Comments: A New Me
here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
Thank you for sharing this update. The original letter and this update have brought new clarity to the subjects of acceptance and emotional maturity. Now, if I could walk the walk... :)
This reminds me so much of a situation a friend of mine is going through. Really! It is an incredible step to realize that we are using inverse control and fear avoiding contortions and then to stop blaming for not acting the way we want them to and start taking responsibility for ourselves. I think it is easy for many abuse victims/timid souls to get stuck in pointing out all the horrible things someone has done that hurt, and not to own up to their own part in the process. The realization and validation that someone has been treating you less than kindly is a major breakthrough, parallel with your realization that you were ready to take the blame for someone else's bad driving, Suzie! When we stop expecting people to fill roles for us, and start relating to them as we would ourselves, friendships blossom. Then, I think, like Dr. Irene is suggesting, you let nature take its course. Or maybe it is spirit. Another possibility: He may marry this girl (woman!) AND he may tell you how much he cares for you. And you may be able to care for them both without thinking "what is in this for me?" Know what I mean? Best of luck! Leila
Suzie said, "Can you help me make some sense out of this? I do not want to close the door on this friendship or even a possible future relationship between us, but do not want to set myself up to be hurt. ...He may marry this girl or he may realize how much he cares for me. I am willing to live with the reality of the results and do plan to go out with other guys and do other things, but is it a huge mistake to allow these long conversations?"
Dear Suzie/Dr. Irene: Speaking from my own experience, and of close friends - Why doesn't it raise a red flag that you're still holding out hope for "a possible future relationship? "...with someone who has told you they are in a relationship with someone else that is so serious and wonderful they'd like to marry them? "How can you have an honest relationship with this person, or wholeheartedly date anyone else if you're still allowing yourself to be so close to and fixated on this unattainable (for a romantic relationship WITH YOU) person, and secretly harbor such strong feelings your "heart jumps" when the phone rings? How can anyone else get into this heart if you're still holding space in it for this person who has NEVER gotten romantic with you? And the dancing - 10 men to every woman, was that right? How do you know that YOUR Mr. Right, who will be crazy about and longing for you - whose heart jumps when YOU call - isn't wishing you were HIS dance partner right now, but writes you off because he sees you're still tied up with Mr. Not Quite? The very fact you're still clinging to the idea of "if I give up this close friendship, I'm giving up a potential boyfriend" - makes it look, to me, like it's not really a friendship at all in your heart - and you deserve to have someone who wants you without reservation! Why keep aiming so low, and hoping to "win" someone who doesn't consider you the prize you are? Is that what's really at the heart of your unease? I think it's great you're addressing your own issues and taking responsibility for your own happiness, but it seems almost a cultural epidemic for far too many women to spend too much time focused on WHY someone doesn't want them, instead of moving on, and trusting that someone else is out there for them... but if you keep your mind and heart focused (and now all these emotional intimacies) wrapped up in someone who doesn't share your plans for a life together, aren't you shutting the door on finding anyone else? Why don't you deserve someone who thinks you're so great a catch they can't believe how lucky they are to have found you? Aren't you worth that? Aren't we all? good luck and god bless. periwinkle
Dear Periwinkle, you give Suzie excellent advice - and I believe that you are entirely correct when you suggest that she hasn't given up on a relationship with this man. However, IF Suzie fully takes responsibility for herself, she can choose to have a relationship with this man (or not) whether or not she cares about him in that way - IF she can handle it.
Part of taking responsibility for yourself is honestly determining if you can indeed handle it. If she's very honest with herself, she may find that she cannot handle it, therefore, as you suggest, it would make no sense for her to continue talking with him. On the other hand, she may be able to handle this relationship despite her feelings for him. Or she may think she can handle it, but find out she can't, at which point she could stop the phone calls/take whatever action she chooses.
The point is that Suzie - and each of us - honestly need to recognize what is OK or not OK for us at a given place and point in time. There is really no right or wrong answer; it just is what it is. The good news is that when we take responsibility for ourSelf, we are in charge of ourselves. We are nobody's victim. Nobody else is responsible for our joy or our misery.This is Personal Power!
Removed. Thus is Suzie's board. If you have a question, please submit elsewhere.
Suzie? Where are you? I'll give you another week to come here and post any questions you have. Dr. Irene 11/12/05.
