December 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm #46369
About three years ago I found out that my live in boyfriend was cheating on me. I went on a business trip for a month and my best friend/close friends in our circle knew about it the entire time and didn’t want to get involved, so I found out the night before I got back from an acquaintance on facebook. Since I found out, everything seemed to have spiraled downward. I lived in a small town, and it affected my work relations. It seemed as though anyone I thought I could trust was a fence sitter or gossiper. I just became a paranoid insecure mess. Old friends gave up on me, and my guess was becuase it’s hard to follow the drama of a small town and get it. I think my negativity drove everyone away. I felt so worthless that I didn’t deserve to be cheated on in the first place, that my friends didn’t care enough about me to tell me, and that people outside that environment gave up on me. I thought that if I was strong enough and positive enough, it would get eaiser with time. Instead I just lost more friends and became more bitter.
A year after the break up, my dad died. I spent the last year of his life telling him vitriol of the environment I was in. I was able to leave that environment thanks to the money I received, but it took me a lot of time to forgive my ex, the other girl, the friends who knew, and the friends who gave up on me. No one apologized or explained anything. I wish I knew how to deal with it better, but I hate dealing with things publically and I felt forced to. I didn’t speak up because I thought it would just create more gossip and I wanted to take the high road, but instead just I ended up feeling like a doormat.
Since then I’ve moved back with my mom and family is all that matters to me. I know I need to date again, which I have here and there but for the most part I know in my gut that I’m not ready or that I’m settling when I try. I am overprotected of my mom to the point where I know it’s kinda an excuse to not live my life. It seems like jobs and friends can change, but family is always there.
I wish I was ready to move out sooner, date more, etc, but I was pretty truamatized. I’m trying to go back to the person I was before everything happened, and nothing seems worth it. I’ve accepted that I can’t change my past and come to grips with it, but Im not really moving ahead. I’m stagnant.
Can anyone relate? What kinds of things helped you get over things that are/have been over???December 7, 2013 at 9:41 pm #46371AlParticipant
In dealing with gossipers and old friends: grasp the fact that they, too, are imperfect beings who, too, are trying the best they can to make sense of their lives. Find this commonality they share with you and forgive their behavior. They do not know any better, same as you, same as me. Wish only for their well beings and that they may live a life full of happiness. A difficult thing to do but it will bring you much peace, I promise.
In dealing with your ex and the suffering he caused you: the above can also be applied though much harder to do since the connection you had with him was much stronger. If anything, try your best to see things in a positive light. For example: better for this to have happened now instead of if you were to have been married and perhaps with children. Also, be glad that you did not go further into a relationship with such an individual. And, this experience may have given you more insight on the type of person you’d like to share your life with. In addition, do not hold any further bitterness towards him for none of it will benefit you. Holding negativity will only halt your growth. Don’t let it, you’re stronger than that.
In moving on: recognize that there are other grand things to aspire to. Relationships/Partnership can be a beautiful thing, however, they’re not the only beautiful things in this world. If you paused to sense everything around you, you will come to see that you’re constantly surrounded by beauty so don’t let one event ruin the rest of your life.
I’ll leave you with a great quote that’s traveling around on the internet: most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75. I’m sure you can translate it. Don’t let this be you! Live, don’t just survive! 🙂
AlDecember 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm #46372
Thank you for your thoughtful reply Al. I love the quote!
I definitely feel like I’ve been in a K-hole for the past two years. I used to be a very socialable person and I’ve trasformed into a socially awkward shy person. I feel like I’m trying too hard to be normal and it takes effort to have fun with people. I’ve been more detached and disassociated and I’ve learned a lot and observed a lot.
I’m grateful for one spiritual friend I met recently who really seems to resonate with me.
I didn’t want to post anything on here, but I feel changes coming. Lately my mom’s health is declining and I think that is probably the only thing that would make me leave. This realization made me sad, I don’t want her to die in order for me to start living again.December 8, 2013 at 1:19 am #46380AlParticipant
What is socially awkward? What is trying too hard? What is normal? Everything that you’ve stated is subjective. It’s similar to asking who is right and who is wrong. Are rebel forces wrong for wanting to usurp a dictatorial government or is a dictatorial government right for wanting to eliminate a chaotic element of their country? The answer is both and neither. It is only what you believe. It’s the same in social environments. A conversation takes the form of whatever you wish it to be. Normal and abnormal are illusionary. What matters only is if the conversation holds for you any meaning (which can translate to a lot of things). However, I understand what you mean. If you find it difficult to make conversation, think of the well being of the other party when doing so and you’ll find that words will come out easily and also with compassion on your end. However, if you feel you must speak ‘pretend’ then its probably best to not initiate or milk a conversation out. It’s perfectly fine not to feel that you must make a conversation in order to break silence nor for appearance’s sake. You will only harm yourself in doing so and continue the cycle of feeling false.
