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Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
July 1, 2004
7:30 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"I'm surprised you didn't use the words 'hysterical or histrionics' somewhere. "

Neither the word "hysterical" nor the word "histrionics" was appropriate to the situation, otherwise I would have used them. The phrase "tantrums of an emotionally challenged woman" was precisely descriptive of the behavior that I observed. I am deeply satisfied with my choice of words in this instance.

Vitriolic physical and verbal attacks by women on men are just as reprehensible as when men use violent abusive behavior towards women. I was physically and verbally abused in a public place by this 'tantrum throwing and emotionally challenged' female. Would you have me haul off and snot her with my fist? No, of course not. Instead I appropriately exerted cognitive control over my emotions. I reminded myself of her horrendous childhood experiences therein soothing my emotions somewhat. Referencing the pain I was feeling in my arm, I responded by remarking how badly the 'mosquitoes were biting' today. I accepted the physical and emotional pain that I was experiencing and acknowledging within myself. I withdrew from the situation. One cannot make sense out of non-sense. One cannot joust with emotional phantoms from the past in another. If my female partner hasn't some insights into her own behavior, the humility and the willingness to look at and work upon herself and her inappropriate emotional responses then I will hit the ejection seat and vacate the relationship, pronto every time. This I did in this instance and in doing so I showed respect for myself.

Emotions are an extremely important part of our psyche. Without emotions we would lack motivation and drive. However, as a species, what separates us from our primate cousins is our high degree of cognitive development. Our cognitions can be subservient to our emotions or vice versa. It is my contention that when the former predominates, our behavior approaches that of our primate cousins. Civilization is based upon the latter.

July 3, 2004
7:50 pm
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Twinks.

Civilize:

Bring out of barbarism, make into an organized State, enlighten & refine.
-The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary.

The Australian society, of which I am a member, by and large meets the above criterion. I have seen very few acts of barbarism within the community in which I live. My community is part of highly organized, perhaps over governed, State. As for enlightenment and refinement well those words mean many different things to many different people.

Are you looking to win some debate?

And you said:

"And we English perhaps a lot more so than others, at least in the past"

I would agree with you on that score. I am of Irish extraction with a father who was of no other mix than Irish blood. My mother was of Welsh stock. There was no love of the Poms in my home during my upbringing. I was brought up on stories of Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins, Kevin Barry, the Easter Rebellion and the Black and Tans. However, the love of God was amply demonstrated to me by the hidings that I received daily from the Irish Christian Brothers for trivial shortcomings - the black bastards.

However all that this proves is that brutality breeds brutes. Much racial discrimination is based on many real and imagined wrongs done in the past. However there were more right things done that have been conveniently overlooked by those who would have us live by fear not compassion and love for our suffering brothers and sisters. For example, the English system of civilized government through the parliamentary system, with all its shortcomings, has been adopted throughout the world. Many hospitals have been founded, staffed and funded by Christian orders.

July 4, 2004
5:12 pm
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Twinks.

"Why do you call the Christian Brothers 'the black bastards?' Is that black of heart? "

Because up until the late 1950s, with the rare exception, that is how they behaved. Oh, and of course, because they very appropriately dressed in black. And yes, with the rare exception who usually left the order, they were black of heart.

July 7, 2004
8:16 pm
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Twinks.

Yes they were. I believe that the underpinning reasons for their supposed celebacy is flawed. Celibacy practiced for the right reasons can be very spiritually uplifting. However, celibacy and self-denial practiced as some kind of an offering to a merchant god, can often result in sexual frustration that can explode like a time bomb in the most inappropriate ways. Jung said that denying the nature of our 'shadow', the so-called demons within our personal unconscious, can lead to the acting out of our most destructive impulses to the detriment of all concerned.

Today the Catholic Church has been forced to face its own demons by being publicly sued for all the damage done by the paedophile priests and the subsequent coverups that allowed the perps to continue damaging the young by not dealing with their sick mental states.

I can tell you stories of my own experiences but I see no good purpose in dredging up garbage from the past. It will only trigger off powerful and painful emotions. I acknowledge them, accept them but do not indulge in them or I would end up on the 'pity pot'.

I find a lot of comfort in the teaching of the Buddha (Zen) as explained in the Commentaries of the Chan Masters. It must not be forgotten that the Buddha's teachings were about alleviating suffering in the here and now. This is the major difference that I see between the aims of Buddhism and those of other religions. I'm hurting like hell at the moment. So right now after I log off, I'm going to practice what I preach. 🙂

July 8, 2004
7:23 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"Never said how much practice though, did they. "

Nuh, they didn't.

It never ceases to amaze me how the emotions seem to have a mind of their own, altogether separate from the thinking self.

A fortnight ago I broke off a four month relationship because it was toxic. I was glad to get out of it - or so I thought. Last Saturday night after a night's dancing with this woman, I found myself asking her whether she would like her electric blanket or me to keep her warm. She said she preferred me but said that she wanted to keep the 'getting back together quiet'. This set off alarm bells in my head. I said:"our feelings for each other are driving this not our common sense." I then withdrew the offer saying that we needed to talk this matter of getting back together over in the 'light of day'. When I got home from the dance the lady in question had left a message on my answering machine saying "Thank you for a wonderful night's dancing. I really love you." Knowing that, if I returned the call, I would certainly have been on my way over to her bed in an instant, I decided to go to bed instead and see her in the morning as I subsequently did. However, she must have remained awake consumed with anger and hurt that I did not either ring her or come over. Unbeknowns to me a predator, who has ruined many beautiful women's lives - one even attempting suicide over him - rang her as she lay in bed awaiting my call. Knowing her vulnerable situation, he proposed marriage to her there and then and she promptly accepted. The next day, last Sunday, when I visited her, I got a frosty reception and gladly departed without either discussing our possible reconciliation or her informing me of her accepting the sleazbag's marriage proposal. Even though we had never gotten back together, last Monday morning, she rings me and tells me she is breaking it off with me and that we are finished. Last Tuesday night at her birthday party, that thank god I refused to attend for obvious reasons, she brought the sleazbag and announced her engagement and planned marriage in November this year. Luckily a mutual friend at the birthday party rang me to inform me of the coming marriage. It seems that the lady in question wanted me to learn of the whole affair when it was announced publicly at a dance I attended last Wednesday morning. However, I was prepared. I wished her all the very best in her future marriage and danced for the last time with her, giving her a kiss.

