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Thread: Is reconciliation possible in this scenario?

  1. #31
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I think it's worth noting the hard specifics here to try to make the same point as others are:

    She stood you up, which sucks. That is lousy, inexcusable behavior, and it hurt you. You express that hurt and what happens? She flips the script, hard, minimizing your hurt by maximizing hers, and putting you in an awkward position. You're still hurting, because you are a human, but now you feel "bad" about it, that your hurt has a fraction of the weight as hers. You've minimized your own hurt, while still wanting to feel better, less hurt, the most basic human reaction to pain there is. Now your path to feeling better is to support her—the path you're now on, diligently.

    What is all that, in a word? It is manipulation, on all sides.

    I'm not saying her wounds aren't real, serious, and so on, or that your empathy is solely a Trojan Horse containing your selfishness. Still, what she did was manipulative. She replaced your feelings with her feelings, and made understanding and accommodating her feelings a "cure" for your hurt. Why is this so destructive? Because it leeches all sincerity out of the dynamic—boom, gone. Sincerity has been replaced by a disingenuous edge; the harder you both lean on that edge the further you get from sincerity. You also get cut—more hurt. And you are leaning into that edge hard right now.

    Humans know when they're being manipulative and being manipulated. It leaves an icky residue. Think of being a child, and batting pleading, watery eyes at a parent after you fail to clean your room. You know you're being crafty, even if that playground bully did mess with you at recess, and if you get the desired response—"Oh, baby, it's okay, come into my arms..."—you feel kind of gross. Yes, the arms around you feel good, but something is off. You respect yourself a little less, and respect your parent less too. Your parent also feels kind of gross, with the price of feeling like a loving parent coming with a ding to self-respect.

    And, in that, a system of support, affection, and love has become fueled by disrespect and insincerity. A system, right now, that you are doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on with her. Bad coping mechanisms in her attaching onto bad coping mechanisms in you, validating each at the expense of your (and her) humanity.

    Imagine she was a guy you met 5 months ago while playing pool. Cool dude. You two like hanging, chatting sports and life. But one day, while playing pool, he gets a little worked up and punches you in the face. He apologizes—in tears—explaining that his father used to beat him up and now he has anger issues. What is your response? Is it to continue to invest in that friendship? Probably not. You feel for the dude, genuinely, but you like your jaw intact just as genuinely. You don't want to be hurt, so you back away from the friendship. That is all much more sincere and honest, respect-driven. You hope he gets better, truly, and you express that by getting better yourself.

    This is the same as that, or should be, except it's not. Sex and attraction exists at the edges, as do romantic hopes. That is self-interest. That energy inside you is potent with her, which she knows. You can pretend it's no longer a factor—"This is just who I am as a person—doesn't matter if we're dating"—but these aren't feelings that can be switched off. No, they can be suppressed, or channeled elsewhere—like, for instance, wanting to be a support beam and seek a proxy of romantic validation there. Which is insincere, unhealthy, providing just enough of a reward system to ensure that nothing evolves healthily and no one gets the help he or she needs.

    Same church, different pew, said ThatwasThen. Boom. I would take that seriously, and explore it. She is pressing a button in you that has deep roots, and when that button gets pressed you seem prone to leaving your more sincere self in the pursuit of sincere feelings and connections.
    My hurt after her not showing up on Saturday is NOTHING compared to what I listened to on the phone that night. It made it seem like child's play in the grander scheme of things. Is it complicated because of the feelings I have for her? Sure it is and as I've stated multiple times if the cross becomes too much to bare, I walk away. I missed this thing horribly while we were dating though. I treated it as a standard red flag variety and was naive to my role in dating someone who's experience sexual assault. I didn't ask the questions I needed to. I didn't communicate. I was off in my distant shell.

    I will never be able to fix her. I will never be able to change the past. But I will be able to feel better as an individual now providing a little selflessness - even in a complicated scenario such as this one.

  2. #32
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    But I will be able to feel better as an individual now providing a little selflessness - even in a complicated scenario such as this one.
    I don't mean to hammer on the throttle here—or, well, I do, but with your spirit, wellness, and growth in mind—but read that above sentence you just wrote. It's selfish, I'm sorry. It's making her a vessel so you can look in the mirror and see a good, selfless man. And for her to provide that reflection? She must remain a damaged, broken woman who needs support.

    Imagine swiping through Bumble. There's the civil rights lawyer who is into CrossFit, the veterinarian with the pilates practice, and the 30-year-old woman whose bio reads "curious how dating will work for treating my PTSD from past sexual abuse." Are you swiping right on that last one? If so, it's worth trying to know why, to understand why that was more appealing than the fit, civil rights attorney. Because that's essentially what you are doing right now—leaning in to another's damage to feel better about yourself.

