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Author Topic: 8.23 | Case histories - why we stayed in a long term relationship?  (Read 7115 times)
Moving On
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What is your relationship status with them: Divorced, 19.9 years married, boys stay home, ex and I alternate weeks with them.
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« on: April 14, 2008, 02:27:14 PM »

I'm starting this topic in hopes that it will help those who are new to the idea of being a "non".  

Hopefully it will also be useful for those who still haven't fully come to grips with their contribution to the mess.

The intent is to figure out 1) why we picked a dysfunctional SO and 2) why did we stay.

Please leave this thread devoted just to stories.  

I started a "sister thread" in the Personal Inventory called the same thing for comments on these stories, questions, etc.  If the mods don't agree with my decision to do this, go ahead and patch up this message and remove the other thread.

This thread can be found here:  https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=72925.msg711021#msg711021

I discovered that putting this down in writing created some new insight.  I went deeper into my understanding of "my issues".  Frankly, I thought I had it figured out, but after writing my story, I realized that I didn't really have a good handle on it.

Enjoy - if that's the right word Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 02:34:05 PM »

As I was growing up, my parents didn't show any affection for each other in front of us.  Kind acts, doing things for each other, yeah, but I don't think I've ever seen them holding hands, kissing, etc.  And I really didn't see anything like that anywhere else either.  This was in the days where TV shows didn't really even have anything remotely sexual.  Much less kissing.

I also have ADHD.  It was called Minimal Brain Dysfunction (awful name, that) back when I was diagnosed in 1981.  I was 21 years old.  There are a lot of people that think ADHD is a fake problem, that it's over diagnosed.  True on the latter, way wrong on the former.  I happened upon a doctor who happened to be probably one of less than 4% of the medical community that knew enough about it to see it as a possibility.  I did pretty well in grade school, and hardly ever had to study.  I got to college, and I just COULDN'T study.  I couldn't process the words on a page (or lectures, to a lesser degree) and organize them in my head.  I studied for 3 hours for each hour in class, and only squeaked by.  I had HUGE test anxiety.  I was tested using IQ tests (standard procedure then, and still is used widely).  My "Performance" IQ (logic, math, spacial thinking) was virtually double what my "Verbal" IQ (reading comprehension, vocabulary, memory) was.  That placed me in a category that would normally be considered "brain damaged" for my Verbal.  After treatment with the usual drugs, I was retested, and my Verbal IQ shot up (within just over a year) to about equal my Performance IQ.  In fact, my vocabulary was improved to the point where I was told I had the vocabulary of an average PhD student.  It seems that all of that knowledge was in there, I just couldn't retrieve it on demand.  Anyways - I had dropped out of college (after 3 years of school) prior to this assessment.  I went back to school and just breezed through everything I did.

However - one of the problems that kids with my variety of ADHD have is development of social skills.  There's a portion of the WAIS (IQ) test that assesses reading of social cues.  I flunked... .  big time.  I still flunked it (but not as bad) after treatment.  This is because this skill is mostly a learned skill. 

I refer to ADHD, because the medical community has rolled the two former types together - hyperactive (ADHD) and inattentive (which used to be called simply ADD).  Mine is actually the latter.  Many of the negative behaviors that you hear associated with ADHD tend to be related to the hyperactive subtype.  I read a book about "what it's like to live with someone with ADHD", and though I think it overgeneralized, the traits that they mentioned were just so not me.  I don't get mad at the drop of a hat (if anything I don't get mad easily enough).  I don't have wild mood swings.  I may be lazy on occasion, mostly to recharge (like pretty much anybody else), but I tend to be considerably more active than most - I like mental stimulation. 

In any case - if anyone is interested, this study gets into the social interaction problems commonly found in ADHD kids, particularly those with "a weak right brain hemisphere" (that was me... .)... .  www.bcbsma.medscape.com/viewarticle/529840.  It's pretty dry, and it appears to have been written before the ADD and ADHD were rolled into one.

So - in combination with my first paragraph (where I didn't really see any male / female affection during my youth), I had come to the opinion that women simply tolerated men, that I had to "earn" affection in ways other than the basics of being a partner.  Hmm - I'll try to reword that a little less tactfully, because it'll be more meaningful.  I thought that women liked hugging and what-not, and maybe even some kissing.  But I thought that women weren't at all interested in sex, including all of the deep fun stuff that went along with it.    I'll keep rephrasing this until I get the whole point across.  I felt that I was imposing on a girl / woman to even approach her about an intimate relationship, that she'd only tolerate me if I was perfect in every way. 

During my teenage years and my 20's, I had women hitting on me quite a bit.  I figure it was because I was too naive (or dense Smiling (click to insert in post)) to process their flirting, so they stepped it up.  But I think I thought they were toying with me, taunting me.  I was seriously dense.  Heh - I had one extremely direct offer to get laid, and I got so anxious that I couldn't even accept the "offer".

