The "I'm-Not-A-Crazy-Girl-Anymore" Accountability Thread
Thanks to all those brave souls who've worked with me through my recent breakup and talked me down when I've gone a little (okay a lot) crazy. This thread is just something I am starting for myself to post my progress in the process of recovering from this detour in my life. I would love for anyone who is so inclined to keep me accountable and offer words of wisdom. For anyone who likes soap opera type reading, here's the backstory:
How can I do better?
Dealing with the end of a relationship?
I want to master my emotions...not the other way around!
My goals are Emotional Mastery, creating goals for the next phase of my life, acting on said goals, not moping around, not analyzing incessantly, eating more healthily, not calling "just to talk" or asking other people about him and taking active steps to improving myself for whatever comes next.
In that spirit. Here's what I did last night:
Now, some of you may be saying, "Uh, most of that stuff is just the daily stuff of life. Big whoop, so you washed your dishes...I do that all the time." And to you I would say, "It's a big deal for me because the last two months I have been going home and watching tv with takeout (and going over and over the last conversation or meeting or lack of one we had) until I get so tired I crash." I would wash a dish when I ran out of clean ones, ditto clothes. So, I am calling it progress.
I did think about him last night. I did get a little sad. This morning I woke up from a dream about him. I won't go into the details, but it got me a little down. So I cried in the shower. Then, I shook it off and got ready for work. The dream had me questioning everything again. So I got myself a mantra: "The past cannot be changed; I may never have the answers or understand what happened. I love him. I want him to be happy. I want myself to be happy. I will focus on now." It's kind of a long clunky mantra, I know. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open to change.
I'll try not to make every post this long. If anyone catches me whining or mulling in this thread or anywhere else, slap me twice across the face! Thanks for all your support!
Edit: PS I also cleaned out my pantry of a bunch of stuff I don't eat (ex boyfriend food). I packed a bag for him (the stuff I know he'll use) and one for a friend of mine who could use some help.
Me thinks - You are a sweet girl. :)
Thanks very much.
If anyone has any recommendations of stuff I can be reading or inspiring stories of your own emotional mastery in the face of relationship disaster...I am all ears. Thanks.
I feel like a broken record, but here goes:
Four months ago, my boyfriend commited suicide. I guess I can call him my fiancé, because we were planning on formally becoming engaged very soon.
We also had a very passionate but dysfunctional relationship, filled with massive trust issues and co-dependency. He was a dry drunk and a narcissist (he never laid a finger on me, let alone raised his voice. Instead, he was emotionally and sexually abusive). He told me if I left him, he wasn't sure if he could continue living. Hours before he killed himself, I broke up with him out of anger. The next day, I called him to apologize. He was already dead.
Today, I am much happier than I've ever been in my life. I'm still sad, and grieving, but I'm also rebuilding my life in the best way possible. I credit 70% of this to EFT (done with a very experienced practitioner). I can't imagine being so well-balanced right now without the EFT.
Uber...I am so sorry to hear your story! I don't even know what to say (I am sure there is nothing suitable). I was probably abused verbally or emotionally if anything. Even though he previously physically abused one of his girlfriends, I was never worried about that. He never came close. I believe my ex is a narcissist as well. I am not even sure he would realize what he did hurt me. He doesn't seem to even be aware of how things really are. I almost don't even want to be angry with him because the truth is his life is going to be harder than mine as long as he behaves this way.
I am glad to hear you are recovering well from this. I wish you all the best in your life to come. You sound like you will do extremely well. Thank you for sharing your story. If you can rise up from this situation for the better, I am sure I will be fine. It really puts things in perspective. I have nothing to feel so sad about...
Last night I went with my cousin to the new Vegetarian restaurant in our city. It was great. Then we watched an episode of the Sopranos. Tony was cheating on his wife and I got a really sick feeling in my stomach. Any time I see or hear about infidelity (even fictional) I get this way. I am trying not to dwell on the details of him being with other girls. It's the hardest part. He doesn't know about the information I have. He hasn't called since Tuesday. Even though some stupid part of me wanted to hear his voice last night despite the nausea I was feeling, I didn't call. I had more dreams about him last night though..is it just because I am thinking about him so much? Can I get my subconscious to stop?
Today I bought myself a laptop. I am really excited about it. It's beautiful.
For me, the abandonment, the guilt...and low self-esteem were just crushing issues.
