Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
July 26, 2021, 09:07:15 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: Harri, Once Removed
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Turkish
  Help!   Boards   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Survey: How do you compare?
Adult Children Sensitivity
67% are highly sensitive
Romantic Break-ups
73% have five or more recycles
Physical Hitting
66% of members were hit
Depression Test
61% of members are moderate-severe
108
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Why did I settle for so little?  (Read 1819 times)
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« on: May 01, 2016, 04:12:10 PM »

I am not even sure where to begin.

I am dating somebody. I am ending things with my stbx husband of 18 years. Over the weekend, I had a very stark realization that I have settled for so little. I have known it for a long time. This weekend, it hit me like a lead balloon.

I had an awesome weekend with my boyfriend. The only problem that I had is that I didn't know what to do or where to go. I felt like a complete loser because I couldn't think of anything that I liked to do around town. I dug deep into my memory banks. We took the kids to an arcade. My kids were asking questions about how I knew about the arcade, etc. It dawned on me that I have been to that arcade with pretty much every guy I have ever dated, with the exception of my stbxh. We went to a restaurant. I had been to it with a bunch of different people over the years. The only person I haven't been to that restaurant with was my stbxh. We had been married for 18 years. I am having a difficult time thinking of fun things that my stbx and I have done over the years. The reason is that I am trying to think of stuff that I used to enjoy doing back in the day.

I am trying to get back in touch with myself and am struggling. STBX texted me wanting to know the kids' shoe sizes. I could rattle that off with little or no effort. Ask me about me, and I am at a loss.

At one point during the weekend, we went to Ikea because my kids love to go there and look around and eat from their cafeteria. The routine for the last several years is: The kids get food and their dad sometimes does too. I get a drink and eat what the kids don't if anything is left. If nothing is left, I go without. I was going to do that this weekend without even thinking. There was no reason to do that at all. It has become second nature for me to put everyone else's needs ahead of my own. I was so embarrassed. I froze. I didn't know what to say or do. How do I explain that to somebody that is expecting me to get a plate of food like a normal person?

I keep reading about people on here falling for a pwBPD because things were so amazing and awesome. I don't think things were ever amazing or awesome with my stbx. I have been trying to wrack my brain to think of things that I used to enjoy doing on dates. I can't come up with anything unless I go back to thinking about guys that I dated 20 some years ago when I was in high school and college. I feel a bit pathetic and I am wondering why the heck I settled for so little. What was I getting out of it? Why did I settle?

I don't want to settle. I want to be able to verbalize my wants and needs without dismissing them before anybody else gets the chance. I am feeling a bit lost at the moment and could use some insights.
Logged
adventurer
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: married
Posts: 224


« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2016, 09:47:07 PM »

I don't know why we settle for so little.  Commonly it's said our self-esteem is so low it's all we think we deserve but I'm not sure I buy that.  I think maybe things change slowly enough that we just sort of get used to it and the FOG settles in and we're lost.  Sure, there's codependency (which is my current personal battle), but I think a lot of us nons are actually more empathetic and caring than most people and we are exploited.

One thing I've been noticing, as I have been planning to leave my marriage, is that sometimes my wife and I go and do things - and I think - wow this is so fun, I'm really going to miss being with her.  Then I have realized that I am the reason everything is so fun.  I am a fun guy.  i made the plans.  i am the one generating all the positivity.  In a weird way it is like I projected my positive qualities onto her.
Logged
eeks
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 613



« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2016, 11:56:09 PM »

I don't want to settle. I want to be able to verbalize my wants and needs without dismissing them before anybody else gets the chance. I am feeling a bit lost at the moment and could use some insights.

The short answer of why I think we settle is "safety", including the preservation of some important relationship with a person (even with someone who is not in your life anymore, or dead).  At least that's been my experience.

And of course, safety is related to fear.  

What are you afraid will happen if you don't dismiss your needs before anyone else gets the chance?  If you allow yourself to be aware of and feel those needs?  Express them?



Logged

gotbushels
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1586



« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2016, 01:44:16 AM »

VOC I appreciate this discussion. I think it's a really important issue in the concern of our "selfs"s and in the concern of our relationships.

I think it's important to remember that sometimes what is important to us at a given time holds more importance than our memory of it. That will allow for a more complete assessment of what's important to you.

You might also want to ask yourself what "little" is, and why you were ok with that. Good luck on this path Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged
hergestridge
******
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 760


« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2016, 04:49:04 AM »

I keep reading about people on here falling for a pwBPD because things were so amazing and awesome. I don't think things were ever amazing or awesome with my stbx. I have been trying to wrack my brain to think of things that I used to enjoy doing on dates. I can't come up with anything unless I go back to thinking about guys that I dated 20 some years ago when I was in high school and college. I feel a bit pathetic and I am wondering why the heck I settled for so little. What was I getting out of it? Why did I settle?

I share your experience. I never had a wonderful time with BPDxw. I don't even think I was in love with her.

I had a few girlfriends before my exwife and I had been in love, so I could tell the diference. In fact, the sex wasn't even good. I stayed for 20 years. I have a girlfriend now and I 'm simply crazy about her; the way she smiles, smells, walks, talks... .everything. I feel like a complete idiot to have had a long term relationship with a person that I wasn't even particularly attracted to.

I remember from a previous post of yours that it didn't work out sexually with your stbxh (?) and you felt that it had worked much better with some of your previous partners. This baffled me, but when I came to think about it it was the same with me and my xw.

So why do we settle for so little?

For me it was a combination of things.

1. "I should be grateful to have a girlfriend". There had been quite a lot of unrequited love in my life previously and I had stopped believing I could get what I want.

2. Loyalty. I felt I had been betrayed earlier and this person I met was happy to committ early on in the relationship. There was a "in it for life" and "us against the world" kind of thing about our relationship which I liked a lot and that I probably needed. The problem was she was "in it for life" because of her abandonment issues and it was "us against the world" because she kept falling out with practically everyone she met. Just like my dad did. And my mother stands him by no matter how much he wreaks havoc. I learnt from that.

3. Fear. The first time I thought about leaving her was a few weeks into our relationship when she raged for the smallest things. And there were these phone calls where she kept saying I didn't love her, challenging me to prove it. A normal person would leave because of abuse like that. But my first impulse was to make her calm/happy/pleased again.

When I was out of the relationship I didn't miss her one second. It was like turning on a light switch.