I think it might be worth mentioning at this point that I had pretty high self esteem.  The only chink in my armor here is that I had virtually no confidence in my ability to date, to "please a woman".  I thought highly of myself, but I saw no reason to think that a woman would really want what I wanted - intimacy.  I think I understood the concept of intimacy (I do now, pretty sure), but I didn't quite believe that it could happen.

OK - so there's the groundwork.  I probably only had about 10 dates (if that) prior to about the time I turned 25.  Finally, I decided to join a dating service.  The first several dates more or less proved my point.  The women I was "hooked up with" were boring (or just plain bored), uninterested, uninteresting, and, well... .  it was no good.  Then I was set up with the BPD.  She seemed so, well, easy Smiling (click to insert in post)  I don't mean that in a totally derogatory sense, I mean that she was simpatico. 

Of course this is what attracted virtually each and every one of us to our BPD.  They have an innate ability to make us feel that way. But for me, it was an even greater attraction, because I felt that I could be myself, I didn't feel judged, she really wanted the intimacy.  So...   You all know the rest of the story - we've all been through it.

So why did I stay?  18+ years before I even stood my ground and said enough is enough?

1) I thought for at least 5 years that I just wasn't doing something right, I wasn't good enough to make her happy.  That if I just took on some of her burden, and didn't "make her" do anything that she didn't want to do, things would improve.  I fully realized at that time that my social and intimacy knowledge wasn't quite up to "normal" yet, and strove to learn what makes an intimate relationship work.  After this 5 year period, I started realizing that my social skills had improved to the point where I was at least at about 85% of where they should be, and that nothing I did made her happy.  At the 12 year point, after both kids were at least into the toddler phase, I did realize that her expectations of me were out of whack, and that I wasn't the one with a problem.  I tried to convince her to seek therapy for depression.   No go, and no surprise.

2) Because marriage was forever, until one of us died.  And I wished for just that to happen sooner rather than later - like near the end of the Meatloaf song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"

So now I'm just praying for the end of time

to hurry up and arrive; 

Because if I have to spend another minute with you

I don't think that I can really survive... .
    LOL!

3) I went along with the decision to have kids, now that I reflect on it, because I thought that if she had kids, she might be "whole", that it'd make her "better".  Of course I had no CLUE what was actually wrong.  But then once we had kids, I saw (more and more as time went by) that I had to be there for them.  I could see that I needed to be a buffer between them.  So I stayed.  I knew that if I attempted to divorce, that the kids would almost certainly be awarded to her, and I couldn't do that to our boys.

So... .trying to wrap this up... .  After I had one too many accusations of infidelity thrown my way, I started thinking "Hmm - she seems to be doing a lot of the things that she cited as evidence that I was fooling around".  So I started reading about that.  Well, she hit on just about ever indication out there related to "signs she is having an affair".  I never proved it after a year of observation, and she never admitted it.  But in the course of trying to figure this out, I discovered BPD.  And man, did it fit.  Well... .I know that you all know the rest of that story.  We've all lived this little chunk of my life... .
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 09:40:59 PM »

womo - wow

our history's very different but our endings are exactly the same.

My parents incredibly affectionate (sometimes I'd have to look away - and Dad in his 70s still cops a feel when he thinks no one is looking)  Mother obviously not cold to the affection

My first - I was 13 - in fact - I joke - somewhat miserably  - that I had sex more often at 13 than I did in my entire marriage.

Plenty of smarts - top of the class, faculty scholar, youngest of graduating class  (try dating in your Jr. year of college and you have barely turned 17)

So I grew up around healthy wholesome, lust for life, and just lust, intelligent family... .etc.

First marriage fell apart - and I was CRUSHED - Obliterated - I was young - I cried in my pastor's arms for what felt like hours - she didn't want kids even after it was something we both wanted when we got married - no psychosis - no whacko stuff - just a guy with too much testosterone too STUPID to invest more in the marriage - too arrogant (me) to invest in stuff like marriage counseling - to young to full of piss and vinegar... .


And then - at the PEAK of vulnerability - womo - yours and my stories become exactly 100% the same - the date - the sympatico - and all the reasons for staying.  And all the rage and brokenness.

I was 14 years married - and am 47

Thanks for the backgrounder - we are brothers.

H.
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 12:08:52 PM »

ADHD here as well.  I don't know about all of the brain damage hypotheses you've mentioned, though I suppose it depends on your view of etiology in the context of the construct of a mental illness with respect to the DSM.  A traumatic brain injury can cause ADHD-like symptoms; I would not say that ADHD, in the more classic sense, is a result of brain damage.  Is it real?  I used to joke that 75% of children with a diagnosis of ADHD respond well to stimulants (e.g., ritalin), the other 25% actually have ADHD Smiling (click to insert in post)  I think it is a real syndrome.  Is it as clear cut as a medical condition like a brain tumor?  No.     

