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"Dear John/Jill" letter...Would you respond? 2bstrong
February 7, 2006
4:21 pm
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2bstrong
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Hi Kathy,

Thanks for the thoughts. I WAS angry--but now I am not.

Yes, HIS problem was that he didn't feel e-chemistry. He said more than once that he felt I was keeping my guard up with him; that I needed to let my guard down, which I did do.

Not sure how to address the anger I feel about being pulled/pushed. I addressed that with my traffic light analogy. I have tried just saying it, and it comes across as sour grapes.

February 7, 2006
6:46 pm
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turnabout
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Hey 2b -- sounds good to me, but is this really ALL you have to say? Sounds rather .... defeated?

In the scheme of all these e-mail exercises, though, I think you've crossed a threshold. (See, I can mentally envision you throwing up your hands saying, "I give up! First I'm too angry, now I'm not angry enough!" LOL) But you've successfully backed off of the accusatory statements. Maybe in effort to avoid them, you've gone to the other extreme -- sounding as though you're trying to excuse your thoughts and feelings. But for you to have crossed that threshold means a well-balanced expression of your feelings is probably around the corner.

I know you've said that you decided not to write, and if that's so, I think it's great that you're continuing w/ this exercise in self-expression.

Love much
TraCo

February 8, 2006
11:13 am
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Ok...I think this is actually getting FUN. Maybe by the end of the day, I'll have something new to post. I did think about how angry I was last night. I actually got angry at Ex Number 1, Pat. The truth is, I am really angry at myself for staying with people who are not good for me. So, this anger thing is big. I have been very angry at myself for going on eleven months now. That could be one reason that I am having a hard time turning it outward without being accusatory.

I want to blame SOMEone!

I want to thank everyone again for helping me with this exercise, and thank you for being so patient with me. I'm terribly impatient with myself.--2b

February 8, 2006
11:54 am
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turnabout
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Hmmm... maybe when you start being sympathetic toward and empathizing w/ yourself, you won't be as sensitive to others' shortcomings ... like Dr.'s, for example.

What would it feel like to stop condemning yourself? If someone else said the same things to you that you say to yourself, how would you react? Would you get defensive? Would you argue against them?

Isn't that exactly what this self-directed anger is? Defensiveness against yourself. Your own internal war.

But if you were in this argument w/ someone else instead of yourself, what would you want them to stop arguing and suddenly see? What kind of compassion would you hope to get from them and where would you need it?

You know you're playing both roles in your mind right now. What if your internal accuser could do and say exactly as you need her to?

Off-topic ... boss will be out most of today... Yea!!!!! So I hope to check in often.

Isn't this exercise fun?!!! That's the way I keep looking at all of these situations I find myself in w/ TW, K_, L_, or J_ ... it's all just one big experiment. I can't predict what will happen, and that's so exciting, but I keep learning more and more about myself, and that's even MORE exciting.

Hope to run into you sometime today.

Cya.
TraCo

February 8, 2006
12:04 pm
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kathygy
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2b,

Why are you angry at yourself? You deserve your own love and compassion, not anger. Think about the wounded child in you who only wanted to be loved. See if you can find compassion for her. She is hurting now and needs your support.

I know how it feels to want to blame someone. It can be very frustrating not to do that. But I think you'll feel better if you take personal responsibility for getting into the relationship and your part in the relationship.

If you can get intouch with your personal power you will know exactly what to say in the email. Don't worry about how he may react. Rather focus on your truth about the situation.

February 11, 2006
11:34 am
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Dear Friends,

I have been thinking a lot about my responsibility in the relationship. I wonder if I TRULY WAS emotionally unavailable for him? Or am I accepting his truths as my truths? I chose to try a relationship with him because there was an initial strong connection. It was mental before it was physical. Our first few dates we talked for hours about things. That is when I began investing my emotions, and after a coupIe of weeks, he said that he would like to date exclusively. I did tell him about two months ago that I was really beginning to care for him, care about him. It was at that time that he said that he thought that we were "friends with benefits".

