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Author Topic: Is it better to feel pain or nothing at all?  (Read 201 times)
ColdKnight
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« on: September 12, 2019, 04:21:27 AM »

I have walked through this world for the last thirty years like a ghost in a dream.

The only woman to ever make me feel anything is gone. I fear once the pain of missing her passes I will go back to feeling nothing at all.

I just read something very sobering that really made me second guess my final broadcast to her. I said some really mean things so that I could cut free from her. I have turned my back on the only woman I have ever truly had feelings for because I was not strong enough to deal with her illness.

Is this just a moment of weakness?

Anyone else fear the loss of “feeling” when you finally get over them?

Is it too late to say I’m sorry?

 
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 10:41:26 AM »

The only woman to ever make me feel anything is gone. I fear once the pain of missing her passes I will go back to feeling nothing at all.

I think this is a good question which you really need to answer for yourself going forward.  Why is it the only woman who has made you feel anything may suffer from a severe personality disorder?  What was it about this relationship which made you feel something?  High conflict? Unpredictability? Enmeshment? Push/Pull behavior?

I felt incredibly close to my ex -thought I had found 'the one'.  When things were good they were stratospherically great -I had planned to move half way around the world to be with her -So... Yes I understand missing your ex.  I also understand stepping out of a high conflict relationship, what I don't understand is why you didn't feel anything for your previous girlfriends.  Is this hyperbole because you are at the present upset or is this a personal truth?

Excerpt
I said some really mean things so that I could cut free from her. I have turned my back on the only woman I have ever truly had feelings for because I was not strong enough to deal with her illness.

It is understandable to have a parting note be... less than tactful.  It is understandable to second guess when we are sad and stressed.  

It is all too easy to whitewash over how diabolically difficult a relationship with someone who has traits of BPD can be when sifting through the ashes once they are gone.  

If I may suggest... start a journal and write down what you are thinking and feeling.  I began journalling as an aid to therapy.  Forcing myself to articulate my thoughts and feelings to the extent of being able to put them into writing was cathartic.   Therapy was also very beneficial on my journey toward understanding what in the wide wide world of sports I had experienced.  I am over 50 and my foray into the world of B-Cluster personality disorders left me more than a little confused so I sought professional guidance.  I am out of therapy now and I look at therapy as a positive growth experience.  

Excerpt
Is it too late to say I’m sorry?
Qui Bono? If you are sorry then be sorry, learn from this and perhaps don't write damning notes in future relationships.  I never been unhappy with things I didn't say...  I am a big fan of communication, and I do my human best to never 'fire for effect' on those close to me.  

But... You work with your ex.  If you truly believe there is even the slightest chance of her suffering from BPD then I would certainly not re-open communication with this work colleague.  Never add fuel to a fire you don't want burning.  

However... I understand the impulse.  When I left my ex I could not shake the feeling that I had spit in the eye of love.  It took me over a year to finally convince myself I had done the right thing.  Leaving her was the hardest thing I have ever done -but I felt it was life or death.  However the emotions were the same -I left someone with whom I had shared everything.  I have read over and over (and it finally sunk in) it is all but impossible to have a lasting and healthy relationship with someone who suffers from untreated border line personality disorder.

I am sorry you are hurting.  Use this experience to introspect.  Use the introspection to learn.  Use the learning to thrive.  Looking through these old eyes you are young and have a lot of years ahead of you.  This will get better.


“To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self esteem, is capable of love - because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed value. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone               -Ayn Rand

I left my ex because she was unable to love herself.  Without being able to say "I" with full resolve and understanding of the weight of the statement 'I love you' is impossible.  Meaningless at best and outright dangerous in the worst case.  My ex did not understand her own value and could not see her inner beauty -this made the true love she professed ultimately toxic.

