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Author Topic: Why did I settle for so little?  (Read 1840 times)
HurtinNW
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« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2016, 04:13:49 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.

My mother used to tell me, quite deliberately, "No one will ever love you." I think most of here got that message, either loudly or quietly, but debilitating all the same.

I also put up with some incredibly crappy treatment from my ex, as if that self inside me deserved it, or was worth no more, was as unloveable as my mom said. But I also think there is a part of us that resists that.

If we truly believed all throughout our bones that we were unlovable then we wouldn't be here. We'd be lying on the floor, letting our exes kick us into stuffing. It's the part of our selves that wants to fight back, to assert our right to being treated with love and respect, that brings us here. I think that is our true self fighting back.

The other day I started writing what a day in the life with my ex was like and I was appalled at how badly I was treated. Talk about walking on eggshells! I do think for me it is that fear of being unlovable, and yet part of me knows that cannot be right.
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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2016, 09:12:16 PM »

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.

I don't think mine is low self esteem. I had a bit of an epiphany in the last day or so about this. I was visiting with my mother and she called me a spoiled brat. She sat and told my kids that I have always been a spoiled brat. I have heard that my entire life. No matter how much or how little I had, I was a spoiled brat. I tried not to ask for anything from anybody and accepted crappy treatment as a way to try to escape that label. With stbx, he implied that I was demanding and difficult to figure out. He implied that I was impossible to please. These people assigned labels to me that were nowhere near accurate. I think they did it so they could get by with doing very little. It was a way to dismiss me and keep me in my place.

Excerpt
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.

I thought that if I asked for more or tried to do better that would just confirm that I was a spoiled brat that couldn't be pleased.
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2016, 09:15:39 PM »

I also put up with some incredibly crappy treatment from my ex, as if that self inside me deserved it, or was worth no more, was as unloveable as my mom said. But I also think there is a part of us that resists that.

On the topic of moms. . .When I first started questioning the behavior of stbx, I brought it up to my mom and she told me that I should be grateful for him. Anything I say about any of my struggles is usually one upped by her, which used to make me feel awful for not being happy with whatever I could get.
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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2016, 09:55:45 PM »

That "spoiled brat" thing resonates with me to some degree. I wasn't called a spoiled brat (I was always called  "selfish". But I did come to believe that I wanted too much, that having needs was "greedy" and selfish.

And I don't think I ever really said to myself that I was lucky anyone wanted me at all; it was more along the lines of castigating myself for not being grateful enough for what I did have, even if what I had was worse than nothing. I would list all the things my ex DIDN'T do to prove to myself that I was an ingrate for not being more tolerant of the other crappy things he DID do. Yeah, he studiously ignored and rejected me--but at least he wasn't an alcoholic, out cheating on me all the time! And yeah, he hit me or shoved me to the ground or challenged me to fistfights sometimes, but at least he wasn't a drug addict, spending all the money on drugs! And sometimes he tossed a few crumbs of attention my way--what, was I too greedy to accept whatever he had to offer and be satisfied? etc, etc, etc. And I think a big part of settling for so little was that I made up excuses for him that he didn't bother to make up for himself. And those excuses became part of "the truth" for me--even though they were assumptions on my part and a way to rationalize what was happening.

A small but seemingly important distinction. Maybe I AM putting my finger on it... .
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« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2016, 10:27:19 PM »

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.

thanks for this, it gave me another reason to be thinking about my last relationship differently... .
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« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2016, 11:31:43 PM »

I think this also explains settling for so little in many ways... .www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/
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« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2016, 11:09:00 AM »

And I don't think I ever really said to myself that I was lucky anyone wanted me at all; it was more along the lines of castigating myself for not being grateful enough for what I did have, even if what I had was worse than nothing. I would list all the things my ex DIDN'T do to prove to myself that I was an ingrate for not being more tolerant of the other crappy things he DID do. Yeah, he studiously ignored and rejected me--but at least he wasn't an alcoholic, out cheating on me all the time! And yeah, he hit me or shoved me to the ground or challenged me to fistfights sometimes, but at least he wasn't a drug addict, spending all the money on drugs! And sometimes he tossed a few crumbs of attention my way--what, was I too greedy to accept whatever he had to offer and be satisfied? etc, etc, etc. And I think a big part of settling for so little was that I made up excuses for him that he didn't bother to make up for himself. And those excuses became part of "the truth" for me--even though they were assumptions on my part and a way to rationalize what was happening.