Be at ease in feeling feeling detached because the truth is actually the opposite. You are taking steps to better understand yourself which will result in you feeling closer to other human beings. Through this assertion you become connected.
As far as your situation with your mother, to feel that you can only begin to live when she passes is the wrong way of thinking. If she could, your mother would not want to burden you in such a way and also would only wish for you to start living. Continue to care for her well being but do not let it dominate your mind nor your life. Your happiness is just as important. If she is at an age where it is time for her to leave, do not overly wallow. Feel joy that she had to experience life, both the good and bad, that you are there to care for her in her remaining days and that she was one of the fortunate ones to reach such a wonderful age. It may be more difficult done than said but you must always try to see everything in a positive light. If it helps, know that I am in a similar situation with both parents and still plan on pursuing my dreams. Anything can be done if you learn to balance it all and it is THE key in the success of our every day dealings. Making a constant practice of it you will greatly benefit your life. Work both on your happiness while caring for your mother. You can do it. It can be done. Have faith in yourself and if you need strength come seek it on here. We’ll be here to help you! 😉December 8, 2013 at 4:39 am #46381NicolaParticipant
I agree with Al, be gentle with yourself. Something I’m really learning now. Everyone is different, everyone has different fears and anxieties and everyone deals with their ‘shit’ differently. Allow yourself to just be who you are right now, that’s the best thing anyone ever said to me and it’s so true. If you look to the past, you can feel depressed but if you look to the future you can feel anxiety, just be, right now. Learn to love yourself.
I grew up in a small town with small minded people, who never cared enough to give a shit and I often felt let down by so-called friends, I can really relate to your story – but I moved away, found myself for who I was, and began meeting some really amazing people, as soon as I started being myself, you begin attracting all the right types. It wasn’t easy and it’s been a long journey, but my latest ‘breakdown’ over a 4-year relationship hasn’t lasted half as long because I’m treating myself right.
I also agree with Al, use TinyBuddha to help you through, it’s helped me loads.
Take your time, be mindful, be gentle on yourself and go gettem tiger xDecember 8, 2013 at 5:11 am #46382Bevan SuitsParticipant
You don’t say if you have a meditation practice or group of people to practice with. I assume that you don’t have that. In a small town or a big city you need a refuge and that is what meditation gives you, for a few minutes and eventually all the time. But it can be hard work. It comes down to your commitment and willingness to face fear, depression and anger, to own them. Psychotherapy can be really helpful, along with meditation, as well. Even a local gov’t agency can offer free counseling services, depends on where you are. But since you are in a Buddhist forum, I assume that you have a commitment to practice. Caring for your mother might be a big teaching. She won’t be there forever, maybe let her know you’re there for her 100%.December 8, 2013 at 10:54 am #46388
Al, Thank you for your lengthy reply. It’s interesting how it is subjective. It used to be natural for me to engage with people and now it’s calculated and I’m suspicious. I’m getting there, but I liked your take on that. About my mom, I know she doesn’t want to hold me back and she’s stated that. Fact is, I’m happy to be here because I can trust it’s safe. Since everything happened, I’m trying to up my coping skills so even if something does happen to her, I can handle it better and heal quickly. I don’t want to take years to get over things.
