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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Emotional and Physical Intimacy  (Read 4189 times)
fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2016, 05:09:41 PM »

Whew!  I'm enjoying this thread.  Lot there VC, it's going to take me a few to contribute further, but I thought I address this, since you asked, and pfft, if it ain't you guy's business, who's is it?

I put that above in quotes from your post, FHTH, because I was going to ask you: what did she get her "hooks" into? and why did it only become apparent months later? Don't answer if it's no one's business, obviously.  

I started a business years ago, and as it ramped up I spent my days in a room by myself staring at a computer, like I'm doing right now, and it got intense and stressful, so I dealt with it by ingesting massive caffeine during the day, sleeping pills at night, and heavy booze on the weekends to provide some chemical respite for a minute.  It worked in that I've made a boatload of money and I have a good reputation, but it escaped me how socially isolated I'd become, and pretty wacky as a result.  And then she found me on Facebook; we used to work together in the 80's and had what I thought was real then too, turned out I was one of many, per borderline usual, yet I was game for round two because "she'd changed" and I was in an altered state.

So we were telling each other we loved each other within weeks, having 9 hour phone conversations, and I was feeling validated and empathized with, feeling compassion, a deep emotional bond, I was fully open, boundaryless, floating on air, the full deal, until the tides changed and the devaluation started, which I responded to by getting defensive, justifying, explaining, generally freaking out, she was raging at the drop of a hat, it got so bad I left.

This story is by no means unique, and clear why I found a home here.

So it wasn't until months after I'd left her that I started digging: why did I go to those places?  Why did I freak out when I was no longer getting idealized?  Well, it caught me by surprise, the personality disorder thingy and all, and I'd made connections with what I'd learned back to how she'd been in the 80's too, it all made sense, but I was moving beyond her to me, and why did I do that?

My parents loved me, but I never felt loved growing up, and it wasn't until decades later that I realized they loved me but their own stuff prevented them from communicating it, at least in a way I could hear it, so that was that.  So I'd spent my life trying to get love by "doing" instead of just "being" inherently lovable, which is what people who grew up feeling loved do, so when someone like my ex withdraws their love, for their own reasons, I freak out and scramble around trying to "fix" it, and that's happened a few times, it was just so extreme with my ex that it was undeniable and therefore useable.

So the hooks she got in me were the compassion, validation, empathy, connection and love that I'd never felt at that level, and it was a slap in the face to have all of that yanked, but now what?  So it's been a process of deciding I'm inherently lovable, treating myself that way, looking for references to support that belief, focusing on being aware and present with people I communicate with, focusing on building an empowering core and protecting it with boundaries, and then blurt mode, let's get real and see who gets to be in my life and who doesn't.  Whew!  Kinda feel tired just typing that, but it's a brand new world, the project of Me moving full speed ahead, motivated more than ever, and yes, we can feel loved, accepted and connected, and it starts with us.  
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VitaminC
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« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2016, 05:36:39 PM »

it was just so extreme with my ex that it was undeniable and therefore useable.

Thank you very much for sharing all that. I get it. It was similar for me, the complete freak out when he stopped idealizing me - my reaction was nuts. I now know why - so that's pretty damn good!  That sentence I'm quoting for you really struck me - the extreme things are, by their virtue, undeniable and that makes them useable.

I just opened a document I wrote a few months ago. Kind of a diary in which I was trying to work it out. I haven't even thought about it in ages, but what you wrote made me remember it. I think I was crying pretty hard while writing most of it - there's ten pages - but now the feeling is quite different when I read it.  Here are a few paragraphs out of it:

As a kid, I sought refuge first, in myself, I guess. And then in books. I sought to escape but more than that, to understand. I thought there must be things here I did not understand and if I could learn enough I would understand them and that would make them better. I read fiction and as I grew I became interested in literature, psychology, and philosophy. And even now I think the answers lie there. They do. I have a lot of answers now. A lot of understanding. But it took a very long time and I’m still not done.

I’ve left the barrenness of my childhood behind, that tundra full of joyless duty. I’ve made things more solid and interesting and beautiful for myself. I’ve done a lot.  In some ways that me is so far in the past and I haven’t thought about these kinds of things for years. BPD has kept my mind very occupied for the past two years.

Let me say that again. BPD has kept my mind very occupied for the past two years.

In so many different ways he has filled it with other things; some wonderful candies – the kind of intellectual stimulation I prize above so much else, and shared interests outside of that, books and music and a few little adventures of the body, far more of the mind, and for the first time since my husband a glimpse of a future.

Let me say that again too.  For the first time since my husband, a glimpse of a future.

Even a wonderful little child / little sister. So much possibility.  The many things he did for a time that showed me he knew how to take care of  someone.  :)oing the little things I craved for someone to do without being told. So much possibility.  

And so much ugliness too.

The more ugliness, the more I wanted to get at the core.  I kept going back, for more punishment as my friends perceived it. And me too. The many times I was driving to his house asking myself why I was going there, why was I going there when I felt somehow forced or at least coerced into it, when I didn’t expect anything good or pleasant, when I didn’t face into it with joy or pleasure or excitement but the opposite. How often, I would ask myself, was I to repeat this self-punishment and WHY?

Because I had to. I had to keep going until I got to the cut and red flesh beneath it.  To see it, the wound, I had to see it.  To understand.  Like a forensic scientist, like a true scholar who needs the evidence.    I also liked the game, the challenge. It was exciting. I guess because it made me feel really alive.   Why is that?   Is it because it’s true? Because it’s real? Not makey-uppy, not upper brain stuff, but the primitive, most basic thing there is? Because it seems connected to survival in a way the other things just aren’t?   It must be something like that.

It’s so easy to keep getting lost in details.  What matters in all this is how this is affecting me so deeply and how I can’t stop it for good. And how I couldn’t make my needs clear in a mature way at the start and instead acted like a spoilt, mute child. And then kept at it. For well over a year now. Kept trying to fix the thing that is not fixable because I what I really want to repair is my whole childhood.

