April 23, 2021 at 2:15 pm #378587
Hello all, 4 years after my initial post here!
For a reason today I remembered this post and saw it was exactly 4 years ago when I first came to this forum to ask for help, for my ex coming back after some years demanding me to be together again.
I was reading my posts today and I can clearly see how far I am now from that person, my old ‘me’.
I am actually so grateful for my ex and all he did to me, cause his intense and dishonest actions helped me to finally open my eyes and start taking care of myself.
The last years and since my last post here, were a great journey for me; with many good but also bad moments, but they all were helping me to learn something new and heal myself more and more. It is taught to see all your traumas and fears in the eyes and relive the same feelings. There were many nights of crying desperately like a child; my inner child was now feeling what hadn’t felt back then.
Growing up to a family were my dad was leaving for big trips all the time (he was at the navy) and a mum being very controlling as she was trying to build the perfect family all alone, I was feeling constantly the fear of abandonment (by my dad) and the fear of rejection of my mom. I was always trying to be the perfect daughter, friend, student, girlfriend, employee etc.. to avoid the pain of rejection or abandonment. Such a constant never ending agony!
It took me time to understand several patterns that still follow me in my adult life. And I know I still have more to learn.. But understanding and reviving these feelings is a good way to finally start to feel better, become the real you and heal and accept yourself.
I haven’t built the perfect life, I haven’t solved all my problems, I still learn and I still fall but I always come back, stronger and stronger.
I am also in a relationship for the last 8 months with someone who is so different to anyone I had ever been with in the past (not only boyfriends but also family and friends included). He is a person that expresses his feelings and thoughts all the time without any guilt or shame. He has the attitude of “this is me I can not change for other needs”. He is doing compromises inside the relationship of course, but he is not changing who he is, neither tries to change me.
I am totally allowed to be myself and express my feelings. When my old patterns return and have guilds, I may say to him: “Oh I am sorry for being angry (or sad)”. And he is replying: “Why you ask sorry? I may made something wrong and you felt that way so is my issue not yours, you felt that way and there is no need to ask sorry!”.
I can finally be the child I could not be with my mom in the past. Anger and sadness were forbidden feelings.
I now feel accepted and loved no matter how I feel. Fear is still there but less and shrinked.
And this is a very new reality to me. And I now this person didn’t come by chance now to my life. I was ready now for that, to allow it to come and learn a new lesson from it: what it feels like to be yourself in a relationship and love not to be questionable on your actions or feelings.
Seeing now my relationship that 4 years ago made me write this post, I see the big shift that happened inside me and all the things I learned since then. Loving me and accepting me, forgiving and understanding me -and the rest-, helped be not to overcome all my fears, but being able to live with them and not allow them to control my life.
I felt I needed to write this and thank Annita once more for her help back then; you were a light at a very dark period and I need to express my gratitude.
p.s. Mepina is not my real name. I was so afraid back then that someone I know (my ex or friends or even family) would read this and understand it was me. So big was my fear.
But I am not afraid anymore for who I am, my choices, my mistakes and my wounds.
My name is Christina and this is my story and my healing process.April 23, 2021 at 2:38 pm #378589
A delight to have you back here, welcome back!!!
I want to take the time to re-read our previous communication, as well as to read your recent post more attentively tomorrow morning my time, which is in about 16 hours from now.
anitaApril 24, 2021 at 12:42 pm #378638
Thank you for sharing your real name, and for returning to your thread. I am touched and moved beyond words to read your progress. Your thread is a testimony of an honest, intelligent, persevering and gracious woman on the healing path, fully engaged with the ongoing, never-ending healing and learning process. If you are okay with it, Christina, I would like to activate this thread once in a while so to bring it back to page 1, in the hope that more members read and benefit from your exceptional thread.
You started this thread on April 20, 2017, four years and four days ago. You were suffering at the time in the context of a romantic relationship of seven years with a man who communicated with you in dishonest ways, taking advantage of your fears and difficulties by using them to hurt you.
In this post, I will quote what you shared on the days you posted (I will be typing each every word that follows because it helps me process information better this way). In a second post to be submitted tomorrow, I will share my thoughts about the quotes in this first post.
April 20, 2017: “one of my issues (is) the difficulty to say ‘No’. I have the tendency to always be positive and say ‘yes’.. I have problems to end things or put the necessary full-stop to people, friendships, relationships and bad situations in general that should stop… I feel like being in 2 pieces: one fragile and vulnerable that wants to be loved and accepted no matter what.. and another one that is strong and confident to let go of toxic situations and move on”.
June 20, 2017: “I started psychotherapy to help me understand why I am so afraid”.
