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By | February 26, 2010 37 Comments

Practice makes perfect

By Ox Drover

I remember when I first learned to ride a bicycle. Most of us remember the day we first took off the training wheels, because generally, we fell down a few times before we got it right and were pretty safe from falling. It took practice. I can’t remember many days before I was about twelve that I didn’t have at least one band-aid on at least one knee. Even with the continual road rash I usually had on my knees and elbows, it never even occurred to me to not keep on practicing or to give up on learning to ride the “big kid’s bike.”

The past couple of months have been rather stressful for me with some deadlines I was facing, some big decisions I had to make, and the usual anxiety that I face when making a big decision that will seriously impact my life. Once the decision is made, I can usually accept it and the consequences of that decision and say to myself, “I did the best I could with the information I had at the time.”

With the changes I have made in my life in the past couple of years due the trauma associated with the psychopaths in my life, I have developed some new ways of dealing with life situations. One of these new ways is to learn to set boundaries with everyone in my life, not just a few people who are on the fringes of my life. Sometimes, setting boundaries means that we have to enforce those boundaries at a pretty steep price. If someone, even someone we truly value and love, disrespects those boundaries and betrays us, we have to “man up” and enforce those boundaries. Sometimes that means keeping away from that person for some period of time, or possibly No Contact forever.

Establishing new habits

New habits that we form in our emotional lives post-psychopathic encounter are, I think, like those early days of trying to learn to ride the bike ”¦ we end up with quite a bit of road rash. Even when we get to where we are pretty good at riding the bike, sometimes we take on a trail or a hill that we are not quite equipped to handle that day and we crash.

Since my decision to sever relationships with not only the woman who gave me birth, but with my convict son, and many of the people I considered “friends” in my days before I started to turn my life around, I’ve had to stop each day and think before I made a decision. It wasn’t just “natural” to do these new habits, because I had decades of past habits that were done almost without a thought of what to do. Now that I have instituted some changes in the way I make decisions, and in what behaviors I will expect from others, I can’t let myself go back and fall into those old and dysfunctional habits.

After decades of smoking and failed attempts at quitting, I finally made up my mind to really quit this time, and I have done so. Still there are times when I am stressed or anxious that I want that cigarette. I have to stop and think about my new way of doing things, that doesn’t include smoking cigarettes. I can’t let myself “cheat” even once, and I haven’t. I can already see improvements in my health as a result. I no longer have a cough.

In the past couple of years, I have also gained some weight (even pre-smoking cessation) and I know it has been a case of using a high carb diet for stress relief, so rather than just eat when I feel the urge, I am watching what I eat, when I eat it, and the weight is slowly coming off. Rather than just cooking something, though, I have to stop and think about calories, fat content, fiber content, and getting enough fluids. I can’t just “forget” about what I am going to eat, I have to actually work at staying on a good, healthy, low calorie diet. It takes more effort than just slapping something on the table and eating until I can’t hold any more. Practice makes perfect.

Sticking with the program

Recently, I got a business e-mail from my birth mother, and she sent about half the information I needed to take care of business. I emailed her back asking for the rest of the information I needed and why I needed it. No answer. I e-mailed her again with more reasons for why I needed that information. No answer. I was irritated, and began to think that this was her way of trying to get me to call her or send my adopted son over to talk to her. It was so tempting to do either of those things, but I am committed to limited contact, which includes only e-mails about business that must have information conveyed from one of us to the other. At first I was really irritated, then angry and frustrated, but I had to practice my new skills in setting boundaries and in enforcing them, and still “get the job done.”

So, I figured out another way to get the information I needed and accomplish the job. It wasn’t my first inclination though, I had to work at it. Practice it. Keep my head about the new habits, and see the advantages in them. Just like the not smoking when I want a cigarette is beneficial to me and I can already see the benefits to myself, the very limited contact with people I can’t trust, even when business makes it necessary to my own well being, I must maintain those new improved habits and skills. Practice makes perfect.

My new boundary setting and enforcement still doesn’t always feel “natural” and my immediate impulse is to respond with the old habits, but I know that they are not the best responses. Restraining my “natural impulse” and using my new and improved skills will benefit me in the long run. Practice makes perfect.

Some of my old habits and ways of responding are so deeply ingrained in my emotions that I’m not sure if the new ways of doing things will ever seem entirely “natural,” but it doesn’t make any difference to me, because I know that my new habits are much more productive, that I end up with less emotional “road rash.” I am riding with much more smoothness than I have in the past. I am getting my balance, even if I still feel a bit of trepidation from time to time about my skills at staying balanced, but if I don’t practice, I will never get it down!

Practice makes perfect!


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myboysmattermost

Hey Oxy – congrats on the quitting smoking!

Been a non-smoker myself for 5 years now (!) and I continually tell me mom that the NC is like quitting smoking. Even one time back and I could be stuck again…

And why would I put myself through the torture of quitting again!!

Ox Drover

Dear Myboys,

Thank you! I know how “easy” it is to quit, I’ve DONE IT A THOUSAND TIMES! LOL

And, yes, breaking NC is just like having that ONE cigarette, it sets you back in the “smokers’ section.”

I’ve had so many new habits to establish that it has been an on-going battle to keep all those “balls in the air” like a juggler, but most days I can keep the majority of them off the floor. In the past it was all I could do with BOTH HANDS to keep ONE ball off the floor, and all the while it seemed like I was in the middle of a batting cage with balls flying at me from all directions!

That’s the thing, when we are “not wanting a cigarette” (or something to eat in my case as well) it is “easy” to not smoke or not eat, but it is when we WANT that thing that we have a CHALLENGE to change our ways, when we are TEMPTED, if you will, we have the challenges to PRACTICE our new skills.

