Keys to Living in the Present (the password is “the past”)

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one day at a time
“I saw the light” by Azelinn

I thought that my present could be resolved by talking about what was wrong with the present… but it turned out it was resolved by sorting out what went wrong in the past. And I had been told all my life to live for today so …… you can imagine the conflict!  

This is one of the most foundational messages that I have to deliver. It is one of those things I just didn’t realize. Living in the present sounded so right and so perfect, I strived for that ideal, never realizing that what was in my way was the unresolved past. We hear things that can back up our belief in these sayings, such as “you can’t change the past” and “live one day at a time” and “live for today” and my favourite of all ~ “If you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you are peeing on today”. When I look back over the years when I tried so hard to live by these sayings, I realize that they did me no good. I thought that acceptance was the answer, but I really didn’t know what I was trying to accept and so I accepted the blame and responsibility for abuse and for relationship difficulties that were there far before I was ever old enough to be a problem or even a factor in the demise of any one of them.

I got living for today and accepting the past mixed up with the realization that I can’t change the past, forgetting that the goal in healing from the past is not to change the past, it is to resolve it. The goal was to be ABLE to put it behind me in order for me to be able to live in freedom; to be able to LIVE in the present moment.

And I got so used to running from today that I didn’t know I was running.  I got so used to thinking that I WAS living in this day, and so accustomed to avoiding those feelings by using any number of coping mechanisms and escape tools, that my coping mechanisms rode piggyback on each other and every time I resolved or exposed and untangled one escape route, my cleaver surviving mind switched and adopted another one. The survival instinct is very strong and I got so messed up that I didn’t KNOW that I was even in survivor mode. I didn’t know that my coping methods were because my brain was so badly wired that it thought the escape tools WERE better and safer for me. I thought the problems WERE the answers.  

In order to live in the present I had to be willing to actually LOOK at what I was running from. I had to ask myself ~ why did I disconnect and dissociate. Why did I use food for comfort? Why did I go to bed for days on end? I had to ask myself what I was afraid of feeling. I had to become aware of my survival methods and look at where they came from; what they developed as a result of ~ and guess what??? All those questions led me back to the past.

But when I answered those questions one by one, month after month, over time I was able to stop using all those coping methods.  Little by little, as I understood the past and where my desire to run was born they just seemed to fall away and the more that they fell away, the more that I was able to live in today. And not just live in today, but LIVE. THRIVE.  Really live with the new energy that I found I had when I didn’t have to use all my energy to COPE so dang much. 

For the most part, I live in the moment today. The work that I do with Emerging from Broken is my chosen purpose and in order to shed light on how I found my own freedom, I write about my past almost every day in one way or another, however I do not live in the past any longer because my past is resolved. Today, the past is in the past and I can actually appreciate all those lovely quotes, understanding the true intention behind the sayings now.

Keep going, keep growing and please share with me and the other readers!

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received many hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Related posts ~ “the problem with living one day at a time”

Related posts ~ “the problem with living one day at a time”

“tomorrow I will start to face the pain”

“self validation for emotional abuse”

 

 

68 response to "Keys to Living in the Present (the password is “the past”)"

  1. By: Doren Beard Posted: 22nd October 2012

    This is highly inspiring. God, the day when I won’t be surviving anymore but really fully living. Really present. Not just under a ‘glass’ but free. Not just feeling old hurts and primed for new ones. It’s my peace, and I’m so glad I lived to see a breakthrough in getting there.

    Two months ago I was living in that fog. For the first time I quit drinking and drugs with the conviction to never use again; I had 2 and half months clean and sober, and one day I experienced a sense of rejection over a current issue that I now know opened all this up.

    Previously I thought If I quit substance abuse and lose weight and look “more attractive”, my new life would come. And thinking about it, my new life would come because I would be more appealing to others. So I busted myself at the gym this summer and stayed sober.
    Which is good—but I wasn’t looking inside too much. And it’s like that rejection forced me too. SHE inside, that kid, had had enough.

    And I was excited to see my doctor in September, because I began finally to connect dots and feel the impact of my abuse rather than just think about it. For 20 years, I’ve had chat times with him, usually focusing on childhood stuff. And he responded—not saying this outright—with an air of “here we go again”. Telling me about moving on, how I would be bored telling these ‘stories’ one day. As I left his office he had this look of, “this woman is never going to get better”. He had said, as he did every time I talked to him, “one day you won’t be so dependent on me”.
    And he was right, but in a way I couldn’t see coming: I stopped from that day wanting or needing to talk to him about this stuff again. He can’t help me anymore, I know better than him about my healing. 23 years of chats, I talked to him more than any other patient in his 30 year career, he said.