That person, who I was with him for a few months, that person is who I want to be all the time. Who I think I am. But I want to be. So in myself, so earthed, so magical, so full and sensuous and giving and of the stars. Everything.


In that same document, I had this link saved:

www.dana.org/Cerebrum/2000/Wounds_That_Time_Won%E2%80%99t_Heal__The_Neurobiology_of_Child_Abuse/

I'd forgotten, in the meantime, how hard I was trying to work all this out. My part, his part, the sort of monstrous thing we'd made together.

So yea, you're certainly right that it "starts with us"
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2016, 06:11:14 PM »

I’ve left the barrenness of my childhood behind, that tundra full of joyless duty. I’ve made things more solid and interesting and beautiful for myself. I’ve done a lot.  In some ways that me is so far in the past and I haven’t thought about these kinds of things for years.

Tundra full of joyless duty.  That's a pretty bleak visual, the motivation to leave it behind no mystery, and good for you!

Excerpt
Because I had to. I had to keep going until I got to the cut and red flesh beneath it.  To see it, the wound, I had to see it.  To understand.  Like a forensic scientist, like a true scholar who needs the evidence.    I also liked the game, the challenge. It was exciting. I guess because it made me feel really alive.   Why is that?   Is it because it’s true? Because it’s real? Not makey-uppy, not upper brain stuff, but the primitive, most basic thing there is? Because it seems connected to survival in a way the other things just aren’t?   It must be something like that.

That's really cool.  Seems you were able to stay a little detached from the emotion and look at what was going on, on a more objective level, even in the face of borderline hell.  And also the compulsion to do so.  I never got there, the introspection happened much later, it was more 'this sucks, I'm outta here' at the time, my relationship was much shorter though; I could feel an immunity to the crap coming on, a protective numbness I guess, although it felt better, but why would I want to be in a relationship I need to be numb in?  Even then I was thinking that.

Excerpt
Kept trying to fix the thing that is not fixable because I what I really want to repair is my whole childhood.

More great awareness.  I concur.  And this was a few months ago and you're feeling differently now; have you made progress on that issue specifically?

Excerpt
That person, who I was with him for a few months, that person is who I want to be all the time. Who I think I am. But I want to be. So in myself, so earthed, so magical, so full and sensuous and giving and of the stars. Everything.[/i]

And who you think you are is your identity yes?  And the cool thing is that although a borderline can awaken that, we're not dependent on them for it, it's still in us and we get to keep it, and find more sustainable, holistic ways of fully awakening it and keeping it awake, while thanking the borderline for reminding us what's possible.
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drained1996
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« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2016, 09:50:14 PM »

OK... .I just stumbled into this post... .FHTH, I think you are me, or I am you.  I have been a blurter since I can remember.   I've learned more what it was for after my BPD experiences though.  It's a weeding out process, something I just naturally came about in life... .and the older I get the better definition my actions of blurting have in my brain.  Like you, it helps me process who I may want to get to know or not.   The more knowledge I have gained on what I want and need in life, the more selective I was about responses to my blurts that would gain my attention. 
This thread is something many should read... .I've only glimpsed at some of it, so I'll have to go back and read it all!  Great posts all, goodnight!
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VitaminC
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« Reply #34 on: August 21, 2016, 12:26:57 AM »

Tundra full of joyless duty.  That's a pretty bleak visual, the motivation to leave it behind no mystery, and good for you!
It's funny, how even here, I feel the urge to state that my parents were fine - to protect them from anyone's misunderstanding or judgement! They weren't monsters, far from it, just a bit young to be parents. And I was a sensitive kid, always aware of everything and feeling things deeply. I did learn early on to protect myself, to kind of erect a big metal wall and be careful who I let it and always keep the stepladder handy so I could quickly scamper up and over the wall back to safety.


I never got there, the introspection happened much later, it was more 'this sucks, I'm outta here' at the time, my relationship was much shorter though; I could feel an immunity to the crap coming on, a protective numbness I guess, although it felt better, but why would I want to be in a relationship I need to be numb in?  Even then I was thinking that.
This is the bit that I have always found interesting - you've mentioned it a good few times in your posts. That you got out so quickly, after "freaking out" about the devaluation etc. Can you recall how your feelings went during that process? Something like : 1) freak out, 2) get numb to self-protect, 3) run away -- I can get steps 1 and 2, but not what happens after that.

As I was falling asleep, it came to me to wonder how important it is (or not) to remember our processes. I wonder how much of it we need to retain in our consciousness to actually have the lessons stick and genuinely help us along the road. As I said earlier, I had actually forgotten how hard I was working to understand it all as it was happening. It was too much input while we were still enmeshed to process all the info that was coming in, and I think I spent a lot of time in the state with that spinning pizza disc you get on your mac when it's "thinking" and before it's ready for the next command.  

Hi Drained, glad you find the thread useful! It's nice to find people to think with Smiling (click to insert in post)
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #35 on: August 21, 2016, 07:41:59 AM »

It's funny, how even here, I feel the urge to state that my parents were fine - to protect them from anyone's misunderstanding or judgement! They weren't monsters, far from it, just a bit young to be parents. And I was a sensitive kid, always aware of everything and feeling things deeply. I did learn early on to protect myself, to kind of erect a big metal wall and be careful who I let it and always keep the stepladder handy so I could quickly scamper up and over the wall back to safety.

Yes, you mentioned it was your childhood that was barren, which has as much to do with our own sensitivities as it does our parents.  Some people, seems many people here, had atrocious parents and upbringings, but I, and also you as you say, had parents that were fine; mine were raised in a culture where emotions were never expressed, a stiff upper lip vibe, the communication being a little formal, aloof, and superficial.  I too am extra sensitive, and understanding-driven, much more comfortable with open, honest communication that with superficiality, where what's really going on needs to be intuited.  I too erected walls, no, that's not really it, I just created my own worlds; I'm an introvert by nature, a rich internal landscape, although you wouldn't know it because my wall has been the gift of gab, a way to protect myself, which makes blurt mode easier in a sense, but I'm no longer trying to keep people away, I'm trying to connect, trying to decide whom to let in, having been entirely oblivious to that when I was younger, so I let the wrong ones in, a lot, along with people I could really relate to too, although purely by chance.  I'm taking the chance out of it today.

