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Need help in seeing "My Part"

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Good evening ENA'rs...


Well I am doing fairly well all things considered. I understand why I needed to break away from my relationship. You see, it was actually me who cried out "I am not happy, I have lost myself" and my partner heard me. She heard me and let me go. I tried to get it back last Summer but alas she heard me well.


I think now I am grateful she did as I see the patterns of dysfunction we had. I was just not strong enough to let her go.


What I see is mostly her part in our relationship failures and I know I have my part, I am just not seeing it.


Here is what I see so far: She was very passive aggressive with me, gave me the silent treatments often, sulked when I confronted her, and wouldnt communicate with me.


There was a lot of good in the relationship, but I am still struggling to see why and how I played into this. I know I have a hard time with being alone, and I tend to cling. I also see I stuffed a lot of anger regarding outright disrepect of me. I tried to get us into counseling in 2009 but she wouldnt go. I still stayed.


I know I have some co-dependence and self esteem stuff, but I believe my breaking away this last Summer was my inner self crying out enough!!


How can I see myself more clearly so I can get to a place of being healthier and attracting a healthier relationship in the future? Is this just low self esteem???


I am hoping Endy can jump in on this one. I know I have issues too because I chose her! And I chose to stay for 4 years. I was happy a lot of the time but I guess my inner self felt it was time for it to end.


Any insights and ideas appreciated. I would love to do some counseling for myself but its expensive and if I can heal without it that would be great.

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No specific advice other than hitting your local library or bookstore--there are tons of material out there that may benefit you. Particularly, I'd like to recommend "How To Hold Onto Your N.U.T.S." and "The Road Less Traveled."


On a side note, I'd like to thank you for breaking the mold and having the courage to gain some insight. It's refreshing.

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If I've learned anything about myself, it's that a clingy partner who demos little interest in carving out a healthy life independent of me brings out the absolute worst in me.


This doesn't imply that it's their 'fault' that I've become a monster in response, as I also leaned this: When I sense I'm hurting someone, I am. The fact that someone would be weak enough to tolerate that from me doesn't make me less responsible for my actions, it makes me more responsible.


You've demo'd incredible strength in recognizing a bad match and liberating yourself from it. You can parlay that into the kind of strength that will carve out a wonderful single life that will put you on solid ground. It's from THAT place that you can trust that you'll never operate in the same ways that made you miserable before. This will ensure that you're wonderful partner material because you've learned what only experience can each.


Trust your Self.

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Catfeeder, I think what I meant by my clinging is when she pulled away I clung on. She didnt see the worst of that though. I know a big part of me sticking in there was because I had moved to a New State and met her within a few months. In fact, we both were brand new to New Mexico coming from opposite sides of the country.


I knew I needed to move beyond spending every weekend with her staying home watching TV. I think I did all the classic things: Hoping her non communicativeness would change, looking at the good only etc....


I know my ex isnt interested in healing her woundedness from childhood at this time. I know I want to be with someone who is interested in growing and evolving.


Camus154: The road less travelled is a classic. I do need to browse around some book stores. Thanks!

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Any insights and ideas appreciated. I would love to do some counseling for myself but its expensive and if I can heal without it that would be great.


Hi BlueRose66,


I think you can learn from my experience in terms of how you can be your own therapist.


I had a self-esteem issue which got progressively worse towards the end of the relationship and fell to rocky lows about two weeks after the break-up. Since then I've focused on gratitude and appreciation for myself and the world around me. I've made it a habit to become aware of and acknowledge negative feelings and challenging the assumptions driving the underlying thoughts and actions.


For example, look at my recent battle, which you were instrumental in helping me win (Thank You! xo). Note how I became aware of and acknowledged the anxiety and frustration I was experiencing over the past three weeks, then sought to figure out why. Note how I identified the underlying feelings, thoughts, and actions that were making me anxious and frustrated. Note how I consciously corrected the assumptions behind the thoughts and actions that were creating the anxiety. As a result, I'm back on the right path.


So the techniques I describe on my healing thread are sound if you are willing to experiment with them and create a new habit out of using them.





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How can I see myself more clearly so I can get to a place of being healthier and attracting a healthier relationship in the future? Is this just low self esteem???


I'm going to go against the flow of common thought here and say - the more your self-esteem improves, the better you get at being able to have those brutally honest talks with yourself and identifying your own strengths, weaknesses, needs, and desires without it leading into a negative spiral.


I'm an analytical type of person, so I live by my lists, including free-thought lists, pro-con lists, you name it. I'll consider contrasts between similar things that made me feel opposing ways, and challenge myself to figure out why a superficially similar circumstance could lead to such drastically different emotional reactions.