As a parting notion your subject line is dichotomous --I certainly felt the urge toward hyperbole when my relationship came crashing down.  Life must be perceived in shades of grey -to live healthy lives we must seek to thrive somewhere between pain and the void of nothingness.  This is precisely why I left my ex.  Heaven and hell, black and white, bliss and pain is unsustainable -it ends badly.

 
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 04:31:12 PM »

Hi ColdKnight,

what did you come across that triggered all this?
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 08:08:41 PM »

Balance is certainly key! You want to feel, but not to the extent where it weighs you down. Process the pain, it's trying to teach you something. If you're feeling nothing at all, are you truely living? 
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 08:35:47 PM »

Hi Wickerman,

No it’s not a hyperbole. I am not a young man. I am 50. The first 20 years of my life I had little experience with women. Since my early 20s I have had many relationships. Some serious and many short term and many many very short term relationships.

Never once did one of these women ever stir anything. When this woman walked through the door the day I first saw her I could feel the sparks. I have never been in love before and I wasn’t fully in love with her but I was well on my way. The only woman I would have married. The only woman I wanted to have children with

I am not saying that to be dramatic.... those who know me know that I do not get attached...ever. I have never had anything that I couldn’t walk away from.....

So from one pair of old eyes to another pair of old eyes. She was the one....
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2019, 08:57:55 PM »

Hi Cromwell,

It was this article posted to me by another member. It made me think that I didn’t give it enough or her enough of a chance. She never was bad to me. I just wasn’t strong enough to deal with the dysregulation. I I told her there that I would protect her and wouldn’t leave her again. My pride got in the way and I didn’t try to work through it.

www.anythingtostopthepain.com/20-rules-for-understanding-bpd/comment-page-1/
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2019, 10:19:58 PM »

Excerpt
I have walked through this world for the last thirty years like a ghost in a dream.

one thing i have learned in my time here is that its never too late.

never too late to learn relationship skills. never too late to break the chains that bind us. never too late to live a more rewarding life.
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2019, 06:07:32 AM »

Hi Cromwell,

It was this article posted to me by another member. It made me think that I didn’t give it enough or her enough of a chance. She never was bad to me. I just wasn’t strong enough to deal with the dysregulation. I I told her there that I would protect her and wouldn’t leave her again. My pride got in the way and I didn’t try to work through it.

www.anythingtostopthepain.com/20-rules-for-understanding-bpd/comment-page-1/

ColdKnight

I dont think much of the site, my opinion on reading the 20 rules, are 20 emotional button pressers designed to translate into "$20 dollar book shopping cart button pressers".

There is nothing there at all that I can say, other than speculate, that my ex may or may not have actually "felt" any of those things at any given time in the relationship. It takes a quantum leap to go from that stage to using any of it to reach a credible conclusion that I would have done something wrong. There is wide scope to try and generalise the disorder, but the focus is primarily on two unique individuals and the interactions that took place - you and her. To start broadbrushing a bit from other 3rd parties and blend it in, did not only not work out for me, I think trying to do so hampered recovery and understanding.

I mean, if I made my own website and said one of the rules is that pwBPD will intentionally trip on grapes in a supermarket aisle to get your attention and sympathy. If enough people have shared that experience, and I can persuade them that I have unlocked this secret and hold even more (just buy my book!).....

Im not convinced any of it is credible but I can relate to how it has made you feel, I got the same some nights reading personal blogs of pwBPD or claiming to have BPD. Woke up the next day uneasy that id actually learned anything at all - and so it goes, had to find a different way for answers. I guess if I wanted emotional buttons pressed I could have just stayed with her and had them for free, rather than feel "nothing".

I have never felt "nothing", (it isnt possible to feel nothing) - ive felt plenty of stuff, like repressed pain and anger. Stuff like these websites just coated and layered over those feelings and skewed them back to "feel sorry for her", ie, restrengthening the very bond that my goal was to detach from.
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2019, 02:18:36 PM »

Thanks Cromwell,

That is very good insight and puts the article in perspective.
After reading it I was sure that I was the bad guy and she was
the victim. I felt terrible for the things I said in my final text.