I started dating again very quickly...less than 2 months after the incident. I wasn't perfectly ready, but I was ready enough. Waiting too long allows you to wallow in pity. I went on craigslist and put up and ad. I've dated something like 7 guys, including a couple repeats. They've all been really awesome, because I put up an interesting ad, and screened carefully.
Dating is a great excuse to dress really hot and have a guy drool over you. I realized that my boyfriend didn't abandon me because I sucked...after all, there were all these guys wanting to take me out again. Could they be wrong? Plus, I gained like 25lbs after the suicide, and these guys still thought I was hot (when I wasn't at my fighting weight). There is nothing wrong with looking for validation outside yourself, as long as it's not the only way you get it.
I look forward to being with someone else, but he's the only person I've ever dated/been with. It's hard to imagine being with anyone else right now...even just a date. My heart is still tied up in what we had (what little it may have been).
look, you are OK. don't let the fact that he is with another girl make you feel unworthy! i've been there, done that! and not for a few months, but years, long years!
i'm still asking myself why i didn't fall in love with the guy who was perfect and did all the things i liked but with the one who just messed my life?
the truth is, there are people who will always like/love you just the way you are. and there are also people who won't like/love you no matter what you do!
28 May 2007
I am having several dreams about him every night. During the day I do okay. I have been keeping busy, spending time with friends, working on the house.
Yesterday I moved the remainder of his stuff out of my house into my garage. He had told me several times he would do it, but never came through. Part of me wanted to just set it all out on the lawn for the neighbors to pick through, but it wouldn't have been me. I'm not that person. So I packed it all nicely in the garage. Now my house is ready for all the work I want to do on it. I transferred all my pictures from my old computer to my new laptop and am in the process of tagging everything and burning cds of pictures for my friends.
The main problem now is the dreams. They generally involve just a daily life kind of scenario where he ends up being mean to me, or walking by me with another girl or sleeping with me and then telling me off or ignoring me. I don't know how to stop having the dreams. I wake up feeling so low. Like I said, the days are easy enough to handle now...I can step back and view my thoughts as the watcher. I can repeat my mantra and calm myself. But the dreams are painful to wake up from. I end up wanting to call him or find some other excuse that I need to call his mom so I can ask her about him (I haven't done either yet - yeah). I just want the dreams to stop!
That's where I am today.
I haven't seen him in two weeks. I haven't talked to him since last Tuesday. My last attempt to contact him was last Wednesday (when he had said he would call me but didn't).
I know what you mean. I have dreams, too...and I wake up feeling horrible. In the dreams, I almost believe that his suicide was the dream. Waking up and reality hitting me in the face is not fun.
I've now had almost 3 days in a row where I've dreamt about him. I've never dreamt these many days in a row about him. In one of the dreams, I asked him why he killed himself, and then he tried to strangle me while telling me, "it's your fault!" Other dreams were less dramatic, but still quite upsetting.
I don't know what to say, except that time will probably take care of these dreams. I have been extremely weepy these past few days, because of these dreams. And, anyone who says, "well, they're just dreams" obviously has never experienced it themselves.
Time. Just time. We just wait it out.
29 May 2007
I am sorry to hear you are having dreams like this as well. I know when people tell me they are just dreams I want to hit them a little, because they do affect me. My dreams have mostly involved him flaunting someone else in my face or being exceptionally mean, saying hurtful things. It's all about rejection basically. I cannot imagine dealing with what you are going through. Thanks for being here for me.
I cried a lot last night. Before I went to bed I said, "I don't want to dream about him." I said it out loud...I am not sure who I was talking to - God, the universe, my subconscious - but I didn't have a dream about him last night...at least not that I remember, which is good enough for me. Instead I had a dream about my grandmother who died a couple of months ago. Dealing with this relationship stuff has kind of allowed me to postpone dealing with her death, something that I am kind of scared to do since she was such a big part of my life. In the dream we were decoupaging (I have no idea how to spell that) a dresser (never even heard her say that word...it's not something she would do). Also in the dream my dog and cat were trying to attack each other. Although I woke up missing her, it was a chance to see her again.
I picked out a sofa yesterday and I decided to paint the living room my grandmother's favorite color (I am living in her house). After I got all of the ex's stuff moved to the garage, the only thing in the living room is my tv. It's a clean slate. A chance to create something that's just mine. I know it will be beautiful. I will post on progress. I have about a week and a half till the sofa gets delivered. I plan to get the room painted and spotlessly clean by then.
I am still reading The Power of Now. I also have A New Earth when I am done.
