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Newest Member: Daughterofthemosthigh

New Beginnings :
It's been a long time

Topic is Sleeping.
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 6:53 AM on Saturday, July 1st, 2023

Hello there. It's been a while.

I'm not sure if anyone here remembers me. Hope you've all been well. Wanted to come by and give an update, plus I'm in need of some SI wisdom.

First, the harder update: Mr. Silver died. He was found in an alleyway, dead of an accidental fentanyl overdose. Despite having left him, I am devastated. And I am learning to go easier on myself for those feelings of devastation. I loved and married him, after all, so of course I would mourn who he was at his best. I don't want to go into the grief process right now. That feels private.

The SI wisdom that I'm hoping for is about detachment.

A few years ago, while I was still being abused by Mr. Silver, a community leader/mentor befriended me, and it was his kindness that helped me to escape from Mr. Silver. I began to work for the community leader, as his cohost, video editor, community coordinator, and several other tasks, and we became close friends during Covid. I really treasured his friendship, though I'm realizing in retrospect that there are several red flags. For one, anyone who has you swear a pact for honesty toward each other (and then breaks it), promises that you will have a lifelong friendship, and in general seems "too good to be true" (and now that I'm writing this out, I'm realizing this applies to romance as well as friendship, doesn't it?), is probably exhibiting a pattern that won't bode well for you.

He has a pattern of having favorites among the community participants. I know this from cues he exhibits plus he used to call me to talk excessively about his favorites after the classes and meetings. There's one favorite in particular who he began to treat exceptionally to the other participants, and then he made her a cohost with us, and then he promoted her, in a sense, ahead of me for something, while they both hid it from me for 4 months. He now ignores me and has become secretive about what they plan together, even though the three of us are supposed to work together on things, and he praises her and gives her special favors and attention while forgetting about me.

This screams toxic behavior to me. The terms "bread crumbing", Hoovering, blowing hot and cold, new shiny person syndrome, favoritism, white knighting, triangulation, and attention supply come into mind. Plus there's this icky feeling, almost like they're having an emotional affair (not sure if that makes sense - maybe because she's married? and because of how secretively they act?), and I've noticed he gets that way with certain people (always women) and not others. Maybe fixated is the right word.

I'm mad at myself for becoming so invested in our friendship. Mr. Silver had isolated me from everyone, so any kindness felt like a lifeline to me. I should never get attached to people like that; I've learned my lesson this time, I hope.

So my question is, can anyone offer me any strategies to detach? I do NOT want to re-engage in this weird toxic dynamic ever again. And to make matters worse, the entire community reveres him as exceptional, kind, genuine, etc. It honestly feels like a cult of personality.

Without a support system, it's harder to break free from toxic dynamics. So may I request if anyone has any advice?

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8797772
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 7:01 AM on Saturday, July 1st, 2023

Oh! To say where I've already started:

I have created filters so any emails they send me are hidden. They are both on vacation right now, so I am isolated in my work tasks. I had tried to keep both of them informed and request their input, but they were ignoring my emails and only writing in the group chat to socialize. So to create some distance, I have limited their emails until the end of the month so I won't be able to see them.

Any mental exercise anyone can recommend?

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8797773
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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 6:05 PM on Saturday, July 1st, 2023

Hi Silver- I remember you. So sorry to hear about the grief you are experiencing. As you know, we advocate feeling the feels— the only way out is through. Hang in there.

As for the current toxic environment, I am glad you are trying to extricate yourself. I find writing out their "betrayals" or red flags and having that visible is helpful. It will help you from making excuses or putting on rose colored glasses and putting your head in the sand. He sound like a rebound relationship and not a healthy one. And get out — join Meetup groups, volunteer somewhere, join a walking club or a gym, take up new hobbies to add positive new people into your world.

Can you look for a new job? Maybe get some IC to help you understand why you have been allowing this to go on. (I get it - you needed a friend and he was there. But he has isolated you and plays games with affection. He’s not good.)

You deserve better. Take care of yourself. And if you are in the current CA heatwave, stay cool!

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 6059   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8797810
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 4:12 AM on Sunday, July 2nd, 2023

Hi Bearly! I remember you too. Hope you've been well.

Thank you for the suggestion about writing out all their hurtful behaviors/red flags. That would help me a lot. I've tried to share what's going on with other folks - including my IC - but in isolation, any one thing that happened could be either made excuses for, or I'll be asked, "Well did you sit down and talk with him about it?" Yes, and I saw his lack of remorse in how he's been treating me. I'm beginning to feel like the "crazy woman" or "too much woman" society likes to paint women who don't quietly accept mistreatment.

