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How do you forget the insults of bitter exes?

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  • #78576
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    How do you just let go and forget about the horrible comments and insults that people say to you – demeaning your character and personality? And not just any people – the people of your past, particularly exes, but this can apply to ex friends and lovers.

    I’m having a hard time not caring/forgetting about some bad things my ex boyfriend said to me. Vicious and horrible comments, that no matter how hard I try, or how genuinely engage in self care, and try to love myself, I have a hard time letting go of.

    It’s too much to get into, as I’ve gotten into it on this site before. Let me reassure you, that I never did anything bad to him or ever tried to hurt him. I loved him dearly and always had his best interests in mind – but I always tried to put me first. I never lost sight of my future and dreams. But he told me that I’m a selfish person, a monster, and that I’ll never change. He said his new girlfriend is “such an upgrade”… He shamed my body and told me that it was unattractive.

    I want to move on and forget. So far I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve tried thinking about it, I’ve tried visualization.

    This guy was emotionally abusive and not a very good or kind person… But I still care about what he thinks of me. It upsets me that he thinks these things. Nobody has ever said these things to me in my whole life. Nobody has been so rude and unkind to me.

    What do you guys do to forget?

    #78579
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nicole:
    I am working on this very issue presently, just now before I read your post. SO I am going to think it as I type this here.

    I do not like radishes. they taste bitter to me. What your ex boyfriend gave you was a radish. it tastes bad. You don’t like it. You so dislike it, you call it “horrible” and “vicious” “rude” “unkind.” You feel “shame”. you are “upset”. (quotes around words you used). You try to think about it so that it stops tasting bad. You try to visualize and take care of yourself so it stops tasting bad.

    You hear his words over and over again in your mind: “monster” “selfish”

    I think I am getting it- you keep eating the radish. You dislike it. It is “horrible. Vicious. Rude. Unkind” but you keep eating the radish. You want to forget it but you keep eating it. I think you can’t stop eating the radish. If you could – you’d stop.

    I think that you cannot forget his words, if you could- you wouldn’t remember his words.maybe you can tone down the volume of what he said. Maybe you can stop disliking it THIS MUCH.

    Maybe you can dislike it less. By removing the shame from it. By removing the horrible from it. By removing the vicious from it.

    A radish is just a radish. His words: monster. Unattractive. These are just words. They mean so much to you but in themselves they don’t mean that much. If said to someone else they wouldn’t have hurt you that much. If a total stranger, a psychotic, let’s say, told you that- it wouldn’t mean that much…it is not in the WORDS themselves.

    Strip down the layers you added to his words, the layers you automatically added to his words. What you have left is the bare words- unpleasant but not THAT bad.

    If I eat the radish without thinking: Oh, I hate this radish. I hate the farmer who grew this radish. I never tasted a radish THIS bad. I wonder if I am going to get sick eating it. Eating this radish reminds me of (other unpleasant experiences). Etc. If I don’t think these thoughts and don’t feel the corresponding extra anger, disgust, shame, etc. in those extra thoughts and just think:

    I am eating a radish. Oh, it didn’t taste good. I drink sweet tea and oh, the taste is gone.

    Strip an agitating experience to its bare minimum then you see it for what it really is. his words are just words.
    anita

    #78580
    Inky
    Participant

    It is so trite, but:

    1. Time heals all wounds and

    2. Living well is the best revenge.

    Nicole, I can almost promise you that in a year he will talk to and treat his current girlfriend as badly as he has to you. And that in a year after that, they won’t be together. In fact, in five years don’t be surprised if you run into her and you compare horrible notes.

    Two stories to make you feel better:

    My first love had treated me a little shabby and at his worst would say things like, “Go back to the people who love you” and crap like that. He, of course, was gorgeous. Cue fifteen years later. We see each other again. He had lost all his looks, and it looked like life had treated him about as well as he had treated me. He had a chip on his shoulder because the world may give good looking people a free pass on bad behavior, but ugly looking people the world will usually give no pass at all. I’m there with my tall, blonde, handsome, kind husband who loves me. He mutters sarcastically, looking at him: “Who wears a tie?” and stalks away.

    The second story.. Me and my sister are in a bar and my ex-brother-in-law’s now ex-girlfriend is there. We start comparing notes. We say, “No, it’s not your imagination, he is really like that”. She says he had dumped her last year and she will still get texts from him, giving her crap. At that moment her cell phone chirps. It’s him! She says, “Oh, by the way, I’m sitting here with your old sister-in-law and your ex-wife!” He hears us three burst out laughing at him! He was all, “Why are you friends?!?” He never called to bother her again!

