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Author Topic: My father might have depression  (Read 302 times)
Vatz
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« on: April 01, 2015, 12:39:01 PM »

My dad recently turned 75, and lately he's been showing more concern with my life. Well, last couple of years. He's been telling me things like "I can't leave yet, I still have to drive your kids to school while you work."

I don't have kids. But he's talking about future kids. Don't get it wrong, I want to start my own family sooner rather than later.

Then he says things like "life is hard, and all you can hope for is that you leave something worthwhile behind."

I don't know what to tell him. He's still healthy-ish but previous injuries and stressors did a number on his body and although his mind is sharp, its not enough. But we all know he has maybe a decade.

I don't want him dying feeling as though it was all for nothing, that the time he put in me wasn't in vain.

I don't know what to do. We are taking a trip to mexico in a month and... .when he talks about it, it always sounds like its the last trip we will take as a family.

All the same I feel as though my own time is running out, doors are closing and the clock is ticking. How many prime years do I have left to find a suitable mate and start a family? I refuse to have ugly children, it will be the end our family and bloodline. These things matter to me, they matter to my dad. I don't want to let them down and I don't want my future kids to suffer like I did with rejection. I don't want my future kids to be 27 and lose sleep over knowing that every single day they are slowly going extinct.

I don't want my father dying knowing that I was the end.

My thoughts aren't very organized today, sorry if this isn't coherent. My heads scattered and I kept thinking about my dad confronting his mortality every day and my part in his fears and sadness.
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 04:28:08 PM »

What do you mean by "ugly children" Vatz? Are these your words, or that of your father, for whose feelings you ultimately aren't responsible?

Excerpt
I kept thinking about my dad confronting his mortality every day and my part in his fears and sadness.

It's understandable to be sad when our parents are sad and getting older. How much fear of this is yours, and how much of it do you think he is projecting (and you accepting) it onto you?
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Vatz
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 07:56:39 PM »

What do you mean by "ugly children" Vatz?

Are these your words, or that of your father, for whose feelings you ultimately aren't responsible?

How much fear of this is yours, and how much of it do you think he is projecting (and you accepting) it onto you?

By "ugly" I mean physically inferior, too asymmetrical, small stature, unusually large/small facial features, poor ratios and proportions. But "physically inferior" sums it up.

These aren't my father's words. They're mine. After going through life you begin to notice the differences between one specimen and another, how their lives turn out and how successful they are in what endeavors they face. If anything my mom and dad are the opposite. They say "These things aren't important, and they'll be yours so they'll be beautiful to you." They're wrong on so many levels. I don't want to have to invest in garbage offspring.

The other day he and I were talking about the new speed limit laws in our city. He told me "Well, it's a good thing. Take this street. Kids cross it all the time, and if cars are going fast, they could get hurt." I replied "If they're too dumb or too slow to get out of the way in time, then too bad." That is how I see things, that is what I've been taught, not by them but by life. I don't want my kids to be weaklings or idiots. I don't want them to feel the way I do every day.

As for the fear, I hadn't considered him projecting it. No, a good portion of it is my own. Seeing him is like a grim look at the future that I'll face. If he's ashamed of me, he won't say it... .but deep down I think he sees me as wasted effort. I wonder if my mom ever regrets choosing my dad and ending up with a son like me, a son that's unlikely to procreate and give her grandchildren. She says I was a miracle, because the doctors told her she couldn't have kids. I can only imagine the shame and disappointment at realizing that her offspring turned out to be genetically unimpressive, and if anything-inferior. A waste of time. They'd never say it, and they tell me that they love me every day... .but sometimes I just wish she aborted me or decided to go with whatever better suitors there were. At least that way, my dad could have focused more on my half-sister, and my mom could have had a viable child. I can only assume a portion of them see me as a failure, and as my dad is getting on in years maybe he feels he wasted his life-I fear that when I'm in his shoes that I'll KNOW I wasted mine.

My dad's been good to me, he's made mistakes but he did the best he could. He's a good person. I don't want to cause him pain in seeing me fail. Regarding whatever he's going through, I don't know how to bring it up and ask him what's his deal. I don't want to say the wrong thing and I don't want to tell him how I feel about all this. I don't want to make him worry more than he already does.
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 08:45:46 PM »

What do you mean by "ugly children" Vatz?

Are these your words, or that of your father, for whose feelings you ultimately aren't responsible?

How much fear of this is yours, and how much of it do you think he is projecting (and you accepting) it onto you?

By "ugly" I mean physically inferior, too asymmetrical, small stature, unusually large/small facial features, poor ratios and proportions. But "physically inferior" sums it up.

These aren't my father's words. They're mine. After going through life you begin to notice the differences between one specimen and another, how their lives turn out and how successful they are in what endeavors they face. If anything my mom and dad are the opposite. They say "These things aren't important, and they'll be yours so they'll be beautiful to you." They're wrong on so many levels. I don't want to have to invest in garbage offspring.

What your parents said sounds nice, but I can see how that can be hugely invalidating; it doesn't acknowledge how you feel and see the world.