    That day, rather than doubt myself as I had done so often—especially because he is such an authority figure—I walked out realizing, in a deep ironic way, that believing him and adopting his viewpoint would keep me stuck. That my new found conviction of turning around and facing childhood head on was the way forward. It wasn’t not taking responsibility for my life, it wasn’t being a self-indulgent victim. It was examining how I got here, in a more awakened state; not pretending there’s this demarcation line psychologically between childhood and adulthood, as if HIS self-described loving nurturing childhood wasn’t fully present in HIS adult mindset, and played out in his healthy life choices. It works both ways, loving or abusive pasts, and you can’t just take a cleaver and cut one away from the other, like a tumor.

    I really wonder where this line is supposed to be, between the past and the present. I haven’t been living in the past all these years so much as trying to escape it, drinking and pills and sleeping into the afternoon. I talked about it but wasn’t feeling it and examining it. But I think it was a process all along. Starting as a teenager, reading about weight issues or shyness…later on about self-esteem, years later about drinking…then reading about child sexual abuse even though I told myself I didn’t “really” suffer that, and the books were interesting….then being diagnosed with PTSD, then last year, “attachment disorder”—like branches on a tree, for 30 years inching toward the root—I was ABUSED AS A KID, this is what it’s all about for me.

    When I hear “move on” or the like now, I hear, “I don’t want to hear it”, or “I haven’t dealt with my own stuff” more than anything. But I can’t turn my head away any more.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd October 2012

      Wow Doren
      This is huge! Yay! Really great insights! Thanks for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Fai Posted: 11th March 2012

    Darlene, Yes, I should have said ” pun intended” I’m so glad we met!

  3. By: Fai Posted: 11th March 2012

    Darlene, I’m so thankful you chose sharing EFB as your work. I hope to one day pay you what you deserve. After an intake interview for funded therapy, where I inappropriately trusted, didn’t say “why did you say that” but did correct ( a bit of growth ) & had to walk home saying my mantra in my head ( Quimet,Quimet,Quimet)
    So I’m going to continue trying to stay with the present. My hope comes from you, your blog, the comments, & your responses. I have a few I read again & again to know there is one such as you!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th March 2012

      Hi Fai
      Your post made me smile.. If you are going to say my name in your head I want to make sure you can pronounce it; it is “we met” (no Q) like the french “yes” OUI..
      Ha!
      Thank you so much for you comments! Comments like this make me really glad that I chose to share efb as my work too.
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Joan H Posted: 7th February 2012

    He is nice and fake gentleman that he swears he is while I don’t respond to him but when I do. He plays the games that I had control over n would get him back (p.s I love psych and I thought I had emotional abusers down) but oh was I wrong LOL

  5. By: Joan H Posted: 7th February 2012

    I think is about some twisted power with me too, I want to hurt him back but doesn’t feel like it works.
    No love we r only friends he says but then throws all this turns and then says that I am the one confused.
    Lately he has stopped the heavy contact but then starts when I don’t. I just say hi in a weird way while I text him I know he won’t “show up around places I am” or say hurtful mean things
    I am so afraid of the mean stuff he will say if I cut contact– he finds a way
    I guess don’t want to feel hurt after the 3 emergency colon surgeries in 6 months
    I’m vulnerable n embarrassed of still let him around.
    It’s getting more confusing , I was in control of only talking to him once in a while but now when pulls back I get anxious – I don’t want to “Lose it “like he use to make me when I was a teenager and then say see, see ur nuts”
    It seems like he is using or drinking a lot – he is like a different person at night. I know he does smoke m..

