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Therapy is the best solution at times.


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As you all know from my last post I went through a sad breakup back in September and have remained single to work on myself. 
I noticed one night lying awake, unable to sleep. I either find guys who are emotionally unavailable and can’t commit or guys who are just downright weird and aggressive . 
    I need to know why I pick the wrong men.

I tried looking into myself and improving daily on what I need to do for me. I can’t start therapy quite yet due to Covid but it’s high on my radar. I’m with a mental health groups where I have a psychiatrist and case manager that can easily get me the right therapist. 
  I want to find love and I don’t want to keep repeating the same mistake. 
 

I feel my picker is broken and I need help mending it. I always hated therapy in the past because often the therapist wasn’t that great. I had some not listen to me and try to diagnose me. I had some that just focused on breathing and touch techniques which was nothing I needed or wanted.

 

I want a talk therapist who gives me good critical feedback. I know I’ll find that. It’s important as I get older to evaluate myself and what needs improvement. Not only is this my year of change. It’s my year of reaching out to get the needed help.

I’m not even dating again or looking for love until September 2021. I’m seriously taking a year off from my last relationship. 

I personally need parts that are broken mended before I put myself out there again.

 

I come here because you all are always so supportive.

Thank you for reading this.

 

lisa

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11 hours ago, limichelle said:

I’m not even dating again or looking for love until September 2021. I’m seriously taking a year off from my last relationship. 

I think that's a good idea! Best of luck in your journey of self-discovery.

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Maybe a different perspective helps. I hope you find what you're looking for.

Your picker may not be broken and you may know very well what you deserve but your compassionate nature overrides your gut instincts.

Sometimes it's a matter of managing people or emotions, reading between the lines and discarding what doesn't work or someone who is incompatible. If you're more of the helper type, I think you'll attract others who need more work or will take advantage of you in other ways.

You've always seemed very kind to me and supportive. 

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22 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

I'm currently in therapy and started during the summer.  My sessions are all virtual. Is there a reason why you have to wait?

Hi, no I don’t have to wait but I prefer in person to be honest. I’ll look into virtual. 

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Lovely post, lovely path you're on.

I like Rose's perspective above, in the sense of thinking that maybe your picker isn't "broken" so much as it just needs some fine-tuning and better understanding, from you.

This is just me, but one thing I've learned, and can probably thank some therapy for, is that we don't do ourselves favors by labeling something about ourselves as "broken." Semantics, I know, or at least feel comfortable assuming, given your general verve and spirit here.

But I suppose I'm just encouraging you to think of things less as "broken" and in need of "fixing," so much as this just being a good time to get a little bit more intimate with yourself in order to pave the way for a richer form of intimacy with others. 

A forever process, all that, and a wonderful one. Cheers to this chapter!

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Best investment I ever made.

Once I started therapy, I had this hunger to learn. I became self help book junkie.

I am a different person today than I was pre and post divorce    There are no short cuts.  It was painful and extremely rewarding at the same time.  I wish you well.   You won't regret it.

Interesting.  I spoke with my sons father the other day regarding the holidays.  Details aren't important, but there were a couple things he said. . him just being him, that made me laugh. 

The old me would have either drank the kool-aid, gotten upset or made it all about me and my deficiencies.    To add to that, a very old toxic bf called me last night.  We chatted for about 45 minutes.  I listen to my gut and lean into the how I felt when he spoke.  I would have ignored it at the time, but now years later I can hear the toxic arrogance, the narcissism and though the conversation was very innocent, I still walked away with an icky feeling I still can't shake off.

Though a work in progress, I am able to read people so much better.  It's more about listening to how I feel in their presence and sooo many people make me uncomfortable.  Sometimes I can't put my finger on it, but I know well enough that something is lurking under the surface that I don't want to stick around long enough to find out what it is.

I owe it to therapy and years of working on self growth.

I hope you update us on your journey!

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Thank you all for your wonderful insights as usual. I am trying to get teletherapy right now. I think my problem is like you said Rose, is that I’m too caring in nature and want to help or give the benefit of the doubt. I’m in a place now where I’m like screw it, if the guy feels icky I’m just going to cut him off. I’m at least starting to get more in tune that way.

 

Blue I agree saying I’m broken isn’t healthy. I’m thinking I need to rephrase such thoughts as well in my mind.

 

reinvent: I’m starting to understand the icky feeling you describe. My tolerance is becoming less then I used to have. I just need to fine tune it and understand why I cave into it.

 

thank you all again! I will definitely keep you updated as I progress.

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1 hour ago, reinventmyself said:

I would have ignored it at the time, but now years later I can hear the toxic arrogance, the narcissism and though the conversation was very innocent, I still walked away with an icky feeling I still can't shake off.