So I am continually practicing handling my stress and my days with more positive things than the OLD HABITS that I used to cope with that are NOT good for me. I am having to stop and think before I ACT. Whether it is reaching for a cigarette, or some food, or the telephone or computer, I have to stop and think and PRACTICE what is the healthier way to cope with a challenge. I will say it is getting a bit easier most days, but isn’t always “easy.”

super chic

Wonderful article! I am a fellow band-aid girl. I am TRYING to practice some new habits with “friends” that never call me. I have stopped calling them to say “hi” (it does not feel natural not to do it) and I want to stop trying to analyze why they don’t call, but I have not beed able to do that yet, I’m working on it.

silvermoon

Amen to the understanding that using new skills takes a while to come within comfort zone! You got that right.

There is a gulf between what we can know intellectually and emotionally and if it is true that our emotionaly wiring is faulty because of what we learned to tolerate as children, making us blind as adults, then we MUST rely on the learning skills of intellect first.

I do the right things by wrote not all from heart myself. On day 21 it feels good to know that I am overcoming myself emotionally without losing the ability to feel compassion for myself and gratitude for the support around me.

What helps is journalling. I’ve written reams of paper on my feelings which I can go back to later and see where the emotional misfires are taking place from a more objective moment.

What helps is taking time to HALT and know there is no life decision which may be made well if I am Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

I found a diet that lets you eat unlimited amounts of vegetable soup which is quite good. It is cabbage, tomatoes,celery, onion in a french onion soup package base and I drink a lot of herbal tea brewed strong/unsweetened which has flavor but little impact.

What is paramount is doing the RIGHT thing over and over and over. I am determned not to self destruct even if that is inclined by my own internal story about being a victim which was wired in at early stage in my development because I lived with tolerating the intolerable. Emotional abandonment combined with abuse is formidable to overcome and I do not think it can be done without a deliberate thought process.

Don’t know if you all are familiar with ot or not, but for me a favorite anthem is Stan Roger’s song Mary Ellen Carter.

The chorus is about overcoming when adversity has dealt the final blow to rise again like a ship that was sunk to the bottom.

Now as great as it all sounds, its day 21. My heart is as broken my trust is as shattered and I’m as timid about going out in the world again as any ever was.

I work at seeing the truth in action to overcome any hope of finding good in the words that were nothing but lies from hello to goodbye.

I work to overcome the desire to find another strong shoulder to carry me and to see the monster for what it truly is even if my imagination is on overdrive to make a story where there could be a happy ending- We all want and strive to be happy. At some point in it all, that was where we thought we were.

Happy is hard to let go of. Fear is hard to release. And when its time to crawl out from under the covers to go through a days work and meet the needs of other people in our lives its often a concious decision.

But one which bears repeating over and over and over.

I keep repeating- Freedom is worth the cost. Freedom is worth the cost. Even if its hard, keep going. Even if keeping going means all you can do is repeat this to yourself. Even if what you can do is come here and be present instead of doing what you would have done.

It all counts.

So thanks to you all for being here too and for the stories that over end over and over again inspire me to keep on keeping on.

I hope mine gives something back.

Sarah999

OxDrover,
I wish there were practice sessions with “normal” people acting as an N/P/S/A in order to practice our responses . . . . especially to verbal assaults.
There is really no chance to practice, when the only opportunity is, in fact, with your N/S/P/A. And because of NC . . (or Limited Contact) . . that seldom happens.

Ox Drover

Dear Silvermoon and Sarah,

Yea it would be nice if we could “role play” and practice before we needed to “perform” but unfortunately, “life is tough, she gives the test first, and THEN the lesson” (don’t know who said that But I found it written in my late husband’s papers.)

Yea, we got the TEST FIRST, and now we are learningn the lesson. We are having to let go of the things that made us FLUNK that test, our old ways of thinking and acting, and now we must stop and THINK before we act—each and every time we interact with others, and especially if we are being triggered to RESPOND to the P, we have to STOP, LOOK at what is going on, and LISTEN TO OUR INTELLECTUAL brain and not let our EMOTIONS DICTATE how we respond, or would have responded in the past.

Sometimes that means NOT pickinig up the phone and calling the S-path-hole back and telling them off! Oh, but HOW WE WANT TO. How satisfying we Think it would FEEL, but we KNOW in our intellelct that even telling the jerk off FEEDS them attention and attention is what they want.

Sure, when they don’t get the attention they want, they start upping the ante, and keep on and it is sooooooo hard to stay NC. If they would just leave us alone it would be all right, we think. Then we start to excuse and make reasons, and justify calling them, and we have to say to our emotional side “look, sister, sit down, shut up, because calling him will only make it hurt worse.”

Sometimes we “blow it” and pick up that phone or text, and then when it blows up in our face like an “underware bomb” we have to go back and sit our “emotional side” down and say, “SEE, I told you so, now get with the NC”

But I will almost guarentee that there are none or very few of us here if we’ve had long relationship with a psychopath who have also not had others in our lives that are NOT HEALTHY relationships.

We also need to start to set boundaries for these other relationships, maybe that are not quite as “bad” as the one with the P, but we have to start to believe that EVERYONE in our lives that is close to us must treat us with respect and consideration. So we have some of these folks to “practice” on as well.

I found that there were a LOT of people in my life that I “walked on egg shells” around, very careful not to “offend” them even when they were mistreating and disrespecting me.

I had to learn to step up to the plate and say “I do not appreciate you treating me X way. Please do not do that” and if they continued to disrespect me, I had to tell them to get their “walking papers”—and of course these people also got angry at me. They had treated me this way a long time and expected it to go on. When I stood up and set boundaries, they were suprised, first of all, and offfended I would protect myself. Well, toooooo bad.

I had a “close friend” that I knew for years stole from me, and I finally confronted her—caught in the act. I set a boundary after crying for days about it. You are NOT to come to my farm unless I am HOME—not my son, or my husband, but ME.