June 21: “I have a general problem in saying NO to people knowing I will hurt them or disappoint them, so I always try to be gentle and go things slowly. Oh I have many issues I guess”.
June 23: “I generally do this: If one is upset with me, even if I am 100% right.., I feel guilty and sad. I feel I disappointed the other person and I am a bad person for hurting him/ her. So, I tend to try to calm and ease others and this makes me feel I am a good person… There are good people out there; some of my friends that know (about) my guilt tendencies.. never take advantage of it. But others, like my ex-boyfriend or some friends, can push the correct buttons to create this feeling for achieving their own goals and manipulate me…
“I think as a child, I was feeling I was disappointing my mom once I was doing something childish. She didn’t get angry or punishing me (hit or shout) but many times she was becoming disappointed with me, telling me: ‘oh, that was very childish of you and I didn’t expect it from you, you should be more mature and grown up’. And then was distant and sad and in cases she was not talking to me for much time- that was quite a punishment I guess. So, in my try to win her again I was trying to be good and make the things she wanted so that I would not disappoint her anymore- behave like an adult and less like a child”.
July 11, 2017 (regarding the boyfriend and the relationship at the time): “he stopped contacting me and put the blame on me for this.. he knew that I had this guilty issues and so he is now trying to punish me with his silence… As I analyzed before, this was always a scary situation for me, having caused pain or anger to others and then they blame me, accuse me and stop talking to me. I was trying hard at the whole relationship to prevent this from happening and I was ignoring my desires and my needs many times… my inner fear.. of rejection and disapproval and silent treatment as punishment.. from someone I really loved…
(Regarding the first days of separating from the boyfriend at the time): “The first days I was still in fear and shock, I was having nightmares with him yelling at me or feeling I could not breathe, I could not eat well and wanted to cry all the time. I was numb and terrified. Then I felt better but I was still in fear. I was in pain… I am not in love with him anymore and I really want him out of my life even if it hurts…
“I feel like a prisoner who is now free and is afraid he already lost so much time in prison that it does not worth living anymore, he is not aware of the future that comes, he feels so different from the person he was before and starts to believe it was ok being in prison and was not that bad after all cause he was safe and had a routine and protection and no worries for his future and the guards were friendly to him and bringing him food… so it was quite good after all, why was he complaining back then?!”
July 13, 2017: “I was a child so I could not logically understand that my mother withdrawal was not actually caused by my mistakes and that she shouldn’t have behaved to me like this. She was always expecting a lot from me and behave more like a grown up rather than a child. And any childish behavior was criticized and she was showing her disappointment in me”.
January 26, 2018: “psychotherapy.. was the best thing I have ever done in my life… I learned more about myself, my childhood, my insecurities, my inner need to satisfy (others) f or.. their anger/ silent treatment. I learned as a kid to try my best to satisfy my mother and be always like a grown-up, talk nicely, not being sad or angry, never say no… I entered in a relationship with someone (my ex) that was doing the same way as my mom, in a more aggressive way. I only now see ow I was manipulated and emotionally abused…
“I moved from my parents’ house and I now live alone. I try to listen to my inner voice and my desires and needs. For the first time, I discover myself. I take care of myself and I am becoming stronger”.
January 30, 2018: “I felt it was needed to post some of my progress, cause the whole story creates a path and others may find patterns that will help them in their healing process. I still have a lot to learn about me and also heal, but I feel stronger now, in a deep connection with my feelings and my desires and I manage to see clearly others’ actions too. It is like waking up a little by little…
“It is not an easy procedure as you have to feel again within you past difficult situations and recreate the pain. I was avoiding that for years thinking there is no reason to search for past wounds and suffer again, it is past, let’s go on…(as) though, you simply cover or ignore a wound without understanding how it opened and why, and what it takes to make it heal…
“I was feeling worthy only if others were satisfied with me. So, I was trying during my relationship to be the perfect girlfriend for him.. transform to what he needed, neglecting.. my dreams, my desires, my personal path in this life, taking a new ‘role’ just to make him happy. His happiness was supposed to be my success, my happiness, my accomplishment. And the more I was giving, the more he was asking.. It was a constant agony, a battle, to make it. I only now see how stressed and unhappy I actually was…
“I hope I will be soon able to post even more positive results and realizations. And I hope all these to help others too”.
January 31, 2018: “I am aware that this healing process is still at its beginning, it is like a path actually, that I am trying to enjoy and discover as it goes, without any stress though to meet an endpoint, a destination.. And even if it hurts at times, I must say I enjoy it cause it makes me feel alive and more at peace with myself!”