I've always wavered on treatment.  A  I was completely disengaged in my posh private school (grade school).  My desk was moved next to the teacher, facing the class.  My pencils and pens were taken away (because I played with them) and I was asked to sit on my hands.  My handwriting was a disaster, I never really managed to complete assignments, and my desk had crumpled pieces of paper spilling out of it at all times.  However, on any test on any subject, I nearly always had the highest grade in the class; on standardized testing I was in the 99th percentile across the board.  An MD thought I had ADHD and prescribed ritalin.  I took it for two weeks and my parents took me off of it.  They took me to a psychologist who ran a battery of IQ tests and other cognitive screenings and concluded I was bored in class due to a very gifted level IQ.  So, my parents ignored the behavior.  I was closed in, so introverted and in my own world that I would walk into walls on occassion lost in thought.  Though I've challenged myself more growing up, playing music, earning a doctorate, working in academia, I still have a messy desk, bad handwriting (though typical Smiling (click to insert in post) ), and struggle significantly with organization and staying on task (I'm typing on this website instead of reviewing a manuscript I've written that I need to send out for review. . . I am the king of procrastination).  I still contemplate whether to seek treatment, but I do well at work, I don't like taking medications, and I've developed a few coping strategies that are helpful. 

As far as the impact of this on my eventual pairing with a BPD woman, I think it was a driving factor.  My behaviors as a child lead to a lot of social ridicule. I wasn't so skilled socially when I met my ex-wife.  I was, like WOMO, very confident in most domains, but women was not one of them.  I almost expected negative feedback socially, so when I got it from the BPD ex, it was no surprise to me.  I also thought it was my fault for a long time.  Did I contribute? In other words, was my behavior perfect in my marriage?  No, it was not, but that was a far cry from what my BPD ex was doing to me.  It took a long while for me to get out of the FOG.   
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 01:27:07 AM »

I dont mean to horn in if this is a guys discussion,  Smiling (click to insert in post),  but I'm fascinated about 'why' myself.

As a child I was sexually abused by no less than 7 men, and by male cousind, my M-gfather, was the primary abuser I do not know when it started probably in infancy, I have no memory of a first time.

Other forms of abuse as well.

I was severely criticised and intimidated by my NPD father, and often humiliated as  a means of control, my mother (who I suspect was a victim of her father) was severely emotionally abusive, I was often raged at and could rarely decide exactly for what, she used ridicule, mocking and sarcasm liberally, she was somewhat physical but often threatened self harm and overboard self ridicule, syaing it was what I wanted for her.

I grad HS and worked full time, I met my X as a friend of my father, he was 7 years older than I and seemed hardworking and established. I moved in as platonic roomies, after several months of spending increasingly more time together we became initmate, I thought casually but appartntly he was serious and asked me to marry him  .

I said no (and to this day 25 years later he still accuses me of 'rejecting' him)

That started a relationship that was very exclusive, although his anger, temper, brooding, jealousy was very extreme. We had many fights.

I was afraid of being alone, afraid of having to return home (I was then estranged from M/F) I dont know why I stayed in a commited relationship without marriage or security.

After 9 years I became a Christian and determined to please the Lord I should not live un married. So we married, again I dont know why , perhaps out of  FOG. By then we had purchased a home together, although on paper it was in his name and his parents name, not mine in any way legally.

A couple years later we had child #1, he was not happy, by child #2 he accused me of only wanting sex to make a baby. , all along anger, control, isolation.

FOG.

child #3 was an accident, rubbers leak... ., by then he was at war with the neighbors, so we sold and moved, into even more isolation, I stood by him even though I disagreed, he was husband and a good wife is supportive.

preg- #4 was miscarried at 12 weeks... .he never even offered comfort or support, and was enraged when a dear firend(male) that brought me flowers as he and wife has suffered 4 miscarriages. I was accused of 'getting involved'


Child #4, was a weak moment during a vacation... .by this time he was at war with the new neighbors, hated everyone, going from church to church, ANGRY.

I love my children and was rather content to stay at home, homeschool, totally invested with my life and I figured as long as I could manage, the marriage was tolerable, not too much thinking.

Child #5 well what can I say I love babies, and I really wnated By this time his hostility was constant, he controlled every aspect, money, groceries, who, where, when, I stayed home and was ceaselly accused of affairs, running around, stealing money, his paranois was rampant... .he was wworking away form home a week at a time, and I only had to manage when he was here. His depression was daily and I spent loads of time keeping the children quiet.