My IC has finally began to question his behaviors that I've told her about. She hasn't said this, but a thing I've been wondering is if he preyed on me. I feel like he has, but is that me playing the victim? I have been very vulnerable, and he encouraged me to be vulnerable. He seemed like such an incredible listener... Folks have told me, "Well, you can't expect him to have time for everyone. He has a lot of friends." But how does that excuse him leaving me out of the loop over cancelling major work plans that involved me, or promoting our cohost ahead of me and them both hiding it from me? And more things that showed a lack of respect?

Anyway, time to write that list. Thank you Bearly!

And as for mourning Mr. Silver - it's been a little more than 6 months since he died, but I didn't find out until a month and a half later. The medical examiner never told me - my IC found out from Mr. Silver's IC who found out who-knows-how. The entire thing is painful and complicated. Lil Silver is relieved and not sad. I've told him that I won't judge him for however he feels, and that if his feeling change over time, I will support him however he's feeling. But it makes me so sad that he doesn't have better memories of his father. He remembers his father trying to break doors, or harassing us and breaking the restraining order, cheating on me... Luckily he never witnessed Mr. Silver's physical violence toward me, though he knows of it now. My son is very protective of me.

In spite of everything Mr. Silver did, I didn't wish this on him. I hoped with all my heart that he would get better and regain his health and be closer to the man I fell in love with. He hurt me, but I can only remember the good memories now. I know that this too is a part of grieving.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8797868
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 4:09 AM on Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Sorry, I should respond to your question about getting a new job...

The trouble is, this is a pretty unique community. And aside from being his cohost, I have other roles. I feel like I have carved my place in this community, and I feel like leaving it would actually hurt me more than staying and just finding a way to become immune to these circumstances. It would be incredibly hard and possibly impossible to rebuild.

But I also see what you mean about how I need to leave this situation. So what if I leave mentally? I want to figure out how to do that. I can't remember how I was able to detach the last time I needed to.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8797966
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 3:24 AM on Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

Ugh. So my boss and my fellow co-host are both back. Just got off a meeting with them and about 25 other people. They were flirting through their screens and in the chat the whole time. Gross.

I hope to reach the point where instead of looking at them and feeling pain, I can look at them and feel disgust or indifference.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8800939
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 6:16 AM on Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

Reading through some more SI wisdom about how infidelity follows predictable patterns. The affair partners aren't being special or different - they're allowing their infatuation chemicals to run their brains and making cruel choices in the process of it. When I filter how they are both acting through that lens - today it fully sank in for me that they are having an emotional affair - I don't find myself full of self-doubt, uncertainty, doubting my own self worth, etc anymore. I find the way they're acting to be disgusting. They're acting like less-than-mature teenagers. It's not even particularly original of them - they're being basic as heck!

There's a work trip next week that the three of us and about 50 other people are going on. They're going to be carpooling together the whole time. Instead of feeling shut out or excluded, now that I recognize what they're doing as an emotional affair, I feel glad I missed that trainwreck. The secrecy, favoritism, painfully obvious flirting behaviors, and everything else they're engaging in, and the damage they're going to cause so many people? Who would envy that? The folks at work cheering them on - they're just aiding them in being an unhealthy version of themselves, whoever they hurt be damned. I don't want to be part of that toxic crowd!

It'll be easier than ever to detach and continue my work without allowing them to interfere. When I hear their names, I don't feel pain - I feel contempt finally! And it is a feeling I am grateful for!

[This message edited by silverhopes at 6:19 AM, Wednesday, July 26th]

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8800949
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BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 4:20 PM on Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

It sounds like you have been able to break that link and detach from the unhealthy coworker. Great job!
I hope it continues to improve for you. And always look for those "silver" linings ;-).

Me: BS 57 (49 on d-day)Him: *who cares ;-) *. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)

**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **

posts: 6059   ·   registered: Sep. 10th, 2016   ·   location: Northern CA
id 8800979
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 1:25 PM on Thursday, July 27th, 2023

So to be clear this toxic person is your boss?
If that's the case I would say it's time to move on, and find a new job. Start looking get that resume together, and let work be just that, work. Do your time, and get out.

It will take time for you to build friends, and a network to support you. Start w/ the gym, or any group w/ a similar interest that you have, be it anything from a book club, to bike riding, to beekeeping, these people will become your friends, and as you heal you will find it easier to read people, and determine who you need to keep at arms length, and who you can let in.