I'm still processing all of this, as you can see. I really just want to be able to let go, to CHOOSE not to think about this anymore. I just am not there yet. It was so significant for me.

February 11, 2006
2:12 pm
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turnabout
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These guys and their convenient reasoning! It's supremely frustrating and can throw us so off balance in regard to trusting our perceptions!! My ex did that. He would come back to my house and sleep off his drinking binges cuddled up with me in my bed. I appealled to him once that this wasn't the behavior of "friends", and I thought we had deeper feelings than that, but if not, he didn't need to be sleeping in my bed. The next time (and the last time) he slept it off at my house, he initially protested coming to bed w/ me (repeating back to me that "friends don't do that"), but eventually, and w/ NO coersion or pressure, he ended up in my bed. Later on he justified himself against my accusation that he'd been stringing me along by saying that "nothing was ever official" and our relationship had "always been ambiguous." And in my confrontation w/ his gf last summer, she claimed he told her he'd "made it clear we didn't have a relationship."

See? Convenient reasoning. And that's one reason I didn't want you to be defensive in your e-mail. You can't win against convenient reasoning, no matter how right you are.

Just hold on to what you KNOW. You can't help but think on what has happened and how it makes you feel. You can't know what he really perceived, and you can't fully know what made him perceive anything. (such as, your behavior or his baggage?) But you do KNOW what was said and done. Stay focused on those FACTS when tempted into confusion by his convenient reasoning. You won't reach any answers right away, but that's the ONLY way you'll ever reach them. Just stay with what you KNOW.

TraCo

February 11, 2006
3:18 pm
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Dear tra...

Thank you for seeing that I am off balance... I don't know what I would do without your affirmation, and the support of others here at this site. I feel truly lost right now.

I found so much comfort in your words, "hold on to what you KNOW". Grasping for what I don't know is keeping me off balance. I would have been so infuriated at the "always been ambiguous". He was trying to put it on you, his uncertainty, that is.

How are you doing today?

February 11, 2006
3:21 pm
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Hi 2b,

I'm surprised to see you on-line on the weekend. Are you still there?

TC

February 11, 2006
3:27 pm
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NO! You were not emotionally unavailable in the relationship with Doctor! You were simply in protective mode (for good reason). This man was undependable and unpredictable in his interactions with you. You were guarding your heart and when he sensed that, he turned on the charm to "win you over"... then once he did, he'd back off again. It was a maddening cycle and you would have been CRAZY to totally open up your heart to him. He proved, time and time again that he was not worthy of it. You were right to hold back. Can you imagine how you'd feel right now if you had given 110% of your heart and soul to him????? You'd feel SO much worse right now! Believe me, I know. It's eXACTLY how I feel right now...

You did the right thing by holding back. Do not question that.

TC

February 11, 2006
5:21 pm
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turnabout
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2b --

I'm doing really well. Obsessed over the conversation w/ J_ for a couple of days, but not in a bad way. I mean, not second guessing myself, trying to figure out what he would do, or what I would do next. Just working through the feelings that contact dredged up. And the more I've thought about it, the better I feel about it. It's so good to have made contact and not regard it as a mistake! It's so good to feel that I care w/out setting up expectations for him. It's different. I'm kind of luxuriating in it. LOL

I just remember the confusion I felt w/ J_ after he ditched me for the other woman when I read your posts. I couldn't make sense of ANYTHING. His behavior was so contradictory, I kept myself miserable obsessing over which of his words and actions I could trust to reveal how he "really" felt about me. Staying focused on the facts that I KNEW was the only way I eventually worked my way out of it.

And sticking w/ what I KNEW also meant trusting what I saw at the time. Changes in circumstances tend to change our perspectives, making us question what we experienced at a given moment. There are answers as to why these guys act so contradictory w/ themselves, but those won't be reached through all or nothing thinking where you try to decipher whether he did care or never really cared. So, stick w/ what you know, and trust your experience of given moments in the relationship. It will be a great gift to yourself.