I’ve learned that I’m not good at predicting what will help me heal. lol. I tried all kinds of metal gymnastics to get over everything in a vacuum. I told myself that one day it wouldn’t matter why he cheated, or one day the friends might understand what it feels like and it’s not my job to show them, etc. I recently read Brene Brown’s book Gift of Imperfection about vulnerability and shame. After that, I decided to express how I felt to my ex. I really didn’t want to be vulnerable, it’s much easier for me to stay silent or minimize my pain. I did feel more respect for myself for expressing it honestly. He hasn’t responded but it doesn’t matter. I’m proud that I did it. It was a Shrodinger’s cat thing though, I had to do it before I knew how I would feel afterwards or if it would make a difference.December 8, 2013 at 10:58 am #46389
Nicola, Thank you for sharing how you can relate to the small town environment. I was desperate for one person to validate me or stick by me. I felt like there was something wrong with me that despite my integrity and solid friendship it didn’t work out like that. I’m inspired that your recovery from a four year relationship is easier now.My goal is to be so strong that someone can leave me at an alter and I can figure out how to still party. I’m very lucky in that I feel like just *now* Im starting to attract the right people. I was so raw for so long. Even when decent people came my way I just couldn’t handle it.December 8, 2013 at 11:05 am #46390
Bevan, I went to a Vipassana retreat while I was still living in the small town and it was intense. For ten days I wasn’t supposed to talk, read, or write or anything. My mind was a prision and I couldn’t handle it. I lasted for two days and then resorted to journaling and reading. I tried going again about a year ago and my mind is now more like suburbia with some ghettos. I lasted until day six and then i had vivid nightmares that my mom died. I wasn’t allowded to call her, so I left early.
I hope Matt christensens this thread because I was looking for the Metta Youtube video that he posts a lot. If you have any other recommendations, I’m all ears.
I haven’t made it a daily practice, but I really like the idea of having my own retreat. I had no privacy in the small town and I wish I knew how to handle it in a better way. I need to look into government sponsered options for therapy. I just don’t have a lot to work with and that seems like a luxury. I’m trying to utiliize all my resources though.
Thank you!December 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm #46392MattParticipant
I’m sorry for the suffering and painfulness you’ve been going through, and can understand why there is a membrane between you and the world. Pain has a way of doing just that… where once we were free and trusting, after getting burned we are cautious and suspicious. A few things came to heart as I read your words.
Its seems to me that you’re blaming others for making you feel crappy. The boyfriend cheated, the friends turned away, and you got pissed off. It can sting to hear, but those people didn’t create your suffering, you did. Buddha taught that its our attachments that produce our suffering… such as your mental pain and spinning, the membrane, the loss of inspiration. Those are all inside you, and on your own shoulders. This may seem like a terrible thing to say, but it is actually very freeing. I reject (and hope you reject alongside me) this whole notion of “Kinny the victim”. People do dumb things… its our choice whether we hold it against them or not. You still hold it against them, and you suffer.
Said differently, your heart wants to love, but you stop it… because people can’t be trusted. This is only because you wish for them to give back like you would! But how can they? They only have what they have, and when their friend cheats on their other friend, can they really be blamed for shying away? From having their own membrane? Look at how much courage and mental effort it took to confront your ex… those friends of yours would have had to find the same need and same courage… and they didn’t. That’s life, my dear sister, not everyone is strong enough or wise enough to make loving choices all of the time.
For you and me, here and now, its up to us to love them anyway… to make space in our heart and mind to accept them as is. We don’t do it for them, though they do receive benefits. We do it for us, so that we can have the freedom being compassionate affords. Consider that if you accept that love brings joy in the giving, then instead of looking for people that will love you, you can begin to find your unconditional love for them. This happens when you look at the world without intention for it to change. To simply see it as is, what is there, glad to have working sense organs, a good mind and a beating heart.
These long term things… relationship, career, next year, ten years… they are good dreams, good to keep a finger pointing in some direction. But your joy won’t come from those. Wisps of happiness do, but joy arises as your heart opens and you love unidirectionally outward. The rest is like icing, like dessert. Its great to have such wonderful blessings like being in a relationship with a loving man that gives you attention and his passion, but its your own light that stabalizes and gives the rhythm to the tune around you. You are the one that turned it down because of the deception, which I do want to add that it is totally normal to do so, but its in the turning down that the joy recedes… it only seems like it was from the deception from your partner.
As for the metta meditation… don’t be lazy! 🙂 YouTube, search for “guided metta meditation” and so forth. There are lots of good ones out there, and its OK to trust your heart and choose. You know the difference between warm and cold, you’ve felt it. Similarly, you know the difference between your open heart and closed heart… you’ve felt it. Pick one, see if it helps your heart warm, and go from there. After you do some metta, and be prepared to laugh at yourself for how much chaos and confusion was created over something that dissolves so easily. Said differently, the membrane is only there until we poke it, then we realize it was a paper tiger the whole time. Namaste, sister, may your frozen soil of winter thaw for the gentle blooms of spring.
