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I'm so disillusioned
April 12, 2007
1:11 pm
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hopeful,

thank you for your thoughts. I'm left out, yes, but I think I am so sharp-edged sometimes I don't blame others for wanting to avoid me.

Like, I said I heard him tell his friend that HE was going to be a grandFATHER....and why wouldn't he say WE were to become grandPARENTS? He was surprised. He doesn't even seem to notice how often and in what ways he excludes me. It's really sad to think it's "subconscious"!!!

April 12, 2007
1:22 pm
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and sininho,

you make it sound like we all have the tools within us, and I know that is true.

Hopefully, I can quit hurting and whining and some positive things will start turning me around.

I am so incredibly grateful for the time and love I was given on this thread.

One funny note I just learned was this little 2 yr old had to go to ER last night because she was running and took a header into the wall. She's got a large knot, but no concussion or stitches. I said O she must have just been running too fast....and my son said the problem was more that she runs like an old bow-legged cowboy....

April 12, 2007
1:56 pm
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Brynnie,

how are you today? I haven't checked in your thread lately, and I'm sorry.

You talked about grieving the loss of my marriage. I was married for 17 years. The last 8 of them were horrible...I grieved through that whole time. I've now been divorced for 2 years, and have been through support groups to help me work through more of that grief. And yet, I still grieve sometimes. My ex knows that, which is why he started contacting me after my dad died. He knew I was vulnerable, and he could kick me when I was down.

Now I have something new to grieve, and it brings up the old feelings of loss from my marriage, too. I wonder whether my relationship with my son (the only man in my life now) will be as doomed as those I had with my dad and my ex. My dad wasn't an easy person to be close to, he was workaholic who finally had a stroke 9 years ago and was never the same after that. Never could tell him how I felt about the positive or negative influences he had on my life. My ex is an alcoholic who is just plain mean, and plans to make my life miserable to punish me for divorcing him.

And yes, I grieve all of that. But I can't dwell on it forever. I have to move on. Let go. It's very hard, but I have to choose to move forward. Most days, I can. Some days, it's more than I can handle.

I wish you peace...

April 12, 2007
7:58 pm
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Hi ready,

I'm glad to find someone else who needs to talk today. As you can see, I was having some huge needs to "purge":)

Living with unresolved issues......I had a prof once that pointed out that when people reach mid life and have not attained the things they expected to, they actually go through a grieving process, too. I always thought that was interesting.

I've seen some people who actually have made a sort of "shrine" of photos and momentos of their loved one who has passed away and I find that just a little creepy. I KNOW we should not just SIT in this one place too long and must move forward, too.

I'm sorry you don't feel you have the closure you needed before your father passed away (or when he was still 100%). Have you tried to write him some letters (just to get it all out)? It seems like it helps to just try to verbalize it all.

I struggle with trying to be fair to my H about all the things I want to blame him for. I know I have responsibility..... if only to stand my ground instead of saying "whatever" and letting him make decisions I don't like. He has a way of undermining my self confidence.....but I LET him do it to me. And sometimes I'm not sure if we don't just feel compelled to be contrary with each other.

A lot of ADD behavior. He doesn't put things back where they belong and has trouble finishing things and following through with any plan. Having his own business is a necessity because he has to be in charge.

So I definitely understand the controlling behavior of your ex under the guise of something else.

There's a good chance your son has some of those mean traits -- I worry mine have acquired only our "bad" stuff -- but for whatever reason, they are pretty respectful of me and treat me right. Thank heavens they can stll remember when I was working FT and competent and as far as they were concerned....omnipotent!

I think they are good men, and I do not want them to suffer from the downsides of drinking. I think there are ways to help them see this without using their dad as an example. They have eyes. They can see for themselves.

You should not assume your relationship with your son will be like those with your father or husband. After all, you are his mom and you love each other WAY beter than those other two relationships.

Just a thought -- you cannot grieve over your son -- because you have not LOST that relationship.

How has the car accident thing turned out?