I drafted several heart  felt apologies that thankfully I did not send.

There seems to be a perception that these people cannot control themselves and whatever they say or do should be overlooked because they are just so overly emotional and they didn’t mean it. Maybe that perception is propagated by the
pwBPD themselves in order to give them a sympathy pass.

The 20 rules were certainly written by someone with BPD.

I am getting back to my center and your response has certainly helped back from her as a victim mentality.

And by feeling nothing I meant apathy. No desire or connection to those other women.
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 12:04:27 AM »

...Never too late to learn relationship skills. never too late to break the chains that bind us. never too late to live a more rewarding life.
Well said!  Life is a journey and hopefully a thoughtful journey full of learning and growth. 

The tricky bit is stepping outside of the system we live in, observing it, and then figuring out how to effect positive change.  No easy task.

@coldknight -I am sorry from reading your posts I has wrongly presumed you were in your 30s.  50 is a fine age. (I hope... being there myself and all).

I have no issue with the 20 Rules website.  In fact, I would agree with most, if not all of the 20 statements, from my anecdotal observations and the reading I have done about borderline personality disorder all of those statement seem pretty accurate...but...
Understanding why someone exhibits a certain behavior is very different from the behavior being acceptable. 

I would like to re-pose my question of a few days ago... Why did someone who you shared a high conflict relationship touch you more deeply that your other relationships?

As to her being the one and having a family with her...
Have you taken a peek at the co-parenting board?  Having a child does not make a relationship easier or better.  Having a baby puts an enormous strain on even the best of relationships.  To a lesser extent I believe being married puts a strain on a relationship.  Marriage is difficult and takes constant upkeep.

When you have thoughts of her being the one do you spend time remembering the relationship's more problematic issues as well?  I found it is all too easy during rumination to fall into the trap of remembering the good times.  E.g. I believe I may have never enjoyed speaking to someone more than I did with my ex.  We had a few days of me attempting to get some closure for both of us after a year of no contact and I was simply astounded at how phenomenally charismatic she truly is. 

However... I also came to the conclusion she cannot stop lying and thus there is no point in ever speaking with her again.  She accidentally outed herself on a couple things I had not known during the relationship which just made me sad... Like she apparently always had a second phone... also she and I had to share a key to our apartment because she gave the other one to an ex boyfriend.  Ahhh... my dream come true...

Excerpt
...people [with BPD] cannot control themselves and whatever they say or do should be overlooked because they are just so overly emotional and they didn’t mean it...
From my very first posts here on BPD Family I have professed with firm conviction my ex meant everything she said and did in the momentShe loved me with more passion than I have ever experienced... She hated me with more passion than I have ever experienced...  When it suited her, or she was drinking, I could be forgotten. 

She is mentally ill.  She appears to suffer from a truly terrible and sometime debilitating personality disorder --this is an explanation, not an excuse.   It was when I came to the conclusion one day she will disappear and there is nothing I could do to stop it that I walked away. 
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2019, 04:32:49 AM »

Hi Wickerman,


“I would like to re-pose my question of a few days ago... Why did someone who you shared a high conflict relationship touch you more deeply that your other relationships?“

That is the question I constantly ask myself. Why can’t I walk away from this woman like all the others. It’s not that she touched me more deeply. She is the only one who touched me at all. There was conflict yes but to be honest I was the one to start the first conflict. Before that she was very sweet and loving. I did see red flags during this time though.

I am very well aware of the the pitfalls children and a marriage can bring. My parents split very early on and my childhood was a mess. As a result I have never been married and have no children and I very much like it that way. I didn’t say that I was going to marry her or have children with her but this is the first woman EVER to spark that desire in me.