Hey tc, been checking in w/ you today. It's a hard time for you. I don't know much what to say, but I'm thinking of you!!

TraCo

February 13, 2006
1:01 pm
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Hey friends,

Working on posting here today or tomorrow--just wanted to stop in and say hi, and thank you for all of the support.

TC--Thank you for your wisdom. I have cried on your shoulder so often. I am still in a weird place with all of this. I'm overprocessing everything. I want to let go, but I know it will just take some time.

Tra--***I kept myself miserable obsessing over which of his words and actions I could trust to reveal how he "really" felt about me. Staying focused on the facts that I KNEW was the only way I eventually worked my way out of it.*** I keep thinking about this statement...this is where I am at the moment.

Glad you found some "luxuriating" in your thoughts. That has to be a relief for you.

February 13, 2006
2:04 pm
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2b,

It sounds to me that he didn't end the relationship because you kept your guard up. I don't think it has anything to do with you holding back because the minute you told him you care about him he pulled out calling your relationship friends with benefits.

When a man gives mixed messages there's no such thing as 'how he really feels about me'. How he really feels is mixed up. I think its a waste of time to go back over what he said and what he did unless you do it to look for all the good reasons to stay away from him.

February 13, 2006
3:35 pm
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Kathy, I pulled this from the rekindle ex's thread:

***You might start by taking him off the pedestal and seeing him and the relationship in a more realistic light. The more you romanticize him (and the relationship) the harder you hold on***

Or I might say--the more difficult it is to let go.

Kathy. I am touched that you remembered that I had said that about “friends with benefits”. You don’t know HOW MUCH it means to me to be affirmed.

This is maddening--it should be so simple. Why can't I just care more about myself than someone else?

February 16, 2006
1:00 pm
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O.K. 2b!!!

I just read your note on Turnabout's thread. It looks like we need to draft up a new version of your note to Doctor!

Where's your head at today? Do you want to job some thoughts down here and we can sort through them?

February 16, 2006
1:17 pm
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Hi tc--thanks for checking in with me. I have been so busy these past couple of days...but my heart hurts. I feel kind of silly for still thinking about all of this. My friend John said that if I send a note I'm giving up my power. I feel that is true, but I also feel that this was a significant relationship for me in the great scheme of things, and I suppose for closure I have things to say...

However--I still miss him...I am sad that it couldn't work out, and I was thinking this morning that I hope he will respond if I send it. It's been 18 days, so that's pretty good--If I had sent it the first few days, it would have been so angry. Now I see it as a means to express myself.

give me a bit, I'll be back.2b

February 16, 2006
1:54 pm
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2b -- you feel silly??? Hah-HAH!!! Go over to my thread. LOL

I don't agree w/ your friend John. You COULD be giving up your power by sending a note, but it would depend on the note. You COULD also be giving up your power by NOT sending a note.

See, it all comes down to you owning that you have a right to your feelings and perceptions about the relationship. When you OWN your feelings, meaning no shame, embarrassment, or apology for them, you CAN'T give up your power by expressing them. You can't give up your power by not expressing them. When you OWN them, you accept your right to choose what to do with them. Write or not to write, it doesn't matter. This isn't a game, so there are no rules. You make decisions based on what is right for you without worrying about other peoples' perceptions. THAT'S how you keep from giving up your power.

I just had to give you a little twist, didn't I? I'm a cheeky devil.

TraCo

February 16, 2006
2:21 pm
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2b,

why do you believe you can't you care more about yourself than someone else?

This sounds like childhood wounds to me and the messages you were given about your importance.

It is your birthright to love yourself first and foremost. But if your parents made this wrong then it up to you to undo that thinking.

I think part of the reason this man has such a hold on you is because he has triggered childhood wounds. So that its really not about him that has you hooked but the feeling memories from childhood that he stimulates.

To me owning your power means speaking your unargueable truth, uncensored, without concern about whether the person will still like you or concern that they will go away. It comes from a deep respect for your feelings and a deep sense of honoring how you feel.