The other day he and I were talking about the new speed limit laws in our city. He told me "Well, it's a good thing. Take this street. Kids cross it all the time, and if cars are going fast, they could get hurt." I replied "If they're too dumb or too slow to get out of the way in time, then too bad." That is how I see things, that is what I've been taught, not by them but by life. I don't want my kids to be weaklings or idiots. I don't want them to feel the way I do every day.

So it sounds like you don't want to see your children possibly suffer as you did and do.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 08:46:08 PM »

By "ugly" I mean physically inferior, too asymmetrical, small stature, unusually large/small facial features, poor ratios and proportions. But "physically inferior" sums it up.

These aren't my father's words. They're mine. After going through life you begin to notice the differences between one specimen and another, how their lives turn out and how successful they are in what endeavors they face. If anything my mom and dad are the opposite. They say "These things aren't important, and they'll be yours so they'll be beautiful to you." They're wrong on so many levels. I don't want to have to invest in garbage offspring.

Vatz,

Physical imperfection does not necessarily equate to inferiority.  I've met many successful individuals working in a wide variety of fields who exhibit one or more of the traits you consider to be signs of inferiority.  Some can credit their success to intellect, some to a strong work ethic, and others to pure luck.  Regardless though, their imperfections were not enough to make any of them inferior.  

In contrast, I've also met a number of individuals who have fallen short of what they were capable of.  More often than not though, physical or intellectual imperfection had very little do with it.  Instead, it had a lot more to do with the mindset they approached the world with.  And often this was ingrained from their childhood.  They began to believe they were inferior, because someone convinced them they were inferior.  A mindset like the one you present above could have this effect on a child, and as a result has the potential to be more detrimental than any of the imperfections you are so concerned with.

I would suggest taking the time to think about this before the time to start a family arrives, because this mindset could very well prove detrimental to your future child even if they do not suffer from any of the inferiority that worries you.

ADL
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 09:32:14 PM »

I am going to suggest something, it might sound odd, but I wonder if these beliefs about physical imperfection being the reason you've been rejected and aren't happy... .are yet another of those smokescreens, the way people protect themselves from even worse pain.  I can't say in your case specifically what that worse pain is, but if I had to put a general label on it it would be something like... ."... .the horror and tragedy of what really happened to me."

Partly I say that because I recognize the energy and tone with which you express these things, I have not been quite so strident but I have used this tone myself in the past, and to me it's a pretty big clue that the belief might be a self-protection from feeling in full measure the emotions associated with some trauma or neglect. 

I agree with Turkish, what your parents said was invalidating.  My mom is an expert at these wholesome-sounding pat answers.  This sort of thing happens when the listener takes the speaker's statement literally and misses the underlying emotional content.  Just not tuning in to what was going on for you.  I'm just guessing here, maybe I'm out of line in doing so, but people don't invent this type of response overnight, so I'm guessing that's how your feelings would have been dealt with when you were a child as well.  So, you were left alone with your feelings (whatever it was that made you so starved for attention and care that made you throw yourself down the stairs at school) and also left alone to try to figure out why you were neglected again (this time with apparent contempt from the teacher).  You were left alone to try to figure out why this was happening, and with a child's logic (and the way we teach children, too, to be honest, that "good gets rewarded and bad gets punished", so if I get punished I must be bad) and the best you could come up with to try to figure out why it was happening was that... .you must be inferior or undeserving, in some way. 

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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 10:26:47 PM »

As for the fear, I hadn't considered him projecting it. No, a good portion of it is my own. Seeing him is like a grim look at the future that I'll face. If he's ashamed of me, he won't say it... .but deep down I think he sees me as wasted effort. I wonder if my mom ever regrets choosing my dad and ending up with a son like me, a son that's unlikely to procreate and give her grandchildren. She says I was a miracle, because the doctors told her she couldn't have kids. I can only imagine the shame and disappointment at realizing that her offspring turned out to be genetically unimpressive, and if anything-inferior. A waste of time. They'd never say it, and they tell me that they love me every day... .but sometimes I just wish she aborted me or decided to go with whatever better suitors there were. At least that way, my dad could have focused more on my half-sister, and my mom could have had a viable child. I can only assume a portion of them see me as a failure, and as my dad is getting on in years maybe he feels he wasted his life-I fear that when I'm in his shoes that I'll KNOW I wasted mine.

Vatz, you are going through a long litany about the ways you are inferior, and the depth and breadth of your inferiority.

Do you believe it, or do you think your dad believes it?

 That is some pretty heavy stuff to be carrying around.
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 01:45:05 AM »

Hi Vatz,

I don't want my kids to be weaklings or idiots. I don't want them to feel the way I do every day.

So is this how you view yourself? When you look at labels such as weakling or idiot, what do they really mean? Nobody is perfect, at least not all the time and perfection is also a very subjective concept viewed differently by different people. If a person makes a mistake, do you feel like it is fair to then completely label that person as a weakling or idiot, based on that single action? Perhaps it might help you to try and separate actions and behaviors from the person and total value of a person. Everybody makes mistakes or choices that perhaps don't lead to the most favorable outcomes. The action might have been a mistake, but that doesn't mean that the person is a mistake. How does this way of looking at things sound to you? Does it make any sense to you?