Excerpt
This is the bit that I have always found interesting - you've mentioned it a good few times in your posts. That you got out so quickly, after "freaking out" about the devaluation etc. Can you recall how your feelings went during that process? Something like : 1) freak out, 2) get numb to self-protect, 3) run away -- I can get steps 1 and 2, but not what happens after that.

Yeah, that was years ago and I kind of express it in shorthand now, I'm way out of it and don't go to that place anymore, so understandable how it's a little less than fully descriptive.  And this thread is good, fun to talk with you VC.  The last few months of our relationship were bad, I'd left her because she had cheated on me, she came groveling back a week later, we got back together, it was never the same, me lacking trust, her feeling abandoned, and any comfort in the relationship that had been there was gone, and I fell into a "fix it" mode and ignored what was really going on, like the vibe in my childhood.  Walking on eggshells is the perfect description for how I was feeling, she was triggered and getting more and more unpredictable and moody, raging all the time at nothing apparent, I was making it my fault and scampering around fixing and trying to plug emotional holes, damn, I get a little cold sweat just typing this.  So what do we decide to do?  Go on vacation together, that'll work.  We went on a cruise, great plan, incarcerated on an ocean liner for a week, I fully understand now how some people jump overboard on cruise ships, I felt the urge.  Anyway, it got so bad we couldn't make eye contact, not talking, spending our days at opposite ends of the ship with separate groups, and something snapped for me.  That's were the numbness showed up, I went from fully engaged, anxious as hell, confused, to nothing, just a disconnect.  And that was great in a way because suddenly I could think straight, went internal again, everything made sense, the direction was clear, so when the ship docked on the last day I said goodbye and left, walked away, didn't run, and never looked back.  That was pretty easy really, it was the following months that were full of upheaval as my emotions woke up again, lots of What the heck was I doing?  The biggest part being I made all of it, everything that had happened, my fault, and it clearly wasn't, and throw in the personality disorder thingy that was obvious, and why did I take all that on?  And that brings us to my current mindset, years later, where I've been focusing on being lovable instead of doing to be loved, being completely myself, noticing what I'm getting, and instead of going to the default assumption that I'm not connecting with someone because of something I'm doing wrong, I'm choosing to remove the folks I don't connect with and nourish relationships with those I do.  Sea change.

OK, that was still a little abbreviated but hopefully I caught the gist.

Excerpt
As I was falling asleep, it came to me to wonder how important it is (or not) to remember our processes. I wonder how much of it we need to retain in our consciousness to actually have the lessons stick and genuinely help us along the road. As I said earlier, I had actually forgotten how hard I was working to understand it all as it was happening. It was too much input while we were still enmeshed to process all the info that was coming in, and I think I spent a lot of time in the state with that spinning pizza disc you get on your mac when it's "thinking" and before it's ready for the next command.  

Yep, there's that need to understand, same with me, and I get very uncomfortable when things are un-understandable, and the lesson is don't go to those places, if something unspoken is going on, bring it up, have that conversation, and before that even, populate our lives with people who we can have those conversations with.  My ex would never have been one of them.  And there's the fear there, the fear of vulnerability, which is lessening as I go there more often, kind of a I just don't care anymore, I am who I am.  And I'm constantly meeting people who default to negative judgement, unsolicited advice, invalidation, for their own reasons and just as a matter of course it seems, pain in the ass, but once in a while I meet people who I can be me with and vice versa and it works, which is where blurt mode comes from, I want more of those.  And I find I start a lot of sentences with the word and, what's up with that?

There's me VC, thanks for the chat, some healin' goin' on round here!
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drained1996
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« Reply #36 on: August 21, 2016, 10:34:17 AM »

"My parents loved me, but I never felt loved growing up, and it wasn't until decades later that I realized they loved me but their own stuff prevented them from communicating it, at least in a way I could hear it, so that was that.  So I'd spent my life trying to get love by "doing" instead of just "being" inherently lovable, which is what people who grew up feeling loved do, so when someone like my ex withdraws their love, for their own reasons, I freak out and scramble around trying to "fix" it, and that's happened a few times, it was just so extreme with my ex that it was undeniable and therefore useable.

So the hooks she got in me were the compassion, validation, empathy, connection and love that I'd never felt at that level, and it was a slap in the face to have all of that yanked, but now what?  So it's been a process of deciding I'm inherently lovable, treating myself that way, looking for references to support that belief, focusing on being aware and present with people I communicate with, focusing on building an empowering core and protecting it with boundaries, and then blurt mode, let's get real and see who gets to be in my life and who doesn't.  Whew!  Kinda feel tired just typing that, but it's a brand new world, the project of Me moving full speed ahead, motivated more than ever, and yes, we can feel loved, accepted and connected, and it starts with us."

I feel like I'm looking at my own autobiography when reading the above... .literally... .that was/is my life... .
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VitaminC
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« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2016, 11:39:33 AM »

I fell into a "fix it" mode and ignored what was really going on, like the vibe in my childhood.  Walking on eggshells is the perfect description for how I was feeling, she was triggered and getting more and more unpredictable and moody, raging all the time at nothing apparent, I was making it my fault and scampering around fixing and trying to plug emotional holes... .

Yes, same here. It was only after his confession of cheating, wow, I realise 2 days short of one year ago exactly today, that I fell into fix-it mode.  Up until then I'd had one foot out the door of the relationship and, for a bunch of reasons (still to figure out - that's my next topic Smiling (click to insert in post) ) I suddenly got riveted and determined to fix it at that point. I considered myself at least partly to blame; I'd not been supportive or validating, and certainly not by the standards of what a BPD needs, which I had no idea of at the time.  So, I went backwards and remembered all the hurtful and dismissive things I'd done and thought I could actually understand why someone would seek out the comfort of someone else.