Finally during the installation of a new home he became so hostile and odd, I finally said no more, he threatened to punch me, I filed for seperation, and got a RO, which 4 years ago started the saga divorcing a pers disordered person.

I lived in the FOG, I was weak, I had no boundaries, I was nieve, I trusted him to be who I thought he was, I placed myself in the hand of a very abusive man all the while trying and thinking I was choosing a different life for myself.

I have PTSD, I didnt know it then, I reacted poorly to stress, I reacted and had no emotional grounding.

PTSD leaves my brain 'swiss cheese' I have gaps in memory, short term memory is shot, I get easily confused, get hyperfocused and miss the big signals, memory, thoughts and others stories sometimes get twined, I forget the true version.  Not to mention night terrors a few phobias and panic.

All of which was used to manipulate me and reason as to why I was so stupid and "waking up every day looking for a way to piss him off"

I have learned a lot.


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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 08:32:22 AM »

You asked, and this is going to be a long one... .

In a nutshell, the reason I stayed is because I was never taught as a child that I deserved to be treated with respect and love.  I was taught that it was my responsibility to make everyone happy, and if things weren't going well, then it was my responsibility to make them LOOK like they were going well to everyone else.  Boundaries?  What's that?  I honestly don't remember ever being told that I could have boundaries; it was in all sincerity a totally new concept to me.  I learned it at the age of fifty after a 25 year marriage to a uBPD, drug addicted man. 

This is a topic I have thought about a lot in the last 12 months.  It wasn't until I had been seperated from my now exh for several weeks that the thought "how in the world did I allow my life to get in this condition?" really started to come to the front of my mind, and I posed that very question to my therapist.

He gave me a DVD series to watch, along with reading the companion book, called "Bradshaw on The Family".  It was a huge eye-opener for me concerning the impact that my family of origin had on me and what I could do to become emotionally healthy.  More info here if you are interested:    www.johnbradshaw.com/index.html

I don't have many clear memories of childhood and I am not sure why that is, but I have decided it is common among 'adult children' from dysfunctional families.  I have learned that what I experienced as a child profoundly impacted my relationship choices, though, whether I have clear memories or not.

My parents were drinkers, although not the wild party-going type.  Both worked, and as soon as they got home in the afternoon they would pop open a beer and drink until supper was ready a few hours later.  Then they watched tv for a while and went to bed.  I remember my dad once getting arrested for DUI, and I remember a few 'drunk' episodes but for the most part drinking beer after work was just what they did and it didn't seem to cause them any real problems.

We were church-goers, spent Sunday after church at my grandmothers (paternal) who was a widow (my grandfather died when my dad was 3) and lived with her two unmarried sisters all of whom were extremely religious.  Dad had one married brother with three kids and we spent lots of time with his family while our parents drank together.  Mom had two sisters and one brother; her family was always strange.  Youngest sister never married, drank a LOT.  Oldest sister married, no children, highly critical and snobbish.  Grandmother was also a widow (that grandfather died when my mom was eleven).  As you can see, not much male role modeling going on in my family... .

I had a brother who was eight years older than me.  He was the 'darling' of the whole family.  Very smart, involved in lot of high school clubs, etc.  Beta club, high academic achiever, the teachers loved him.  He got a scholarship to a very prestigious college in Nashville.  I don't remember him as having many friends, not like my boys have had.  There definitely were no sports, hunting, fishing, etc.  All academics-which I am not saying is bad, please understand.  He spent all his free time with my grandmothers and aunts... .

When I was in fifth grade, my brother came home from his first semester in college looking like a different person.  He had been an overweight brunette who dressed mostly in suit and tie, but now he was a thin blonde wearing the fashion of the late sixties... .you might guess where this is going... .he announced that he was homosexual.  It was 1969, understand the culture of the time.  My parents were completely devastated.  My world was turned upside down and I was only eleven years old... .

The way that my parents chose to deal with this situation is, I believe, what really set me up to stay with my exh for 28 years... .

They isolated.  They covered it up.  From their perspective, the absolute worst thing that could happen would be for anyone to find out.  They lied to every single member of my dad's family and to all their friends.  I was instructed to lie to every one, too.  I was told that if anyone asked about my brother, to tell them *whatever* as long as it wasn't the truth.  I learned at a very early age to be an excellent actress... .

In spite of the extreme stress this whole thing was putting on my family, NO ONE ever mentioned any type of counseling.  I was just expected to deal... .

My parents became increasingly depressed.  The drinking increased.  The most prevelant memory I have of my mother is that she drank beer through a straw out of a tupperware glass while chain-smoking and saying over and over, "What am I ever going to do?" and "what will the neighbors think?"  My dad was hurt and angry, and he used me as an surrogate spouse, emotionally speaking.  I don't have any memory of sexual abuse, but then again I just am not really sure... .