    You are hardwired to shoulder the blame—to punish yourself for the questions you didn't ask, your failure to communicate, you being off in your distant shell. But no. You were just you, this was just dating. Early on you had a little itch that something was off, and you remained guarded. That is healthy. The itch became a scratch, as time passed, and it didn't work out. That is healthy.

    But where this is, right now? It has jumped the shark to unhealthy.

  3. #33
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Adding this to the Hall of Famous ENA Quotes : [Register to see the link]

    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    I think you dodged a bullet rather than missed a boat.

  4. #34
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    I completely missed the boat when we were dating, but I can be a better person about it today. If emotionally I find myself in a place where I cannot handle it, then I have to do what I have to do.
    And to focus on this, along with TwT:

    You completely saw the boat, right off the bat. You saw a woman who'd been through some stuff, had not learned to live with it in a way that made you comfortable: a boat, in other words, that you felt would sink if you stepped aboard, increasing your risk of drowning. And you remained "detached"—on the dock.

    The phone call isn't a new, eye-opening chapter; it just filled in a little more of the details of that boat—the rips in the sails, the missing planks in the hull. Except in seeing that you are more "attached," boarding the very vessel that you have already deemed might sink and result in you drowning.

    Just try to view all this from a drone, and humbly ask yourself if you are moving in a direction conducive to emotional health and harmony, or away from it.

    We can atone for sins in confessional, and be selfless in soup lines. Trying to apply those instincts to people we hardly know, and are sexually attracted to, is generally not a recipe for salvation.

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  6. #35
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    And to focus on this, along with TwT:

    You completely saw the boat, right off the bat. You saw a woman who'd been through some stuff, had not learned to live with it in a way that made you comfortable: a boat, in other words, that you felt would sink if you stepped aboard, increasing your risk of drowning. And you remained "detached"—on the dock.

    The phone call isn't a new, eye-opening chapter; it just filled in a little more of the details of that boat—the rips in the sails, the missing planks in the hull. Except in seeing that you are more "attached," boarding the very vessel that you have already deemed might sink and result in you drowning.
    Until you hear someone actually explain what it did to them, there's no way to even get close to understanding it. These weren't just minor details, this was graphically relayed amidst frantic tears and hysterical crying plus an even more graphic depiction of what it has done to her.

    I spent 4.5 months not respecting her coping mechanisms and getting rubbed the wrong way by some of her red flag behavior - but I wasn't taking into consideration the trauma and it's relationship to it. In fact it's scary to me how little that element of it came into my thoughts because it's downright naive. As she has stated many times to me, she tried in her ways to get me to open up and discuss these things. But even I can admit I was stubborn, I was isolating myself because of other reasons, and I never considered the idea that dating someone who's been thru something like she has requires a whole separate approach ....... because it does. How could it not?

  7. #36
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    Until you hear someone actually explain what it did to them, there's no way to even get close to understanding it.
    You assume we have no experience with knowing someone who has been traumatized.

    These weren't just minor details, this was graphically relayed amidst frantic tears and hysterical crying plus an even more graphic depiction of what it has done to her.
    What has that got to do with you sacrificing your emotional well being in order to caretake her (opposite of caregive) her through her trauma though? Its not the responsibility of an acquaintance of five months to take on that role. You would be helping her far more if you gave her some names of really good therapists and convinced her to see one of them ongoing while you bowed out of her life gracefully and guilt free because that's the actual level of your obligation to her at the six month mark of knowing someone.

    I spent 4.5 months not respecting her coping mechanisms and getting rubbed the wrong way by some of her red flag behavior - but I wasn't taking into consideration the trauma and it's relationship to it.
    Nor should you have to take into consideration her trauma as you stay with her and suffer through the symptoms of it. Healthy individuals see the red flags and exit while the going is good. Unhealthy people stay and try to save her from the results of the trauma. If she were getting professional help, has learned how to cope and self sooth and was on any prescribed medication to help her self sooth, then I would understand you... alas, she is not.

    In fact it's scary to me how little that element of it came into my thoughts because it's downright naive.
    Ignoring the red flags is what is naive.

    As she has stated many times to me, she tried in her ways to get me to open up and discuss these things. But even I can admit I was stubborn, I was isolating myself because of other reasons, and I never considered the idea that dating someone who's been thru something like she has requires a whole separate approach ....... because it does.
    Yes, it requires the approach of "please call me when you are in treatment and have learned to cope with the PTSD. I would love to hear that you are doing well."

