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Leaving a relationship that was sick from the start
January 5, 2007
7:04 am
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briss
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Finally after 1 year and 4 months of loving or trying to love an alcoholic the penny drops and I realize it was doomed to fail from the beginning. My guts were telling me this was wrong all the time - telling me the promises were lies telling me that this was destructive. The penny drops and I am at once relieved that I have finally walked away and at the same time embarrassed to have been such a fool, angry that I wasted so much time on a sick man and sad because I am so so lonely now. I feel so incredibly empty. Will these feelings go? Is there hope now thatI have identified (without denial) his illness, my codependency and the very bad path I was on?

January 5, 2007
7:58 am
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epiphany
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Briss, of course there is hope! We've all been given promises that eventually fell through. have been with men who just couldn't be there for us.

But it's great that you have realised it and are doing what you have to do for yourself. I've felt like a fool too. Asking myself what in the world ever made me go there. Because I know I deserved more and better. Well I realise it alot more now and am finally doing something about it.

My friend came up with a great analogy when I asked her why my ex couldn't see all that I was doing for him and react to me differently. And she said it's like walking him on to the tarmac and saying, there's the plane, go fly it. As much as he might have WANTED to fly it, he didn't know how. He wasn't equipped. And some guys just aren't. That doesn't make you a fool for trying. It just means you cared enough to give it a go.

I've gone through much heartache with my ex. I felt like I'd done everything to make the relationship work and felt devastated that I couldn't. But I realise, it wasn't all down to me to make it work. He had to put in the effort too. but he couldn't.

But you're walking away now. So am I. Keep strong. It will take time, but everyone here is very supportive and have helped me enormously through those first few baby steps.

January 5, 2007
8:03 am
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hopeful for change
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Ofcourse there is hope. Just remember, even when you think you have "wasted" a year...you haven't..it factors in to the person you become, the important lessons you have to learn. And although one year is a long time, be glad its not ten years taken from this person. Ya know?

My ex who is a meth/coke addict, now years later is no part of my life. Don't miss him or anything. But the whole experience has greatly affected the person I have become, and made me aware of alot of things.

January 5, 2007
8:57 pm
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Giggles_29
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Briss, there is DEFINETLY hope.
It took me 12 yrs to even acknowledge the fact that I was codependent, and 13yrs to leave the man i was coda with.
You have taken the first step to better your life.
It will hurt and you will have ups and downs, but the outcome will all be worth it. You sure have come to the right place. There is so much support here it's amazing.
Just remember that you deserve to be happy and to get just what you want out of life. Have you tried to find any coda meetings in your area? You can try going to http://www.coda.org. That's what I did and it really helped me, or even alinon. It's so nice to know we are not alone.
I hope this helps a little. Keep your chin up. 🙂
@--]---- Giggles

January 8, 2007
4:25 am
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briss
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epiphany, hopefulforchange, giggles 29

Thankyou so much for your words of encouragement and obvious experience in this matter.

epiphany - I could relate and understand your plane flying analogy completely. You see this man is neither a bastard or a creep - he is in fact (like it seems so many alcoholics are) a highly intelligent, gentle and loving person. We were very in love but the denial of his condition that he lives with became impossible to endure anymore for me. He is no more equipped to give up alcohol than he is to fly a plane but lived believing he could.

hopefulforchange - you are so right about the year not having been wasted. I realise that year has made me determined to learn from my mistakes. Maybe if it had not been so long I would not be so fierce about changing things.

And Giggles - i can see how 13 years could go by before one wakes up to the truth about the alcoholic. The times I thought this was it - there will now be change - I was lucky very lucky to wake up when I did - it really could have been a very long time.
Thankyou for the coda web address. I think when I realised I was codependent that was the biggest shock of all. It sounds so sad and desperate to be codependent. And it is. But I am amazingly strong (despite being incredibly stupid)and am going to learn everything I can about coda and what I can do about mine.