She violated that. I caught her. I set another boundary. CALL before you come to my house.

She violated that. “CALL 24 hours in advance” She violated that. I caught her, she hasn’t been back since.

Why was I so afraid to confront her directly? Because to upset a “friend” and make them “feel bad” was something I had been trained to NOT do from childhood. It took a lot of “tries” with this person in particular, PRACTICE as it were, until I am sooo glad now that this person is no longer part of my life. At the time each of the things occured, I was SOOO upset and soooo STILL trying to find a way we could still be “friends’—hell, we had NEVER BEEN FRIENDS, I was her supply! I had loved her but she had NEVER loved me.

The excuses I made for her, she has OCD, she is stressed, etc etc……well, it is NOT my responsibility to let her steal from me because she has “anxiety” and “kleptomania” and is a “hoarder” of things she steals. THAT IS HER PROBLEM.

So we can find other people besides the P to practice on. My guess is there are others in our lives that we should practice boundary setting on. Maybe not people who steal from you, but people who do other things that are disrespectful to you.

I found that though I “thinned out my rolodex” of a lot of pseudo-friends, the fewer but closer friends I have who are respectful and good to me, those friends are still there and I am not all the time upset by having to deal with the disrespect of the other ones.

There are some folks, like a “drama queen” who is married to a man my sons and I love very much, but we can’t stand being around her. I keep her at an EMOTIONAL distance from me, and when we see her because we also want to visit with him, I just let the things and drama she tries to portray go in one ear and out the other, and it actually doens’t bother me to be around her for a few hours. If her “drama” does get tiresome though, I say something like, “Hey, let’s talk about something nice or pleasant” and change the subject.

alohatraveler

Shabbychic,

I just wanted to respond to your comment above. It is weird how much all of us have in common.

I have let go of three friends post Bad Man. There is C who was often available and the “friend” that I most often socialized with… but I always felt emotionally violated by this person… all the way back since college. I let this friendship go and I instantly felt an increase in my peace and an improvement in my mental health. This person was always calling me uptight while violating my personal boundaries.

Then there is K that I have known since grade school. One day I realized that she does not answer when I call nor has she returned a call in more than 6 months (and this dynamic has been going on for years). So, I dropped by unannounced to retrieve the last items she stored for me in her garage when I moved to Maui. She greeted me as if everything was normal…”Hey! How’s it going? What’s new?” I looked at her blankly and then I said, “We’re done here.” I took my stuff and left. I felt a little upset when I left and I felt like I had acted immaturely but it was really hurting me the way she was ignoring me. So, haven’t really looked back.

And last but not least, there is S. Flake-city! Typically returns calls once every 6 months. Helped her get a job offer at my place of employment which she declined. She called me at least 5 times asking for the number of the HR person to follow up with… and I gave it to her. GOOD GRIEF! I am busy!!!! Handle your stuff! I have coached her on resumes, helped her with practice interviews. This is stuff I do with teenagers I work with. I do not want to do this for a grown woman. I am over the flake factor. OVER IT! This friendship was tiring, and unsatisfying!

I have been pretty lonely, I will admit. I isolate a lot. But, I don’t stress over these three “friendships” anymore.

I am joining a group of Domestic Violence Survivors. The first meeting I will attend is next week. I am hoping that I will bring something to the group. Maybe I will make a new friend. Maybe not. But, I haven’t really regretted letting these old friendships go.

They were chronically disappointing.

So here’s to sitting on the couch with popcorn every friday night. HAHA! I don’t care! I get more enjoyment out of LoveFraud than I did with these “friends.”

Have a great day.

alohatraveler

Sarah999,

Over time, I have learned to react or respond slower to people. As you continue to educate yourself by using LF and whatever else you may read, you will detect when something is off.

Red flags for me are:

When someone is attacking my character (I know I am an okay person so that gets my attention and my radar goes off.)

In fact, I recently set a boundary with a student in my Grad Cohort. I noticed with this student that every time I make a comment, she has to shoot it down, attack it, be hugely offended… blah blah. I don’t seem to be affecting anyone else in the class that way so… I have imposed a silent boundary. I moved seats to the other side of the class and I no longer try to interact with her for any reason. The last time she attacked me was when I suggested that we all walk to our cars together because the parking garage we are using this semester is not in a good part of town. She shot that down like I was a total idiot. Fine. Go ahead and walk alone at night with the gangs and prostitutes. whatever. Good luck to ya sister! I saw a girl that I know for a fact is prostituting right by the parking garage. This fellow student couldn’t wrap her head around this because she thinks that prostitutes always look like in the movies. Again… good luck to you lady!

Here’s the thing. I spent last semester defending myself against her stupid attacks. I kept trying to start over. I kept trying to show her that I was an okay person. I kept calm when she made her snide remarks and shot down my comments like I was a complete moron. I even gave her a fresh start at the beginning of this semester.. and then it kept happening… no matter what I said… ATTACK!

She’s a nut job. Not me. But it did take some practice to note what was going on.

Now I sit peacefully on the other side of the room. :O)

I learned that boundaries do not always need to be spoken. I put mine and I am much more comfortable now in class.

Aloha!

Ox Drover

Dear Aloha,

TOWANDA FOR YOU BABE!!!! As I have thinned out my rolodex as Matt and I discussed, I have gotten down to a few really good FRIENDS, true friends, and some nice casual acquaintences that I enjoy doing things with. WOW! Not having the drama or the subtle put downs etc or the people who come around ONLY when they need something in my life is GREAT.

