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Finding happiness


ragdoll15

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I've been thinking about starting a journal on ENA for a while now. I've finally decided it's time. I think this might help me heal. It'll help me take my mind off of my breakup and hopefully I'll have a record of all of my progress.

 

I have to remember one thing from today onward:

 

If I knew tomorrow would be my last day, would I want to live it feeling like this?

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I should thank my ex, in a way, for telling me that our relationship was a sinking ship and it was time for us both to get off. It felt very real and very clear to me, at that moment, that we were running around in circles for two years. It was like the merry-go-round of madness and none of us wanted to really stop the ride even though both of us hopped off multiple times.

 

Given that I loved him so much more, invested so much of myself, I still want to forgive him. But sadly I find that anger is my only protection from bad choices and bad decision-making. I mean, why should I ever go back to a man who made me feel as bad as he made me feel?

 

The last words I told D still burn in my mind. I was crying on the phone like a crazy person, "I don't want my stuff back! I don't want anything to do with you! I don't want to hear from you, I don't want to see you, I just want you out of my life! I don't love you anymore and NO, we CAN'T be friends."

 

I look back on this with a tinge of regret. But I can't help but wonder if some subconscious part of me was desperately trying to burn this bridge all the way down to the splinters. Because the truth of it is, my guilt and angry threat has acted as a barrier to any thoughts of contact I want to entertain.

 

Although, he did make me pretty angry when he told me, "People like to trash their exes but I want you to know that I won't do that about you. If you want to you can blame the downfall of our relationship on me. I get it, I take full responsibility for it." It felt like such a guilt trip, because... YES, 99% OF OUR RELATIONSHIP NOT WORKING OUT WAS ALL HIM. ALL ON HIM. I stayed in therapy for 1.5 YEARS, and I'm still in therapy, because that's how committed I was to making this relationship work out. Obviously the therapy has done more for me than it has for us as a couple, but, eff it all. I can't get over how easily my ex was willing to let go of me, after all of that sweet talk about what a perfect girl I was.

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Yes it sounds like a guilt trip. Truth is, it doesn't really matter what he says, you can say whatever you want to your people and make whatever assessment you want about him and the relationship.

 

Why are you in therapy, if he's the one with the problem? Do you have other personal issues to work on? A healthy relationship involving two emotionally healthy individuals should not need therapy.

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Yes it sounds like a guilt trip. Truth is, it doesn't really matter what he says, you can say whatever you want to your people and make whatever assessment you want about him and the relationship.

 

Why are you in therapy, if he's the one with the problem? Do you have other personal issues to work on? A healthy relationship involving two emotionally healthy individuals should not need therapy.

 

It's because near the beginning of our relationship, when we were having weekly conflicts, he constantly blamed me for being insecure and hypersensitive. I'm wary to say he gas-lighted me, but over these last two years I've realized that he seriously made me feel as though I was a crazy little emotionally demanding teenager.

 

So off to therapy I went, to fix my problems so that I could fix our relationship. I did end up changing my relationship skills dramatically. I became a lot more patient, a lot more calm in conflict, communicated my needs clearly, and was able to be more resolute in what were or were not acceptable bids for attention/affection from my end.

 

And that's when the curtains started to fall. That's when I began to see that I had paved my way towards a healthy relationship. But HE wasn't wanting to communicate. HE wasn't wanting to be responsible. HE didn't want to meet the needs of a long-term partnership because he kept treating me like a casual girlfriend. I honestly wouldn't have minded continuing to be casual had it not been for the fact that he was the one who pursued, he was the one who wanted to be exclusive, he was the one who wanted to get married. A year later all of a sudden he doesn't even want to consider marriage, much less the possibility of a future with me, because he may or may not move far away, depending on where his job prospects go.

 

The whole thing's got me incredibly jaded about relationships in general.

 

PS. Also thank you notalady for your input I'm sorry I got a little ranty there. The wound's still a little fresh...

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I think gas lighting would certainly be the appropriate term to use here. On the bright side, you learned a lot of useful relationship skills and improved yourself dramatically so that you're a better person for the next relationship. I think it's great that you are seeing things more clearly now than before.