... .but deep down I think he sees me as wasted effort. I wonder if my mom ever regrets choosing my dad and ending up with a son like me, a son that's unlikely to procreate and give her grandchildren. She says I was a miracle, because the doctors told her she couldn't have kids. I can only imagine the shame and disappointment at realizing that her offspring turned out to be genetically unimpressive, and if anything-inferior. A waste of time. They'd never say it, and they tell me that they love me every day... .but sometimes I just wish she aborted me or decided to go with whatever better suitors there were. At least that way, my dad could have focused more on my half-sister, and my mom could have had a viable child. I can only assume a portion of them see me as a failure, and as my dad is getting on in years maybe he feels he wasted his life-I fear that when I'm in his shoes that I'll KNOW I wasted mine.

It's clear from your post that you are struggling with some difficult thoughts and emotions right now. What might help you is to take a good look at your current thinking patterns to see if there might me some forms of warped or distorted thinking going on, such as:

All or none thinking: Everything is perceived to be either full on or full off. If something isn't fully completed/ or right/ or perfect/ then it's entirely uncompleted/wrong/spoiled.

Overgeneralisation: One example of a mistake or error is interpreted as a pattern of mistakes, and errors.

Mental filter: One (negative) part of the picture is examined to the exclusion of the larger (positive) part.

Disqualifying the positive: Dismissing or ignoring any positive comment/achievement/compliment.

Jumping to conclusions: You think negatively about something without supporting evidence. There are two errors[/size]:

oMind reading: You think without any evidence that someone is thinking negatively about you.

Magnification or minimization: This is making small things much larger than they deserve, and making other things much smaller than they are in reality.

Emotional reasoning: Thinking that emotional states legitimately reflect reality.

Labelling and mislabeling: This involves describing actions or events in an over-the-top, emotionally coloured way. Name calling.

Do you recognize any of these types of distorted thinking in your own thinking patterns? To me it seems like you might be applying a mental filter and strongly focusing on certain aspects of yourself that you perceive as negative and also magnifying them to an extent that they seem massive. Would you say this could be an accurate assessment of some of the thoughts you are having? Are there perhaps other aspects of your life that you can identify as positive?

Your parents seem to love you very much but it's also clear that you struggle with believing or accepting their view of you. I am sorry you feel that way and that your experiences in life have hurt you so. Could it be that your experiences have made it difficult for you to accept the words of your parents, causing you to disqualify their positive comments about you and to assume that they are in fact really thinking negatively about you? Do you feel like it could be a possibility that your parents really hold this positive view of you but that as a result of certain automatic negative thoughts you find it difficult to believe their words?
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 10:08:15 PM »

Regarding whatever he's going through, I don't know how to bring it up and ask him what's his deal. I don't want to say the wrong thing and I don't want to tell him how I feel about all this. I don't want to make him worry more than he already does.

My dad recently turned 75, and lately he's been showing more concern with my life. Well, last couple of years. He's been telling me things like "I can't leave yet, I still have to drive your kids to school while you work."

Is it possible that lately your dad feels the same way you do about not knowing how to ask what's my son's deal and this ^^^ is how he is responding instead of asking outright?

It can feel awkward not knowing what to say when you think someone you love is feeling depressed. Sometimes just being there and checking in on them is really supportive. How often to do you get to see each other?

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 11:39:16 PM »

Okay, so I read and thought about all the replies.

I'll start with the easy stuff.

I visit my folks every two-three weeks. I stay with them for a few days and then go back home. Whenever I see my dad or mom I try to let them know that I appreciate seeing them, and that I've missed them. They always ask me to call more often, and unfortunately that's something I tend to let slip. I don't call much. This is something I don't really feel too bad about. Might be better to call more often, but I don't really carry any guilt over not doing so. As for checking in on my dad, yeah I ask him how he's doing and how he's been. Basically, I try to let them know I appreciate them.

Now here's the hard part that I had to think about for a bit.

The physical appearance thing, and how it's possibly just something to keep me from feeling where the real pain is coming from. I'm stumped. Best way I can describe it is like this, no matter what I accomplish and no matter how good I am at something I will always be *this.* I will always be undesirable, and that everything is just compensating for a flaw. It goes back to physical appearance because that's what we're judged on. Maybe when I am attracted to someone, I want to experience them in any way I can. Because of my appearance, I fear those I fall for will never feel the same for me. Even should they decide to be with me, it will never be the same. I will always be the one who desires them more than they do me. They might feel the way I feel about them for someone else, so they'll cheat. They'll say stuff like "I love you though" but truth is... .I won't move them the way they move me. I will never be enough. I get it, if I want to be attractive I have to work on it which I am, but most days I wonder if the end result will even make a dent. Pheromones, body symmetry, etc are unchangeable-they'll see I'm either an inferior or mediocre specimen and then... .well... .they'll just hurt me. I'll have no choice to sign up for that pain because even so, like any living creature there's need for a warm body-even if someone else gets to enjoy the pleasures that person can provide, more so than I'll get to. My mediocre appearance signals to everyone that I'm not really worth "duplicating." So even if I bring my "A-game," why would my partner even bother doing the same? I'm not worth the effort it takes.