I didn't read your other threads but it sounds like you're doing well. I also recently broke up with someone... I'm sure it's much different than your case though. But, I think the sentiment of "making something that's all mine, for me and by me, in order to make myself happy" is right on. Keep up the good work. I'd hug you if I could reach you. :)
30 May 2007
He called me last night just as I was going into a movie. I didn't answer. When I got out of the movie, I had two missed calls and a voicemail. He said he wanted to see how I was doing, but he understood if I didn't want to call him back.
Well, as I am sure you all could have guessed, I did call him. We ended up talking for quite a while. He said that he misses me and all that same stuff he's been saying. I told him that I can't have a casual physical relationship. Of course he said that's not what it's about...I don't just want sex. I want more than that. I told him that the last times we've been together he ends up "disappearing" for a few days (basically doesn't call). He said that's because when we talk afterwards I start saying how we want different things and questioning how it could work and it makes him angry. I said gently that that's because it's true we want different things. He said he doesn't want me to fall out of love with him. I told him that I love him, but I cannot continue doing things the way we have been. I don't want us to become enemies by continuing the cycle of hurting each other. He said I could never be his enemy. I am not really sure I got the point across to him.
That was really only a few minutes of the conversation. The rest of the time we were talking about what we'd been up to the past few days and generally having a good talk. I said I like it when we can talk like this and just be cool with each other. He said he did too. I am not sure how I put it, but I made some reference to trying to do anything more right now is not possible.
He ended up having to get off the phone because his friend was getting a call (he uses his friend's phone). I feel ok right now. I still don't really allow myself to believe everything he says. He is charming and he knows me...he knows just the right things to say. But I still held my ground. I am still trying to keep my boundaries intact. Ideally I would like for us to be friends, but I am sure it's best for us to talk on the phone right now, slowly. There's too much temptation when we're in the same room together.
So that leads to my question for today:
Is it possible to be friends with someone you've dated and been intimate with when you both still want each other and love each other, but you know it's not the right thing/right time?
It's absolutely not possible. Why? Because it's too soon and you will keep falling into the same traps. The same old feelings will be dredged up. Right now you need distance to put it in perspective.
On the other hand if you try to be friends you will end up getting intimate again and the cycle will repeat itself until you wear each other out. I know this from past experience and from others who have gone through this same type of situation. Too little time has elapsed for it to be anything different from what it was. It takes discipline, effort and a strong desire to change to make it anything else.
Thanks, Z. I can see that happening. Do you think it is ok for us to continue to keep contact as long as we don't (or more likely I don't) allow us to be in a situation where we are alone together? Like talking on the phone?
I really have a stong desire to maintain an amicable friendship because we were friends long before we became lovers and we have a lot of shared history. I feel like we still have a place in each other's lives.
I do know you are right about getting stuck in a cycle. I have seen it too. I don't want that, but I would like to be friends.
I have never been with anyone before so I have also never dealt with what happens post-relationship. What precedent is there for friendship? How is it accomplished? Is it simply time or willpower that makes it feasible?
Thanks for keeping up with me.
If he's only getting friendship and that's not what he wants he will tire of the whole thing and move on. If you find him shallow and boring (and I'm not saying he is) beyond the physical, you may decide to move on.
The fact that this is your first serious relationship speaks volumes in and of itself. Be very discerning and aware. You have nothing to lose by taking your time. It can only help you in the long run.
Among other things, this is a process in self-revelation. You will come out of this knowing so much more about yourself.
If he decides that friendship is not enough and quits contact, that will be a good indicator to me of what his true intentions are.
I feel like friendship is in fact what is best in order to have him in my life and not be hurt. But of course, I don't know if it's possible for us to take it over to that alternate level. Time will tell. I usually don't call him, so if he keeps calling me despite me closing the door on a physical relationship, I will take it as a cue to build our friendship back up. If he stops calling that will be an answer too.
Thanks. It's easier to find the right way when talking it out with someone else.
Perhaps I could simply tell him that I would like to be friends and cannot offer anything other than that. And ask him to decide whether to continue contact based on that fact.
I am not sure how to tell him what I want to say, but I know I need to somehow make it clear that continued contact is not going to get him in bed with me.
Good luck with that Aspiring. I'm not sure where this is going to go for you but it's worth a try, you're bound to learn something from it.
By the way, you've inspired me to write an article about maintaining your relationship. In reading these forums it's been brought to my attention how many people could use a few tips.