Maybe with a normal person that would make a degree of sense - I did a lot of reading about cheating in relationships etc - but not with a BPD, who himself had stated very early on that he'd cheated in every single relationship he'd ever been in. Well, it doesn't matter. What does matter is how I became fixated on fixing. That was the key for me too - but a much longer process than yours.

I knew I was on to something big when I realised the feeling of being in panic mode and trying to fix was deeply, deeply familiar.


Anyway, it got so bad we couldn't make eye contact, not talking, spending our days at opposite ends of the ship with separate groups, and something snapped for me.  That's were the numbness showed up, I went from fully engaged, anxious as hell, confused, to nothing, just a disconnect.  And that was great in a way because suddenly I could think straight, went internal again, everything made sense, the direction was clear... .

That numbness, that disconnect, is an interesting moment, I think. There's a lot going on there. It's what people describe as something akin to waking up or snapping back to sanity - but that doesn't begin to explain whatever it is that actually happens in there. Fascinating. Any theories here?


That was pretty easy really, it was the following months that were full of upheaval as my emotions woke up again, lots of What the heck was I doing?  The biggest part being I made all of it, everything that had happened, my fault, and it clearly wasn't, and throw in the personality disorder thingy that was obvious, and why did I take all that on?
 

Funny about the time lag there - it was both of the things overlapping for me, although also serious What the heck memories and moments a few weeks after NC.  Hm, interesting. You must have really shut down to get through in the last while of the relationship - somehow receded from yourself.

I'm still doing it - still trying to understand every thread, every particle, despite my stated resistance to reducing things to particles. I am so... .what's the word for when someone is two contradictory things at once?  Oh! Maybe it's "contradictory"?


And there's the fear there, the fear of vulnerability, which is lessening as I go there more often, kind of a I just don't care anymore, I am who I am.

How great for you! Really.

I am worried about this part, for myself I mean. I have no fear of vulnerability right now. But I bet if I started to go sweet on someone tomorrow, it would be right there with big open arms and a sly laugh.  I'm not sure how to "practise" on regular people - I've come a long way from my walled up self, after all. I'm grand with friends now, but relationships, whoowhee . I mean, who knows?

I've go to say your description of the cruise made me laugh. I know it was probably horrible, I can well imagine, but it's so absurd at the same time, isn't it? The things we do, pff.

[soft punch in the upper arm emoticon]
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VitaminC
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« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2016, 11:49:21 AM »

Oh yea, this : "Yep, there's that need to understand, same with me, and I get very uncomfortable when things are un-understandable, and the lesson is don't go to those places, if something unspoken is going on, bring it up, have that conversation, and before that even, populate our lives with people who we can have those conversations with. "

I am not sure I get this properly. I understand the words - but I like mysteries! If I don't understand something, that is exactly when I want to go there.

Clearly there's a difference between healthy / beautiful mysteries and diseased / ugly ones - but a) we can't always know in advance which ones it's gonna be and b) like I said, I find the ugly ones somehow beautiful too.

Ugly doesn't always have to equal destruction... .

I think there's something here I have to dig around in
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2016, 12:18:40 PM »

That numbness, that disconnect, is an interesting moment, I think. There's a lot going on there. It's what people describe as something akin to waking up or snapping back to sanity - but that doesn't begin to explain whatever it is that actually happens in there. Fascinating. Any theories here?

I dunno, for me it seemed pretty simple, at least in retrospect.  We were both living a fantasy, both living some version of a relationship in our heads that were different from each other, and neither one matched reality, and I can really only speak for myself here, and regardless of ample evidence to the contrary, we kept doing it, me blinded by the "fix it" mode and anxiety, and what the relationship actually was on that cruise was so divergent from the fantasy that it broke through, finally.  And when it did it was shocking, but also freeing, in that all of the drive to fix and all the anxiety got replaced with a drive to leave, this is not what I signed up for, this sucks, I'm out.  And yes, cruise ships get lonely when you're by yourself, but I didn't see anything deeper than that there, do you?

Excerpt
I am worried about this part, for myself I mean. I have no fear of vulnerability right now. But I bet if I started to go sweet on someone tomorrow, it would be right there with big open arms and a sly laugh.  I'm not sure how to "practise" on regular people - I've come a long way from my walled up self, after all. I'm grand with friends now, but relationships, whoowhee . I mean, who knows?

See, I used to make this huge distinction between friends and significant others, like they were entirely different creatures, when really are they that different?  Sure, there's a higher level of vulnerability and intimacy, and add physical intimacy, but aren't the best relationships comprised of people who are the best of friends?  I'm coming from a place of having fallen into most of my previous relationships, like how the hell did I end up here, some good, some not, but all mostly by chance, so how do we take the chance out of it, at least mostly?  By connecting with lots of people, getting real, seeing what we're getting back, and building on what works.  You say you're grand with friendships now, and what makes them grand, and why wouldn't that apply to a relationship too, only deeper?

I feel like I'm looking at my own autobiography when reading the above... .literally... .that was/is my life... .

Yep, it's cool when we connect with someone else's life huh drained, like we're not alone and we're not unique, and the less we think we are the healthier yes?

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« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2016, 12:33:10 PM »

Oh yea, this : "Yep, there's that need to understand, same with me, and I get very uncomfortable when things are un-understandable, and the lesson is don't go to those places, if something unspoken is going on, bring it up, have that conversation, and before that even, populate our lives with people who we can have those conversations with. "

I am not sure I get this properly. I understand the words - but I like mysteries! If I don't understand something, that is exactly when I want to go there.