I still hear from the “drama queen” because she HAS NO FRIENDS and she so wants someone to bitch and gritch to about how unfair everyone is to her, but I’m learning to set boundaries on how long and when I let her bitch and gritch at me, and 2/3 of the time I don’t even answer the phone. You know how BAD cell service is out here in the boondocks! LOL

But I do love her husband, and so does my son, and we want to be able to see him from time to time, so I put up with a bit of it from the queen, in order to keep a relationship with him, but not much, AND I HAVE DISCONNECTED from her emotionally, so she doesn’t really irritate me like she used to, and I can SET and STAND BY boundaries.

I dumped off a 23 year “friendship” last year in March because I realized he was not honest and up front with me and had become rather greedy in some minor, very minor, stuff, we traded in the way of favors and stuff….I don’t regret it at all. No DRAMA there any more, don’t miss him at all.

I think we need to reexamine all our relationships and cut out the unhealthy ones, not just with the psychopaths. Not every un-healthy relationship is psychopathic but they are toxic to our peace and tranquility in SOME WAY and when our gut starts to tell us there is something wrong, I think like Aloha we need to listen.

However, I think the PAIN AND DRAMA of our P relationships sometimes overpowers our thinking about things and we don’t see the smaller less-toxic but still toxic problems with other relationships. I think as we get healthier we become more PICKY about relationships, so when we are able to have the peace and tranquility to even HEAR our gut about these others, and we listen, we see that they are not PRODUCTIVE relationships at all and we need to leave them behind and move on. Either in a quiet way of just slipping away, or sometimes in a way that gives CLOSURE to that relationship depending on how WE feel about it.

Aloha, glad you are joining the DV suvivors group and I KNOW that you will have a lot of good things to share with them, and I think it is a great idea!!!!! You are one SUPER WOMAN, GF! and we here at LF know that.

Folks talking about the tidal wave missing Hawaii today and wishing their Ps were on the beach and your Bad Man living there made me think of an old joke about “emergency” routes for various groups of people. I think if a tidal wave was gonna hit we should broadcast that “all Ps take the Route to the beach” if there was such a tidal wave coming in. LOL

Ox Drover

Aloha, I think I posted over your last post, Aloha, and I think your assessment of that girl in class is a good one and your silent boundaries are GREAT! For whatever reason, she seems to be threatened by your competency and has to have a target to make herself seem better. Funny thing is, I think others pick up on this too, so I think your way of handling it is SUPER!

GOOD JOB! And good job with the stopping the “second-second and third “second chances” for these creeps! (((hugs)))

Awesome article, Oxy Pooh and comments from all of you…

Cleaning our psyches, reprogramming our brains and how we react to our emotions, creating new and improved habits as Oxy succinctly wrote about is such an enlightening and beneficial process for us.

And as we are healing ourselves we become intolerant to any bullchit as Aloha demonstrated regarding that whacked chick.

See, I give every person I come in contact with the benefit of the doubt, if my beloved intuition isn’t sending me alarm signals right off the bat, and just listen and observe. In the beginning.

If after chatting a bit, said person is contrary, negative, belligerent, just plain rude, I split. If I’m in a good mood.

If I’m a bit surly and confrontational that particular day I just might let them feel the brunt of my sharp edge tongue. Never can tell what will push my buttons and what will not.

But Aloha has it right; move and sit somewhere away from a toxic person. Ain’t no reason to put up with fabricated melodrama and petty meanness and spite. No way!

ShabbyChic–we love you, sweetie. Don’t ever doubt that truth, reality.

I was like you are, always the one to call and check up on friends to see if they’re ok. Hardly ever received calls from them checking up on me, only when they wanted a warm body to hang out with, a warm shoulder to cry upon.

(edit: I think some folks in my past, friends and lovers, underestimated my strength. Heck, I underestimated my strength. They may have considered me a weakling because of my gentle, considerate, friendly, fiercely loyal innate nature.

Not so, dear LF friends. It’s so damn easy to be a mean, selfish and hateful person. It takes loads of personal strength, dignity and a well functioning conscience to strive to do what’s right and good at all times.)

Sure, not all my Texas friends were users but why did I feel so drained after being with them for short periods of time? Is that normal? I don’t think so. Not when you’re spending time with loving, caring and considerate folks. Like LF. I never feel drained reading and writing on here.

Chic, when you realize that you can supply your own self with happiness, peace and joy, fulfill your basic needs for warmth and love, those friends who don’t call you? Well, you’ll just make new friends. True friends. Good friends.

xxooxx
🙂

Bang on once again Oxy!. And Aloha, good to hear from you. : )
When I split with my P (second and final time) I chose not to call the person who had been my “best freind” for over 35 years. She volunteered to be with me and stayed a full week during my previous split with my ex. (I basically met him through her, and they had been lovers many moons ago). At the END of that week, after talking about EVERYTHING…she told me that she would remain neutral.
In any event, long story short,when I did communicate, I sent her a one page letter explaining that the P is a P, and asked her not to pass it on to him. Well, at that point my divorce ended up being all about her. She was horribly offended that I could possibly think that she might violate my trust.

So I told her flat out, in an email, that the reason for my comment was that she had spent two hours of a previous visit (with my P present) going on and on about how she had served as a witness at another freind’s divorce proceedings , testifying AGAINST the wife ( a former close freind) in favor of the husband ( a business big shot she fancied as a personal freind). He dropped the freindship immediately after benefiting from her testimony.

None of that inspired confidence in me. Anyhow, I walked away from that freindship, and have realized that it was mostly toxic in many ways over the years, and what I was hanging on to was the HISTORY..the years and years of knowing each other (like Aloha’s long term freinds)., and not the good that I got out of the relationship. And like Aloha, I realize that without her, yes, I have more peace.

Meanwhile, recent evidence for my case shows that my P has since “borrowed” a sizable sum from her. I wonder if and when she will wake up. But she fancies herself a femme fatal, and thinks every man she has ever been with secretly still loves only her, (including my ex) She even said in both our presense that she had dreams of being married to my P. RED FLAGS.

