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Relationship Thread: Advice, Venting and Everything Else

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Talking shit about all of their exes is definitely a huge red flag for me, for additional reasons. If every single ex has been that horrible, then one of two things is going on: The person with consistently bad exes is attracted only to horrible people, in which case I would be asking myself why this person is interested in me; or the person is engaging either deliberately or unconsciously in some serious revisionist history. My general interpretation is that it's the person refusing to take any responsibility himself/herself for the relationship not working out and instead blaming the ex entirely. 

My ex is the latter. He absolutely cannot take responsibility for his bad behavior. Its always "justified"; its always that he was "driven" to it by someone else.

As far as my situation goes, the anger from him subsided. Then came the begging to get back together. He finally gave up on that (because someone saw him staring at me creepily in the parking lot and started spreading rumors---which of course he blames me for). He last texted me that I "destroyed us" and now "we can never be together again".  Never mind that his actions over flipping out about the tire change led to this.

My problem is that he took up so much time in my life that the radio silence is killing me (even though I absolutely don't want him back).  I'm ok at work (I hardly see him) but my days off are brutal. Checking my phone and seeing no missed calls/texts depresses me. Not having anyone to talk to or laugh with or do things with hurts. When he wasn't angry or in a foul mood, he was one of the sweetest and kindest souls I've ever met which is what makes all of this so hard.  I am absolutely glad that it ended safely and non-violently after all we went through, but emotionally I feel like its the aftermath of a hurricane/tornado that came in and upturned my life: What do I do now? How do I move on? Will I ever find a healthy relationship? How do I get through the loneliness?

I know I should seek help.  I find it really hard to communicate with strangers verbally and find myself often saying what I think they want to hear instead of how I actually feel.  Like the above poster, I find writing anonymously helps me be more honest about what I'm feeling.

Ugh. This sucks.

Edited by AgentRXS

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@AgentRXS I understand the radio silence thing. It's awful. I described it to a friend of mine like the end of Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar. Just a big rich song and then WOOSH, nothing. 

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1 hour ago, JTMacc99 said:

@AgentRXS I understand the radio silence thing. It's awful. I described it to a friend of mine like the end of Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar. Just a big rich song and then WOOSH, nothing. 

I third this. Sometimes I wonder which is worse - being in a bad relationship or dealing with the loneliness. I'm also going through radio silence, and it is depressing. I'm trying to be good and not send a text out of sheer loneliness. It is hard. I talk to family and friends every day though so that helps.

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7 hours ago, jenh526 said:

I'm trying to be good and not send a text out of sheer loneliness. It is hard. I talk to family and friends every day though so that helps.

I dug up all sorts of friends, which does help. It's just that sitting on the couch at 10:30 PM stuff that gets me. The drinks call to me and say, "We still like you!"

And mine wasn't even a bad relationship. It was a building one; my phone crackled with life when we weren't together. My thoughts were constantly on how she was doing, and what could I say or send to her. The WHOOSH was awful. I get the reason it happened (a difficult story that I do not wish to share on a public forum), so my brain gets it. But ugh, the lost and lonely feelings.  

Edited by JTMacc99
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Okay, I'm going to drop this here rather than Chit Chat, because I think it's relevant to how we relate to other people.  

It's been a while since I ran myself through a Meyers-Briggs personality test. I went ahead and did so today. You can too if you would like.  It turned back ISFJ for me. With very few exceptions, yikes, hits the nail on the head.  It's a fun read if you want to do it for yourself.

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@stewedsquash, seems legit.  Did you read through the whole thing, and if so, did you find yourself nodding in agreement for a bunch of it?

I freaking loved reading what it says about me, The Defender.  This is just the first part of the first page: 

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The ISFJ personality type is quite unique, as many of their qualities defy the definition of their individual traits. Though possessing the Feeling (F) trait, ISFJs have excellent analytical abilities; though Introverted (I), they have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships; and though they are a Judging (J) type, ISFJs are often receptive to change and new ideas. As with so many things, people with the ISFJ personality type are more than the sum of their parts, and it is the way they use these strengths that defines who they are.

ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.

ISFJ personalities (especially Turbulent ones) are often meticulous to the point of perfectionism, and though they procrastinate, they can always be relied on to get the job done on time. ISFJs take their responsibilities personally, consistently going above and beyond, doing everything they can to exceed expectations and delight others, at work and at home.

Good Lord, not a word out of place. It goes on to point out some shit about how my desire to be kind to people can get me in trouble because I will do it to the point where I don't take care of myself, and that I'm always searching for the win-win solutions.  

D'oh. 