I like mysteries too, except when the mystery is how someone feels or what they think about me, that's triggering, and my head goes to all the dark, critical places when I don't know.  So I need to be with people who are emotive and communicate openly about that, I certainly do, and when people don't, it's a problem.  I get labeled "special" and "different" a lot, and the people saying that are meaning it in a good way, I kind of like it really, I am being myself, but maybe it's a little true so finding people to really, deeply connect with is challenging, which why I've been practicing so much.
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« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2016, 01:46:26 PM »

So it's been a process of deciding I'm inherently lovable, treating myself that way, looking for references to support that belief, focusing on being aware and present with people I communicate with, focusing on building an empowering core and protecting it with boundaries... .the project of Me moving full speed ahead, motivated more than ever, and yes, we can feel loved, accepted and connected, and it starts with us.  

Hope you don't mind me jumping in on this thread with my splinters of understanding. I am fascinated by it. Thanks to both of you for leading it.

Is this process a continuous journey of improvement?

I like the idea of an empowering core!

Like a nuclear reaction producing high levels of energy and power, protected by electric fences and concrete walls 10ft thick.

Well maybe our boundaries can be more permeable  Smiling (click to insert in post) Like a state of the art membrane, stronger than a 10ft wall, but selectively permeable to individuals, thoughts and emotions which add to the nuclear power.

What does this empowering core consist of?
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« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2016, 02:02:02 PM »

Is this process a continuous journey of improvement?

Oh yes, as is life a continuous journey, but a big area of focus for me lately.

Excerpt
Like a nuclear reaction producing high levels of energy and power, protected by electric fences and concrete walls 10ft thick.

Yes, although creating boundaries that are too strong creates a personal prison, so really the boundaries are the guards at the gates, deciding who gets in, and hopefully avoiding those borderline Trojan horses.  Their security protocols have been upgraded significantly, so it's pretty tough to get past today.

Excerpt
Well maybe our boundaries can be more permeable  Smiling (click to insert in post) Like a state of the art membrane, stronger than a 10ft wall, but selectively permeable to individuals, thoughts and emotions which add to the nuclear power.

Nice!  Now you're gettin high tech, I like it!

Excerpt
What does this empowering core consist of?

Like we've been talking about in this thread: values without values conflicts, empowering beliefs about who we are, which are identities, empowering beliefs in relation to other people and the world, and references to support them.

We can elicit all of that with questions:

Who am I?  Who do I want to be?  What would not being that cost me?
What do I value?  What value do I consider more important than what other value?  What will I gain with this value?  What will it cost me?
What do I believe about other people?  How does that help my connection with people?

And then that expands to needs and roles, vehicles we use to meet those needs.

Deep stuff man, but it starts there, and you ever notice we get better at everything we focus on and practice?
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« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2016, 06:29:08 PM »

https://medium.com/p-s-i-love-you/on-dating-men-with-potential-2a7a5fbf5b0b#.bmzhetjjg

Guys, there's so much there to think about. I've gotta get some sleep, but I came across this today and it's funny and honest, and has some nice insights that overlap with what we've been talking about.

Nevermind the gender thing, that's not the point for me.  You'll see what I mean anyway.  

I think it was in the article on this site that talks about "the lonely child" ( have i got that right? ) that the point is made that when we fall in love with another we're falling in love with something that is not fully alive in ourselves.

That resonated v much for me when I read it. It's another way to slice it. Kind of very sad, but also somehow sweet - that longing for something we perceive in the other is really a longing for the muted or locked away or hidden parts of ourselves.

Because we don't/didn't just love how nice the other was to us, but also the particular kind of weirdness that made them stand out, kind of glow out, from the crowd.

I find that quite moving, I must say.

I agree, FHTH,  Moselle,  and Drained, great thread. Amazing conversation. I have so much more to say to you and ask you, but enough for today.

Night night
 
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« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2016, 06:36:07 PM »

Just came back to say , Moselle, your nuclear reactor with the permeable walls!

 Smiling (click to insert in post)

Very fine image, I like it mucho.

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« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2016, 09:13:58 PM »

Good article VC, and funny, and all the places mentioned are in my neck of the woods, I went to school in San Luis Obispo and have drunk in that bar.  But wait, I had potential!  Where the hell was she?  Wait, wait, I had potential!

But anyway, to me the concept of a reflection, or of a connecting with an otherwise inaccessible or missing part of ourselves in someone else, and hence the attraction, reminds me of object relations theory, and one of its offshoots, attachment theory, which I've gotten some value out of, although I can't ever say I've been consciously aware that someone I've been attracted to was attractive because they were acting as that reflection or fulfilling something in me I considered missing.  Maybe, in that I've been attracted to people who have skills or traits I don't, although isn't that just opposites attract?  Then again, I saw my borderline ex as someone highly attractive because she was meeting needs in me she had gleaned, due to her need to attach, which I only learned later, but I didn't see her as someone with potential, I saw her as someone who already had what she needed and was using it.  Until she didn't and I didn't.

But what are the other reasons someone "with potential" could be attractive?  
There's rescuing, fulfilling a need to rescue within us, but also, someone who has been rescued is dependent and therefore won't leave, so abandonment fears handled.  Of course once rescued someone might leave because the dynamic changed, gotta be continual rescuing to work maybe... .
Or control, someone with unrealized potential could be seen as "less than" and therefore controllable.  
Or a project, going to the gender-specific axiom that men want their woman to stay the same and women want their man to change, questionable validity and too broad, but not without some merit.

I'm more inclined to believe that the right person can awaken parts of ourselves that were already there, more than provide access to something that is missing, although I'm not entirely sold on that.  I look forward to more input... .

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« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2016, 11:00:41 PM »

I have some input on this subject... .I read the article yesterday, and have had a long day... .here is what I think I remember:

She dated a lot of men she claimed had "potential".  They didn't work out.  Pretty sure she also claimed to have dated a good number of men that had their sh!t together... .but obviously they didn't work out either.  But then she tears down the men with "potential" only to set the table to be ready for someone with their sh!t together.  

The whole concept left me a little confused... .it seemed she wanted someone with it all together, but her past made her remember those that seemed to arouse greater emotion in her... .and they only had potential... .the others that had it together... .but if only for this article, really didn't stir her emotionally.  