April 12, 2007
10:02 pm
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Brynnie,

You know, I actually had a conversation with my son yesterday about respect. He has been spending a lot of time with his dad lately, and when that happens, I notice that he pushes my buttons, is disrespectful, and tests the boundaries with me so much more. So, I sat him down and told him how it made me feel when he was not respectful to me, and ignored my requests. He was rude at first, and I found myself feeling ignored and hurt like I did with my ex when I tried to talk with him. I told him how that attitude made people feel, and told him that he should treat me with respect. He finally told me he was sorry, and he was tired, and that it had been a long week. I explained that it wasn't an excuse for being rude. Anyway...I know he has some of his father's qualities, but all in all he's a good kid.

His car is parked in the garage until he can earn the money to get it fixed. He's learning about responsibility and consequences, and he hasn't complained once or borrowed my car. So, it's worked out okay so far.

I understand about the purging and the letter writing. I do lots of that...have written several to my dad over the years since his stroke.

And the ADD issues...I always felt my ex was ADD. He never stayed with anything for very long...jobs, projects, hobbies. Long enough to invest a bunch of time, effort and money in something, and then he'd walk away. It made me crazy. And after working for other people for a long time, he bought his own business. It was a disaster, because he didn't have the people skills to keep employees happy, there was so much turnover he had his mother and me doing a ton of the work. He wasn't diagnosed, but he was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and was an alcoholic (self-medicating for the anxiety, I think, because he never took the prescribed meds).

Hope you're feeling better today...one day at a time, huh?

April 13, 2007
12:40 am
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Wow.

Ready, I cannot believe I've actually found someone who has dealt with some of things I've dealt with. I've been on this site for nearly two years....

Yes, my H tends to self-medicate. I think it is a tremendous strain for him to keep promises, to maintain his business....he is extreeeemly intent on MAKING things happen and maintaining contacts. I never feel like he has male friends....he has fostered friendships with (since I got cancer) a few guys that he's met taking saunas at the club. NO....he's not gay, but I sometimes wonder where he's going with these friends. It's just always guys I cannot relate to. For one thing, they do not seem to have relationships...not fathers, mostly divorced....it's just an observation...he used to have plenty friends that we related to as couples. But any socializing he does outside of family these days has been with this odd little assortment of unattached males. In our small community, there are not alot of men his age who are still athletic. It seems like so many men his age are suffering from back problems or are sedentary. It has just been odd. These friendships do not seem very deep -- he is closest to our sons. And me I guess. It's like he has to establish some "outside" people too. This is a very family-oriented community.

I still have some friends from work, and one very good friend I met when we first moved here 20 yrs ago (but she is rather alcoholic!!). The "couples" we used to be friends with when our kids were younger have sort of drifted back into their own worlds. We just do not stay in contact.

I guess people change and grow older and away from each other as well as towards. One HAS to keep making new friends along the way. Sometimes I think we were always "odd", so it is not a surprise that we got sort of isolated as a couple. However, I think the more distant we became with each other is a more direct explanation. If you are not comfortable with each other as a couple, others are aware of that.

All that speculating aside.....I loved how you handled the conversation with your son. You're a thoughtful mother. He sees. I'm so happy for you that he is such a perceptive guy. (He does you proud!) All you really have to EVER do is tell them you will not put up with the disrespect....in a respectful way πŸ™‚ They're amazingly smart. I'm glad he's recognizing those things. I'm thinking the key is to not have things turn into these huge emotional confrontations. Simple quiet conversations work wonders.

Yes, yes, one day at a time.

April 13, 2007
1:51 am
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"This feeling of having "lost control" is so pervasive.....the energy I used to have to "correct" the things that go wrong is just not there. So often I just don't care anymore. Like nothing's ever gone the way I'd hoped anyway. Does talking about it make it go away?

#1. NOBODY wants to hear this kind of talk. If I say this stuff, I get pep talks, or irritation....

I know it all lies in my attitude. I'm afraid someone is going to tell me it must be because I do not WANT to change it. So that must mean that I GET something out of being a miserable letch. ISH."

