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How do I stop caring what others think?

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  • This topic has 274 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by anita.
Viewing 15 posts - 256 through 270 (of 275 total)
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  • #365269
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I hope it is o.K., about the turtle. I get what you were saying and the turtle metaphor helped to make it clearer. Just, something about it made it a bit uncomfortable to me. Thank you for accepting my feelings.

    About meeting him: I will think about it. I would like to have a friendly ending, as it would make me feel better. And I have already told him that I only want to meet him once. But will there be a real exchange, a talk about what happened? Likely not. I could do this to test myself and to draw a finishing line for myself. Maybe I am also too perfectionist again, trying to be this perfect and fair person. These things first got me into trouble, but I feel that I am stronger now and that I now know what I want.

    #365279
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “I hope it is o.k., about the turtle”- yes, it is okay.

    “About meeting him.. I would like to have a friendly ending, as it would make me feel better”- this urge to meet him one final time for a friendly ending- I see is a compulsion, an OCD type compulsion- wanting to do something symbolic so to quiet an urge/ an intense distress.

    When you give in to a compulsion, you imagine that you will be forever relieved, but the relief is temporary, and soon enough, the urge returns as well as the compulsion.

    anita

    #366205
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I have met him now and we actually were able to talk about the past. We were able to say goodbye to each other. He offered to stay friends, but today I told him that I can’t imagine being friends with an ex. He accepted it all and we parted amicably.

    Apparently, everything is going well in his life. He told me that he is now mainly thinking about family, he looks forward to meet his wife and his son. This comment struck me extra hard, because I fear that I will end up completely alone. I have been thinking about family too, but I can’t imagine it for myself. When I think of my own family, I fear so much that I would repeat that unlucky pattern… But the thought hurts so much that I can’t stop crying. It’s stupid, I never thought of myself as a family person (because of my own family), but it must be nice,if you spend time with you children and partner, if you can show your children about the world and see the grow up. I try to be reasonable though, tell myself that with the state of the world it is only good to not have children and that I have to still work on myself a lot. Still this topic touches me somehow very  deeply. Well, I will soon be too old anyways. And I try to tell myself, that it is all for a reason. Maybe I am not meant for this.

    He also said that he never understood why I ended things, that the problems were so small. But back then I almost had a nervous breakdown, so I don’t think I could have acted any differently. When I brought up the lack of communication, he said it was because I refused to get a smartphone. Which is true, I didn’t want one because of the distraction factor. But he never communicated this to me until the end. And definitely, I wasn’t the only one responsible for the communication problem. And that he wanted to put the blame on me, made me more firm in my decision to let him go. I could also not have been his friend, because I still feel something for him.Best to make a clear cut.

    But it was good to meet him to finish this in a good way. When I sent him the message he wished me well and said he feels that he now fulfilled his task.

    Sorry, you must be sick of the topic. I did not take your advice, but I had to find my own way of dealing with things. The abrupt no contact version doesn’t work for me and I find it hard to move on. Only in extreme cases it works for me.

    When I first came to the forums, I was really looking for guidance, for an anchor. Because I felt so lost! And you always seemed so secure in your opinions. Unlike me, who is questioning my every move. It was good to have this safety. And I thank you for your advice, it has helped me a lot. But I also have to evaluate now, what works for me. People are different and there are different solutions to every problem. I hope you are o.K. with this.

    About compulsions: I don’t know if this is me. I was extremely sad how things ended with K and could never get over it. I liked him very much, even though it didn’t go well. I had a hard time to let go of this. At least now I know that he doesn’t hate me, that he is well and that we parted amicably. That will be a huge consolation to me.

     

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Lily.
    #366212
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You wrote: “I also have to evaluate now, what works for me. People are different and there are different solutions to every problem. I hope you are O.K. with this”- I am very much okay with you evaluating what works for you.

    As far as people being different and there being different solutions to every problem- this is true in some contexts and untrue in other contexts:

    – People are all different as far as the collections of foods they like and don’t like, for example, but all people are the same as far as needing to connect with other people (being social animals, that is)

    – to some problems there are different solutions, for example, if ten people are overweight and want to lose weight, then there are indeed 10 different best solutions best fitting the 10 individuals. On the the other hand, if a problem is that a person is being repeatedly abused by another,  and there is a way for the abused person to leave the relationship with the abuser, then there is only one solution: to leave.

    You wrote about having met K: “At least now I know that he doesn’t hate me, that he is well and that we parted amicably. That will be a huge consolation to me”-

    – It thought that you already parted amicably with him before, and  that he told you that he was doing well. Maybe you think of this time as the .. final time, the final meeting.. But why did you write that it “will be” a huge consolation to you do you mean that you will need to check in the future if he is still doing well?

    anita

    #366213
    Lily
    Participant

    I will never check up on him. If only for his sake, I will leave him alone. He is also the onw who did contact me, I would have not bothered him.