You'll come around. You're taking excellent positive steps. Breaking up is very similar to grieving, has the same steps, even:
You sometimes end up going back to previous steps, but it sounds like you're moving between depression and acceptance, and that's fantastic. Much luck and love to you. Keep going. :)
31 May 2007
I don't want to write the accountability thread today. I haven't held true to my boundaries...well almost, but not really...actually flat out no. He called me again last night and wanted to see me. I hesitated, but gave in. I told him on the phone how I could only offer friendship - no physical relationship - and he said he just wanted to see me. He said he's been thinking about me nonstop and everything reminds him of me. I know I should have told him no, but I didn't. The truth is I wanted to see him. He ended up staying the night. We didn't have sex, but obviously we slept in the same bed and we nearly did. It was so nice to have his arms around me and have him looking at me that way. We talked a lot. I explained to him what I was feeling. This morning I also told him that I did not believe he had been faithful to me. He kept saying he has not been with anyone else. He didn't get mad like he usually would, he just held onto me really tight. I told him I couldn't do things the way we have been (I know I was saying this while doing exactly what I said I couldn't...the irony is not lost on me...neither is the stupidity). I want to be married and start a family. He said that will come with time. I told him I needed that first, not as some distant goal.
I dropped him off at home so he could get ready for work. He had said he wanted to do something Saturday like a movie or something. He also said he would call me tonight.
So I think I went back a few steps...is there a -5 step in that process?
I know you told me this would happen, Z. I knew it just as well, but I really am not ready to let go. I wanted him to call me, I wanted him to come over and I wanted to fall asleep in his arms. Even though I know that we should not be together and even though I want us to be friends.
I am just feeling lost now. I can't I don't even know what I want to say right now, but I felt it best to spill it. I am here to learn something and work through this stuff. Give me your best shot. I feel like maybe I am a lost cause...I was reading a book called Help I'm in Love With a Narcissist when he called and I was crying and I still let him come over!
I have to tell you about a friend of mine and what it took to for her to find "closure". She kept getting back with this guy (a narcissist) even though he ripped her off for several thousand dollars, cheated on her, disrespected her and all around treated her shabbily. She said she couldn't help herself and kept getting back with him because she "loved" him.
After going back to him at least 3 more times, the last time he again ripped her off for $5,000. He "borrowed" it but refused to pay her back. She also found out he was cheating on her with 2 other women.
Finally she gave him the boot and you know what he told her? He said "I know I can have you back any time I want".
What an insult!
Hopefully this final time cured her, but it took her that many times to "get it".
The moral of the story is that we want to believe in the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time we can't allow ourselves to be doormats.
I really do want to believe the best in him. I really don't want to be a doormat. I guess he's a little smarter than that guy was because at least he doesn't say stuff like that. Part of me just wants to give in and go with it and the other wants the truth and boundaries. The sides are fighting inside of me right now. I don't think he's ever going to tell me the truth, but I can't point to any evidence of anything that's happened. I think that's why I am able to justify hanging on. If I caught him with someone else, I don't think there would be a question, but enough has happened to say it's not right...I don't know what more I need.
Ack. He just called me to see how my day was going. Of course he said last night was the best night sleep he's had in a long time. I know why it's so hard...it feels like it did when we first got together, before things got out of hand, before all the fighting and before the suspicion. I don't know, I may be headed back into this. It's like I have a split personality disorder!
Here's the good news: a woman is not a mouse.
Aspiring there's a part of you that does know the truth.
Oh I forgot to mention that my friend's narcissist is one of the most charming people you'd ever want to meet. He could sell ice to an eskimo.
Bottom line, Aspiring - you need to do what's right for you. Every situation is different. If you need to be with him to experience this for sure and finally put it to rest one way or another, so be it. But there will be a price to pay.
While things are sweet, why don't you ask him what actions he's committed to taking in the relationship? What is he going to do to make this a success, I'm talking about specific, measurable actions and results. Be really present to his answer -- watch his face carefully, and watch your own reaction to his reaction.
Even thinking about asking him that question makes you a little anxious, doesn't it.
I will ask him that question.
What would be some measurable things he could do in your opinion? I am not sure what expectations to have in a situation like this.
But just speculating:
"I'm committed to having a conversation with you at least once a week in which I find out if there's any way you feel unsafe in this relationship, and in which we declare a plan together to address it if there is."
"I'm committed to doing a couple's therapy session with you once a month."
"I'm committed to having integrity in our relationship. I will do what I say I'm going to do when I say I'm going to do it. For example, I'll call when I say I'm going to call, no excuses."
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