Post

Learning The Hard Way

As I was reviewing my experience groups I realized I hadn't written a story for this one.     Then I thought about deleting the group from my list.   
Really, is this a group anyone wants to join?   lol      I do have a very personal story to share though.    It's one I rarely tell anyone but it was so important to my life.

Several years ago I thought I was in love.    I thought he loved me too.    It was, at least on my part, intense, exciting, passionate ... etc., etc.    It didn't take long to realize he didn't feel the same.   I don't even think he liked me much.    How we ended up together is a bizarre story in itself but really isn't  important here.

When I got dumped, I was also told about the other women he was really attracted to, who he wanted to spend time with.   Well, that will bruise anyone's ego for awhile.    So I curled up in a ball and kept my pain to myself and didn't tell anyone what had really happened.     Eventually, the doubts & the questions became too much for me to hold inside anymore so I went back to my therapist.    It was the one safe place I could discuss it all honestly without judgment.    It was also the best thing I ever did for myself.

Ok, here's the really pathetic part of the story.    It's not easy to relate but it led to the greatest growth I've ever experienced in my adult life.     I had this desperate need for acceptance and ... ok, love too.    I'd never felt good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, anything enough.    I had always kinda just taken whatever I got and accepted it was as good as I deserved.     So I thought in order to have this guy, to keep him in my life, I simply had to become who he wanted me to be.    And I really tried hard to do that.    I know, it's embarrassing to admit.

He was very intelligent.   He held advanced degrees in philosophy & theology.    He loved to hear himself talk too ... lol.     I am a good listener.    I tried very hard to understand his points of view even though they were dramatically different than what I believed.   But I didn't debate the subjects or challenge his beliefs.    I simply agreed because I thought he must be right.    And if I agreed, well then he'd love me, and .... on & on & on.    So I was very meekly trying to change myself to fit this mold of who he wanted just to be loved & accepted.    I was agreeing with things I had never believed or would have agreed to.    He had some very radical beliefs.    I was changing dramatically but I couldn't see it.

In hindsight, I don't even know what I ever found attractive about him.    He was the exact opposite of anyone I even liked.      He was angry, bitter, felt cheated by life and he felt completely justified by all his words & actions.    He thought he knew all the answers and the rest of us were all sheep just waiting to be led to the slaughter.   He had a very dark & disturbed soul.    I couldn't have picked a person any more different than myself.

So in therapy I had time to discuss all this and understand what led me to this dark, angry person.     Most importantly though, I realized how I'd thought so little of myself, I was willing to simply let his ideas & needs fill me and dictate who I was.    That is scary.    Really very scary.    I had no idea I was a person who could fall into that trap.    Once I figured it out though, I was able to let go of all of it.      For the first time I was really able to focus on who I was, what I needed, my own goals & my own desires.    I knew I would never again try to change who I was for anyone else.

Looking back, I can't exactly say I'm happy I had the experience but I am happy for all I gained after it.    I became much more independent.    I trust myself so much more.    I always say exactly how I feel without caring if someone else thinks I'm silly or foolish.     I accept my imperfections.    I know I'll make mistakes and I try to learn and go on without beating myself up needlessly about it all.    I'm always true to myself, who I am, what I believe and my ideals.     I also know I'd be ok alone.      Not like it's my first choice in life but ....  I'll never again feel that need to recreate myself into someone who fits another person's mold.    I don't need someone else to validate my existence or supplement my self-worth. 

He moved away long ago.   I have no idea what ever happened to him.    I'm sure he continued to be bitter, angry and to hold onto his dark ideals.    I suspect he continued to prey on weak, vulnerable women and no doubt found someone to worship him while he continually tore her down.  

This is one I can say I'm very grateful to have loved & lost.   In losing, I found myself.
SeriouslySappy SeriouslySappy 51-55, F 27 Responses Oct 10, 2010

Your Response

Cancel

Jess ... you'll get through it. And believe it or not now, be better for it.