So they deserve each other as far as I am concerned, and I am happy I did the housekeeping, even when losing my husband (jettisoning is more like it) of 27 years, and my oldest freind at the same time was very hard. I am far healthier and happier without the drama. And, finally realized that sometimes “fierce loyalty” can be a misguided refusal to be wrong about someone you care about. A determined effort to not SEE that they are toxic to you. It is a toughy. But yes, practice makes perfect.

I have learned that being alone, in peace, is far better than in the company of users and abusers. Period.
Peace and love to all,

Ox Drover

Dear Anitasee,

Amen to that! Sometimes we mistake being around someone a lot with “friendship.” Friendship is more than that, in my book, and means that the person would “be there” for us in times of emotional trouble or other trouble, and listen.

People who are “NEUTRAL” in a situation like a nasty divorce, I don’t think are friends to either party. Thoughh I have known and liked my best friend’s husband of 40+ years, I can’t imagine staying “neutral” in a divorce between them when one of them had cheated on or mistreated the other. If my best friend went out and did something really nasty to her husband she would not be my “best friend” long, because I don’t want people as “friends” who will mistreat ANYONE because if they will, they will eventually turn on me as well. I WOULD TAKE SIDES, the side of RIGHT, even if it meant kicking the woman I love as my sister to the curb!

I have changed my way of thinking. In the past if someone I cared about was “friends” with someone who hurt me, I didn’t think much about it, but now, I do not want as a “friend” someone who is a FRIEND TO MY ENEMY. Someone who will befriend someone who has TRASHED ME is no friend of mine.

As for acquaintances, people on the fringes who don’t really know the meat of the situation, I don’t expect them to take sides, but you know I remember when I was in grade school and a fight would break out and one kid started it by hitting another one and the teacher would say “It takes TWO to fight” dividing the “blame” between both the innocent party as well as the one who started the fight, I’m not going to go there any more. There CAN be two valid sides to a stroy, both parties can be wrong, or both parties, right, but there are also Fights that are started by ONE , and wrongs committed by ONE—so I am now on the side of RIGHT. Period.

I set the boundary with my egg donor about sending money to my P-son and writing him etc. Yep, she has a RIGHT to do with her money what she wants to, and I have a RIGHT to associate with or not associate with who I want to, and I have NO desire to associate with anyone who wants to take a “neutral” stance between me and my P-son or who wants to “disbelieve” what I have proven both by my word, and documentation was an attempt on my life by him. Or who wants to stay “neutral” between me and anyone else who has grossly abused me or anyone else.

I’ve seen really good, hardworking, God-fearing elderly in this community who have gone to their graves sorrowing over worthless offspring who sucked them dry of assets and emotion, yet they kept on trying to appease these psychopathic offspring in exchange for the glimer of hope that the offspring would “grow up” and take responsibility for themselves. They gave them money or lands to start a business, which the offspring lost or threw away, they bailed some of them out of jail or prison repeatedly.

I used to feel somewhat superior to these old people because I never put up bail money or mortgaged my house to hire an attorney, I let my little darling have a public defender. But I have been just as deluded as these elderly folks who held on to that malignant hope in spite of all the evidence to the contrary about my offspring. I did finally SEE THE LIGHT, and do my grieving, before I died with the unfulfilled hope that my kid would be something besides what he is, a common, garden variety low-life criminal without a shread of remorse or couth.

I love you Oxy!. And I cannot imagine the hearache (sp?) it has been to realize that your son is irredeemable, despite the love and care you gave to him and all your children. I have freinds with disabled children, children compromised with health issues, brain tumors and so on….but I do not think there is a heartache more foul than to be powerless to affect change in a child who turns out to be “one of them”. Your courage and grace are an inspiration.

But on another note, I haven’t had a belly laugh like this in a long time…you all must watch …I promise..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xydOvHiXwP0

Don’t know how to make the link live, just cut and paste. Trust me.
Hugs to all

Aeylah

Dear Oxy,

“Practice makes perfect” Beautiful article, beautiful analogies, and oh so true! learning to get “back on a bike” and accept the fact that you may fall again but know it’s the only way your going to learn to ride is the only way, even with the painful road rashes along the way”….LOVE IT! If you dont get on the bike again you’ll never learn how to ride it with out falling.

If you don’t risk giving your heart and loving again you will not have love in your life. It is “practicing again”, with more awareness and self respecting boundaires that we can learn to “make perfect”….YES!

Congratulations on your commitment to quit smoking, resisting a taste, bad eating habbits, and setting strong boundaries. Re-wiring our psychic brain to eliminate toxic addictions weathter with cigarettes or relationships with S/N/P’s are extremly hard to do!!!! and they take a tremendous ammount of determination and ability to resist and to change.

My combatting the addiction to the toxic NS in my life has proven to be the most challanging thing I’ve ever done! Considering I’ve never smoked or had any other really toxic addicitions…I’m learning the hard way…with road rashes and broken wings allong the way. 5 weeks with NC and it is getting easier even though I’ve had a couple of tempting days.

Best wishes to you for a “practice perfect” day…..((hugs)))

Ox Drover

Dear Ayelah,

CONGRATULATIONS on your l5 weeks of NC!!! That is great.

It is the hardest part I think, that early part, but you will get there. Over the weekend a friend of my son Ds came over and he smokes and for some reason I REALLY wanted a cigarette, but I didn’t take one because I stopped to think just HOW HARD I WOULD COUGH if I took even one puff. But I knew I had to stand fast. I guess the desire maybe in this case won’t go away. BUT there was a time when I felt “addicted” to the X-P-BF too and I felt like THAT would never pass, but it did pass and now just the thought of him makes me want to gag!

So I think I can promise you that there is a much better chance that you will “get over” the longing for the P than I will over occasionally longing for the cigarette.

