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Thread: Collecting gifts

  1. #41
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Reminds me of my divorce.

    Yes, everything he did in the beginning rocked me. I was anxious and fragile and allowed him to get in my head over stuff exactly like this.
    He would play head games, make comments, innuendos and I rewarded his efforts with the reaction he was after. . and then one day it just stopped. A shift happened and that shift was powerful.

    From that moment on I was calm, I'd smile and my only response was `thanks for reminding me' and I'd hang up or walk away. At some point he realized what I meant without having to waste my time explaining. Besides, I was saying this out loud for my benefit, not his. I was honestly thankful for those moments because from that time on, I stopped second guessing myself.

    In those moments I was thankful for his nonsense. It was (and still is) a constant reminder and reinforcement that this man is a head f*er and someone I no longer wanted in my life. Yes, we have kids together, but he can longer get under my skin.

    So, from this moment on, shake this off and thank him for acting like the head tripping fool he's always been.
    You can thank yourself for being able to see through it and not allow him to rattle your cage ever again.
    Do not give him the power to rob you of any peace.
    It's a choice.

  2. #42
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    Reminds me of my divorce.

    Yes, everything he did in the beginning rocked me. I was anxious and fragile and allowed him to get in my head over stuff exactly like this.
    He would play head games, make comments, innuendos and I rewarded his efforts with the reaction he was after. . and then one day it just stopped. A shift happened and that shift was powerful.

    From that moment on I was calm, I'd smile and my only response was `thanks for reminding me' and I'd hang up or walk away. At some point he realized what I meant without having to waste my time explaining. Besides, I was saying this out loud for my benefit, not his. I was honestly thankful for those moments because from that time on, I stopped second guessing myself.

    In those moments I was thankful for his nonsense. It was (and still is) a constant reminder and reinforcement that this man is a head f*er and someone I no longer wanted in my life. Yes, we have kids together, but he can longer get under my skin.

    So, from this moment on, shake this off and thank him for acting like the head tripping fool he's always been.
    You can thank yourself for being able to see through it and not allow him to rattle your cage ever again.
    Do not give him the power to rob you of any peace.
    It's a choice.
    Yes, I am anxious and fragile just now. I look forward to that shift! In fact, I have had a couple of them, in times when I've not heard from him in a while and haven't anticipated hearing from him in a while. At those times, I feel free. When he is not present in my life in any way shape or form, I feel more at peace, lonelier perhaps but getting to know myself and be content in my own company. Whenever he contacts me, that all goes to pot. You are a strong person for being so stoic in the face of your ex's nastiness. I guess it's true that you have the choice as to whether to allow someone to disturb your peace. I have been so codependent and fragile that even the slightest blow would knock me for six, and the exchange we had last week near enough ruined my weekend. I have always been the one in the relationship to shoulder the brunt of emotions, guilt, disturbance, whether or not I was the one to cause it. My ex took zero responsibility. Now I need to have nothing to do with him. I'm glad we didn't ever get married or live together or have children. I want nothing to bind me to this person anymore.

  3. #43
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    If I had to bet, from the outside looking in, I'd say you're really close the kind of shift reinvent described. In fact, those micro-shifts you've described are just part of that big shift. It's happening, right now.

    It's a process. In the less abridged version of the story I shared, there are the many, many times she reached out to me after the gift episode. I did not indulge most of those, thanks to past rodeos of over-indulgence. But that is not to say I was not thrown, tremendously. Oh, I was thrown! Oh, I wobbled around, plenty! Oh, she could send me the littlest pixilated something and I'd shudder and ruminate for a few weeks—reminded of my own fragility, of how easily my anxieties could be provoked.

    And, honestly, thank god for all that. Because one of the best things about breakups, for all the twists and turns, is that they serve to remind us of what is always true: that we are seriously fragile, seriously delicate, in seriously beautiful ways.

    Sure, we can find some strength in the wake of them by losing some weight and looking gorgeous in a new dress—or, for me, rediscovering pushups and, with them, the satisfying little dimple of a triceps—and we can slip around for a bit in the land of false strength by wanting that dress/those triceps to dazzle an ex like a blade catching light.

    But there is really no strength quite like getting in touch with your own softness, and starting to see it as something to cherish and protect, so that it is shared with only the right people. Those are the people whose texts you respond to, whose gifts you receive.

    My ex is not a bad a person. She's not a witch. She's got some seriously manipulative tendencies, yes, but she's not related to the devil. She's simply not a proper custodian of my own fragility—hence she is an ex. For me, little moments like the gift episode—like what you're going through—eventually just truly affirmed that simple fact so it was imprinted on mind, body, and spirit.

    So what to do for you? I would say simply disengage. No need to block, if that's not you. But, yeah, ignore and/or send a simple note like mine if it comes up and then ignore whatever comes after that. And then, yes, block if it keeps coming, because there is strength in admitting you're not strong enough to be stoic when the screen lights up.

    It's really just emotional exhaust—breathe it back in and you just get sick, you know?

  4. #44
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Also: I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. What a year you've been through. What strength it takes to be you right now.

    He doesn't need to see you in that dress for you to feel that power. It's right there, where it has always been.

