Monday, December 30, 2013

Trust: An Almost Four Letter Word


Trust. Its like a four letter word plus one extra letter for an extra punch. It is the one major issue that I am dealing with, and the one major issue that I don't even know how to start fixing. You will see throughout this blog, that trust issues are a reoccurring theme for me. No matter how much I overcome in my life, no matter how much progress I gain, no matter how many issue's I sort out, I never seem to make any headway in the trust department. I seem to swing wildly between trusting no one, and trusting someone way too much, which usually ends being someone that I should have never trusted.

Help.

Right after I got out of my marriage, I met a man. He was great. Funny, sweet, adoring, and he said all the right things. So perfect in fact, that I didn't trust him at all. No way could a guy like that want someone as broken as me. Somehow though, we still became friends. When he continued to push the idea of dating, I was resistant. He, on the other hand, was overly persistent. He would say things that had literally fallen off of a Hallmark card and out of his mouth. "You don't need to trust me right now, I can wait. I have the rest of my life to prove to you that I will never hurt you." I would cry and tell him that I couldn't trust him, that something was inherently wrong with me, and that eventually he would see that. That I must harbor an innate flaw that made people want to hurt me. That he just hadn't seen all of the terrible things about me that my parents and my ex had seen, and that eventually he would see them too, so save us both the time and trouble and JUST STAY AWAY. He would assure me that my ex was "a waste of oxygen and working organs," and that my "parent's deserved to be damned to hell,"  and that he wanted to be the first one in my life to show me what unconditional love looked like. Eventually, after months and months of his persistence, I allowed myself to fall for him. HARD. When I found hard evidence that he was cheating on me, I confronted him about it, and he blatantly lied to my face. I  knew he was lying, but I made the stupidest decision to ignore it anyways. I figured that it was me, that I was again doing something wrong, and that if I just tried harder, things would get better. He was good to me on the surface, so I convinced myself that it wasn't an issue with him, it had to be my fault. When he ended it, his exact words were "You had to be kidding yourself to think that I was going to pick up a wife and two kids that someone else had thrown out like trash. I'm not a garbage man."



Any faith I had of ever trusting someone again, was gone.

And yet, I'm lonely. I walk this fine line where my heart longs for someone to share my life with. Where I yearn to find "my person." Where I crave knowing that someone has thought about me before they went to bed, and that I have crossed their mind when they woke up. As much as I try and shove it down, tell myself that I am enough for myself, that I don't need anyone, I really do want to feel wanted. I just want to know, that in this whole big world, that I am someones priority. But that is really hard when I don't let anyone get near me.


I do ok in the dating game. I get asked out quite a bit. My best guess is that I fall on that fine line on the attractiveness scale where guys look at me and think "Hum, well, she is cute enough to date, but not pretty enough to be out of my league, so I think I'll ask her out." Either way, I have had my fair share of dating opportunities since my ex left. But do you hear about any boyfriend's around here? Noooooo. "Why" you ask? Because as soon as I start to like them, as soon as they start to really show an interest in me, I kick em' to the curb. One guy was getting a job transfer to Florida, and offered to pass it up to stay with me. Super sweet, right? No. I broke up with him. Another guy, remember dweeb face? We dated for a little while until he told me that I was amazing and he wanted me to meet his family. That was our last date. The list goes on and on.

I sit around and I whine that I have no one, and yet, its my own damn fault. But I just don't know who to trust. I feel like every time I let my guard down, I am wounded a little bit more. Honestly, I feel like if I let anyone close enough to see my cracks, that they will pull my entire wall down and everything that is holding me together will collapse to the ground with it. So I keep shoving people away.

Each new relationship starts out full of hope, that just maybe this will work, but yet when it does, I cut it off and move on, because its scary. Letting someone in, giving someone the chance to hurt me again, it is downright terrifying. I often wonder, as strong as I feel, will one more emotional wound break me?



So here we are today. I started dating a guy a few weeks ago. Great guy, super sweet, cute, and a lot of fun. He would ask about my family, different questions about my life, and I kept giving him the same response. "It's complicated." It is always so hard to figure out what, and when, and how much to tell someone when you have a past like mine. Will they run away? Will they feel pity for you? Will they have some weird superhero complex and make you their next "fix-it" project? So, I use the standard "its complicated" line for as long as I can. So this guy, he said everything right. "Its ok, you don't have to tell me, but when you are ready, I'm here." "I don't know what you are scared of, but I don't run easily if that's what you are afraid of." "Give me a chance to surprise you."