I am SO struggling with that right now, where I have not one, but TWO different relationships (of different kinds) that I want to move forward with win-win solutions. And I can't seem to accept that there are not win-win solutions.  

I love reading stuff like this, because it lets me be analytical about what the hell is driving me crazy. (Note the second sentence of the personality trait description. Heh.)

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Oh my @auntlada, that's a fun read.  You have my permission to take control of one of the two situations, and permission to tell me to cut the shit with the other one.  

I like the strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Quick, Imaginative and Strategic Mind, High Self-Confidence, Independent and Decisive, Hard-working and determined, Open Minded, Jack of all Trades

Weaknesses: Arrogant, Judgmental, Over-Analytical, Loathe highly structured environments, Clueless in romance.  

Heh, "clueless in romance" seems a little harsh.  But I do like the explanation. If it's true, it must be frustrating as heck: 

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This antipathy to rules and tendency to over-analyze and be judgmental, even arrogant, all adds up to a personality type that is often clueless in dating. Having a new relationship last long enough for INTJs to apply the full force of their analysis on their potential partner's thought processes and behaviors can be challenging. Trying harder in the ways that INTJs know best can only make things worse, and it's unfortunately common for them to simply give up the search. Ironically, this is when they're at their best, and most likely to attract a partner.

It sounds a lot like the characters from The Big Bang Theory.

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Few personality types are as mysterious and controversial as INTJs

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INTJs form just two percent of the population, and women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population – it is often a challenge for them to find like-minded individuals who are able to keep up with their relentless intellectualism and chess-like maneuvering.

Oh goody:  another reminder that I'm just visiting this planet...

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21 minutes ago, Qoass said:

Oh goody:  another reminder that I'm just visiting this planet...

I'm trying to figure out if is very unlikely there are two of you here, or if it makes perfect sense.  

Actually, I should leave the figuring out stuff to you, shouldn't I? Just know I'm supporting you in your efforts, and if you need anything, let me know.

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3 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

Oh my @auntlada, that's a fun read.  You have my permission to take control of one of the two situations, and permission to tell me to cut the shit with the other one.  

I like the strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Quick, Imaginative and Strategic Mind, High Self-Confidence, Independent and Decisive, Hard-working and determined, Open Minded, Jack of all Trades

Weaknesses: Arrogant, Judgmental, Over-Analytical, Loathe highly structured environments, Clueless in romance.  

Heh, "clueless in romance" seems a little harsh.  But I do like the explanation. If it's true, it must be frustrating as heck: 

It sounds a lot like the characters from The Big Bang Theory.

It is true that I am 48, and I've only had three actual boyfriends in my life. The first one was for a couple of months one summer in high school. The second was was very tumultuous during my sophomore year in college. We fought a lot because he was stupid. Also, later in life he came out as gay. Would have saved me a lot of time if he'd done that earlier. The third one I married. I think I actually dated only two other guys -- two dates each and that was it.

So, yeah, clueless might be harsh, but it's probably right. Looking back at junior high and high school, I can see behavior from boys that I think now was probably them expressing some kind of interest in being more than friends, but at the time, I had no idea what they were doing or why they were being so weird.

I often say that the world would be so much better and things would work better if only everyone would do what I say.

1 hour ago, JTMacc99 said:

I'm trying to figure out if is very unlikely there are two of you here, or if it makes perfect sense.  

Actually, I should leave the figuring out stuff to you, shouldn't I? Just know I'm supporting you in your efforts, and if you need anything, let me know.

I think on some level it makes sense because it's easier to communicate with people by writing, especially if you don't have to look them in the eyes (which I have serious issues with anyway). And although you guys know some things about me, you don't actually know who I am (I think). And if I want to walk away, I can at any time -- or I can skip any conversations that I just don't want to read. I don't because I'm compulsive about reading everything (thanks, TWoP), but I could.

The part where I don't care if everyone is happy makes dealing with my sister-in-law difficult. Before we ever make any decision about what to do, she wants to discuss it so everyone can have a say and so everyone will be happy with what we do (although the final decision better be what she's already decided). The discussion drives me crazy.

Edited by auntlada
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1 hour ago, JTMacc99 said:

I'm trying to figure out if is very unlikely there are two of you here, or if it makes perfect sense.  

Actually, I should leave the figuring out stuff to you, shouldn't I? Just know I'm supporting you in your efforts, and if you need anything, let me know.

