I became an Atheist almost 2 years ago now. When I realized that my faith held no answers for me, I started to re-find the answers to ALL of life's questions. I started to look at myself, and my past totally differently. I have had to re-learn everything it seems....everything. How to think, how to solve problems, how to reason, and who I am as an atheist...

I do believe that emotionally, I stopped maturing around the age of 15. Maybe younger. You see, when I was 15, I fell in love with a man, and I thought he loved me too...but he only used me. Some people would consider what he did to me statutory rape...whatever he did to me, he fucked me up - bad. Although I graduated from high school, was sent away for college, had many boyfriends/lovers in between, this one man, was THE ONE who's arms I always ran to. I believed for so many years that we were "destined" for one another. It made sense. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, had so many social and cultural similarities, it seemed almost like an arranged marriage type situation. I was the girl around the block that was made for him, and he was made for me.....

But he is a sociopath. I know this about him. He has been messed up on drugs since I met him (when he was 20). He has been in trouble with the law, and in and out of prison.

He was recently released from prison, and court ordered to attend a treatment program to help him integrate back into society. One day, I felt the urge coming on...I called. I left my name and mailing address with the officer. She passed along the message......

A few weeks have gone by. Then, today, a letter from him came in the mail. My heart jumped...I opened it. He talked about being excited that he will soon be able to go to church, and play in the band. He is a musician. He talked about him having a real problem with authority, and that if he gets an asshole parole officer then he will likely get sent back to prison. Then he says, "pray for me." See, last time he had any long conversation with me, I was a devout Christian.... He told me that it has been good for him to not have a "woman to worry about." He got locked up for assault and vandalism related charges on an ex-girlfriend. He has a long history of severe violence against women when he's drinking...

My memory seems to be fragmented. It's as if I only remember the good things about him. And I can easily brush aside the fact that he has brutalized women on multiple occasions and left them for dead. He even eluded to participating in murders up on the mesa, (of women) but never told me the details.

Why do I still "feel" something for this man? You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

I really really really want to understand WHY I feel the need, after 17 years, to connect with this man again?

Why do I keep doing this? It is an illness. I want to know how to stop being this way...

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Thanks Mike...you know it's not just the season...although I will admit, I see his family tomorrow and it's not going to be easy. I know his Mom especially....will make comments that will tug at my heart strings, that's just the way she is. his whole family is basically my family too, because I'm his cousins best friend.

I have always resisted seeing the situation with him like a drug, but it is basically the same I guess. I will remember your words tomorrow :)

"It's been good for me to not have a woman to worry about".

I think that sums up his mentality towards women...they are something to worry about rather than to care for. I cannot imagine based on anything you've said so far that he has changed in the slightest. I cannot fathom how anything remotely good would come out of contacting him again.

I want to know how to stop being this way.

Some folk psychology to think about: I think it might help to recognize that your toxic attachments are attachments that you're strong enough to consistently and permanently say no to. And that you are more than worthy of connecting with someone who wants to worry about you (where it's the opposite of a chore or burden), care for you, listen to you, compromise for you and cherish you. And that you're more likely to find that when you see your inner strength to say no to douchey toxic fuck-ups who show anything less than real and considerable signs of change over a rather long period of time where you give them absolutely nothing until they prove themselves (that includes doing them even small favours). You are worthy of great people Belle.From the strength you've demonstrated in your life story and discussions here...I have little doubt that you can. 

Davis, I think I'm going to print this in large capital letters, frame it, mount it on my wall, and read it every single day for the rest of my life.

Thank you :)

I read all this Belle and decided not to respond directly to anything you've said with how I feel about it.

I just hope you get past this.

I am trying to find the article and it's difficult, but some years back, a Psychologist friend of mine sent me a paper from some journal or another that attempted to demonstrate that emotional bonds that are developed during adolescence were somehow more intense and stronger and therefore more durable than bonds that were formed later or earlier in life.  If we can accept that is plausible, that might help out here with what you are dealing with.

You will note that on Facebook, there are a lot of adverts for "find your old girlfriend/boyfriend" sites...I think that's for a similar reason....  which is that people develop these intense feelings in early adulthood and those feelings can be intoxicating and powerful.  As with anything that's intoxicating, we are drawn to recreate or recapture those things.  

I would never try to minimize what you are dealing with, but you have to look upon it as any other biochemical phenomenon....like sugar dependency, or a powerful craving for carbohydrates, or caffeine.  It is exceedingly difficult to overcome those if the substance is available in your environment.  

You yourself said (or I inferred) that you were able to exist for some time when he was not around (notwithstanding some of the issues you describe), but it was his re-emergence in your life that has stirred up these feelings.

I don't want to be crass about it but if you LOVED, LOVED, LOVED chocolate and were for some reason deprived of it for a decade....and then I took you to a chocolate factory, do you not think you'd have essentially the same reaction you're having now?  The smells, the sights, etc... would conjur up a strong biological "cocktail" of reactions within you that would reawaken what had been a dormant desire.  