As I said before I have never had a problem walking away and never looking back when things get even the slightest bit difficult. I have never been one to take the least bit of sh** from a woman and suddenly this woman has or had me wrapped around her finger. I felt her doing it too and you know what.....I let her and I LIKED it. It felt good to finally want someone as much as they wanted me....to finally have someone to miss, to think about, worry about, care about.....it was intoxicating...

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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 09:14:48 AM »

Why can’t I walk away from this woman like all the others.

Personally, having grappled with the same notion, I believe it was the seemingly random tectonic shifts in my ex's actions during our 18 month relationship.  Her words and actions were badly out of sync.  I had quite simply put never been with someone I couldn't trust.  This caused me a lot of confusion E.g. How can the person who says she wants to be with me 'Always and forever' do x, y, and z.  There was no normal relationship arc it seemed her foot was either fully on the accelerator or the brake and all the while professing deep love. 

Excerpt
...my childhood was a mess...
Have you considered therapy?  My childhood was not bad, but therapy still was a learning experience and it helped me gain some perspective in how I look at relationships romantic and otherwise.  I have read a good bit of psychology and philosophy over the years, but the work I did with my therapist was tailored to my needs.  All in all a really good experience.  He was a wonderful wealth of knowledge and was very willing to give me a reading list. 

Excerpt
I have never been one to take the least bit of sh** from a woman...
This doesn't leave a lot of room for developing a lasting relationship.  Catch 22 -Any woman who would live in a relationships like this you may very well lose respect for her or simply get bored. 

Being challenged, inspired, and growing together is, in my opinion, the best part of a relationship.

I am curious what lead you to the conclusion your ex may suffer from borderline personality disorder.  You mention her not speaking with you for days at a time what else was going on?
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 01:25:54 PM »

Excerpt

if youre going to examine something like this, its important to do so in context.

this is the perspective of one person (of millions) with BPD. it should not be treated as the perspective of anyone else. personally, i never found reading BPD perspectives on other boards all that useful, at least in terms of understanding my relationship or my ex specifically.

having said that, BPD is characterized by low self esteem, extreme fear of abandonment, distrust in others, and a negative, self defeating world view. when you combine all of that, you will see a certain belief system with some commonality between people that live with this disorder. we have a general perspective here i find a little more useful: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=67059.0

Excerpt
There seems to be a perception that these people cannot control themselves and whatever they say or do should be overlooked because they are just so overly emotional and they didn’t mean it.

i dont know anyone with this perception ColdKnight, and i dont see any suggestion of that in either list.

i bring that up because i think sometimes some of us find the notion of understanding what was going on in our exs minds a bit triggering in recovery. its understandable, they hurt us.

i find that there are three perspectives to every relationship. in my recovery, there was my perspective, a great deal of which was clouded by hurt, and would change many times over the years. there was my exs perspective, and there was a more objective perspective, like that of an outsider, from 30000 ft above. i found that detaching goes hand in hand with my own perspective getting closer to that outsider perspective; its removed of both pain that clouds it, and my own biases. i also found that better understanding my exes perspective helped me better understand how my relationship transpired, and answered the questions that i, and so many of us have in the aftermath of my relationship. thats not the same thing as agreeing with my exs perspective. its certainly not the same thing as feeling sorry for or having sympathy for her. when our relationships end, its about detaching, not pity.

Wicker Man asks some insightful questions. that you are engaging them is a good sign, and part of the hard work of detaching.
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 04:23:48 PM »

Wickerman,

Why I think she suffers from BPD:

There were signs early on. Lying about innocuous things to impress me. Moving the relationship forward very quickly. Bringing in sex talk fairly quickly. A series of failed relationships in her short time at our company (I found this out later)

She told me she had fear of abandonment and suppresses a rage “95%” of the time. Hot and cold, push/pull.  She trusts no one. Other things she told me that I don’t want to mention here. She knows she is ill but I don’t know if she is aware of what it is. About the only traits she never exhibited were self harm and suicidal behavior but unless you see outward signs or they tell you you might never know.