For example - one of my exes was normally a very considerate and tender lover, not the demanding type. Occasionally, he would surprise me though and out of the blue be quite demanding and domineering. It was a HUGE turn on. Another ex was sexually demanding - and I found it the biggest turn off ever. And what it came down to was the one ex - sex was important, but far from a focal point of the relationship. And the other, was constantly sexually demanding, and was incapable of touching me without it becoming a sexual cue or demand. One didn't violate my trust, and was respectful. The other was less interested in me, and more in just gratification.


But initially I was honestly confused as to WHY I felt so differently, because I was feeling disloyal and inadequate for my definitively cold response to the constant demands.


So like DD - I get a lot out of challenging myself to look deeper, and see beyond surface reactions. And I've started challenging things that I assumed were A+B=C, that I figured I "knew" about myself. And accepting some things about myself that I've tried to cover up, make appear closer to "normal" and not really accept some of those little differences.


I figure if I can't completely accept who I am - how can I expect that complete acceptance from anyone else? If I reject my tendency towards being antisocial - instead of working within and pushing gently at my boundaries - I might as well put dangly ears and a wagging tail on my cat and try to pass him off as a dog. I'm only fooling myself that it's not noticeable - and I think this is sometimes why I feel like I don't "fit" is because I try too hard to fit into something I'm not. When maybe I'd fit just fine if I was just me and let everyone see the real me, not a mask.


I don't know if any of that makes sense!

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Catfeeder, I think what I meant by my clinging is when she pulled away I clung on. She didnt see the worst of that though.


The suggestion wasn't that she saw the worst in you, but rather that the cling may have brought out the worst in her. Whenever someone has become clingy with me I could sense it regardless of how 'hidden' it was, and I also sensed all that it implied. This made me shut down, which made clingy lover cling more, and it became a depressing spiral.


None of this is about identifying 'fault,' it's about recognizing behaviors we would want to change and then exploring ways to go about that.

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The co- dependent dance. I found a site that explains co-dependent relationships well. I feel so discouraged that with all the years of counseling I have done that I am still in this same place.


That is what I am wondering how to heal. She was clinging towards the end, and I pulled back. Then she pulled back and I was clinging. Its a horrible dynamic. I extracted myself from the pattern, not her as a person. All she knows at this point is that it was her. It wasnt.


I just dont know how to heal myself so it wont happen again???

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No matter how long it takes any of us to recognize that we're in a bad match, the ability to extricate oneself from the bad match IS the healing.


Sure, there's usually some residual junk that feels lousy afterward on top of normal grief--which, incidentally, tends to make the best of us feel crazy and damaged and nuts and fearful and eternally doomed to repeat patterns that felt deeply ingrained into a 'dance' we felt powerless to escape.


Yet escape you did.


The face-off you had with your Self in order to do that resolved more than you recognize right now. In contrast to all the feel-good materials we read about someone else's healing feeling like a liberation and release, understand that by the time someone is able to offer descriptions from THAT perspective, they've worked their way through enough time and distance and hindsight in their rearview mirrors to allow themselves to accept the good stuff--and to trust it.


Grief takes time. Nobody can tell you how much time. It feels awful, but it IS an essential part of the healing. It can't be rushed, but it can be trusted.


The one thing you can trust about your experience is that it was not wasted. You won't allow it to be wasted. If you sense yourself entering another bad match someday (which isn't the problem given odds of most matches NOT being the right ones for us--staying is the only real problem) then the strength you mustered to rescue yourself from this last relationship will raise itself and will not be ignored.


Once you climb your way to higher ground, no matter how crappy that feels along the way, you've gained the ground. It will not feel wonderful and stable under your feet for a while. That's natural. Your job is no longer to seek for healing from past damages--your job is to remove your barriers, one by one, to trusting the healing that has already occurred. That's where the liberation comes in. Any work you want to do beyond that is growth, but you can't grow until you acknowledge and appreciate all that you've accomplished thus far.


Trust your Self.

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Catfeeder, Your above post is very helpful. I get it!!! Interestingly enough, this past relationship was the healthiest one I have been in so far. Looking back to my early twenties, I have come so far. I dont feel hopeful that I will meet anyone again, but I suppose I just need to let life happen the way it will and not worry about the future.



Thank you so much for your astute feedback! Now I am just learning how to be alone again and how to create a satisfying single life. I feel lonely though I have family and friends around me, probably more of an adjustment then anything. I am still grieving: sometimes sad, sometimes mad, sometimes in a bit of denial. I would imagine that is all normal and good.


No where else to go but to climb to higher ground

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