Me: FBSHim: FWSKids: 23 & 27 Married for 32 years now, was 16 at the time.D-Day Sept 26 2008R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 20207   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8801064
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Tallgirl ( member #64088) posted at 3:44 PM on Saturday, July 29th, 2023

Hi Silver

I agree with Tushnurse, I think it’s a great opportunity to look for employment elsewhere. I think you need to put yourself in an environment where you can grow and make more connections and friendships that you choose and you control.

You are very clearly a strong person And I think it is a good time for you to make a change that will empower silver. I think being out of this environment will support your continued detachment and personal growth.

I am sorry to hear about the passing of your ex, it must’ve been an incredible shock to you.

All the best

Standing tall

posts: 2224   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2018
id 8801482
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 3:51 AM on Saturday, August 5th, 2023

I appreciate your advice, Bearly, Tushnurse, and Tallgirl. I can get my resume together. But unfortunately, jobs in my field aren't easy to find. In general, getting work where I live, at my age and with my skillset, while being a single mother with mental disabilities, is pretty much next to winning the lottery. That doesn't mean I can't look, it just means I don't think I should quit my work without having something else lined up first.

I had to leave the work retreat early because Lil Silver needed me. I have next to no support system when it comes to reliable family members who can care for him. I applied for programs in the past to get support, worked with his teachers, etc, and each time we would start to get somewhere, his support system fell through. I think Lil Silver has abandonment issues now, not that I'm surprised. He says I'm the only person he feels safe with. sad He deserves better. He's on the autism spectrum, and social cues aren't the easiest for him, not to mention all the trauma he's experienced and witnessed makes it hard for him to trust people. I have plans to try to help him increase his social skills, resilience, and other life skills - trying to do what I can each day, and I know this will be a marathon instead of a sprint. But we can do it if we do it consistently. I will help my boy thrive in this twisted world.

My depression is setting in much worse lately - and yet it's almost a relief. Instead of high-energy anxiety constantly coursing through me and making me sick and scared all the time, I'm feeling resignation. The friends and family I most needed help from, helped a little, but for the most part left me alone. This has been an incredibly isolating year. When I do make friends, it turns into them needing things from me that I don't always have the bandwidth to give them, because the oxygen isn't on myself. I tend to be a caretaker; people take advantage of that. Including my boss, I suspect. He cares for his friendship with me, everyone says, and I do see that - but he's also quite busy with our growing clientele, as well as my cohost is new, shiny, and exciting to him, like an escape from having to care or think too hard about anything. I still wouldn't be surprised if they're having an emotional affair - they were acting like a family unit during the work trip, which was gross - but I don't have the energy to care anymore. I'm just very disappointed in him.

Is it bad that I just want to close everyone out for a while? I am depressed, more bitter than is probably helpful, and I think I will eventually begin to feel better - but I can't do that if I'm in a position of constant service to everyone without being allowed my own space to thrive. Everyone wants something from me. I don't even know what healthy normal friendships look like, and maybe I'm in too bad of a place to even find them right now. Too needy and all that.

Yes, Mr Silver's death was a terrible shock. The way he died, and the day he died on, devastates me. I know it wasn't my fault, but I feel guilt every single day for the way he was at the end. He called me the day before to wish me and Lil Silver a Merry Christmas and to tell us that he loved us; I didn't pick up, and hearing his message later on broke my heart. Though I am deeply thankful that he left me kind last words (he didn't know he was going to die). I was informed a month and a half after his death, by my therapist/caseworker, in what was a major (and seemingly regular) oversight on the part of the medical examiner's office. I was able to claim his body and get him cremated - a couple more weeks, and I might well have lost that chance. His ashes are home with us now. My son is happy that his father is dead, and I have told him that I respect however he is feeling, and that he can talk about it any time with me, and that it's also normal if he feels a bunch of different things either now or down the line. I am devastated, and in turn Lil Silver has come to understand that he doesn't have to feel like I do, but he is kind and compassionate to me when I cry myself to sleep. I am so proud of my son. His therapist has been keeping an eye out for any repressed feelings as well, to make sure that he's coping alright.

Thank you for listening.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 5:56 AM, Saturday, August 5th]

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8803358
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 6:28 PM on Monday, August 7th, 2023

I have what might be a silly question, but I'm having trouble thinking clearly:

What are some ways a person can cope (in my case, with extreme anxiety, grief, withdrawal effects from toxic interpersonal relationships, etc) when they are coping alone?