My feelings were never of any importance.  The only feelings that were of any importance in my family were... .everybody else's.  I became my parent's parent, in an emotional sense.  My needs were just non-existent.  I wasn't to upset mother because she was so worried, I tried to cheer up daddy because he was so sad... .I was to deflect any questions about my brother... .I wasn't to question anything HE did, either, heaven forbid!

Then came high school... .I started high school as a good student, popular, a cheerleader, active in stuff.  Until the questions about my brother started... .I had the same teachers, and they all just loved my brother so much.  He was 'most likely to succeed', where was he, what was he doing, how is college?  Lies, lies, lies... .older sibs of my friends asked questions, too.  Looking back, I have no doubt that lots of these people knew the truth.

In the early 70's, my brother started the procedure to have transgender surgery.  In 1974, I no longer had a brother.  I had a sister.  Again, you have to put it in the context of the culture at that time.  Now, thirty-plus years later, these issues with my brother/sister might not have had such an impact on my life because of the way society has changed regarding acceptance of them.  But to an already messed up teenage girl in 1974, whew... . 

So I turned to the 'wild' crowd, because they didn't ask any questions and I had completely internalized the idea that if anyone found out about my brother that my life would be ruined... .I started smoking and drinking and using drugs.  I became sexually active which, I now believe, was an effort to prove to myself and anyone else that I was not 'like my brother'.  I know now that this behavior was a cry for help, a cry for someone to see ME, to care about ME, to value ME... .but no one did.  I graduated from high school in 1975, and the drug culture had become a pattern of behavior that would last for several years after high school.

Enter exh in 1979.  I met him in a bar.  He completely swept me off my feet.  I had never been treated like he treated me.  He was a few years older.  He had his own business.  He owned his own home.  He was recently divorced, but it was all her fault... .He was so much 'better' than the guys I was used to.  He was always 'showing me off' to his friends.  He always had money.  He always had pot, then coke.  We partied.  We traveled.  I moved in with him. 

And then I got pregnant.  I had been using lots of drugs, and he made it abundantly clear that he didn't want to be a father.  I went for the abortion by myself.  A 'choice' which further destroyed any self-esteem that I had.  But afterwards, he became so loving, so attentive.  I put the whole thing out of my mind.  We were perfectly happy again.  Until the second pregnancy... .

Again, he immdeiately reacted horribly.  He was cruel, abusive, wanted me to abort.  But I had drastically cut back on the drug use, and I had educated myself about the potential danger to the baby.  It was very early and the risks of harm was low.  Abortion was not something I could do a second time.  I told him I would have the baby with or without him.  After a couple of months of raging, he grudgingly went to the county court house and we got married in a 30 second civil ceremony.  Because, of course he couldn't let me have his baby and not marry me because of "what people would think of him", which of course was all my fault... .see the connection?

So began 25 years (with two more babies) of abuse, both physical and mental, emotional blackmail, and total financial control.  And 25 more years of me making everything look so perfect to the outside world while I was slowly dying inside.  25 more years where every abusive incident was turned around on me until I had also internalized that the way he treated me was all my fault.  I think you all know the rest of that story because you lived it, too. 

Whew... after re-visiting this stuff, it is a miracle from God that I am no longer married to this man.  It is as if I have been awakened from a very long, very bad nightmare.  It hasn't been an easy year, but that doesn't matter.  I am, at age 51, finally learning how to be me and that being me is ok.

If anyone read this long, thanks for listening.  It actually helps to write this stuff out.  You should try it!   xoxo



   

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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 12:11:35 PM »

In my most inner self I ... .

1- don't trust men.  Every significant man in my life has let me down... .except for my oldest brother.

2- believe I can never be good enough that a man will love forever/unconditionally

3- believe I am a good person

4- believe I am a good mother

5- know I can sing!  This may be the only thing I am completely sure of.

6- believe the only person I can count on is me.

This is hard WOMO I don't like it!   ☹


My father was a Southern Baptist preacher.  So church was a huge part of my life.  He was the first PD in my life.  He was an incredible pastor... .his congregation loved him.  Whenever they needed him... .he was there... .always.  Always there for everyone... .except his family.  And from his family he expected perfection.  There was NO room for anything but perfection from us... .and I was far from perfect.  I remember him telling me that i should be nice or reach out to so and so because she needs lots of "positive strokes".  I remember thinking, where are MY "positive strokes"?

Why I was not perfect... .