When I was nine I had a best friend for a few years, and the dynamic between us very similiar. He was controlling and dominant. I remained his friend because it was such a scary thought to be alone. This friend kept telling me how much better he was than me and that I needed him. I sort of bought into that, and it was the same thing with my BPD wife later. When I later "broke free" from this friend I soon got new friends and even became popular. My friend later developed a serious mental illness and he was probably already ill.

And about being the "fun one" in the relationship. I was always the one who took initiatives. I found places to go, things to do. What I got from her most of the time was complaints. She was bored with this and that. She didn't like be a passanger in the car. She didn't like to drive. What she liked to do was staying at home, which would leave her restless. And then she would complain about that.

Since she rarely had any suggestions, I would take the lead and that is how I became "the dominant one". She was always pouting and making a scene, but in the end I had to make decisions.

Two days after we broke up me and my daughter went on a trip and did exactly what the whole family used to do together; lived in the same youth hostel, went shopping in the same stores and went to the same funfair. I was reminded that

a/ all the things we did were ideas I had come up with

b/ it was just as fun - if not more so - without my wife

I don't mean to boast, but most of the time I am a fun and charming person. The problem is I may let someone else convince me that I'm not a fun and charming person. And I rely on others to tell me I'm fun and charming, which is really problematic.

I feel that my new girlfriend appreciates me in a way I probably deserve. At first I had a hard time believing some of the good things she had to say about me. After 20 years of stonewalling I didn't know who I was and what I was like. i thought I was stubborn, bossy, morose and controling. That was how I felt when I was with my exwife. All of a sudden I was told I was mellow, fun, friendly and easy to be around. The weight of the world has been liften from my shoulders.

Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2016, 05:41:33 PM »

I don't know why we settle for so little.  Commonly it's said our self-esteem is so low it's all we think we deserve but I'm not sure I buy that.  I think maybe things change slowly enough that we just sort of get used to it and the FOG settles in and we're lost.  Sure, there's codependency (which is my current personal battle), but I think a lot of us nons are actually more empathetic and caring than most people and we are exploited.

I don't feel like it is a self esteem issue. I think it has more to do with the fact that I didn't know any better. I married my stbx when I was in my early 20's. I had only seriously dated two guys before him. There was only one or two guys that I went out on one, maybe two, dates with. I am sitting here trying to think about how/when things changed. In all honesty, I don't know if they did or not. He chose to watch PPV porn on our wedding night. On our first morning together in our apartment, I woke up to him looking at porn rather than staying in bed with his brand new wife. That set the stage for years and years of him choosing other things over me. When I would bring some of this stuff up with friends/family, I would hear stuff like, "Oh, at least he isn't out screwing other women." or "Oh, I never cared if my husband looked at that stuff because that meant he left me alone." or "Oh, you should be thankful for <fill in the blank with whatever little thing he did to score good boy points>."

As far as taking me out on dates, we didn't really do much. We went to Jack in the Box on our first date. That was dismissed as us being poor college students. There was usually some kind of excuse as to why we couldn't do stuff. It was not like that with the two guys I dated before him. They would find excuses to hang out with me. It didn't matter what we did even if it was just getting in the car and driving.

I completely agree with the part about being more empathetic and getting exploited. I do feel like that is what happened. I was able to see what was going on with him and act accordingly. Big crowds stress him out. Waiting stressed him out. I could list all sorts of things that bother him. So, we just didn't do those things, which added up to lots of sitting home or going to restaurants during off times.

Excerpt
One thing I've been noticing, as I have been planning to leave my marriage, is that sometimes my wife and I go and do things - and I think - wow this is so fun, I'm really going to miss being with her.  Then I have realized that I am the reason everything is so fun.  I am a fun guy.  i made the plans.  i am the one generating all the positivity.  In a weird way it is like I projected my positive qualities onto her.

I completely understand this. I haven't had any feelings of missing being with him. Having him out of the house has been friggin' awesome. He has done more to help me and the kids since he left than he ever did before he left. One of the kids explained his behavior rather succinctly: "If you ask dad for something, a half hour later he hasn't done it and then gets mad if you say something about it." Now that he doesn't live with us any more, I can text him and ask him to fix something at the house and he is there in no time at all. I find it kind of comical. I don't like being around him but I am definitely getting him to work on stuff around the house that he wouldn't even fart at before he left.

I know I projected my positive qualities onto him. I am a very protective and very loyal person. I assumed the same of him and that simply is not the case. I have often joked that I could be laying in the street dying and he would tell me "just a minute".
Logged
Grey Kitty
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 7182



« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2016, 06:10:33 PM »

Well, to be blunt, if it took you the better part of 18 years to realize how little you were settling for, that says something about why you settled.

You say that as of now you are trying to figure out what you want or what you like, because you haven't had that in so long, as you were (I think) always putting others first instead of yourself. Did that start with your marriage, or did you do that even before you were married?

When did you first realize that you were settling for less, or not taking anything for yourself?




For me, it isn't so much that I don't do anything for myself or accept anything for myself as that I kinda lost track of what it was I personally wanted. My stbexw is somebody who always had lots of ideas of what to do or where to go, and I was generally happy to go along with her. There really wasn't anything wrong with (at least most of) the things she came up with... .the problem was that I wasn't even thinking about what I wanted at all.

This might be a completely different issue than the one you have... .or something much like it may be rolled in with you too.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2016, 06:13:46 PM »

The short answer of why I think we settle is "safety", including the preservation of some important relationship with a person (even with someone who is not in your life anymore, or dead).  At least that's been my experience.

Thanks for bringing this up! I think you are spot on with the safety issue. Before I met my stbx, I was engaged to an older guy. I thought he was the bees knees. I went all sorts of places with him. He and I could have fun doing pretty much anything. My parents didn't like him at all. He proposed to me on the day I graduated high school. My parents were livid. He bought me this really big, really fancy jewelry box and presented it to me in my parent's living room and proposed to me in front of my parents and all of my family that was in town. My parents were all over me about it. I had a full tuition scholarship to college and they just knew that this guy was going to mess all of that up for me. My dad and that guy got into it over something business related. (It was complicated.) Anyway, my dad said that I had to choose. I could no long live there if I continued to date that guy. So, I called the guy and he didn't ask questions, didn't hesitate. He came and picked me up immediately. I lived with him for 4 months before I decided that he was bad news. I had to grovel to my parents so I could move back home. I was allowed to move back home under the condition that I go get counseling, blah, blah, blah. I continued to sneak around and try to see the guy. He and I were on again, off again for a while. I wasn't even 20 and was a freshman in college. I wasn't ready for what he was wanting/needing. I probably would have come to that conclusion on my own a lot sooner but our parents kept butting in and complicating things. At one point, my dad went so far as to tell me, "If you marry that guy or continue to see him, I will spend the rest of my life making your life a living hell." (I don't remember the specific words.)