    Chin up! You are all that and he knows it! Otherwise he wouldn’t have tried so, so hard to bring you down!!

    Karma will work out in your favor for you to see it, you’ll see!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Inky.
    #78590
    Matt
    Participant

    Nicole,

    In addition to the other kindly aimed words, consider sitting with the words, see where they actually come from. It may not be obvious, but it seems like he was angry, saying fiery words to hurt you. Open people don’t do that, kind people don’t do that, wise people don’t do that. People that are suffering do that. People that don’t have inner space do that. Angry, vengeful emotions cause those kinds of words.

    Said differently, those words were harsh, and have nothing to do with you. They are from him, reveal his anger, his hatred. They reveal his suffering. As you touch upon that, forgive him. Choose to see him clearly, such as a man acting angrily, and then let it go. “Whatever the causes of you laying those words in my face, I forgive you.”

    As you choose directly and potently to forgive his tresspass, its gravity diminishes. Mainly, remember, those words aren’t about you. They’re about him, his side, his anger. It’s never too late to refuse his fiery gift.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #78729
    Courtney
    Participant

    I think Anita is right with this quote, “A radish is just a radish. His words: monster. Unattractive. These are just words. They mean so much to you but in themselves they don’t mean that much.” If someone was saying these words to you in a language you didn’t understand, you’d walk away oblivious and un-impacted.

    Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to a friend or a small child. Trying saying things like, “You’re not a monster, you’re a good person. You’re not unattractive, you’re beautiful.” Re-affirm that your ex doesn’t have the last word, because he really doesn’t. What he says will never be the end all be all.

    And I also agree that people tend to project their own negative feelings onto others. These words reflected more about him than you.

    #78743
    Gabriela
    Participant

    Nicole,

    I’m sorry for your pain. It seems as though you should invest more of your time in finding some peace within. Break ups are rough and messy and painful – usually for both parties, even if that doesn’t seem to be the case since he has already found someone “new and upgraded”. That is a cruel thing to say on several levels, and a low blow. Small comments such as those, even when completely empty and false, have a severe effect on our alraedy fragile egos and shouldn’t be taken into consideration. No matter who this other person is, no one is better or worse than you are, and if they are a better fit to your ex boyfriend, may they be happy and find the liberty to be able to enjoy eachothers company without feeling the need to throw cruel remarks at ex’s.

    What your ex boyfriend thinks of you, may mean something to you, because you have been very emotionally invested in him, but his opinion of you, which seems pretty empty and actually selfish of him, is only the way he says to view you. Those negative and harsh words usually come from a place of his own pain that he can not recognize, and even if that were not the case – what makes you think that you should view yourself based on his opinion?

    What is important is what you think about yourself, which might sound cheesy and superficial, but is very true and deep if you really think about it. Reach inside and remind yourself of the wonderful person that you know you are, of what your values are, of the good you have done to people around you, and of all of your true and righteous intentions that have been there inside of you, even if he might have been too busy and self absorbed to see them. To potentialize your insight even more, I think another strong and wise way of getting past those words are to simply forgive him for causing you pain. That doesn’t mean it was okay for him to do so, but it means that you are a big person, taking the high road, and are letting go of remorse and spiteful intentions.

    I hope you find peace and clarity.

    All the best.

    #78785
    beatrice_portinari
    Participant

    I understand what you’re going through, Nicole. I’ve been in a similar situation and it has totally removed my inner peace. I’m in a lot of a better space now, but only because I don’t think about it. For days, I walked around feeling like the lowest and ugliest person on earth, and neither is true of me. But I believed it of myself.

    I’m guessing from the way you write, that what’s happened is relatively recent. Slowly some distance between you and the horror will develop. I believe, small tiny steps could help you to get better.

    Matt nailed it on the head – the harsh words from your abuser are a result of his problems, rather than an accurate assessment of your value\self-worth as a person.

    My humble two cents: Do not outsource your self-worth\validation to another who doesn’t value you. A very important question to ask yourself is, why do you need the validation\approval of someone that does not value you & chooses cruel words towards you? Since he doesn’t value your body, respond by choosing another, who does.

    #78786
    beatrice_portinari
    Participant

    I understand what you’re going through, Nicole. I’ve been in a similar situation and it has totally removed my inner peace. I’m in a lot of a better space now, but only because I don’t think about it. For days, I walked around feeling like the lowest and ugliest person on earth, and neither is true of me. But I believed it of myself.