Therapy:

Yes I have. 4 different ones actually as a result of her. I was wanting to get some insight on her and was not looking for answers about me. Three out of the four said “run, it will never work” or words to that effect. I have considered it for myself because I do have trust issues like she does, abandonment  issues as well (with her I felt a kindred spirit I suppose).

Being with a woman you cant trust:

Trust issues, I have them.  I have never been with a woman that I could trust (maybe I could have but I did’t). I knew from the beginning I couldn’t trust her. Being with a woman I couldn’t trust was not a dynamic in this situation.

When I said I have never been one to take sh** from a woman. That came across a bit harsh. I didn’t mean the stuff that all women do (men too) that we have to take because that is who they are. I actually like women who challenge me. I’m talking about the exact qualities that women with BPD exhibit: lying, cheating, push pull. In the past whenever I would see those that would be it. I am done, gone..... For some reason I was willing to overlook these with her. I even told her that she could see other men, but also I could see other women were she to do that. I just wanted her in my life.

I was willing to put up with the high drama. It really felt like she understood me. I have had many women tell me “I know you better than you know yourself” no...they didn’t they had no idea. She never had to tell me that,  I just knew that she understood me. I felt that from our very first conversation. Practically from the first words she ever spoke to me....

I am getting better, I am detaching...BUT the struggle again is.....do I want to go back to being the the tin man.........I truly feel that I will miss, missing her.....if that makes any sense at all?

« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 04:39:07 PM by ColdKnight » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2019, 04:38:04 PM »

Once removed,

I agree about the 20 rules. I put that on another post and another member said something very similar. It is all about context and the 20 was just one BPD sufferers thoughts.

Regarding my comment of the perception of giving them a free pass. Agreed as well. Perhaps this was just a spark of anger lashing out. No real basis for this. My own perception I suppose.

Regarding the three perspectives on a relationship. I agree as well. (Lots of agreeing today!) it is just like the three selves “How i see myself, how others see me, and how I really am” or the three versions of the truth “my side, their side and truth.” SIDE NOTE: I came across something a psychologist said: When we remember the past our mind has to reconstruct it and it is usually only 50% accurate. No matter how right you think you are in your memory it is still not as accurate as you believe. This is something to think about when having an argument with a significant other.

Thank you all for you responses and your challenges to my thinking. I welcome them!

I still miss her though ;)
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2019, 11:02:47 PM »

i never found reading BPD perspectives on other boards all that useful, at least in terms of understanding my relationship or my ex specifically.

I spent quite a good bit of time reading what people diagnosed with BPD have to say about themselves.  Perhaps the most interesting and informative was how a young woman describing splitting her dog black from time to time.  The dog's appearance would literally change to her -it was interesting and enlightening for me.  Anyway... it was fascinating for me to read a subjective view after all the (relatively objective) scholarly articles I had read... plus I was being a bit obsessive...

Excerpt
...she had fear of abandonment... [et al.] ...
It does sound like she has some issues which would make a relationship difficult.

I do understand the feeling of connection.  Sensitivity and extreme empathy were my ex's  'super power'  It almost felt like mind reading from time to time -she seemed to be able to read my thoughts.  However, when really upset she was unable to show empathy -there was no room left for thoughts of others when she was really hurting.

I cannot imagine being with a woman you felt you could not trust not being an issue.  How does that work going forward in a relationship?

Excerpt
...For some reason I was willing to overlook these [hurtful behavior] with her...
I do understand being willing to take the good with the bad -but for me the bad seemed to be approaching the gates of hell.  The pendulum was swinging far too far.  It is good to be accepting, but there has to be limits.

I should imagine you telling her she could see other men, but you would reciprocate by seeing other woman may have backfired a bit.  It would take a very secure and centered individual to not see that as a threat (covert of overt).