Now comes comes the rub. I went home and nearly fell to pieces. I couldn't live with the woman but it seemed that I couldn't live without her. Having studied at uni and since having done the relevant research, luckily I have very good insights into the emotions and the effects of poor parenting on future romantic relationships. So now armed with that knowledge and together with the Buddhist philosopy, I am in 'frantic damage control'. The yearning to go out and get into a sexual relationship immediately to obtain pain relief is very strong in me. It is the recapturing of the reassuring and secure feelings of intimacy of being at my mother's breast, that I experienced as an infant for which I yearn. The fear based feelings of abandonment come in overpowering waves - but I know they will pass. I cognitively know that I am very lucky to be away from this woman and out of the relationship altogether. Yet my emotions crave her. I am practicing at being my own mother to the sad little boy within me that still craves his mother's love all these years later.

I will not sexually use and hurt another woman just to relieve my own pain. This is my most crucial affirmation at the moment. Writing this reinforces it in my mind.

You may now see why I want control over my emotions - albeit motherly loving control.

July 9, 2004
7:23 pm
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Twinks.

When I used the words "poor parenting" I was speaking generally. But in particular, both my ex-partner and myself were poorly parented. Her mother was both emotionally and physically abusive to this lady throughout her infancy and childhood in the strictest sense. As far as I know no sexual abuse occured. My own rearing was similar. My mother deliberately and consciously used the withdrawal of love and approval verbally and every other way to enforce her will. My father was an emotional cripple who was physically abusive. He continuously vented his anger and frustrations on me on a daily basis. I grew up hating women and society. I used to fantasize that women were pigs when having sex with them. That's how sick I was. Though I never raped anyone, I can clearly see why men do! A damaged emotional psyche in either men or women is a very dangerous thing. This woman has played straight into the hands of a vile predator of the type that uses his very powerful intellect to suss out what it is that emotionally damaged women crave. He then goes into his act knowing the right words to say with the sole purpose of meeting his every sexual and financial gratifications only to get the final pay off of gloating over his victim's suicide attempts. He gloats over his conquests like notches on a gunfighter's gun. He is in cahoots with another predatory male in carrying out these terrible acts. They help each other find and set up vulnerable women and then share their experiences had in their sadistic games. Their antics seem well known to all but their victims who would rather believe the coverup lies of these perps than their loyal friends.

You said:

"Luckily for me, or unluckily, perhaps, the chances of that happening are getting less all the time, as the wrinkles get deeper."

Hah!!! Don't believe that!!! This woman in question that I loved, underwent 11 major surgical procedures. Due to surgical botchups, one of these 11 procedures was repeated 3 times. She constantly wears surgical pants - even to bed for fear that her lover will see the grotesque appearance of her lower back and abdomen. Even her vaginal canal had been butchered badly. Yet I saw through all that to the person within. I was able to carress her damaged body and show her that I found it beautiful. I had great sex with her. So what the hell a few wrinkles!!! When a woman smiles she looks so beautiful wrinkles and all.

Having said that, one has to 'put oneself out there'. No one is going to knock on your door and say "Hi beautiful. Be my lover." Last night I had a fantastic night dancing. I danced with every unattached lady in the hall. Towards the end of the night, I saw a lovely lady watching me. Thinking she had a partner, I approached the man and asked if he would mind if I asked his lady for a dance. He mumbled something unintelligible and she was in my arms in an instant. It turned out that he wasn't even with her but was being a pest. She told me that if I was going to a particular dance on next Sunday night, she would love to have all but a couple of dances, that she had promised to others, with me. I said that I had intended going to a different dance but would change my plans just to dance with her. I then asked her to come with me to my club dance Saturday night. She was thrilled and gave me all her particulars. She was over the moon when she told her friend that she 'had a date' with me on Saturday night. She did not know that her friend is also a friend of mine, who promptly told me of my 'conquest'. However, despite my own joy and delight with her inner and outer beauty, I will be taking things very slowly at first. Jumping into bed with her is foolish unless I know that this person is 'right' for me.

Twinks, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One man's meat is another man's poison. Forgive the inappropriate comparison of women with meat. 🙂 I've seen my mates besotted with women who I found downright unattractive. It's horses for courses. Whoops! That's a worse comparison. It's an old dog for a hard road. Worse still!!! I'd better quit while I'm ahead. 🙂

Seriously though, if I lined up 100 men in your age bracket and paraded you in front of them, I bet more than 50% would find you attractive. And you only want ONE - not 50!!! Get out there gal - start dancing!!! 'Mister Right' is out there right now just trying to find you!! Give him a chance.

July 10, 2004
7:50 pm
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Twinks.

No I'm far from a basket case. 🙂

"She once told her son that she only got married in order to have children, which begs the question, if she found it so difficult to raise them in a caring and loving way, what on earth did she want the children for?"

Probably because she saw that society at that time valued motherhood and she craved societal approval - perhaps she was compensating for her feelinfs of low self-worth.

You said:

"The attitudes are still there, but there is a total block against any cognitive thought processes concerning them."