When my first ex cheated, I started reading up one why a person would cheat. Read Robin Baker and whoever else provided an explanation, dual-mating strategies and sexual selection, etc. What I found was enlightening but so depressing. I don't just say "Hey okay, that's why." I apply it and ponder the implications of what it means for me. Perhaps the real pain, is that in the end no matter what I do I will always be stuck. I'll just keep getting hurt and lied to. The end result with me dying and leaving no one behind-because even if I get married and have kids, high chance that they won't actually be mine. I have thus far been given little reason to believe that any woman would want her children looking like me. Seems crazy, seems superficial-but that's what it is. Not everything has to have some deeper meaning that goes to the "soul." No matter how close a person appears to be, and no matter how much they might say they love you, it means nothing. The closeness is just pair-bonding, and the whole "I love you's" are just a way to ensure I don't suspect any infidelity-which they will then take advantage of for-well if you've read the books on this stuff then you know how the scene plays out. No matter what I do, or what I "bring to the table" it will always be insufficient and to get what I want I must bring something that I do not have and can never have.

Best way to summarize it is that because of my attributes, I will only continue to get hurt by those I fall for. But I have no choice but to just keep on at it, I have no choice but to sign up for such a life because nothing better awaits.

As for distorted thinking, by definition wouldn't that be something I myself would not be able to "catch?" I do notice myself labeling. Sometimes I judge other people harshly, and usually find I'm wrong. With regards to other people, I've been working on that actually. Usually try to remind myself that I've been wrong about people before (in a good way.) I don't really know about the mental filter- I think I perceive things as they *are.* I see something and I analyze it, there isn't a negative filter. It's just that the facts have negative implications.

Yeah, I generally don't have much trust in people. Little reason to. When I was in elementary I remember there were times my parents would yell at me about "lackluster" grades (87 on a test was considered bad-it's the grade future homeless people get.) Then turn around and brag about all my accomplishments to other people. I hated when they talked about me. When I was little they talked more about me than to me. After a while I got accustomed to it and would just stay in my room-and didn't really like interacting with them. That was a long time ago and things changed.

Then there's my BPDex. One time while totally drunk off her ___ she kept asking me to pick her up. I struggled a bit because-I guess I don't know why. I didn't really want to do it. But there was this guy she was hanging out with. Then she said to me "So-and-so is stronger, he can pick me up easier." She cheated on me with him months later. Admittedly she told me I was still better-but that doesn't really matter considering she seemed so into him. He was taller, sure. But he had such an unattractive face-and a nasal high-voice, with shoulders like a trout. So if he's a better specimen than I am, then I'm royally ___ed. Raw strength, physical attractiveness is the only thing that matters. Survival of the fittest. I don't have a problem with that rule-I have a problem with being on the loser's side of the game.

It's a mouthful. If I haven't addressed something, I'm probably going to be re-reading everything as I normally do to see if I missed anything. Perhaps maybe something that will get me thinking.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 12:06:18 AM »

Vatz,

First, I can relate to your parents' pressure about your grades. Tiger parents? I was fully capable of getting straight As in almost ever subject. I just didn't care. That was about my mom, not me.

In addition to BPD mom, I just found out this past summer when she told me I have a genetic condition. I remembered being bullied as far back as second grade due to my appearance, though my mom said kindergarten (writing that, I remember ostracization in prescool!)...

For years, I felt similarly, I think, as you. I didn't want to procreate because I didn't want to create another me. Even though I'm the best person to advocate for and guide a Little Turkish, I didn't want to deal with it.

I had kids with uBPDx. I know how the genetics work, and the fact that my daughter has a few missing teeth means that her male progeny will inheirit my condition. It's a done deal unless they find a cure.

Regardless of that, do you think it's because you don't want your possible future children to suffer as you did?
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2015, 09:58:05 AM »

Hi Vatz, I just wanted to chime in that I think your thinking is distorted in believing that everyone cheats and because you feel you are physically inferior means that you'll inevitably be cheated on. I am sorry that you have experienced this.  To label all women as capable of cheating is very black and white thinking though.  I agree there's a lot of pressure to look a certain way. I am relatively physically attractive, I got a lot of attention as a young woman because of my looks. I always knew that I had an advantage in many ways.  Did it get me the man of my dreams? A fantastic life? Success? No, it didn't. I have had many crappy r/ss, some that were abusive. I have been cheated on, betrayed and abandoned. Physical attraction only gets you initial attention, it's no guarantee to anything.

