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should i talk about this now?
August 1, 2005
7:24 am
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classof77
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I have never done this sort of thing before but then I am doing a lot of things I never thought I would do. So this is the question.
I need some opinions to a new problem. I have been two years out of an intensely contolling and emotional abusive marriage of 15 years. I wish I could say I left him but I didn't, he left me. I suppose most people would think that is where all my relationship fears started but it really isn't. They started with all the years of pain in the marriage, his leaving was just one more round of "see, I can hurt you more than you can hurt me" but in the long run is the one stand up thing he did. For many years in the marriage I would think of what it would be like to be free, to be me with no judgements, insults or pain. I haven't really ever came up with a concrete reason why I didn't leave. I have read all the websites on emotional abuse, Stockholm syndrome, Codependent No More (in respect to the codependent thisg, I don't believe I started out that way but did end up being very much so), reactive abuse(was really good at that one).
Anyway, that's a little of the background. So before the marriage ended, and definitely after, I kept saying to myself, just let me out ot this one and I will never put myself in this situation again. I concentrated on working and trying to find the answers to why I could take such a long walk on the south side of insanity. But basically what all that means is I have put things back together to the point where I have things in my little world pretty well under control. I am self-employed and can see that part of my life turning out way better than I expected. In short all the little fantasies about what I could be if I were free are pretty much working out. I have good friends, many business contacts with people I value, and family that I can rely on. After many years of the isolation that abusive relationships thrive on, I can honestly say, I truly enjoy my life now.
That's not the problem. Here is the problem. I have recently met some one I feel to be a kind and genlte man. Probably, more the exact opposite of my ex than I could possibly imagine. I can feel that although things are in an early stage he is wanting to work on a long term committed relationship. He is a good man. I don't want play games with some one who does not deserve it.
Anyway to try and shorten a long story, I think I have a committment phobia. Part of me wants to follow this through and maybe be able to get back my ability to be close to some one. While I am happy now, a big part of me knows I don't want to spend my whole life alone. But what if I can't break down the walls that I have built? I don't want hurt this person. How much do I talk about my "fear"? I feel that although I can come up with many reasons for my fear, are the reasons really excuses? How do I tell him about this fear without diving into things I know will bring out the oh you poor thing response. I don't want pity, which is why I don't talk much about my past.
What do you think?

August 1, 2005
8:17 am
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mamacinnamon
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classof77:

Nice to meet you 🙂

First, why are you afraid of the "pity" word? I think folks get the awww "pity" and awww "empathy" mixed up. Just my thoughts. But from one woman that lived thru abuse to another... folks (most of them) are not saying awww from pity but from "awww, i'm sorry you had to deal w/ all that" empathy or typical programmed response. 🙂

I think sit down and tell him. Ya know, I was so fearful my now hubby of 13 years would leave right away when he found out what I had lived thru but it was just the opposite. There was no pity. There was anger, feelings of "awww, I'm sorry you had to deal w/ that", but not pity. You may be surprised if you do sit down and just let it all come flowing out.... or give little bits at a time. If his reaction is bad then there's that red flag you didn't need him anyway.

Go into a relationship openly and honestly and there is much less likely to be misunderstandings and misrepresentations. Instead there is only room for love, security, oneness.

Glad to have you here. 🙂

August 1, 2005
8:46 am
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CAMER
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Hi, if he is a gentle and nice man, sit his butt down and talk with the guy, let him know how you feel, what YOU want out of life, what you don't want out of life etc....Communication is soo important in life, and you sound very level headed, maybe scared of a committment, who knows. I would just talk with him and see what comes to light after doing this. Good luck!

August 1, 2005
8:55 am
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classof77
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Hello Mamacinnamin, thank you for your prompt response and input. First let me say although I have not posted here before, I have done some reading and I think you are strong and understanding person. I know you have dealt with much more than I. My abuse was purely emotional and while I think my ex was the head game master, it was not physical past the point of a little shoving. But to answer your question on pity. You can not respect someone you feel sorry for. Respect is a big thing with me because of the marriage. I feel if there had been any respect on my exhusband's part most of the abuse would not have happened. And you are probably right in mixing empathy and pity. As for being afraid this man will leave, I am not, just the opposite in fact, I am afraid it will put him in a rescueing mode. Don't want or need to be rescued. Am I using the past as excuse to confuse commitment and caring wtih control? And if I am what do I do to get past that? What if I try and I don't get past it and all I end up doing is hurting this good man? Guess I am not as smart and healed as I thought. And maybe that is really what this is all about, I have found something I can't awoid now. Thanks for your input and welcome.