So, fast forward to stbx. He is from a small town near where my parents grew up. He could talk to my parents about stuff that I knew nothing about because it had to do with a certain area in another state. He catered to my mom. We started dating before cell phones so he would call my mom when I would leave his apartment and would talk to her until I got home. My mother loved that he would give her updates and let her know when I was leaving, etc.

The other guy wouldn't do stuff like that. It would irritate him to no end that my mother would treat me so much like a baby at times. That guy encouraged me to find my wings so to speak. My parents swore up and down that he would interfere with my schooling. If I got a B in one of my college classes, my mother blamed it on the fact that I was distracted by him. Mother never said anything of the sort with my stbx because he kissed her butt. I find it sad that my parents predicted that I would end up like this. The only problem is that they predicted it with the other guy rather than with stbx. They thought stbx was great because he was a good boy. He even asked my parents for permission to propose to me. Forget the fact that he didn't even have ring when he proposed. It was clearly a last minute thing that he did after he found out that he had my parents permission. He was more concerned about my parents than he was me.

Excerpt
And of course, safety is related to fear.

Yep. As difficult as it is to admit, a lot of the reason that I stayed so long was because of my parents. I wanted to leave back in 2013. My parents told me to take a vacation instead.

Excerpt
What are you afraid will happen if you don't dismiss your needs before anyone else gets the chance?  If you allow yourself to be aware of and feel those needs?  Express them?

If I don't do it before other's get the chance, then I will be scoffed at and made fun of for some reason or another. I will be called demanding. STBX would often imply that I was demanding and asked too much of him. He would call me a b***h when I would get mad because he would ignore me and my requests. I figured out that I can feel my needs and be aware of them but it is up to me to figure out how to get them met. A lot of times, I keep them to myself and try to make do with whatever I have. Expressing them to another human being feels like asking for trouble. It makes me really, really anxious. I could probably make a rather long list of the ways that I have been dismissed by stbx as well as my FOO.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2016, 06:20:05 PM »

You might also want to ask yourself what "little" is, and why you were ok with that.

I had the bar set so low that a mouse could trip over it.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2016, 07:35:58 PM »

I share your experience. I never had a wonderful time with BPDxw. I don't even think I was in love with her.

I had a few girlfriends before my exwife and I had been in love, so I could tell the diference. In fact, the sex wasn't even good. I stayed for 20 years. I have a girlfriend now and I 'm simply crazy about her; the way she smiles, smells, walks, talks... .everything. I feel like a complete idiot to have had a long term relationship with a person that I wasn't even particularly attracted to.

This! WOW, this hits so close to home for me. I feel that way about my boyfriend. I get those silly little butterflies when I see a text from him. I have had people pick on me when I look at my texts. "Oh, that must be your boyfriend. Every time you get a call/text from him, your face lights up." I don't recall having that feeling about stbx. And don't get me started on anything that has anything to do with sex and stbx. He was/is a sex addict yet would accuse me of wanting it too much. And would say things about me not being able to keep up with him. I am still scratching my head over that one.

Excerpt
1. "I should be grateful to have a girlfriend". There had been quite a lot of unrequited love in my life previously and I had stopped believing I could get what I want.

When I met stbx, I was getting over the guy that I had been engaged to previously. STBX came on hot and heavy and I asked him to slow things down. He ran off like a whipped puppy and hardly talked to me at all for quite a while. I was interested in getting to know him better. I was NOT interested in having him show up at my work all the time unannounced or call me all of the time. STBX was there. I wanted the guy that I was engaged to before him but knew that it wasn't possible. I doubted that I would ever find anything like that ever again so I figured why try. STBX was liked by my parents and family. That was more important to me than anything at that point in time.

Excerpt
2. Loyalty. I felt I had been betrayed earlier and this person I met was happy to committ early on in the relationship. There was a "in it for life" and "us against the world" kind of thing about our relationship which I liked a lot and that I probably needed. The problem was she was "in it for life" because of her abandonment issues and it was "us against the world" because she kept falling out with practically everyone she met. Just like my dad did. And my mother stands him by no matter how much he wreaks havoc. I learnt from that.

That was another reason that I liked stbx initially. His parents had been married 10 years longer than my parents had been. He seemed like somebody that valued marriage and had strong family values. I wanted to be with somebody that was as family oriented as I am and was. At that time, I had give up on what I felt was the love of my life because of my parents and their crap so I was looking for somebody with a good resume. That sounds horrible to admit. He was very religious. From a small town, went to private schools his whole life, blah, blah, blah. His family had no outward signs of dysfunction. They looked like the perfect American family with two kids, a dog, and a cat. His parents had been married forever. He lived in the same house his entire life. Everything appeared to be so completely mundane. I knew he wouldn't leave once married. The problem is that I had no clue the level of dysfunction that was present. I wore my dysfunction like a badge of honor. Everyone in my FOO jokes that we are the ones that put FUN in dysfunctional.

Excerpt
3. Fear. The first time I thought about leaving her was a few weeks into our relationship when she raged for the smallest things. And there were these phone calls where she kept saying I didn't love her, challenging me to prove it. A normal person would leave because of abuse like that. But my first impulse was to make her calm/happy/pleased again.

I thought about leaving him in the very first week together. I thought it was horrid that a man would prefer to look at porn rather than be with his brand new bride. I dismissed it as me wanting too much. When the relationship went south with the guy that I had been engaged to before, he said some things about me that had me thinking that I am abnormal or weird. I have a high sex drive. I haven't made any secrets about that with any of the guys that I have dated. When things were great between us, that guy thought he was the luckiest man in the world. When things got bad, he used that as something to make fun of me about and say ugly things about me. Because that guy had said those things about me and my drive, I simply dismissed my desire to be with my husband as me wanting too much.

Excerpt
When I was out of the relationship I didn't miss her one second. It was like turning on a light switch.

I don't miss stbx at all. The sight of him sometimes makes me feel ill. After he left, I felt like a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could see it in my pictures even.

Excerpt
Since she rarely had any suggestions, I would take the lead and that is how I became "the dominant one". She was always pouting and making a scene, but in the end I had to make decisions.