    N drinks but I swear he buinges just a hunch. He has cut his arms up.. I should’ve run when “he shared ” this

  6. By: Joan H Posted: 7th February 2012

    Awesome!!!! I’m digging, I really wants to get away from the ex boyfriend and his narcissistic self so I am working hard on healing. I’m not responding as much to him but I still find myself wanting to prove to him I’m not crazy n everything else- I know I don’t have to its sinking in.  At first I just wanted one dinner with him to make him feel like he use to make me feel but his sob stories of his divorce blah blah and that his ex wife abused him( lol now I know that is typical of them to say). I don’t get why he Persues me if I’m all those neg things he tries to convince me I am.  I went backwards. Now it’s not revenge anymore bcux loving me is more important.
    He is just like my mom but even more malignant, I never know where he is coming from. Urggg I am staying cool and mirroring back to him what he says or does. He knows my weaknesses so well

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th February 2012

      Yay for digging Joan!
      I think the reason they pursue even with all those neg. opinions, is because it is about ownership instead of love. It makes them feel better about themselves if they can control someone else or if someone else complies with what they want esp. if they treat that someone badly. It is about the misuse of power and false def. of love.
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Joan H Posted: 6th February 2012

    I see, why would I ever want to be me ? if I was constantly told how lazy fat slow dirty I was
    I remember the day I said I was goin to be perfect, just how they wanted me to!
    I was 6 and I folded my pjs perfectly 🙁 poor little girl
    So much I don’t remember

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th February 2012

      Hi Joan
      Realizing that “why would I want to be me” was a huge thing in my recovery. I did lots of work around realizing how others defined me as “unworthy” and so “why would I want to be me” when me was never enough. Realizing how they defined me AND then setting those false definitions of me to the truth, that is where the major healing is!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Joan H Posted: 6th February 2012

    This is getting harder n harder but it’s worth it
    How is it possible with abusive ppl around? Is it possible
    how do you know if you are dissociating?
    My therapist says she thinks I am but she’d not sure urgggg
    So they are checking me for seizures instead
    I do see that I dress diff and act different around different ppl or events.. sometimes I’m a free spirit or the responsible or even a little girl , ppl cant notice it’s like a state of mind and even the way I sit is diff.
    Usually starts by not being able to sleep then I want to just be free and unreaponsible

  9. By: joy Posted: 29th May 2011

    Darlene

    I look forward to the fog lifting but am a bit afraid at same time of what am going to see. ..it’s necessary though, I know it.

    I want some day to help others who are broken ..and once I am healed I hope I can ..

    ((hugs))

    joy

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th May 2011

      Fear is a big part of what holds us back, but the pain of not seeing the truth was worse then the pain of seeing it. And since I was already in pain I figured “what the heck?” Might as well just embrace the healing process. And wow, I am so glad!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th May 2011

    Oh Joy,
    I love your poetry.
    Take heart, when the fog starts to lift and when the brainwashing has been really exposed, the healing takes place much faster, because there is more hope and the hope fuels the process.
    Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: joy Posted: 28th May 2011

    Dear Darlene

    I like how you said “to live for present I had to be able to look at what I was running from ”

    Seeing that I was running from something and knowing what it is . is quite enlightening and boy is my past full of stuff i had packed away .. thinking i could go on and no one would ever know

    Guess eventually the little box of past hurts burst open because the newer hurts had to be put somewhere . .but there was no more room. Therapy is where I can begin to take everything out ..and how I wish I didnt have to look at it all but its necessary:

    Letting healing in

    i am looking at all the pieces
    scattered all around
    and wondering how to start
    am crying without sound.
    it seems so very much
    didnt think that it would be
    so hard to start the healing
    and learning to be free

    but it is so very hard
    so hard that i want to run
    and pretend once again
    that there’s nothing to be done
    but then i come back again,
    face my reality:
    I’m broken and I’m bruised
    not liking what i see.

    So i have to let it happen
    let the healing come inside
    To release all those tears,
    all the times i’ve never cried
    it is so very messy and
    my emotions fall apart
    One by one I’m letting go
    the secrets from my heart

    joy (c)

  12. By: Vicki Posted: 9th May 2011

    I wish they’d quit taking forever to find a therapist for me. Maybe SOME people don’t need anyone else at all to help them sort through emotional issues, but I do. I don’t believe people can sort through emotional issues w/out at least a small amount of help, b/c I believe they’re too partial on the subject. It’s b/c they’re too close to themselves, and they might miss an observation that someone else would pick up on.
    That’s how it is for me, anyway. Trying to help myself w/ absolutely no help from others hasn’t worked for at least 30 years.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th May 2011

      Vicki,
      I hope you find some support soon too, having some kind of support is so very helpful!.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th May 2011

    Hi Pam
    Yes ~ we are our OWN person, but so brainwashed that we are not ~ that our existence is owed to someone else. And YES we really don’t need our family members or friends to affirm that we CAN be whole and free and individuals. And yes, we can’t change them.
    Yes yes yes!
    Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Pam Posted: 6th May 2011

    Darlene,

    I think what you just described is the wonderful realization that we are our own person and not a part of someone else. We can feel happy in ourselves even though family members choose to stay in the same miserable state. That also means that nothing I do can make them better. They have to want that for themselves.