So eventually, one night, after making him swear up and down, left and right that this would stay between us, I told him nearly everything. That, in the history of ALL my relationships, has NEVER happened. So what did he do? He turned around and he told his brother. When I told him I couldn't believe he had done that, he was fairly nonchalant. "What, its my brother, I tell him everything."

So I broke it off. I basically told him that there is a difference between talking to your brother about relationship issues such as "oh my girlfriend is always nagging me, what do you think about that," and telling him downright personal information that has nothing to do with anyone but me. But more so, it was about a broken promise. It was the fact that he heard what I said, promised to respect my wishes, and then decided he didn't care, he was going to do whatever the hell he wanted to do anyways.

He felt awful. Or so he says. He said that he had not thought of it that way, he didn't realize that his intentions and his actions didn't line up, and asked me if he had a chance at retribution.


So that's where I am at now. I don't want to continue to live in a lonely little world behind a wall so high I can't see over it. And yet, I don't want to continue to be hurt. I simply have absolutely no radar when it comes to who I should and shouldn't trust. My poor best friend, deserved every reason in the world for me to trust him, and I didn't. I hurt him, deeply, and I have yet to be able to fix it.

I am at a loss and I don't know what to do. I don't know how to begin trusting people. I don't know why I consistently choose to trust the wrong ones. I don't know what the realistic expectations are when it comes to trusting someone.

How do you know who to trust? What is it, what skill do people have, that I am inherently lacking? I feel as though I have been attacked by a bear in my past, and now, every time I walk through the forest, I am on such high alert that every leaf rustling, every twig snapping, has me running for my life. I am so lost, and being so lost, is just making me more alone. I don't want to continue to sabotage my life and my relationships, but I cannot continue to be hurt.

The only thing I have ever known, for as long as I can remember, was that I was not loved. I was not cared for. That there was no one to protect me. That I would be used and abused and then tossed aside like trash. That my feelings, my well being, were not of importance to anyone. That no matter what or who I was, I was always less than someone else.

How do I recover from that? I am finally at the point where I no longer believe all of those things to be true. I finally I love myself, and place value on who I am as a person, but how now, do I allow other people to get close enough to me to show me that as well? How do know who to protect myself from, and who to let in?

Help.

So, because all of you have been so AMAZING with your reflections on my life, and have given me the most awesome advice, please help me out with this one. Should I trust the guy that told his brother all my secrets? Am I overreacting because of my own past issues, or is this a red flag that I should not ignore?

I am posting the screen shots below from a conversation that I had with him tonight. He knew that I had had a rough day, and was asking to come see me tonight. He lives two hours away in the state above me, four hours round trip. I told him that I had an article to write tonight (which ironically I had decided this morning after breaking up with him, was going to BE about him).

(I really wish I had known how to take screen shots when I wrote my "From The Minds Of The Dark and Twisted" post. That really would have made things a lot easier for that post.)

For some reason, the phone was going wonky and the first few texts I got were out of order. I will help you out, the first one reads "Ever since we met you have had excuses as to why we would never work and I keep trying to show you we could. I know I lost your trust and am trying to find a way to win it back. But fact is I want to see you and I don't mind driving to see you. Seeing you is well worth a two hour drive.I want to fight for you, but you have to give me the chance. If you disagree just say so and I won't come down, but I really like spending time with you and would like to see you tonight. I don't want to come off as creepy, I just want you to know what's in my head, no filter."

Then you guys can take if from the bottom of the second screen shot.


































































So, would you trust him? Is this a "forgivable sin," or a "sorry, you crossed a line, time to move on" offense?

Help.


Photo Credit Trust: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/
Photo Credit Warning Danger Sign: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hippie/
Photo Credit Bird on Hand: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/

72 comments:

  1. can u continue to date casually to see if you like him & he makes u happy? no need to get serious right away. also - how did you find out that he told his brother?

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    1. He made a comment that he was nervous how his family would knowing he was dating someone with a past like mine since they are very protective of him. I asked him how they would know and he blankly said "well, I told my brother what you told me. I tell him everything." Ok, so now I feel like shit, you have confirmed that I shouldn't have told anyone, and you are reminding me that people do judge me. Great.....