I am the one that had to make most of the decisions. And then those decisions were friggin' questioned. He will push me to make a decision. I make it and then he will question me continually about it to confirm. I can tell him 6 PM and he will check in with me half a dozen times. And even then, he still might get it wrong. If I wanted anything done, I had to do it myself.

Excerpt
Two days after we broke up me and my daughter went on a trip and did exactly what the whole family used to do together; lived in the same youth hostel, went shopping in the same stores and went to the same funfair. I was reminded that

a/ all the things we did were ideas I had come up with

b/ it was just as fun - if not more so - without my wife

My kids will actively lobby to have dad NOT do stuff with us. They don't like going places with just dad. They don't even want to have visits with dad without me around. The kids and I went out to eat with my friend a couple of times last week. I felt all sorts of things about this because a couple of things became obvious. One, it is very possible to go to a restaurant with 4 kids and have a decent time. Two, he was the problem. I was asking the kids how often we eat out and the oldest one responded, "We rarely, if ever, eat out. Dad sets off the little ones and it is a disaster." For years, we would send him to the restaurant to pick up food to bring home so we did not have to endure the whole restaurant thing.

Excerpt
I don't mean to boast, but most of the time I am a fun and charming person. The problem is I may let someone else convince me that I'm not a fun and charming person. And I rely on others to tell me I'm fun and charming, which is really problematic.

I feel that my new girlfriend appreciates me in a way I probably deserve. At first I had a hard time believing some of the good things she had to say about me. After 20 years of stonewalling I didn't know who I was and what I was like. i thought I was stubborn, bossy, morose and controling. That was how I felt when I was with my exwife. All of a sudden I was told I was mellow, fun, friendly and easy to be around. The weight of the world has been liften from my shoulders.

I can relate to this as well. STBX has called me a b***h on several occasions. Some of the things that I felt about myself were demanding, sarcastic, difficult/impossible to please, nothing makes me happy, and the list goes on. And stbx loved to talk about how I am so hard to figure out. He loved to tell me that I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma or some crap like that. My boyfriend doesn't seem to see any of that at all. I am easy going and easy to please. I used to think the whole mystery bit was a bit cool. Over time, it became annoying because it seemed to be a way for him to further this notion that I am somehow impossible to please. I am so mysterious that he just can't seem to figure me out. If he doesn't get me gifts, it is because I am impossible to please. I am supposedly ungrateful and am just a gold digger. When I write that out, I have to laugh because I only shop at thrift stores. I don't get my hair or nails done. I rarely, if ever, went out. When I bought and hung a new paper towel holder, I was tickled pink. The old one broke 3 or 4 years ago and I let it go. I fix stuff myself or with the kids help. When stbx did actually do something, I was expected to fall all over myself with gratitude even if it was something that should have been part of being a parent/member of the household.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2016, 08:13:52 PM »

You say that as of now you are trying to figure out what you want or what you like, because you haven't had that in so long, as you were (I think) always putting others first instead of yourself. Did that start with your marriage, or did you do that even before you were married?

That goes way back. If I didn't put others first, I would get in trouble. One time when I was in college, I got in trouble because I was studying for a test instead of washing the car. Nobody bothered to find out why I hadn't gotten around to washing the car. It was finals time so I was trying to study. I was expected to babysit for my nieces and nephews without regard to what I had going on in my life. I remember being 5 or 6. My oldest sister got trashed and was in our room throwing up and being sick. I tried to keep her quiet and clean. I hid the bottle so mom wouldn't find it. I knew she would get in trouble. I wanted to protect her.

Excerpt
When did you first realize that you were settling for less, or not taking anything for yourself?

I don't know. I suspected it for quite some time. The problem is that I was programmed to believe that taking anything for myself meant that I was selfish or something worse.

I think it really started to be a problem for me after I quit nursing my youngest. Before that, I spent 11 years pregnant and/or nursing. After I weaned the youngest, I was ready to focus on myself a bit more. I tried to go to a mom's night out with some friends and was lectured about when to be home, blah, blah, blah. That totally baffled me as I hadn't been out without a kid in a long time. And, there was a period when I lost a bunch of weight and was feeling really good and was wanting to do stuff. I was met with no enthusiasm and no support. It was like he was happy as long as I stayed in my little bubble of pregnant/nursing/mommy. I got tired. I wanted more. I was lonely.




Excerpt
For me, it isn't so much that I don't do anything for myself or accept anything for myself as that I kinda lost track of what it was I personally wanted. My stbexw is somebody who always had lots of ideas of what to do or where to go, and I was generally happy to go along with her. There really wasn't anything wrong with (at least most of) the things she came up with... .the problem was that I wasn't even thinking about what I wanted at all.

This might be a completely different issue than the one you have... .or something much like it may be rolled in with you too.

I can definitely see some of that in myself. I tried to meet him where he was at every turn. I am a pretty laid back and easy going person. I like doing new things and will try anything once. As a result, I tried to find things that he would like without much regard to what I would like. Like you, it didn't even cross my mind to look for stuff that I liked. I knew he liked trains so I would keep an eye out for the train show to come to town. When he was going through a super religious phase, I supported him and I even joined his church. Even as a kid, if mom or dad said they were going somewhere, I didn't have to be asked twice if I wanted to go. I didn't care where they were going or what they were doing. I just wanted to go. I was content to go anywhere or do anything.
Logged
Herodias
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1787


« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2016, 08:39:39 PM »

My husband was very romantic, very confidant,very sexual,very giving and willing to do anything for me... .In the beginning. He was trauma bonding with me though and I didn't know what was going on. I accepted the poor behavior because I always felt bad for him and made excuses for his mistakes because of his past. What I now realize is we all have issues in our past at some point. It doesn't make up treat people mean or abusive... .We shouldn't accept it from others. I believe for me it's co dependency that kept me going into poor relationships. Now I have no interest in dating. I read that co-dependants have a really hard time being alone. I do believe I am ok alone as long as I know I have someone who loves me. At this point I am leaning on my family for that. I actually do not miss a relationship. I can't explain it. I almost feel like my husband died... .
Logged
eeks
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 613



« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 08:52:46 PM »

You say that as of now you are trying to figure out what you want or what you like, because you haven't had that in so long, as you were (I think) always putting others first instead of yourself. Did that start with your marriage, or did you do that even before you were married?

That goes way back. If I didn't put others first, I would get in trouble. One time when I was in college, I got in trouble because I was studying for a test instead of washing the car. Nobody bothered to find out why I hadn't gotten around to washing the car. It was finals time so I was trying to study. I was expected to babysit for my nieces and nephews without regard to what I had going on in my life. I remember being 5 or 6. My oldest sister got trashed and was in our room throwing up and being sick. I tried to keep her quiet and clean. I hid the bottle so mom wouldn't find it. I knew she would get in trouble. I wanted to protect her.