How refreshing!

Well, not the icky feeling, but that clarity. Worth all the trouble of the process, I say!

Edited by Jibralta
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I also find if a guy would in the past say something icky I couldn’t be assertive enough to tell them it wasn’t okay. So I would ghost them or take down a mental note and eventually the anger I had for it would blow up. So I do need coping skills to learn how to be more assertive in a healthy way.

 

I remember one guy a couple of years ago before I dated my ex. He demanded if he and I meet we have sex on the first date. I told him no and he went on with reasons as to why he was right. So I didn’t anger him I kept quiet silently upset. Then after we hung up I blocked him on everything so he and I would have no more means of contact.

 

I usually get guys who will start out normal and then unmask themselves after awhile and reveal this hideous monster. I wish there was a way to learn how to avoid these ‘hidden monsters’ in the first place. It hits at my self esteem with my thinking there’s something horribly wrong with me to attract no decent guys.

 

So I’m very fearful of repeating these patterns in the future. I honestly don’t know the extent therapy can help? I know I need it to touch on the basics.

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The two examples that you gave are interesting to me because I see them as completely different situations.

The first situation is blatant disrespect. You recognized it, and you did the exact right thing. There's no reason to be more assertive than you were. In fact, he seemed to be looking for a fight. Arguing back would probably only have encouraged him. 

The second situation is the one to watch out for. "Hidden monsters" usually do come with warnings. For some reason, they are flying under your radar. 

Did your last ex turn out to have hidden monster tendencies?

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1 minute ago, Jibralta said:

The two examples that you gave are interesting to me because I see them as completely different situations.

The first situation is blatant disrespect. You recognized it, and you did the exact right thing. There's no reason to be more assertive than you were. In fact, he seemed to be looking for a fight. Arguing back would probably only have encouraged him. 

The second situation is the one to watch out for. "Hidden monsters" usually do come with warnings. For some reason, they are flying under your radar. 

Did your last ex turn out to have hidden monster tendencies?

My last ex was actually very kind and respectful but he was more of a friendship because he never wanted to hold my hand or be intimate in any fashion. He just couldn’t also commit to me long term and took the cowardly way out by breaking up with me over instant messenger. Then sent me a message shortly after telling me I was to blame. So I guess the monster was hidden until the very end.

 

I guess it’s just the guys will say nice things that seem normal. They won’t love bomb and they will show enough interest. Then out of nowhere they become demanding or scary. Then I ghost or call it off and I’ve had instances of being stalked afterwards online or if I had been dating them in person for awhile, they will show up at my house.

 

I worry I’m another investigation discovery story waiting to happen. 
 

My ex was the first and only decent guy who had no hidden agenda and was genuinely who he was.

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37 minutes ago, limichelle said:

I worry I’m another investigation discovery story waiting to happen. 

Oh wow! Time to stop watching that channel? 

Just kidding. 

If you feel that way, then it's definitely important to address.

1 hour ago, limichelle said:

I honestly don’t know the extent therapy can help? I know I need it to touch on the basics.

I would recommend talking to your therapist in detail about past boyfriends who meet the "hidden monster" criteria. Go through the whole relationship with them from start to finish. 

Do you have any journals that you kept when you were in those relationships? Any forum posts that you can refer back to?

Talking about this stuff will bring it out in the open, bring it to light, where it can be examined. It will help you recognize patterns that you can't see when you keep everything bottled up inside.

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5 hours ago, limichelle said:

I remember one guy a couple of years ago before I dated my ex. He demanded if he and I meet we have sex on the first date. I told him no and he went on with reasons as to why he was right. So I didn’t anger him I kept quiet silently upset. Then after we hung up I blocked him on everything so he and I would have no more means of contact.

This is a perfectly appropriate response. What's to get 'assertive' about when someone demonstrates that they just aren't a good match? Sure, you could have just said, "Let me save us both some time. NO." ...and then hang up and do the exact same blocking you did.

But most of us think of stuff we 'could have' said or done to exit a lousy situation AFTER the fact. That doesn't mean there's something 'wrong' with you. It's natural to get stunned when people are jerks. It's not necessary to gear up for that as a way to live your life. Hey, if you're still stunned by jerks, you're doing something RIGHT to avoid having too much practice at dealing with them.

Quote

I usually get guys who will start out normal and then unmask themselves after awhile and reveal this hideous monster. I wish there was a way to learn how to avoid these ‘hidden monsters’ in the first place. It hits at my self esteem with my thinking there’s something horribly wrong with me to attract no decent guys.