    Thanks for sharing your heart and for the encouragement that it results in.

  15. By: Pam Posted: 6th May 2011

    Darlene,

    For most of my life I have been thinking that I needed my parents help to resolve my past. This lets me know that I have the power to resolve those issues myself. I know what you are saying is true because about five years ago, I realized that I’d been sexually abused as a teenager, that it wasn’t my fault, and that caused my whole way of thinking of myself to flip. That initial flip has been like a flood gate opening and with each new revelation and my action upon it comes the pain and then the growth and then new strength. I really think that I am nearly there.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th May 2011

      Pam,
      This is so true and such a huge stick point for so many! I still sometimes find myself thinking that if my parents would change or if they would even see that harm that was caused, that it would be easier for me, but I know that is not the truth.
      Even if my parents had thier own lightbulb moments, and did their own work and healing and then tried to make amends etc.. I would STILL have to do my own healing work because the damage to me STILL happened. My belief system was already set in place.
      Thanks for sharing your process, and your victories! YAY.
      p.s. yes exactly about “the pain, the growth and then new strength!)
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Sunshine Posted: 22nd January 2011

    I invite you to consider your mother isn’t rejecting YOU, she is rejecting herSELF. She is rejecting the pain of change, of facing her own demons and own damage and trauma and pain. Her pain is just as real and valid and makes her just as foggy as it did you. This does not devalue you, or your pain and experience in any way. There are so many things our parents experienced that we can never understand. The fact that we CAN awaken enough to heal ourselves is an EXTRAORDINARY feat. I have come to understand that my mother is simply does not have the same capabilities that I have, and it has nothing to do with me. By telling her what she can and cannot say, it sounds as if you are trying to control her…it’s one thing to set a boundary and decide what you are and aren’t willing to hear from her, between the two of you, but to tell her she cannot say something anymore just out of hand, well, it sounds as if you are rejecting HER and calling it the other way around.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd January 2011

      Hello Sunshine,
      I have no idea why you posted your comment on this particular post. There is nothing about my mother in this article. Having said that, I have written often about how I understand my mother and her own demons and I have come to the same conclusions that you have come to however, I can tell her what she can’t say to me when it comes to accusing me of inviting her boyfriends into my bedroom when I was 14. I can tell her that she is not allowed to say that to me anymore although she is free to say whatever she wants to anyone else. Since my mother does not like my boundaries, I don’t have a relationship with her. That is about the bottom line. You can call it whatever you like because who rejected who is not the point.
      hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Elizabeth Posted: 17th January 2011

    Hey…forgot the most telling thing! Emotionally witholding people are frequently selfish, and self involved, and CHEAP. This guy didn’t want to drive HIS car in case he had a fenderbender and had to shell out the deductable….so I drove mine….what a tightwad….lol.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th January 2011

      Elizabeth ~
      That is what I call a “truth leak”. He is also saying that it is okay if YOU have a fender bender.
      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Elizabeth Posted: 17th January 2011

    Darlene- YES, the fog!

    The bottom line is, if I have misjudged someone, then they have the right to clarify things along the way.Its not up to me to run back and forth from someone trying to get the ‘story’ straight. After one or two attempts at clarification, if I’m still confused I needed to be long gone.

    I played this charade with my family for years. Its called the ‘guess what’s going on with me’ game; and it never ends because there is no
    ‘right’ answer. There also is no ‘right’ answer regarding one’s own feelings in my family of origin..no one listened to me when I said how I felt or didn’t feel…..I had motives and feelings attributed to me that were horribly inaccurate all my life.

    It was as if I didn’t even need to be there to have crap generated relating to me.

    I just never want to do this to anyone else. I also don’t want to view other people thru the lens of my own past….BUT this stuff regarding this man, just feels so yucky.

    He is a therapist with many years experience, so I wonder how aware he is of what is going on here….sigh.