Brynnie,
You cannot help your feelings, only your approach to things and the actions you take. And honestly, sometimes when you are very down, you have to give yourself a break when you are not able to act "as if" things are going great. It isn't always possible. I don't like to hear you blame yourself for your "attitude", but it is a sign of perserverence in a way that you are willing to take responsibility and summon your strength and look at what you can do rather than spending your energy negatively. I admire that. Most likely you are not wallowing in things and "liking" being miserable such as you implied. Sometimes we look for someone or something to blame when everything feels or is so rotten, and sometimes the only person we can find is ourselves. What you are "getting" is the fallout of an emotionally difficult set of circumstances and you are not reacting unnaturally to it.

So consider it a strength of yours that you can be introspective and look for things you need to change about yourself to feel better, but also realize that you probably coped with circumstances the best you could have and cut yourself some slack. You did nothing to mislead anyone here. I think we all consider what you have been through difficult enough, you are not feeling sorry for yourself!

Talking about it can help for the moment at least. It depends of course on if you want to, who you talk to, when and how often. But then again, what are the alternatives- it depends. If talk is a coping mechanism you need at a time, then indulge. People have dealt with their problems in much more distructive ways than bending someone's ear.

I know what you mean about people with their pep talks and irritation. I've experienced the same. Sometimes even the people that love you the most react that way because they are frustrated in their inability to offer you comfort. Most people do not know how to just limit or empathize. It's hard to do that. But, regardless of the reasons, I know it must make you feel so alienated and alone at times.

If there is no one available to you or if you don't want to talk to people- you always have us here.

be well,
ella

April 13, 2007
9:57 am
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(((Brynnie))) I know how hard it is to be where you are. Isolation is a very difficult issue for me. I felt isolated in my marriage, because no one truly knew what I was living with. On the outside, my ex seemed like a great guy. I hid the truth from most people. Toward the end of our marriage, close friends were beginning to see his true colors, and were dumbfounded with what I was allowing him to do to me.

Most people still have no idea what I lived with for so many years. We didn't have many close friends as a couple, and they have all fallen away since the divorce. They aren't comfortable with either one of us. Probably because we are now single, and they're married. It's awkward. So, I am isolated again. Working on that.

Sons are interesting...I have such a close bond with my son; much closer than with my daughter it seems. He is protective of me, but yet he tends to treat me like my ex treated me sometimes. I'm sure it's because that is the behavior he observed for so many years. I allowed my ex to do it to me, so as not to make a scene or rock the boat when the kids were younger. Now I'm standing up for myself with my son and what I will tolerate, and he is balking at that. I understand it, but I feel I have to teach him how people want to be treated. It's hard. He is, deep down, much more sensitive than my ex.

Last night was hard. I didn't sleep much, and I'm exhausted. Haven't had contact with my ex-H or my ex-BF since Sunday, so I'm being allowed time to focus on myself and my kids. Which I need to do right now. I hope you are taking care of yourself...I've realized how important that is. (((Brynnie)))

April 13, 2007
11:18 am
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Thank you ella. I cannot believe what a relief it is to have someone say these things to me. I am crying so hard right now.

I just wrote a long story of the grief we went through a few yrs ago and then erased it all. (I sort of feel uneasy for all the personal stuff I've been writing here lately.)

Sifting through it again, I'm realising that we've really come through rather well.

If I try to recount these stories (because it just got so bizarre), I've been told I should try to "move on". So apparently, there's a time limit on grief. Except that the memories and the tragedy creeps up and grabs you sometimes when you think you are OVER it!!

I think of how hard it is to come away from the horror of having been abused as a child or losing your parents -- the absolute helplessness and abandonment.

I kind of understand how difficult it has to be for the survivors of genocide and the horrors of war. That stuff doesn't just "go away". You grieve, you move on, but it will ALWAYS be right behind you to greet you in your low times.

Thank you so much for acknowledging that my feelings are natural under the circumstances. I hate having to always hide them, or to be told I should not be feeling them.

April 13, 2007
11:50 am
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Oh ready, you are here again. I so appreciate your words and feelings.

It was like being in prison, wasn't it?

I have a coffee date today with a young woman who I've been sort of a mentor and friend to for a couple of yrs. She is brilliant -- a tenured prof at age 33 in a foreign country. I wonder how she and I became friends. I guess I'm the "kind" mother she never had. How odd that she thinks I am strong and stable!! I hope she will not see me as dull and used-up today!

