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How to communicate after a contentious divorce... Following a contentious divorce and custody battle, there are often high emotion and tensions between the parents. Research shows that constant and chronic conflict between the parents negatively impacts the children. The children sense their parents anxiety in their voice, their body language and their parents behavior. Here are some suggestions from Dean Stacer on how to avoid conflict.
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Author Topic: How to deal with shame when rejected/abandoned?  (Read 446 times)
mitti
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« on: February 25, 2019, 01:34:14 PM »

Hi,

I have had this long distance r/s for the past year with a man who also had come out of a BPD r/s. He has an avoidant attachment style and has been very back and forth, unclear and has kept giving me mixed msgs. I fell back into old co-dependent patterns.

When I asked him straight out to just tell me if he didn't want contact he seemed clear that he did. So I thought it was all good. When I asked him to call me back one day, he simply ended it!

It came as a total shock to me. I feel devastated. I am having problems with what to understand from, and how to deal with, the shame this triggered in me. I am having problems just writing this post bc of how much shame I feel.

My background is that I was severely emotionally neglected as an infant and it continued throughout my childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. I am no longer in touch with my FOO. I have had different types of T for long periods of time and worked through a lot of deep shame issues. I understand that my emotional development was interrupted and that bonding with my caregivers was messed up which caused self-loathing and shame. I have worked a lot on resolving this through various techniques and felt I was freed from most of it.

Yet, when this man that I am/was in love with, whom I thought, despite his less than acceptable behaviour, had strong feelings for me, rejected me, the shame is so strong and profound I feel I cannot tolerate the truth of what has happened. That he doesn't want me, that I was not important to him, that I had little to no value for him, makes me feel so horrible I don't want anybody to know about it.

That he rejected me makes me feel worthless. I know that my objective value has nothing to do with how other people see me. They see from their own self worth, but subjectively it is not that clearcut. It is a human need to connect to, form attachments to, and love and be loved by, other people especially a romantic partner. And I have never had a man chose me for me. Previous r/s have been mostly with men with strong NPD, APD or BPD traits but lately when I have been dating since the breakup from my BPDexbf I have met a lot of very different kinds of people. This last man has some NPD tendencies and is co-dependent. When I have been true to my own self in a r/s and been clear about my wishes and my boundaries, I have always been discarded, rejected and abandoned.

How is it possible to feel valuable when you keep receiving the same msg from men that you are not valuable and not worth any effort on their part?
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 02:53:13 PM »

How is it possible to feel valuable when you keep receiving the same msg from men that you are not valuable and not worth any effort on their part?

sometimes its more a chicken and the egg thing. sometimes, if we dont feel valuable, worthy, loveable, we seek partners that will reject, and reinforce those beliefs.
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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 03:23:55 PM »

Hi, mitti.  Hugs.    I can relate to how awful shame feels.  Have you read or watched Brene Brown?  She's the sociologist who performed this very popular TED talk about shame.  Here she is again, talking about 3 Things You Can Do to Stop a Shame Spiral.  Interestingly, thing #3 is "Tell Your Story" which you've done here beautifully. 

How did it feel to get it off your chest?



 
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2019, 03:41:02 PM »

sometimes its more a chicken and the egg thing. sometimes, if we dont feel valuable, worthy, loveable, we seek partners that will reject, and reinforce those beliefs.

Hi once removed, I totally agree with you. But how do I change those beliefs? I have tried for years, felt I had done it, felt good about myself, worked through issues my co-dependency issues and then I still meet a man who rejects me for no apparent reason, and when I advocate for myself and voice what I want.

Infants learn who they are through the reflection of their self in the parent, and in the way the parent loves them, they learn and accept that they are lovable. I never had that, so how do I do it as an adult. Because it doesn't help that I objectively know that I am lovable when every man I meet reinforce the opposite.
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2019, 03:50:21 PM »

how do we change any faulty belief? through exposure, through perspective, through reality testing, through coping tools, and through different choices.

not easily, but with practice, it can be done.

i would stipulate that its probably not just a belief that you arent valuable, but broader than that. it may have to do with some of your beliefs about relationships and how you pursue them. for example, historically i have a ton of insecurities that manifested in past relationships. ive come to realize that my expectations, the way i approached relationships, some of my ideas about what adult relationships look like, were unrealistic, and with some perspective, some practice, and some practice with coping, over time, ive become a lot more relaxed.
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2019, 03:51:14 PM »

Hi, mitti.  Hugs.    I can relate to how awful shame feels.  Have you read or watched Brene Brown?  She's the sociologist who performed this very popular TED talk about shame.  Here she is again, talking about 3 Things You Can Do to Stop a Shame Spiral.  Interestingly, thing #3 is "Tell Your Story" which you've done here beautifully. 

How did it feel to get it off your chest?

Hi Insom, thank you so much for the link. I will check it out.