1-  When i was little I was Daddy's little girl.  I went everywhere with him and he loved me and was proud of me.   Then I got boobs... .and he freaked out.  I know now from my T that this is very common.  Dad's all the sudden see their little girl as a sexual being (not that they want her, just as a sexual being) and they can not handle it.  So regardless of how he really felt... I felt abandoned by him.  DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR LITTLE GIRLS GUYS!

2- I had no confidence... .zero... .so I did poorly in school.  This was a great sense of irritation to my father as he wanted perfect children and perfect children were smart.  I have recently learned that I have ADD.  I wish i had known that then. I actually really thought I was not very smart until I went to college.  Which was stupid because I actually made really good grades in high school with out much effort.  The only thing I had trouble with was math.  I still hate algebra... ewwwww.  Anyway in college I made really good grades.   I also did quite well in grad school. 

3-  I was chubby... .not fat... but chubby.  But my father harped on this issue like crazy.  He told me several times that I would not be chosen or would not win something because I was fat and the judges would choose the thin people.  So what was the point of trying, I was fat.

Side note:  If it had not been for my mother deciding that I had a nice singing voice and putting me in voice lessons at 14 I do not know where or what I would be today.

Ok, so the second man/boy to let me down was my first "real" bf.  We started dating in 11th grade and we dated for 7 years.  He was the first guy I slept with.  My experience with sex was not really positive.  Without going into all the details, it was sort of date rape.  Not violent at all, but I had said no.  We had been dating 3 years at this point.  From that point on our relationship became about sex.  That was all he really wanted from me and sex became the thing I used to keep him with me.  I made sure he LOVED having sex with me.  Finally when we had been dating 7 years I came home from grad school at Thanksgiving and he told me that he was going to marry another girl because she was pregnant.  That hurt... .bad!  I did not go on even one date for 4 years.

Then I dated a guy for just a short time.  Nothing significant here except I continued to use sex to keep him interested.

Then came my second "real" BF if you can call him that.  We dated almost a year.  I really loved him.  Again I used sex to keep him interested.  The problem with him was that he had a GF.  He told me that he did not love her and was going to end it with her.  he told me this from the beginning.  I was patient, but soon I knew he was not going to end it with her so I gave him an ultimatum... .her or me... .he picked her.  So again when push comes to shove we pick the other girl.  That hurt too.

Not too long after that I met the next guy I dated.  I dated him for a year too.  I met him when I went to Canada to meet some girls I talked to online.  he was one of their friends.  We hit it off right away.  He was fun and he made me laugh.  We had sex quickly... .I used it again.  He seemed great and then... .he started calling me at 2 or 3 in the morning drunk.  He would tell me that he loved me and then get mad and say I did not love him.  He would say little derogatory back handed compliments like... ."you know you are not as smart as my last GF, but you are prettier."   He wanted me to move to Canada, he talked bad about the US and the south in general.  He continued to drink alot and would still call me in the middle of the night.  Then he started showing up unexpectedly.  He asked me to marry him, and in that moment I knew I could not.  After I said no I got more phone calls and alot more unexpected visits.  He did just a little bit of mild stalking.  I was really hurt by this too.  I knew no matter how much I loved him that he was bad news. 

Then I met my husband.  I was 30 years old... never married... .wanted to be a mom more than anything and he said all the right things.  I thought he wanted everything I did.  I thought he would work to make our marriage not just work but be happy.  Instead he isolated me from friends and family.  He makes my life hard if I get too busy with outside activities, so I don’t do them.  He runs friends off by being a HUGE jerk. We have absolutely NO couple friends.  He expects the house and our food to be perfect at all times.  Sound familiar?  Once we had our daughter he became jealous of her.  He paints either me or her black at all times.  For her sake I try to just stay black.  But if I am not here and I forget to put her clothes away right or she can't find her shoes or I don't fix supper he takes it out on her.  He will also call me and scream at me if he can't find something he needs or he wants lunch and i am not here to get it for him.  I walk on eggshells.  He has never hit me but I am scared of him when he gets angry.  He throws things and yells alot.  I reasoned all this bad behavior away for a long time because he had such a terrible childhood.  Now I know that he has to take responsibility for his bad behavior and it should not be excused.  I asked him to go to MC three times... he has not gone... .so I plan to file for divorce in May.

So in a nutshell, I got here because I did not believe in myself enough and I settled because of it.

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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2008, 10:48:39 AM »

Wow, what a great thread, stories.  It seems that everything I post is long-winded, so you've been warned.

I grew up in small midwestern town, youngest of 3 kids to a lower-middle class family. 

Dad worked hard, and like others have mentioned, cracked open a beer or three every night.  He did ok for himself with a high school education.  He was/is very social, people all like him and he's in sales.  Almost always has.  "The gift of gab".  For quite a few years he worked on the road selling in a smallish region.  Not many over-nights.  I really enjoyed tagging along on days that I was off school.