Make it three. Another female INTJ here and yes, it makes sense to me that we are here. Don't care about whether people are happy provided things are moving forward; very analytical; much more comfortable with writing than with interacting in person; not much into romance and yes, it has occurred recently just when I have not been seeking it out. For me, I also wonder if it's a function of my career or if my career is a function of my personality traits. There is a running joke among me and other tech writers I know as to whether we are best described as INTJs or like Sherlock, as high-functioning sociopaths.

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Hee! This is great.

When I was younger, I think I would have preferred to be thought of as INTJ. It's only recently I've come to embrace the F part.  

And as for that damn F, I got this one: "Yet ISFJs can be easily tripped up in areas where their kindness and practical approach are more of a liability than an asset. Whether it is finding (or keeping) a partner..."

Super!  I can give some pretty excellent examples of that little problem. I've managed to work around the parts that would hold back career advancement or learning to relax, so I guess it's on to working on this one.

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INFJ - The Advocate.  Decisive, strong willed (rarely use this energy for self gain). Act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity to create balance.  Can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, but real passion is to get to heart of issue so that people don't need to be rescued.  "Help me help you" is certainly how I feel in many situations!

Thanks for the link @JTMacc99, this was enjoyable.

Edited by Treehugger · Reason: Grammar is important.
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INFJ, although for many years I was INFP. I think having to work forced the "J" in me. I work in a very ISTJ field, which makes me miserable.

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With Meyers-Briggs, I always tend to find myself as a mix of INTJ and ISTJ - with the INTJ being stronger in many aspects.

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On 7/13/2016 at 1:21 AM, AgentRXS said:

Thank you for the not piling on. And thanks for clarifying that it is abuse. I felt for him because he said his last 2 girlfriends cheated on him so I gave him a lot of leeway. But every time I placate him, something else sets him off and I'm left wondering what the hell I did and if I'm crazy to think he's being irrational. Apologizing (even though I don't think I have anything to apologize for) never works and just pisses him off more.  You are right, even though it hurts like hell now, I have to realize I will be better off in the long run by him not speaking to me.

I wrote a brilliant response that got lost because "reasons" - but, to the best of my recollection...

Having spent 10+ years in an emotionally abusive relationship...the bolded part strikes me as how it started.  He would get angry and hurt over some perceived misdeed (always about cheating) that I automatically gave it some credence and continuously tried to reassure him.  His anger/hurt/pain was so extreme and so real - I never, nor anyone I knew, got that upset over nothing so there had to be something right?  Even if it was unintended...but each time, what I would need to do to reassure him grew and grew.  Until my whole behavior was so buttoned down in an effort not to attract any attention to myself so nothing could be misconstrued as "cheating".  But nothing I did ever worked and he never felt secure.  But it wasn't me that was the source of that insecurity, it was him.

I have no doubt he loved me, as much as he is capable of loving another person, but a lot of that was centered on control.  He needed to control me in order to risk loving me, but it was an addiction and he needed more and more control as time went on.

Like you guy, he had tales of woe and cheating exes in his past.  But I began to eventually wonder about his cheating exes - were they really cheating or were they just accused of cheating like me?

Don't beat yourself up for falling for him or staying with him for a year.  He didn't reveal himself to you straight off the bat - he charmed you and got your defenses down.  He told you a sad story about the exes which gave a "reason" why he would be so distrustful and that motivated you to give him extra reassurance.  Undoubtedly, he has some good characteristics.  Chances are, he was withholding of those whenever he was angry with you and you would be rewarded with them when you pleased him.  But that love and support would only be given on his terms - regardless of what you were going through.

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On 8/6/2016 at 0:51 AM, jenh526 said:

I need to vent this somewhere. So here goes. I had a brief physical relationship with a married coworker. The guy is definitely a player, but he is very subtle about it. Anyway, I started hanging out with him outside of work. And then one night something happened and before I knew it he was in my apartment and being very aggressive. It was like he was a completely different person from the nice, charismatic guy that I knew. The whole thing was very stupid of me, and my only excuse is that I was going through an extremely difficult time and was also lonely. I think this guy knew that. I was dumb enough to let him in my apartment several times, and the last time he pretty much forced me to perform oral sex on him. Nothing has happened since then although he has been trying to talk me into something again. I finally had to tell him not to ask me ever again. I think there must be something wrong with me because I have never been so attracted to someone, and at the same time, I know he's a very bad person. At any rate, I've been doing pretty well keeping my distance. Scary, weird situation. 

No, it wasn't stupid of you - you are not responsible for the choices and actions of another person.  It's a game I played a lot in my marriage - finding a "reason".  If I didn't do X, then he wouldn't have got so angry, If I didn't do Y, then he wouldn't have misunderstood, etc...a rational mind tries to create an equation to justify an irrational act.  Children do it when their parents get divorced - if I would have been better, Daddy would have stayed.