MattDecember 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm #46402
I feel like intellectually I get what you are saying. But some things are great in theory and don’t seem to work in real life. Is the answer not to trust anyone and expect nothing ever because people are people? If people promise things and then I find out later that they can only give what they have to give or that they grew into something different, doesn’t that just seem to make the lesson to not really trust anyone fully? I feel like I’m missing an important distinction.
I feel as though there is a spectrum between not taking anything personally and turning everything into a lesson of “I should have” personal responsibility answer. If I had chose my friends wisely, communicated honestly, etc and things still happen…where does that leave you? I feel as though the lesson is to expect that people can turn for any reason with no warning, or that it’s just a matter of circumstances before you realize that what you have isn’t real.
I don’t want to be a victim or hold things that are heavy and old. It does seem to me as though my best choices got me here and as though I can’t even trust my own intuition anymore. Even after accepting that people are people, the sting and weight is still there. Now I’m holding people at arm’s length and never show my heart. This doesn’t feel like the right answer either. I’m writing to search for a distinction that resonates.
Unfortunately I can’t write any more at the moment.
I won’t be lazy!! ;P I just know I saved it a while ago as a favorite and now I can’t find it. I searched some of your other posts, but damn! You post a lot and it’s lost.
Thanks again for all of your input.December 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm #46428MattParticipant
When I was jesting about being lazy, I only meant that YouTube has a lot of great guided meditations, and is very searchable. Perhaps “Sharon Salzburg metta meditation” would resonate with you. In regards to trusting, I think you’re a lot closer to it than you think.
Consider that Buddha taught about impermanence, or how all things are constantly changing. For me, its easiest to approach it with the concept of death. We know that death is an inherent part of living… all beings we know of so far exist for awhile, then fall apart as time passes. So, for instance, if I were to say that tomorrow I will post a link for you, then tonight I die, would you consider me untrustworthy? That you were wrong to believe I would post a link? Perhaps you would say “it didn’t happen as I thought it would because of forces out of our control”. It wouldn’t be regarded as me slighting you in any way, somehow failing you for dying before I could follow through on my intention and promise.
Buddha also taught about karma, or the law of cause and effect. For instance, here and now you want your heart to open, you want to be free from whatever is holding you back, but you can’t find it. That force which is holding you back is not random or without cause. It has a cause, and an effect. Does that make sense? So, in order for you to be free from that tangle (the effect) the cause has to change. Now, there’s little point in blaming you or thinking less of you because you have that tangle… you’re my sister, seeking joy and balance, a path of safety and light. So why bother inviting pain into my heart just because of your karma? Even if you were to respond to my post saying “Matt, you’re a douchebag” any pain I feel from your words would be from my wanting you to see me favorably.
Instead, what we can do is trust that whatever you said was because of the conditions. Perhaps you read my words wrong. Perhaps my words didn’t knit together in the way intended them. Perhaps I was acting like a douchebag. Whatever the causes, I can just breathe in your words and give them back to the flow of time. They don’t really mean anything except that some tangle arose between us that either or both of us experienced.
With your ex, the same forces apply to his side. He didn’t cheat for no reason, he cheated because of a whole symphony of reasons. Those reasons pushed and pulled at him and lead him to make choices that were really bad for the intimacy he had with you. Who knows what those reasons are… low self esteem, lack of commitment, low impulse control, closed heart, strong sexual urges… any number of forces all mash together. The was his karma, and why bother with blaming him for having it? He has his, you have yours, I have mine… its just how it is.
What happens as we dance along that view is that we stop associating trust with met expectations. For instance, we trust a snake to act like a snake. So it never even occurs to us to expecte a snake not to bite us. Its in their nature, so we remain careful. We can love the snake wholeheartedly, because we know that their trying to bite us is just in their nature. People fail to meet our expectations, that’s just in their nature. They make mistakes, we all do. However, the conditions around us are different. Said differently, you have learned a little more about your ex’s nature, and see he doesn’t make good sexual decisions and betrays confidence… but that is him, not “all men”. Many men, if not most, would never make the choice he did.