So, tying this back to your first fiance, it sounds to me like your parents felt threatened by anything that might allow you to be your own person, develop your own sense of self.  It's easy to use something that sounds practical and sensible like "grades" as an excuse to tell you that a relationship is bad for you, but their real motives I would say are revealed by the fact that when it came to their needs (washing the car) they had no hesitation to interrupt your studies for that.

Excerpt
If I don't do it before other's get the chance, then I will be scoffed at and made fun of for some reason or another. I will be called demanding.

From what you've said, it sounds like it was your parents who were demanding, not you.

I think that an emotionally mature relationship is characterized by the freedom to make requests to have your needs met, and the freedom to respectfully say no to requests. 

Logged

HurtinNW
*****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 665


« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2016, 10:40:43 PM »

I don't know why we settle for so little.  Commonly it's said our self-esteem is so low it's all we think we deserve but I'm not sure I buy that.  I think maybe things change slowly enough that we just sort of get used to it and the FOG settles in and we're lost.  Sure, there's codependency (which is my current personal battle), but I think a lot of us nons are actually more empathetic and caring than most people and we are exploited.

One thing I've been noticing, as I have been planning to leave my marriage, is that sometimes my wife and I go and do things - and I think - wow this is so fun, I'm really going to miss being with her.  Then I have realized that I am the reason everything is so fun.  I am a fun guy.  i made the plans.  i am the one generating all the positivity.  In a weird way it is like I projected my positive qualities onto her.

THIS. Thank you!

I often thing about missing my ex coming along with us and then realize it was always way more fun without him, and with him I had to work overtime to make things happy. I appreciate you pointing this out so succinctly.
Logged
half-life
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 217



« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 12:43:46 AM »

I love this thread. We need to ask for more! For 15 years I have endured and tolerated my marriage. I wasn't happy even at the beginning. I am a nice guy. Very accomodating. But this is also my undoing. I should never have settled for so little all these years.


I keep reading about people on here falling for a pwBPD because things were so amazing and awesome. I don't think things were ever amazing or awesome with my stbx.

Me neither. Deep down she tried to be a good person. But she wasn't amazing in anyway. Most of the time she was tortured by her perception.


I don't even think I was in love with her.

I had a few girlfriends before my exwife and I had been in love, so I could tell the diference. In fact, the sex wasn't even good. I stayed for 20 years. I have a girlfriend now and I 'm simply crazy about her; the way she smiles, smells, walks, talks... .everything. I feel like a complete idiot to have had a long term relationship with a person that I wasn't even particularly attracted to.

Same here. I was such an idiot. I was committed to the marriage institution and don't know how to take care of my welfare. Good to know you have a great girlfriend now.

Logged
gotbushels
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1586



« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2016, 05:45:12 AM »

Same here. I was such an idiot. I was committed to the marriage institution and don't know how to take care of my welfare. Good to know you have a great girlfriend now.

I think this is an important point.

Regarding the marriage institution, is it an imbalance within the non between the institution vs own welfare, or is it that the BP has such different expectations as to what both of them mean? Could these be significant contributors to problems from within the non and BP relationship? This has to do with settling because they contribute to expectations of a relationship. When the non expects "x" and the SO provides "y"--with some amount of "give"--then we call that failure to meet expectations. If we hang around after that, then it's an act of "settling" for little". When enough of this happens, it's clear we have a lot of unmet expectations to create the amount of smallness in a sum of expectations that we call "little". This state can be characterised as:

[having] the bar set so low that a mouse could trip over it.

So then in real terms... .why have each of us put the bar there? (VOC you've already answered this one)

What can we do with our future behaviour regarding a life partner?
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2016, 08:50:41 AM »

My husband was very romantic, very confidant,very sexual,very giving and willing to do anything for me... .In the beginning. He was trauma bonding with me though and I didn't know what was going on. I accepted the poor behavior because I always felt bad for him and made excuses for his mistakes because of his past. What I now realize is we all have issues in our past at some point. It doesn't make up treat people mean or abusive... .We shouldn't accept it from others.

I don't recall ever having the experience of stbx being romantic or confident or sexual with me. I don't recall him ever being willing to do anything for me. Even our wedding was pretty centered around him and what he wanted. It was really important to him that we get married in his church. For me, I looked at individual incidents. I wasn't seeing the big picture or the overall pattern. The abuse that he doled out was not the in your face kind. It was more subtle and harder to pin point. In a lot of ways, his behavior was still better than some of what I grew up with as a child.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2016, 09:05:26 AM »

So, tying this back to your first fiance, it sounds to me like your parents felt threatened by anything that might allow you to be your own person, develop your own sense of self.  It's easy to use something that sounds practical and sensible like "grades" as an excuse to tell you that a relationship is bad for you, but their real motives I would say are revealed by the fact that when it came to their needs (washing the car) they had no hesitation to interrupt your studies for that.

I absolutely felt like their desire for me to end that relationship was all about them and their desire to keep me under their thumb. I went to counseling during all of that and there was a session where my parents had all of my siblings come in and we all sat around a table and they all told me how bad I was for being in that relationship. I changed while in it. I wasn't my normal self with that guy. I was too selfish, blah, blah, blah. My oldest sister (who I am now NC with) was the only one of my siblings that refused to go. She flat out told me, "There is no way in hell I was going to go. They wanted me to sit around and talk about what was wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. They are the ones with the problem and I don't want to be any part of that." At that time, all of my siblings were grown and in their 20's. It was pretty bogus that my parents had my adult siblings come in and do that at MY counseling session that I was paying for out of MY pocket.

They would interrupt my studies all the time. I would sit under trees on campus and do my homework. I would go to friend's houses to study with them. I would sit in the car in the parking lot and study. I tried to make it so that I had to do very little homework at home.

Excerpt
From what you've said, it sounds like it was your parents who were demanding, not you.

That is true. One time, before I got my license, my mother insisted that I drive a car somewhere for them. It was a long trip and I would have to follow her and drive by myself. I flat out refused. I wasn't confident in my driving abilities and I was not comfortable with it because I only had my permit. She put such a guilt trip on me. She grounded me because I refused to do it.

Excerpt
I think that an emotionally mature relationship is characterized by the freedom to make requests to have your needs met, and the freedom to respectfully say no to requests. 