It is essential to keep up appearances for your own pride's sake. I agree that it is terribly important to let others know how you will NOT be treated.

My son's gf's little girl was being pretty naughty with us Easter Day. She ran up behind my H and hit him in the bum with both hands. He just tolerated it. Then she did it to me and I turned around and said in no uncertain terms that she NOT do that again to me. And she didn't. But it was almost like I've now delivered a challenge for her to buck up against.

I'm sorry. NOBODY's kid gets to hit me. I never allowed it before. Why do I have to tolerate it now? My H said he ignored it because she's little and has so many anger issues...having to cope with this young woman's past and her anger issues towards her children's "other" fathers and knowing she will be mothering our grandchild with this same set of circumstances....well, it isn't what I wished for.

The sun is shinig and I want to go swim and get some exercise this morning. I am trying to do what I can to shake off some of these feelings of inadequacy. Isolating really isn't working!! Take care.

April 13, 2007
1:50 pm
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Brynnie, I'm glad you asserted yourself with that kid. Being a teacher, I'm good at that. It's asserting myself with adults that I have a hard time with.

You know, you are right about it being like prison. I think the isolation is even worse, though, because no one really knows you are there. In prison, you'd have the acknowledgment that you were in an awful situation. In my marriage, I had to go out every day and put on a happy face so people would think my life was just fine. After 17 years, it was just too much for me to handle.

Toward the end, I didn't love my ex any more. He made that quite easy, though. He basically went off the deep end...locking me out of our bedroom, destroying my things, threatening me, removing my pictures from the house, telling our children I was poisoning him and cheating on him. But, lately he has been emailing me spilling his guts about how I blindsighted him with my divorce.

I'm struggling to understand how he can think this way.

April 13, 2007
3:33 pm
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Hi Brynnie,

I think when you say you used to be ALL good days, might not be true...I think at the begining our attitude, is so up/good, that if we have a down day we don't look at it that way...but over the years...it's harder and harder to keep up a good front.

" was NEVER lazy, or useless, or ANY of the things I seem to be now.....I'm always wanting to take a nap, find my false bravado, escape somehow." I went through that and I think I am still going through that...maybe it's a way for our bodies and mind to heal, and rest and start gathering the courage and recuperating some of the strength from years of making everything appear good and right...

I hope your coffe date goes will today...you have much wisdom and experience to share...

(((brynnie)))

April 14, 2007
12:17 am
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Brynnie,

There is no time limit on grief or healing. It is very convenient for other people to say that there is, and that you should "move on" or "get over it." Much easier than reaching deep down inside themselves and understanding, truly UNDERSTANDING, that what you feel might not be that simplistic. That what you feel might be beyond their understanding, and that the best they can do is just be there for you... (why is that so hard for people?) They rather give Peter Pan advice and/or run away from pain). Maybe sometimes when some people see others in pain it brings their own issues to the surface as well, I don't know.

All I know, is that sort of phenomenon does add to your pain. It is unfortunate that people are so quick to trivialize one's experience without even realizing it. Or maybe they do realize it. I don't know. I go through similar things. My whole adult life since I suffered major depressive episodes and family problems at age 14 I have had to deal with the reactions of friends who "don't get it."

And I don't know about you, but this is where MY empathy has its limits: I guess I should realize that some people lack the life experience and the emotional depth to relate to other people and extend themselves in such a way as to understand that there are people who have gone through things they don't understand. Or then there are the kind who say "Oh, that happened to me and I pulled through- what's wrong with you? You should be able to do it as easily as I did." The thing is, we are all different. Maybe I should be more forgiving of such individuals and their rather narrow limitations. So that's my problem, I give up on these people after a while. Some people are just good time charlies and that's all they are good for in your life. I guess we need them too, but shouldn't invest emotional energy in them or have high expectations of them. It is hard, I'm not good at this. Maybe you are better. When it's family, it becomes a necessity to adapt to other people's idiosyncrasies to a degree and that's why it's maddening.

When you do find the special person or people in your life who stand by you, understand you, and care their specialness just shines through. I'm beginning to think that people like that are rare gems.