So that can explain what you feel....now what?  

There are untold billions of people on this planet.  The notion that this ONE person was somehow "crafted" just for your happiness and companionship defies that facts....  And those facts are that he has not been a reliable companion and he has failed in making you happy.

So if you look at the data - again - the data you recounted to us - it says you are unhappy with him and because of him.  

So like Chocolate....perhaps you get the quick buzz of wondeffulness but it goes right to the hips, midsection, etc..., and months later you regret having had it.

There are a lot of mumbo-jumbo conversations on sites like this about free will.  And it's a fun topic to debate over a late night cup of coffee or what have you.  The reality on the ground is that you make choices every minute of every hour of every day and those choices have consequences and put you on one trajectory or another.  Those are your choices...and you made them.  

If there is an emotional buzz you get from that relationship and you like emotional buzzes, then ask yourself what other things might afford you an emotional buzz that's not going to have long-lasting negative consequences?  If it's sex...go have sex.  If it's exercise...go exercise...if it's awesome dessert...go have that (in moderation)....  For me it was long-distance bicycle riding that really cleansed me of a lot of bad mojo from a prior relationship.  The physical strain and the sense of accomplishment of seeing 200 miles behind me was surprisingly theraputic.  Losing weight was a by-product.  The most important benefit was the sense of empowerment from knowing "I did that."  Lastly, it got me around some people who were healthy for me.  

You might also start noodling on the concept of "locus of control."  That is a theme that has been very powerful in my life.  Where happiness comes from (internal or external) and what's our role in our own happiness is a great area for you to explore.

best wishes to you - this is something sooooo many people struggle with, and you are by no means strange or unusual....sorry to disppoint you if you thought you were anything but normal!  :-)

Thank you David! Your words came at a very crucial time for me. I see his family tomorrow (I'm part of his family and I'm visiting) knowing that conversations will come up..... Your words were powerful, comforting, and very much appreciated! Thank you so much :)

my pleasure....nice to meet you.  I can totally relate to your situation in many ways.  I think most people deal with something exactly like this.  That force in your life that's not good for you but you are drawn to it. 

in my case...I always wonder if I'm somehow preventing myself from being successful and therefore happy and why would I do that?  

so I guess the advice you get on an airplane should be that which you follow here:  Put the Mask on yourself before you put it on those near you....(so to speak).  Taker care of Belle Rose before you try to take care of someone else.  

Happy Holidays..... dd

Well it is good to know I'm not alone in this kind of struggle....

I just had an amazing time. A friend I have known since childhood and I had lunch. We were victims of the same predator when we were young. We are both now single mothers. Me and her are still as close as ever. It was amazing to see that even now, 20 years after that era of our lives, we are both still coming to terms with it all. We both became single mothers around the same time, and we both have the same problem of attracting assholes. She told me she sees a person who does "theda healing...." I have no idea, it sounds woo-ish, but it is her therapy. it works for her. She told me about a book called "The 4 agreements," and she said that she realized she is emotionally unavailable, and she is attracting emotionally unavailable men. She gave me the example (metaphor) that when we're young we live in a big house with different rooms. When people hurt us it's like they close off those rooms and we then deny that part of ourselves. So when we do, we attract people that have those things which we have denied ourselves, or failed to recognize in ourselves....

It was something to think about anyway. She had dated a series of men and they all ended badly....
Me? I just the other day had coffee with a guy, come to find out he has a prison record a mile long. So we're both staying single and "on a journey of healing.".....we have a ways to go yet.
Something very powerful happened tonight...I haven't necessarily processed it all yet but....I went out with my friend...me and her were victims of her step dad many years ago. we talked about our situations with men etc...it turns out that me and her have had the EXACT same struggles, and our experiences are...practically identical. we both compromise our own wants and needs for men who don't deserve it. We both struggle with low self-esteem, low self-image, etc...we both were brought up very isolated, neglected, and not taken care of that we'll. now here we are....both having gone through VERY similar situations. Her step dad got her hooked on Meth at 14. The man who I discuss in this post introduced me to and perpetuated drinking at 15 which I think might have been what made me such a heavy drinker...

Anyway....tonight....for the first time, we actually talked about what happened to us by her step dad. It was very emotional for both of us. She realized that she needs to allow herself to grieve, and face this part of her past that she's never confronted. And for me, being able to look her in the eyes and say what needed to be said, we are both stronger for it....and I can honestly say that this chapter of my life is something I can now, finally move on from. I am going to help her as best as I can to heal these deep wounds....I am in a unique position to do so because I went through this with her, and she trusts me. she told me tonight that I am the only person who she feels she can be vulnerable with....

I don't have it all worked out in my head yet. All I know is that something inside of me changed forever...for the better. I do think it was one of those moments I'll remember forever, and I do think that it perhaps was the cure to my insanity....

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