An existing relationship should create a foundation of trust - not an excuse for criminal behavior.

I didn't fit the profile of an "abused" woman - my family is loving and supportive, I am educated, I was a successful professional in commercial real estate, etc...my ex didn't look like an abusive guy - he was intelligent, talented, good looking, charming, blah blah blah.  But I didn't know that abusers and those abused come from every walk of life - no matter how you slice and dice the demographics, they are there.  He's also in jail for what he did to me.  Initially, it was just a short sentence for the physical abuse.  Now he is serving two life sentences for trying to kill me at a custody exchange.

The scars you and @AgentRXS got will stay with you - don't downplay them.

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@AgentRXS & @jenh526 - sincere apologizes if my response was harsh at all - you guys don't need that and that certainly was not my intention.  Due to some family issues, I've only been able to post on my phone (which means not at all) so this has been floating around for a couple of weeks.  Abuse/assault within the context of a relationship happens more frequently than I ever imagined, but there is so much shame and self-directed (misdirected) anger that goes on it makes it hard to work through the fallout.

I truly hope you both are doing well and regaining your footing/balance.

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He would get angry and hurt over some perceived misdeed (always about cheating) that I automatically gave it some credence and continuously tried to reassure him.  His anger/hurt/pain was so extreme and so real - I never, nor anyone I knew, got that upset over nothing so there had to be something right?  Even if it was unintended...but each time, what I would need to do to reassure him grew and grew.  Until my whole behavior was so buttoned down in an effort not to attract any attention to myself so nothing could be misconstrued as "cheating".  But nothing I did ever worked and he never felt secure.

@DeLurker You're response wasn't harsh at all. This exactly describes the dynamic between me and my ex.  He was impossible to please. It took me along time to reconcile that the man I met (the man I truly fell in love with) never really existed. I'm doing ok now. Days off are hard at times because I sometimes miss having someone there physically but I'm learning to enjoy being by myself again. I certainly don't miss the drama. I do hope I'll meet the right person for me someday. I am sort of afraid I am going to end up single for the rest of my life LOL.

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DeLurker, I didn't take your post as harsh at all. In fact, I found it very supportive, and I am so sorry for what you have been through also. Sounds absolutely horrific. I'm dealing with things ok. But I have not fully extracted myself from the situation, and I probably won't until I am able to find another job. Until then, I'm just trying to deal with it. 

AgentRXS, maybe being single isn't the worst thing? I have some people in my life who love and support me, and I'm trying to force myself to gravitate to people like that instead of towards people who hurt me. I need to quit sticking my hand in the fire and wondering why it hurts so much. I'm going to try focusing on things I enjoy and being around people who make me feel good and see where that takes me.

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This was in the Quotes thread, but it applies here as well:

3 hours ago, NutMeg said:

Gore Vidal said, "The important thing is not the object of love but the emotion itself."

And how right he is! I just spent a year on a (long distance, eventually fizzled) thingy, and the guy was nothing worth writing home about, but the sensations, anticipations, butterflies, etc.? Priceless. One month in the doldrums after 12 months of bliss? Totally worth it! 

Knowing you're able to love and feel "that" is wonderful. Because, however not likely it may feel now, you'll get there again. And whatever the outcome, it will be great.

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On August 24, 2016 at 4:54 PM, editorgrrl said:

Gore Vidal said, "The important thing is not the object of love but the emotion itself."

Good lord. Shut up Gore Vidal.  

That's probably true, but it doesn't feel that way. 

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Regarding being single: before meeting my husband, I was single for most of my life - a virgin, in fact. Not that I was scared of it or religiously opposed, but I felt strongly that for me, sex should be within the sphere of a committed relationship - and I just never got that far with things. I was one of those "worship them from afar" people - I'm a strong INFP (speaking of Myers-Briggs), so maybe that was part of it, I don't know.

After getting my heart broken *again*, it was severe enough that I decided I wanted nothing to do with love or relationships for a while. So I withdrew mentally and emotionally from even the very idea of a relationship. I concentrated on my job, my family and friends, my beautiful little three-year-old niece, my hobbies. And for the first time in my life, I actually made peace with being single. I remember taking a lovely drive one day and thinking You know, if this is all life contains for me... it's enough. I'm happy like this.