I'll go out on a pretty strong limb here and say, I didn't like the article... .nor her approach.  People are people... .we all have our baggage.  In the overall scheme of things, we all want to be happy.  What makes one person happy, is not necessarily for everyone.  Most everyone has potential to somebody... .and some who are "very successful" are no good for anybody.

As FHTH said:
"I'm more inclined to believe that the right person can awaken parts of ourselves that were already there"
I'll roll the dice and be me... .cause that's all I have.  I don't have everything together, but I have potential... .Smiling (click to insert in post)
I'm good with who I am now, and I'm sure I will be even better with a great partner in life... .which goes back to FHTH's quote above.  Our matches will make us better partners, and vice versa.  
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« Reply #47 on: August 23, 2016, 05:35:02 AM »

Let me start by saying that I think the way this article is written is definitely for easy consumption and not in the deeply reflective mode that we are in here. It's a way to talk about relationships that makes me think of dinner or cocktail parties; some wit and a summary that just begins to touch on some deeper insights. As such it's a bit frothy, sure.

What appealed to me was the part about recognizing an impulse to fix as something that was left over from childhood - because that is an insight that I had, strongly and for the first time, just a few months ago.

... .connecting with an otherwise inaccessible or missing part of ourselves in someone else, and hence the attraction, reminds me of object relations theory, and one of its offshoots, attachment theory... .

Have you got a link to anything on object relations theory? I've talked about this with a friend and could not find anything that to help me understand the theory - where it comes from, how it works. I've read a bit about attachment theory and also got some understanding from it, but it doesn't go far enough for me. I didn't even know that the two were connected or one an offshoot of the other.

But what are the other reasons someone "with potential" could be attractive?  
- There's rescuing,
- abandonment fears handled (because the rescued becomes dependent on the rescuer)
- could be seen as "less than" and therefore controllable
- Or a project

I think these are the unhealthy reasons that we might be attracted and I am sure these happen all the time or are frequently in the mix. They have been for me, to some degree, in my last relationship - more despite myself than as things I really wanted to be doing in particular. I sort of fell into the rescuer mode for a while and, I'll be honest, I liked feeling like the one that had some answers on personal development questions. For a while. But it was never something I felt totally at ease with because I recognized a patronizing attitude in there, same as I recognize in that article. 

I also think that by presenting it in this way is a kind of after the fact way of explaining an attraction. It's strong, we see the red flags, convince ourselves that those are issues that can be overcome (with time, or with our help, or both), and class the issues as things that stood in the way of someone's achieving a fullness of self ie their potential. I think the examples she gives are more about society's views on being "together"; earning money, paying bills, working in ways that are consistent with one's education etc.

I'm personally not focused on this kind of stuff at all and what I think about as "potential" is  more to do with someone who is still searching, still curious, still open to change. Maybe I've a childish or simplistic view in some way and think that someone with more obvious issues is more in that mode of being and am therefore more intrigued initially and see the possibility of exploring together. I assume that someone who is outwardly successful (in society's terms) is less likely to be interested in exploring the self and so I would be less captivated emotionally.  I see less "potential" for being connected in the ways that I need.

If that's the case, then yea, I definitely need to pay even less attention to outward trappings and do what you both say - just be myself - and see what happens or what comes back. That's what we've been talking about here from the get go, right? Blurt mode is one behaviour that is in contact with that thing in a pretty powerful way.   

Maybe, in that I've been attracted to people who have skills or traits I don't, although isn't that just opposites attract?

vs

I'm more inclined to believe that the right person can awaken parts of ourselves that were already there, more than provide access to something that is missing, although I'm not entirely sold on that.

I've never understood "opposites attract". I've always seen it as more of gaining "access to something that is missing". If we're attracted to someone because they have the trait or skill of being more open than we are able to be - isn't that something that we want for ourselves? Someone who models the kind of behaviours we want to exhibit helps us along the road. I do realise that sounds like using the relationship as a vehicle, using other people to learn about ourselves - it's not quite on par with using people to further our careers, as an example, but it has the same kinds of tones.  Hm.  And yet, isn't that, at the base of it, what relationships are or do?

We talk a lot about being grateful for the lessons we've learned from all our relationships. Finding the good in that. There's that whole way of thinking about life as a journey and people accompanying each other for a while and then parting ways and each continuing on their own path. Etc. 

So, if we agree that that is one way to look at it, and a pretty healthy way, then is it morally objectionable to have that as almost a guiding principle? - I am learning all the time, for a while I will learn with this person.

I'm getting myself into a bit of a knot here and feel I'm drifting off from the topic at hand. Although it's connected, but then every damn thing is connected to every other damn thing, isn't it? Argh.






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« Reply #48 on: August 23, 2016, 06:09:45 AM »

Just highlighting where I want to go in thinking this through:

We were both living a fantasy, both living some version of a  And when it did it was shocking, but also freeing, in that all of the drive to fix and all the anxiety got replaced with a drive to leave, this is not what I signed up for, this sucks, I'm out.  And yes, cruise ships get lonely when you're by yourself, but I didn't see anything deeper than that there, do you?

I do. But I am still thinking on this.  I am sure to come back and ask more questions on this moment.

See, I used to make this huge distinction between friends and significant others, like they were entirely different creatures, when really are they that different?  Sure, there's a higher level of vulnerability and intimacy, and add physical intimacy, but aren't the best relationships comprised of people who are the best of friends?  

You've nailed something here for me.   It's coming to me, what I want to ask here, but it is not fully formed yet.

I'm coming from a place of having fallen into most of my previous relationships, like how the hell did I end up here, some good, some not, but all mostly by chance, so how do we take the chance out of it, at least mostly?  By connecting with lots of people, getting real, seeing what we're getting back, and building on what works. You say you're grand with friendships now, and what makes them grand, and why wouldn't that apply to a relationship too, only deeper?

Exactly. Good question.

Can I introduce a new part to this investigation we are conducting?  Jealousy.  A sense of ownership of aspects of the other, an idea of the "specialness" or uniqueness of the connection - that's how I think about it.