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    2. No, let him go. You asked him point blank to not tell anyone and he told his brother. You are not responsible for any part of your childhood and it damn sure is nothing to be ashamed of for either you or your future partner. The people who did that are the ones to carry the shame and them alone. Girl, I feel you. The stuff you have written is like taking a peak into my own brain. I am a product of rape and was raised by my natural mother. To make matters even more fortunate for me (NOT) she had me at 17, was in an incestuous relationship with her own father and had me emotionally, sexually and physically abused for about as early into my childhood as I can remember. I recently cut her out of mine and my own children's lives too. But as far as this guy goes, he is sounding like he's over-stepping the boundaries that you are putting forward. And what does how protective his family is have to do with what you went through? Not a damn thing. Girl, he can go somewhere with all that. I am having a hard time understanding his line of thinking that it would be his place to explain what you went through to his family. That is something for you to share to who you want and when you are ready. It is not his place to bring that up to anyone, ever. If you do forgive him, he has a long hill to climb to earn that back. It is harder for people like us that have not grown up in an emotionally safe and good environment. We were not taught healthy boundaries as children so we have to learn them as adults. But the good news is we still get to learn them. It is easy to get caught up in worrying about what the other person is going through. But the bottom line is this: We have to do what is best for us no matter who it is going to hurt or why. He did not respect your wishes to not tell others what you had told him. "I tell my brother everything" is not an valid excuse. Those are signs that he is not going to be respectful down the road, but that's just imo. Wishing you the best and sending you a huge internet hug.

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    3. Wow girl, you sure have been through the ringer of life. I am so happy you have found your way here :)

      I like what you said about boundaries. And your right, it isn't so much a trust issue as a flat out "I told you where my boundary line was, and you just walked right over it." I've been reading so many self help books about setting healthy boundary lines, since I have never even had a line, let alone a health one.

      Thank you for pointing out to me what I had completely missed :) I hope you stick around!

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    4. Trust is earned. Best to stay away from those who wish to express their worthiness through promises and flattery. If you find someone worth your trust, time will be the indicator. Actions do speak louder than words.

      Good luck.

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    5. Simply and brilliantly put. Thank you :)

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  2. Hey, I am only 17 so my advice may be ill-adviced, or maybe not. I am not sure, but I will tell you what I think and hope it helps in some way.

    First, let me start by saying I also have trust issues, partly from having a communication "disorder" and partly from being emotionally abused by my family. What you wrote sounds quite a bit how I think, and its sad knowing you deal with this, as well as it being comforting to know I am not alone in it.

    Second, your friend, or ex, not sure what to call him, but I say you should give him another chance. Guys really don't seem to understand the keep secret from best bud part naturally. He also seems to really feel bad. I know it can be fake, but ask yourself this. . .Do you like him? Say, hypothetically, you learn to trust him and he doesn't do anything major to hurt you. In the hypothetical, do you see yourself able to date/marry/be with him, someone with his personality and hobbies and wants in life? If so, I say you definitely give him another chance. What he said, could be all-fake, but all of it together, and how he worded it make it sound truthful. I know, how can you trust my opinion, or even trust that it is.
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  3. The thing I have learned is that at the beginning of the relationship there is little trust needed, but as time goes on you learn to trust them or have faith in them more and more, by them keeping their word, showing that they will be there, letting you know that they regret doing something and also if they open up to you about something deep or emotional triggering to them, they are trusting you. Like I said I have trust issues, but I also still someday want to get married and find someone, so I do what you do, and warn the person cause I feel bad that they could be wasting there time and explain that I can't trust people easily and that somethings may seem crazy to them, but I have to do them to think I am protecting myself.I am dating someone right now, and he seems to understand. He even understood how when he said "I love you" that I couldn't say it back yet, because to me saying it means I will marry that person if they ask, and for me to feel like I can do that I need to trust them a ton a ton, as well as other criteria. He says he understands, didn't say anything after about it except that before I could respond he said "I know". So yes I have trust issues, and I do think they affect me less than yours, but I want to give you some advice anyway. (Sorry it is getting so long :/ )