Oh man, I can really relate to this. I don't know how many times I played the game of "at least he isn't this or that". No matter how little I got, I found ways to be grateful for it. I can't tell you the number of times I deliberately focused on the positive stuff as a way to dismiss the fact that there was something wrong in the relationship and I wasn't happy. I fought long and hard to be happy with whatever I could get.
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« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2016, 11:26:15 AM »

I think this also explains settling for so little in many ways... .www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/

I have read the stuff about the triangle. It does not resonate with me. I think it applies to the dynamics of my FOO. I recognized early on that we all took turns in different roles. My siblings and I used to joke about which kid was going to be on mom's sh*t list at any given time. I can remember very few times when mom wasn't hating on one of us kids.

I knew I didn't want to repeat those patterns so I set out to look for different ways of being. The one thing that has resonated with me is stuff about how to create partnerships that are not based on power. I don't do power struggles very well so I try to avoid them at all costs. Yesterday, one of my daily meditations was focusing on partnerships. It was brief and there was a line in it that sent off a light bulb moment. One of the things that it said was, "The more you give, the more you have." I have been operating from that mindset for years. I was operating under the assumption that my stbx and I were partners. In the meditation from yesterday, it also said something along the lines of "Partnership oriented people don't seek power over others because they enjoy being powerful with others." If I am operating from a place of partnership and he is operating from a place of power, it is natural that I am going to settle for whatever I can get because I am not even seeing stuff through a lens of deficiency or power or anything else. It didn't occur to me that he wasn't my partner.
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« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2016, 11:30:32 AM »

some of us prefer covert power to overt power. 
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« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2016, 02:01:11 PM »

some of us prefer covert power to overt power. 

I have been thinking about the power dynamics in regard to the original question of "Why did I settle for so little?"

I have a couple of vague thoughts that I wanted to bring up and see if maybe I could work some of this out in my head. I was thinking about me and the whole issue of power. It wouldn't occur to me to get into a power struggle. My entire life I did not feel like I had much power. The only way to get anything was to give those around me what they wanted. I don't know if that is a power thing or not.

I am other centered and stbx is self centered. Neither approach is good as it should be a balance. A person that is other centered is a perfect fit for somebody that is self centered. I could focus on him and so could he, very much like my mother and other members of my FOO.

Another thought that I had related to this question is about the power of positivity. I tend to be a pretty positive person. I can find the positive in just about anything. I feel like I have been done in by my own positivity. If I could have just said, "This turd is a big giant turd and I don't want it," I might not have settled. Instead of saying that it was a big giant turd, I found all of the great things about it. Ooo, it is brown and I like the color brown. Ooo, that smell makes it unique. Ooo, nobody else has a turd like mine. Of course, I felt like it wasn't okay to NOT be positive. Even now as I try to admit that the stuff that has happened is not okay, I find myself saying, "It wasn't that bad." I have shared my story with friends and they are completely horrified. I don't understand why they are horrified and find myself thinking, "It wasn't that bad." If it wasn't that bad, then why did I get out. I got out because I am selfish, demanding, and all of the other negative things that were said directly or implied.
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« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2016, 02:21:36 PM »

Another thought that I had related to this question is about the power of positivity. I tend to be a pretty positive person. I can find the positive in just about anything. I feel like I have been done in by my own positivity. If I could have just said, "This turd is a big giant turd and I don't want it," I might not have settled. Instead of saying that it was a big giant turd, I found all of the great things about it. Ooo, it is brown and I like the color brown. Ooo, that smell makes it unique. Ooo, nobody else has a turd like mine. Of course, I felt like it wasn't okay to NOT be positive. Even now as I try to admit that the stuff that has happened is not okay, I find myself saying, "It wasn't that bad." I have shared my story with friends and they are completely horrified. I don't understand why they are horrified and find myself thinking, "It wasn't that bad." If it wasn't that bad, then why did I get out. I got out because I am selfish, demanding, and all of the other negative things that were said directly or implied.

There's positivity, and there's rationalizing as a survival strategy.  My mother does the latter.  She can come up with the most watertight-sounding rationales to support acquiescing to a negative situation.  I'm sure she learned this when she was young, that there were situations with her parents that she was just hopeless to change.  Is that what you do too, VoC?