I chose to share here also for that exact reason, to tell my story. I suppose I feel less raw shame but instead bewilderment. Why does he not feel the same about me? Why can I never be the woman a man falls in love with? What is it with me? It is so hard to not come to the conclusion that there is something off-putting about me. And the other thing is that this man was way more invested in the beginning. He was super excited about our connection, not in the strange way my BPDexbf was, but it was sweet and totally new to me. I had never had somebody react that way to me before and I trusted it. And then as he sees more of the real me...
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2019, 04:08:35 PM »

how do we change any faulty belief? through exposure, through perspective, through reality testing, through coping tools, and through different choices.

not easily, but with practice, it can be done.

i would stipulate that its probably not just a belief that you arent valuable, but broader than that. it may have to do with some of your beliefs about relationships and how you pursue them. for example, historically i have a ton of insecurities that manifested in past relationships. ive come to realize that my expectations, the way i approached relationships, some of my ideas about what adult relationships look like, were unrealistic, and with some perspective, some practice, and some practice with coping, over time, ive become a lot more relaxed.

It's just that I have worked on this for years, I mean to change how I see myself, my self worth. I have been in T where we worked with a lot of different techniques, I have done meditation, tapping, homeopathic therapies and treatments. I felt so much better too, but I don't know why I still repeat the same pattern. And the shame over my self is still there. I thought it was gone but when he broke up with me, it appeared as though it was never gone.

I see where things first went wrong with this man. My insecurities were alerted and I consciously chose to act differently from how I had acted in my BPD r/s where I let everything pass for fear of being too demanding, but instead my reaction was a little too much and triggered his defence system. This one event caused me to fall back into co-dependent copying mechanisms, not as bad as it had been, but things got tricky. But I have since then worked a lot on my co-dependent behaviours and it really helped me change how I saw things. But apparently I still feel such deep shame when/that nobody loves me.
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2019, 04:14:13 PM »

I still repeat the same pattern.

what pattern, specifically?

for some perspective on this, all of our relationships end except for the last one.
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 04:37:58 PM »

what pattern, specifically?

for some perspective on this, all of our relationships end except for the last one.

The pattern where I meet a man who is interested in me, and when I relax and trust it, for no apparent reason, he pulls back and I become co-dependent and feel like I cannot ask for my needs to be met or advocate for myself without being rejected/abandoned. They are often non-responsive which reinforces my codependency.

Yes, true. But it's not that the r/s ends really but how and why.
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2019, 05:06:23 PM »

Hey mitti, I'm sorry to hear that you are in pain.  It sounds like you are judging yourself harshly for reasons that seem unclear.  Maybe he wasn't the right guy for you?  Where there is shame, there is often trauma, and from what you are saying you had a traumatic childhood and adolescence, so it seems natural that you would experience feelings of shame in the context of a r/s.  I wonder if you could work on self-love and self-acceptance, concepts that sound easy yet are often neglected.  Perhaps you could learn to embrace your imperfections?  Hey, we're all human!  Suggest you treat yourself with kindness and compassion.  Does that sound do-able?

LuckyJim

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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2019, 05:14:57 PM »

Excerpt
apparently I still feel such deep shame when/that nobody loves me

I recently read somewhere (I really cant remember where or id share a link) about positive self talk and self love, basically its about now that you're an adult, you have to be the parent you never had for yourself.

All that love you'd give (or expect to give) to a child you direct it at yourself or an image of your younger self. This is supposed to basically convince yourself (through basic repetition) that you are indeed worthy of all those positive things you seek, to lose the fear of rejection and project a positive vibe onto your partner so they too want to be close to that glow of positive energy you're giving out when you are truly comfortable on your own skin.

Anyway, I don't have the "protocol" on how thats actually done, but at least the idea should be a good start right?

I see you mentioned trying a few techniques with limited success already. If this is part of your core identity (being neglected as a child, therefore "unworthy of love") it can be harder to let go of that image. like "who am I if not a neglect survivor?"

Could be why its such a hard time changing the pattern, or maybe I'm reading too much into it
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2019, 11:22:37 PM »

for no apparent reason, he pulls back and I become co-dependent and feel like I cannot ask for my needs to be met

about how long into the relationship does this occur?
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 05:48:47 PM »

Hey mitti, I'm sorry to hear that you are in pain.  It sounds like you are judging yourself harshly for reasons that seem unclear.  Maybe he wasn't the right guy for you?  Where there is shame, there is often trauma, and from what you are saying you had a traumatic childhood and adolescence, so it seems natural that you would experience feelings of shame in the context of a r/s.  I wonder if you could work on self-love and self-acceptance, concepts that sound easy yet are often neglected.  Perhaps you could learn to embrace your imperfections?  Hey, we're all human!  Suggest you treat yourself with kindness and compassion.  Does that sound do-able?