I completely agree. The guy that I dated before stbx did allow me to make requests without the guilt trips and the craziness. The problem with him is that there were times that I rarely had to make requests of him. All I had to do was say that I needed something and he was on it. I wasn't afraid to tell him stuff. I didn't start out afraid to tell my stbx stuff. That developed over time after it became apparent that my needs and wants were irrelevant to stbx. My needs were only relevant insofar as it was convenient for him. I don't feel like I could ever say no to stbx. If I said no to something, he would nag and badger me until I gave in. He would keep at me until I said, "Okay, fine."
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2016, 09:06:37 AM »

I often thing about missing my ex coming along with us and then realize it was always way more fun without him, and with him I had to work overtime to make things happy. I appreciate you pointing this out so succinctly.

My kids are the ones that clued me in to this. That was so painful to realize.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2016, 09:20:06 AM »

Deep down she tried to be a good person. But she wasn't amazing in anyway. Most of the time she was tortured by her perception.

This describes my stbx rather well. He tries so hard to be a good person. He tries so hard to be a good boy. He isn't amazing in any way. He is content to have no goals or ambitions. He he puts in just enough energy to get by and it is frustrating. He spends more time getting out of things than it would take to just do it.

It is interesting that you chose the word amazing. I don't know how many times I have thought or said that my boyfriend is amazing. He is somebody that I really admire and respect. I don't recall having those kinds of thoughts and feelings about stbx. It really bothers me that I spent so long with somebody that wants a gold star just for showing up.

Excerpt
Same here. I was such an idiot. I was committed to the marriage institution and don't know how to take care of my welfare. Good to know you have a great girlfriend now.

In all honesty, I think I was more committed to marriage than I was to him. I went into marriage thinking that spouses should take care of each other. It is a partnership. I lived up to my end of the deal and he didn't. Everything was focused on him and his welfare and I was okay with that because that is how I was programmed. I was programmed to take care of others without regard to myself.

One of the things that I love about my boyfriend is that he tends to remind me to take care of myself. It isn't that I deliberately set out to ignore my needs. It is more like GK mentioned further up in the thread. It just doesn't occur to me at times.
Logged
Grey Kitty
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 7182



« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2016, 09:38:59 AM »

You say that as of now you are trying to figure out what you want or what you like, because you haven't had that in so long, as you were (I think) always putting others first instead of yourself. Did that start with your marriage, or did you do that even before you were married?

That goes way back. If I didn't put others first, I would get in trouble. One time when I was in college, I got in trouble because I was studying for a test instead of washing the car. Nobody bothered to find out why I hadn't gotten around to washing the car. It was finals time so I was trying to study. I was expected to babysit for my nieces and nephews without regard to what I had going on in my life. I remember being 5 or 6. My oldest sister got trashed and was in our room throwing up and being sick. I tried to keep her quiet and clean. I hid the bottle so mom wouldn't find it. I knew she would get in trouble. I wanted to protect her.

They would interrupt my studies all the time. I would sit under trees on campus and do my homework. I would go to friend's houses to study with them. I would sit in the car in the parking lot and study. I tried to make it so that I had to do very little homework at home.

Excerpt
From what you've said, it sounds like it was your parents who were demanding, not you.

That is true. One time, before I got my license, my mother insisted that I drive a car somewhere for them. It was a long trip and I would have to follow her and drive by myself. I flat out refused. I wasn't confident in my driving abilities and I was not comfortable with it because I only had my permit. She put such a guilt trip on me. She grounded me because I refused to do it.

So about as far back as you remember, you were pretty much enabling your FOO when you weren't supporting them. And if you showed any sign of wanting to do anything for yourself, you were either punished or met with a new demand/need that would pull you back in.

Yes, that is distilled down to something really harsh... .but I think that is your explanation for your starting point/question:

... .I had a very stark realization that I have settled for so little. I have known it for a long time. This weekend, it hit me like a lead balloon.

You put up with it for 18 years as an adult... .because it was so similar to your 18 years as a child, at least in that aspect.

And that explains why you were hooked so deep and why it was so hard to dig yourself out. And explains why you are probably going to have put in more time healing before you are "done" even if you will never go into a r/s just like THAT again.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2016, 09:40:24 AM »

What can we do with our future behaviour regarding a life partner?

For me, I think my future behavior needs to focus on making sure that I can communicate with the person that I am with without any repercussions. I have a boyfriend and there are times that I worry that I have gotten into a relationship too soon.

At the same time, I am learning things that I couldn't have learned on my own. Things like "I can share my needs and fears with him without it turning into a fight or something weird or awkward." He has given me no reason to be afraid to share. I have to conquer those fears and speak up anyway. If I don't learn to speak up, I will continue these same patterns. It is awesome, yet a bit unnerving at times, because I am having to relearn how to relate to somebody in an intimate relationship. Being vulnerable is hard at times because I am so used to having my vulnerabilities exploited.

I have also been thinking about score keeping. Relationships shouldn't involve any kind of score keeping at all. However, I am thinking that I need to do a better job of keeping track of some stuff. If somebody had told me that I would end up where I am with stbx, I would have scoffed at them because I would never ever stand for such things. No way, no how. The problem is that it was too easy to let go of individual incidents. It was too easy to say, "Oh, he did x because of y. No big deal." I didn't want to bring up something and have it turn into some kind of conflict. So, it was easier to try to deal with it on my own and simply avoid conflict and avoid getting dismissed. I have example after example of times when I tried to bring up something only to have him get defensive and act like I was out of line or demanding. My mother did/does the same thing.  

I wonder how to balance things. I don't want to become so worried about red flags, etc. that I run at the first sight of a problem. I also don't want to let things add up for so long that I lose myself in the process. For me, I think that is probably at the heart of my desire to explore why I settled for so little. I know that relationships take work. I know that relationships aren't all roses and sunshine.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2016, 10:13:25 AM »

So about as far back as you remember, you were pretty much enabling your FOO when you weren't supporting them. And if you showed any sign of wanting to do anything for yourself, you were either punished or met with a new demand/need that would pull you back in.

Yes, that is distilled down to something really harsh... .

UGH! Harsh but true. I didn't feel like I had much of a choice.

Excerpt
You put up with it for 18 years as an adult... .because it was so similar to your 18 years as a child, at least in that aspect.

Yep, it was all very similar. I had a taste of freedom when I was dating the guy that I was engaged to in college. My parents made it very clear that it was not allowed. One time, I tried to talk to my dad about leaving my stbx. He made it a point to tell me some BS about how it is better to stay because it is quite likely that I would find myself with somebody even worse. Basically, my concerns and desires for more and better were shut down. I should just be grateful for what I have.