    Thanks again…

  19. By: Elizabeth Posted: 17th January 2011

    Amy…I”m sitting here with my mouth hanging open. You nailed it.

    Thankyou very much for taking the time to look at this, and see the pattern. Wow; you’re precise and intuitive.

    For some reason I went into this spiral of confusion trying to sort this out, after this man’s disclosure of abuse; and his relating the events leading up to his ex’s suicide the other day…all in one day he tells me this info.It was weird.

    When he told me: ‘You act like you’re afraid of me’, I think then I went from irritation with him, to wondering what he was talking about; to not wanting to know.Then at THAT point I began to feel apprehension.
    When someone says that, I think there’s a big red flag going on.

    Thanks ….I appreciate the comment~!

  20. By: Amy Posted: 16th January 2011

    Hi Elizabeth,
    It sounded like he was setting you up to feel emotionally obligated to him (by telling you things to make you feel sorry for him, not just the abuse but the ex’s suicide), and then confronting you when you didn’t quite take the bait – when you held back by not commenting or connecting. Maybe it was not so much him wanting an argument or provoking you as trying to make you feel like you were somehow the one who was wrong for withholding from HIM, like whatever your reasons, they were faulty. He was guessing at what you might be thinking and pointing out what you were doing to intimidate you into believing you were the one with the problem. This is so classic. And the tactic of withholding from you – you said in the beginning when you first knew him he seemed to not want to pursue anything with you, it’s to get you to want him, to wonder what’s wrong with you that he didn’t want you, and then feel good that now he’s suddenly confiding in you… and then how he “called himself on it” by throwing it out there that he’s emotionally withholding – so you would think well at least he’s being honest about it, and the reason he seems that way is his abuse and all the hard things he’s suffered, which, if he was really emotionally withholding he wouldn’t have shared with me… ETC!
    Good for you for recognizing this is a wolf! There’s nothing wrong with you for being preyed upon, the fact that you saw his trap when you were lead to it and you didn’t fall for it is proof that you are healing.
    Amy

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th January 2011

      Elizabeth,
      for some reason when I sent my first response I had not seen your second comment about this guy. I see that you came up with lots more of your own answers! The covert stuff is the hardest; that is why some people have the hardest time recovering from psychological or emotional abuse. It is so covert.. so sneaky ~ but also so deadly, discounting, insinuating and devaluing. You are doing great. I had all the same reasons that you mentioned here for being afraid of standing up to someone. I was so willing to discount myself for the sake of not taking a chance on misjudging someone else. What you describe at the end of your share here is what I call “the fog” ~ that blurry confusion that you referred to. There are many fogs and it looks like you came out of this one!
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Elizabeth Posted: 16th January 2011

    I appreciate the things you have said; both Carol,and Gabrielle.

    I think applying what I have learned and am learning about what is abuse, dissociation, and all things related, is what I am trying to do.

    Things get confusing. I don’t want to misjudge anyone. That concept has gotten me into alot of trouble in the past, as I have used it to ignore red flags, trying to ‘give’ someone the benefit of the doubt…..as if they ‘need’ that.In our family I always had motives attributed to me that were not true, was told how I felt, was told in many ways I was not acceptable. I don’t want to ever do that to anyone else.

    I didn’t want to spend my time being analyzed or second guessed by anyone, on what would have been an otherwise lovely day.On the other hand, it can be constructive if I look at what happened.

    Having a fun outing starting out in the first mile on the road being given the details of someone’s abuse history was ruinous.I don’t want to be mean, but that was not the time or place for that. What I could have said was ‘I understand this is very painful and I know its important but could we discuss it later?’ In fact there was no reason for him to have discussed this with me at all.

    Being told I mean something specific when I say, or don’t say, do or don’t do something is a ‘red flag’. Motive attribution. In a healthy relaationship I don’t think this happens. Clarifying and allowing another person to make their point is one thing. TELLING someone what they meant is another….

    Saying mysterious things in a hinting fashion really bothers me. Its sideways communication and really throws me when its done.

    At the end of the day yesterday, I felt drained, irritated, and wanted nothing more than to get away from the person I spent the day with.

    Recovery helped me understand I don’t need to even respond to things said to me such as ‘…you don’t understand my jokes, do you?’ I understand jokes and humor. I don’t understand nor have to communicate in a covert, ambiguous tense exchange with anyone…when they seem to have an agenda or point they are making.If you have something to say; SAY it.