August 1, 2005
2:58 pm
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kathygy
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If you want to break down those walls talk to this man. Be completely honest about your fears if you want to work through them. If he's really a good man he will support you in working through your fears. You can build trust and intimacy this way. I don't see you fears generating pity. You could even tell him you need his help and support.

love,
kathy

August 1, 2005
4:22 pm
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mamacinnamon
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77:

All very good questions. Only youcan answer them tho. But, questions aside. Is it that you are afraid to take the chance of putting it all out there and then you will be vulnerable to whatever (not saying this guy would use it against you). Contrary.... I think you are a bit fearful as to what you might do.

I don't think we ever get over the past. I think we gain understanding and learn and we put the past where it should be.. in the past.. and we move on. It's like that saying.. Forgive and forget. Wrong in my opinion. Forgive but don't forget, put it away on the shelf, but don't forget lest you end up where you were before.

I think you are smart. I think you should jump in w/ both eyes open. How else will you ever know. Seems you have tested the water. Now jump. Sit down over dinner and talk. My gosh, the first time I let it out we sat at the restaurant 4 1/2 hours till we were told they were closing. Had no idea more than 30 minutes had passed.

Start a new chapter. Dinner Friday night might be good don't ya think???

August 3, 2005
12:16 am
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on my way
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hi 77,

i have just read your thread. i can identify with the feelings you have expressed here, as well as the fear of being known for all of my good and imperfect qualities.

i know what it feels like to want to be open with someone, because in return, if the right person they will be open as well. i know what it feels like to want to love someone in a genuine way, no games, and to have it work!! and to also wnat that to be returned...by the right person.

for a personal expereince, i will be brief:
i dated someone a few years back, who was and has remained very special to me. i was afraid to be me however, and fearful of allowing him to see my imperfections. and I was a rescuer, which probably made him fee4l less than who he was...but generally, or at least for me, any rescuing is done not from the heart but from an insecurity of the person doing the rescuing. Rescuers are slow to learn how to love without being overbearing and "motherly" to an extent. however it can be unlearned as well.

if i had to do over with, as in now, the present, it would be such a gift..to be able to put forth all that i have learned over the last few years, into that particular relationship that i had. because being able to share yourself, your fears, be open with someone, share your heart, your day to day blunders, is what everyone seeks I beleive.

if you beleive you have found someone who can accept you with all of your fears, adn who will sit with you and listen to you...and love you/like you inspite of, but more importatnly for you it seems....to beleive in you enough to know that she can be beside you in this capacity and not a rescuer...then yes...from what i have read, you are looking at a Friday night dinner? sounds awesome...go for it. you sound very sincere in your posts, genuine and your heart seems to be in the right place for all of this.

No one is perfect..

good luck to you.

August 3, 2005
1:43 am
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on my way
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classof77..

I apologize, I think I had misplaced my response to you for another thread, either way, it did not make sense.

But in reading above, I think that it is important that you step out and take a chance, I agree with mamac, whom you are correct in saying that she has much wisdom to impart to others here on this website.

I do not know anyone who always has there ducks lined up perfectely in a row...as the old saying goes. Many have tried...me for one! but one always fell away. Life was passing me by. Sometimes taking risks, are just what is necessary.

It will never be a perfect time...the perfect time is 'now'. I beleive it is good to be wise and consider options and to wantto make the right decisions, but not to the point of paralyzing oneself. Walls come down a brick at a time...sometimes we can remove them, sometimes a life circumstance removes them, sometimes warmth and love removes them. I too have walls, but rather than keep people out I am just learning to be more perceptive about who I allow in...boundaries are healthy, walls are not.

Somewhere I learned that I had to be strong all of the time, or I was weak...so if you are thinking that someone may rescue you, try to recognize that it may just be someone caring and not rescuing. It was always hard for me to even allow someone to give to me, because, somewhere along the line, it signified being weak, but more than anything? If I was not in control, and if someone loved me or wanted to give me good things, I felt out of control, and that is what I could not handle emotionally...I could not let anyone love me...it made me too vulnerable and then I did not know which way to go.

So in recognizing this behavior, I had to realize that being vulnerable and feeling as if I had to be in control were such opposites, and I was trying to make them work at the same time.

