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Thread: a question about trying to change someone

  1. #21
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    Or pushing water uphill with a fork
    Yes, that's right.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Your level of insight and awareness is really something, rainorshine. Good tools to have, and to keep sharpening, as it seems you're naturally built to do. Some day you'll find someone who shares that value and character trait, and I suspect you'll be amazed at what that feels like: apples and apples, instead of apples and oranges.

    But another great tool, to piggyback onto figureitout's post? Letting go, cutting yourself some slack. No one behaves perfectly—in life, in relationships. We lash out, misstep, say stupid things. It's allowed. It's human. Nothing to feel gross and apologetic about for years and years, but just a few minutes. You weren't a person you wanted to be with him. Now you get to be the person you want to be—and, in being that person, the guilt and shame recedes.

    The line between self-reflection and rumination can be thin—I get stuck straddling it plenty!—but it's an important one to understand. In self-reflection we shed husks, go deeper into ourselves so we can get more comfortable in our own skin—and, of course, share ourselves more fully and authentically with others. In rumination we can clog a lot of arteries while thinking we're cleaning them, and we can keep the focus trained on another person instead of ourselves—the one thing, in the end, that we can change.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    If you are with someone you describe as an emotional abuser you'll Never fix or change them. You might consider some short term therapy for insight, understanding healthy vs unhealthy relationships and tips on self esteem and boundaries. Also it seems you engaged in some equally nasty low class behavior.


    It's great you broke up, but if you think it's only due to incompatibility and his lack of good breeding, you're in for one toxic relationship after the next because you're not addressing the real issue - You. Why were you in this trying to rationalize, sanitize and lie to yourself about everything.
    Originally Posted by rainorshine
    wanting him to empathize with me and for him to stop gaslighting me he did turn his meanness towards me. essentially telling him he was not good enough for me for x, y, and z reasons.

  4. #24
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Also it seems you engaged in some equally nasty low class behavior.

    It's great you broke up, but if you think it's only due to incompatibility and his lack of good breeding, you're in for one toxic relationship after the next because you're not addressing the real issue - You. Why were you in this trying to rationalize, sanitize and lie to yourself about everything.
    Respectfully, this is not productive or helpful advice at all. Very unnecessary, actually. "Some equally nasty low class behavior," is honestly...way out of left field. Not once have I quoted him or given a specific example of any of the language he would use. You have NO right to project that my behavior, which extended maybe 6 text messages in one day over the 2.5 years we were together, was "equally nasty low class behavior."

    I did NOT "lie to [my]self about everything" over the course of our relationship. Please do not come to my thread to attack me when you do not have a full knowledge (or any knowledge at all, really) of my character or the complexity or nature of our relationship outside of this issue. Thank you.

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  6. #25
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    Originally Posted by rainorshine
    Respectfully, this is not productive or helpful advice at all. Very unnecessary, actually. "Some equally nasty low class behavior," is honestly...way out of left field. Not once have I quoted him or given a specific example of any of the language he would use. You have NO right to project that my behavior, which extended maybe 6 text messages in one day over the 2.5 years we were together, was "equally nasty low class behavior."

    I did NOT "lie to [my]self about everything" over the course of our relationship. Please do not come to my thread to attack me when you do not have a full knowledge (or any knowledge at all, really) of my character or the complexity or nature of our relationship outside of this issue. Thank you.

    The nasty thing was "parenting" him -- using yourself as the gold standard of how he should be as a person.

    . I found myself constantly telling him to "please be nice," and to "please don't say that" when it came to him speaking to and about other people (which I knew I shouldn't have had to do), and I would go extra out of my way to be kind and do generous things for other people hoping that he would take notice and want to do them, too.

    Throughout our entire relationship, I really tried so hard to encourage him to be a better, kinder person through my actions and words. I pushed myself to be better in the hopes that it would push him to be better. I just wanted so desperately for him to be nice to others the way he was nice to me.