I think it's important for survivors of dysfunctional families and abusive adult relationships to tell the truth, no more no less, about their experience, especially their emotions.  This may mean acknowledging the truth to yourself, or telling a trusted other.  Sometimes others can help us find the truth... .perfect example, your friends being horrified at a relationship that you told yourself "wasn't that bad".  That doesn't mean they're right, you're wrong... .but it provides a contrast allowing you to question your own interpretation of things.
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« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2016, 03:04:34 PM »

There's positivity, and there's rationalizing as a survival strategy.  My mother does the latter.  She can come up with the most watertight-sounding rationales to support acquiescing to a negative situation.  I'm sure she learned this when she was young, that there were situations with her parents that she was just hopeless to change.  Is that what you do too, VoC?

Hmmm. . .I am going to have to really think about this. My gut reaction is to say, "Oh no, I don't rationalize to survive. I am just super positive." When I stop and think about it, the truth is probably closer to rationalizing to survive. If I let myself see the real truth of things, I might end up like my sisters and live a very negative and bitter existence full of paranoia and outright delusions.

Excerpt
I think it's important for survivors of dysfunctional families and abusive adult relationships to tell the truth, no more no less, about their experience, especially their emotions.  This may mean acknowledging the truth to yourself, or telling a trusted other.  Sometimes others can help us find the truth... .perfect example, your friends being horrified at a relationship that you told yourself "wasn't that bad".  That doesn't mean they're right, you're wrong... .but it provides a contrast allowing you to question your own interpretation of things.

I don't trust my interpretation of things at all. I am trying to make sense of the good and the bad with FOO and stbx. I know that it wasn't all bad and I also know that it probably wasn't as good as I try to remember it to be. There were some things that I rationalized and there are some things that I have let other people rationalize for me. The one that sticks out the most is early in the marriage with stbx. On our wedding night, he chose to watch PPV porn instead of being with me. The truth was that we were both pretty tired. I didn't see it as a big deal until later when I saw it as part of a larger pattern. In those early days, him getting up to look at porn was dismissed by him as, "Oh, you were sleeping so well, I didn't want to wake you up." I can take a lot in small doses. It is difficult to tell if something is a small isolated thing or if it is part of a larger pattern.

I have bad days and I hate it when somebody tries to hold that against me. Case in point is an incident where I was tired and yelled at the kids. I don't remember the exact details. I remember that he got up and somehow I fell down and bruised the backs of my arms because I fell into a wall while holding the youngest kid. I say he pushed me. He says that I tripped because we were both trying to get through the same small space at the same time. Either way, he told me that it never would have happened if I had been able to keep my cool and not yelled at the kids. Forget the fact that I do all of the night time parenting, pay all of the bills (with money he made), plan all of the meals, keep the house in some semblance of order, in addition to whatever else needs done. He gets to have bad days whenever he wants and nobody says a word. I have one bad day and I am told that it is all my fault because I wasn't perfect. I am not perfect. I am human. Needing more or wanting more, means that I am human and have flaws rather than some kind of robot that can say, "Give me more please!"

I still feel kind of guilty because I finally got to a point where I just couldn't keep taking. I needed a break. I needed to be able to rest and get my bearings about me. 
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« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2016, 03:24:09 PM »

If I let myself see the real truth of things, I might end up like my sisters and live a very negative and bitter existence full of paranoia and outright delusions.

I understand this fear.  But isn't it possible that... .you too had to delude yourself, in some ways, in order to survive?  I'm not criticizing you for that (it is a beautiful human survival tactic), it's just one you developed to cope with a dangerous home environment that you are no longer in.

Have you read Pete Walker's Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving?  A number of members recommend that book.  He talks about raging and grieving both being important processes for survivors.  Having your honest reactions to what happened to you.  That's a way to "see the real truth of things" that doesn't lead to bitterness and paranoia.

Excerpt
I don't trust my interpretation of things at all. I am trying to make sense of the good and the bad with FOO and stbx. I know that it wasn't all bad and I also know that it probably wasn't as good as I try to remember it to be. There were some things that I rationalized and there are some things that I have let other people rationalize for me. The one that sticks out the most is early in the marriage with stbx. On our wedding night, he chose to watch PPV porn instead of being with me. The truth was that we were both pretty tired. I didn't see it as a big deal until later when I saw it as part of a larger pattern. In those early days, him getting up to look at porn was dismissed by him as, "Oh, you were sleeping so well, I didn't want to wake you up." I can take a lot in small doses. It is difficult to tell if something is a small isolated thing or if it is part of a larger pattern.