I have had many r/ss with not so physically attractive men. For me I'm much more attracted to intelligence and wit.  I like to laugh. I like to have deep conversations. I might not have been initially drawn to these men because of their appearance but as I got to know them I became attracted to them. I have been married twice, in many other r/ss, and I have never cheated once. Never would. It goes against my values.  Not all women cheat Vatz.  There are women out there with depth, who aren't wrapped up in the narcissistic notion that physical appearance is the only meaningful way to be worthy. You must really challenge your thinking on this one. Look for evidence to dispute it. It is out there and you need to find it in order to see things in a more balanced way.
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2015, 10:24:52 AM »

The physical appearance thing, and how it's possibly just something to keep me from feeling where the real pain is coming from. I'm stumped. Best way I can describe it is like this, no matter what I accomplish and no matter how good I am at something I will always be *this.*

Physical attributes are only one part of our make up Vatz. What are your other attributes? Is it possible that you are stuck in this part of the grieving process?

This is part of an abandonment cycle. It natural to have these thoughts but we want to address it if we get stuck here.

Internalizing – you Internalize the rejection and cause Injury to your self esteem. This is the most critical stage of the cycle when your wound becomes susceptible to Infection and can create permanent scarring. You are Isolated, riddled with Insecurity, self- Indictment and self-doubt. You are preoccupied with ‘If only regrets’ – - If only you had been more attentive, more sensitive, less demanding, etc. You beat yourself up with regrets over the relationship and Idealize your abandoner at the expense of your own self Image.

This is one of the 10 Beliefs that keep us stuck. This is a credible article that includes these beliefs https://bpdfamily.com/content/surviving-break-when-your-partner-has-borderline-personality#3

3) Belief that the relationship problems are caused by some circumstance or by you

You concede that there are problems, and you have pledged to do your part to resolve them. Because there have been periods of extreme openness, honesty, humanity and thoughtfulness during the relationship, and even during the break-ups, your “BPD” partner’s concerns are very credible in your eyes. But your “BPD” partner also has the rather unique ability to distort facts, details, and play on your insecurities to a point where fabrications are believable to you. It’s a complex defense mechanism, a type of denial, and a common characteristic of the disorder. As a result, both of you come to believe that you are the sole problem; that you are inadequate; that you need to change; even that you deserve to be punished or left behind. This is largely why you have accepted punishing behaviors; why you try to make amends and try to please; why you feel responsible. But the problems aren’t all your fault and you can't solve this by changing. The problems are not all of your partner’s fault either. This is about a complex and incredibly “loaded” relationship bond between the two of you.

I will always be undesirable, and that everything is just compensating for a flaw. It goes back to physical appearance because that's what we're judged on. Maybe when I am attracted to someone, I want to experience them in any way I can. Because of my appearance, I fear those I fall for will never feel the same for me.

This is a black and white view. People who work on their emotional maturity have and recognize depth in themselves and in others. I agree with you wholeheartedly that if someone judges on physical appearance alone that they are shallow and void of depth. (Little, if any emotional maturity) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

Even should they decide to be with me, it will never be the same. I will always be the one who desires them more than they do me. They might feel the way I feel about them for someone else, so they'll cheat.

When someone cheats it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. (Another sign of no emotional maturity)

They'll say stuff like "I love you though" but truth is... .I won't move them the way they move me. I will never be enough. I get it, if I want to be attractive I have to work on it which I am, but most days I wonder if the end result will even make a dent. Pheromones, body symmetry, etc are unchangeable-they'll see I'm either an inferior or mediocre specimen and then... .well... .they'll just hurt me.

You have internalized why your ex left you. But this goes back further... where did it come from?

When my first ex cheated, I started reading up one why a person would cheat. Read Robin Baker and whoever else provided an explanation, dual-mating strategies and sexual selection, etc. What I found was enlightening but so depressing. I don't just say "Hey okay, that's why." I apply it and ponder the implications of what it means for me.

But isn't this what you're doing? This author has one viewpoint. Would looking at why people cheat from a clinical standpoint offer a broader explanation?

Best way to summarize it is that because of my attributes, I will only continue to get hurt by those I fall for. But I have no choice but to just keep on at it, I have no choice but to sign up for such a life because nothing better awaits.

This is also black and white thinking. Our own emotional maturity draws us to those who have the same level of emotional maturity. You do have a choice.

We mate with our emotional equals.  This is Bowen "family systems" theory - developed by Murray Bowen, M.D. in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s when he was a psychiatrist at the Menninger Clinic. After his time at Menninger’s, he moved to the National Institute of Mental Health, to Georgetown University Medical Center and finally established the Georgetown Family Center in Washington, D.C.  Bowen's theories are at the base of much of what is taught in family therapy.

An individual’s overall life functioning is linked closely to his level of emotional maturity or differentiation. People select ... . partners who have the same level of emotional maturity. Emotional immaturity manifests in unrealistic needs and expectations. ~ Murray Bowen, M.D

We mate with our emotional equals.  

A relationship is about two people - as are the relationship problems.

As for distorted thinking, by definition wouldn't that be something I myself would not be able to "catch?" I do notice myself labeling. Sometimes I judge other people harshly, and usually find I'm wrong. With regards to other people, I've been working on that actually. Usually try to remind myself that I've been wrong about people before (in a good way.)