    OI wrote will, because today I am just a little sad.

     

    And I don’t know how he abused me? I don’t think he was using me for sex, if you mean that.

     

     

    #366214
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    When I gave you an example of a one solution context (leaving an abuser), it was a general example, I was not thinking about K and you when I gave that example.

    anita

     

    #366216
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    One more thing: I am sorry you are suffering. I hate it that you suffer. How I wished you didn’t!

    anita

    #366242
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for your sympathy!

    I am sorry that I misunderstood your words. Yesterday I was also really tired. Also I did not really respond to most of your post because of that.

    You are right, in some situations there is only one solution. Of course, if someone gets abused they should leave.

    But I think with K it was a situation with more options. For some people it would work best, to just send a message that they want no contact and then block them everywhere. But this does not work so well for me.

    I could not let go of him, I was always thinking about him. When I thought of him I even thought that I love him, but I am not sure if this is true. I do not know very much about love and what it is like. I know that I wish the best for him.

    The conversation with him was valuable to me, at least I have learnt some things. And I think that a lot was destroyed by my own fear and mistrust and by my horrible self hate. It was also a difficult situation, with living far apart.

    I remembered now that he did bring up before that we could do videochats or such things. But the problems was always my lack of equipment. I really did not want a smartphone and underestimated how important it was for our communication. I did not get it. But I still think I am not the only one who made communication difficult.

    If anything, this conversation revealed how lonely I feel. I need to do something to change that.

    #366243
    Lily
    Participant

    I have to make my life more meaningful! I want to have people in my life, that I can be there for, that I can spend time with. But I am also so very scared of getting closer with people. I want to get my life together, live a normal adult life. I feel so much behind in life….

    #366250
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “I feel so much behind in life”- I was so much behind in life when I was much older than you. I am no longer behind in life because I am engaged in life, not because I achieved certain things (which is what I used to believe it meant, to catch up in life/ to not be behind).

    In the context of having adequate food and shelter/ very basic comforts- to catch up/ to not be behind, does not mean to get more money and more material things, and it doesn’t mean having a certain number of friends, and a boyfriend, and it doesn’t mean being employed or having career accomplishments. There are plenty of examples of very rich people, with lots of friends and who accomplished career success on an international level, and yet they committed suicide, literally leaving their lives behind.

    To not be behind means to be engaged in life as a participant, instead of being an observer in life (who amply criticizes the one observed!). It means to be stop observing and criticizing yourself long enough to get curious about life outside you, other people, wanting to find  out more, to understand more.

    Regarding K, in my understanding, moving forward and becoming engaged if life means to leave him behind you. Get curious about other people. There are other men in the world, billions of men who.. are not K. Why focus on K? What makes him so special… Frankly, from all that you shared.. I noticed nothing special at all. (I am sure he was born special, but that special got dull with life, and it no longer shines, as is the case with so many people).

    Also, you did not damage him just because you were in his life, you are not poison even though there is this core belief that you have, that you are poison and everyone you touch gets hurt. Believing it doesn’t make it so.

    So, please do move on, leave him behind. There are other people to get curious about: who is this person? Who is that person? How wonderful it would be if you do meet someone special!

    anita

    #366354
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for always taking time out of your day to read and reply.

    I am already feeling better. I have spent a day with my best friend, she now has more time again! We cooked together and went for a long walk. It was nice to see her again. Today I also did o.K., painting, cooking some celeriac schnitzel with oven fried potatoes and I also did Yoga and went to a sports class and read a little. Tomorrow I will go to therapy which will be helpful.

    If I follow your definition of not being behind in life, I think I have already made some progress there. I have managed to like myself more and follow my interests more. But many days happen where I still waste time online and not using my time very well. But o.K., for example today I did pretty o.K.!

    About K: I think my head was a bit of in a haze after meeting him. I was looking at the potential of what the relationship could have been. But how was it really? It did not feel like a true relationship at all. I was not feeling well, there were not many beautiful memories of companionship and time spent together enjoying each others company and being there for each other. It was me, it was him, it was the circumstances, but at the end of the day it did not work out. It was more worrying myself into insanity than a loving relationship. I don’t think that I had too high expectations either… I just wanted to spend time together and share life. But we both were not very open with each other.

    Anyways. I think that I could not have asked for a better ending and I can be relieved now. We talked and ended it properly. He even said to me that he has nothing to be angry about. We wished each other well. I never expected this to go this well, he even wrote more than one sentence in reply to my message that I can’t imagine staying friends with an ex. In the end, our communication improved. I think it is also because now I was better at expressing what I want. I said I wanted to meet only once and at a park or cafe, not at his home. And I stuck with it. Also, I was no longer afraid to be myself, to show myself more. I could be kind and still stand up for myself.