OK, so this might be a good opportunity to play a game I invented called the "rewind and slow motion" game.  (Everyone else reading this can play too, it's easy, and I won't say it's "fun" but it can be insightful.)

When you saw him watching porn (or woke up to realize that's what he'd done, I am not sure what the sequence of events was)... .in any case right when you realized that's what was happening/had happened... .rewind and slow motion.  What was your emotional reaction?  

No guarantees, but I find when I do this with past upsetting events, if you think of your emotional energy on a timeline that is slowed wayyy down, with emotional intensity being a "spike" or peak on the graph, I notice even the briefest spike of anger, or "hey that's not right", or desire, some other "forbidden" emotion that comes in before the typical anxiety and feeling wounded/not good enough.

That could bring you one step closer to trusting your interpretation of things.  

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« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2016, 03:27:22 PM »

ah--what I have come to call "the 80,000 drops of water torture technique".

I can take each drop of water--like VoC, it's not that bad. Takes me a while to add them all together into those 80,000 drops. And the damage that many drops does combined. How I backed up my line in the sand--just a little--over and over and over until I was in a corner. When I finally moved out, I remember coming home from work and just sitting on my couch, astounded, saying "what the heck was I doing?"
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« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2016, 04:14:06 PM »

I understand this fear.  But isn't it possible that... .you too had to delude yourself, in some ways, in order to survive?  I'm not criticizing you for that (it is a beautiful human survival tactic), it's just one you developed to cope with a dangerous home environment that you are no longer in.

I would say that it is probable. I know I had to delude myself in order to survive. My siblings had things much worse than I did. I am the youngest of 4 and there is a bit of an age gap between me and the older three.

I have two things going on when I think about it. One, I was the golden child that everybody loved. How could I say that things were horrible? It was way worse for them. My parents often times pick on me because I was never spanked as a child. Somehow, that is supposed to be some kind of something to prove that I am a spoiled brat. That doesn't erase the fact that I watched my oldest sister get beat. I still have visions of her curled up in a ball on the floor while my dad kicked her and yelled at her. There were other incidents where I watched my parents hit my siblings or even saw my siblings fight. I have a picture that I have kept for years. I don't know why I kept it. One of my siblings was holding me by the neck and my face was all red and I had clearly been crying and struggling. The picture was taken by one of my other siblings. The person holding me down can't deny it. The person who took the picture has never ever admitted to it and when I have showed that picture, I get, "Oh, so and so must have taken that. I can't believe she did that." Nope, I know who took it. I remember that day well.

When it came out that my sister and I had both been sexually abused, my ordeal was pretty much forgotten because there was no physical evidence. She was violently raped and I was just molested. I was 8 or 9 and can still remember what I was wearing the day that I had to go in for the physical exam for that.

Two, I don't know how to reconcile staying in contact with my parents and siblings if I fully accept some of what has happened over the years. I have compartmentalized a lot of it and don't think that I could really explore it without it turning me into a sobbing pile of goo. I try to deal with stuff in little bits and pieces as it comes up.

When I was talking to a trauma coach, she hammered me pretty hard with some stuff. I cried for several days and could barely function. I have to function. I have to take care of my kids.

Excerpt
Have you read Pete Walker's Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving?  A number of members recommend that book.  He talks about raging and grieving both being important processes for survivors.  Having your honest reactions to what happened to you.  That's a way to "see the real truth of things" that doesn't lead to bitterness and paranoia.

I know why my sisters are the way they are. I don't hold it against them. I saw them get tormented by our parents and by each other. My oldest sister has been mom's scapegoat her entire life. I have spent a lot of years trying to stand up for my sister to no avail. I had to cut ties when she painted me black and put me in the same category as my mother. I miss her a lot. Yes, she did some crappy stuff to me when we were kids and even as adults. She and I did have a lot of fun together at different times over the years.

Excerpt
When you saw him watching porn (or woke up to realize that's what he'd done, I am not sure what the sequence of events was)... .in any case right when you realized that's what was happening/had happened... .rewind and slow motion.  What was your emotional reaction?