I have found this means that EXPRESSING your truth is more important to you than how the other person will react to what you say or do.

The first step of course if getting in touch with your truth. I have found this very act to be very empowering.

What do YOU honestly feel about what happened, putting ALL thoughts about how he may react to you completely aside?

February 16, 2006
3:00 pm
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Peter,

I debated as to whether or not to respond. I was hurt and upset that you didn't want to talk with me in person, although I can understand that it took a lot of courage to say what you said, I felt that it was very impersonal, and I think I deserved a phone call.

It's too bad you feel that way about the lack of emotional chemistry between us. I was thinking that we were going in a different direction, especially since you shared so much of what you were thinking with me--about yourself--about us. I remember the conversation we had about (you) needing an "escape hatch" with previous relationships, and I wonder if the stop/start pattern of our relationship was a way to prevent emotional chemistry--an escape hatch?

I feel that I shared as much of myself with you that I could. I was a bit guarded because I never knew for sure if I would hear from you again. I completely respect autonomy, but it was difficult to share myself completely when there were such broad gaps of communication in our relationship. I never wanted to crowd you--I wanted to make sure that you had plenty of space, both mental and physical because you made it clear that that was important to you. I know that you liked me and cared about me (you told me so) I think that is why all of this has been so confusing to me. I was so upset at Thanksgiving and Christmas--and so confused! I didn't know if there was another person in the picture, or if I had done something to offend--that was such a maddening time for me, because I had really begun to care about you, and you disappeared.

I know you don't like to hear that I was MAD or HURT-- but I was. Very much so.

In my heart, I feel that fear got the best of this relationship.

Thanks for listening, Doctor.

2b

February 16, 2006
3:08 pm
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My childhood wasn't bad, but I did not have a loving mother. She is a very harsh and critical person. She used to call me the "witch", and this went on throughout my teenage years. She always told me that I wasn't a nice person, and I believed her. I've spent my entire adult life trying to prove to people that I am a nice, good, person. Very recently, she told me that I was just like her "very difficult to get along with"...let me tell you, it was flash back city. I think I almost fainted when she said that to me because I have been in counseling for so long in an attempt to erase all of the tapes of her in my head.

Anyway, my point is, Kathy is right. All of this goes back to my childhood when I was afraid to speak out against my mother because I was afraid I would alienate her further, or make her love me/like me less. This has been a recurring pattern in all of my relationships.

I believe that writing this out is so therapeutic...thank you all for being so patient with me, and for caring enough to respond.--2b

February 16, 2006
6:39 pm
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I like it.

February 17, 2006
7:00 am
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I like it too, 2b!

I'm glad you decided to wait and sort through your feelings. The only thing I think is missing is the mixed messages he gave you regarding physical intimacy?

I don't want you to send the letter and then say "Darn!! I wish I mentioned XXXX (whatever it may be)!"
Think about how you feel about your sexual relationship and the emotions you were left with when the relationship ended...

I want you to get it all out, so you'll have nothing left to say!!! Purge!!!

Just a thought...

TC

February 17, 2006
12:22 pm
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2b,

It sounds like you have a lot of denial about how bad your childhood really was.

"My childhood wasn't bad, but I did not have a loving mother"

Not having a loving mother can affect a child very deeply on many levels.

your childhood sounds awful. Your mother was very abusive to you and neglicted to do what mothers as supposed to do, make you feel safe, wanted and loved. Calling you a 'witch' is very abusive and very damaging to your sense of worth.

"I was afraid to speak out against my mother because I was afraid I would alienate her further, or make her love me/like me less."

What a terrible world for child to have to live in. It makes your world very insecure and sends all kinds of messages about your needs not being important. I'm sorry you had to grow up this way.

as to your most recent letter:

I won't say "although I can understand that it took a lot of courage to say what you said" why give him this? It sounds like you are giving him too much credit. How much courage does it take to send and email, not a whole lot. He's still a coward for not talking to you directly.

"It's too bad you feel that way about the lack of emotional chemistry between us."