This is the main why I have terminated both of my past two relationships. Until the block is unblocked then there is no hope of a growth in the relationship into a harmonious loving one.

"Why if you know she is not good for you, do you still crave?"

The answer to this question is crystal clear when it is understood that the emotional self can start a craving cycle once triggered off. This process is often represented analogously as the 'inner child' re-activating an emotional memory of 'craving the mother's love'. The cognitive self cannot make sense of the awful hollow painful feeling and mistakes it for love for the lost partner. Every time the cognitive self processes the reasons why the split occured the cognitive self re-affirms the correctness of the decision to part. Yet the pain of abandonment persists. The thinking and feeling selves are in dire conflict over the decision to part, whomsoever did the breaking off.

"But go dancing, Tez? Not yet."

So you are in a trap in which you are choosing to stay for the reasons you mentioned. It may help to see your situation in the light that you are 'choosing' to remain in it rather than just seeing yourself as a 'victim of circumstances'.

As for great sex, I'm starting to think that the price is too high. Hmmmm!!

July 12, 2004
8:21 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"Every time the cognitive self processes the reasons why the decision to stay occured the cognitive self re-affirms the correctness of that decision. Yet the pain of the feeling of 'victimhood' persists. The thinking and feeling selves are in dire conflict over the decision to stay, whomsoever did the decision making."

I understand where you are coming from perfectly - or at least I think I do.

Do you yearn for your man to see you as a person, to validate you, to make you feel like a complete, beautiful and lovable woman?

Does your man make you feel used as an object of his needs fulfilment?

Do you feel that your partner never considers your emotional needs for love as opposed to sex?

I have realized that all my life I have been using sex as a means of seeking emotional validation for myself from my partners. I try very hard to 'perform' in order to gain approval and love. This is childhood emotional baggage driving me not mature adult love!!

I have been without a sexual partner now for just over two weeks and I feel terrible. I feel very lonely. My head tells me that I have done the right thing in breaking it off in my last relationship. Yet my emotional self is trying very hard to drive me into bed with the first half attractive lady that comes along. I am only too aware of the consequences of giving into this hunger. I will end up in yet another disastrous relationship. I will be swapping one kind of pain for another. I'm dammed if I do and dammed if I don't.

At the moment the Buddha's message that life is full of suffering, seems only too true.

As unromantic as it is, I strongly feel that my cognitive head not my emotional 'heart' must rule me.

July 13, 2004
7:14 pm
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Twinks.

"For all I know, I may be as mad as a hatter."

I strongly doubt that. You are obviously think and reflect upon your situation at depth in a very rational way.

I sometimes think that the world is populated largely by non-thinking, non-reflecting people.

To my question:
"Did you yearn for your man to see you as a person, to validate you, to make you feel like a complete, beautiful and lovable woman?" You answered:

"Of course, what woman wouldn’t?" When we rely on people, places and things to give us value to ourselves we place ourselves 'in harm's way'. When our self-image and self-worth is based upon external input we are at the mercy of the whims and wiles of others. We often get frustrated, angry and hurt when the returns for our investments don't manifest.

Carl Rogers maintains that when we were deprived of unconditional regard(love)in childhood, most of us tended to settle for conditional love. Thus we learn to 'tap dance' for that love. When that loving 'music' doesn't come after we 'pay the piper', we become angry and 'stop payments'. Or sometimes we seek other 'pipers' hoping that this time a fair return will be had for so much 'investing'. It rarely does. I'm not implying that we should not get into romantic relationships - not at all. But some how, we have to learn how to fulfil our own needs for a high self-worth and a high self-image. What a high self-worth (Self-esteem) and a high self-image does for us is makes us feel lovable and therefore unlikely to be abandoned by our support networks. This is why, in my opinion, status is so important to us. It is all about fear of not being OK. In the end it is about the 'self' and maintaining the welfare of that perceived self.

However, the perceptions about self and others are 'mental objects' that we create in our minds. Our deluded awareness believes that these mental objects and the actual people are one and the same thing. Of course our perceptions of ourself and others often fluctuate wildly. Yet we invest some kind of permanence in the 'self' that doesn't exist. We hunger for the ultimate security and seek it in impermanent people and things.

Suffering is the consequences of such poor investments that we make in our quest for ultimate security. Despite knowing this, I continue to fall into the trap time and time again. Why? Because of my deluded awareness!!! That is why. Just knowing this does not mean that I can cast off my conditioned delusions in an instant. If I could, I would. I am entranced by the promised delights of a woman's body and her love. Yet never has the reality matched the fantasy for very long - if at all! I'm sure that women too are entranced by the prospect of having the love of a powerful Adonais who will ride off into the sunset with them behind him on his charger. Instead we settle for less than perfect partners and feel cheated out of our heart's desires.

The answer is that these very heart's desires and the attachments that folow are the cause of our pain and suffering. However, letting go of these desires is another story. Yet it can be done and has been by many enlightened people throughout history.

July 15, 2004
7:39 pm
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Twinks.

Have a good holiday.

July 17, 2004
7:29 pm
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Twinks.

You said:

"... she also said something about ‘going back to your childhood.’ I am resistant to the whole idea, not only because it would cost money, but because it would mean rehashing it all over again to someone else."

Perhaps it is not such a good idea to just keep "rehashing" your childhood over and over again. What helps me is to be able to see the effects that my childhood is having on the present.

Let me give you an example: Last night at a dance, my exs eyes lit up as our eyes met. I quickly averted her gaze and did my level best to not look in her direction. But it was too late - I was in agony craving to have her back. Yet if the opportunity presented itself to get her back, I would run a mile to get away from her. I awoke this morning feeling absolutely abandoned and rejected by the whole world and totally alone. The truth is that I have at least 3 presentable women showing more than a passing interest in me. But the feeling of total worthlessness nearly overwhelmed me this morning.