    You've gotten so much advice that will keep you safe but I don't think you're going to listen. It's too ingrained in you from being the nurturer to your parents for most of your life.

    I will wish you good luck because sadly, I believe you are going to need it as you administer to her while your support does nothing or very little to change the way she currently is.

  8. #37
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It's not a good idea to put her under a microscope and make a project out of this. There are much better ways to acquire accurate info than to probe this situation. It's over. Don't play armchair therapist. No matter what anyone has been through, it's not a license to be nasty.
    Originally Posted by TimeToGrowUp
    Until you hear someone actually explain what it did to them, there's no way to even get close to understanding it.

  9. #38
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I don't quite know what to say, friend.

    Everyone you meet has trauma in their bones, coursing through their systems. Some move through it, some cling to it. The source of that trauma—be it sexual abuse, parental abandonment, military service, or even something less incendiary, like bad credit after a foolish spending spree—is less critical than how they choose to cope with it. Therapy or anonymous sex? CrossFit or cocaine? Writing a novel or writing their own early obituary through self-destruction? Taking a break from dating or trying to cure it through dating?

    So, if you are interested in any human being romantically, the question is: Are they coping with the trauma of existing in a way that does't make their trauma the nucleolus around which the connection orbits? Or, more generally: Are they living their life in a way where you can live your own alongside them, without getting sick? That is the universal approach. In other words: No, it does not require a "whole separate approach" to date this person, because your job, as a human being, is not to be a contortionist being bent into shapes by the trauma of another.

    Back to my fictional bar buddy, who punches you in the face. You don't change your "approach" to that friendship, by wearing a padded helmet when you hang, now that you know daddy used cold clock him. You find a better friend to avoid more personal trauma. And if you don't do that? If you're somehow compelled by him hitting you in the face because your daddy hit you in the face? Well, then you go to therapy so your own trauma isn't the foundation of your interpersonal connections.

    Something is up here, I'm sorry.

    Zoom out, just a bit, and what you are describing is being "turned on" by this phone call. No, I'm not talking about blood flow between your legs, but I am talking about something related. She is announcing to you that she is broken, identifies as this, wants romance to be built around "opening up" on these fronts. The approach to that is simple: "I'm sorry for your pain, here are some professionals, wishing you all the best." But you are chomping at the bit while whipping yourself for failing to be a better trauma nurse earlier. And all that is connected to...to what? Five so-so months of romance, someone who flaked on you on Saturday and plays little mind games on Instagram?

    Look, if you were in the fifth year of marriage and your wife jumped the shark after some suppressed memories surfaced, I'd spin this differently. If this was a close friend of a decade suddenly going through a very hard time—ditto. But this is not that. It is far, far from all that. It is you seeing a potential black hole, standing on the edge, then seeing an actual black hole and figuring out how to jump in.

    Why? That is the million dollar question, which, yes, you can dodge by jumping into the black hole. When you emerge you'll be 41 or 43, with more trauma to unpack, and at 45 or 48 you can see about cultivating a potent spark with different embers. That phone call plays in your mind in an intriguing loop right now, but this is also your one single shot at life being lived. You define who you are, and what your life becomes, by where you invest your spirit.

  10. #39
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    I think it's interesting that she brought up her trauma of sexual assault when you demanded an explanation for her flaky behaviour. I think that's when she decided to conveniently mention that in order to deflect blame for her bailing on you. Sexual assault is indeed traumatizing, however she can't perpetually use it as a crutch for wrong behaviour.

    I echo what some of the posters have said about her manipulating you, and you seemingly being unaware of this. There is a fine line between enabling and supporting someone. Please make sure she is receiving counselling before engaging with her any further. She is lacking stability and the best you can do for her at this moment is to encourage her to seek therapy.

    You seem to suffer from self esteem issues as you are willing to settle for being someone's psychologist while neglecting your own needs. Do you feel that you do not deserve a healthy, loving and nurturing relationship? Does having someone to "fix" give you a sense of purpose?

    Since you still have feelings for this girl, my best advice to you would be to cut or limit your communication with her until she is in a much better state of mind. Maybe then can you entertain the idea of a relationship with her. It is not in your best interest to continue speaking to her until she has sought extensive therapy for her trauma.

    Please seek counselling of your own as you seem to have low self confidence which affects your selection of women. You are your own person. Please prioritize yourself before assisting anyone else.

  11. #40
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    I will never be able to fix her. I will never be able to change the past. But I will be able to feel better as an individual now providing a little selflessness - even in a complicated scenario such as this one.[/QUOTE] You will feel better once your fix YOURSELF. Otherwise, you will always be looking for the next thing to fix if you're not at peace internally.

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