    Just, that the better communication made me question for a moment if things would have worked out better, if I had been more myself from the start. If there was better communication and understanding for each other. But I guess it will be the most reasonable thing to move on. We have a good ending, better not ask for more! I am glad that this could be resolved, I should be able to move on now.

    I think now I should become more open to meeting new people. Maybe not dating, but making some new friends or learning about people. People from all different walks interest me and I think I can learn from everyone. But I really have been hiding myself, for a longer time, because I did not feel good about myself. Now I am learning that I am o.K. and maybe I can become more courageous!

     

     

    #366361
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome. Good to read that you are feeling better and that you spent quality time with your best friend. Also good to know that (I have noticed it a long time ago), you are more and more engaged in life. Another thing I liked to read in your recent post is that you indeed stuck with meeting K at a park or a cafe, not in his home, and that you were no longer afraid to be yourself, to show yourself more during that meeting.

    I am not surprised that the improved communication in that last meeting caused you to wonder if.. you should try again with him. I hope that you will not be moving in that direction, and instead meet new people, or one new person, to start with.

    “I really have been hiding myself.. Now I am learning that I am O.K., and maybe I can become more courageous!”- yes, you are okay, and yes, you can be, and you are already more courageous that you used to be!

    anita

    #366549
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I think it is the right decision to have ended it and to not remain friends. I will not be trying again with him, because it would likely not work. And what if I then left him again, what kind of mess would that be?? Or maybe he would leave me. No, it is for the best to leave this in the past. I have checked his instagram account (definitely need to stop that) and he seems very happy now. He posted pictures with captions saying how good life is. So I do not have to worry about him.

    During the meeting the communication was still not that good. I was still very shy. But when I wrote to him, I was able to express myself better. Usually I am able to express myself better in writing. Only when I feel very secure with someone, I will be able to speak calmly to them, and with him I did not feel that much at ease. We just never got to spend that much time together, get to know each other well.

    I brought up some things that did not work that well in the past. Was that petty of me? I said “communication was not good”. To which he responded, that I never wanted it, having no smartphone. I said “yes, I did not want one”, but I did not say that I don’t think that this was the only reason for our bad communication. Even though I do think that.

    He talked about being friends, that he is interested in having that human connection. But I said, what would we do as friends, we never really spent any time together? And he said that this was not true, we went out to eat together. I did not know what to respond. But to me, those were not real dates. We went out twice. One, when he was making a stop in my town before traveling elsewhere. He informed me only shortly before that he was coming. He wanted to eat and suggested to go to a place at the main station, but there was no room to seat there. So I suggested a different place. While we were eating the conversation was slow. I was always tense around him and did not know what to say. He was texting on his phone, even called someone. I thought to myself that I must be the most boring person in the world.

    The second date we met at the evening after it was dark. We sat at a bank, talking. His cousin called him. Then we walked to the main station, where we picked up some food that we then ate at home.

    To me, those were not really dates. Am I asking too much? Am I untgrateful?  I do not need any fancy restaurants or gifts or anything, but I would have liked to spend some intentional time together. I know that he was busy, but we could at least have planned better, made some effort. It never felt like that, all felt so in between, like I just got crumbs… I wondered if he really was interested in me and I did not feel like it. On the other hand, I should have spoken up to him, talked about it. If I ever meet someone, I will do that. At least I have learned some things from this experience.

    Anyways, I meant to say, two of the criticisms I brought up, just were dismissed. And I was also incapable of explaining myself. But those are signs that this would have never worked. In the conversations I felt like he was the leader and I the follower. like he had an idea how things should be. I did not get the impression that he was very interested in my thoughts or opinions. And that he did not reflect his own behaviour. It would not work for me and I would suffer, if I stayed with him.

    And friendship would only confuse me, I think. So it is best as it is. Good that we could close that chapter together. He seems happy now and I am happy for him. Still I have a bit of a depressed feeling. But in time, I will be able to move on.

    Who knows, maybe someday a relationship will be possible for me. Maybe when I’m 70 or so the time will come for me that I am ready, haha…

     

    #366552
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I hope that you will have a relationship before you are 70, but even if you had your first healthy relationship at 70, it wouldn’t be too late!

    anita

    #366553
    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you, I guess it is never too late! Who knows what will happen. At the moment, I should just focus on myself and trying to love myself first. And I need to stop thinking about K, what happened what he thinks of me. It does not matter anymore, does it?

    Hopefully I did not sound too bitter above. But it will pass. I will be o.K.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Lily.
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