(((brynnie))). Hope your weekend is relaxing. Have a nice swim!

-ella

April 14, 2007
9:15 am
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(((Brynnie))) Thinking of you today. Warm hugs, and praying for peace for both of us.

April 14, 2007
9:39 am
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Dear ready,

He locked you out of your bedroom??? It just sounds so evil. I am so sorry you had to go through that kind of abuse.

If you are a teacher and have no problem with disciplining kids, it surprises me you say asserting yourself with adults is hard.

I guess I am assuming his behavior stemmed from or was accelerated by alcohol. There are some fairly alcoholic things that have messed up our relationship. That idea we've talked about before about how you can ID the age an alcoholic began drinking because he has not matured much beyond the original age.

Not in all things, but...

I got to be the one who remained constant for the kids and tried to keep things running when he was erratic. We were married 17 yrs when our parents met for the first time!!! It was very formal. I was extremely nervous. They were very cordial with each other, but they never saw one another again. We had loving relationships with both sides, but the distance between us/them just forbade much interaction. We did all the traveling!

I am positive we'd have been divorced long ago if we had had to live near either set of parents. Mine were non-drinkers and rural, church centered social life. His were more affluent and played cards and went to the club and had a maid. I think a huge amount of respect for differences wassomething we both saw and practiced...everywhere. I am proud of that.

I wish you didn't have to have ANY contact with your ex. Getting abusive emails from him still at this stage of the game.....I know I would feel like just rising up in rage. YOu still have to deal with him with kid gloves. I admire you for being strong that way. I also know you for a good person now. You've been very very kind and understanding and helpful to me. Making me pull myself back together. I really appreciate this.

April 14, 2007
10:02 am
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Brynnie...wow, you just quoted something our first counselor told me about my ex. She had him fill out a questionnaire about alcoholism, and pinpointed the time he started drinking at age 13 or 14. When my son got to about that age, it was so very obvioius to me that he was more mature than his own father. He would give his father these looks as if to say, "Why are you acting like that?" It was shortly after that that I filed for divorce.

And yes, he would throw my pillows out into the hallway night after night, lock the bedroom door, and sometimes put furniture in front of the door so I couldn't get in. This went on for months, along with so many other insane things he did. My children were 10 and 14 at the time, old enough to know what was going on and too old for me to try to hide it from them anymore.

But now he sends me emails telling me he had no idea anything was wrong with our marriage, and that I blindsighted him by filing for divorce. I don't respond to them...unless he wants to discuss our children. That is the only thing I will talk to him about.

And I think it is basically their emotional development that is arressted at the age they started drinking.

So...I'm curious. Why do you think you would have been divorced so long ago if you lived near either set of parents? I find that interesting. Our parents did not meet until right before our wedding, and they had very little in common as well. But we lived all of our marriage within just a few miles of both sets of parents, and I'm not sure that it made a difference either way that they were close to us.

Hope you are working through some things slowly. I know that I was unhappy in my marriage for many, many years before I filed for divorce. Probably 8-10 of the 17 years we were married were unhappy. I spent so much time and energy trying to decide what the right thing to do was...when I would finally think it was time to file for divorce, things would get better for a while. That cycle continued for many, many years until I realized it was never going to change for any length of time. And, unfortunatley, my ex didn't have the maturity to sit down and discuss things with me, or with a counselor. Ever.

Bottom line, it's a hard road and I don't envy you having to go through this. What got me through...journaling, posting here, reading good books about codependency, counseling, support groups, and some very good friends.

April 14, 2007
10:12 am
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Dear armyleo,

You are probably right about my only remembering how happy I was....again, I feel strongly that it IS attitude.

So....I was/am not wrong to remember it that way, either.?????

What I do see is my H has been trying to rectify things.....he is reaching out again and again to our sons and last night said he thought their relationship (family business that's been barely making money) has gotten better. He has not been unkind to me about not working. I know what we've been through and reaching this age and nearly broke and wishing he could retire like others do is a depressing thing for him.

Why do some people NEVER give in to insurmountable odds? Why are some people so easily defeated? Why do some terminal patients live way beyond what the doctors predict?

So the pain is probably in recognizing the reality of the present and letting go of the fantasy.