I've been spending a lot of time lately lying down, with nausea and pain in my stomach, feeling isolated and anxious, as though I'm waiting for something, but also like I can't muster up the motivation to do things, because what's the point? I don't have the energy to go find new friends when I'm like this; I don't have a real support system among the people I already know, because (understandably) no one can handle my intensity. Even when I'm trying to take care of myself physically, emotionally I am stuck. My therapists and meds are no help. So... if you've been here like me, what did you do to take care of yourself emotionally?

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8803611
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zebra25 ( member #29431) posted at 12:30 AM on Tuesday, August 8th, 2023

Hi Silver. I'm sorry you are struggling.

For anxiety, I find exercise, even if it is a short walk outside helps. Anything to get myself out of my own head. I try to take in nature or look at houses with pretty landscaping and flowers.

I also like guided meditation. It helps with anxiety and sleep.

When I can concentrate I like to read. That also helps to refocus my busy, anxious mind.

I have pretty bad anxiety and have had bouts of depression and there have been time when not much helps and I struggle to just move through the basics of the day.

I don't know if this is what you were looking for but wanted you to know you are not alone.

"Don't let anyone who hasn't been in your shoes tell you how to tie your laces."

D-day April 2010

posts: 3604   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2010
id 8803647
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twicefooled ( member #42976) posted at 2:19 AM on Thursday, August 10th, 2023

Silverhopes, our stories are eerily similar, except that I also have a 16yr old daughter (plus my 19yr old son). My ex also died of an overdose in May of this year. My son is happy he's dead. My daughter is torn - on one hand she was a daddy's girl so it hit her hard, but she also knows he was an addict and accepted that this was a possible/probably outcome of his journey with drugs. So sad.

I did all of my grieving when we left my ex back in 2013. I was only afraid of being told he was dead because I didn't know how the kids would react. Now that that nightmare came true, and the kids are good, he no longer holds power over me.

I poured my energy into growing my skills and increasing my job prospects. I went out with friends. I slept with men. I didn't attach myself to anyone, but I also wasn't sneaky: I was upfront and didn't hurt anyone. I owed it to myself to give myself time to find me again - turns out, that took about 8 yrs.

I wish you the very best. You owe it to yourself - and your son - to use this to create an amazing new reality for yourself. You are no longer a hostage - you are now driving your own life! It sounds like he's a pretty well adjusted young man, and you had a hand in that. Grieve as you need to but don't give him any more power over your life - no new hurts, right?

May 29 2021 ***reclaimed myself and decided to delete my story with my ex because I'm now 7 years free from him and mentally healthier than I've been in years.

*********When you know better, you can do better*************

posts: 492   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2014
id 8803862
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 2:18 PM on Sunday, August 13th, 2023

Zebra, that really helps! Thank you. It sounds like we have similar struggles with anxiety and depression. I get stuck in my head too. Going to try to take more walks and read more. I'll choose one book - feel like there's pressure to read a lot of books, but it'd be hard to read any of them properly if I'm constantly stressing about the ones I'm not reading... Going to try to commit to just one book and allow myself to relax into it.

Twicefooled, you're right. I'm not his hostage anymore. My son and I are free to choose our own path and decide for ourselves what we want for the future. I'm glad that your kids are coping well with your ex's passing. When it seems like our kids will be OK, then it gets easier to cope.

I've been cleaning a lot lately. I have long-term challenges with keeping my space clean and clutter-free. So I'm letting go of a bunch of stuff and making my goal to have lots of open space and clean floors. That's it, for now. Once I've gotten there and feel I can maintain it with regular habits, then I might continue on to a loftier goal. But right now, I'm going for clear open spaces with fewer items, and clean floors. It's getting easier!

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8804286
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 silverhopes (original poster member #32753) posted at 10:39 AM on Monday, October 2nd, 2023

Hi there. Back tonight because I don't want to be alone. I feel very alone these days, because so many of my current friends are within this work community.

I have been able to detach from my boss and his inappropriate behavior with our coworker. I'm currently trying to pursue some of my own career goals. But I'm also lonely. Mr Silver is gone, and even though he abused me, he was probably the person who knew me the best. It feels like I've lost my best friend and all the possibilities that could have been with us.

This pain sucks. But dealing with it, is part of living, isn't it?

I hope that someday, even if it's when I least expect it, I can find someone who want to be around me, and who treats me kindly. I will always love Mr Silver for who he was when he was kind - I hope to find someone who is always kind.

If I don't, then I hope to be happy within myself.
Thank you for listening.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

posts: 5270   ·   registered: Jul. 12th, 2011   ·   location: California
id 8810217
Topic is Sleeping.
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