At first, yes, it's hard to catch our distorted thinking. When we are wrapped up in all the reasons someone hurt us it's hard to step back and start looking at how our own thinking may be a little distorted. Your example of reminding yourself people may not be what you initially thought is a good example of working on stepping back and getting a better view of black and white thinking.

Yeah, I generally don't have much trust in people. Little reason to. When I was in elementary I remember there were times my parents would yell at me about "lackluster" grades (87 on a test was considered bad-it's the grade future homeless people get.) Then turn around and brag about all my accomplishments to other people. I hated when they talked about me. When I was little they talked more about me than to me. After a while I got accustomed to it and would just stay in my room-and didn't really like interacting with them. That was a long time ago and things changed.

Would it be fair to say this "stuck" with you?

I can relate to things that were said that stuck. I'm working on my reactions to others and how it distorts my views today as a result.

It takes courage to "do the hard work" Vatz, you're doing it.

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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2015, 11:28:02 AM »

The physical appearance thing, and how it's possibly just something to keep me from feeling where the real pain is coming from. I'm stumped. Best way I can describe it is like this, no matter what I accomplish and no matter how good I am at something I will always be *this.* I will always be undesirable, and that everything is just compensating for a flaw. It goes back to physical appearance because that's what we're judged on. Maybe when I am attracted to someone, I want to experience them in any way I can. Because of my appearance, I fear those I fall for will never feel the same for me. Even should they decide to be with me, it will never be the same. I will always be the one who desires them more than they do me. They might feel the way I feel about them for someone else, so they'll cheat. They'll say stuff like "I love you though" but truth is... .I won't move them the way they move me. I will never be enough. I get it, if I want to be attractive I have to work on it which I am, but most days I wonder if the end result will even make a dent. Pheromones, body symmetry, etc are unchangeable-they'll see I'm either an inferior or mediocre specimen and then... .well... .they'll just hurt me. I'll have no choice to sign up for that pain because even so, like any living creature there's need for a warm body-even if someone else gets to enjoy the pleasures that person can provide, more so than I'll get to. My mediocre appearance signals to everyone that I'm not really worth "duplicating." So even if I bring my "A-game," why would my partner even bother doing the same? I'm not worth the effort it takes.

These feelings of yours are very real... .that you feel unattractive and inadequate physically.

Do you see any of the warped thinking examples that Kwamina mentioned in how you went from those feelings to your conclusions in this paragraph?


Dan Savage (sex/advice columnist and podcast host) mentioned this issue recently. That with ANY two people in a relationship, one of them is objectively a hotter specimen than the other. (Since he is gay, the comparison between two guys is a bit more obvious) And his husband is the one who is objectively hotter than he is. [Can't confirm personally--I'm straight, and haven't seen pix of his husband anyway]

So in your next (hypothetical) relationship, either you will be better physically than she is... .or worse than she is... .or perhaps better in some ways, and worse in others. (For example, my wife has excellent vision and I'm nearly blind as a bat, but she's overweight and I'm not.)

But will this difference make one of you cheat on the other? No. Cheating is a choice that she makes, or a choice that you make.

Your ex chose to cheat on you, possibly because she didn't find you attractive... .or possibly for other reasons. Whatever her reason, she chose to betray your trust.

You didn't choose to cheat on her, even though she was abusive toward you. Not because you didn't have a reason, but because you made the choice to be faithful to her and to your own values.

[Oops... .kinda cross-posted with suzn, pingo, and turkish who I didn't see on page 2... .all with many similar statements]
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2015, 01:09:07 PM »

Hi everyone-

Im going to go out on a limb here and strongly agree with Vatz. I don't agree that being physically unattractive predisposes one to being cheated on, it definitely makes it more likely. Vatz, I think your description of the role that physical attractiveness plays in dating/relationships hits the nail right on the head and I definitely don't think you're exhibiting distorted thinking. I'm speaking from experience here because I am physically unattractive.

Excerpt
Best way I can describe it is like this, no matter what I accomplish and no matter how good I am at something I will always be *this.* I will always be undesirable, and that everything is just compensating for a flaw. It goes back to physical appearance because that's what we're judged on. Maybe when I am attracted to someone, I want to experience them in any way I can. Because of my appearance, I fear those I fall for will never feel the same for me. Even should they decide to be with me, it will never be the same. I will always be the one who desires them more than they do me.

I completely relate. There is perhaps nothing worse than the feeling of falling short no matter what I do. I used to try to deny it but that makes it even more painful. To paraphrase Vatz, being on the losing end of the game sucks.

Excerpt
I have had many r/ss with not so physically attractive men. For me I'm much more attracted to intelligence and wit.  I like to laugh. I like to have deep conversations. I might not have been initially drawn to these men because of their appearance but as I got to know them I became attracted to them.

I can't speak for all men, but I can speak for myself and point out that we know when this is happening. The other qualities Pingo describes are good for making friends, but knowing that a girl is having sex with me because of other qualities and not because of a physical attraction creates a gut wrenching feeling of self loathing that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I completely understand what Vatz is describing. Its AWFUL.