I'm going through the exact same situation. He has left me for good for another woman. Heartbreaking but I hope I have a happy emding like yourself.

EnglishMuffin, it's no doubt a very boring read. It's like 4 millionith & something on Amazon's list for selling ... lol. I was definitely lucky to have loved & lost this one!



Sahira, thanks so much for saying that. Often when I'm writing, I just feel like I'm dumping the contents of my brain out on the page ... or in this case, the screen. To know anybody can relate to the story makes me feel a little less crazy. I feel the same way when I've read someone else's words which reflect my feelings.



I feel the same way about regrets. I made my choices & I live with them. You can spend your life being miserable & bitter or learn from it and choose to keep the faith & remain optimistic about your future. Some people think it's a foolish & naive attitude. Doesn't matter. It works for me.

I expect it's a very boring one.



In some cases it's better to have loved and legged-it than never to have left at all?

Thanks for the comment English Muffin. I can only hope I learned something from the experience. That would be the only good thing to come out of it. As for him, I recently learned he remarried & has published his first book. Life does go on.

It sounds as though the relationship taught you some valuable lessons - and you have learned from them and improved yourself. It's when we don't learn from them that we need to worry.

I know one person who is growing old gambling on such hopeless causes.

Thanks so much for your comment Shuga. I always refer to myself a WIP .... lol. You're so right though, the interaction we have here just sharing our experiences is so valuable.

Stories like this one are why I am here. The near to Anon sharing of "Experiences" is the cheapest group therapy there is. Talking to a therapist is good. But I prefer hearing/reading the parallel, opposite, other side of the coin and the downright OMG!-that-happened-to-me-too interaction here.

Thanx Sappy for reminding me.....to think first and react later. Life is still a WIP(work in progress)... but thanx for helping with the progress........

I'm sorry I missed your blog Glow. I'll go back & read it. I agree, some people never learn anything from their experiences. It may seem a bit silly but I try to take something from all of them, even if the event itself was unpleasant. I do feel like I'm always learning and still changing. I like myself so much better these days.

I also relate...wrote a similar-ish blog a few days ago. I'm still learning. I think the difference here between you and this guy is that you're learning from your experiences. He's learning, but just ways to make himself seem more important. You are learning to relate to the world in ways that keep you healthy and happy.

EnglishMuffin ... you nailed it. He was completely narcissistic. Honestly, I must have been a real mess then to think I even liked the guy. lol. Telling the story now isn't painful at all for me. I'm just so relieved things didn't go any further with him.



As for my new man .... I do very much like all of his parts, including his buns. I think we complement each other very well. I don't know about his skills as a baker but he does cook far better than I do !

That first chap sounds like a complete narcissist. Your new man with the nice buns sounds 'all-together' (no pun intended) more suited to your needs.



Tell me, is he a baker?

Thanks so much for your comments GivenTake. I totally believe things happen & people come into our lives for a reason. It may not always be good, but it doesn't have to destroy us either. You're a wonderful friend Given!

Great post SS! Thanks for writing it......it does show that people come into our lives for a reason - good or bad. What you learned was always there...inside of you, and that is the best part of the experience. To see what a strong and wonderful person you are! : )

Wow, I'm flattered by all your comments. I'm also surprised at how many people related to this story. I guess we've all had an experience something like this at sometime in our lives. When I read this story back, it's like a completely different person had that experience. I don't even recognize who I was then.



I don't think I'm anyone exceptionally special. I just reached that fork in the road and had to choose for myself. I could live my life for other people and depend upon them for everything, including my self worth. Or I could try being realistic about life and make choices for myself. I like living by my own terms.

Man .... you're quite right and I'm sure we've all had those moments. And I learned my lesson well. The one I've got my eye on now has exceptionally nice buns !

"I accept my imperfections. I know I'll make mistakes.." Reading this is just so refreshing. For someone to finally find their worth. I definitely hope that I will be able to speak these words down the long and bumpy road of my adolescent years. Thank you.