I am glad you spent some time in therapy.  There is an entire sea of grey between feeling nothing and being in a painfully dysfunctional relationship.  My therapist never said run.  In fact he treats several people suffering from BPD -but he did say without treatment there is little hope of a healthy long term relationship unless she sought treatment. 

I quite like this video.  This woman has recovered from BPD --I have a lot of respect for her perspective.  Perhaps have a look at her thoughts on loving some one suffering from untreated BPD.  She offers a sober, compassionate, yet firm view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYpH8VQmqSE

You are going to miss your ex.  It is healthy to do so -a healthy step away from tin man.

I am not sure I completely believe our memory of events is only 50% accurate, but in an abundance of caution when I discuss hard things with my significant other I am careful to use the subjunctive case, might and could -or say my memory of 'x' is this. 

There were a few times where my ex and I were discussing past events and I was able to have her search for phrases in our chat history and I'll tell you what.. I was not batting 500...  I have always thought I would be a happier person if I didn't have such a good memory...  In one instance she started to get hot and I said search for the work 'embarrassed' I only wrote it once to you.  She re-read the conversation and turned white as a ghost -she had put the entire episode out of her mind (I believe she had cheated on us and ghosted me for a week).  Ironically... I was talking to her at the time about the importance of open and transparent conversation...  I might as well have been speaking Greek -because English and Mandarin sure as hell were not working...

Actually... it is worthwhile reading some of Dr. John Gottman's work on relationships (I like Marriage Clinic).  In reference to fighting he speaks about diffuse physiological arousal (fight, flight, freeze).  There is actually no point in really fighting with a loved one -they literally cannot hear you.  The physiological changes, when truly stressed, shut down the 'reasonable' part of our brain.

I still, to some extent, miss Dream Come True -but I am happy to not spend much time doing so these days.  I know she is bad for me and I am looking forward to thoughts of her tending toward a minimum.  I don't think you have to worry about missing missing your ex -there will be other things to do.

Are you continuing in therapy?  Overcoming trust issues seem like a worthy task.  There are (a few) trustworthy people out there and when you find one it would be nice to be able to enjoy their company.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2019, 12:04:05 AM »

Excerpt
Perhaps the most interesting and informative was how a young woman describing splitting her dog black from time to time.

interesting for sure. informative?  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)

splitting ones dog black is not a known or common phenomenon. you may be describing a person with a loose understanding of what splitting means (its something we all do, and it is not associated with changing appearances). you may be describing a person who got mad at her dog...and possibly hallucinated in the process. as with a lot of things on the internet, you may have just read a person on drugs.

Excerpt
This woman has recovered from BPD

careful. shes a life coach selling a product who sees everyone in her life (her neighbors, her landlord) as disordered.

review here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=273415.0%3Bprev_next=next

im jerking your chain a little WM, but its an important point.

i think ideally, recovery ought to teach us more about human nature, psychology, and the differences between pathology and common, if really bad, relationship behavior (other peoples perspective can inform that, for sure). if we want to learn the lessons to go onto better, healthier relationships, that is. theres a lot of stuff out there, some good, some bad, some horrible, some great, and everything in between. as someone who consumed a lot of junk in my day, i caution everyone to really vet the material they are using to aid them in either their understanding or recovery.

Excerpt
You are going to miss your ex.  It is healthy to do so -a healthy step away from tin man.

i agree. mourning and grieving are healthy. splitting, painting black, those things are alluring, but dysfunctional coping.

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it is just like the three selves “How i see myself, how others see me, and how I really am” or the three versions of the truth “my side, their side and truth.”

it is one of the most challenging aspects of recovery. the more you are able to do it, it is a sign of how far you have come in detaching. more valuable to you, years down the road, it will build your empathy skills, it will help you better read others, better read yourself, and the situations you find yourself in. it will help you better know how to proceed.
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     and I think it's gonna be all right; yeah; the worst is over now; the mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball…
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