What do you women think about the idea that addicts such as my partner pick out very strong, independent women to lean on? Am I just flattering myself? I can tell every inch of my confidence and strength was sapped in that relationship - was that his intent?

January 8, 2007
5:01 am
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nvr2late
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briss..
I am sorry for your experience! I had the same thing and after 15 years decided I could not live with this man any longer...and he turned evil..so watch out!
I believe that men like that pick out strong independent women and like to make them feel dependent on them, that is their control issues.
They want something to control to make them feel better because they are so out of control within themselves.

I am not sure it was their 'intent', but that is what they do. They cannot control their own behavior so they try to control someone else's.

and they steal all YOUR energy and confidence so you don't think that you can live without them.
they make it look like they make all the rules and in reality they lean on you so much you don't where you begin and they begin.
and in reality they are so afraid of losing you..they will go to any length not to do that.

my ex mother-in-law is a perfect example..her husband of 40+ years beat her kids (my ex) and treated her terrible..he was an alcholic...and I witnessed MANY incidents of abuse, and I asked her...'why do you take that from him??? why don't you leave him???' and her reply was...'no one will ever love me as much as he does'.

hmm...that seems to be a sick kind of love!!! and I realized that her son treated me the same way! and I left...I knew I could fall into that trap!

thank god you got out of it...it is lonely at times, but losing yourself is lonlier.

you did the right thing...whatever happens, happens.
work on yourself, you cannot go wrong there!!!

take care...nvr

January 8, 2007
6:11 am
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briss
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nvr2late

Thankyou so much for your words too. Yes I believe that man picked me for being pretty together in many ways but also I believe I had a big V on my forehead - V for vunerable. My eldest son had just left home - I was hurting - I wanted to replace him - wanted to care for someone as I had always cared for him. And guess who comes along? A needy alcoholic. Falling for him and attending to his needs made me able to ignore the grief I was going through in the loss of my boy. I was even aware of it at the time and still could not do anything about it. I kept just concentrating on the dramas my new alcoholic leech was introducing me to on a daily basis. OK so now I'm out and guess what? Two griefs to deal with the loss of a son and the loss of a lover.(lover? sex with a drinking alcoholic is like having sex with a blow up doll)
Clever aren't I?

January 9, 2007
5:14 pm
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passionflower
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Well Briss, It's good to see you haven't lost your sense of humour! That one really made me chuckle... a blow up doll...ha ha ha!

I recommend the following website for all people who have been involved in an alcoholic/codependent relationship....please check it out.

http://www.empoweredrecovery.com

You'll be just fine... I'm still laughing!

January 9, 2007
6:56 pm
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briss
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Hi passionflower

I am in fact presently devouring Doug Kelley's Empowered Recovery. It is in fact going to save me. He holds back no punches and I love him for it. I tried Alanon for a year but found that everyone seemed just as miserable there as they had been from the start - and some of them had been going for 20 years. No - I like Doug's idea of 'get out it aint going to change' and even if the alcoholic does stop drinking your'e left with a 'dry drunk' which is just as bad. My alcoholic leech was dry for 3 months and it still wasn't much fun. He became quiet and distant and the sex was even worse.

When people ask me what I'm up to I say I'm in the middle of Empowered Recovery. Of course they don't know what I'm talking about and that's just fine with me. It's my job at that moment and noone else's.

January 10, 2007
7:59 am
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Hi Briss

I am glad that you are reading Doug Kelley's Empowered Recovery. It hits the spot doesn't it? You are right...even when they stop drinking they're the most self-centred and miserable people on earth. I don't think they ever become normal again if they've been drinking heavily for years... too much brain damage from all the pickling!

I am glad I'm out of it....and glad I didn't hang around too long either. They don't change at all. In fact a blow up doll would be preferable..ha ha! I'm still chuckling over that one...probably because it brought back memories...been there, done that and it sucks!

Alanon sucks too... like you say, it's a circle of people moaning about their lot and to me, that's a form of addiction itself.