Excerpt
And that explains why you were hooked so deep and why it was so hard to dig yourself out. And explains why you are probably going to have put in more time healing before you are "done" even if you will never go into a r/s just like THAT again.

Oh yes, I have a lot of healing to do. There were a lot of things with stbx that were better than what I got from FOO. I have to quiet the inner voices that tell me that I am being unreasonable for wanting/needing more.
Logged
Grey Kitty
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Separated
Posts: 7182



« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2016, 10:50:07 AM »

So about as far back as you remember, you were pretty much enabling your FOO when you weren't supporting them. And if you showed any sign of wanting to do anything for yourself, you were either punished or met with a new demand/need that would pull you back in.

Yes, that is distilled down to something really harsh... .

UGH! Harsh but true. I didn't feel like I had much of a choice.

As a young girl, you truly didn't have a choice.

You didn't have better tools.

You didn't have other options.

You developed the coping tools you needed to survive it all, and they worked--you made it through your childhood alive!

And they were still being reinforced for you long after that, both by your FOO and your stbexh. And they were completely familiar, almost comfortable.

I'm reminded of a story (parable?) of a man seen dragging a raft along a road. He had been stuck at a river for so long and worked so hard to figure out how to make a raft and get across the river on his journey. The raft was very important to him. Now that he was walking along the road he refused to give up the raft because of how much it had helped him in the past.

Now you are letting go of those coping tools you were handed as a girl that aren't working as well in adulthood. Or starting/trying to, at least.

Keep on working--you are going in the right direction. I can't say it will be easy, but I'm sure it will be worth it.
Logged
half-life
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 217



« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2016, 10:55:02 AM »

Things like "I can share my needs and fears with him without it turning into a fight or something weird or awkward." He has given me no reason to be afraid to share. I have to conquer those fears and speak up anyway. If I don't learn to speak up, I will continue these same patterns. It is awesome, yet a bit unnerving at times, because I am having to relearn how to relate to somebody in an intimate relationship. Being vulnerable is hard at times because I am so used to having my vulnerabilities exploited.

This is great learning. I am going to clip it and put it into my notebook.

I have also been thinking about score keeping. Relationships shouldn't involve any kind of score keeping at all. However, I am thinking that I need to do a better job of keeping track of some stuff.

... .

I wonder how to balance things. I don't want to become so worried about red flags, etc. that I run at the first sight of a problem. I also don't want to let things add up for so long that I lose myself in the process.

You have gained a lot of awareness. There are things you want to do better and not to repeat the past mistake. But also not to be overly vigilant. It is hard to find the balance. I do not know better either.

I do have some ideas I have learned. One time I have gone through some popular kind of article like "10 things happy couple do". I don't usually pay much attention to those kind of articles, especially for a guy. But when I checked the list and we scored something like 2.5 out of 10, it was very revealing how we were doing. So say I do keep score. Not in the cultural sense of tit-for-tat. Instead use it as an honest and objective evaluation of the state of relationship. If you were ask how do you think about your partner, it is easy to be clouded by emotion and social obligations. Instead do some questionaires. Do a lot of them. They will probably reveal more than you would admit consciously.

Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2016, 04:56:29 PM »

And they were still being reinforced for you long after that, both by your FOO and your stbexh. And they were completely familiar, almost comfortable.

I have been trying think back to when I reverted to those coping skills in the marriage. I think it started rather early on. I don't think any of it happened before we actually got married. We went to pre-marriage counseling, took compatibility tests, and spent an entire weekend doing an engaged encounter. I had a worksheet called "Rules for Fighting Fair" prominently posted on my refrigerator for years. I have a friggin' poster hanging in my hallway that is all about peaceful conflict resolution. I thought I did everything right to keep from falling back into those patterns. I guess that is why I stayed in the fog for so long. That is why I reverted back to those coping mechanisms without even realizing it.

Excerpt
Now you are letting go of those coping tools you were handed as a girl that aren't working as well in adulthood. Or starting/trying to, at least.

Keep on working--you are going in the right direction. I can't say it will be easy, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Thanks for the encouragement! This stuff is really difficult. I think it is super important that I put a stop to all of this because I want to set a better example for my kids. I don't want to see them repeating the same familial patterns of dysfunction that have been going on for generations.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2016, 05:09:50 PM »

I do have some ideas I have learned. One time I have gone through some popular kind of article like "10 things happy couple do". I don't usually pay much attention to those kind of articles, especially for a guy. But when I checked the list and we scored something like 2.5 out of 10, it was very revealing how we were doing. So say I do keep score. Not in the cultural sense of tit-for-tat. Instead use it as an honest and objective evaluation of the state of relationship. If you were ask how do you think about your partner, it is easy to be clouded by emotion and social obligations. Instead do some questionaires. Do a lot of them. They will probably reveal more than you would admit consciously.

Reading those kinds of lists and articles are part of what helped me see things more clearly. I made stbx mad at one point because I kept sending him articles like that. He told me, "Stop sending me articles about what I am doing wrong. Send me stuff on what I am doing right." At one point, I was trying to communicate with him about how I felt. I ran across an article about how to tell if a guy just isn't that into you. I sent it to him and said something along the lines of, "You do all of the things that clearly indicate that you just aren't that into me." He got mad at me and said something along the lines of, "Just because I don't show it doesn't mean I don't feel it." Um, whatever.

I have read article after article that is full of stuff like "How to tell if he isn't into you", "How to tell if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship", "Signs of a healthy relationship", and the list goes on. Everything pointed to the fact that the relationship was not healthy in any way, shape, or form. This was several years ago. I was pushing for change and stbx was pushing to keep things the same. He didn't really become super difficult to deal with until I stopped settling and started pushing for more. So, I do struggle with feeling like this is yet another instance of me being punished for wanting/needing more.

Logged
Trog
*****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 698


« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2016, 04:12:02 AM »

My ex relationship wasn't awesome either!

The traditional answer here is lack of self esteem. I suffered from the same as you. Putting everyone else's needs ahead of my own and doing things I didn't want to do, but I didn't even know I didn't want to to do them.