What the heck? was my initial reaction. I was hurt and confused and turned around and went back to bed without being noticed. I confronted him about it later and he dismissed it as him trying to be nice and considerate of my need for sleep. There were quite a few times when I would go back to bed and go back to sleep. There were a couple of times that I would lay down and cry.

I didn't make too big of a deal out of it with him because he dismissed it as him being nice. I had been told by a previous boyfriend that my desire for sex within a committed relationship wasn't normal or something along those lines. Stbx pretty much confirmed that. I am a female that has a high drive when in a relationship. STBX is a friggin' self proclaimed sex/porn addict yet repeatedly told me that he couldn't keep up with me and that I wanted too much.

Excerpt
No guarantees, but I find when I do this with past upsetting events, if you think of your emotional energy on a timeline that is slowed wayyy down, with emotional intensity being a "spike" or peak on the graph, I notice even the briefest spike of anger, or "hey that's not right", or desire, some other "forbidden" emotion that comes in before the typical anxiety and feeling wounded/not good enough.

That could bring you one step closer to trusting your interpretation of things.  

Hmmm, I can already think of several times when I had twinges that I ignored or dismissed.
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« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2016, 04:19:34 PM »

ah--what I have come to call "the 80,000 drops of water torture technique".

I can take each drop of water--like VoC, it's not that bad. Takes me a while to add them all together into those 80,000 drops. And the damage that many drops does combined. How I backed up my line in the sand--just a little--over and over and over until I was in a corner. When I finally moved out, I remember coming home from work and just sitting on my couch, astounded, saying "what the heck was I doing?"

The day that I "invited him to leave" was a day that I din't ever think would come. I wanted him to leave more than anything yet when he finally did it, I cried for several days. All of those little drops added up and I almost drowned. I was always changing my line in the sand or finding ways to let him off the hook. The day he left, he kept waiting for me to tell him to stop. He did his passive aggressive BS and I could tell he was waiting for me to say something like, "Oh, you don't have to leave now. Wait until <fill in the blank with some BS that would make it better>." I didn't do it. I didn't stop him. I sat there and seethed and dared him to say a friggin' word to me. He put on some dramatics that irritated the kids. I was all upset and the kids said, "Mom, he was just being dramatic. Ignore it."
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« Reply #46 on: May 09, 2016, 01:30:02 AM »

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.

I have felt the same, but when I was still with my BPDx there was this war between us that kept me from thinking about things from her perspective. Now can I push aside the fact that she was so mind-bogglingly impossibly to deal with and see that I was not the only one being punished. Everyone stuck in a situation where they are not wanted, loved or treated with respect will feel punished for having any needs at all. I can now see that my ex did her best and still couldn't live up to my expectations.

I felt punished when my ex withheld sex and gave me the silent treatment. Fact is she just couldn't articulate the way she felt so she just avoided all communication and/or intimacy.

I felt punished when my ex attacked me and my person verbally out of the blue, but fact is she couldn't administer her own feelings so that's how it came out.

I felt punished when my ex controlled my life and alienated my friends, but those were the only tools my ex had to makes sense of her chaotic surroundings.

I was never punished for anything. I think it's eventually an illusion to view others ill treatment of ourselves as punishment. Punishment is something we receive from an authority or from a caretaker. The idea of punishment is that if you do the right thing, punishment will not occur. There's also an element of entitledness to the concept of being "punished" in a relationship. I think it's essential to think of a relationship as voluntary. Call it unacceptable behavior instead of punishment. That gives you something to remove yourself from, not something to be subjected to or endure.

If I had felt less like a victim the ordeal that was our 20 yr relationship wouldn't have lasted a year. If I had said "If you keep doing that, I'm out!" then things would have been different. Instead I stayed because I thought I deserved to be treated batter and somehow I convinced myself that I would be that too.
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« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2016, 10:54:28 AM »

Hmmm, I can already think of several times when I had twinges that I ignored or dismissed.

I think being ignored, dismissed, and invalidated is such a huge pattern for you. Your parents did it to you. Your siblings did it to you. Your stbex did it to you. And you are doing it to yourself as well. (I'm pulling out examples of all these from just this one post. It is amazing how many there are!)