My ex was also a highly intelligent man and that was the hook. I read a book on Intellectuals and noticed that many of them were alcoholics too... Ernest Hemingway springs to mind and Winston Churchill. I used to enjoy all the information I got from my ex, who was a real genius.... an abusive genius. Pity he wasn't clever enough to stop self-destructing. All I have now are memories of him trying to 'open' the wall to go to the bathroom....running out of the house at 7am to run to the store to get his alcohol as soon as they opened... vomitting in the street after gulping down that first drink on the way back...... a sad, sad old boy all alone with his 'friend' the bottle and...his books.

You'll find someone healthy eventually, when the time's right. So will I.... Good luck to you!

January 10, 2007
5:35 pm
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briss
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passionflower

Great to hear from you. Those men sound so similar. I too stayed in there for the intellectualism of the man. He really did have the most incredible insight. Our conversations (when he was sober)were brilliant. I was so confused -here is a man with this level of intelligence and perception yet cannot see that he is living in complete denial about his illness.

I can relate to your man's vomitting, attempting to open a wall etc. When I miss mine all I need to do is remember when he fell in the shower breaking the taps and tiles ($100's damage), urinating in my bed when he was asleep (destroying a new matress), embarassing me in front of friends - the list goes on.

It helps me to write like this and especially to hear from people like you that know the experience so completely. I hid that man from most people I know or lied to them that I was not seeing him when I was (another example of the dysfunctional relationship I was in) so I can't talk to my friends or family about this. It's a very lonely recovery. Allaboutcounseling has made it less lonely.

January 10, 2007
6:03 pm
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lettingo
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Briss,
Be thankful you only put yourself through it for year and a 1/2. I am divorcing my husband. We were together 7 and married almost five. He started using almost two years ago and even after all the chaos, it is incredibly hard letting go. I also go to Alanon but I found an awesome group!!!! I would not have gotten through without them. I think you may need to go to a few meeting to find the right one. My therapist had strongly recommended it. Whatever you do, get help for youself because this disease makes everyone involved very sick!

January 11, 2007
12:02 am
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briss
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lettingo

Only just yesterday I posted to you through the thread COMING TO TERMS WITH THE END OF MARRIAGE You and I seem to be leaving the same sort of go nowhere relationship with a sick man. Yes I'm glad it wasn't years but it certainly could have been - mainly because I kept living in as much denial as he did. And of course there was always that thing called hope. I did love him. I do love him. If that makes me foolish then so be it but you and I know what we loved and it was real. It really helps to hear of people like yourself that know the agony of leaving someone you love simply because you must.

I'm trying so bloody hard and yet my grief will overcome my strength time and time again and the tears will pour down my face. Lettingo I believe you know how this feels. Thankyou for your support.

Briss

January 11, 2007
7:56 am
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passionflower
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Briss and Lettingo.... we live in denial for so long and bury the truth...but it has to be faced sooner or later and when it is faced it can be healed...and it does get better. You hide the truth from yourself and others...I hid my ex from everyone too. I lived a lie.. that's what addictions do to you. You're going through withdrawal..but it will pass. You lived on hope for so long... what Doug Kelley describes as 'magical thinking'.

I'm completely over it now...I have recovered enough to look back and see it for what it was.....a very toxic relationship that left me anxious and confused and now I am working on myself to make sure I never get sucked in to anything like that again.

These men are larger than life...and to begin with you feel that you're being swept off your feet and it's intoxicating. However, you soon begin to realise that with the highs come the lows (or in my case the blows)and it's not working out how he promised you it would... child's thinking. But you hang in there, hoping, thinking magically....and then you get all confused and the lows become the norm...but you still hang in there...hoping for a high..for a hit, for the same feeling you had at the beginning, before all the promises turned to dust. It doesn't come and you get lower and lower.... either you sink and die..or you wake up and take action, realising that he could never be the person you want him to be...never was. You save yourself because your instincts are telling you to do so...that's healthy. You cannot save him...only he can do that and if he's not willing to make a determined effort, you have to leave him to live the life he's chosen...and he does have a choice. Most alcoholics prefer to stay drunk...in fact if it wasn't damaging their health they wouldn't think twice about stopping. Only a few actually make a healthy recovery...the percentage is quite low. Trying to change them is like banging your head against a brick wall...it's a waste of time. It depends how long you want to go on having a headache really.