Excerpt
Best way to summarize it is that because of my attributes, I will only continue to get hurt by those I fall for. But I have no choice but to just keep on at it, I have no choice but to sign up for such a life because nothing better awaits.

I agree that continuing to play the game will lead to repeatedly getting hurt, and the way it's played will never change. Again, I can only speak for myself, but I think there is another choice besides continuing to play it. Stop playing. I do this through my spiritual practice. I think some of the sex drive and yearning for closeness with someone will always be there, my meditation/awareness practice has decreased the pull they have. Like I said, denying the role physical attractiveness plays makes it worse, but accepting that and subsequently letting it all go is the only way I know of to reduce the suffering it all creates.
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2015, 02:17:05 PM »

Excerpt
I have had many r/ss with not so physically attractive men. For me I'm much more attracted to intelligence and wit.  I like to laugh. I like to have deep conversations. I might not have been initially drawn to these men because of their appearance but as I got to know them I became attracted to them.

I can't speak for all men, but I can speak for myself and point out that we know when this is happening. The other qualities Pingo describes are good for making friends, but knowing that a girl is having sex with me because of other qualities and not because of a physical attraction creates a gut wrenching feeling of self loathing that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I completely understand what Vatz is describing. Its AWFUL.

Let me clarify. For those men who might not have caught my eye because of an initial physical attraction doesn't mean that I wasn't physically attracted to them when I had sex with them. I'm saying that what our society dictates is attractive isn't always the same for everyone and a physical attraction can grow.  My uBPDexh was the sexiest man and I told him so all the time. Yet the first time I met him I had no physical attraction to him. I didn't know him. It had to develop. 

So, when one is not physically attractive (in their own view) and someone cheats on them, they assume it's because they aren't attractive and that's just what happens... .When one is physically attractive and the other person cheats they are left wondering what is wrong with them as well... .Both thinking is wrong and distorted. As Grey Kitty said, cheating is a choice. It is about their value system (or lack thereof).  Our taking responsibility for their betrayal in any way is distorted thinking and keeps us in a state of being not good enough, inviting other people to treat us like crap. As low as our self-esteem is, we must really challenge this belief if we are ever to have a healthy r/s.
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2015, 02:47:27 PM »

I agree that continuing to play the game will lead to repeatedly getting hurt, and the way it's played will never change. Again, I can only speak for myself, but I think there is another choice besides continuing to play it. Stop playing.

I'm not sure I'm following on this. Are you saying that since you "know" you will get hurt in the end you have decided to stop looking for a potential mate?
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2015, 02:57:07 PM »

Excerpt
I have had many r/ss with not so physically attractive men. For me I'm much more attracted to intelligence and wit.  I like to laugh. I like to have deep conversations. I might not have been initially drawn to these men because of their appearance but as I got to know them I became attracted to them.

I can't speak for all men, but I can speak for myself and point out that we know when this is happening. The other qualities Pingo describes are good for making friends, but knowing that a girl is having sex with me because of other qualities and not because of a physical attraction creates a gut wrenching feeling of self loathing that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I completely understand what Vatz is describing. Its AWFUL.

Let me clarify. For those men who might not have caught my eye because of an initial physical attraction doesn't mean that I wasn't physically attracted to them when I had sex with them. I'm saying that what our society dictates is attractive isn't always the same for everyone and a physical attraction can grow.  My uBPDexh was the sexiest man and I told him so all the time. Yet the first time I met him I had no physical attraction to him. I didn't know him. It had to develop. 

Pingo, that experience you had--having physical attraction develop for a guy AFTER you got to know him is something my wife has described to me with at least two different guys, besides myself.

She met me online (on the paleo-internet) and had zero idea what I looked like as we became friends. Then she met me. Was in the process (unknown to me at the time) of trying to get out of the r/s with the guy she was engaged to. It wasn't any sort of a 'date'. At that point, she *DID* notice how hot she thought I was, but did and said nothing... .at the time.

Later she successfully got rid of the other guy... .and decided to snatch me up for a quick rebound fling. (And the rest was history, as they say.)

If she didn't already like and respect me for the way our email conversations went, I have no idea if she would have initially found me attractive or not--I wouldn't say I looked better than average for a college age guy, if that. I hadn't even been on a date yet. Ever.




All of this stuff about what women find attractive misses the most important part in all this:

... .knowing that a girl is having sex with me because of other qualities and not because of a physical attraction creates a gut wrenching feeling of self loathing that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I completely understand what Vatz is describing. Its AWFUL.

That FEELING is what is hurting Vatz, boatman, and many other guys... .what the woman on the other side of it is actually thinking doesn't change how much it hurts.

If this knowledge can help you guys get past the self-loathing, good.

My experience is that the only way to deal with this sort of thing is to let yourself actually experience this pain as you go through it.  
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2015, 04:04:30 PM »

Excerpt
Let me clarify. For those men who might not have caught my eye because of an initial physical attraction doesn't mean that I wasn't physically attracted to them when I had sex with them. I'm saying that what our society dictates is attractive isn't always the same for everyone and a physical attraction can grow.  My uBPDexh was the sexiest man and I told him so all the time. Yet the first time I met him I had no physical attraction to him. I didn't know him. It had to develop. 