I had an interesting moment the other day. My ex-husband is someone I trust absolutely and see as almost a more highly evolved being than almost anyone else I know. He has been with a new partner for the last 4 or 5 years and had a child earlier this year. I am in touch with him and wholly supportive and happy for him. It was a long process to disentangle all the emotional remnants of 14 years together, but now we are in a kind of "pure" relationship. We talk soul to soul, I would call it, and what's outside (the rest of life) doesn't matter so much. 

I was talking to someone at work and relating a funny story that happened years ago. Something about my mention of my exH clicked with the colleague I was talking to and she stopped me and asked is that so-and-so?  I didn't know that was who you were married to and it's great you're still on such good terms.  I think he's an amazing character and went on to say a few more things about him as a person. He's always been a blurter too, and people are either a bit scared by the intensity or magnetically drawn to his honesty - generally the latter.  So this appraisal of him was not unusual in any way; I've encountered it hundreds of times.   

And yet, something in me, when she spoke about him as if she had some kind of inside knowledge, reacted with, I guess, something akin to jealousy. I put it aside to think about it later.  Why should I have a reaction of anything other than joy that yet another person recognized the good in someone I think has an awful lot of good in them.

Obviously it's not as simple as that. I started to think about the definition of jealousy as the one I put above; essentially some kind of ownership.

I am not sure how to proceed with this thought process. I can see there are connections to what we've been talking about, but the map is still smudgy.
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« Reply #49 on: August 23, 2016, 06:23:13 AM »

More highlighting:

I like mysteries too, except when the mystery is how someone feels or what they think about me, that's triggering, and my head goes to all the dark, critical places when I don't know.  So I need to be with people who are emotive and communicate openly about that, I certainly do, and when people don't, it's a problem. 

I'm thinking a lot about this part.  That sounds like good self-knowledge and a useful gauge that can be made into a boundary.  Different kinds of mysteries, hm. 
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« Reply #50 on: August 23, 2016, 06:47:23 AM »


I'm personally not focused on this kind of stuff at all and what I think about as "potential" is  more to do with someone who is still searching, still curious, still open to change. Maybe I've a childish or simplistic view... .I assume that someone who is outwardly successful (in society's terms) is less likely to be interested in exploring the self and so I would be less captivated emotionally.  I see less "potential" for being connected in the ways that I need.


Thanks for this VitC. I love the way you put it here, "still searching, still curious, and open to change". I believe this is crucial in any successful relationship.  

BTW, I don't believe that outward success in society's terms precludes this. I've had the privilege of working with some very outwardly successful people, and found many of them to be incredibly searching, curious and open to change.

I have taken the last 6 months to focus almost exclusively on my recovery - searching, curious, and open to change. It's a luxury, but I have done it and I am now beginning to resume more laborious parts of my life, and one of my greatest fears is that fall back into the attitude of "I've got this", and become complacent.

Any tips on how to remain this way?
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« Reply #51 on: August 24, 2016, 08:43:12 AM »

Hey VC-

WooHoo!  The thread grows, lot goin' on here!

Have you got a link to anything on object relations theory? I've talked about this with a friend and could not find anything that to help me understand the theory - where it comes from, how it works. I've read a bit about attachment theory and also got some understanding from it, but it doesn't go far enough for me. I didn't even know that the two were connected or one an offshoot of the other.

Here's the wiki on object relations theory, and I've gotten value out of the book Attached by Levine and Heller.

Excerpt
I'm personally not focused on this kind of stuff at all and what I think about as "potential" is  more to do with someone who is still searching, still curious, still open to change. Maybe I've a childish or simplistic view in some way and think that someone with more obvious issues is more in that mode of being and am therefore more intrigued initially and see the possibility of exploring together. I assume that someone who is outwardly successful (in society's terms) is less likely to be interested in exploring the self and so I would be less captivated emotionally.  I see less "potential" for being connected in the ways that I need.

To me there's a correlation of both getting our act together and maturity with the "still searching... ." vibe.  If life isn't working too well for us then we're going to be searching, curious and open to change, looking for ways to live that don't hurt so much, but once we've found a way, values, rules, beliefs, identities and roles again, then we're going to be resistant to changing that; if it works don't fix it.  And then maturity: when we're young and still finding our way we're malleable, which is as it should be, and as we mature we can get "set in our ways".

Then again, if we adopt the belief that maturity is not a process of replacing the child with the adult, it's a process of adding the adult to the child and becoming self-parenting, then that child is still alive and well, and wants nothing more than to jump in that puddle with glee, where the adult walks around it and b___es about it.  So maybe the key is retaining that youthful curiosity and malleability while also adjusting our lives to create more pleasure than pain, and realizing there's times for the child to play and times for the adult to do what needs to be done.  A delicate balancing act, and I'll get on it just as soon as I'm done being gleefully irresponsible for a minute... .

Excerpt
I've never understood "opposites attract". I've always seen it as more of gaining "access to something that is missing". If we're attracted to someone because they have the trait or skill of being more open than we are able to be - isn't that something that we want for ourselves?

I don't think necessarily.  My ex, for example, was very vivacious, bubbly, flirty, energetic (a facade designed to attach, I learned much later), and I'm not, and don't really want to be, although I found that extremely attractive in her.  Maybe there's some subconscious drive towards that because I'm not that and want it for myself, but I didn't feel that, I just looked at it as this is someone very energizing to be around.  Hmmm.  Maybe something deeper there... .

Excerpt
I do realise that sounds like using the relationship as a vehicle, using other people to learn about ourselves - it's not quite on par with using people to further our careers, as an example, but it has the same kinds of tones.  Hm.  And yet, isn't that, at the base of it, what relationships are or do?

Yep.

Excerpt
We talk a lot about being grateful for the lessons we've learned from all our relationships. Finding the good in that. There's that whole way of thinking about life as a journey and people accompanying each other for a while and then parting ways and each continuing on their own path. Etc.  