Now this sounds like total insanity, yet understanding my past as well as understanding a little about how my brain physiology and psychology functions, I can clearly see what is going on. I know that it is not this ex of mine that I crave, but something else that I can never satisfy for any length of time. If I had sex with my ex, I would feel wonderful for an hour and then I would crave to get away from her!!

Sex with my ex was and is about validating my emotional self! I don't crave sex - I crave validation. Instead of erroneously and foolishly projecting into my ex, the power and responsibility for making me feel lovable, a worthwhile person and good, I have to place that responsibility upon myself. I have to find the source of that power within myself - for it is certainly there.

At best I can and have learnt to some degree how to passify my emotional cravings into acquiescence. Self-validation - now that is another very long story.

Understanding your past in a general way helps when combined with some insights into the relationship between your emotional and cognitive 'self' and some knowledge about how to bring about internal peace.

July 20, 2004
8:16 pm
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Twinks.

The word 'ego' means many different things to many different people.

For me, the word 'ego' means my sense of being separated from the rest of world.

If I have a big ego, this implies that I see myself as totally separate and independent of the rest of the world. In such a case, I would see my happiness as depending upon how well I can grasp and wrench from the rest of the world that which I deludedly think will bring me happiness. I am pre-occupied only with my needs. The needs of others only interest me to the extent that I can manipulate them to get mine met.

If I have a small ego, then I see myself as being very much entertwined with the rest of the world. I am able to emphasize with the pain of others. I am able to easily share my time, my feelings, my thoughts and my desires with others without fear of ridicule etc. I feel compassion for my fellow human beings who are suffering.

You said:

"There are those who see only themselves, and then there are those who see themselves, and then think hard about the effect that they have on others, and never the twain shall meet."

I guess that you particularly have your partner in mind when you said this. But I must admit that when I am in emotional pain, by definition, I am totally and utterly self-focussed and self-centred - as I am at the moment. 🙂

A wise man once said: "It is impossible to have an emotional problem unless one is thinking about oneself." I'm not sure that this is always true, but it does contain more than an element of truth in it.

In the first flush of sexual love, our ego boundaries explode to encompass the world. We love everybody and life is such a joy. But in a very short time the ego boundaries slam shut again and it is back to the same old business of 'me, me, me, me, my needs, my wants'.

What if those ego boundaries could be kept permanently open as in the first flush of romantic love? Our life would be one of immense joy - I suspect. But how is that possible? Such a joyfilled life is, I suspect, a by-product - but not its goal - of an enlightened, liberated mind.

What imprisons our minds, making us unhappy? Our constricting sense of having an 'isolated self' whose every 'vital' need must be met in order to be happy. Such needs can never be permanently satisfied, so the eternal searching, craving and ultimate dissatisfaction continues.

Though we may at times seem to succeed, when we try to wrestle from others that which we perceive to be a necessary requirement for our fulfilment and happiness, we set ourselves up for more pain.

When we think and act out of fear we get fear; when we think and act out of love, we get love. However, when our aim is to get love from someone for ourselves, we are thinking and acting out of fear.

But my mind is so tricky and devious that I am not sure at times whether fear or love is driving me. Is there a way out? Yes, for me there certainly is and I am gently moving along that path at the moment.

July 24, 2004
12:48 am
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Twinks.

Yes - the way you define the meaning of the words egoist and egotist is a common understanding of the word.

The meaning that I normally associate with the word ego is 'the ego of the I'. Put another way, the ego is that belief system within the 'self' which governs the perception of the self as a separate, independent entity with some permanent component that persists over time.

And you said:

"I suppose while I am in this situation, I am just using it, and all the years that have gone before, as a learning opportunity, and at the same time trying to work out exactly what happened to me, and why. I have a horrible feeling that living with someone like that for so long is not good, and that their way of thinking can be 'catching.' ...Ugh."

Why not get out of the relationship? If the relationship has run its course and is loveless, sometimes it is better for the children that you live apart from their father. But that is definitely your call, as you know.

Is fear of being alone without a partner keeping you in the relationship? I can tell you from my first hand experiences in the now, that being alone isn't as bad as I first thought. It opens up the possibility(probability) of meeting someone very much more in tune with your needs as well as their own. It is sort of exciting. The biggest problem that I have at the moment is that I have to go without sex and cuddles. The alternative is to prematurely jump into bed with someone and to bond before knowing whether the bedmate is the right person for me. So I settle for 'dry' sex and cuddles on the dance floor and ... 🙂

July 25, 2004
6:19 pm
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Twinks.
You posed the question:

"How could someone who claimed to love you bury their head in the sand so effectively that it was as though you had never said anything at all?"

Answer: Quite easily.

I am cynical enough to believe that many men will think that they are 'pay their dues' just by saying 'I love you' and that is that. As far as trying to meet your emotional needs, such a task is often beyond a 'neanderthal' man. After all he has 'clubbed you over the head', dragged you into his 'cave' and gotten what he wanted - whatever that is.

If I were in your position, and since I am a male I never will be in this birth, I would ask myself:

'Why do I need to think and feel that this man of mine really loves me?'

One possible shallow answer that I can see is:

'I need to know that he will be around for the long haul to meet my physical and emotional needs.'

Your answer will probably be different. But I would then look for a deeper follow up question such as:

'What are these emotional needs for love really about?'

'If I don't have a man in my life who loves me then I will .....'

At each answer, look for a deeper question.

When you get to the very core of your need then ask yourself:

'Can anyone other than me ever permanently meet this need if and when it arises?'

This is where some deep spiritual belief about 'reality', in this life and the next, comes to the fore.

All things are transient, here one instant changed the next. Yet we cling to people, places and things, demanding permanence and security from them; a demand that can never be met except in the very temporary fantasies of a deluded mind.