Alanon is okay for a while. It's a peaceful place...you leave feeling a sense of peace. But I don't think it's healthy to stay for too long, not when you've left the alcoholic...because it keeps you in that place...when it's time to move on and get on with your life, away from the alcoholic kingdom.

I don't think the AA 12 steps is appropriate for alanon people. You are not powerless over alcohol...the alcoholic is, but you're not....

Empowered Recovery is a healthy place to be... but again, not a healthy place to stay. Once you grasp the truth, the light bulb goes on and you don't need to hang around...you need to get out there and live a healthy life, with healthy people and the bad experience will eventually fade in your memory, so that you can look back and see it for what it really was...an unhealthy attachment that sapped your strength and confidence. Don't give it any more value than that...because it doesn't deserve more than that. It was never love in the first place...and if you think it was, then you have a lot of work to do on yourself to find out why you accepted that kind of behaviour and thought it was love. So don't dwell in that unhealthy place...move on and deal with your own issues. Let them deal with theirs.....

January 11, 2007
4:23 pm
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briss
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passionflower

Thankyou. You're obviously a very intelligent woman who has got her act together.

You certainly make me think when you say
IT WAS NEVER LOVE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND IF YOU THINK IT WAS THEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO ON YOURSELF TO FIND OUT WHY YOU ACCEPTED THAT BEHAVIOUR.

I continually declare (as you will notice) that I love(d) him. But when I consider the so called relationship I have to admit there was always fear (that he would be drunk), no equality financially (he had no possessions or money so I provided everything)and no feeling of comfort or security. What could I possibly love about him? Healthy relationships feel safe, are equal and there is no fear of any kind.

No it wasn't love and as I believe one must love themselves to love others (and he obviously hated himself) he did not love me.

Also you say one must move on from Empowered Recovery, Alanon and any other recovery program one is trying. I absolutely agree. I hope that I do not need to post here one day too. One day all this will be in the past and I will be a healthy individual.

You are very wise passionflower.

briss

January 11, 2007
9:00 pm
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briss
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Can you believe what I just did?

Just got a a job offer - just the thing I've been working towards for the past year or so. Thought I was not really going to be in the positon of obtaining something like this for a year or more.

You know what I did?

I rang my alcoholic to tell him because I was so excited. Can you believe I actually rang him to tell him of my wonderful news?

And you know what he said as he stood on the other end of the phone in his drunken stupor? "Oh that organisation (naming it)well you wouldn't want to work for them. I have worked for them and the woman running it is a real bitch - disorganised, hopeless - no that will be a disaster."

So here is this alcoholic that has not been able to hold down a job for 20 years, who lives in a pub, who doesn't have a dime to his name and who hasn't got a friend in the world telling me about someone elses incompetencies.

I put down the phone and kicked myself. Then I laughed and forgave myself.

January 12, 2007
3:22 am
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passionflower
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Briss...
The golden rule to getting to a healthy place is this:

NO CONTACT.

January 12, 2007
6:54 pm
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briss
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passionflower

I know, I know! What a stupid thing to do to contact him especially about something which was a step forward for me and another step away from him.

But in one way it was a good thing for me to contact him because it was another reminder that nothing had changed - that nothing would ever change.

Phoning him was an old habit but as soon as he spoke I realised how far I'd come. Maybe I was testing myself.

But the 'no contact' rule is essential I know. Every day of no contact allows me to leap ahead with my recovery. All the other times I had left him (ha ha) I continually tried to explain why I had I didn't want to see him or what was wrong etc. Of course it kept me stuck. He knew I wasn't really leaving and so did I. So he just kept on with his ways and I with mine.