February 12, 2018: “It is still a tough road for me and in cases, it hurts, but I feel stronger and more confident every day. One of my biggest struggles is not to be afraid of others’ rejection and opinion about me. I have been for years, a child trying to please my mum, for having her love and acceptance and follow whatever she had in mind for me, to be the ideal ‘like an adult’ child… I am still afraid of re-feeling that pain and I keep on trying to avoid it by letting others manipulate me.. based n their needs and expectations for me (the ideal girlfriend, the ideal lover, the ideal employee, the ideal friend).. as I feel they are going to leave me if I say No or oppose to something they want… At least now, I understand why I am afraid.. how that old pain from a distant & strict mother caused this fear”.
February 13, 2018: “For me, it feels like the Jenga game. I add small pieces every day but sometimes some do fall and need to re-add pieces. The tower keeps getting stronger but some days I see pieces falling, or I notice holes at lower levels of the tower that need attention and I need to remove pieces to make them stronger. Today, for example, I have a kind of bad day.. And some of my Jenga pieces fell down. But this time I understand better.. and I feel stronger on how to handle it. I do not blame myself for not being good enough, beautiful, smart enough and the rest.. I.. didn’t simply follow his desires.. It hurts, it is not easy to deal with it instantly but I am working on it. I try to see the good things all this caused, search within me and understand me more. I will post soon again, I hope to have more insights from this healing path”.
April 23, 2021: “Hello all.. I was reading my posts today and I can clearly see how far I am now from that person, my old ‘me’. I am actually so grateful for my ex and all he did to me, cause his intense and dishonest actions helped me to finally open my eyes and start taking care of myself. The last years and since my last post here, were a great journey for me; with many good but also bad moments, but they all were helping me to learn something new and heal myself more and more… Growing up to a family where dad was leaving for big trips all the time.. and a mum being very controlling.. I was feeling constantly the fear of abandonment (by my dad) and the fear of rejection of my mom. I was always trying to be the perfect daughter, friend, student, girlfriend, employee etc.. to avoid the pain of rejection or abandonment. Such a constant never ending agony!…
“I still have more to learn… I haven’t built the perfect life, I haven’t solved all my problems, I still learn and I still fall, but I always come back, stronger and stronger. I am also in a relationship for the last 8 months.. a person that expresses his feelings and thoughts all the time without any guilt or shame.. He is doing compromises inside the relationship of course, but he is not changing who he is, neither tries to change me. I am totally allowed to be myself and express my feelings… I can finally be the child I could not be with my mom in the past. Anger and sadness were forbidden feelings. I now feel accepted and loved no matter how I feel. Fear is still there, but less…
“Mepina is not my real name. I was so afraid back then that someone I know.. would read this and understand it was me. So big was my fear. But I am not afraid anymore for who I am, my choices, my mistakes and my wounds.
“My name is Christina and this is my story and my healing process”.
anitaApril 25, 2021 at 11:24 am #378715
Your words, as quoted above, are better than any words I can come up with to describe your healing journey so far.
My thoughts today: while you were a child, your mother disapproved of what she referred to as your childish behavior. She disapproved of you being a child. To state the obvious: it is unreasonable for an adult mother to bring a baby into the world and then expect the baby to turn into an adult in a few years (it takes at least 18 or so)!
Understandably, you tried to be an adult, meaning: to not express anger or sadness, or any strong emotion that inconvenienced your mother, to not hit or shout or throw temper tantrum, to not appear displeased, to not say no to her, to not argue, etc.
When she felt anger at you, true to what she expected from you- she did not overtly express her anger by hitting or shouting at you (“She didn’t get angry or punishing me.. hit or shout”), Instead, (1) she told you that your behavior was childish and immature and that you therefore disappointed her, (2) she withdrew from you, acting distant and silent (“in cases she was not talking to me for much time”).
It appears like her behavior was adult behavior, that is, reasonable, sensible, mature and wise behavior: she expressed her dissatisfaction using words, not shouting, not hitting. It would have been adult behavior if she was interacting with another adult.
In the context of her interactions with her own child, her behavior was unreasonable, insensible, immature and unwise because for a child, her mother is god, and when god is silently angry, silently punishing, in the child’s ears, it sounds like very loud thunder in the vast skies.
When you separated from the ex at the time, this was your experience: “The first days I was still in fear and shock, I was having nightmares with him yelling at me or feeling I could not breathe“- similar tp what you felt as a child when your mother silently withdrew from you, it was as if she was yelling at you, and hearing her yelling, you felt so scared, it was hard for you to breathe.