    My ex was constantly correcting me in front of people. He always told me i didn't have life experience, i didn't know how to act in public "normal people don't do that" "stop talking, they already heard that story before". Later on after we broke up, people said they were relieved we were broken up because he was always jumping on me constantly on every little thing. I was never rude to anyone. He yelled from across the room at me once because he thought i dipped a carrot in the hummus that was out instead of putting a separate portion on my plate.

    You may think he wasn't polite, but if he truly wasnt - you either don't say anything and let him suffer the consequences of what happens to his friendship or you privately tell him at a later date "hey, i am ucomfortable the way you talk to Tony." Constantly correcting him and acting like his mother or police is terrible in public. And i don't know if he is really mean or its just a bunch of guys busting eachother's chops.

    My brother's friends have nicknames for eachother that sound rude but they are always changing and they think its hilarious. They are respectful towards women and others, but when they get together, the clock has turned back to sixth grade. They say some pretty rude things to eachother busting eachother's chops and are always trying to one up eachother.

    Yes, find someone more compatible, but not someone "like you" - someone like themselves, but someone you have respect for, and then give them enough respect while you are with them to not be their parent

    Also, not everyone has to be over the top generous - many people do so quietly -- give money with no one knowing, help with no one knowing. Even though you think they are selfish for taking the last donut or something.

  7. #26
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    The nasty thing was "parenting" him -- using yourself as the gold standard of how he should be as a person.

    I was never rude to anyone.

    Constantly correcting him and acting like his mother or police is terrible in public.

    Yes, find someone more compatible, but not someone "like you" - someone like themselves, but someone you have respect for, and then give them enough respect while you are with them to not be their parent.
    Ah but see, my ex was rude at times. For example: he would often refer to people (primarily women) who were a little heavier in weight as "fat cows" or "whales." Should I not have said anything at all about that? Should I have never spoken up and voiced my opinion on how I did not believe that to be right? Sometimes I did "let it slide." But on occasion I would say, "Hey, you can think that, okay? But please don't say it to me/it in front of me."

    My comments were NEVER in public and I would never yell. I would only say something aloud to him if we were alone with no one else around - please do not automatically assume otherwise.

    As I said before, me saying anything at all was NOT an incessant thing. Never once did he voice any annoyance or offensive when I did, either. I had respect for him. Still do. He could be very polite when he wanted to be. It was just offensive terminology and throwing jabs at people here and there based on appearance, interests, etc. that I really hated to hear and that made me sad.

    I have already said that I realize now that I should have actually dug deeper and asked him why he thought certain things and why he felt compelled to say them was okay. But I didn't. And at this point, that's just an "oh well."

  8. #27
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    Also I want to note in regards to my previous post that when he would refer to someone in a derogatory term regarding his or her weight, it was 100% of the time to his friends or to me when we were alone, never directly to them or where they could hear.

    Still not good (obviously), but that would have ABSOLUTELY been a deal-breaker for me from the beginning. I fell in love way too fast, and that caused me to sweep a lot under the rug and, yes, rationalize things I shouldn't have thinking it was just an issue of him being young and immature. I know that now - knew it way before starting this thread. Was just trying to seek some advice on how to take that lesson forward into the future.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded providing me with that, I appreciate it.

  9. #28
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    Originally Posted by rainorshine
    Ah but see, my ex was rude at times. For example: he would often refer to people (primarily women) who were a little heavier in weight as "fat cows" or "whales." Should I not have said anything at all about that? Should I have never spoken up and voiced my opinion on how I did not believe that to be right? Sometimes I did "let it slide." But on occasion I would say, "Hey, you can think that, okay? But please don't say it to me/it in front of me."
    rainor, I just got a chance to read this thread and here are my thoughts.

    With respect to above quote, imo, no you shouldn't have said anything at all. As his girlfriend, it is absolutely not your place to correct him or "teach" him how to be a better person. That's his job. You're his gf, not his mother for goodness sakes.