HI Dr. Irene - I have taken a while to post again because I have been sitting with my feelings and trying to find out exactly where I am on all this. I cannot say all hope for a relationship with Steve has died, but we cannot live on hope. Since I took off the rose colored glasses, I see him as a person who has a lot of his own sets of problems and we just would never mix in a permanent relationship. I know this now from the bottom of my heart. As he gets more involved with his girlfriend, the long talks have stopped. He is still working on my house and I find that by the end of the day, I am glad when he leaves. I talked to him one eve about the way he always cuts me off and tries to always be right. The result is always the same -- he cannot or will not hear me. I will spare you the details.
Suffice to say that I finally did get through to him a little bit and he actually admitted that he had usresolved issues from his childhood. For S to admit this was a lot. For me, I am starting to move on. I feel I have actually outgrown S. I have worked to hard to get where I am not to go out with people who are at the same place or even beyond. I will always care for S. God send him into my life for a purpose and that purpose has been fulfilled. I still love the part of S that he is capable of being if he could let go of all that anger, but that love will be tucked away in a special little corner of my heart and stay there while I go out and find what the future holds for me.
As for a friendship - I will stay friends with S, but I will not actively seek the friendship. If it is there or not, so be it. I feel strongly that as he gets more involved with his new girlfriend, our dancing and talking will wind down to practically nothing, and I am ok with that. I am looking forward, not backward. I would much rather deal with the reality of what is rather than the hope of what may have been. I no longer feel the need to call S. I find that his sarcastic humor drains me by the end of the day and I am relieved when it is time for him to go. He hides behind humor and it drains me when I cannot get a simple answer to a simple question. During the beginning of his new relationship I saw the best of S.; the S that I saw at the beginning of our relationship -- but that is a small part of the total package and I do not care for the total package.
I will always be grateful to God for sending S into my life. I have learned among other things: how to deal with the anger within myself; not to go off on others, but to sit with my feelings until I decide what to do with them; to walk away if the relationship costs me my dignity; that I need to date several guys to learn what it is I really want in a male-female relationship that I need to decide what it is I want to do with the rest of my life; that I want to declutter my life from all these possessions; to trust my feelings and rationally decide what ones to listen to; to take care of the inner child within me; that it is not a light switch---I will deal with these feelings for the rest of my life. so dear Dr. Irene - I thank you so much for your advice. It has been no meaningful to me. But no cartwheels this time because it is just one day at a time and putting one foot in front of the other. I am growing up and so enjoy letting go--it surely saves the emotional energy for other things. So, no questions for now because I know in my heart I am on my way. Will there be moments of doubt and sometimes 2 steps backward for any step forware--of course. But that is not what is important -- the important thing is that I am on my way to a new and better future having walked the path I have walked.
Dear Suzie, Yes Lady. Now you got it. Doesn't mean you won't forget it, but you will always remember where to go to get it the next time life hits you over the head with a frying pan. You run the show: you orchestrate whether you fall flat and hard on your face - or whether you stumble and gracefully regain your balance.
Hi Dr Irene - Well tonight was the first opportunity to put my actions where my mouth is. Our home club where S & I are officers had a dance. I was S's partner and his girlfriend was there with her dance partner. S & his girlfriend came together in her car and he is now wearing a ring from her on his little finger. That through me for a loop for all of 3 minutes. :) At break I heard her say "I miss you already." My behavior was A+. I am not going to say it did not hurt, because it did, BUT I did exactly what you said -- I just let the hurt feelings be and kept telling myself that I could handle the feelings and I did. I am so very proud of myself. Yes! Feel the feelings. Don't suppress them; don't grow them. Feel them - and let them go. I let myself cry for all of one minute in the car coming home and then let it go. Another guy is showing interest in me in square dancing and lets just say I am not discouraging him. I am moving on. But when oh when do the feelings catch up with the behavior. Don't fear painful feelings. Feel them and move on. Same with joy. Feel it and move on. That is life. When pain reactive to a present hurt stops, you are probably dead. But the pain is offset by how good you feel about yourself and the sense of control you have over your life... God bless you! Dr. Irene, November 14, 2005.