The great thing about now is that I don't even think about how he's going or why he's like he is etc I just think about me and what I want for my life. I know one thing and that is I don't want an alcoholic in it. Simple really.

January 13, 2007
4:55 am
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passionflower
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Hi Briss

I am glad to hear it! You are one of the few who are going to heal and get on with your life. Beware of one thing though. He needs an enabler, they can't live otherwise... so be on your guard because months even years from now, that snake is going to try and wriggle his way back in to the comfort of your nest. Know that if he does, it's not because he's 'missed' you or 'can't get you out of his mind' or that he 'loves you' or that he's 'sobered up'....it's because he needs an enabler...someone else has walked away in the meantime and there's a vacancy. Change your phone numbers Briss, or... I don't know where in the world you are, but there must be a phone number screening available.

You've got a new job... that's great. You can start a new life and leave that unhealthy and unhappy experience where it belongs...in the past.

Good luck to you.

January 13, 2007
5:49 am
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Hi Briss

Something you wrote caught my eye: asking (do) "addicts pick strong, independent women to lean on?" Oh yes, you are not flattering yourself, you are self-aware and confident, you know what you have going on. And YES, I do believe they will drain us dry if we let them. I don't know why - the thrill of the chase, the "capture", who knows? They need our strength. I, too, am strong, successful, confident...yet I pick one loser after another. The last one just drained me dry, financially, emotionally, and physically. NO MORE. It's the charmer in them, it's all they have, we are vulnerable for some reason. My reasons are extreme loneliness and deep kindness. Figure out your vulnerabilities and use them to your own advantage or to help someone deserving. Good luck and congratulations on your new job and new, happier life.

SO

January 13, 2007
6:20 am
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Startingover....You have to ask yourself why you like being lied to... what's happening in your life to make you become a victim of predators when you are so strong, successful and confident? Isn't loneliness preferable than being bait? A lot of the time the reason is that we were conditioned to be that way from an early age. I was hit a lot by my parents...I was vulnerable and had no choice but to take it at that age. That early conditioning made me easy prey....until I woke up and starting taking control of my life... working on my issues and realising that NO! I don't have to take that shit anymore. Delve deep and you will find the answers you are looking for......and be able to move on and make healthier choices.

January 13, 2007
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Hi Passionflower...thanks for your response, it gave me something to think about long and hard. I don't LIKE being lied to, I truly think I can not see the truth, the warning signs or "red flags" as some people call them, and that is what I can't figure out. Oh yes, being lonely is definitely better than being bait, and I have been bait indeed, have allowed myself to be used up and in dangerous situations. I had early conditioning too, from alcoholic, neglectful parents, not physically abusive as yours were, and I'm sorry that you grew up that way. I just remember wanting affection and attention, still do, still don't get it there.

I'm not outwardly lonely, but the type of man who is drawn to me (and other "successful, strong and confident" women) finds out enough about us - we feed them everything they need to know to manipulate later - just listens to us enough to figure out our emotional triggers or vulnerabilities. Leading back to aquare one - I, too, need to find out my own and not advertise them like a banner on my sleeve.

Oh, I have woken up allright and taken control of my own life...it has been hard, and scary, but I am OK now and I appreciate these years I will spend alone because my children are young adults and I can enjoy more time with them and people who are true friends. No more "dating" for me until I get my s*** together. I have nothing to offer anyone, nothing to be taken from me, nothing to give.

SO

January 13, 2007
1:00 pm
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Startingover...
I am glad to hear you are doing the work on yourself. It's okay to be on your own for a time, in fact it's necessary. Enjoy your children and your friends and learn to love yourself... that's the most important step. You're too valuable and precious to give what you've got to somebody who just wants to take what you can offer and give. How about what they can offer and give to you for a change? And it's not just the men who try and take advantage of you either... some women friends try and suck you dry too, so be wary of them aswell.

A good book was recommended to me by Ladeska on another thread... 'How to Spot a Dangerous Man before you get involved' by Sandra L. Brown M.A and I recommend it to you... especially if you don't see the red flags.