The friends are subeject to the same deconstruction. They didn’t avoid telling you for no reason, or randomly. They avoided telling you for a whole symphony of reasons. Much like you want to open to the joy but are struggling, they perhaps wished to tell you but were unable to overcome their side, their karma. This doesn’t mean that friends can’t be trusted… that’s just your anger making their issues about you. Instead, those friends just didn’t tell you for whatever reasons. You could ask them, if you’re curious, or just forgive them, accept that for whatever reason they didn’t. Perhaps it was too awkward. Perhaps they were sworn to secrecy. Perhaps they don’t like you very much. Perhaps they didn’t want to be the one to crush your world. Who knows, and each of them might have withheld for different reasons. We don’t really need to know the specifics, only that they are not random, or uncaring. They all have hearts, and those hearts struggle to bloom, just like yours and mine. So they vascilate between wisdom and ignorance, compassion and selfishness.
The key is half seen by you already, that words don’t make the future, they’re just words. However, that doesn’t make it random. There are causes, dear sister, and when you can accept that we are all subject to them, then it won’t interrupt your joyousness when someone fails or dies or cheats. Instead, a deep trust can be forged that we have the ability to meet people and their tangles with openness and joy. A snake bites you, it hurts, you heal. The snake is a snake. The grass is covered with dew, you slip and fall, it hurts, you heal. The grass was being grass. All the while, we cry at the pain and smile at the sun, but don’t get ensnared by the grass or the snake “betraying us”. Why bother? On their side, they are just being grass, a snake a person… doing their best to grow, slither, or find balance and joy.
MattDecember 19, 2013 at 11:39 am #47030
First of all, I want you to know that I’ve been doing Metta mediation almost every night before I go to bed, and I’m *Amazed* at the results. Wow! The other meditations I tried were all about sitting still through the pain and I didn’t look forward to it or find it easy to do. Thanks for the suggestion!
I’ve taken some time in writing back to you because I’m searching for questions that seem to hit the nail on the head and really resonate. I’m having a hard time putting these questions into words, so I am going to ramble a bit to see if I can get a little closer to a truth. I am going to try to get your take on these things anyway.
Concerning blaming other people and staying a victim, I still feel like I’m missing some distiction. By definition, a victim is someone who is harmed and it isn’t deserved. It seems that the way to not be a victim is to not participate in life at all, to not believe in anyone, or at least hold back a bit even if you do, Alternatively to hit back, stand up for yourself and retaliate to the extent that you were harmed also makes you feel like less of a victim. I think I would have had more respect for myself and possibly from others if I took revenge, but I don’t stand for that, it goes against everything I believe in. What do you think makes someone a victim?
Also, do enlightened people just have low expectations? Or learn to be hermits? Or do they just expect that nothing good to last ever? Do you just view yourself as a bystander and not a victim regardless of what happens? Or possibly going back to the victim definition, do you not see yourself as being harmed? Or just see yourself as deserving whatever comes your way? Again, I’m just trying to figure out a question that really gets to the answer I’m looking for. I’m not sure how some people are so peaceful regardless of what happens to them, but it’s obvious that there is some pattern of thinking that I’m not getting.
I don’t know if you read Haiku Kwon’s recent blog about faking positivity, but that resonated with me. I tried sooo hard to be strong, positive, and understanding only to feel like regardless of what standards I held myself to, the punches kept coming. While I’m grateful that that chapter of my life is over, It leaves me with the question of what I did wrong. How could my perceptions be so off? Or were my instincts right in the beginning and when things changed, the only solution is to learn how to cope better next time?
I know that we are born with skewed perceptions and limited understanding. I get that we all have times of weakness and times when we have no idea how to handle situations. It just seems that when so many things don’t go your way, there *must* be something wrong with you or how you handled it. I’ve searched and since I have a clear conscience and trust that my perceptions were on point, I really am at a loss.
I feel like I broke a bone and it’s healed crooked or something. Honestly I didn’t want to post for fear of being called a victim or being told that I should be over it already. I’ve reached a breaking point that where I am willing to put myself out there if it that’s what it takes to find an asnwer. I get that if it starts raining, it does no good to yell at the clouds to make it stop; nor does it do any good to sit and cry that you are wet when it is sunny outside or cry that it rained on you even though you are dry now. I get that part…I can’t put into words the part I don’t get. :/