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FannyandCat posted 6/4/2021 06:22 AM

Hurtmyheart - Yes, I'm 46 years old. I don't have kids but I've been married before. I was with my ex-husband for 11 years and married for 8. He cheated and left me for another woman. I literally did everything I could to get him back including agreeing to giving up half my retirement and paying him $900/month in alimony. A month after our divorce was final he got his mistress pregnant and he tried to use that to entice me with reconciliation as he wasn't ready to become a father - his parents would be livid for having an illegitimate child. He wanted me to dig up dirt on the mistress so he could have her parental rights terminated and thus forced to put the baby up for adoption. He ultimately chose the OW/baby and married her a year after the baby was born. I moved 1000 miles away after the baby was born and never looked back. And that baby was my ticket out of my alimony obligation - filed a motion to terminate the agreement and the judge granted it seven months later so I only ended up having to pay alimony for 18 months.

My FOO is like a Lifetime movie. Yes, my brother shot me in the head and it left permanent disfigurement on the right side of my face as the bullet damaged the facial nerve as well as 100% deafness in my right ear and no taste buds on the right side of my tongue. Less than a year after the shooting my father left us and never looked back. As soon as my father left, my mother brought my brother home (he was living with my aunt as my dad kicked him out) and that started years of physical, mental and somewhat sexual abuse at the hands of him. She found a boyfriend and thought nothing of spending 4-5 days a week at his place...pretty much left my sociopathic brother to raise me. The things he did to me would make your skin crawl one second and fire-breathing mad the next. And when I would try to talk to her about the things my brother did she turned a blind eye and did nothing. When he left for college when I was 16 I was pretty much by myself but when it was time for me to go to college she refused to pay for it (though she had no problem paying for my brother's tuition, room, board and frat fees). I was always labeled "the failure of the family" that "wouldn't amount to anything" and that lit a fire under me that is probably still alight today. I would look her in the eye and say, "I'll show you" and watch her laugh. So I paid my way through college and when I told them I was going to graduate school both my mother and brother laughed and said I'd never make it. It was only on my mother's deathbed (she died 11 years ago) that she looked at me and said, "you showed me" which still brings tears to my eyes. My mother and brother were a team and I was the one left out. My father lives a very nice life in Florida and literally wants nothing to do with me. The few times I've tried to reach out were a complete disaster - at one point he said in order for me to be in the same room with him I had to write two essays titled, "The Dutiful Daughter" and "The Loyal Daughter" and spell out all the ways I wasn't either. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I leave him alone as he's made it very clear he doesn't want me in his life. As a child my father and I were very close and I was a daddy's girl 100% but after the shooting and my parents divorce (they announced the divorce four months after the shooting - talk about one disaster after the next) my father was angry that I immediately didn't tell him I wanted to live with him. I told him I was too young to make that decision and it would be better left up to the attorneys. I think he never forgave me for that although at the time (I was 13) I thought I was making a mature choice as I didn't want to upset my mother. Looking back I sort of wonder what my life would have been like had I chosen to live with him.

Throughout my childhood I felt like I had to do everything for myself by myself. I worked three jobs in college and racked up a ton of student debt - lived in disgusting little apartments and barely had enough to get by. I know what it's like to be poor. I know what it's like to have $27 in your bank account and wonder how you're going to pay the electric bill. But how I felt? I was angry, sad and felt like I didn't have anyone I could depend on...the adopted family I'm visiting in June was like a safe harbor for me growing up. When my brother was especially violent I'd run to their house and spend an entire weekend there just to get away. To this day they are the closest thing I have to a real family and I am forever grateful for their love.

I'm in therapy now to deal with the lingering PTSD from the shooting and to figure out why I gravitate towards men that are losers and treat me like garbage. My ex-husband was a loser with rich parents that allowed him to be a loser. I bought him houses, cars, clothes, vacations and he still up and left me for someone else. I gave him what I thought was a great life and it didn't matter so maybe there's something wrong with ME.

And believe me there are plenty of things I hate about me - physical appearance aside. I hate that I settle for less than what I want romantically. I hate that I over-rationalize things so it fits a certain script. I hate that I can't let go of things I know aren't working for me. That's just the start. I hope with continued therapy I can learn to make better decisions, recognize the red flag and not only see them but act upon them and finally be ok with walking away from things that are to my detriment - doing that isn't a sign that I've failed but one that shows I've succeeded. That's really the crux of it - I can't seem to get it out of my head that when something doesn't work it means I've failed. Maybe that's a vestige from my childhood perhaps? I don't know but that's something I'm exploring with my therapist.