    I’m guessing from the way you write, that what’s happened is relatively recent. Slowly some distance between you and the horror will develop. I believe, small tiny steps could help you to get better.

    Matt nailed it on the head – the harsh words from your abuser are a result of his problems, rather than an accurate assessment of your value\self-worth as a person.

    My humble two cents: Do not outsource your self-worth\validation to another who doesn’t value you. A very important question to ask yourself is, why do you need the validation\approval of someone that does not value you & chooses cruel words towards you? Since he doesn’t value your body, respond by choosing another, who does.

    #109883
    James
    Participant

    I’m getting in on this post about a year after it was originally made, but I hope that my comments will still be useful to someone who visits the page. I looked at the previous eight comments which all seemed to echo each other, and I looked at the OP’s questions and imagined myself in her shoes.

    I can tell you from experience that it is extremely difficult to diminish the value of a person’s hurtful words against you. You can say to yourself, “Sticks and Stones!” all day long, and still, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt you because…

    1. It comes from someone familiar, not a stranger.
    2. It comes from someone who has an opinion you still care about.
    3. It comes from someone who has been in intimate proximity to you, and therefore the opinion/judgment has some qualification to it.

    Again, it’s extremely difficult to diminish or invalidate the value of such words from such a person. I am someone who has been called a monster. I have dealt with this personally, and I know that devaluation of that emotional currency is much more easily spoken of than accomplished.

    Everyone shapes their reality with their thoughts. Telling yourself “oh, it’s just words” is a trick people try to play with their minds to diminish the value of the opinion and reshape the reality that they’re living in, just a little bit. Just enough to make it bearable. Just enough to move forward. You may be completely successful with this, and if so, the rest of my post is worthless to you. But if this trick isn’t working for you, like it didn’t work for me, then you’re still going to feel some pain.

    So what to do? Here’s what I did.

    Admit to yourself that, no matter what YOUR opinion is of your own actions, YOU DID make the other person believe, somehow, that you’re a monster. Post break-up advice that prescribes unilateral self-boosting and ego care COMPLETELY ignores this aspect, because it is totally (and in my opinion, blindly) self-centered. This is a problem for you because you’re trying to puff up your ego and strut your stuff while being at odds with YOUR CONSCIENCE about what transpired. They indict, you feel guilt or indignation, that conflicts with your self-care, you second-guess yourself, one step forward two steps back. You need to stop this cycle by facing what you fear.

    Maybe you messed up. Maybe you did things that cannot be excused. Or, maybe you’re super-sweet and the other person is just bonkers and delusional. Either way, they think you’re a monster. Were you a monster, or not? Well, that’s a matter of opinion (label stemming from moral/ethical judgment of actions), not a matter of fact, and you cannot change opinions. If you SAID AND DID THINGS you regret, that’s a matter of fact (transpired events), not a matter of opinion, and you cannot change the facts.

    What’s past is past. Whether you were a saint or a mass murderer YESTERDAY, it is your actions TODAY that will shape your self-identity TOMORROW. You need to remember this as you are healing, and let your past be your past. The way Moses and Saul of Tarsus did after committing murder. If you cannot get rid of pain, you have to use it constructively or else it will cripple your thought process and prolong or prevent healing without emotional scarring. So if you have regrets for your past, or you regret that someone else may have been hurt by your actions in the past, please realize that…

    1. It’s your past. Not your present, or your future, unless you keep on living each day in the past.
    2. You could very well repeat what you did yesterday. But you don’t have to. If you remain self-aware, then it remains a choice.
    3. You will never be perfect. But you have always had the capacity to be great.
    4. Greatness and making mistakes are not mutually exclusive. The greatest, kindest, sharpest, most thoughtful and most benevolent people STILL make mistakes.

    TLDR: Come to terms with your identity as an ex-monster to someone. Examine the past and recognize facts for facts, opinions for opinions. Let your past be your past, and let tomorrow be itself. Remember what’s been said about you and felt from you by someone who was close, and let it remind you to be a great person each day moving forward.

    #110021
    XenopusTex
    Participant

    I respectfully disagree to a certain point. Verbal statements may have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that a person does. Verbal abuse does not need a basis in reality.

    #183491
    Marin
    Participant

    Sometimes the insults speaks truth. People are entitled to say what they want. You’re at liberty to believe or reject it. If you did nothing wrong and this person is talking nosense, then it shouldn’t leave you wounded. Tone down what he said and see what the underlying messages means. And see how you can improve yourself.

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