Excerpt
My siblings had things much worse than I did.

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The person who took the picture has never ever admitted to it and when I have showed that picture, I get, "Oh, so and so must have taken that. I can't believe she did that."

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I was the golden child that everybody loved. How could I say that things were horrible? It was way worse for them.

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When it came out that my sister and I had both been sexually abused, my ordeal was pretty much forgotten because there was no physical evidence.

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I was hurt and confused and turned around and went back to bed without being noticed.

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I confronted him about it later and he dismissed it as him trying to be nice and considerate of my need for sleep.

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I didn't make too big of a deal out of it with him because he dismissed it as him being nice.

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I had been told by a previous boyfriend that my desire for sex within a committed relationship wasn't normal or something along those lines.

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told me that he couldn't keep up with me and that I wanted too much.

Also important in this pattern is that if you did something to stand up for yourself, say what you wanted, etc... .your stbex or FOO would double down on the invalidation and tell you that those feelings were WRONG or BAD.
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« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2016, 11:13:47 AM »

It's wasn't really awesome. It was the illusion of awesome. It's easy to fall for. IMO, I feel pwBPD pick you and mirror you so the relationship isn't actually between two people. I also feel this is a predatory move on behalf of the pwBPD. 
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« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2016, 05:39:40 PM »

Also important in this pattern is that if you did something to stand up for yourself, say what you wanted, etc... .your stbex or FOO would double down on the invalidation and tell you that those feelings were WRONG or BAD.

So true! I have been looking for any and all opportunities to confront stbx about anything and everything. On one hand, it feels really good to speak up about things that I feel are an injustice. On the other hand, it is very anxiety inducing. I feel like I have to put on emotional armor and be mean and tough and it does not feel quite right. Not saying anything feels horrible too. I do notice that the meaner I am and the more I confront him, the nicer he is and the more he tries to tone down his passive aggressive behaviors. Standing up for myself and getting all of this stuff off my chest is friggin' scary to me because I am waiting for it to all blow up in my face. I will get a burst of strength and determination and try to stand up for myself and the minute somebody starts to argue with me, I back down because I don't want conflict.
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« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2016, 08:59:31 PM »

Standing up for yourself, and doing it a second and third time when he doubles down on the invalidation is hard work, and new to you in many ways. You'll get better at it with practice. Keep working on it!

I'm guessing that growing up whenever you did anything vaguely assertive and non-doormatty you were accused of being horribly aggressive! And now you have trouble sorting out the difference between being assertive and standing up for yourself vs. being mean and aggressive and attacking the other person.

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« Reply #51 on: May 09, 2016, 10:20:18 PM »

I'm guessing that growing up whenever you did anything vaguely assertive and non-doormatty you were accused of being horribly aggressive! And now you have trouble sorting out the difference between being assertive and standing up for yourself vs. being mean and aggressive and attacking the other person.

Bingo! It all feels mean and aggressive to me. It does feel like I am attacking the other person whether that is what I am doing or not.
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« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2016, 01:06:06 PM »

UGH! Yep, GK nails it again! I do the same thing.
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« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2016, 03:53:21 PM »

I'm guessing that growing up whenever you did anything vaguely assertive and non-doormatty you were accused of being horribly aggressive! And now you have trouble sorting out the difference between being assertive and standing up for yourself vs. being mean and aggressive and attacking the other person.

Bingo! It all feels mean and aggressive to me. It does feel like I am attacking the other person whether that is what I am doing or not.

Oh my this is ME. My mother made me out to be a horrible mean person for speaking my truth. Ex did the same... .would say I sucked all the air out of the room, that I was a selfish B word, f word impossible. It is really hard to not wonder if I am being mean and awful by wanting to talk about something, or having a feeling, or asserting my own needs.
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« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2016, 04:26:56 PM »

and BOUNDARIES? Oh My GAWD! How incredibly aggressive is *that*?
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« Reply #55 on: May 10, 2016, 04:37:45 PM »

and BOUNDARIES? Oh My GAWD! How incredibly aggressive is *that*?

WOW! Thank you so much for the laugh. That is exactly how I feel some days when trying to assert boundaries.  This explains so much.
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« Reply #56 on: May 10, 2016, 04:43:23 PM »

Staff only

This thread has reached its post limit, Please feel free to start a new topic to continue the discussion if needed.
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