When I think of the woman I 'love', I think of being inside her, eternally connected to her. When I am inside her, I am yearning for the orgasm but agonizingly 'hanging on' in order to please her. When I 'come', I want to just lie there and relax. Next thing I'm irritated by the radio that she likes having on as she goes to sleep. I want to get up and go home to my own bed. Then she rejects me because I show my displeasure in some way. Then I find myself not wanting to be with her at all. After a little while away from her I yearn to be with her again. Now that she is engaged to be married to another man and getting married in November 2004, I am in pain. Last night I danced with her all night and went home with her to her place. I made a promise to her, on my word of honor, that I would "keep my d..k in my pants". When we were at her home, she was all over me, crying, and admitting that she loved me, not the guy she so hastily agreed to marry. I could have done what I liked to her - she was wanting me sexually like mad. I kept my pants on and nothing other than a little petting took place. She was very loving to me as I left and thanked me for not taking advantage of the situation. But what is this thing called love????? I did the loving thing not making love to her and it was bloody painful not to do so!! Who knows what will happen now?

For a so called wise man, I sure have made a mess of my life at the moment. 🙂 It isn't funny really, it's bloody awful. I have lots of potential sexual partners at the dances to which I go, but I don't really want any of them. Yet the one I want, I drove away.

July 27, 2004
7:29 pm
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Twinks.

At the moment, I feel emotionally drained, physically tired and intellectually spent. I am in a tail spin and need to be in a quiet place in my head for a while.

I've read what you said with great empathy and feelings of compassion. We are both struggling with life seeking peace and happiness where neither is to be found. Trying to get others to be 'different', trying to get others to meet our 'needs', whatever they may be, is bound to lead to further suffering. The answer to attaining peace and happiness, is to subdue the 'troubled' mind. The allocation of blame for one's sufferings onto either oneself or onto others only further agitates the troubled mind.

You might not know it but you have been a comfort to me. I am at a loss to be able to pinpoint exactly why. Perhaps it is because I feel that I have been able to 'touch base' with you in the sharing of our emotional pain.

I could easily answer why I crave the love of such an unprincipled woman. But to do so is so draining on me at the moment that I feel repulsion at the thought of raking up all the 'past baggage' that makes my desires so understandable.

Forgive me for that, I'm fading away .............

July 29, 2004
7:22 pm
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Twinks.

You, like I do, obsess over having what we think we must have to be OK. What you think that you must have differs only slightly from what I think that I must have to be happy. Yet neither of us could possibly obtain lasting peace and happiness from attaining what we think we need. This, I believe, is an undeniable fact.

Am I right in saying that we both think that if we had the right partner in life, then we would get what we need from them in order to be happy?

I had a simple revelation last night, given freely to me as a gift from a lady with whom I have recently started dancing. She said that she was too precious a gift to give to just any human being. She has had only one man in her whole life and that marriage failed after many years on her decision to quit it. She is prepared to never have another man in her whole life if the one, who is worthy of her gift of her whole self, does not arise.

I suddenly realized that I was all about 'getting' another person to meet my needs, not 'giving' of myself. In fact, when I considered the worth of the 'gift of myself', I was somewhat shocked to discover how little I valued that self. I have been looking for another human being, within the sexual act, to give my 'self' some worth in my own eyes!!!I know that this is where we differ. But could it be that we only differ in HOW we want the other person to increase our value to ourselves???

This 'angel' of a lady has had such loving parents that she naturally feels so valuable and precious already. She has done so ever since she can remember. Now she is happy to either live alone or to share her gift with another. I have always felt that at my core there is a big 'dog turd' or worse a void of worthless nothingness. So I have strived all my life to layer that dog turd with attributes that will attract another who will gold plate the dog turd for me. Yet again I am realizing that the 'dog turd' is nothing more than an emotional memory - laid down in infancy - that, once recalled, is experienced as a terrible feeling of worthlessness.

I now realize that I am a very valuable gift that should not be squandered on a very sick lady who is similarly afflicted but who has no realizations that her problems lie within herself, as mine do within me. I have little doubt that her crazy marriage bethrothel, scheduled for November 2004, will not go ahead and she will come running back to me sooner rather than later. If this happens, with all the loving compassion and wisdom that I can muster, I am determined to send her packing. If the marriage goes ahead, then I will be free of her 'womanly wiles'. Either way it is a win-win situation for me.

I do hope you can have a similar realization that may bring you some of the peace that I am presently experiencing. However, I don't imagine that the war within myself is over by a long chalk. 🙂 Yes, I am smiling again.

July 30, 2004
7:25 pm
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Twinks:

About me and yourself, you said:

"You want to be able to value yourself in your own eyes, while I want to be valued by someone else, which in turn would increase my own feelings of self worth."

I'm not sure about you, but in my case my desire to value myself for myself is precisely because seeking to get others to value me to compensate for my own feelings of low self-worth, gives them such power to hurt and abuse me - no matter how well-intentioned they may be. Rarely if ever has anyone been able to maintain such an impossible undertaking for very long. In fact this is the source of my pain; the constant striving for that external source of attaining my inner value. It is a fool's errand. No one can 'gold plate' the emotional memory that I have metaphorically described as a 'dog turd', except myself.

I am now starting to see that the 'dog turd' is irrelevant. It can stay there until this body passes away as far as I'm concerned. It is as temporary as that. I can feel it every time it arises into my consciousnes as a feeling that 'I'm not OK'. I can say to myself "There it is again. How quaint. Now where was I? What comes next in my life.".