Why would you put your SELF down whenever someone else is a jerk? Since you're investing in therapy, consider your first order of business to be one of learning the best gift you can possibly give to yourself--Self Acceptance. 

Really, once you can go there, then anything else you want to learn, like confidence or better screening, is a natural build on the single most important foundation you can have.

Self acceptance means that your screening won't be based on how much someone likes you, it will be based on whether or not someone offers real simpatico with Who You Are.

Once you can stop viewing bad matches as some reflection on you, and view them instead as natural odds, then you'll liberate yourself from the pressure of trying to fix what is NOT broken.

When you can accept yourself, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy more self exploration or development, it just means that you won't believe that it's necessary to pressure yourself to be perfect. You'll view your mistakes through a lens of learning rather than through a belief that there must be anything inherently 'wrong' with you for making mistakes.

Isn't that a far easier way to live that believing that you must somehow find something to change in order to stop making mistakes--so if you ever make another one, it must mean that you are, essentially, mistaken?

What if mistakes are natural and we ALL make them?

((Big HUG))

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13 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Oh wow! Time to stop watching that channel? 

Just kidding. 

If you feel that way, then it's definitely important to address.

I would recommend talking to your therapist in detail about past boyfriends who meet the "hidden monster" criteria. Go through the whole relationship with them from start to finish. 

Do you have any journals that you kept when you were in those relationships? Any forum posts that you can refer back to?

Talking about this stuff will bring it out in the open, bring it to light, where it can be examined. It will help you recognize patterns that you can't see when you keep everything bottled up inside.

Thank you! I will definitely use this as a guide to talk to the therapist.  No journals but I do have a good memory. 
 

 

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9 hours ago, catfeeder said:

This is a perfectly appropriate response. What's to get 'assertive' about when someone demonstrates that they just aren't a good match? Sure, you could have just said, "Let me save us both some time. NO." ...and then hang up and do the exact same blocking you did.

But most of us think of stuff we 'could have' said or done to exit a lousy situation AFTER the fact. That doesn't mean there's something 'wrong' with you. It's natural to get stunned when people are jerks. It's not necessary to gear up for that as a way to live your life. Hey, if you're still stunned by jerks, you're doing something RIGHT to avoid having too much practice at dealing with them.

Why would you put your SELF down whenever someone else is a jerk? Since you're investing in therapy, consider your first order of business to be one of learning the best gift you can possibly give to yourself--Self Acceptance. 

Really, once you can go there, then anything else you want to learn, like confidence or better screening, is a natural build on the single most important foundation you can have.

Self acceptance means that your screening won't be based on how much someone likes you, it will be based on whether or not someone offers real simpatico with Who You Are.

Once you can stop viewing bad matches as some reflection on you, and view them instead as natural odds, then you'll liberate yourself from the pressure of trying to fix what is NOT broken.

When you can accept yourself, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy more self exploration or development, it just means that you won't believe that it's necessary to pressure yourself to be perfect. You'll view your mistakes through a lens of learning rather than through a belief that there must be anything inherently 'wrong' with you for making mistakes.

Isn't that a far easier way to live that believing that you must somehow find something to change in order to stop making mistakes--so if you ever make another one, it must mean that you are, essentially, mistaken?

What if mistakes are natural and we ALL make them?

((Big HUG))

Thank you so much for this! What you are saying resonates with me. I understand mistakes happen. My problems stem from anxiety as well. I’m worried I’ll be this old maid so in the past if the guy likes me I give him a chance hoping he’ll be the one. Understanding I do this I’m not wanting to date until a year to get better at being alone and realizing I don’t need a man to ‘complete’ me. I find that if I can learn anxiety coping skills and triggers it will help me not just give everyone a chance but only those I sync with.  
thank you for the advice on how not to blame myself for finding the wrong guys. I have a habit of thinking it’s my fault when there is no fault. I realize that it just happens and it’s life but how I chose to react or respond to the wrong type of people is what matters. 

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17 hours ago, limichelle said:

I also find if a guy would in the past say something icky I couldn’t be assertive enough to tell them it wasn’t okay. So I would ghost them or take down a mental note and eventually the anger I had for it would blow up. So I do need coping skills to learn how to be more assertive in a healthy way.

 

I remember one guy a couple of years ago before I dated my ex. He demanded if he and I meet we have sex on the first date. I told him no and he went on with reasons as to why he was right. So I didn’t anger him I kept quiet silently upset. Then after we hung up I blocked him on everything so he and I would have no more means of contact.