Healing those old wounds from childhood takes time but it's worth it in the end. It will make you stronger and more aware. Sometimes we see the red flags and the knowledge comes to us as intuition, a gut feeling... something doesn't feel quite right... but a lot of the time we choose to ignore that feeling and don't act.... because we want to remain blind rather than confront the issues. It's hard to face up to being used, being fooled by someone you've allowed in to your life.. realising that they don't love you....you want to believe in them, trust them...that someone you've trusted with personal information.... that same information they use to hurt you with.

These people tell such a convincing story when you first get to know them...they hide behind a lie... until they've got you hooked in... then little by little... the truth comes out...you're stunned... you're confused... you're in their web and you're being sucked dry.

It's a little bit like playing a slot machine. You put 10 dollars in and win 5 back. Then you put in the 5 you've won and you lose it... so you decide to put in another 5 to try and win back the 10 you lost and so on...... These jerks give you a little bit of what you want.... a lot of what you don't want, a little bit of what you want... at different unpredictable intervals... so you can never win no matter how much you throw at them... you will only get a few crumbs back... at intervals. The only way to stop the madness and confusion is to have no further contact with them because just like the slots, you will never win your money back no matter how long you stand there and pull the lever. You will always lose more than you get.

There are some good decent honest people out there... they are rare but definitely worth waiting for. And being alone is still infinitely better than being played.

Best wishes.

January 13, 2007
6:13 pm
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startingover
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Hi all. I like this thread. Relationships that were sick from the start, with women who are capable of knowing better, but vulnerable for some reason. My desire for affection, Briss's need to fill a void there when her son left...oh yes, these were doomed from the start allright.

Thanks passionflower for your words of encouragement. I like your slot machine analogy, wish I had put in $5 coins instead of all that I spent on the man who "never asked for anything" as he later said. He just camped on my doorstep, invaded my home nightly at dinner and drinks time, charmed me and my children who adored him, and then
dumped me.

I'm 46 years old, it's the best age I've been (yet), in that I am very comfortable with myself, know my strengths and limitations, and right now I know I'm not worth a damn in a relationship. I've got a mountain of debt, work too much, too many things going on to spend any time or attention to anyone but ME and my own family. That will change, I've made lots of good choices lately, and one of them is to be alone for now.

I wish us all better choices in our futures, and kinder people to spend our precious time with. One thing I have tried is to value myself more, and consider parts of myself - ?precious? - can't think of the word - but too important to give away freely. Things like inner fears, sexuality, secrets / vulnerabilities / things that the wrong person can use against me or use to hurt me. It seems a start, and at least it is working for now. I will look for the book you recommended as well.

Best wishes to all of us.

SO

January 13, 2007
6:15 pm
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startingover
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Hi all. I like this thread. Relationships that were sick from the start, with women who are capable of knowing better, but vulnerable for some reason. My desire for affection, Briss's need to fill a void there when her son left...oh yes, these were doomed from the start allright.

Thanks passionflower for your words of encouragement. I like your slot machine analogy, wish I had put in $5 coins instead of all that I spent on the man who "never asked for anything" as he later said. He just camped on my doorstep, invaded my home nightly at dinner and drinks time, charmed me and my children who adored him, and then
dumped me.

I'm 46 years old, it's the best age I've been (yet), in that I am very comfortable with myself, know my strengths and limitations, and right now I know I'm not worth a damn in a relationship. I've got a mountain of debt, work too much, too many things going on to spend any time or attention to anyone but ME and my own family. That will change, I've made lots of good choices lately, and one of them is to be alone for now.

I wish us all better choices in our futures, and kinder people to spend our precious time with. One thing I have tried is to value myself more, and consider parts of myself - ?precious? - can't think of the word - but too important to give away freely. Things like inner fears, sexuality, secrets / vulnerabilities / things that the wrong person can use against me or use to hurt me. It seems a start, and at least it is working for now. I will look for the book you recommended as well.

Best wishes to all of us.

SO

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