My current husband, at that point, was a man that I'd known as a friend for five years. He was engaged to a friend of mine for the first three (which was how I met him); they'd split up amicably and he'd been single for the last two years. I had never considered him seriously as dating material up to that point. But, once I'd made my peace with being single and was not looking for or needing a relationship in any way, I suddenly starting noticing him in that way. He broached the idea first, we went out for dinner, and - hoo boy. Lemme tell ya, when you start dating a friend you know well and you establish the chemistry *is* there... there ain't no brakes strong enough to stop you!

TL;DR: While it's possible to luck into something, I think learning how to shape your life into something enjoyable and fulfilling while single is essential to establishing the necessary lens to even begin seeing the sort of person you'd be compatible with in a long-term relationship.

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 I think learning how to shape your life into something enjoyable and fulfilling while single is essential to establishing the necessary lens to even begin seeing the sort of person you'd be compatible with in a long-term relationship.

And then not bending it back out of shape to fit it around somebody else.

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On 8/17/2016 at 0:34 PM, auntlada said:

I often say that the world would be so much better and things would work better if only everyone would do what I say..

No, the world would be so much better and things would work better if only everyone would do what I say.

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I think there must be something wrong with me because I have never been so attracted to someone, and at the same time, I know he's a very bad person. At any rate, I've been doing pretty well keeping my distance. Scary, weird situation.

I don't think there's anything wrong with you, and I hope you won't either. There are some people in this world, both male and female, who rely on their sexual charisma to fulfill their feelings of inadequacy. They spend a lot of time in their lives nurturing their ability to throw someone a single look and make it clear that sex is going to happen, or that the offer is on the table. And they are extremely skilled at making it subtle enough that those around them who aren't the intended target will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren't doing what they really are.

It sounds to me from your description that this guy knew exactly how hard he had to push or how intense he had to be to get a reaction out of you. You have to understand that it's a bit of a power trip on his part and that on a basic level it is going to be thrilling to have anybody pursue you in such a way. Maybe you were a little weak willed to give in, but there was a certain thrill to be had and thankfully once you got a taste of it you knew to back off from what is an imbalanced relationship.

Now at least you can steer clear of these kinds of people in the future. Sadly, our society seems to almost applaud these personality types, like the criminals clever enough to get away with the crime while charming the police on their way out the door. Unless he's in an open relationship, which I very much doubt, he's just using people and probably laughing at them in his head for being so easily manipulated. Not so sexy when you think of it that way, is it?

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  He's also in jail for what he did to me.  Initially, it was just a short sentence for the physical abuse.  Now he is serving two life sentences for trying to kill me at a custody exchange.

I'm so glad you survived that awful experience. And that the law stepped in to protect you and your kids.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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1 hour ago, DisneyBoy said:

I don't think there's anything wrong with you, and I hope you won't either. There are some people in this world, both male and female, who rely on their sexual charisma to fulfill their feelings of inadequacy. They spend a lot of time in their lives nurturing their ability to throw someone a single look and make it clear that sex is going to happen, or that the offer is on the table. And they are extremely skilled at making it subtle enough that those around them who aren't the intended target will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they aren't doing what they really are.

<SNIP>

I'm so glad you survived that awful experience. And that the law stepped in to protect you and your kids.

 

A really great point.  It is very easy to spot the female who does this or uses their looks/sex appeal to their advantage (even in a work setting) and called manipulative, but men who do it are generally deemed charming or flirts.

Thank you.  I often hear how the "system" failed women in similar situations, but this was not my experience at all.  When I initially reported the abuse to my local PD, they were incredibly supportive and so concerned about wellbeing of me and my kids on a priority basis.  The shift commander even put his own number in to be contacted 24 hours prior to my ex's release from the short jail term.  When he got the call, he came to my house at almost midnight to make sure I knew about the pending release and to see if I needed anything.  For the next couple of weeks, there was often a squad car parked across the street from my house and after that squad cars regular drove past on the night shift. 

When the assault at the custody exchange took place, we again benefited by people doing the right thing.  I have no memory of that day or the next several weeks, but a petite woman on who way to church physically tried to stop him (and he's a pretty big guy in good shape), a man driving by stopped his car in the middle of the road, got out and tried to help, the police were incredible to my kids, Child Protective Services moved heaven and earth to get my friend's foster care license re-approved so my children would not have to be split up until they could be released to my family (who were flying in from across country).  The hospital staff were incredible.  The trial took years because his attorney kept managing to drag it out, but the DA s Office never took any shortcuts. 

The system may be flawed, but it worked so beautifully for me and I am thankful for that.  And within a system that does not always work right, there are an incredible number of dedicated professionals working extremely hard in an environment that must frustrate them too.

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Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.