    I don’t have to take the brunt of someone else’s apparent anger.

    I don’t have to accept someone’s ‘attention’ in this fashion.

    I resent having my ‘motives’ pointed out to me, especially when they are wildly inaccurate.

    Then unasked for, I was told the details of his ex’s suicide. I asked two very brief questions and was told I was ‘interrogating’ him.

    I could have said nothing.I felt entrapped.

    In short I could have set boundaries swiftly along the way, but it all seemed to be covert- what was going on. I didn’t ‘get it’ until I was ‘in’ it, if that makes sense and then found myself in the weird position of ‘defending’ myself against things I didn’t do or say, or mean.

    It was as if the framework was already set up and I walked into it. That is how I felt.

    I don’t feel safe emotionally with this person anymore. Before I felt he was detached to a ludicrous degree but didn’t want to misjudge. Now at the risk of judging another’s motives- I think my defenses just got down and away we went; I think the previous detachment was not innocent; I think he was waiting for me to complain to him about it so he could withold even more.

    When I didn’t do that the semi snide ambigous covert comments came swifter and so did the opportunities to ‘portray’ me to myself as something negative and mean
    became more numerous.

    He was having a day that was ALL about HIM, and HIS, feelings,HIS anger, and USING me to do it; That ticks me off so much.

    In this case, ‘detached’ is good for me. I intend to stay away from this person.

    I wish I could clarify here more, but I truly went through a period of blurry confusion about what was happening yesterday.
    Thanks for everything we are learning here.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th January 2011

      Hi Elizabeth,
      This comment is just fine here. 🙂 no worries.
      As you wrote this post I think you have answered many of your own questions. In the past when I was in situations like this ~ (which was OFTEN) I felt this huge need to “prove” that my feelings of being uncomfortable and having red flags ~ were right. I had no confidence in my own feelings or in my own decisions. I stayed with people who treated me in ways that made me really uncomfortable, because I really thought I had to PROVE these feelings, intuitions and suspicions before I could act on them. But I finally asked myself (looking back) why do I want to be with someone who I am constantly having to wonder IF he is treating me right or if it is just my imagination? I hope this helps a bit. I am glad that you are sharing and processing this. This is all part of the journey when we start to “grow up” in ways that we didn’t before.
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Gabrielle Posted: 16th January 2011

    Elizabeth, Carol makes a good point about boundaries. It is actually a very loving thing to set clear boundaries- good for both of you I mean. Those of us who have been abused as children, especially sexual abuse, have a hard time with boundaries and if you’re like me, you think you HAVE to be nice- no matter what. You can still be nice and set boundaries. You can still be nice and say how you feel and you can still be nice and say “no”. One thing I’ve learned along the way is to trust my gut. You know how you feel- follow it. If you wonder about whether or not to be scared, then you already know the answer. Be good to yourself friend. Assuming that his disclosure was the truth, that still doesn’t mean that YOU have to fix it for him or that he has the right to make you feel uncomfortable. You can kindly and lovingly set limits and say “no thank you”. I don’t know if that helps, but I could really relate to what you wrote and I suspect that there are lots of us out there who can. Hang in there and take care of yourself!

  23. By: carol Posted: 16th January 2011

    elizbeth it would seem that you have done nothing wrong and that he either has a hidden agenda or is the emotional asshole he thought he was. if you are not sure stay away or do things that invovle other people and dont let his past make your issues worse. you have the right to set any boundaries you like in a relationship and im sorry if it was me i probably wouldnt go out on a date again with him. but maybe the fact that he disclosed his past was not so much as an explaination for his behaviour but as maybe a shock tactic to make you feel sorry for him so he gets his own way. not sure as i dont know him but you take all the time you want to make any decision you are not sure about

  24. By: Elizabeth Posted: 15th January 2011

    I am not sure at all if this comment even belongs here other than it does contain the idea of living in the moment.
    I apologize if it is not appropriate and Darlene, just move it or delete it if it is out of line or too way off topic.

    I had decided to go to a bird migration festival today, and for some reason – I decided to ask a male friend to go with me. The friend is someone I really decided earlier to slowly stop seeing because I felt I was being devalued in the relationship. but when I would talk to him every now and then about some things for clarification I would get confused and thin I was just seeing things wrong or misjudging him.