Hang in there and STAY HERE AT LF, even if you slip, don’t be embarassed or afraid to come back here—and, yea, I will probabloy BOINK you with the skillet if you slip and contact him, but I’ll also hug you and give you an ice pack of love for your sore head!

Ox Drover

Dear Banana,

Sweetie, you may be right, his attorney may not have been paid, you might see if you can check that out.

Hang in, if he is running low on funds to pay his attorney you may be in the “cat bird” seat. Keep your chin up! ((((Hugs)))

ErinBrock

Banana:
Refresh my memory…is this also a divorce? I’m thinking you were not married….

Aeylah

Thanks Oxy!

LF is definetly a place were I feel safe knowing people here understand my crazy perdicaments and wont judge if I should slip. …but if needed pleaze do BOINC me with your famous skillet…LOL

Regarding addiciotns….my therapist used to say it’s like wanting to eat chocolate cake….it taste soooo good, you know it’s bad for you when you have a piece but if you have one bite you’ll want the who piece or worst the whole cake. So, she would say….dont’ walk past the bakery were you can be tempted.

Congrats on not taking that taste! 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Aeylah,

Yea, I went to the grocery store today and had to walk past the donuts to get to the salad greens and UGH, did I want something sweet and wonderful, just having you talk about the CAKE made me want some!! YUMMM But heck, I got into a pair of jeans today that were 4 INCHES less in the waist than the last pair I couldn’t even button up so YEA FOR ME!!!!

Plus, I can bend over and touch my toes again without feeling preggers! YEA!!! (((Pat, pat,pat)))) That’s the sound of me patting myself on the back! LOL Tonight is salad for supper, a big one with a little bit of chopped up ham on it, and a banana for a bed time snack! With a rye cracker and a dab of peanut butter.

It is sometiimes difficult to not take life one minute at a time, or a diet one BITE at a time, but we have to. I didn’t gain this wt. in one day and I won’t lose it in one day, so just do the best we can! (((hugs))))

Hi, Oxy Poxy! Im also on a diet,Im now 15 stone {cant think in Kilos, and I have to lose a minimum of 20 pounds,{10 Kilos approx.} your right, no snacking, no cake,{actually i seldom buy cakes}. I have whole grain cereal with banana for breakfast and ONE slice of wholegrain toast. Lunch, I have one small tin of tuna toppers with chilli or tomato or lemon pepper, and One slice whole grain bread. Supper, Im having weight watchers ready meals, fairly small, but enough. Quarter teaspoon sugar in tea, half teasp. in coffee.Its going to take a while but I have to be determined, my cholesterol is 7.4, {with medication,} and my blood pressure was up last week when I saw the doc. Im walking more now too. Good luck to both of us! Much Love, Gem.XX

witsend

Hi Gem,
Good luck with your diet! I have a sweet tooth from time to time and LOVE chocolate (comfort food). Giving all that up is hard. I am trying to cut back first before going cold turkey 🙂

one/joy_step_at_a_time

witty – chocolate is not a treat. it is a major food group: chocolate, butter, salt, steak. the 4 major food groups. 😉

witsend

One Step,
I hear ya….In my house chocolate is a need not a want! LOL

Aeylah

About chocolate….why not substitue for something (almost) equally rewarding and calorie free? “Shoes are chocolate for the feet”….and since most of us ladies here love shoes why not substitude shoes for chocolate? LOL

Good going Oxy and everyone else out there fighting the battle of the bulge …kind of like fighitng for our sanity form dealing with NSP’s…not easy to do I know it!

witsend

Alylah,
there must be something wrong with me….I prefer chocolate.
I’m a small town girl so a pair of hiking boots in the winter, a pair of sandals in the summer, and a bag of hersheys kisses and I’m good to go.

Aeylah

Witsend,
Nothing wrong with you girl …fact is nothing really substitute chocolate…it’s been scientificlally proven that it releases the feel good chemicals in the brain….and boy who couldn’t use that! 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Gem,

Thanks for the support on the diet, gosh, that’s a FOUR-LETTER WORD! LOL If I remember correctly, a “stone” is 12 pounds. I am NOT going to tell you what I weigh for sure, I am really mad at myself for getting this heavy! But I am on my way down. It was really cool yesterdeay to get into the pair of jeans and ZIP them up and still be able to breathe! WHOOPE!!!

Who knows, I may have to go to GoodWill and buy more jeans soon. (that’s a thrift store here in US where donated items are sold to the public to raise money for poor people) But they have some great items very cheap, even cheaper than WalMart! I find lots of NEW items there with the store tags on them still. Never been worn. In these days it pays to shop and be thrifty!

I agree, Chocolate is one of the MAJOR FOOD GROUPS, Aeylah, you are so right on that! But I KNOW how to eat healthy and I am doing that as well…..and lots of liquids, that helps fill you up. I was really pleased with my huge salad last night and the raw veggies in it made me eat slower cause I had to CHEW them well so it seemed to be very filling. I like raw veggies so that helps give it some flavor and just a touch of salad dressing (well mixed) to get the essential fatty acids our body can’t make. I do eat very low fat anyway since our home grown beef has less than 1% fat and that is grass-fed so lots of Omega 3s and 6-es for good fat, not “bad” fat.

Now that I am retired I am putting all my knowledge on how to live a healthy life to USE for ME—-should have done it years and decades ago, but oh, well, better late than never.

