do my best to repost what I shared. I know you usually get off the computer soon (or in a few hours), and it’s morning where I am now, so I will probably be back later tonight to do this. I have some university assignments I need to complete today, but I think this exercise will be very helpful.
Thank you for all the time and effort you have put towards these forums for my sake and for my wellbeing. I want you to know and understand that I truly and sincerely am so grateful, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continuous discussion with me.
Can’t wait to hear from you again!
kiwiboy0897March 22, 2020 at 4:49 pm #344676
Your words of appreciation made my day, what you wrote means a lot to me. Thank you!
“He is a very wonderful person”- and so are you. What a beautiful way to say it: “his imperfection makes him perfect to me.. I am satisfied and content with who he is”. He is a fortunate man.
Regarding the relationship between thoughts and anxiety, it is a very close relationship, as thoughts are the spark that ignite the embers, and more thoughts are added fuel to the fire. When we feel anxious, our tendency is to think, it is as if we take an elevator up to our heads and quarantine ourselves in a thinking chamber. What we need to do is take that elevator down from our heads to our bodies, do some exercise, slow yoga is an excellent way to keep our focus in our bodies.
Of course we can’t not think for too long, this is where Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises come handy: challenging our thoughts: are they accurate or are they distorted, and if they are distorted, then we correct them. For example, “I admire Steve’s ambition” does not equal “I am falling in love with Steve’s personality”. You can find CBT exercises online. My introduction to CBT was the book CBT for Dummies which included exercises in it (or in a workbook that goes with it, I don’t remember).
Take your time regarding the exercise. You can postpone it until such time when you feel relaxed enough and comfortable doing it, and post before you do this exercise.
You are welcome and I am glad to be communicating with you. Keep yourself as safe as possible.
anitaMarch 23, 2020 at 5:36 am #344734
I’m glad they did! You deserve it! Your kind words go a long way.
I like that analogy of the elevator. This morning after I had posted, I saw that analogy and tried to apply it to the mindfulness techniques you were writing about. I started with some guided meditation, and continued to shun and dismiss my imaginative thoughts from reality, as well as adding more embers to the flame.
Here is the retelling of the story I posted earlier, considering the sounds I hear and how my body feels, emotionally:
It’s almost like a dark flash. I was relaxed, poised in bed. Everything was comfortable, I was in a state of bliss and I was captured in sleep. My eyes opened, and I was confused. I saw the silhouette of my sisters face on top of mine, her hands grasping my shoulders, waking me up. ‘Wake up, wake up!’ I am four years old. She is eleven. We share a room, because I think she’s brave and she gives me courage. She is angry sometimes, and that makes me worried for her, but it’s funny. She protects me. Waking up, I remember being confused. Were we gonna sneak out of our room and play a game? Were we going to check out my brothers new computer, now that the others were all asleep? I was curious. I was excited. But, my body was still tired. It was dark, and I was sleepy. This is when I began to realise we weren’t the only ones awake. I could hear my brother, yelling. I could hear my father doing the same, and the sounds of metal things being thrown. Maybe just once or twice. I was worried, but I still felt safe. I was at home, and nothing can ever hurt me at home. I don’t remember exactly what happened after this. I just remember my sister holding my hand as we stand in the kitchen door. We walk in together, and another glimpse memory loss moment. Next, I am standing, just inside the kitchen. Our kitchen is pretty huge. My mum is by the sink, her hair is let down in a pony-tail. My sister is kneeling beside me, holding me with both her arms and sobbing. This makes me feel happy in a way, because now I am protecting her. It makes me feel like she needs me, and that she dragged me out of bed because she didn’t want to watch this alone. But she knew she had to. I am caressing her back with my left hand, tapping on her shoulder, ‘tap, tap, tap’ simultaneously muttering “it’s okay.” I look up, and my dad is standing away from my mum, facing the door to the hallway on the other side of the kitchen. The side that my sister and I didn’t come out of. That side connects to my brothers room. He is yelling, and watching him yell makes me flinch. It makes my heart race, and I begin to get scared. But, I have my sister so I know I’ll be okay. My brother walks out of the hallway, replying with more yelling. He is carrying his computer monitor. He throws it at my dad, but close enough for him to catch it. He didn’t get much distance, so it didn’t hurt him. I begin to get confused and even more scared and worried now. Why is he throwing his computer monitor at dad? He likes his computer, after all. My brother is yelling at him for a reason, and I can understand that it is justified. It is not out of pure anger or vengeance or teenage hormones or anything like that. I understood at that point in time, he had a very good reason (at least from his perspective) to do that, to throw things and to yell at dad and not feel guilty because he was doing it in front of us all. Mum didn’t even move, or say anything. I could tell he was protecting her like I was protecting my sister, or that’s how I felt. I was confused, I was scared and my feet were cold on that vinyl flooring in the middle of who knows what time it even was. That’s all I really remember accurately from that night, that and my sisters distinct cry with her husky voice and the stains on my shoulder from her tears. That’s one of the earliest memories I can recall, and I still don’t understand what happened that night. It’s like an unsolved mystery to me. I’ve never asked, but I think I have the courage to ask. I’m not afraid of asking, I just never thought about it before I guess.