 

I think what you could work further on is your confidence and self-esteem. Because of the fact that you allowed yourself to stay so long with someone that takes no responsibility in his actions, for allowing yourself to think it's your fault that the relationship isn't working just because he said so (it's never one persons fault), think that you need to be in therapy to fix the relationship, for the fact that you didn't believe you were an emotionally healthy individual, that you doubted yourself. These are things I think you need to work on. Because when you believe in yourself and your boundaries and values, and you believe in upholding those boundaries and values, you would not have accepted his reaction (ie trying to turn the table on you and gas lighting you).

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I think gas lighting would certainly be the appropriate term to use here. On the bright side, you learned a lot of useful relationship skills and improved yourself dramatically so that you're a better person for the next relationship. I think it's great that you are seeing things more clearly now than before.

 

I think what you could work further on is your confidence and self-esteem. Because of the fact that you allowed yourself to stay so long with someone that takes no responsibility in his actions, for allowing yourself to think it's your fault that the relationship isn't working just because he said so (it's never one persons fault), think that you need to be in therapy to fix the relationship, for the fact that you didn't believe you were an emotionally healthy individual, that you doubted yourself. These are things I think you need to work on. Because when you believe in yourself and your boundaries and values, and you believe in upholding those boundaries and values, you would not have accepted his reaction (ie trying to turn the table on you and gas lighting you).

 

I guess I was hesitant to use the term "gas-light" in our relationship because it sounds so malicious, especially when I know that my ex acted from a place of total selfishness rather than ill-intent.

 

Thank you so much for the tips though. I'm actually seeing my therapist tomorrow, and I'll definitely bring up the points you've made. She and I have been working on my self-esteem, and we've definitely identified a few moments when I'd allowed my ex to cross some healthy boundaries. I'll print out your comments and bring them in with me when I see her

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I guess I was hesitant to use the term "gas-light" in our relationship because it sounds so malicious, especially when I know that my ex acted from a place of total selfishness rather than ill-intent.

 

Thank you so much for the tips though. I'm actually seeing my therapist tomorrow, and I'll definitely bring up the points you've made. She and I have been working on my self-esteem, and we've definitely identified a few moments when I'd allowed my ex to cross some healthy boundaries. I'll print out your comments and bring them in with me when I see her

 

I don't think gaslighting necessarily has to come from ill-intent. But it IS always from a place of selfishness, as is any other kinds of deflection and manipulation tactic.

 

Here's an article on gaslighting, I'm not sure how much you would identify with:

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Went to therapy today. Discussed self-affirmation and gaslighting. I wanted to deny it, but the writing's on the wall and every point on the checklist applied to my relationship with my ex.

 

I had to have an ugly cry after that. I felt, and do still feel, very vulnerable. I don't know why I'm sad about this. And it felt better to feel angry than sad. Because even though I fully recognize that this person I loved very much did indeed turn the tables on me, it makes this breakup feel so much worse. And I can't pinpoint exactly why that is. I thought about him more times per hour today than I have in the past few days. And I just feel bad bad bad.

 

Even though I'd blocked him on facebook and my phone already, today I took the extra step to block him on skype, gmail, and our gaming app too. Then the tears started flowing harder. I'm disappointed in myself. I'm also really upset that this might be it, and I might not be able to forgive him, and I might not speak to him ever again. I'm scared that I'm going to be one of those people who will hold onto this resentment for years -- long past the point that I should've moved on. I really want to reach the point of indifference too.

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The only to get past the pain is to go through it. And I promise, you too will reach indifference, just like I did.

 

I actually felt a little upset the first time I saw my ex (who I would NEVER get over and who I'd love FOREVER!!!111) after he'd broken up with me, and I had zero reaction to him. I mean, I felt nothing. No love, not even attraction! I had the opportunity last year (twice!) to start seeing him again after years of being broken up...and I said "no, thanks"! He even called to ask to see me when he visited my area recently (I live about 4 1/2 hours away now) and I told him no because I had to work. I probably could have called out or something, but I chose to WORK rather than see him.

 

So yes, you will get there. But No Contact is vital.

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I'm so please to hear you talked about it in therapy and the realisation you've had. And do realise that it's ok to have more thoughts about him during this time. What I used to do is dedicate a whole week with no contact to think logically about the good and bad of the relationship and about this person, I spend a lot of this time thinking about them, then by the end of the week, make up my mind whether I wanted to break up. Usually I reach that conclusion before a week's over, but I allow myself to take the time to think about it, allow him to occupy my brain space to the max for the few days (to my own benefit), and work through in my own head what I really want (usually the conclusion is, not this guy and not what we have). So then I break up with them at the end of this process, by then I've also sufficiently detached from the emotional reaction / impact of the break up, so I could maintain my original intent of breaking up. It's kind of like a sobering up process.