“I learned as a kid to try my best to satisfy my mother and be always like a grown-up, talk nicely, not being sad or angry, never say no”.
When in the relationship with the ex: “I was trying during my relationship to be the perfect girlfriend for him.. transform to what he needed, neglecting.. my dreams, my desires, my personal path in this life, taking a new ‘role’ just to make him happy. His happiness was supposed to be my success, my happiness, my accomplishment. And the more I was giving, the more he was asking.. It was a constant agony, a battle, to make it. I only now see how stressed and unhappy I actually was”-
– this was your experience as a child, trying to be the perfect daughter, to transform to what your mother needed you to be, neglecting your dreams, desires, focusing on one goal and only one goal: to gain your mother’s approval. Your personal path became the role you played in effort to gain her approval. Your mother’s approval, her happiness (with you being her daughter), was to be your Success, your Happiness, your Accomplishment.
You set that goal and failed to reach it because your mother was playing her own role of an adult and of a mother. It was a role.
I may have more thoughts later on.
anitaApril 25, 2021 at 2:38 pm #378727
Hello Anita once again and thank you so much for all the replies and the effort you put into them!
First of all, in regards to this: “If you are okay with it, Christina, I would like to activate this thread once in a while so to bring it back to page 1, in the hope that more members read and benefit from your exceptional thread.”
Please, feel free to do anything you want and let me know if I can also do something for that and I will be glad to do it!
Thank you for summarizing all the important points in one post, it is nice to see all these gathered to one place, it makes a readable story 🙂 .
The description of my mother behaviour that affects me up to now, makes a lot of sense! It took me so much time to dive into me, recall memories and feelings and understand how these are connected with my current issues. This “digging” within me, gave me frustration, a feeling of injustice, anger, desperation but finally I accepted the past and I try now as an adult to help this little child inside me and give her the love and acceptance she deserves. I try not to fit into roles but follow my dreams and my desires. It is not easy, I can not do it all times, I do fail sometimes, old patterns and fears return, but at least now I try and also I understand and I am able to function much better!
You had written back then to me this:
“I am thinking as I type this, that there is a motivation, in you, to make this relationship work after all, a motivation to be with him in a relationship. I can’t figure why else you will allow him into your life, creating such misery in you.”
That sentence -I still remember the moment I read it- made something within me. There was a motivation within me that was pushing me to try to make a bad situation to work and despite all the misery, it was there, forcing me to accept all that was coming.
I didn’t understand back then, but I totally felt, that yes, you are right, there was a reason.
The reason was that I was always trying to be perfect at the role given to me so that I do not disappoint others. Back then it was my mother. Then, it was my boyfriend. In my mind their dissatisfaction was meaning my failure and was linked in my mind and my soul to intense pain. When I was 3-4, I still remember, that I was thinking I had 2 mothers, that were identical, but one was the good, loving and caring one, and another that was distant, angry and cold to me. And I believed that my actions would result on which mother would come each time. So it was me who had to do all that was needed to make the good mother to come.. If the bad one was coming, that was my fault.
This pattern was fallowing me all my life, without noticing it of course. My actions were defining others behavior towards me. If I were a good child, my mother would be happy, if I were a good student, my teachers would praise me, if I were a good friend, my friends would never leave, if I were a good employee, my bosses would never fire me, If I were a good girlfriend, my boyfriend would always love me and would treat me nicely.
A constant and tiring fight to satisfy them all.
I feel so graceful, that after all these, I managed to see that there was an underlying issue, and instead of going back to my ex (there was not even a single moment so far that I have regret this!) or finding another man to fit in this role, I gave space and time to myslef to look inside me and finally start to take care of me and choose in my life persons that also respect me.
My healing process as I said, is going on and I will post more things here – I am so happy I started back then this thread; it is nice my feelings and thoughts of that time, were written somewhere.
April 25, 2021 at 3:40 pm #378733
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Mepina.
You are very welcome, my pleasure! Taken from your recent post, here is one of the many examples since 2017, of how you put the healing process into words perfectly. Not that the healing process is perfect, but your description of it is perfect: “I try not to fit into roles but follow my dreams and my desires. It is not easy, I can not do it all the times, I do fail sometimes, old patterns and fears return, but at least now I try and also I understand and I am able to function much better!”-
– these are the words who is truly engaged in the healing/ learning process!
In your recent post you expressed something that fascinates me and I want to return to it tomorrow. For now I will just copy it: “When I was 3-4, I still remember, that I was thinking I had 2 mother, that were identical, but one was the good, loving and caring one, and another that was distant, angry and cold to me. And I believed that my actions would result on which mother would come each time”.
