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I learned something yesterday


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Well, I haven't started a thread on here for a long time. Sure, I've been blogging regularly, and responding to others, but not really bringing my own stuff out in public as much. Partly, it's "my problems aren't that bad", and a tendency to hide them (maybe they are, and I don't know, or want to), and maybe a growing fear of how people would respond, but more on that later.

I've been working through separating from my wife, who I feel was verbally abusive to me for seven years of marriage. After she found it necessary to get a protective order against me to get me out of the house, I have found an apartment, bought a car, begun some kind of life again. Part of that has included trying to re-establish some of the social environment I had when I was single.

I had a full day on Saturday: I played in a four-round go tournament. 'Go' is an oriental strategy game that I have played for almost 20 years. And I'm still not a 'master'. But it's fun, and it gave me a chance to re-connect with people I knew before I was married, as well as some that I've played against online, but never met. I had every reason to be satisfied by the outcome; I won three out of four games, so I was even entitled to a small prize (a cutting-board for my empty apartment kitchen.) I even joined the group going out for dinner, afterwards, even though it wasn't a large one.

What I noticed was that the next morning, I wasn't very happy about the experience. Now, it's not unusual for me to feel a bit of a let-down after such a big event, even though, objectively, it was a pretty positive day. But my sleep was fitful and full of dreams, which is unusual for me. They were filled with conflict, arguments with 'go' people, with my brother over religion, with my dad. In fact, I stayed in bed late, alternately dozing and waking, partly to try to understand what the pattern was.

Then I realized: I was afraid that everyone, all the people I had encountered, my family, even people on this site, might start treating me the way my wife did. So I was unsatisfied with my interactions with my go-playing friends, because I had been deliberately keeping my distance from them. I've been worried about my brother since he gave me several preachy Christian books, worried that he might not respect my choice to disagree with him about them. I've been on eggshells with my dad, in case he became as judgmental as my wife was. I've even curtailed posting on here, just in case someone took advantage of my vulnerability to jeer at me. No one here ever has; but every time I ever opened up to my wife, she seems to have stored it up to use against me later in an argument.

So, I learned something, and now I'm working on what to do differently. I think one important thing, for me, is to try to see people as individual people. That's not something that comes readily to me; I'm anti-social enough to have been known to refer to people as 'input'. ;-)

But I'd also welcome insights from others, whether they're people who've also experienced verbal/emotional abuse, or just people who are more social. This is an area where I still have lots to learn.

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It sounds like you are taking lots of positive steps in your life. The mere fact that you got out and reconnected and interacted is certainly good. That you feel you reserved yourself and didn't open up to the group is not necessarily a bad thing. It is clearly a protective mechanism for you. I think it can be helpful if used as a "filtering" tool. I think it is perfectly normal to be reserved when meeting people for the first time or reuniting because you need that time to assure yourself that the people you are dealing with can be trusted. This is especially true when your trust has been so severely and deliberately broken by someone who should have been implicitly trustworthy. Don't beat yourself up over it. Take your time and ease back into these relationships. I think that, as you get to know people and have experiences with them you will figure out who you are able to be more open with. Good luck with everything. I am glad to hear you are moving forward and looking for ways to continually improve yourself and your situation.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Malign,

I agree that you are taking very positive steps in your life. However, it appears that when you have a good day, like this weekeng playing "GO" you start to think about it and gradually turn it into something negative. Be aware of that so that you interrupt that thinking. As you said, no one here has jeered at you and no one in the Go group did that.

You know, when someone has been abused, particularly going back to childhood, it becomes very difficult to trust other people. Your wife gave more evidence for not trusting. I hope that, someday, that can change for you.

The idea in an intimate relationship is for two people to be able to trust in one another and then be able to confide in each other. My hope is that someday you can find the right woman with whom you can have that.

Also, be aware that, sometimes, when dreaming at night seems troubling it is really that you are working in very positive things. Dreams are strange that way. What may seem obvious is often not at all obvious.

It is always good to hear from you and I hope that you continue posting regularly.

Allan :)

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Thank you all for your input. Proverbs, I hope you take care of yourself, however you define that. JT, you too.

Allan, I agree I have a tendency to spin everything negatively. In fact, that was what I was posting about. I realized that I was interpreting a wide variety of people's responses through my fear of getting burned again. And, I was posting about what I was going to do about it.

I think I really do need to get some CBT therapy, to learn about and practice that technique of interrupting my own negative thoughts. Someone push me, please? :-)

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Malign, I just wanted to say that I can relate and I was glad to see you post about your own stuff. Those types of social interactions often leave me feeling uneasy. I’m trying to be more open, but I’m having a hard time because I have trouble trusting anyone. I’m trying to work on it, but it’s a really difficult thing to overcome.

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From what I have read about CBT that seems like a great idea. I have been unsucessful in finding a therapist around here that actually does anything.... at least for me. Maybe it is just me??

I do know there are several books on CBT on Amazon....

In my case... I get good words from some people... You know... " so Smart" , " so pretty" , so nice" Etc.... but those words don't stick .. it always seems that I remember the bad words ... get what I mean? Some times I wonder if I ever make sense... LOL!!! It does to me .

Have a great one ... JT ( AKA Gabs)

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You makes perfect sense, Gabs. What I find hard is holding onto what someone else says, but interfering with the negative stuff I'm saying to myself. Even my tendency to point out what's hard is just me putting myself down. I think it's time that I focus on what I do well. Whatever that is.

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Hang in there.... one thing that has to do with CBT .. is to make a list .. on one side put the good things.. the other side the bad... or what you think is bad..

'For example.... Good thing... I can cook well...... Bad thing.... I snore!!! LOL!! Just examples...

If the bad out weigh the good .... take one bad thing at a time and try to make a change in it .. work on one thing at a time....

BTW... I am not a doctor just a fellow person .... telling you something that helped me....

I told a friend of mine the other day .. I want to like myself... other people like me except for when I am drunk and mean.... I asked how do I do this... the friend did not know. I hate my body... others are Jealous of my body... I hate my accent ... others like it. I think I am dumb,... others think I am smart....


You know what I am talking about... how to learn to love me? Or you to love you??? no answers .. but know you are not alone...

JT ( Gabs)

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