Suzie- A good place to start your new life & ease your pain would be to GET INTO ANOTHER CLASS. Why put yourself through the pain of seeing this man with the woman "he loves". and something to maybe make you feel better.... I'll bet you my house that after the "honeymoon" phase wears off, this guy will be exactly the same with her. These guys can only function normally & happily during the first stages of the relationship and we all know what happens once real life settles in. Good luck.... someone who's been there
Thank you Dr. Irene - I know I am on the right track. As to the dance lessons, these lessons go for 7 months and I have already completed 3 months. There are no other lessons of this type in a 40 mile radius (one way)!!! One particular teacher has corner on the market for these classes and I know most of the people in the class and can be with my friends during the breaks. I do appreciate the advice and, if I cannot handle it, I will drop out.
Dear DR. Irene, In breif, I have been married to a narcissistic sociopath. After a total of twelve years I finally got it. I am mid divorce. The problem...I am seeing and hearing about inappropriate behaviour. Teachers at daycare (my children are 5 and 3) have seen their "Dad" having my son (5) take toys from his front pocket. He also repeatedly picks him up by lifting him in the goin. I have also had them show me touching tongues. Then they giggle and run around like a couple of 5 year olds. The Dad does all this openly without ANY thought that his behaviour is inappropriate. I scanned briefly some info on pedophiles and saw information on regressed offenders. It turned my blood cold. He fits the profile. He has no friends. He is 40 with a JD/MBA and spent 6 years in medschoool before flunking out. He has never worked. His only thing in life is seeing the kids ( really my son). He is VERY physical with him always touching, wrestling etc... My attorney is moving forward with suponea for the teachers and obviously will try to reduce visitation to be supervised visits only. She will also request complete psych. testing. Any recommendations? I need to make sure this stops. I feel my children are in serious danger!!! Thanks, Renee
I recently put some work inot a little webpage just for me, just to get it out there. It is completley annonymous, but it has my story, some good links, some advice from other sites, some observations, quotes, as well as my own info (therapuutic for me). I survived some very severe ambiance abuse while I was coming off of a very strong antidepressant suddenly and also suffering postpartum depression, which was of course exploited by him. The site is lettersof-truth.4t.com. Also, here is the most recent info I have gathered and would like to contribute...it feels nice to have it put inot specific words sometimes, validating, and it allows me to trust my own understanding of the abuse despite his efforts to make me doubt myself. "I. The abuser's social milieu Some offenders - mainly in patriarchal and misogynist societies – co-opt other family members, friends, and colleagues into aiding and abetting their abusive conduct. In extreme cases, the victim is held "hostage" - isolated and with little or no access to funds or transportation. Often, the couple's children are used as bargaining chips or leverage. Ambient abuse by the abuser's clan, kin, kith, and village or neighborhood is rampant. II. The victim's social milieu Even the victim's relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical. Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties – it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey's acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem. III. The System The abuser perverts the system - therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges. He uses them to pathologize the victim and to separate her from her sources of emotional sustenance - notably, from her children. Forms of Abuse by Proxy Socially isolating and excluding the victim by discrediting her through a campaign of malicious rumors. Harassing the victim by using others to stalk her or by charging her with offenses she did not commit. Provoking the victim into aggressive or even antisocial conduct by having others threaten her or her loved ones. Colluding with others to render the victim dependent on the abuser. But, by far, her children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate."
Wow, Suzie. I think I have lived your life, only my guy was not nearly as nice a guy. I would sure like to compare notes with you sometime in an effort to come to terms with an absolutely horrid experience. Gee, maybe I should just talk to Dr. Irene, huh? I, too, fell for a younger man (9 years younger) and he (E) has resisted the idea of a relationship with me. Yet, he can't seem to leave me alone either. Actually, we can't seem to leave one another alone. I have it so bad, it is hard for me to be around him without seeing every gesture on his part as hope that we will get into some form of communication/friendship/possible relationship again. I read that you have experienced some of the same struggles with S. I must get ready for a counseling appointment right now, but write me back if you'd like to talk more. Lynn
Dr. Irene, I was looking up emtionally abusive realtiolnships. and i foudn this onfor and started readingit. I DONT Know if i can be likethis suzie, ever. I don't know if i can ever LEt go like she did. i fear she is setting herslef up for hurt. I have been in a realtionship for 7 YEARS ..i left an unhappy marraige of 18 years to be with this man who so convinced me he loved me eternally and wanted to share his life with me. I took my baby and daughter moved to be with him leaving my two oldest girls with their dad. NOW after 7 years and alot of fights.........emotionally and physically we have seperated.I had to go because i was drained. Emotionally and I could not live with the doubt of his word any longer. NOW after 4 monthis oaf struggling.........with providing the bst i can for my son and i ......I STill find myself wanting this man. I STill feel I LOVE him.....and i still do anything just to hear his voice or see him. No matter what he has done to me...I JSUT want him to love me the way i deserve to be loved. LIke he once did. LIke antohre man i recently dated but had to break it off with cause i could nto FEEL LOve for him like i did the man of 7 years. (G) still calls me, checks on me and wants S favors from me. I HAd gave in..but I AM not feeling good about it. Please what ever can i do with my emtional being?