Like spending every holiday with my exes family, working like a dog and giving one ex my cards who purchased herself loads of fantastic clothes and treats while I cut my own hair! Putting yourself first is difficult for many of us who grew up on household of lack. As a child my parents would buy food items, considered treats, for themselves and not buy me one. I didn't feel an equal member of that family and have created families where I am not an equal member either. I go to give, while depriving myself and not receiving from the other person. I habitually end up in relationships wth women with no job or money of their own and become the gravy train. After the BPD relationship I have fallen into that trap yet again. For some time perhaps you feel this means they won't leave you, I'm not sure. But clearly I'm choosing that.

Learning to put yourself first if it's not your nature can feel very uncomfortable.
Logged
vortex of confusion
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 3234



« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2016, 09:29:33 AM »

I suffered from the same as you. Putting everyone else's needs ahead of my own and doing things I didn't want to do, but I didn't even know I didn't want to to do them.

That is a good point. A lot of times, I didn't know that I did't want to do stuff because I had been lectured about having a good attitude. If I let myself not want to do something, then it might show and it might lead to crap.

Excerpt
Like spending every holiday with my exes family, working like a dog and giving one ex my cards who purchased herself loads of fantastic clothes and treats while I cut my own hair! Putting yourself first is difficult for many of us who grew up on household of lack. As a child my parents would buy food items, considered treats, for themselves and not buy me one.

I cut everybody else's hair. Nobody cuts mine. Even though we are separated, stbx still expects me to cut his hair for him. When he asked me to do it, he asked in front of the kids and in a way that when I tried to say no, the kids got in on the act so I gave in and did it. I don't even care to see him, why the heck would I want to cut his hair?

And don't get me started on all of the times that he would get stuff and do stuff for himself while I went without. That is one of the things that my boyfriend does that is awesome yet scares the crap out of me. He notices when I go without and says or does something about it. Sometimes, it is just a simple question like, "Why aren't you doing anything about this?"

My mom would get stuff and tell us kids not to touch it because it was for dad. I would go to dad and get it anyway. My siblings used me to get stuff. If we were out and about and they got hungry, they would tell me to ask dad to stop and get something. I didn't even think twice. I would ask and he would stop and get us kids food. I received a lot of conflicting messages as a kids. I learned to speak for other people but not so much for myself. My family was really big on triangulation. One kid was usually on mom's black list. The black listed kid got screwed over and treated like crap. I did everything I could to stay off mom's black list. That meant being a good girl and not rocking the boat and asking for very, very little. The less I wanted or needed, the less chance there was of hearing mom go off on a tangent about how she never had those things and had to raise her brothers or that I should be thankful for what I have or some other BS that left me feeling completely worthless for wanting or needing something. Even when I would find ways to get my own needs met, it seemed that they would find a way to nitpick. When I was in college, I was working and bought myself a gym membership. When I told them that I was going to go to the gym, I was told, "What are you doing that for? It seems kind of dumb. Why can't you just work in the yard or do more stuff around here. That will get you exercise and it will be free."

Excerpt
I didn't feel an equal member of that family and have created families where I am not an equal member either. I go to give, while depriving myself and not receiving from the other person. I habitually end up in relationships wth women with no job or money of their own and become the gravy train. After the BPD relationship I have fallen into that trap yet again. For some time perhaps you feel this means they won't leave you, I'm not sure. But clearly I'm choosing that.

I like the way you put that. "Not feeling like an equal member of the family." The responsibilities fall on my shoulders. As a kid and as an adult, I am the responsible one. I figure stuff out so that everyone gets what they want/need. I don't have a lot of relationship experience as I was with my stbx for 18+ years when you add the year of dating to how long we were married. All of my experience goes back to when I was in my late teens/early twenties.

I do wonder about the emphasis on the concern about whether or not you will be left. I am getting to a point where I sometimes think that leaving or having the other person leave is the healthiest choice of all. Why stay in a relationship that isn't fulfilling and isn't meeting your needs? Is having a relationship more important than the quality of the relationship? I ask myself this question all of the time to help me evaluate how things are going with my boyfriend. Things are going great yet it makes me really uncomfortable because this is something that I don't recall ever experiencing before. I am 40 years old and it feels like I am having to relearn/unlearn everything that I know about relationships.

Excerpt
Learning to put yourself first if it's not your nature can feel very uncomfortable.

That is an understatement! There are times when it feels almost debilitating.
Logged
doubleAries
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: married to a bipolar with psychotic features (paranoid delusions), with strong ASPD and NPD traits (diagnosed)
Posts: 1124


the key to my destiny is me


« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2016, 12:43:08 PM »

Well!

I have been trying to think of a way to express pretty much the exact same thing! I keep hearing about the idealization/devaluation stuff and have scratched my head--in my 19+ year relationship, there was no "idealization". We skipped all that and went straight to "devaluation". Kinda makes me mad--if I had to spend so much time in utter dysfunction, couldn't there have been at least a little of idealization phase?

Like adventurer, I'm not really feeling the "low self esteem, must deserve that" line. It could perhaps be a sliver of the explanation, but there's something else there I don't think I'm quite putting my finger on. It may not even be just one simple thing--perhaps it is a bunch of dysfunctions combined into one ball o' angst. But I have, for a VERY long time, put up with some incredibly crappy treatment. I kept thinking I could "fix" it and had a responsibility to do so; that if I "overlooked it" he would see that I cared and was loyal and would then be sorry and stop doing it; I have tried to understand (he is diagnosed much more seriously ill than just his co-morbid personality disorders) and dismiss his behavior as mental illness; I have ripped myself a new one many, many times, telling myself "I'm not perfect either--so how about a little tolerance for others imperfections?" even though what I was calling "imperfections" on his part were actually overt abuse; I have angrily enumerated to myself the horrible things he COULD HAVE done but didn't, as a means to excuse what he DID do; I have made excuses for him that he didn't bother to make for himself--and tried to believe them even in the face of contradicting evidence. All of these things are my METHODS of codependence/enmeshment, but don't really answer the "why".

Many times I brush up against a deeply engrained belief (deeper than just "thought level" that I am unlovable. I certainly had that pounded into my head as a kid, and not in a subtle way. So like hergestridge, I thought I should feel "lucky" that I had a spouse at all.

Logged

We must come to know we are more than anyone's opinion--including our own
Can You Help Us Stay on the Air in 2021?

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Our 2021 Financial Sponsors
We are all appreciative of the members who provide the funding to keep BPDFamily on the air.
12years
alterK
Andi1956
Anondad
Cnvi
doghouse
drained1996
EyesUp
Harri
JD2028
lovenature
Mac5
Methuen
Mommydoc
Mutt
old97
P.F.Change
Skip
snowglobe
Swimmy55
Teno
Turkish
wendydarling

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2020, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!