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Thread: How do I stop thinking people feel sorry for me?

  1. #11
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    Hi all, thank you for the thoughtful responses. I should clarify that I don't think people are sitting around ruminating on my life. I mean I tend to overthink interactions. For example, post-separation, I've reconnected with a female friend from college (she's married). She'll send me pictures sometimes, or we'll talk about music or random articles. Of course she knows the details of my situation, but my tendency to see everything in a "worst-case" light leads me to believe that she's just interacting with me because she knows that I'm alone and takes pity on me. The fact is that I'm VERY happy alone (much more so than I ever was in my marriage) and I think my attitude and statements generally reflect that. But one of my worst fears is someone seeing me as just that pathetic divorced guy who they have to put up with occasionally. I feel like my life is basically the opposite of that. I own my house (which I keep tidy), I cook my own meals, I know what I love and actively pursue my passions. I am a great father to my daughter. If I could look at me from the outside, I'd probably say, "Wow, that guy is doing damn well considering what he's been through." But I'm way harder on myself than anyone else would be.

    To expand on it a bit further, I feel like a lot of this cognitive turmoil goes back to being gas lit toward the end of our marriage. I consider myself a fairly perceptive and intuitive person and I KNEW that something was wrong, specifically that my wife had feelings for someone at work. I spent many months trying to convince myself that I was crazy. I even told my therapist I thought I had OCD, because I could not get these thoughts out of my head. Eventually, I found out that I had been right all along and it was of course crushing. That's just the tail end of the gas lighting, but it had been going on for years. So now, it's harder for me to say, "Oh, you're just being silly...that's just a cognitive distortion talking. That could never happen," because something that I tried hard to believe WAS crazy turned out to be reality. Now there's always this tug of war between trusting myself and my intuitions vs. disregarding whatever crazy thoughts might pop up. Does this make sense? Although I've made a lot of progress, I'm still learning how to trust myself because my identity and reality was always so bound up with what my wife told me.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I like the way you think, are thinking through all this.

    Thumbnail sketch here, from what I see? You are still, in the grand scheme of things, just a few minutes removed from one life and a few minutes into a new one. That is a lot of things, including exciting, but it's also destabilizing, transitional, tough. Think of it as a shedding one husk without totally inhabiting the new husk, so there are some nerve endings exposed. These thorny thoughts? That's just those nerve endings being struck a bit. Honestly, it would be weirder if you were on here saying you didn't feel a thing.

    Thing about people? Even the best of them tend to be pretty focused on one thing: themselves and their story, not yours or mine. Like you, they're just out there, getting through the day, eating this on Wednesday, swiping right on Friday, chasing whatever they think they need to feel good and alive in their own husk. The more you settle into yours—which, by the way, sounds like a lovely one!—the less you'll be caught up in creating you-centric internal monologues in the minds of others. Inhale, exhale, keep stepping in the same direction. Wobbles are allowed, even needed.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SonicYouth
    So now, it's harder for me to say, "Oh, you're just being silly...that's just a cognitive distortion talking. That could never happen," because something that I tried hard to believe WAS crazy turned out to be reality. Now there's always this tug of war between trusting myself and my intuitions vs. disregarding whatever crazy thoughts might pop up. Does this make sense? Although I've made a lot of progress, I'm still learning how to trust myself because my identity and reality was always so bound up with what my wife told me.
    That's how I get when I have anxiety about something. It's a self-reinforcing loop, and it infects seemingly unrelated areas of my life. I have often watched it run its course, thinking, "This is ridiculous!!" while simultaneously unable to stop my mind from running rampant.

    It will eventually fade over time, and you will learn to trust yourself again. You are still getting your life in order.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Always trust your gut/instincts. Everyone who has a cheater on their hands is in denial at first. Cheating usually comes with a host of lies and obvious incongruousness.
    Originally Posted by SonicYouth
    I KNEW that something was wrong, specifically that my wife had feelings for someone at work. I spent many months trying to convince myself that I was crazy.

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