From the outside looking in I look like a success but I still feel like a failure. When I sit alone at night with the dog and cat and look around all I feel is a deep sense of loneliness and while I have lots of friends I can turn to there's no one sharing the couch with me - and that feels like the biggest failure of them all.

Charity411 - Yes, we're not having sex anymore. And yes, I think to myself that if I give him space he'll eventually come back on his own volition. But I didn't plan that happy hour - my friends did and I really had no idea he'd be there. That was pure happenstance. But yes, I left my friends at the table and talked to him at the bar and yes I walked him to his truck and made out with him for 20 minutes before going back inside. More people had shown up by then and they didn't seem to care that I was gone for 20 minutes. The airport thing was in my mind a way for me to be the opportunist for a change and not only see him but use him for a ride to the airport. I didn't think anything concerning how he would feel about knowing I was going away the only thing I was thinking about was using it as an excuse to see him and getting a free lift to the airport.

And you're right - he did crush me after the whole boat/truck fiasco. I thought it was the ultimate sign of devotion and loyalty and all it ended up being was a con of epic proportions. I would think to myself "THIS is what's going to show him that I love him and that we should be together" and it turned into a nightmare. I have to stop thinking that anything I do or say will cause him to change his thinking about me or us. There IS NO US. And hate to say it but I DO have friends that will check dating apps for me. They send me screenshots of his profile. But yeah, like a glutton for punishment I keep showing up for more - how many times am I going to allow myself to be kicked in the teeth before I have no teeth left (so to speak of course)? I guess what keeps me coming back and fighting for a chance is the many good times we had and the good things he did for me - but I guess that doesn't matter to him - people change, relationships change and sometimes things come to an end. That's life. But by giving up all expectations and ending the endless strategizing of what I could do I'm trying to live my life in the present and stop tying to predict the future. Just LIVE. Whatever happens happens.

[This message edited by FannyandCat at 6:24 AM, June 4th (Friday)]

grubs posted 6/4/2021 07:37 AM

I'm in therapy now to deal with the lingering PTSD from the shooting and to figure out why I gravitate towards men that are losers and treat me like garbage.
It's no surprise that with your FOO, that you don't believe you are worthy of better. Even if the unworthy one decided he wanted you, he'd still be unworthy. That you still hope and dream that he will is a sign of the low value you place on yourself in matters of love. Until you and your therapist fix that in your mind you're not going to find someone worthy.

Hurtmyheart posted 6/6/2021 06:22 AM

Fanny, you have A LOT of FOO issues to work through. I definitely don't believe that you are relationship material right now.

Try to focus on how it was for you growing up, for awhile, keep men out of it. Your life is complicated enough to add more stress to it. Get to know your inner child who was put down and mistreated by her parents and her brother. Spend some time with her for awhile. Soothe her and parent her and tell her that she was a good girl and that she deserved way better than the way she was treated while growing up. Help her to figure out why she allowed others to hurt her although it was unacceptable. It could be that this is how it was in your family and had nothing to do with you. You were just in the path of their destruction but sadly you ended up getting injured in the cross fire from the inside out. And it also made you into a people pleaser to gain others love. And I do believe that you have lost yourself trying to make others happy.

Unfortunately there is no magic answer in trying to figure out your why's but I do believe that you are on the right track. It takes time to unravel years of dysfunctional thinking and the emotional pain that it has caused you. And also realize that your other family members are hurting too, they also were affected from living in the same environment. But we all react differently to the stressors of an unhealthy environment. You are not the only who is hurt by the past.

Again, I am going to suggest finding a 12 step program, maybe CODA? Get a sponsor and work the steps. Read different self help books, not just about men. Learn about yourself!

You are on a very long journey to self discovery, Fanny. And it can be fun! I hope in time you do find your happiness in YOU! It's a struggle, I know! Been there, done that just like most others on SI have. And as you begin to put the focus on learning about you and what your needs are and what makes you happy and what you won't ever tolerate again, I believe other things will fall into place.

Keep us posted on your progress of self discovery. It will be interesting if you decide to take a different approach in trying to figure out how to put you first and raise your bar in life. Good luck on your journey.

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