Last night I did the Turf Tango. It is a very sexy dance. With the most beautiful woman and the best dancer at the dance, I threw myself into it with everything that I had. My calf muscles are sore this morning as a result. Only a few couples could do this dance so the eyes of the crowd were on us. The gleams in the women's eyes told me that we were doing something right. The lady who I partnered asked me for a permanent booking to do that dance with her at every dance for the forseeable future. I felt ecstatically happy. Why???? The 'dog turd' was momentarily gold plated. But as I was driving home to my lonely bed without a sexual partner to cuddle and to get approval from, the 'plating fell off'. I asked myself, who is the 'I' that is feeling of no worth now and why? Firstly, as hard as I searched, I couldn't find the 'I'. I could find the emotional pain felt in my stomach; but no 'I'. Secondly I asked myself if the pain really mattered. It then disappeared. So it became obvious that this 'I', that I could not find, had to keep maintaining my pain otherwise it would go away. 'I' had to keep thinking thoughts like "You are no good. There's something very wrong with you. If you were of value, you would have a woman to sleep with you". When I focussed on the pain these thoughts disappeared and the pain went away. The pain quickly resumed as soon as those 'dog turd' thoughts returned.

Can you now see that I have to find intrinsic value for myself in myself alone before I can truly love another? Otherwise sexual relationships become a barter system wherein you give me self-worth by your love and adoration for me and I will do what you want me to do for you whatever that is to satisfy you!!

This basis for a relationship has never worked very well for me in the past and I doubt that it works very well for anyone in the long haul. That's why around 50% of marriages are failing and the majority of the other 50% only remain intact for practical considerations other than love. I don't want to live that way anymore. I want first to value me highly and then share that value with another who wants to share herself in a similar way.

I am presently on the quest to find that intrinsic value within me - forsaking all external props in this endeavour. 🙂

You said:

"Selfless giving is a veiled form of self absorption...especially when you then never really think about the person that you are 'giving' to."

Your partner won't give you your 'dues' after you have given him his need fulfilment? Or is it that he doesn't seem to want what you are offering? Is the 'barter system' in your relationship - as I described it above - failing in your case?

This is not meant to be an offensive question - I apologize if you are offended. I only hope it is a 'pearl' that may be of some use to you in reflecting upon your situation.

July 31, 2004
6:32 pm
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Twinks.

You posed the question:

"What do we actually mean by self-worth?"

There are very well defined answers to that question; in my opinion Dr. Nathaniel Brandons being the best.

For myself, as opposed to Brandon, I see two very distinct and very different components to self-worth (self-esteem).

One component is emotional and resides in the amygdala, while the other is cognitive and resides throughout the cortex, distributed in a way that is poorly understood by today's brain science experts.

Put simply, I can 'think' through my self-evaluations in many different situations using many different criteria as a reference and come up with different estimations of my self-worth.

Alternatively, when all the layers of the onion of 'thinking' self-worth is stripped away, I can also 'feel' my self-worth or lack thereof.

Those who feel intrinsically valuable, when all the 'thinking' layers are stripped away, feel good no matter what anyone thinks about them including themselves. These people have been given and received unconditional love as a child. Both the 'giving' and the 'receiving' are crucial aspects of this interchange.

Since I was not given nor was able to receive such unconditional love as a child, I now do 'life's Turf Tangos' in a vain effort to layer my onion, at the core of which is an emotional memory of feeling like 'sh**t' that came from my childhood.

Thus the 'barter system' of trading very conditional love seems natural to me in any sexual relationship.

Since I am trying to fill a bottomless emotional well, it is a fool's quest to find any partner who can meet these self-worth needs in me or I in her. firstly, I need to be complete within myself and secondly, she within herself. Then there is a solid basis for sharing in the 'Universal Unconditional Love'. How can I do that? That is my quest, finding out how!!! I have a few good leads - all is not lost. However, I suspect that the ego of the 'I' will slowly slip quietly away in the process.

August 1, 2004
7:50 pm
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Twinks.

My 'story' is buried in the archives of this sites database - assuming the dbase still exists.

Before I was married, I had many relationships. I've been married once. It lasted 19 years and 4 children were the issue of that relationship. I has a few short relationships before entering into a childless, 17 year defacto relationship that ended in January this year. I then entered into another relationship on the rebound that was unbelievably passionate but highly dysfunctional. I am now between relationships with potential partners looming on the horizon. However, this time I am licking my emotional wounds and looking closely at the pattern of my past relationships. I am seeing that my mind has been 'using'. Unconsciously, my mind has learnt to seek pain relief in sexual relationships. It craves the female body as a panacea for the locked up and set in concrete emotional memory of the pain of abandonment that I experienced as an infant and later. My mind unconsciously craves the retriggering of the emotional memory of the ecstacy of reunification of 'flesh on flesh' that I also experienced so long ago as an infant on my mother's breast. I have only in the last week or so realized my mind's big game!

Because I understand the dire consequences of seeking women who meet the psychological and/ or physical characteristics of the 'template' of my childhood mother that exists only in my psyche, I am now reconsidering ever going into any relationship again; or at least in the short term. I must learn to act out of love NOT fear; fear of not getting pain relief and fear of not possessing the 'source' of ecstatic pleasure - a woman. Both fears are underpinned by the craving for avoiding pain and my attachment to the pleasure that emanates from the false sense of security that sex can bring with it.

For me, fear and pain avoidance as a basis for any relationship is a recipe for disaster in that relationship. For me, intentions based on fear only produce more fear. This is the lesson that I am trying to indelibly impress upon my psyche.

How much of a part does fear of the consequences of alternatives, play in holding your relationship together? Equally in that regard, how much of a part does 'real' love play?

August 1, 2004
8:08 pm
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Twinks:

I forgot your question:

"And what do you mean when you said 'nor was able to receive' when talking about unconditional love as a child?"