It occurred to me this morning that was the way to sum up some of what I've been up to, and what I want to do going forward.  

Per my Meyers-Briggs evaluation, it's the spectacular combination of a strength: Supportive – ISFJs are the universal helpers, sharing their knowledge, experience, time and energy with anyone who needs it, and all the more so with friends and family. People with this personality type strive for win-win situations, choosing empathy over judgment whenever possible, and a weakness: Overload Themselves – Their strong senses of duty and perfectionism combine with this aversion to emotional conflict to create a situation where it is far too easy for ISFJs to overload themselves – or to be overloaded by others – as they struggle silently to meet everyone's expectations, especially their own.

It is so freaking hard for me to push forward on the last topics of turning separation into divorce. With the separation and lots of time, there is virtually no emotional conflict between us. Which makes for a content ISFJ. The second I bring up this stuff, even in the slightest way, the emotions crank up to full blast.

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27 minutes ago, JTMacc99 said:

The second I bring up this stuff, even in the slightest way, the emotions crank up to full blast.

Which is a form of control. It may not seem manipulative, or maybe you are too kindhearted to call it that, but collectively analyze all the times this has happened and how the effect is to deviate from an undesired outcome for the other person (and not necessarily weighing the interests of the couple or family against one's own desire).  And is the SOP with everyone?  Or just those who it works on?

I've yet to take the Meyers-Briggs evaluation that you posted (chicken?), but what would the results be if you took the test giving the answers that, based on years of experience, you predict the spouse would give?

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I have spent an enormous amount of thought and analysis on the idea of manipulation. For sure, her emotions control my actions.

But as sure as I am of that, I am also sure of the role depression plays into this. I can see the difference between how fear and anxiety get processed through people with and without that filter. It's night and day different. And so hard to work around from my side.

As for her Meyers-Briggs, I'd guess ISFP - The Adventurer, but base personalities aren't going to work in this case.  

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OK, just took the Meyers-Briggs.  I'm ISFP - Adventurer. 

I took it a couple of times spaced out since the type did not seem to be a good fit, but each time it came back the same.  The big picture still doesn't feel right, but reading through the pieces makes more it seem more applicable.

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I'm a textbook ESTJ all day.

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ESTJs are classic images of the model citizen: they help their neighbors, uphold the law, and try to make sure that everyone participates in the communities and organizations they hold so dear.

The main challenge for ESTJs is to recognize that not everyone follows the same path or contributes in the same way. 

So true. Especially the last part, haha. My problem is I work with a bunch of introverts - I try to play social director for the group.

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On 9/2/2016 at 10:05 AM, DeLurker said:

Which is a form of control. It may not seem manipulative, or maybe you are too kindhearted to call it that, but collectively analyze all the times this has happened and how the effect is to deviate from an undesired outcome for the other person (and not necessarily weighing the interests of the couple or family against one's own desire).

Quick update for you. With time, careful steps, and a really helpful push from her brother that had nothing to do with me, the strong emotions are settled down to a point where actions are being taken. Things like looking at apartments, adding bedroom and family room sets to the shopping cart, and asking me to confirm that the help I've offered is still available.

As it has always been, these are tenuous steps that could easily not turn into actual leases and purchases, but it is awfully rewarding to know that things are moving along in a relatively conflict free way.  

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Dear Ann Landers:

I was dating a guy long enough so that I was staying at his place most nights (closer to my work) and he had given me the obligatory dresser drawers and shelf in the bathroom.

One day he put up a Playboy-type poster of a semi nude woman in his bedroom. I told him I didn't like it and asked if he would take it down. He refused. Things spiraled and I became incensed that he refused to make such a tiny concession in his life for someone he professed to love. He said if it was so minor I should be able to let it go and he had the right to live in his own place the way he pleased. Etc.

I cleaned out my stuff and left.

After a cooling off period we discussed it, he took the poster down, and we went back to normal but I still don't know who was right or wrong. Or maybe neither one was.

Edited by lordonia

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I'd guess he felt a little smothered that the relationship had progressed to wherever it was and probably unconsciously chose to do something to create a you're not the boss of me! 

Not saying you were smothering, but that he felt that way.

How's his communication on more serious matters in general?  Maybe this was just a fluke.

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1 hour ago, Bastet said:

That's an odd thing for someone past college age to hang up as wall art in their bedroom.

Seriously. My sense of design was offended. He was 27 at the time. Which, still.

We were both in grad school and ended up taking jobs in different states after graduation. Dated long distance for a while but eventually drifted apart.