 

I usually get guys who will start out normal and then unmask themselves after awhile and reveal this hideous monster. I wish there was a way to learn how to avoid these ‘hidden monsters’ in the first place. It hits at my self esteem with my thinking there’s something horribly wrong with me to attract no decent guys.

 

So I’m very fearful of repeating these patterns in the future. I honestly don’t know the extent therapy can help? I know I need it to touch on the basics.

It's interesting that you say that you want to learn to be more assertive in a healthy way and your first example is the definition of healthy assertiveness. Saying "no" and then staying silent as he carried on was the correct and intelligent response. You couldn't have handled that better if you tried. One simply doesn't argue with a holes, you just smile and nod and ...... hang up/walk away once you can. The assertive part was blocking him. It was literally a perfect way to handle that situation and the part that you need to work is that you don't seem to realize how well you handled that. It was brilliant and your instincts are spot on. For whatever reason, though, you are not grasping that or giving yourself credit for that correctly.

Just be sure that you aren't confusing assertiveness with aggression or confrontational behavior. Aggressive, argumentative, or confrontational behavior is not assertive. It's actually weak. Also, it's not your job to teach an ahole how to behave. You just observe, judge, and get rid of them. Exactly what you did in the first example - intuitive, assertive, correct.

As for unmasking....again that's just part and parcel of dating. It's how you look at it. Personally, when I was dating a lot, I was grateful for any guy who showed his cray cray quickly because it means I can get rid of him quickly and move on. Dating is about YOU observing the other person and judging if they are suitable for YOU. Yes, dating is all about using judgment which is something that is unfortunately currently a "bad" thing. Except judging is about survival. If you don't judge correctly that those rustling bushes are hiding a lion, you will become lion poo, so you better be judging and acting on that. Dating is pretty much that.

When you find yourself trying too hard to look past deal breakers....make a list and stick with that strictly at first. No wiggle room, no excuses, just buh bye. It will teach you to become comfortable with using your judgment to weed out bad matches and saying no. Dating is a lot like digging through a giant mountain of manure to find one good egg that isn't cracked and rotten. It's hard, dirty work and it's mostly about saying "no, nope, no way, never, get away from me you psycho." You've got to get tough and learn to trust your judgment. It's there.....you just need to learn to value and trust that.

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1 hour ago, DancingFool said:

It's interesting that you say that you want to learn to be more assertive in a healthy way and your first example is the definition of healthy assertiveness. Saying "no" and then staying silent as he carried on was the correct and intelligent response. You couldn't have handled that better if you tried. One simply doesn't argue with a holes, you just smile and nod and ...... hang up/walk away once you can. The assertive part was blocking him. It was literally a perfect way to handle that situation and the part that you need to work is that you don't seem to realize how well you handled that. It was brilliant and your instincts are spot on. For whatever reason, though, you are not grasping that or giving yourself credit for that correctly.

Just be sure that you aren't confusing assertiveness with aggression or confrontational behavior. Aggressive, argumentative, or confrontational behavior is not assertive. It's actually weak. Also, it's not your job to teach an ahole how to behave. You just observe, judge, and get rid of them. Exactly what you did in the first example - intuitive, assertive, correct.

As for unmasking....again that's just part and parcel of dating. It's how you look at it. Personally, when I was dating a lot, I was grateful for any guy who showed his cray cray quickly because it means I can get rid of him quickly and move on. Dating is about YOU observing the other person and judging if they are suitable for YOU. Yes, dating is all about using judgment which is something that is unfortunately currently a "bad" thing. Except judging is about survival. If you don't judge correctly that those rustling bushes are hiding a lion, you will become lion poo, so you better be judging and acting on that. Dating is pretty much that.

When you find yourself trying too hard to look past deal breakers....make a list and stick with that strictly at first. No wiggle room, no excuses, just buh bye. It will teach you to become comfortable with using your judgment to weed out bad matches and saying no. Dating is a lot like digging through a giant mountain of manure to find one good egg that isn't cracked and rotten. It's hard, dirty work and it's mostly about saying "no, nope, no way, never, get away from me you psycho." You've got to get tough and learn to trust your judgment. It's there.....you just need to learn to value and trust that.

Hi Dancing Fool! Great advice. I do realize I did what was appropriate for the blocking and leaving the guy. I just meant that I stayed talking to him longer then I should have with other red flags. I need to be more assertive in the sense like you pointed out with deal breakers.  I will begin Therapy in January or February my clinic is putting in the referral right now.

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Limichelle.

The therapy will be the best money you ever spend in your life.  b Good for you!  A skilful therapist will dredge up a lot of sludge you don't even imagine is there.  At times it won't be much fun.  But the process will lead you to a place where your instinct is sharpened to a point where you become very aware not just of yourself but of those that approach. It's a skill and it can be learnt.