Mom didn't work so hard.  She is actually quite absent from much of my memories from early childhood.  Memories in general are pretty thin, like others have said.  What I do seem to remember is someone who needed taking care of.  Some would call her a Waif on these boards.  I honestly don't have too much to say about her from an early age.

Regarding the lack of memories: I didn't realize that until much later, when others (stbx) would share of their past and I frankly didn't have many recollections.  If I really focus in on some things, I can bring up some snap-shot type pictures of a x-mas here or there.  An occasional trauma event, etc.

We moved a couple of times, though in the same general area of the country.  Talking with my older siblings and my father later, I find that it was an attempt to make my mother happy.  Which never happened.  We ended up back in the same town that I was born in.

I was the cry-baby in the neighborhood.  The kids in the neighborhood would want to 'play guns' or a lot of 'street hockey' and frankly I didn't.  I learned to ride a bike later than the other kids, etc.  I was wound up.  Tense.  I had a tendency to quit things that weren't easy for me.  And I was allowed to for good or bad.  Frankly, after almost 20 years with a BP, I still have fealings of being a quitter.

I don't recall affection in the house.  Parents for each other or to me or my siblings.  I was indirectly taught that life is hard and you pretend that things are ok.  You live in make-believe for the outside world.

My parents divorced when I was 11.  My oldest sister, 17 at the time, was thankful.  She knew it'd been bad for a while.  I had no clue, really.  What did I have to compare it to?  The divorce was 'civil', meaning I didn't know anything about it, didn't see anything and it seemed to happen quickly.  Dad kept the house, me and one sister stayed with him because we could stay in the same school.  Mom got an apartment and oldest sister stayed about 2 seconds before going off for men, drugs, and eventually an out-of-wedlock child.  Middle sister made it a couple years until she got tired of being the surrogate wife/mother in the house (no abuse, just the little-woman expectations of the 70's).

That left dad and me.  He was very busy trying to find someone.  That left me alone a lot.  He was confused, and I was alone.  For one weird twist of fate, my academics shot up around the time of the divorce.  In example, I was put in the 'slow' math class in 5th grade, I believe, and ended up the top calculus student in high school (by far). 

Self esteem was pretty low.  Socially not that great.  Though I did seem to catch the coat-tails of the popular kids.  I performed well enough in athletics to get in with that crowd.  I'd be the one in the wake of destruction, saying I'm sorry. 

I never felt that I was worthy of dating.  Or girls.  Everyone else was better than I was.  I did have an occasional gf back in these school days and I would latch on like they were goddesses.  I had many friends that were girls and I felt comfortable talking with them, but didn't date them.  This always bugged me.  I was 'too nice' according to one of my closest friends.

Academics were easy for me.  So I flew by with steller grades.  I latched on to one psycho as early as 15 years old, stuck with her for a couple of years though she completely controlled me.  I thought that's how it was supposed to be.  My sisters tried to help me that early.

I moved to my mother and step-dad's after she'd remarried, because I was so tired of being alone.  That was odd because step-dad didn't know how to parent, I was a teenager who didn't want parenting and had been a loner now for a few years.  Mom was, well, odd.  No real communication.  Any attempt was threw tears and almost sobbing, yelling.  I recall sitting at home doing a report, with my feet up, and having my mother come into the living room, crying and going on about how I'll end up committing suicide because I work so much.  Or don't have fun.  Or something like that.  I remember it being odd and not really reacting to it.  I remember going to a local lake with some friends of mine.  My first time overnight without any adults.  She left a pamphlet on birthcontrol in my bedroom, but no communications.  Oh and slipped some rubbers into my duffle bag.  Made me laugh.  I didn't figure I'd be getting laid for 40 years.

My step dad was air force and we moved to Okinawa.  I made it 7 months and came back to live with my dad for the final year of high school.  He'd just been remarried and had a few step kids.  I wasn't the baby anymore.  I was fiercly independent.  Angry.  Leave me the 'f' alone.  I can take care of myself.  I get perfect grades, no drugs and I'm not sleeping around so I should be able to do whatever I wanted.

It was a tough year.  Oh, except that I got laid once.  The best 15 seconds of my senior year.  I reconnected with some old friends and found that an old acquaintance of mine (didn't consider him friend really) had snagged this phenomenal girls.  She 'glowed' when I looked at her.  I became friends with her, helped her out of that relationship and through another and finally got my chance.  I loved the way she needed help.  How she would listen and I could help her.  I felt strong around her.

It's been almost 20 years since I went down that tube.

Now, after all that, why did I stay?  For the first 10 years or so I just did what I was taught to do.  You marry young, you screw up, and you live in make-believe.  I was under the impression that marriage was supposed to basically be a struggle and that the male took care of the female.  Of course I was also clouded by societies my of 'romantic love'.