Thank you for staying updated and encouraging me to share my story. I’ve never retold that to anyone (besides my partner I think), and I think that’s because I chose to keep it buried.
Thank you for your well wishes. I too hope you are keeping safe amongst everything that is happening globally at the moment, and wish you nothing but continuous health and prosperity.
All the best, always!
kiwiboy0897March 23, 2020 at 7:50 am #344744
You are a good writer, you write well. But for the purpose of the exercise I suggested, you are too good of a writer. I need you to write like a four year speaks. A four year old will not use words like: “I was poised in bed.. in a state of bliss” etc. A young child doesn’t have this vocabulary.
When I suggested the exercise I didn’t specify the above to you (I don’t think I did), but it is clear to me now that it needs be in the words of a four year old.
You wrote: “I could hear my brother, yelling.. the sounds of metal things being thrown.. I was worried, but I still felt safe”- I don’t think that it is possible for a child woken in the middle of the night hearing such sounds to feel safe, worried but safe, even if his older sister is there with him.
“I was at home, and nothing can ever hurt me at home”- a child hearing what you described would worry that his mother will get hurt, or his brother.. someone out there were the sounds were being made.
What you described is an account that is heavily edited by the adult- you. If you want, you can try to redo the exercise- don’t try to tell it well, don’t worry about the quality of your writing and keep your vocabulary limited. Type a word, then pause to get a feeling, type something that comes to mind or heart, don’t worry about logic consistency.
Another point: what you remember as the events of one night, is probably a combination of memories from different nights or days, maybe months and years apart, all combined into a one event memory- it is the nature of our adult memory regarding our long ago early childhood. So don’t worry about accuracy of the events themselves. I am interested in your emotional experience as a child, not much in the details of the events.
March 24, 2020 at 7:10 pm #345234
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.
Thank you. Sorry I have got back to you so late, I have been quite swamped with university work!
I will redo the exercise probably later tonight when I have the chance to settle and complete it properly. There is something else I would like to express though, about the situation between Steve and my partner.
On New Year’s Day, my partner went to the gym (F45) and him and Steve were talking after the session. Steve was saying to my partner that whatever he needs (in regards to business information, business talks, etc.) that he could contact Steve and ask him about it. He said that if he was ever wanting to discuss it outside of the gym, Steve would be fine with that. But pretty much, that day they decided to go for lunch and discuss business. I came to visit my partner, and he told me that he was going to go to lunch with Steve. He asked me if I would like to come, but I said I would rather not because it would make me uncomfortable. I said that I would drop him off, though, and wait for him in the car. I did exactly that, and I didn’t have a problem with it at the time. I did ask if my partner wanted to go to lunch, but he said he didn’t want to cancel on his plans with Steve because he didn’t want to be rude.
Just thought I’d tell you this as I previously left it out (not on purpose, I just forgot that I didn’t express it).
What’re your thoughts?
Hope you’re safe, healthy and well!
kiwiboy0897March 24, 2020 at 7:31 pm #345242
I don’t see anything alarming in what you shared here, nothing concerning. He told you about the lunch, he asked you if you want to join him.. nothing wrong here.
Thank you for your good wishes. I hope you are as safe as can be. I am pretty safe, living outside the city limit, in the woods, very few neighbors, don’t have to try hard socially distancing.
anitaMarch 24, 2020 at 8:52 pm #345252
I’m glad to head that! I think that is probably the best place to be during this whole thing. I am as safe as can be, taking precautions and ensuring I am out of harms way.
kiwiboy0897March 25, 2020 at 8:15 am #345316
Thank you, kiwiboy0897, continue to be as safe as possible. I am looking forward to read from you again.. and again.
anitaMarch 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm #345602
May I ask… what would you consider emotional cheating?
kiwiboy0897March 26, 2020 at 3:28 pm #345616
Emotional cheating is ongoing flirting, beyond a moment of flirting (everyone is impulsive at times, so a flirting comment might just come out of our mouths, or a flirting look happen before we know it, so this is not emotional cheating). Emotional cheating would be then repeatedly flirting with someone using flirtatious, suggestive words, as well as looks, smiles and such.
Anything beyond flirting, that is, sending naked photos/ videos, having telephone or cybersex, that is hard core emotional/ sexual cheating.
Meeting someone of the sex we are attracted to, behind our partner’s back, without our partner’s knowledge, talking with that person about our partner in ways we wouldn’t talk if our partner was there, that is emotional cheating as well.
That’s what comes to my mind at this point. I will be back to the computer in less than a couple of hours.
anitaMarch 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm #345626
Thanks for that.
Do you think telling someone you have feelings for them if you’re in a relationship counts?
kiwiboy0897March 26, 2020 at 5:01 pm #345634
You are welcome. One incident of a person telling another something like: I-have-feelings-for-you, just one time, and then regretting it and correcting it: not repeating such words, or words to that effect, (and if the partner knows about it, then sincerely apologizing to the partner and taking some sincere action so to make amends to the partner)-> altogether, it is not emotional cheating.
Like I said earlier, everyone is impulsive from time to time, especially when tired or excited, even forgetting for a moment one is in a relationship .. for a moment.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by anita.