LuckyJim

Hi Lucky Jim,

It took years for me to even understand the underlying self-loathing or even that I had suffered trauma. It was all buried under layers of denial and dissociative patterns and copying mechanisms. So in T I have dug a lot up, tore walls done and worked on self-acceptance. It helped, and I met this man, who is different from the men I have dated previously. But I was still discarded and the shame hit me hard.

Certain thoughts/events are real triggers and reading what I highlighted in your response actually made me feel a lot of shame. And I think it has to do with feeling like what I want and what I choose is not acceptable, which of course is a reflection of me and translates that I am not acceptable for wanting him. I know you didn't mean it that way of course, but it was interesting bc it revealed something to me. And to deal with the shame I have to find it and understand it, so it is all good.

And thank you for your advice. I have done a lot of self-acceptance exercises these past tow days, and I feel better.
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 05:59:22 PM »

I recently read somewhere (I really cant remember where or id share a link) about positive self talk and self love, basically its about now that you're an adult, you have to be the parent you never had for yourself.

All that love you'd give (or expect to give) to a child you direct it at yourself or an image of your younger self. This is supposed to basically convince yourself (through basic repetition) that you are indeed worthy of all those positive things you seek, to lose the fear of rejection and project a positive vibe onto your partner so they too want to be close to that glow of positive energy you're giving out when you are truly comfortable on your own skin.

Anyway, I don't have the "protocol" on how thats actually done, but at least the idea should be a good start right?

I see you mentioned trying a few techniques with limited success already. If this is part of your core identity (being neglected as a child, therefore "unworthy of love") it can be harder to let go of that image. like "who am I if not a neglect survivor?"

Could be why its such a hard time changing the pattern, or maybe I'm reading too much into it
 Welcome new member (click to insert in post)

I think you are be right that I might identify rigidly with being the victim of neglect so that I perpetuate that same pattern in adult r/s bc I don't know what/who else to be or it was the only person my parents "accepted" type thing.

I read the amazing book on shame "Healing the shame that binds you" by John Bradshaw and he explains that we repeat the patterns so that we can resolve the original trauma.

Some of the techniques I have done, sometimes in T and sometimes by myself, has been to visualise going back to events experienced as a child and providing whatever I needed in that moment. It has felt very helpful and comforting most times, but I judge it by what happens in my adult reality, such as are my r/s improving.
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 06:00:33 PM »

about how long into the relationship does this occur?

It varies but it happens when I trust the other person's commitment to me and I commit myself.
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 10:07:16 AM »

Excerpt
I think it has to do with feeling like what I want and what I choose is not acceptable, which of course is a reflection of me and translates that I am not acceptable for wanting him. I know you didn't mean it that way of course, but it was interesting bc it revealed something to me. And to deal with the shame I have to find it and understand it, so it is all good.

Hey mitti, No, of course I didn't mean it that way and I'm sorry that my reply triggered feelings of shame in you.

It seems like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, because you risk a severe wound if a r/s doesn't work out.  Does that seem fair to say?

LJ
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 12:04:29 PM »

Hey mitti, No, of course I didn't mean it that way and I'm sorry that my reply triggered feelings of shame in you.

Hi, no worries, it is all good. In fact I think it helped me bc I can look at why it felt so triggering and find the core wound.

It seems like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself, because you risk a severe wound if a r/s doesn't work out.  Does that seem fair to say?

Not really sure I understand in what way I am putting pressure on myself, do you mean as in blame?
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2019, 02:10:46 PM »

I'm referring to the part where you said:

Excerpt
it has to do with feeling like what I want and what I choose is not acceptable, which of course is a reflection of me and translates that I am not acceptable for wanting him.

In other words, it seems like if the r/s doesn't work out for any reason, that will lead to feelings of shame, so there's a lot of pressure on you to avoid those shame feelings.  Does that make sense? 

LJ
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2019, 03:30:03 PM »

I'm referring to the part where you said:

In other words, it seems like if the r/s doesn't work out for any reason, that will lead to feelings of shame, so there's a lot of pressure on you to avoid those shame feelings.  Does that make sense? 

LJ

Thanks for explaining and yes, makes sense. I do feel the pressure, or rather once I start falling for a guy it's easy for me to start second guessing my every move and become co-dependent, but I have never realised it may be a strategy to avoid shame.
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2019, 03:42:47 PM »

Excerpt
I do feel the pressure, or rather once I start falling for a guy it's easy for me to start second guessing my every move and become co-dependent, but I have never realised it may be a strategy to avoid shame.

Right, that's what I meant.  It sounds like you have felt pressure and/or need to second guess your every move, which gets exhausting after a while.  The goal, I would suggest, is to be your authentic self in a r/s, which reduces the need for second guessing.  It sounds easy, I know, but takes practice to get the hang of it.

LJ
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2019, 04:00:16 PM »

It varies but it happens when I trust the other person's commitment to me and I commit myself.

what does this look, practically? what steps do you take to commit yourself?
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2019, 08:59:11 PM »

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