    It started well. I was looking forward to the event and it felt light and good on the way. Then out of the blue he started telling me he had been abused by a neighbor and his grandfather as a child. I ffelt very sad for him and we talked awhile about abuse. I told him it must be hard to talk about and I appreciated his trust.Still the suddenness of hs disclosure startled me.

    All throughout the day which overall was fun- the events were fun- he made cryptic comments, such as when we went through the lunch line and I paid for my own food, he made the comment to the cashier that I was a ‘cheap date’.there were several other odd comments along this line that I felt verged on provoking- that is, I felt like he was wanting me to say something back but it didn’t feel good or comfortable to me. I ususally said nothing in response.

    Along the day he made several observations about my responses to him. or lack of them. He would makwe comments like ‘you seem confused by my sense of humor’, or ‘you don’t seem to know what to say when I say…..’I began to get a feeling of being dogged to say something or argue.Or get defensive and I resented it.

    We did eat dinner, and he gave me late Christmas presents, scarves someone at his work knitted.I appreciated them and said so.

    But then he suddenly started telling me about the eventss leading up to his ex’s death, a sudden death; and it was more than I wanted to hear. as he was talking my mind drifted to mom’s death.I suddenly felt worn out.He suddenly said ‘Earth to LIZ!’And then said, ‘I’ve noticed many times when I talk you drift away.’

    I told him that while he had talked about her death many times I had never asked about the details…I then asked a couple of questions and he said:’you act like you’re interrogating me.’I said ‘no.’

    And then he said, ‘you act like you’re afraid of me.’

    He had said this three times today.Because the first time he said it and I had asked what he meant, and he said ‘you just seem to withdraw at times after I say something..’ I didn’t even answer this the next two times.I was beginning to get tireder and tireder and my mood was going downhill quickly after the odd day.

    He proceeded: ‘I’m looking for a female companion to do things with like movies and things. I know we talked about doing this a few times but we never got to it.’

    The reason we never got to it was he never wanted to in the last year.
    I said ‘it sounds like a job description’ A ‘female companion’? It sounds so detached.’ He said ‘that’s normally what you call a female you are cohabitating with.’ We don’t live together and I don’t plan on it.

    Several months ago we were talking and I said in response to something he said about himself ‘well you do seem detached.’He said ‘you mean I am an emotionally witholding asshole?’ I said I had not said that.

    When time came to leave I visited the lady’s room and when I got to the cashier’s he had already paid for mine, something unheard of with him.Usually he would tell the cashier to split the check.

    Then he said he wanted to get together next weekend. I don’t think so.

    The entire day I felt I was having words put in my mouth, things attributed to me that I didn’t say and didn’t think. it all felt slightly hostile. And I kept having the feeling of narrowly averting some kind of angry confrontation with him. I am very confused about this.
    I don’t think I was reacting out of my past and overreacting all day. I think I was underreacting, or acting neutral.

    I do know I definitely don’t want to pursue this. I felt an undercurrent of anger that I don’t believe is coming from me.
    I feel sorry if he REALLY disclosed his abuse because he trusted me but it was on the way to a great event and it just went downhill from there.I felt like I was being emotionally abused all day.

    On the way home he told me to take my cd out-he didn’t like it- and put the radio on some station he liked.I was ticked by then.

    But here I am trying to be sensitive to his disclosure all day and all day, he seemed to take potshots at me.

    What started as a nice day- ended with me feeling worn out, creeped out, and wondering if maybe I SHOULD be afraid of him in some way.

    His ex died of suicide btw- she wasn’t murdered or heart attack or something. Because he had been through that I have been letting alot of things go by I should have addressed earlier or paid more atention to.?

    I tried to respond all day from my head, rationally but also with my heart; not read anything into things but STILL wound up feeling like this all is not good for me emotionally, but STILL wonder if I am being too hard on him, maybe he was just defensive after his disclosure.But that doesn’t explain his other dismissive behavior in the past.

    I wanted to make sure I was not being unfair, but I am now more than uncomfortable with him. now I feel like….’What the heck was happening all day??’I feel mixed up. Confused about the day. And disturbed.

    Sorry if this is too much ‘he said’-‘she said’, but something happened today and I am not sure what these dynamics all were.

    thanks for letting me share….

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