 

I know you already broke up, but still, it's good to allow yourself some time to think about him and the relationship and what you learned, not reminiscing the good times mind you, just think logically about what REALLY happened and what you learned. When you're done you'll feel much better and be able to start the moving on process.

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Thanks boltnrun, I know the only way to heal fastest is to allow myself to feel the pain. People on here talk about hearing their exes all the time after-the-fact, and I sometimes find myself fantasizing about the day I'll hear from him again, hopefully when I don't give a crap about him anymore.

 

Hey notalady, I've been hard at work studying for exams, but I've taken your suggestion and given myself 1 hour before I go to bed every night to ruminate away about what went down and what I can take away for myself as a learning objective. I'll be doing this every night until I feel like I have nothing more to squeeze out of the learning experience I suppose.

 

Today's been an okay day. It's been nearly a week since we last spoke. I have to say, social media is the devil. I've blocked my ex on everything, but if I really want to I can still google search and creep on some websites I know he's on. So today I found myself giving into temptation and saw that he was active on a forum about two hours ago or so. I should really, really stop doing that.

 

The logical side of me is sort of understanding today that I do not want to go back onto that nightmare merry-go-round. I mean, how many times do we have to break up for me to get it? I didn't get it the first half-dozen times apparently, so what makes me think I'll get it now? But... it does help that I then remember the words I used during the break up: "I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU" and I think.... oh right, bad idea ragdoll, bad. We don't want to give away our self respect, do we?

 

I just wish he would man the eff up and be a decent, responsible adult. It's easy for me to give other people advice when I tell them that a noncommital man doesn't truly love them. But, when I look at myself, I have a hard time coping with that idea too. Hopefully I won't think of him so fondly tomorrow.

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Its 3 in the morning and I can't sleep so here I am angrily typing into my phone on ENA because I'm frustrated that my ex treated me blatantly like dirt sometimes. Because our relationship was all about him and his needs and because I loved him so much I was too afraid to speak up or object and by the time I started counseling I was so engrained with what he told me to believe that it took my therapist and I months to figure out that NO, I was being GASLIGHTED like a stupid little beyotch!

 

Seriously why do I care about that SOB? He literally yelled at me and told me to leave him alone to his party on the night I got assaulted by another man! He took my things and threw them out of his apartment one time when we had a fight! Slammed the door in my face! The very first night when I realized he was freaking selfish, just a month into the relationship, when he left me to sleep on the floor in his apartment while HE slept on the couch, I should've walked! But NO. THIS IS MY "BEST FRIEND."

 

I'm so mad I can't sleep. I'm so mad I let him break up with me so many times for no reason, mad that I used to apologize all the time instead of standing my ground and saying NO THIS IS SELFISH AND NOT CONSIDERATE OF ME AT ALL.

 

I hate his guts and I seriously want to walk over to his apartment and tell him what an a hole he is!!!

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Today makes a full week of no contact and three weeks broken up.

 

My emotions are up and down. Often I romanticize the better parts of our relationship, and then I realize that there have been a lot of fights and tears and crying. And, I don't know... maybe we really aren't meant to be together. Deep down I know, I mean I knew, that relationships shouldn't be this hard. And when we struggled, it was like that for our entire relationship.

 

Hope is the hardest to let go. All the promises are difficult to release, especially when we did in fact take a little something away from each breakup and renewal. We did learn something and made baby step improvements each time. But now we have a history. And history seems too hard to overcome. Forgiving is easy. Forgetting is not. I proved that again and again because I didn't want to fully relinquish my trust again.

 

I mean, he wasn't a bad person intentionally. He's a good loyal friend to his childhood buddy, he has nieces and nephews who look up to him, patients who call him for advice. Still, it doesn't take away the fact that he wasn't a good partner to me. As my therapist would say, some people neglect parts of their lives to excel at others. And that's why it's difficult to stay angry at my ex forever. Because the truth is he's not an inherently bad person. He's not just the guy I dated for two years, he's multi-faceted.