    Okay now that I got that off my chest, moving forward, and what I typically do is in the early stages of dating (first six months), even when the attraction/chemistry is off the charts, I observe.

    I observe how he treats me, how he treats others, including how he refers to others, even if only to me.

    I observe how honest he is, and gauge his level of integrity in how he chooses to live his life and treat people, including myself and others. All others.

    This goes to his character and I have to say that if a man I was dating referred to certain women as "fat cows" or "whales" (even if just to me and I hope to God he would not say this to their faces), I would seriously consider walking away soon after that.

    That type of attitude is absolutely NOT acceptable to me whatsoever. And whatever attraction I felt towards him would be severely compromised to the point of actually being TURNED OFF.

    That said, I would expect him to be observing ME as well!

    If any of what I have observed does not match my values, the standards I have for myself, then I WALK AWAY.

    Absolutely NOT my job to teach him through my example, or by my actually correcting him -- in fact if a man felt my core values and level of integrity were not up to his standards and he attempted to "correct" me or "change" me, I would find him quite arrogant actually. It's controlling whether you realize it or not.

    Now in your defense, I don't think your intention was to be arrogant or controlling, I think your heart was in the right place, but attempting to change someone, anyone, through your words or your actions, very rarely works.

    People need to learn for themselves how to treat others, otherwise it just won't "stick" he/she will be changing for you and not for themselves.

    And you need to accept others, including the men you date, AS IS, and if you cannot, if they don't match your values and standards, then you wish them well and walk away.
    Last edited by katrina1980; 07-15-2019 at 03:24 PM.

  10. #29
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    Originally Posted by katrina1980
    rainor, I just got a chance to read this thread and here are my thoughts.

    With respect to above quote, imo, no you shouldn't have said anything at all. As his girlfriend, it is absolutely not your place to correct him or "teach" him how to be a better person. That's his job. You're his gf, not his mother for goodness sakes.

    Okay now that I got that off my chest, moving forward, and what I typically do is in the early stages of dating (first six months), even when the attraction/chemistry is off the charts, I observe.

    I observe how he treats me, how he treats others, including how he refers to others, even if only to me.

    I observe how honest he is, and gauge his level of integrity in how he chooses to live his life and treat people, including myself and others. All others.

    This goes to his character and I have to say that if a man I was dating referred to certain women as "fat cows" or "whales" (even if just to me and I hope to God he would not say this to their faces), I would seriously consider walking away soon after that.

    That type of attitude is absolutely NOT acceptable to me whatsoever. And whatever attraction I felt towards him would be severely compromised to the point of actually being TURNED OFF.

    That said, I would expect him to be observing ME as well!

    If any of what I have observed does not match my values, the standards I have for myself, then I WALK AWAY.

    Absolutely NOT my job to teach him through my example, or by my actually correcting him -- in fact if a man felt my core values and level of integrity were not up to his standards and he attempted to "correct" me or "change" me, I would find him quite arrogant actually. It's controlling whether you realize it or not.

    Now in your defense, I don't think your intention was to be arrogant or controlling, I think your heart was in the right place, but attempting to change someone, anyone, through your words or your actions, very rarely works.

    People need to learn for themselves how to treat others, otherwise it just won't "stick" he/she will be changing for you and not for themselves.

    And you need to accept others, including the men you date, AS IS, and if you cannot, if they don't match your values and standards, then you wish them well and walk away.
    Thank you.

    I’d like to think I’ve grown a lot in the last three years (especially the past year since we’ve been apart since it's led me to a lot of introspection). I met him when I was 18, and our encounter, to be perfectly honest, was only supposed to be a one night stand sort of deal - I was never expecting to even see him again. Having sex before I got to know him absolutely, without a doubt, clouded my judgement of his character as we proceeded into a girlfriend-boyfriend dynamic.

    If I met anyone now who was as judgmental and insulting, it would 100% be a turn off and I would run away immediately. I compromised my standards so heavily it honestly leaves me bewildered. But then again, my standards were not as high back then as they are now.