That doesn't mean that it is all bad.....
I like that you suggest that we are taking time to heal. And to re-charge. That's actually giving one another hope and desire for change and the possibility that things can feel better again.

There is still alot to be said for "acting" happy until it actually feels like it.

My coffee friend is engaged ... I love how much she understands others. She has extremely critical parents who have always told her that SHE was responsible for her mother's feelings because she was always so "difficult". She is incredibly successful but because she hasn't married also....it sounds like they will always be critical of her.

She has now met her fiance's step-father and was amazed at how critical he was of both her fiance and his mother. Before their visit was over, she spoke privately to his mother and let her know she would always be welcome in their home (but to come alone). She said it was insane...the guy's father was a pastor, and he himself ran a Christian youth camp, but was not a pastor, and it was like he was trying to compensate for his lack of power and prestige by dominating his family.

What was interesting was that she said the "CRITICAL" difference was that her parents' behavior was out of ignorance and not being able to understand, and the step-father's behavior inexcuseable because it was deliberate and mean-spirited.

I want her energy and spirit and surety. I hope my will and energy returns....yours, too, army. I am so happy with how much youhave shared on these threads.

April 14, 2007
10:18 am
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mzrella, oh yeah, they do not want to dig around in their own can of worms.....

I guess personal boundaries are sort of proportionate to one's ability to empathize???? Hmm. Big words.

April 14, 2007
10:18 am
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mzrella, oh yeah, they do not want to dig around in their own can of worms.....

I guess personal boundaries are sort of proportionate to one's ability to empathize???? Hmm. Big words.

April 14, 2007
10:38 am
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Whoops. Didn't finish that....

I think I've got alot of expectations for others as far as their ability to understand. I'm actually pretty good at assuming that capability in others, which seems to bring out their best attempts TO "get it".

Our son's pregnant (ex-?) gf got pretty easy for me to read. She sort of "courted" me as a mom. She had a pretty nasty alcoholic mom. She's just never had much help to grow up. First she tried to conjure up a conversation of "let's you and me bash all men". Another time she said she was NEVER having another child and would get her tubes tied this time. I don't initiate these topics....at one point I said "I don't know what to say to you." I've never been unkind to her. It occurred to me that she was just assuming WAY too much and really has had very little experience in good relationships.

It's like I REALLY DO understand and that is why I pull away....I do not feel I have a responsibility to step in and become her mother.

I guess I will continue to treat her with respect and courtesy and try to be supportive of her. But I don't expect to be manipulated by other people's problems becoming my own.

This sounds really good as I write the words. πŸ™‚

April 14, 2007
10:54 am
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dear ready,

If my H had ever been abusive or gotten angry I guess I would have had to leave. I don't know if it is as simple as that, but....

he said not long ago that he thought I would have been happy had I married a guy whose faith was like mine and we could pray together. Well, actually I think he said "sit around and pray together", which sounds particularly offensive. I think he thought he was being insightful.

I dated the faith-full boys. I found them too preach-y and stilted and perhaps condescending, judgmental and hypocritical. Of course I'd have enjoyed someone who believes as I do, but I chose my H. He has too much within him that he denies when it comes to these lables

April 14, 2007
11:03 am
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I keep sending accidentally. Sorry.

I am saying I believe we each have these intact belief systems within us.

Behaving like a creep doesn't mean the knowledge of knowing what is right and good is not there.

I didn't marry him so that I could change him or judge him. I think I DID kind of assume that his better nature would always or eventually win out. So I must have set myself up for disappointment due to naivety πŸ™‚

I had a conversation with someone yesterday. I swam and walked a tread mill for the first time in weeks. I need to go do that again now before it closes.

I attribute so much to this thread for helping me out of the pain I've been in. I'm deeply indebted.

April 14, 2007
12:21 pm
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Brynnie...hugs to you today for taking care of yourself. I'm glad you plan to swim and walk today. I know you don't have much energy right now, but use the little you have to build yourself up and get stronger. And I'm glad you're working things out here to build yourself stronger on the inside, too. You are doing awesome! No one understands what tiring, stressful work this is, except those of us who have been through it. Take care...

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