I was 8 years older than him and he once said he'd marry me if I were 10 years younger. NOT EVEN HIS OWN AGE! Wrong assumption that I would have said yes, anyway. Eh, we had fun for a couple of years.

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I'm starting to think when I look at a woman, especially one who has walked this earth as long as I have, that the question isn't if she's ever been in an abusive relationship with a man, but rather how many times.

The more I open up and talk to people (remember from up thread I'm an introvert with well developed social skills, so this initiating conversations shit I've been doing this year is new to me), the more people tell me about their relationship history. So many raging assholes everywhere. 

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23 hours ago, DeLurker said:

I'd guess he felt a little smothered that the relationship had progressed to wherever it was and probably unconsciously chose to do something to create a you're not the boss of me! 

You're probably right. The guy is an artist and was getting his MFA at the time. He had his own (very nice) paintings hung up all over. Why a tacky girlie poster?

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19 hours ago, JTMacc99 said:

I'm starting to think when I look at a woman, especially one who has walked this earth as long as I have, that the question isn't if she's ever been in an abusive relationship with a man, but rather how many times.

The more I open up and talk to people (remember from up thread I'm an introvert with well developed social skills, so this initiating conversations shit I've been doing this year is new to me), the more people tell me about their relationship history. So many raging assholes everywhere. 

The DV statistics are astounding - 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.  I'd venture a guess that more of us are aware of the frequency, aware of what constitutes abuse and have started to talk about it.  It took years for me to wrap my head around the fact that I was abused - I knew things weren't right, but mentally/emotionally being able to acknowledge that they fell into the abuse category and criminal category?  Unbelievably high hurdle to make.  Also, realizing someone you love is an abuser is probably as tough.  Adding to that is the typical psychological twisting that the abuser does making everything your fault.

I'd further guess that you are a person who does not come across as judgmental and genuinely supportive.  It isn't an easy topic to talk about and not one that I imagine people casually toss out there to fill an awkward conversation gap.

13 hours ago, lordonia said:

You're probably right. The guy is an artist and was getting his MFA at the time. He had his own (very nice) paintings hung up all over. Why a tacky girlie poster?

I'm not going to argue the aesthetics of the girlie poster, although I think a guy pursuing a MFA would have a bit more refined tastes.

Edited by DeLurker · Reason: Because there is always one more thought that I need to add.

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Samwise from Lord of the Rings. Duh. 

2 hours ago, DeLurker said:

Adding to that is the typical psychological twisting that the abuser does making everything your fault.

I'm watching a version of this happen right now, which is what triggered my thought.  

It is not, nor has it ever been physical, but it is relentlessly cruel. The pattern is beat her up through conversations, texts, picking at areas where she doesn't feel good about herself, or accusing her of things that aren't even remotely true. When she eventually breaks down, a few days pass and then he's like, "I'd like to have you and the kids over for dinner on Sunday!" 

The latest is a series of accusations of men she must have slept with over the time they were together. The list includes people she's never even met in person, a guy she briefly dated 20 years ago, and a guy who lives 800 miles away. I'm also on the list, which at least is feasible, but also very obviously never happened. All completely absurd, but he's just relentlessly accusing her of this stuff. And because she's not entertaining him as much this time, he's stepping it up. She told me that he texted her 24 times while she was at a doctor's appointment (trying to get the strength to deal with it.)

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So sorry to hear that - a very relatable situation for me.  It's like walking the high wire when you have kids and an unstable ex; they won't hesitate to use the kids as leverage to get what they want.  And you are left trying to keep them balanced, as much as possible, for the sake and safety of your children.

Knowing that this is colored by my own experience, I do suggest she talk with her lawyer if she has any concerns about her or the children's wellbeing because of his behavior.  What steps she should take to document any harassment or stalking (because 24 texts during the course of a doctor visit is certainly concerning and stressful) and what she would need to do to pursue a legal remedy under the law or within the context of visitation.  Things like those texts ans voice messages that are threatening or meant to intimidate should be kept (I gave a copy of the tape of the voice message left on my home machine which showed him calling repeatedly and leaving a threatening message.  Based on that, the court approved where I could legally record any encounters with him and so I had a mini tape recorder with me at all times.  Where I was you cannot legally record a call or conversation without the other person's consent but the court granted me an exception based on what was going on).

I insisted through court documents that all custody exchanges take place at a police station as I did not want him at the house nor did I want to go near his apartment.  The exchanges weren't inside of the police station, but in front of them. 

If she ever is followed by him, she needs to drive directly to the closest police station or fire department.  Chances are once he realizes where she is going, he'll take off but he'll also get the message that she isn't going to be caught off guard by him.