I understand your fear of it all. But you will never know unless you try. And I am sure you already know this, and probably tink you need to "feel" it more than you do...nope...just be who you are, you sound intelligent, and if this man is a good man, then he most likely is.

In trusting our choices, I sincerely beleive that as the old saying goes, "It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loves at all."

August 3, 2005
7:45 am
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classof77
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Thanks to all for the input. After doing some thinking I have pretty much decided I need to talk about this. Most of the things, or reactions if you will that I fear are also hold overs from the marriage. Even in that statement I can "feel" a reaction from the ex. You blame me for everything mind you this was usually used after I had been called something you shouldn't say in public and had become upset or angry about it. Which I guess I always thought was kind of, duh, why shouldn't I blame since I surely didn't call myself that. And also in his world (ex) any nice thing he did should be noted and rewarded forever. And this is just a shining example of why I hate to talk about it to any one. I get on tangent and it all comes back. But while on this train of thought, there was the other classic ending to any argument, if "I'm that terrible just find someone else". And he used the excuse of a terrible childhood, just not being able to communicate any other way. So after years of trying to see the bait, the trap and escape before entering into any discussion, I guess it is just a hard habit to break. I think I am new at the concept of just stating facts and letting the cards fall where they will. It also takes on the tone of defending myself and that is something I will not do again. There is a lot of difference between saying I feel this way and saying I feel this way because. Now, I am not sure any of that makes any sense to any one but me. But thank you all.

August 3, 2005
1:18 pm
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on my way
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Well, it does make sense to me, as I lived this with my ex-husband as well. It took me awhile to realize that I was not responsible for his shortcomings, only mine, but somewhere in the heap of blaming and hurt feelings...I lost myself, and even though I did not beleive it in my marriage, and fought it so much, my identity became what he thought of me, even though most of it came from his insecurities, his excuse for his childhood problems. I really had difficulty putting my life on hold while he got his together...some would have gone on and done otherwise...but I didn't. We divorced..but remain friends now....at a distant...on purpose! Generally most of our conversations are about the children, but forgiveness is there whichis healing.

Admittedly so, it has taken me awhile to re-gain my self-respect, and to learn not to place my identity in who others say that I am...constructive criticism is all that I listen too at this point in time.

But on to you other subject, your courage to step out is admirable and sounds as if you are getting to know yourself more and more, and how valuable you are and can be to someone else. Sounds as if you are finally trusting someone to not harm you or take advantage of your weaknesses, which truthfully I beleive will come across as strengths to this guy as it takes a strong person to open up to someone these days!

So keep moving in this direction is what I say!! Good for you!! I wish that I had had the insight that I do now, a few years ago!!

August 3, 2005
6:02 pm
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classof77
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On My Way,
That is the whole sum of what made us so crazy in the marriages, my identity became what he thought of me. I don't remember at what point I realized that the only person who had less respect for me than he did was myself. I think the more I comtemplate this whole situation, the more I realize it is not the current relationship that is in question so much as parts of the past that I have just not dealt with for some reason. I mean I grieved the loss, wanted to hire a cheap hit, and saw the future as moving forward and all that stuff. But I don't think I have ever really dealt with how I felt at the time all these things happened until now. Didn't want to, Didn't have to, Can't make me sort of deal. But now it is something I have to deal with to get it out of the way.
As for wishing you had the insight you do now some time ago. Things happen in there own time for a reason, we don't always know the reasons or the timing and that is also something we can't control. That is what is I feel is fate, or your higher power if you will. I know I have seen mine at work and I am sure you have seen yours too. It is what moves us on when we can't do it ourselves. Take care.

August 3, 2005
6:32 pm
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on my way
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How long have you been divorced if I may ask?

August 3, 2005
7:29 pm
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classof77
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a little over 2 years.

August 3, 2005
7:30 pm
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classof77
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on my way how about you how long?

August 3, 2005
7:50 pm
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on my way
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6 years for me. But the reason I ask is for me, it took awhile to get over the abuse. It took me one relationship after my divorce, 2 years afterwards, up until now to get myself to a point where I actually feel healthy enough to be in a relationship, move forward in my career, etc. I have been through the "ringer" since my divorce, but have learned much and can now look back and see that all that happened was for a reason, and it has actually been very beneficial for me. I beleive as you, that there is a reason and a season for everything, and that we do not always know when or why. Hope and faith keep me going.

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