    Why I don't trust people is because I have a fear that if I do, and I let them in. I am left vulnerable and they can and probably will hurt me than. Two months ago I was freaking out because my friend said me and my boyfriend are getting really serious. All flags were saying, I should run. I don't trust him yet, and apparently we are serious, so am I just wasting his time? Am I making him think something can happen when I can't do anything more than we already are? (Also, I have broken up and also "given up" on boyfriends and friends because I feel like I like them too much, so I am not giving the chance to hurt me, or I am wasting their time. My current boyfriend, is the first one that I have not had one of these freakouts happen yet.) Anyway, when I was freaking out, I wouldn't answer my boyfriend, so he came and found me, and asked what was wrong. I wouldn't say so he started guessing. He finally got to what it was and I guess I showed some sign of that being it because he went on to try to reassure me. He said this: "No one does anything scary because they enjoy the fear. They do it because it might lead to something better. So, take a risk, knowing you'll have a shot at something amazing, instead of feeling like it can go south. Do you think it is worth the chance of my possibly hurting you if instead it could be us becoming a family?"Also, I asked my boyfriend to try to reassure me by giving me a reason that it will be fine and he said this: "Well, one reason it will be fine is because we care about each other. We will stick by the other's side when they need it." I asked "but can't that change?" He said he cant see it change because we love each other, so i told him that people have said that to each other before and don't even talk anymore, and that no one can be sure that it won't ever change, because who knows when its 'that' kind of love.He responded with this: " No no one can't, but I can hope and believe and have faith, and I hope that you can do the same."So even though anything has the chance of happening, you can end up hurt and broken for a while or you could find the most amazing thing ever.
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  4. That I guess really isn't advice, but it is something to think about. I still don't trust my boyfriend like I think I should yet, but he also doesn't seem to mind when I decline doing something or refuse to tell him something.

    Okay, so this was all kinda jumbled, but I advise you give him another shot. The only thing in my opinion that are one-time-offense-break-up-makers is cheating,abusing you or your children,lying about something REALLY important, and manipulating you/pressuring you to do something that he knows you don't want to do. If he mainpulates/pressures you often, lies about small stuff often, and other stuff that are flags, but aren't one-deal breakers, than I give normally 3 chances.

    However, a relationship is a serious working,struggling thing. Just because you have an argument or disagreement, doesn't mean you should break up as long as there is no intended abuse during it. Me and my boyfriend have had a few disagreements and arguments, but it seems to help us understand each other better and make our relationship stronger.

    I hope I helped at least a little. . .though I also want to give you something else. If you don't know already there is a site called www.experienceproject.com. It is a good site to hear from others and get advice as well as, like your blog, get your thoughts out so you can better understand yourself and what is going on in your mind. My username is EurydiceKallos, if you want to talk some more. I was just reading random blogs, and yours caught my attention by how it sounded as if I wrote some of it. . .thank you for your story, and I wish you the best in figuring this trial of life as well as many others out :)

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    1. I have to say, you seem much older, and much wiser than 17!!! Wow. I hear everything you are saying girl. I can't tell you how many times I have told a guy "Don't even waste your time here. I will probably never trust you and you don't deserve that, so save yourself the trouble and move on."

      It sucks, bc I agree, when I see someone falling in love with me, its scary. It should be wonderful, exactly what I'm looking for, but it's not. Instead if feels as though I am standing there naked and exposed, to vulnerable to be able to protect myself. So I cut them off and move on.

      I don't really have any advice or words of wisdom, but I thank you for sharing your story with me :) So glad you are here Emily!

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  5. Um, yeah. So, I'm a guy, and I saw your picture on the taking clothes off for money post, and I can tell you exactly why so many guys ask you out. Don't short yourself beautiful.