 

But to be fully honest with myself, I think he's broken me. I think he liked me a lot, too much, played with me too roughly, and when I became dented by all the ways a little boy mishandles his favorite toy, I lost my perfect sheen. And here I am, two years later and just a shadow of who I had been when I first met him.

 

I don't like who I've become, and even though I pride myself on my compassion and empathy, I feel like I've lost it all in my last relationship and I'm not sure if I have any left to give. People keep telling me, patience and self-forgiveness. Patience and keep working on yourself. When my journey's only just begun, the endpoint seems so far away. So here I am, walking into the upcoming weekend with a great deal of dread. I tell myself I can do this. It's just another weekend.

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Thanks for the kindness, Bolt.

 

Seeing how it's the weekend, it's turning out to be a fondness remembrance day. Good times between my ex and I flashed before my eyes. I went out and had lunch with my parents, but it was the act of going out that actually made the depression feel a little more real since I'd managed to suppress it pretty well at home alone.

 

My therapist encouraged me to try a little bit of casual conversation with men online just so I can get a bit of awareness that there are other people out there. I tried that a little when I got home today and I admit it does help the confidence a little bit, but definitely doesn't help the soul.

 

I watched a little TV to get through the slow crawl of the mid-afternoon. Petted my cat. I fantasize about being reached out to, maybe seeing him on one of my better days. They say that grief comes in cycles and it's not a linear process. So I definitely have to say I'm in denial. I'm waiting for the anger stage to come back and make me feel a little stronger. I recognize that there's happiness in freedom at the end, and it's just waiting for me if I keep walking towards it and don't look back. I'm also starting to realize that to some extent, reading posts about other people's exes reaching out to them is actually sort of killing me. I can't open those posts up anymore.

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There's this nice guy that I just spoke to from POF! He and I just started texting back and forth and I had so much fun talking to him I actually forgot my ex for that whole hour! I smiled so much that it hurt, in a good way. It makes me feel optimistic now. I feel as though there really are other people out there, and it knocks my ex off the pedestal just a couple inches... It's all I need to feel like maybe I can move on. I'm feeling so good right now

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It's good to get it in your mind that you do have other options and there are other men out there, some of whom will be compatible with you and you will grow to love.

 

It's important though, not to jump to date the first guy you hit it off with when going back into the dating scene and quickly attach again. It almost never work out. Take time to get to know someone and assess compatibility without emotional attachment or hope for things to work out.

 

Also, I don't believe in being "broken" or "changed" by someone else. You are you and will always be you. We behave differently according to the relationship dynamic with individuals, if it's not a healthy dynamic, that might result in you hiding away some of your good qualities, the things that make you shine, but they are still there and will always be there. Give it a little time and they'll come out again.

 

Also, I'd say only be with someone with whom you can let your good qualities shine and be the real you.

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Also, I'd say only be with someone with whom you can let your good qualities shine and be the real you.

 

I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

 

And I've also thought about things like, what makes us stay with someone who hurts us? Why is it that, with some people, we are willing to compromise our own boundaries?

 

A good relationship should lift you up. I remember one day my good friend C looked at me when I was talking about my problems with D, and C said, "I just don't know if he makes you happy. You should be happy. And you don't light up anymore when you talk about him or see him." And that's when I knew that something was clearly wrong. But I stayed for two years, and why?

 

It wasn't the thought of being alone that scared me perse. It was the thought of losing him, which, I suppose is the same thing as being alone. But I'd lived all of my 20's up to that point completely alone -- and I was happy.

 

Looking back I ran through the gambit of leaving thoughts, such as:

- talking to him on the phone made me depressed

- he didn't sound like he was excited to see me or spend time with me

- he didn't sound like he wanted to move this relationship forward

- it was too easy for him to take me for granted

- he only seemed to love me when he was losing me

 

And I should've really truly looked inward when I started telling myself that I could do better. When I started looking for reasons to break up. When the innocence, and the spark, and the hope was gone. Too much history, too much baggage. There was nothing left for me to believe that he was the man I fell in love with. I think I fell in love with a facade.

 

He says it was two people changing. I think he just lured me into a relationship with a person who was not him. Things he didn't tell me until later, such as him signing up to be a bone marrow donor just to impress me when he didn't truly mean to ever do it, going on hikes with me and star gazing with me when later on it turned out that going outdoors just wasn't his thing. I'm disillusioned and disheartened.