So, if we agree that that is one way to look at it, and a pretty healthy way, then is it morally objectionable to have that as almost a guiding principle?

Nope.  The experience of life is just that, an experience, to make of what we will, and there is no right way to live it, and to me, morally, as long as you're not hurting anyone, let fly!


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« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2016, 10:49:03 AM »

" So maybe the key is retaining that youthful curiosity and malleability while also adjusting our lives to create more pleasure than pain, and realizing there's times for the child to play and times for the adult to do what needs to be done.  A delicate balancing act, and I'll get on it just as soon as I'm done being gleefully irresponsible for a minute... ."

A very telling statement for the world I find myself in today.  Was I too much of that child in my relationships and corresponding decisions?  I think so, which is why the scales need to be tipped with a little more responsible (and now more knowledgeable) adult.  Sometimes it's just a little hard to practice, as I love jumping in those puddles!   Smiling (click to insert in post)

As to the object relations theory, this one hit home.  I've recently had a breakthrough on where a lot of my feeling bad comes from in a lot of r/s's.  At an early age I was put into the position of being made to feel responsible for my mother's feelings (feelings being the object).  In all types of r/s's I can clearly see where my thoughts immediately turn to how I think I made another feel when I do something... .or don't do something that I think may affect them negatively.  It's certainly something I need to focus on understanding better, and handling my reactions to such feelings in a more healthy way. 
Of course my BPD relationships magnified this issue for me as there were plenty of bad feelings to go around.  I find it very refreshing to understand where it all began, and how it evolved in my life... .off to play in some puddles now... .or is it time to walk around them?... .all so confusing at times.   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2016, 05:38:56 AM »

Just came back to say , Moselle, your nuclear reactor with the permeable walls!

 Smiling (click to insert in post)

Very fine image, I like it mucho.

Vit C, FHTH, drained, please can I ask your opinion on how I can ignite a nuclear reaction at my core, which powers a thriving life instead of a victim or a survivor?

Nuclear fusion reactions energize stars, including the Sun, and the resulting sunlight has profound effects on our planet.

Nuclear fusion: The union of two light atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus, resulting in the release of enormous amounts of energy.
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« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2016, 08:22:03 AM »

Hi Moselle-

Vit C, FHTH, drained, please can I ask your opinion on how I can ignite a nuclear reaction at my core, which powers a thriving life instead of a victim or a survivor?

Nuclear fusion reactions energize stars, including the Sun, and the resulting sunlight has profound effects on our planet.

Ummm.  Nuclear physics!  Yikes!  I'm out of my depth... .

Anyway, the answer is in this thread, I think, it's a long one: values, rules, beliefs, a compelling future.  When we take a look at our values, where they came from, what order they're in, why, and if there are values conflicts or not, and get that straight and empowering, and then look at our rules, what has to happen to live by those values, live those values, making it easy to meet them and hard to violate them, then beliefs, about ourselves, others, the world, identifying disempowering beliefs and changing them, choosing beliefs to create an empowering belief system with, then a compelling vision for the future, the life of our dreams, then action in that direction.  Simple, maybe not easy, but you ever notice everything we focus on gets better?  Everything we commit to improves?  Everything we practice we get better at?

So it's about going to that core you reference Moselle, seeing what's there, deciding what stays and what goes, building a life worth living, not only that, a life we're fired up about, protecting it with boundaries, and populating it with people who are supportive of it.

Considering ourselves a "victim" or a "survivor" is to assume those identities, and we do it because those identities meet our needs at some level and at some point, so looking at that starts with are those identities still meeting our needs and at what level?  What other identities are available to us?  If we were to take on the identity of "Thriver", what would we need to believe about ourselves?  What beliefs would we need to let go of?  And the way to install a belief, and an identity is just a specific form of belief, a belief about who we are, the way to install one is to choose to believe it and then look for references to support it.

So if you were thriving right now, if you were a "Thriver", what does that look like for you Moselle?  What would you be doing, what would you be believing, what would life look like?  And what will it cost you if you don't start believing that?  When is now a good time to nurture that identity?
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« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2016, 10:53:38 AM »

Quote from: fromheeltoheal link=topic=297167.msg12798583#msg12798583

Ummm.  Nuclear physics!  Yikes!  I'm out of my depth...

hehe  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Quote from: fromheeltoheal link=topic=297167.msg12798583#msg12798583

And populating it with people who are supportive

and then look for references to support it.

I am sitting with this on the weekend and will build my future in blueprint. Thank you for the summary FHTH. I've struggled to process this thread for it's complexity but this helps me understand. Respect to you sir Idea

Gathering support for this new life. And references. This is a great skill to have.
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drained1996
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2016, 11:43:04 AM »

"So it's about going to that core you reference Moselle, seeing what's there, deciding what stays and what goes, building a life worth living, not only that, a life we're fired up about, protecting it with boundaries, and populating it with people who are supportive of it."

The above quote from FHTH summarizes my process quite well.  I knew at my core who I was, which in my thoughts was a kind, gentle, and empathetic person.  I just didn't understand why some of my r/s's made me feel so bad about me at times (friends, family, and SO's), and subsequently made me react not so well at times.  Through my process I gained the understanding that I actually ALLOWED these people or situations to let me have bad feelings.  It's a process I'm still perfecting, but understanding that I am in charge of how I feel is very empowering.  My original thoughts about my core I still carry, and like FHTH states  Bullet: contents of text or email (click to insert in post) I choose to believe that, and look for references to support it.  Understanding and enforcing boundaries has played a major role, as has Radical Acceptance.  Radically accepting others for who they are and involving them in the correct places in our lives... .or out of our lives completely has been very helpful in my journey as well.  FHTH laid it all out perfectly in the things that need to be explored, and it has shown me a few things I may need to delve further into.   We will all get to where we are going someday... .Happiness
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fromheeltoheal
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Relationship status: Broken up, I left her
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« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2016, 11:53:15 AM »

understanding that I am in charge of how I feel is very empowering. 

Yes!  Nice.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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