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  6. #45
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    Bluecastle, I wish I knew you in real life. You are incredibly compassionate, eloquent and kind. I'm not sure what your ex's intention was when she reached out to you, perhaps to keep some semblance of you in her life so she wasn't committed to having you as a partner, but also not fully accepting your current position as an ex. My ex is incredibly stubborn and has a lot of pride. Therefore, I doubt I would hear from him again after all this and if I did, it would be in the moments of quiet when none of his 5 housemates are home, and when he just can't sit with himself, alone as I have been doing since the beginning of the year.

    I have struggled to reconcile the kind and sensitive person I am with the need for strength and, at times, coldness that this situation calls for. When we first broke up, I told him I was there for him always. He made no such promise to me, despite having witnessed me going through so much in the last year with my father's death. I suppose I should save my sensitivity for people who don't sh*t all over it. I guess he is not a proper custodian of my fragility: you said it perfectly.

    Disengaging and detaching is what I must do. He has always been rough with me and a bit unkind, telling me whenever he let me down 'I don't owe you anything'. Now, I can really heed this and expect nothing from him, while giving no more of myself to him. Your approach is perfect. I have drafted a response to any text that may come my way, whenever it may come my way, and will send that and only that. Nothing heartfelt, no glimpses into my current situation or my emotions, just detachment. Thank you again!!

  7. #46
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Thanks for the sweet words, JB.

    Rest assured, like everyone else, I am capable of pride, stubbornness, selfishness, misguided peacocking, and unintentional emotional manipulation when my own emotions are flailing. I am, of course, my ex's ex, too, and imagine her story differs from mine in key moments, including those exchanges. I respect that story, whatever it is. Just don't need to edit it with her. I'd been through more breakups than she had—had strung some out, been strung out by others—so my threshold for the dizzying volley of egos and pheromones was just a lot lower.

    Relationships, in ways, are stories—a story you tell and make together. The breakup is the moment the story no longer makes sense—where you realize you're kind of speaking different languages, and probably were for longer than you knew. It sucks, that realization. It hurts. As with any pain, the immediate instinct is to quell it, to make it go away ASAP. Often that means trying to make the breakup a story you can make and tell together—but, alas, those different languages keep rearing their head. And it gets very tiring—if not downright painful—to try to connect with someone speaking Russian while you're speaking Spanish.

    I hear you on that struggle to reconcile your sensitive side with a need for coldness. I'm pretty sensitive myself, and my natural temperature, I think, is pretty warm. I have, in fact, some very warm relationships with exes, but that's not because my strength/warmness is superhuman. It's because it was met with the genuine warmth of another, and often that meant a lot of space and silence before being able to reconnect in a way that was authentic. There is nothing "cold," in other words, in allowing yourself what you need to heal. Just the opposite, in fact.

    You've got this. You're learning, by the sounds of it, to be the custodian of your own fragility. That's the sitting with yourself stuff, the richest stuff. Stay on that path; you don't need him to validate it. There is an awesome moment when the loneliness of an empty room gives way to sweetness, without needing another person to enter. Odd as it sounds, it's generally when you can find that sweetness that you're able to open the door to the right people.

  8. #47
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    Relationships are stories - that's so true. Our stories went in different directions, with me being more or less written out of his a while ago. We had planned to move back to Scotland together to be close to my mother and his family this year, but he signed up to a university degree that would ensure he remained in London for the next several years, without discussing the implications with me first. I suppose I have to write him out of mine now.

    My sensitivity means that I can't rest easy if I believe I have done wrong in any way, I have too much of a conscience. So I wouldn't feel good about myself if I was mean or unkind. I think silence speaks volumes though and is definitely better than reacting. It's great that you still have a 'warm' connection with exes. I agree that a lot of space and silence is required before that could ever happen though. With my ex, I don't see that happening. He is not warm or sensitive. He's not cruel either, but he's cold and disconnected. He would rather drink than feel an emotion. We're coming from opposite ends of many spectrums, and I know that a friendship formed from the ashes of a long dead relationship isn't going to work. I can't be supportive of someone who doesn't know how to behave in those situations.

    I am learning that I need to be totally on my side, totally content with me own company and my own aloneness before even inviting anyone to be with me. Friends included. Otherwise, I will just look to external sources to fulfil something that only I can achieve.

  9. #48
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this is happening. Being homesick and lonely can make you vulnerable to all sorts of things like this type of bait for just some sort of interaction. Have you begun the process of securing work back home and moving away from him and back were you were asap?

  10. #49
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Sorry to hear this is happening. Being homesick and lonely can make you vulnerable to all sorts of things like this type of bait for just some sort of interaction. Have you begun the process of securing work back home and moving away from him and back were you were asap?
    Thank you Wiseman. I work from home (another reason why it is isolating here without my bf, I very much relied on him for company!) so can work from near enough anywhere. As a result, I am planning to move in the summer time, around June when my contract runs out here. I am already looking at specific areas close to my mum where I can live and have plenty of opportunities to meet people, make new friends. It's bittersweet.

  11. #50
    Platinum Member Annia's Avatar
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    Deleting and blocking for your own healing is not being a b****, it's self care. Most mature exes would understand and respect that decision.

    But yes, if he can't simply send you the gifts through mail (he would if he really wanted to give them and this wasn't a mindgame/ego trip to him), I'd forget them and continue NC.

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