I have lost at least 10 pounds, don’t know exactly how much as after a “certain weight” I refused to weigh again, and I am sure I had gained considerable weight over that “cut off weighing” so at least 4 inches in my waist alone are less, so that helps right there. Let’s stay on this diet together Gem so we can encourage each other. Anyone else want to be on the “diet” and “healthy us” TEAM? You dont have to tell your weight, just how much you have lost and h ow you are being GOOD to yourself (or if you have other bad habits, like smoking, you can join in the “HEALTH US” team on that. We won’t beat you up if you have a “bad day” and give in but we will encourage you to get back on the track and keep on being Good to YOURSELF…How about exercise? There are LOTS of things we can do to be GOOD to ourselves besides diet—and NOT a “crash” diet either, but a HEALTHY weight loss program. Crash/starvation diets only cause you to lose muscle mass and regain more fat cells, so HEALTHY DIET ONLY. And you CAN have a small piece of chocolate once in a while, don’t DEPRIVE yourself of everything good in the world, just don’t do like I’ve done in the past and EAT THE WHOLE CAKE! LOL

I like to say where food is concerned, I can RESIST anything, EXCEPT TEMPTATION! LOL ROTFLMAO laughing my FAT arse off! (((hugs))))

pollyannanomore

Very true article Oxy – some good common sense there that isn’t so common. I have read about a phenomenon called ‘cleaning house’ after a major trauma where we set out to totally re invent every aspect of our lives and usually fail miserably at it! I can certainly attest that after the P left the first time I was determined to somehow get back all those lost yrs and turn the clock back for myself – I now realise the futility of thinking like that.

I am who I am but I can treat my body and mind with respect and take baby steps to get where I need to go rather than bombarding myself with ridiculous demands that I won’t ever manage to fulfil. I don’t have to be perfect – I ijust have to be trying my best and that is good enough.

Interacting with new people feels quite strange now after the P experience – I am having to tone down my radar so I can still be aware of any red flags but not convict innocent people. Chances are I won’t meet another in my life in a romantic capacity – I just had lousy luck the first time around and wasn’t discriminating enough. I can be smarter now and am finding as I meet more good people, it is starting to feel more natural and safe to open up a little 🙂

Life is good and all about the journey rather than the destination 🙂

Ox Drover

Dear Midlife,

Well, I have in many ways reinvented myself and CLEANED HOUSE at least of all the disordered and dysfunctional people who were in my “circle”—that in itself is a BIG deal for me!

I dated a guy (P-OF COURSE!!) not quite a year after my husband died, and boy was that a roller coaster ride, and mostly DOWN into the PITS. I dated him 8 months, 4 months of heaven, 4 months of hell, and 4 months of pity party and pain! All together I wasted a year on that miserable piece of junk! But that’s okay too, I learned from it all and right now I am quite HAPPY to be focusing on me, rather than trying to figure out how to keep him happy!

I’ve had exactly 3 dates since then, and he seemed okay, but after a while he called me and wanted me to let him fly my airplane and I explained that it wasn’t legal to fly it as NO INSURANCE, and it hadn’t had the “annual inspections” etc that are REQUIRED for a plane to be legal to fly. He said “NO PROBLEM! I’m not going to crash it” and I said, “Yep, you got that right, you aren’t going to crash it cause it is NOT going off the ground til it is LEGAL” Havne’t heard from him since!

Ohhhhhhh, well! You know, I don’t see why people do things that can cause them all manner of kinds of grief and loss, like driving without a license, or insurance, or a spare tire, and lots of other stupid things that get people arrested or stranded. I sure as heck and not going to let someone drive MY car (or airplane) without a license or insurance! DUH! What’s in it for me? What have I got to gain by him taking a joy ride in my plane? Make him happy? Well, if he wants to fly it he can BUY it! Then I don’t care if he flies it with or without a license, legal or illegal, but I’m not going to go out with someone who has JUDGMENT THAT POOR!

Sometimes we do get sort of cranky, and I admit I am, but at the same time, I have SET THE BAR UP FAIRLY SOLIDLY and it starts out with HONESTY IN EVERYTHING! That means it isn’t okay to shop llift, just because you don’t rob banks. It isn’t okay to be “just a little dishonest”—-honest is a yes or no thing. It’s like dead or pregnant, either you is or you ain’t–can’t be a little dead or a little pregant—you either is or you ain’t.

Same thing with taking risks, and we all take a risk when we get out of bed in the morning, but we need to take sensible risks, with some benefit or other. Doing stupid things isn’t a good idea.

My son D is a rock climber, and he was watching a video last night of some famous rock climber that fell to his death because he left his rope out in the weather for 3 months and later used it, and it broke and he died. DUMB!

He knew better, (the rock climber) but he took a RISK and it wasn’t worth it. No sense in taking UN-NECESSARY risks or doing stupid things.

I’ll try to use some common sense in my risk taking and I don’t need anyone (no matter who they are) enough to risk getting any closer than I have to to a DISHONEST person.

pollyannanomore

I like your analogy about not being able to be a little bit pregnant or dead! It reminds me in a simpler way of how I tried to explain it to the ex …
“Truth telling is not something you can conveniently turn on and off at will – you either ARE a truth teller or you’re a liar. You can’t go along telling the truth then get found out on five big whoppers and expect to still be regarded as honest – it doesn’t work that way.” He was shocked and angry at this lol He really thought he could still be an honest person even though he lied all the time!

He really did seem like a child that day that couldn’t understand the rules and was baffled by societal expectations.

I am starting to date again after two plus yrs alone and I am being very careful – just meeting men as friends initially so there are no ties for me if I feel overwhelmed and there’s no chance of being swept off my feet – I’ve had enough of that for several lifetimes thankyou very much! And if I don’t meet someone worthy then I will just remain single – not the end of the world. I have managed to build a more interesting life that I can live with alone and away from him so I don’t cry into my coffee about being single 🙂 All in all I feel much stronger now – life must go on. As much as I prayed to die back then, I didn’t. I am alive and I can look after myself after this experience and learning about various personality disorders.

Oh and you’re dead right – dishonesty has to be one of the bigges. If not THE biggy – it’s a recipe for heartache and pain for the deceived person no matter what the deception was about or for. Hiding things is never a good idea!