Frankly the first 4 to 5 years was just busy with college, marriage, establishing a household.  She had a checklist, boy, and we had to get it done.  It started with Prom the first year. Then college, then marriage, then a house, then babies.  In that order and on her schedule.  Never mind that I didn't have the same desires or timelines.  She'd push until she got her way.  But that's the marriage model I was taught.  He does everything for her.  Just a little co-dependent, eh?

Just this last year, I've really connected with my father.  We're the same person.  We married the same women.  It took him 19 years of marriage and age 37 to get out.  I married a little later, but will be 37 this summer and I've been with her for over 19 years.  I just dated longer than he did.

Funny thing?  I knew my mother wasn't 'right'.  I shut her out.  Talk about boundaries!  She was unhealthy and I didn't like her so I shut her down.  Then I spent every waking moment trying to please her twin.

That's why I stayed.  It's what I was taught to do.

And I still fear that I'm a quitter at times.

What does normal look like?  From my perspective, I'm just learning.  I no longer live in that part of the country.  I've talked to others that escaped and their perspective is that the whole dang region is screwed up.  To the core.  No honesty, everyone is codependent.  Ugh.  I have a fabulous set of neighbors that are trying to help me see what a good relationship can be.  I'm trying.

I'm trying to undo what I've been teaching my oldest daughter for 12 years now.  I taught her that women should be taken care of and that men should do all these things for them.  And they don't need to be thankful or reciprocate.  I have some work to do. 

My stbxw is now teaching my daughter that she (mom) still needs to be taken care of.  UGH.

I still lack self confidence.  I'm trying to understand why.  I graduated top of my class in college.  I've had a professional job every day since.  Every company I've worked for recognizes me as being one of their greatest assets.  But I still question whether I'm worthy of a real relationship.  I've traded the high-school concerns over clothes and over-bite with over-weight and balding.  Why this fixation on physical traits?

I'm smart, successful, caring, I have some of my dad's 'gift of gab', tell a decent story (as I've been told).  That's a whole other thread though.  I think I've left the purpose of this one.

Why did I stay?  It's what I was modeled.  It's what I was taught.  I married my mother and had to learn how to stop it.  Break that cycle.

HB
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2009, 04:39:37 PM »

i think my story is a little different...

i was born in Texas but grew up in Juarez. i have a younger brother, our mother was killed in a car accident when i was 16 and we moved in with our father. figured out why we didn't live with him before. he was a drug addict and deep in dealing drugs and gang scene something both my brother and i got into too. my brother took to it like a fish to water. i did what i had to do to get by.

i do realize that i put a lot of energy into looking after my brother when our home life was so ___ed up. when our father was arrested for trafficking and assault i moved us to chicago so he would finish school and maybe get away from that stuff. that didnt work so good we both got into chopping cars. eventually i got out of it and he didn't and used it to support his drug habit and made his money dealing like our father. he had a couple of kids that i spent a lot of time taking care of. his using got to a point where he wouldnt come home and wasn't getting clean and stealing from friends and family including me. i had to tell him i couldnt see him or speak to him. i said i would help him get clean if he wanted, but thats it. he was arrested about two years ago for trafficking and assault, doing 10-15 right now.

thats one side i think, that ive always taken care of my family, and looked out for them

the other side is that all the above stuff... isnt a usual environment for gay guys. its a very hard kind of life that burns people out quick but also makes very deep people who are a lot more loyal than the average club kid. people are loud and intense and violent, but theres a lot of soul underneath that.  i never dated other guys too much, just messed around, because i wasnt into a lot of the stuff theyre into. i didnt relate too much with a lot of the scene in anyplace ive lived. the guys i'm attracted to are usually straight because i like the kind of guys i hang out with, playing ball, watching futbol. living in hoods to be gay you kind of got to be real quiet about it, or hard enough that you can get away with it that people wont give you ___ or to be able to take it when they do.

my partner grew up the same kind of way. he also grew up one of the only white kids in his neighborhood. unlike me he didn't have 16 years of a good parent before being on his own. he had 16 years of bad parents and then was on his own. but the street mentality, is something we both understand. i think probably i am set up to take care of people because that is a big part of family to me. my partner reminds me of the best parts of the hood. he  is intense and passionate and fiercely loyal and protective of his people. a lot of that goes along with him being kind of crazy. we relate to each other on some ways that are kind of unique that i haven't come across anywhere else.

i believe that good can come out of the dark places. the art in the freedom tunnel in new york is like that. bright colors and messages and soul hidden under rubble. i was a tagger and a street artist for a long time (i detail cars now) and that is what i liked about it. that even the darkest places have beauty and light in them. i see  that in my partner too. 
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