Well ... Bowlby, Main, Ainsworth et. al. did much research into infant/mother bonding and early attachment styles. If a baby bonds poorly with its mother after birth, as I did, then the child is often unable to 'receive' love from the mother even if offered. In my case I was born tongue tied, couldn't or wouldn't feed for a week and consequently nearly died. Initial, bonding with my mother was nearly non-existent. To add to that, my mother didn't want either my father or any children. She married him out of material considerations. She insensitively told me all this later in life. Of course the loveless marriage was self-evident. What artificial love that was offered was unable to be 'received' by me. I grew up hating and distrusting women generally yet lusting after their bodies and little else. With genetically inherited alchoholism thrown in for good measure, I had a fantastic start in life. Out of my life's pain has come a person whom I am really happy to be. My adversity has become my strength. As Shakespeare once wrote:
"Sweet are the uses of adversity; like the Toad ugly and venemous, it bears yet a precious jewel in its head."

August 2, 2004
7:31 pm
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Twinks.

Phew!!! I hardly know how to respond. The common thing that underpins all of our unhappiness is fear!! Fear creates our hell and peace of mind our happiness and our contentedness.

"The mind is its own place; in itself it can create a hell out of heaven or a heaven out of hell" - anon.

The mind plays out its little learned games in order to find a solution to its pain. In acting out of fear, the mind creates the situation from which more fear results. Unplacatable and unresolvable fear, is experienced as deep psychological and emotional pain!!

Losing ones earliest primary caregivers in infancy, at the peak of one's helplessness, is as about traumatic an experience as can be had. Even if the loss is only temporary, such a loss can burn into the amygdala, a very painful emotional memory that gets retriggered over and over for the rest of that infant's life. It is experienced in adulthood as an intense fear of not being alright if abandoned by the group or by a lover. This is why rejection and 'being sent to Coventry' by our friends hurts so much. It retriggers that childhood emotional memory.

Please note, an 'emotional memory' is not a memory of an emotion; the two are entirely different. The former is experienced as a painful feeling, while the latter is experienced as a 'video' played out in the mind. Of course infant 'videos' rarely, if ever, exist, but infant emotional memories do! So ... often because there is no associated 'video' memory, the cause of a retriggered emotional memory is often falsely attributed to our present partner, who is nothing more than an unwitting trigger source.

Grabbing at a relationship with a 'special' person is just one common solution to the fear of rejection, abandonment and being alone; not just any person is sought, but that 'special' person that seems to have that special 'something' that makes us feel 'good'about ourselves. That 'something' is the psycho-physiological 'image' of our earliest caregivers, usually our mother and/or father. Sometimes it is this 'image' that these 'special' people project towards us; mannerisms, voice intonations, behavior patterns, etc, etc. Othertimes it is this 'image' that we project into them. More often it is a combination of both! We often 'fall out of love' when we realize that this special person is not who we thought they were; that is, we unconsciously realize that the 'image' is no longer coming from them; that is, we stop projecting (or seeing) the person that we want them to be, into them in our minds. However we seem to prefer staying with our partner, who we no longer 'love', for fear of having no one. So we trade tit for tat, feeling cheated and resentful when our need to feel loved is not met.

The question is:

Is our need for love fear or love driven?? Is our need for love really about love at all? Or is it about seeking to feel secure by getting something from another that we vainly hope will eradicate our hidden fear of not being OK otherwise?

Actions motivated by intentions that are seen by us as a solution to our fears bring only more fear and suffering! This is why Buddhism(Zen being just one school)emphasizes the importance of cultivating compassion for our fellow suffering human beings. Of course they also emphasize the necessity of having the wisdom to know how to act compassionately; a bird with only one wing cannot fly.

August 5, 2004
6:27 pm
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Twinks.

I'm not feeling too good. Two days ago, I ate some food at a dance and got salmonella poisoning. I lost yesterday altogether; I was unsure what day or time it was. I can't bring my mind to concentrate on anything at the moment. I'll have to get back to you on your points above. Sorry matey!

August 9, 2004
7:35 pm
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Twinks.

Phew! 7 days after my food poisoning and, I'm just coming good.

You said:

"Now do I understand 'trigger' properly? I had only thought of it as triggering a 'live' memory of an emotion that we could access, and perhaps try to analyse."

A very broad understanding of the physiology of the brain helped me immensely in seeing the importance of understanding how 'emotional memories' function. Dr. Joseph LeDoux of NYU did this for me. I bought and studied both of his books when they were first released. I recommend the URL below for anyone interested in finding out how driven we are by our past emotional conditioning.

http://www.cns.nyu.edu/home/ledoux/

Dr. LeDoux's first book, 'The Emotional Brain' should be read first. The second, 'The Synaptic Self' is a little 'heavy' in that it gets into the brain chemistry more.

The essential point to understand is that this tiny organ, called the Amygdala, has the power to enslave the rest of our brain into doing its bidding. In my opinion, for those of us with traumatic pasts, our only hope for a peaceful life is to realize the power of this organ and to learn how to 'pacify' it.

For me the means for getting the 'wild horses' of the mind (the amygdala) under control, are undoubtedly to be found in the teachings of Ch'an (Zen).

August 10, 2004
7:00 pm
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Twinks.

On 4-Aug-2004 you said:
"I meant to ask you, Tez, does that mean you think you have been seeking women who match who your mother really was, or women who match the idea of what you would have liked her to be? There is a huge difference. "

The child who craves his/her missing mother only wants reunification with his/her mother. How he/she responds to the mother upon reunification depends upon the attachment style formed in early infancy (Ainsworth, Main, et.al.). Wanting my mother to be the same or different is really irrelevant to the 'template formation'. Once 'mother recognition' takes place, then it is very individual thing whether one wants 'her' to change or otherwise.