What a great post, and series of realizations.



In my own similar situation, I decided to refrain from judgments.

There weren't and 'bad' people, just different people, with different needs. I don't think it's anyone's fault this person couldn't love me, meaning he's just a better fit with someone else, as am I.



One thing I did do for myself was stop setting up for more rejections and emotional abuse. I finally got the strength to delete him from my cell list, so I couldn't call even if I wanted to.

There's no anguished confrontations or recrimination, just quietly moving on. This person will never hear from me again, and probably won't even realize he never heard from me again for months.



I'm not going to give up and be alone though. I have a lot of love to give to someone very lucky, and who wants it. I'm going to find that person. I deserve happiness and to be loved, sure I can be happy alone, but why when I don't have to?



There's so much in life, so much beauty, joy, and so many things left to do. I'd never forgive myself for ruining my life by fixating on a past hurt, when I can be creating a future with someone I'm meant to love. I'm looking ahead.



Congratulations on your healing.

What a great post, and series of realizations.



In my own similar situation, I decided to refrain from judgments.

There weren't and 'bad' people, just different people, with different needs. I don't think it's anyone's fault this person couldn't love me, meaning he's just a better fit with someone else, as am I.



One thing I did do for myself was stop setting up for more rejections and emotional abuse. I finally got the strength to delete him from my cell list, so I couldn't call even if I wanted to.

There's no anguished confrontations or recrimination, just quietly moving on. This person will never hear from me again, and probably won't even realize he never heard from me again for months.



I'm not going to give up and be alone though. I have a lot of love to give to someone very lucky, and who wants it. I'm going to find that person. I deserve happiness and to be loved, sure I can be happy alone, but why when I don't have to?



There's so much in life, so much beauty, joy, and so many things left to do. I'd never forgive myself for ruining my life by fixating on a past hurt, when I can be creating a future with someone I'm meant to love. I'm looking ahead.



Congratulations on your healing.

Thanks for the comment Rosalinne. If only I'd learned it when I was much younger, I would have made many different decisions in my life. But at least I learned it !

"In losing, I found myself." A succinct and perfect summary and one I am can identify with. Thanks for sharing this story.

Zaltfrog .... well believe me, I'm certainly not encouraging anyone to learn lessons this way. I tend to always choose the hard way for some reason.

This is an interesting post, with lessons for most of us, I think.

Thanks Dorothy ! : )

That's a great way to put it - "learned what I do not find negotiable in life" - I will have to give that some more thought - what is NON-negotiable in my life - maybe even write it down so that I can refer back to it and remind myself of what I should not be willing to bend on if I am going to remain true to myself.



Thanks for the thought-provoking story AND comment!

Ha Ha Dorothy ! It is a little embarrassing when you lay out one of the more humbling episodes of your life. To clarify though, I am not ashamed of it. I tend to be one of those people who do learn the hard way. Though I'm sure there were other far less complicated ways I could have learned these life lessons .... lol.



Thanks for your comments. I'm grateful to have so clearly learned what I do not find negotiable in life. I keep learning but I hold onto that.

It's interesting that sometimes we HAVE to go through these rough times and deal with some ugly people in order to learn something about ourselves. AND then we end up being thankful that we actually had to go through that - because it makes us the person that we are now!



My marriage - as miserable as it has been - has forced me to deal with some things about myself - my worth issues, why I tend to be drawn to men that need rescuing, why these men tend to be drawn to ME, my perfectionism - that I expect of myself but not of others - and even my attitude about sex in the marriage - so, regardless of whether my husband works out his issues and comes around consistently to a person that I would WANT to be married to for life, I am becoming a new and improved version of myself.



AND I hope that I will be clearer about what I want in a relationship, in a partner and refuse to settle... only time and trial will tell that! LOL!



As far as being embarrassed - I have to tell you not to be because I have done the same thing - and I don't want to be embarrassed about it - so you can't be either!! LOL! PLUS, I think you sound pretty darn intelligent yourself, SS!!