I don't see the point in saying this. Its not an 'I' statement for one thing. Its 'too bad' for who? Not for him obviously.

"I never wanted to crowd you--I wanted to make sure that you had plenty of space, both mental and physical because you made it clear that that was important to you."

why say this?

"I know you don't like to hear that I was MAD or HURT--"

it sounds like you are trying to take care of his feelings and making his feelings more important than yours. Who cares if he doesn't want to hear this? Too F** bad! He didn't seem to mind saying a bunch of things you did not want to hear.

Aren't you still mad and hurt?
I think its stronger if you use 'angry' instead of 'mad'.
I would make it a stronger statement and say "I was very angry and very hurt when I got your email'.

'mad' sounds so mild and temporary.

"I feel that fear got the best of this relationship. " for who? for you? for him? Maybe he did get scared but you really don't know for sure. why are you saying this?

It almost sounds like a part of you hopes that he thinks, yes, that's right it was my fear so now let's try again.

why thank him for listening?!

You just sound way too polite towards someone who really hurt you and de-valued your feelings by ending it with an email.

I'm not hearing your power in this letter. Stop worrying about his feelings and focus on yours. Stop being so polite and gentle to this man. He doesn't deserve it.

By being so polite and sensitive to his feelings you are really letting him off the hook way too easy and giving less importance to your feelings.

February 21, 2006
12:04 pm
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Ok, guys...I took into consideration what everyone has said...especially kathy's above post. I may still sound polite, but these are my true feelings. The anger has waned, so it won't be "charged" as my first notes were.

I sent this to him today:

Hey Doctor,

I wanted to respond to your note without being emotionally charged. I'm glad I waited because I think time has given me some clarity on the whole situation. I was hurt and upset that you didn't want to talk with me in person--I felt that your note was very impersonal considering how intimate we had been, and I feel that I deserved a phone call.

I completely agree with you about the importance of emotional chemistry. I remember the conversation we had about the idea of (you) needing an "escape hatch" with previous relationships, and I wonder if the stop/start pattern of our relationship was a way to prevent deepening emotional chemistry -- an escape hatch? On that same note, I considered the level of physical intimacy we shared a part of the emotional chemistry. I know I've told you before and I'll say it again, I'm not a "give-it-away girl". It meant something to me, Doctor, and because of the things you said to me (and I trusted you) I thought it meant something to you too.

I completely respect autonomy, but there were such broad gaps in our relationship, it made it difficult for me to stay connected in spite of the fact that I thought so much of you (I was afraid of being hurt). I feel that I shared as much of myself with you that I could considering the stop/start thing. I stayed guarded because I never knew for sure if I would hear from you again. I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of space/latitude (both mental and physical) especially because you made it clear early on that that was important to you.

I know that you liked me and cared about me (you told me so), that's why all of this has been so confusing to me. I was so upset at Thanksgiving and Christmas, so confused! I didn't know if there was another person in the picture, or if I had done something to offend -- that was such a maddening time for me. I had really begun to care about you, and you disappeared. I know you don't like to hear that I was mad or hurt, but I was. Very much so. For me, healthy relationships happen when I focus on the good things that are going on, then things seem to fall in place naturally. I felt that you were always looking for something to be wrong with me/us.

I truly enjoyed the time we spent together too, Doctor. In my heart, I feel that fear got the best of this relationship.

2bstrong

February 21, 2006
12:57 pm
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I see that you already sent this so my comments are after the fact.

why are you protecting a him????

"I know you don't like to hear that I was mad or hurt, but I was."

It doesn't matter whether he likes to hear this or not. This man hurt you deeply. This is being codependent to try to take care of his feelings. What does matter is your right to express yourself, your right to your feelings. Do you question your right to feel 'mad' to put it mildly or to feel 'hurt'?

This is the biggest thing that jumps out at me.

I think you were more than "upset" over the holidays. What were you're exact feelings? If you trully want to communicate with this man, which I don't think he deserves, but if that's what you want than be very specific about your feelings. Let him know the full impact his behavior had on you.

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