ErinBrock

GO MIDLIFE!!!

pollyannanomore

Gracias Erin – long way to come in a few short months since realising his true nature 🙂 I am happy with progress and couldn’t have dreamed it would be this fast – mind you there are still down days fromo time to time but in general I am too busy to get mired down in depression – there is no time for it now!

I feel really blessed. Kathleen said if you have been through a trauma healing before then the next time is quicker – last time it took me YEARS but this time I am getting there much faster. And it just happened seemingly by itself. One day I was obsessing about him and revenge and my lost life and a few days later I was celebrating the life I still have left – it’s strange. It almost happened in my sleep. I still have thoughts of exposing him from time to time but they die down quite quickly now. I feel much better than when I first arrived here a few months ago. I am the lucky one compared to the new woman – I got away, while she is stuck back there in that hell.

slimone

Hi All,

Not quite sure where to put this, but I wanted to share a recent ‘dating site’ event, and how I got to practice what I have learned here….

Got ‘winked’ at by a guy on OKCupid. I have been on for just under a month, checking out who’s there. I messaged him asking him why he winked me. We message very briefly, maybe two simple exchanges. Nothing out of the ordinary.

He gives me his studio website, and tells me he would like to meet. I have his name, studio address, and a history of his education. I google him and do a mini background. Clean. I check out dating ‘warning’ sites (dontdatehimgirl, etc…). Clean.

He lives on an Island in British Columbia. He is coming my way to visit his parents. He wants to know if we can meet.

This is how it works: at some point contact has to be made. #’s exchanged. I give mine. He calls and leaves a voicemail that he is in town and would love to get together. I call back.

He invites me to come to a few galleries with him (he is an oil painter of some talent). I agree. He says he’ll call at 1pm the next day, we’ll meet at a gallery, and then go for an early dinner. I tell him I am looking forward to it and sign off.

He doesn’t call at 1. By 1:30 I have no intention of answering when/if he calls. By 2 I am sure. I am disappointed. But I know that this kind of insenstivity of my time just doesn’t work for me. If a guy cannot put his best foot forward at this point in the process, my guess is he doesn’t have a good foot!

He calls at 3, acts as if nothing has happened. He tells my VM he is done ‘poking around’ and would love to meet for dinner, and I should give him a call.

I do not call him. He is a stranger who has already broken trust. Before trust could even be truly established, and then has (maybe) pretended, or acted as if, nothing has happened. Or to take a less suspicious point of view he has a really shitty memory. Either way……

Later he calls me again (two hours later, I let it go to VM) and tells me it is really OK that I got ‘cold feet’ and he totally understands, but he needs me to call him back……’ I delete before the message is even done.

I don’t call him.

He calls back the next day (today), and doesn’t leave a message.

I don’t call him.

Lots of things come to mind about what took place.

That his not calling on time, and then acting as if nothing is amiss is the ‘first boundary violation’, and is pointing to the possibility of further and more serious boundary violations. And that if I had called him back, took the bait, and acted as if nothing had happened, he would’ve taken that as the signal that the abusive game could ‘begin’.

That his calling the second time to say it was ‘OK’ that I had coldfeet was a subtle projection of his initial insensitivity toward me, that he was ‘discharging’ on to me, while pretending to be sensitive to my weakness and nervous fear of meeting him. I felt it was audacious of him to call me. Particularly when he requested that I call him back.

Even if his lie were true, and I did get cold feet. Why would he call me, and need for me to call him back? A woman he doesn’t know, at all. I think any reasonable person would chalk it up to me being crazy/scared, and just gently walk away.

I think he didn’t walk away because he is playing cat and mouse, and needs to get me on the phone to find a way to bury the hook. He cannot do this. It is frustrating his need to ‘play’. But, I don’t call him.

And…..he calls again this afternoon. This time not leaving a message.

I know if I don’t give him anything he will go away. He will grow bored.

The thing is this is the first time, in a long time, that I am really feeling comfortable following my own lead. I am not worried about being too harsh, too this, too that. I am feeling really damn good about honoring my own feelings and experience. I feel good about letting my responses inform me.

I feel good about what I have learned here at LF!!!!

Smooches to all,
Slim

ErinBrock

Slim:
I did the same thing…..when I was encouraged to go on a dating site……I used it as a test…..
OF ME!

I learned a lot about me….but didn’t get anythign else out of it…..wouldn’t ever pay for a site….and wouldn’t do it now….
Peeps are just not real….my experience….

I also see a red flag with him wanting a 1pm first meeting to go right into dinner…..
He already planned on spending more than a few hours with you…..prior to meeting and getting to know….
This is a bit odd….had you thought of that?

I found most men were not willing to commit to more than….just coffee or drinks…..not commit to too much on first meeting….
So your guy wanting to go from 1-8 without meeting first is odd to me……
Hmmmm

But….good for you for practicing your skills….it’s important and validating we are growing and learning and hopefully doing what we need to to avoid any further bad experiences….

slimone

Hi Erin,

Yes! I did think of that. And after I agreed to meet him at a gallery, I thought better of it, as it made me feel nervous and little sick to my stomach. The body is such an incredible guide. So all the stuff that happened after merely confirmed my gut feeling.

So far my experience is as you describe it. A brief initial meeting. And nothing has come of it, other than one man and I have become real good friends. He has a small child which is not what I am looking for, but he a super person and being friends with him is proving to be somewhat healing for me.

This experience has shown me how much I have learned, and what I am capable of discerning and acting on. This feels REALLY good!

slimone

Hmmm, just tried to post and it didn’t.

Just to say, yes his invitation to spend more than the average time together did register with me. After I agreed I felt too nervous, and a little sick to my stomach. The body is such a great informer. The rest of it just confirmed what my gut and head were already in tune with.

Every other meeting has been brief and without any glitches.

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