 

You may ask what's got me into this funk. Well. The truth is, I've been doing very well healing at my parents' place. I blocked him on everything and it was a relief not to hear from him again. Then I went back to my apartment a couple nights ago to check on my roommate. Lo and behold the ex was waiting. And he's bought a ring. And cleared space in his closet.

 

It was too soon. Much too soon. The hurt and the love hasn't completely gone away. So I left things fairly ambiguous and called it a night. Now I'm back with my parents.

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Good question, what makes us stay with someone who doesn't make us happy? I think of it like the frog in cold water that slowly heat up to boiling point analogy, it doesn't realise the temperature has changed because the change is gradual, compared to if you drop a frog in boiling water, it wouldn't stay in there.

 

Also sometimes you are good together on paper, that sometimes makes it hard to accept the fact that you're not compatible. At the same time, we tend to think "all relationships need work right?".

 

What really made me realise I wasn't dating guys who were bringing out my best qualities is, after my last break up, one of my very perceptive friends commented that my last two ex's were both quite serious and a bit of a downer really, and did not appreciate my sense of humour and my silliness and my lighthearted view of the world, I often bring laughter to all my friends and I love that, but not my ex's, they rarely find me funny. In hindsight, I wasn't happy being around them at all, and I'm happier being alone and being around my friends.

 

My friend said, to me that's the best part of you and it's a shame if someone you are dating can't appreciate that. And that really made me think, that's right, why haven't I thought about that? That's when I decided to really focus on finding someone who can appreciate me for who I am. And I found him. We're both a bit silly and have very similar sense of humour. Even where we have differences, I find that we are able to appreciate that difference and laugh about it together and allow each other to just be ourselves. And it's a great feeling, to be able to truly let my personality shine.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm back, no further on my happiness journal than I ever was before.

 

I guess I'm a slave to my emotions. Ex came back in the summer, said he wanted to marry me. Bought a ring. It was beautiful. He was so kind and gentle. We talked about the future and it looked so bright. He asked me to move in with him. I agreed. But here I am, 5 months later. And I'm living out of my car, trying to backtrack and pretend like none of those 5 months had happened.

 

... Because just like clockwork, the demon returned and took hold of him. And once again, he became the uncaring monster who prioritized his moods over my needs, and took me for granted despite every little concession I made to work things out this time. Except now I can't even really blame him anymore. Fully knowing his history, it was really my fault for taking him back as many times as I did.

 

I'm left a little more jaded than before. I think it's time for me to go back into therapy and explore why it is that I invited this emotional damage so willingly.

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I was commenting on Reddit the other day. Letting things off my chest, if you will. And one astute comment stood out the most.

 

He said that there were women who respond well to affection, and those who respond well to antipathy.

 

If I was a healthy woman, one with self worth and self esteem, then I would respond well to affection. But instead I got emotional highs from being treated like dirt, wishing for approval from an emotionally unavailable man. Seeking external validation for my abandonment issues.

 

I think a lot of that is true. There's something about my internal compass that's damaged. I think if I was a healthy and confident woman, I probably never would have let this relationship go past its 1 month mark. Despite the things my ex said about my insecurities and how he thinks I ruined our relationship, I think I already knew deep down that if I was a whole woman, he never would've had the chance to date me in the first place. Let alone get a second, then third, then however many chances I gave. The truth was, I was an accomplice to him crossing all of my boundaries just because I didn't want to say "no." That pattern became too ingrained over time. It was difficult to start a clean slate.

 

It's time to admit to myself that this vicious cycle only ends when I take full responsibility -- for both my ex and myself. That I have to decide to choose myself. I have to want to be a healthy woman this time. I have to work to fix my internal compass so I can put myself on track for confidence, self worth, self esteem. And then and only maybe then could I find a healthy, stable relationship.

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  • 3 weeks later...

D, it's been almost 3 full weeks now that we haven't spoken. I don't reach out to you, and you don't reach out to me either. You did some terrible things in our relationship and you hurt me greatly. But somehow, despite everything, I can't stay angry with you. I feel bad that I miss you and love you. I think I still hold you up on a pedestal. I have grand delusions that you'll come back a better man and everything in my life will be better because of it.

 

Why did you do what you did? I regret all of these last 2.5 years now.

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