Hi Pingo- Thank you for clarifying what you meant.

Excerpt
So, when one is not physically attractive (in their own view) and someone cheats on them, they assume it's because they aren't attractive and that's just what happens... .When one is physically attractive and the other person cheats they are left wondering what is wrong with them as well... .Both thinking is wrong and distorted. As Grey Kitty said, cheating is a choice. It is about their value system (or lack thereof).  Our taking responsibility for their betrayal in any way is distorted thinking and keeps us in a state of being not good enough, inviting other people to treat us like crap. As low as our self-esteem is, we must really challenge this belief if we are ever to have a healthy r/s.

I appreciate your opinion but I respectfully disagree. I can see that we come down on opposite sides on this which is okay.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Excerpt
I'm not sure I'm following on this. Are you saying that since you "know" you will get hurt in the end you have decided to stop looking for a potential mate?

Hi Suzn- Yes, that is what I'm saying. It just isn't worth the suffering.

Excerpt
My experience is that the only way to deal with this sort of thing is to let yourself actually experience this pain as you go through it.

Hi Grey Kitty-

This is where my spiritual practice comes in. Anytime my sex drive fires up and/or the need for romantic closeness arises, I sit with the pain without denying or indulging it and it eventually dissipates.



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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2015, 05:10:29 PM »

All of this stuff about what women find attractive misses the most important part in all this:

... .knowing that a girl is having sex with me because of other qualities and not because of a physical attraction creates a gut wrenching feeling of self loathing that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I completely understand what Vatz is describing. Its AWFUL.

That FEELING is what is hurting Vatz, boatman, and many other guys... .what the woman on the other side of it is actually thinking doesn't change how much it hurts.

This is a two way street. Many, many women feel the same way. I've had an issue about having my picture taken most of my life. That's changed quite a bit. It changed when I started valuing and appreciating all my attributes and not singularly focusing on my physical appearance. I don't want to be invalidating, your feelings in regard to your appearance are valid. It's when it holds you back from surviving and eventually thriving where a concern lies.

Excerpt
I'm not sure I'm following on this. Are you saying that since you "know" you will get hurt in the end you have decided to stop looking for a potential mate?

Hi Suzn- Yes, that is what I'm saying. It just isn't worth the suffering.

I respect your choice here boatman and I get it. I have been single for 4 years by choice. First of all, I recognized I had some skills to learn, I was codependent. Secondly, I have a new set of requirements for a romantic relationship and I haven't met that person yet. That's ok though, I enjoy being single as I have outside interests and friends I enjoy being with. I won't give up on a romantic r/s just yet, yes my b/u with my BPDex was very painful however I look at the fact that all breakups are painful even if it's mutual, you still grieve a loss. It took a long time before I could say if I do meet someone I am interested in and take the risk I have new skills in place that will help me through it.

I have to disagree that ALL attraction comes from physical appearance, I think some has to do with your energy. The best way I have described this in the past is have you ever noticed the energy in a room full of people when you first walk in? You feel it when when it's a room full of happy people having fun or a roomful of people who are angry or bored.

One of my mottos~ "people are attracted to happy, busy people." This isn't a fix all mind you however how attracted to you to that woman who is surfing and smiling vs the one sitting alone in a corner, too afraid to step out into the sun? This is spiritual for me as well. Energy has a big place in my world now, it's much bigger than me. I find wonder there. 
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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2015, 07:54:33 PM »

Hi Suzn-

I don't want to put words in Vatz's mouth or hijack his thread.

Excerpt
The physical appearance thing, and how it's possibly just something to keep me from feeling where the real pain is coming from. I'm stumped. Best way I can describe it is like this, no matter what I accomplish and no matter how good I am at something I will always be *this.* I will always be undesirable, and that everything is just compensating for a flaw. It goes back to physical appearance because that's what we're judged on. Maybe when I am attracted to someone, I want to experience them in any way I can. Because of my appearance, I fear those I fall for will never feel the same for me. Even should they decide to be with me, it will never be the same.

Excerpt
No matter what I do, or what I "bring to the table" it will always be insufficient and to get what I want I must bring something that I do not have and can never have.

What I get from this and so strongly relate to and agree with is that regarding PHYSICAL attraction we have and will always fall short. Whatever other traits we may have that create an attraction that is not physical are great, but we know when the physical attraction is not present, and its PAINFUL. There is an objective standard of physical attractiveness that is created and perpetuated by the media. Those of us that fall short of this standard lose, and suffer. There is nothing we can do that makes up for it, and the thought of having to make up for it to get our biological/psychological needs met causes more pain.

Excerpt
I don't want to be invalidating, your feelings in regard to your appearance are valid. It's when it holds you back from surviving and eventually thriving where a concern lies.

I don't think it's fair or accurate to frame this in terms of feelings that need to be worked through and/or changed. There's nothing I can do to change my physical unattractiveness, and since it affects surviving and thriving as you say, in my opinion the only relief is to get out and stop playing the game.
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