    Back then, when I first entered college, I was struggling a good deal with self-worth issues, and I think due to that, I would have clung to almost anyone who showed interest in me back (as obviously, I did). I really did just want to be loved, and he had nice enough other qualities (intelligent, driven, witty, thoughtful) that I was able to see past the bad ones for awhile. As I mentioned previously I think, screening for long-term compatibilities (i.e. similar values & goals) wasn't exactly on my radar at the time. I was just enjoying college and we had a lot of fun together. He made me happy.

    My intentions really were not to be arrogant or controlling in the slightest. I never aimed to be a "mother" to him - not at all. But the moment I did begin to feel that way (a whole 2.5 years later), I DID walk away. It just took me a really long time to get there.

    I totally understand now that nothing I did or said was ever going to “stick” because that’s just not how it works. I was naive and thought it was.

    I really do hope he learns for himself one day and decides on his own to treat others better and with more respect. Truly, all I’ve ever wanted is for him not to add any more hate and meanness into the world.
    Last edited by rainorshine; 07-15-2019 at 07:06 PM.

  11. #30
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I think the number of 18-year-olds on the planet who can "screen for long-term compatibilities" is pretty minuscule. And that applies to plenty of people much, much older.

    Speaking for myself? I'm at the tail end of 39, and I don't think I really got those screens functioning until the past year or so. That's not because I'm a shallow, sex-crazed maniac, but simply because "long-term" was not a genuine goal of mine until later in life. My history is mainly longterm relationships, but I placed a very high level on chemistry—not just sexual, but intellectual—and if those beakers were bubbling? Presto—relationship.

    The hot weekend with the exciting person became a month became a year or two. Some major loves in there with, at least in 3 or my 4 big relationships, some astoundingly amazing women. And also the tough endings with one of us basically going: um, wait a second here, do we actually work work? That would lead to the inevitable place where you're at now, where you look back and see the loose thread that was right there at the beginning, unraveling even when things were just coming together.

    Sigh. Life.

    Sometimes we have to go through a relationship or two (more more) to get all our gauges functioning. Sometimes we need a relationship to discover a gauge—and, ugh, sometimes it's that discovery that marks the end of the relationship. Sad stuff. Or beautiful stuff. Time tends to render the former into the latter.

    When I was 18, and had not had much sex, sex was a profoundly powerful gauge. Pretty common. My freshman year girlfriend—profound then, but so long ago now that it's lost all influence on my emotional landscape—was essentially the first cool, attractive woman with whom I'd had good sex. That fueled us for a bit—with fun trips to California and Cuba mixed in there—but we really had nothing in common in terms of the values required for "long term." We didn't even have the language for that stuff. We were still searching for that language—and we helped each other, I'd like to think, in that search.

    Guess I'm saying: it's all good, rain. Of all the lessons you're thinking about and reflecting on, do know that simply letting go is a big one. Maybe he wins the Most Respectable Man on the Planet Award at 30, and when he walks to the podium he's thinking of you somewhere, quietly thanking you for the influence you had in his life. Or maybe not. Both of those outcomes are equally okay, and neither make your time together any more or less valuable. That's letting go, you know? Zen stuff.

    And, because I love me a bowtie, that is connected to the original idea of this thread. When you learn that lesson—often in a hard moment—your interactions with people change, platonically and romantically. They lose that transactional edge, even when there were the best of intentions and the warmest of hearts behind the transactional thinking. You're not trying to extract anything from another person—not love, not orgasms, not improvements in their character, not change. You're just...with them. Because it works. And if it doesn't you know you can let go and move on—and, weirdly, I think it's those who know that tend to get into the healthiest, longest-lasting relationships.

    In letting go of certain people, and ideas about certain people, we let go of certain ideas about relationships and make room for new ones to evolve from different stuff.
    Last edited by bluecastle; 07-15-2019 at 08:04 PM.

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