You remark:

"My problems stem from anxiety as well. I’m worried I’ll be this old maid so in the past if the guy likes me I give him a chance hoping he’ll be the one. Understanding I do this I’m not wanting to date until a year to get better at being alone and realizing I don’t need a man to ‘complete’ me. I find that if I can learn anxiety coping skills and triggers it will help me not just give everyone a chance but only those I sync with.  "

Coping with that anxiety is vital, Michelle. Anxiety is crippling, clouds one's judgment, and lead to pathological vulnerability.  Essential that you address the anxiety during those (many I hope) sessions with the therapist.  Together you will get to the root of that anxiety, and that process too may be painful at times.

All the very best, and I quite understand that you would prefer IRL sessions with the therapist rather than online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, LaHermes said:

Limichelle.

The therapy will be the best money you ever spend in your life.  b Good for you!  A skilful therapist will dredge up a lot of sludge you don't even imagine is there.  At times it won't be much fun.  But the process will lead you to a place where your instinct is sharpened to a point where you become very aware not just of yourself but of those that approach. It's a skill and it can be learnt.

You remark:

"My problems stem from anxiety as well. I’m worried I’ll be this old maid so in the past if the guy likes me I give him a chance hoping he’ll be the one. Understanding I do this I’m not wanting to date until a year to get better at being alone and realizing I don’t need a man to ‘complete’ me. I find that if I can learn anxiety coping skills and triggers it will help me not just give everyone a chance but only those I sync with.  "

Coping with that anxiety is vital, Michelle. Anxiety is crippling, clouds one's judgment, and lead to pathological vulnerability.  Essential that you address the anxiety during those (many I hope) sessions with the therapist.  Together you will get to the root of that anxiety, and that process too may be painful at times.

All the very best, and I quite understand that you would prefer IRL sessions with the therapist rather than online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you I definitely need to work on anxiety issues. Therapy isn’t easy as it will have me take a look at things I don’t want to look at but I’ll feel much better afterwards. In the past I wasn’t receptive to therapy so it didn’t do much good. Now I’m receptive so I have a feeling it will help this time.  I’m going to be doing therapy over the ohone in January. January is when I can get in.

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23 hours ago, limichelle said:

I also find if a guy would in the past say something icky I couldn’t be assertive enough to tell them it wasn’t okay. So I would ghost them or take down a mental note and eventually the anger I had for it would blow up. So I do need coping skills to learn how to be more assertive in a healthy way.

 

I remember one guy a couple of years ago before I dated my ex. He demanded if he and I meet we have sex on the first date. I told him no and he went on with reasons as to why he was right. So I didn’t anger him I kept quiet silently upset. Then after we hung up I blocked him on everything so he and I would have no more means of contact.

^^if you ever are in this situation again, be bold and tell him exactly what you're thinking.  What do you have to lose?  Afterall, you ghosted him anyway.  You may as well use these opportunities as a beta test.

You don't wait until you have the courage to do it.  That rarely happens.  You white knuckle it and say something that is completely foreign to you and then step back and see how you feel.  Probably a variety of things, but you'll be proud of yourself for having done so and you will also be glad that you were able to act on your behalf.  Afterall, no one else is going to do it, right?

The only way to get there is to go through it.  You continue to speak up and the rewards come and that reinforces it. 

I am cautious that when I stand up for myself that I am calm, direct and respectful.  They may not like what I have to say but there is nothing worse than being reactive and regretting what you said.  You aren't likely in rush to do it again.

So when you say you need to learn coping skills so when it happens again you are more assertive, it sounds like you are waiting for that to happen first.   Self esteem comes from having acted on it differently and not waiting for it show up first.

Fake it til you make it and surprise yourself!

 

 

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4 hours ago, limichelle said:

Thank you I definitely need to work on anxiety issues. Therapy isn’t easy as it will have me take a look at things I don’t want to look at but I’ll feel much better afterwards. 

This is a great idea. I've always seen parallels in physical (medical) and mental health. No stigma.

For example, I've had tons of physical therapy for sports injuries . It stung at times but the net result is worth it..

I think you are wise to view it as simply tweaking whatever is going on.

 

 

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This will be a great test for you....call the shots with your therapist. Your issue is that you don't express yourself honestly. Tell them what you are looking for, what you need help with, and your end goal. If you learn to "speak up" with confidence...you will have better results. If you feel the course of action with the therapist isn't working just say so. They are not in control of the session YOU ARE. They can only go by what you tell them, so if you are going to just sit there and do very little/hold back , then they can't help you. I believe this the reason why therapy fails for some.

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