in my opnion i dont think your comments are completely fair. She is asking how do i handle this new intimacy? This is probably because in the deepths of her heart she cannot handle it. Why would u ask how can i handle this? if u can already handle it? However maybe she just needs a shift in perspective and thats what she is seeking again and then she will be fine with the new found intimacy too. However although only she can be the judge of this is that she may need to break of the relationship when it gets to much to handle and it gets in the way of her being able to form a new relationship. She says she wants to date others, yet she still feels a flutter in her heart when she dances with him and still even if only for a bit holds on to the hope of him changing his mind. She may say to her herself i dont care what the outcome is but of course deep down u do a little no matter how much u may try to kid urself. Trust me the pain of dating someone new and really liking them but also holding on to a friendship that could or could not ever turn into something else is excrutiating. Being close to two people without proper boundaries for urself or them is to be dangerous and painful for all parties involved. Only when u fully give up hope on one or the other as hard as it may be can u move on. Maybe this approach applies only to extreme cases but all the same she cannot hold on in the HOPE he will turn back to her. You say the way to reach the spiritual path in life is to feel all the pain and accept it. Well im sorry but its not the type of advice i would give to someone if for example they are being abused or whatever. I know my example is extreme but i feel that sometimes the spiritual path lies in yes taking pain to a certain degree but also knowing when to turn around and know yourself well enough to seek out what is best for you. She says she dosent want to compete with that woman and is glad she can make him happier and know she is unique in her own right etc Therefore i would suggest moving on and finding someone who is truly going to love u back. I dont know maybe all the these words are coming from personal experience and what i am personally going through at the moment. Of course it is her choice what she does next and how much she can tolerate but i just think she needs to get out there and find the man for her instead of letting him "use" her as just a friend. I wonder what he would feel like if she walked away i wonder what she would feel like if she attempted to build another realtionship. Im not saying that its not ok for men and women to be that close but they need boundaries and that boundary means just a friendship and if something more happens or feelings change so be it but holding on to hope is dangerous. Or where ur feelings for that person are low and u know that u dont actually want to be with them and can have other relationships if u wish. Another such similar friendship is one in which the two are getting to know each other getting to like each other and are thinking that something may happen, friendship turning into love. However not when one is involved with another etc. I know life isnt as clear cut as that like i said turmoil that i am recentely experiencing could be part of the reason why i am writing this. However having learnt from my ordeal and observing some other similiar, wierd, heart and mind conflicts i think the best way to resolve it is acceptance of one kind or another or it will just end up hurting u so much in the end. If boundaries arent set i believe that in the end u will end up having to set them up. I guess he is happy that she has turned around happy that they can be close yet just be friends, but she dosent fully 100% happy about this arangement, she shouldnt hold on if she is hurting cant move on even if she reaps the benefits of this friendship ie the closeness etc... she will end up feeling like a doormat. I wonder how she would feel if she knew she would never ever have a chance with him would she still allow the intimacy? Like i said maybe i am exaggerating and life is just isnt as clear cut i guess it is her decision in the end and just how much she is able to bear, move on etc.. I am just i guess giving u the other side of the coin to ur acceptance philosophy. I think ultimately only she can understand and reason these feelings and which of the 2 philosophies or paths to choose.i just think she needs to hear both sides of the coin because life is not black and white and dosent just have to be about acceptance but having the strength to move on to to respect and love urself enough to set free an attachment u may not be comfortable with if u cannot ultimately handle it and to seek full happiness elsewhere. She i guess must realise if she realises she is in fact holding on to too much hope that like she said she is an amazing individual and the one for her will come along but she needs to be emotionally available again for it to happen and she needs to get out there and seek it.