She needs to make an escape plan if she ever needs one - have extra keys and money hidden in case of emergency, important papers kept together and easy to grab if need be, where to go lined up, etc...

Most importantly, she never should engage him in any conversation that isn't necessary.  If he insists or gets ugly, she needs to tell him to have his lawyer schedule a meeting with hers.  Granted, I am not the person to give advice on how to keep your lawyer fees low, but every penny I paid was worth it in the end.

I sorely wish there were an easy answer that would make things better for her and her children. 

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Things seem to be okay on that front for now.  Looks like the communication has for the most part stopped, and she's done a good job of not contacting him at all even though she has business to take care of with him. I offered up some of your advice too, which I hope helps.

On a different note: Because I lost track of what I'm doing in the shower, I've washed my hair a second time three times in the last ten days.  That's a good sign, right?  

As it looks more and more like things are going to move forward in my home, I become more and more anxious for her well being. And for mine. Change is scary, even when it is so very necessary for the long term personal well being of everyone involved. 

I find myself cleaning up clutter in my home. Stuff that I just sort of left there, like a bin in my bedroom that had clothes in it that my daughter wore four years ago. It just sat there in the corner, and I just left it there because, what was the point? It's not going anywhere, because this house was going nowhere. As long as I made sure she had the right clothes in her dressers, I was doing what I needed to do. The fact that my room had old junk in it didn't matter. 

But now it's starting to feel like it does matter. And it's scary.

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On a related note:

I like it when I hear a song that's almost as old as me, and all of the sudden a lyric resonates with me.

This morning it was Take it Easy from the Eagles.  Running down the road, trying to loosen my load; I've got seven women on my mind.

SEVEN?!  Jesus.

I then thought about young Tom Riddle asking Professor Slughorn about making a horcrux, asking if in theory a person could break his soul into seven pieces, and Slughorn saying, "SEVEN! Merlin's beard! Once is bad enough."

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I don't know where else to post this.

I'm at a conference and had to share a room with a new colleague last night. We aren't likely to have much interaction beyond the next few days and are on the same level in terms of job status. We chatted before bed, had some wine and he seemed very nice. Either gay or bi - his ex is male - and overall friendly. I asked him if he snores and he said no. All was well when we went to sleep.

Fast forward I assume a few hours and I awaken because I sense the bed moving. I quickly open my eyes to find him climbing into my bed towards me, eyes closed, mouth open and breathing loudly. It looks terrifying in the darkness, like he's completely possessed or leaning in for a kiss. I instinctively blurt out "OMGwhatareyoudoing?!?" and he pulls back slowly and returns to bed, but his breathing grows completely quiet, which I sense means he is aware of how awkward and unappreciated that move was. I lay in bed completely still for a few minutes in total silence thinking WTH!!? and waiting to see if he'll address it. He doesn't. I try to sleep and fail.

Hours later the alarm goes off and he says loudly "oh I didn't sleep a wink" and I ignore it and brush my teeth. After, as we prepare to leave the room, I break the silence by saying "so do you sleepwalk, because you scared the crap out of me last night when you climbed into my bed..." He stammers and acts like he doesn't hear my sentence. I repeat it and then he weakly goes "yeah..." and then I say "you might want to warn people."

So here's the thing...I have never been around sleepwalkers before. It may very well be that he is one. BUT, I was the one to volunteer that excuse because I wanted to address what happened but didn't want to come out accusatory. I was/am angry about it because if it was a move, it was a poor one and if it wasn't, it still kept me from sleeping. I'd like to cut him slack but he is just avoiding me now and didn't sound convincing when agreeing it was sleepwalking. He literally just said "...yeah." And in asking about the snoring last night I left him an opening to mention any other issues. Why not state then that he has a history of sleepwalking?

Luckily, we don't have to talk much today and I'll be playing it off like I'm not a morning person if he asks why I'm so quiet.  But...damn. Not cool!

Thoughts? Was he feeling frisky and testing the waters too directly and keeping his eyes closed to have plausible denial? Do single sleepwalkers climb into other people's beds the one time they share a room with someone else? He obviously wouldn't have had to climb into a separate bed to snuggle his ex...

I don't know if we'll have to share a room again on this trip.

Edited by DisneyBoy
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Thoughts? Was he feeling frisky and testing the waters too directly and keeping his eyes closed to have plausible denial?

Doesn't sound like he was really "sleepwalking" at all.  Maybe he read too much when you two were chatting and having some wine, and took it as you might be interested. Or maybe the wine hit him a little too hard and he wanted to see how far he could get with you.

But sleepwalking......nah.

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