You graciously offered to do what you can in regard to activating your thread once in a while, reading your last line suggested what it is that you can do: “My healing process.. is going on and I will post more things here”- please do!
I will be back to your thread tomorrow. Glad you are here!
anitaApril 26, 2021 at 10:03 am #378757
You wrote earlier: “When I was 3-4, I still remember, that I was thinking I had 2 mother, that were identical, but one was the good, loving and caring one, and another that was distant, angry and cold to me. And I believed that my actions would result on which mother would come each time”-
– what you described is known in psychology as “spitting”, as in splitting (dividing, separating) good from bad. This is my understanding of the term and the dynamic around it:
(1) The child does not experience the self (the child) and the object (the mother) as two different, separate entities. The boundaries between the self and the object are not there yet.
(2) The child can not perceive the possibility that one person can be sometimes good (“the good, loving and caring one”) and at other times, bad (“distant, angry and cold”). The child perceives a person to be either good or bad, not both. Therefore, the child splits her mother into two mothers, just as you did.
(3) the child cannot endure the fear that comes with believing that she has no control, and there is nothing she can do to determine which mother she experiences in her life, so she believes instead that she has control, that there is a lot she can do to determine which mother she will have in her life (“I believed that my actions would result on which mother would come each time”).
As a result of normal, healthy development, the child learns to separate the self from the object. As the child matures and becomes an adult, getting involved with other people, she is able to separate the self from the other, and therefore, to understand what the self is responsible for, and what the other is responsible for.
But when a child has suffered ongoing and unresolved mistreatment by her mother, the separation does not happen adequately. When the now adult woman experiences an abusive boyfriend who is sometimes affectionate, she splits him into two people: the good boyfriend and a bad boyfriend. She then believes that her actions can determine which boyfriend she gets to experience. She splits not only the boyfriend but herself, trying to be the good girlfriend, believing that any imperfection in her good girlfriend role is an indication that she is a bad girlfriend. And so, every time she expresses anger at him, she believes she is bad and therefore has just invited the bad boyfriend into her experience. She then tries to be perfect again, caught in a trap.
* By the way, his is the dynamic that happens in the case of an adult woman fitting the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)- she splits the self and the other into good and bad people, being trapped in the never ending agony of trying to accomplish the impossible: (a) to be all-good, all the time, never feel anger, never express anger, never make a mistake of any kind, be always loving, always patient, etc., (b) to invite the good boyfriend into her life, when in reality her boyfriend is just one guy: an abusive boyfriend who is sometimes affectionate, a bad person who is sometimes good.
The BPD woman gets enraged every time she fails at (b) and terribly ashamed and guilty every time she fails at (a), going between rage and shame & guilt again and again.
anitaApril 26, 2021 at 3:23 pm #378789
Thank you Anita once again for the detailed response. It makes a lot of sense the way you explain the splitting – I wasn’t aware of this term neither its similarities to Borderline Personality Disorder.
“And so, every time she expresses anger at him, she believes she is bad and therefore has just invited the bad boyfriend into her experience. She then tries to be perfect again, caught in a trap.”
This is exactly what was happening in my previous relationship – I couldn’t of course understand it. With my mind I could tell that we talk for one person but within me this good vs bad were always there I guess, in feelings level.
It’s been only recently, in my current relationship that I start to express anger or sadness – but after understanding my issues and my inability to express anger cause it results into guilty right after.
It is still not an easy procedure for me. But I try to express my feelings – and I am graceful for my new boyfriend that is accepting my anger or sadness without blaming me or something. It is a very new experience to me and the only, I feel, true relationship I ever had (friends & family included). I don’t know if it is going to last, as we are very different persons and I still can not be sure (I may never be though with anyone!) but I try to focus on “now” and benefit from this safety net his presence lingers to my feelings expression, so that I gradually be able to do it more and more. I guess I will always carry this burden from my childhood, but gradually it is getting easier to overcome my fears.
ChristinaApril 26, 2021 at 3:34 pm #378793
You are welcome. Once again you sound like a person who truly is on the healing/ learning path.
“I don’t know if it is going to last, as we are very different persons”- if you want to elaborate on it, only if you want to or think it’s useful, please do. I will be back to the computer in a couple of hours.
anitaApril 27, 2021 at 1:28 am #378806
Dear Anita, I may open a new thread for that -as it sounds like a separate issue I think – and maybe I could write some details there in regards to my new relationship 🙂April 27, 2021 at 7:36 am #378824
You are welcome to open a new thread if you prefer. I am looking forward to read more from you, here, there, anywhere you choose to post.