As for who my mother 'really was', that is also irrelevant. What is important is how I 'perceived' my mother to be. It was my infant and childhood perceptions, as flawed as they may have been, that laid down the psychologically and physiologically based memories that constitute the 'template'.

When I feel powerfully attracted to any woman, even though any thought of my mother is fartherest from my conscious mind I know that I am recognizing the 'template'in that woman!!! What I do after that is to go into powerful overdrive to 'win' the woman. If I do, then after the initial honeymoon period, the trouble starts. If the woman comes on too strongly in the relationship after that, then I feel 'emeshed' and 'overpowered' as I did by my mother as a child and I 'rebel' and push her away. If she backs off from me then I sense the 'rejection' that I felt as a child and pull her back. Thus the push/pull game starts all over again. For me it is either the pain of emeshment or the pain of abandonment - both emotional memories retriggered into being re-felt just as they were initially so long ago. Naturally, I get accused of being moody and not knowing my own mind.

What keeps me 'on the hook' with a 'template' matching woman is the ecstacy of 'reunification' that occurs between the pain of 'abandonment' and the pain of 'emeshment'!! The ecstacy of reunification, after rejection is experienced, is also an emotional memory re-felt as it was so long ago when laid down.

Please note that it was a very dysfunctional transition during the infant and childhood individuation process where much emotional baggage, mentioned above, is laid down.

What hope do I have of a good relationship? The answer is: a excellent, provided that I am not powerfully atracted to the woman. This implies using the 'head' not the 'heart' as so many arranged marriages have as their basis.

Well parented adults don't have the above dilemma - only poorly parented children. Since the percentage of the population who are poorly parented is quite significant, then so is the percentage of relationship failures! I suggest that the 'heart', unless well parented, usually makes a poor choice; an informed 'head' a much better one.

August 12, 2004
6:53 pm
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"... if that is correct, then any relationship with a woman who matches your ‘unconscious template’ is doomed, ..."

Correct!! I have met only 3 women in my entire life who went close to matching that template. The first was 18 years ago. Is lasted 18 months and I nearly had a complete breakdown. From the second, I ran a mile away as soon as I realized her 'match', and never saw again. The other two, I fell for in a big way. Both were deceitful, vindictive, dysfunctional women just like my mother was. The last one was the woman with whom I have just had a stormy 5 month relationship. I broke it off with her as soon as the pain became unbearable. I then experienced peace for a week until, out of the blue, she got engaged to be married. Then the 'rejection' side of the coin slammed home and I was in hell again.

"... If the heart is not involved, doesn’t the whole process become a little ‘cold-blooded? ..."

For people who have been very poorly parented like me, that is the only way it can be. Last night I talked to a woman who had a beautiful marriage which finally failed because of her husband's workaholism. However, she was both 'in love with' and 'loved' him for 20+ years of the 35 year marriage. Whilst not 'in love' with him now, sadly she still 'loves' him very much.

I said to her: "You must have been well parented!" She confirmed this stating that she had the most loving, honest and upright parents anyone could wish for. You see, the template of her primary caregivers, gained by her in childhood, is of a highly functional nature. She unconsciously seeks kind, honest, caring matches. Whereas, I unconsciously(with my heart) seek deceitful, vindictive, dysfunctional, emotionally unstable women. Of course, consciously(with my head), I abhor these kind of women.

I once knew an ex-prostitute very well. I shared much of her pain with her over many months. Despite the best efforts of everyone, in a deep depression, she finally took her own life. She was beautiful and a highly talented artist who worked for Hanna Barbera the cartoon company. She had a cold, uncaring, highly emotionally dysfunctional mother and a sadistic, highly sexually and physically abusive father who repeatedly sexually abused her in the foulest ways possible. At fifteen she ran away from home into the arms of a middle aged sexual pervert who put her in hospital in a serious condition with a ruptured anus. As an adult, to her horror, she found that she was only attracted to violent, sexually abusive perverts like her father. Decent men did nothing for her sexually. She was dammed if she 'fell in love' and dammed if she didn't. Yet she was a loving person in her heart. She told me that the other prostitutes used to ridicule her for kissing the 'Johns'. She told me that all the men ever wanted was 'love' but didn't know how to give and get it. She said that the way the 'John's' eyes lit up when she gently kissed them, gave her a very warm feeling and made her 'job' worthwhile. At heart, she was a very loving and physically beautiful woman who was condemned from the start of her life. I have only to remember this beautiful woman's hell to feel that my emotional baggage is light to carry - "There but for the grace of God go I."

Why do some rise above their childhood emotional handicapping and others don't? I have my beliefs there. - but that's a matter for another day.

On a positive note, I had a 17 year sexual relationship that finished in January this year. They were the happiest years of my life. I was never 'in love with' my partner but I dearly loved her and still do. What happened? Whilst never unfaithful to my 17 year long partner, for six years I did battle with myself over the flirtations with this last woman, my template match, with whom I had recently terminated my last relationship. The long flirtations made me very discontented and my 17 year relationship finally failed. I almost immediately slipped into bed with this flirtatious "perfect match" and all hell broke loose soon thereafter!!! The sex was terrific - it was only dwarfed by the push/pull agony that immediately followed. I am still recovering after having escaped by the skin of my teeth!!

Now I hope that you can see that a "perfect fit" partner can bring much joy or pain or both to the degree to which you were 'well parented'. It is very much dependent upon this!!

I do not believe that we can change our emotional memories upon which this template of who we 'fall in love with', is largely based. Of course the emotional memories are also associated with visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesory, contextual etc memories that can trigger them and vice versa. At best we can observe ourselves in due process and make overriding decisions not to follow our 'feelings' when they lead us into destructive relationships. But this takes a lot of insight, wisdom, courage and strength of will.

May all this be of some small use to you.

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