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  6. I am in my mid fifties, been married many, many years and I, too, have trust issues. Though my early life was not terrible, I was sexually abused at seven, had a father I was never close to due to his anger issues (though he was not physically abusive but I was terrified of him) and a mother who likely loved me but was extremely cold and emotionally unavailable. I was also previously married to a man who I adored and married against my better judgement as he liked the ladies and surprise, surprise! he cheated on me before a year was up in our marriage with my BEST FRIEND! What I have learned about trust, at least for me, is that really you can't trust anyone. People will always disappoint you.
    Now before everyone gets all freaky about my statements let me explain more fully.
    People are human. They do things wrong. They make mistakes. They make promises they fully intend to keep and in that split second break them without even meaning to. They say the right thing at the wrong time and the wrong thing at the right time. They aren't perfect...they aren't God.
    Now I can't say you are exactly like me in this...I can only really relate my issues. But I realized a few years ago, after be consistantly disappointed in friends, in co workers, in my siblings, in my husband, after feeling that there was no one I could trust that there WAS no one I could trust. But it wasn't because there weren't people in my life that were trustworthy but that I had impossibly high standards of what I expected and when someone stepped over that line, my trust was gone...or at a minimum on high alert. In my mind I (unconciously) tallied offenses...kept score. It was how I kept myself safe...but even being married for 30 years (I still worry that my husband will cheat on me!), even with lifelong friends, a sister I adore and two grown kids, I hold my heart somewhat back...I watch and wait and prepare to be hurt. I know it is coming. It always does.
    But, you see, that is no way to live. I am not protecting myself...I am shutting myself off, killing my joy, not truly letting others in, not really giving of myself. This is no way to live...
    But I have learned that no one is trustworthy, at least in my world, because no one meets my standard that was put in place to protect me. But that doesn't mean they don't love me, care for me, want me, think of me and want what is best for me. It means they are human, fragile, imperfect, broken each in their own way, and, yes, at times untrustworthy...to me. I had to learn what is REALLY unacceptable to me and what "infractions" I can live with...because there are always infractions because my standards are so unbelievably high (though they seem logical and reasonable to me). I had to learn to communicate with those I chose to let in about the issues I had with what they did instead of walking away and saying it is over. Or, at times realize no communication was necessary but that perhaps I needed to adjust my expectations. Or even at times decide it WAS time to let go of a relationship because I could not reconcile me with them. It is like a tightrope but gets easier the more I let go.
    continue

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  7. I still get hurt but that will happen. I don't trust anyone explicitly with everything because truly no one can be all to someone. I hurt others too, though I don't mean to! But I have different people I go to with different things and it workd for me. I try to not trust new "friends" too quickly...I test drive new relationships for quite awhile before I move to a higher level of imtimacy. I trust my gut instinct but only so far (because my gut has on occasion thought someone was ok really fast only to prove wrong...generally if the gut says no I listen!).
    But mostly I have learned to forgive...even the old best friend that slept with my first husband....because forgiveness is about healing ourselves...about letting go of bitterness and hate (even if it is rightfully deserved!), about living in the now, not the then. People will fail, people will fail us but that doesn't mean they don't love us.

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  8. All of this is NOT to say you should trust THIS man or that you should give him a chance...only you can weigh that, make that decision. No one else truly knows your relationship with him. But do take it slow should you decide to move forward and see if he can be what you need...what you want.

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    1. Wow, that was very well put, and a lot to sink in! I like what you are saying, about how people will always fail bc they are human, but that doesn't mean they meant to hurt us. I do know that I have set impossible standards for people to adhere to in the trust department.

      Finding that good balance, its so hard. But, I have to start somewhere. Time to figure out what I can live without, and what I am willing to fight for.

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    2. I totally agree with Mary Anne's words, wow, such wonderful commentors here on your blog.

      Everything I know about people, I learned from animals. If I can figure out what kind of "animal" a person is, I can trust them to be themselves. That's about it. There's a lot of observation from a safe distance.

      Witnessing to someone, as you did with Derek, is a little bit like passing on a burden so that both of you can shoulder it together. Few people indeed are strong enough containers for this, and they in turn seek someone to witness their reaction and help them plan what to do next. It sucks that he didn't let you know ahead of time that "just between us" meant his brother, too...it could have been his therapist or his anonymous blogging community, etc etc etc.

      I would say yes, he misstepped. He did admit his fault, apologized, asked how to make amends, and kinda prostrated himself and pleaded. The problem is, abusers mimic this behavior all the time. That's why their damage is so insiduous.

      I agree that stepping back and taking it slow could prove to be good.

      My general rule about trust is not to give away what I can't stand losing. One thing my life is teaching me is that some types of "losing" are not really losing, but trimming away the useless crap I didn't need anyway.

      I do think that setting aside some deep connection meditation or prayer time helps, however you do that. You belong in this world. You are wanted. You exist. The mantra "I Am" and a resonating Om.

      Blessed be.
      Cat

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    3. Ah, I had never thought about how that behavior mimics that of an abuser. They say they will never do it again, and then they do. Over and over and over.

      I spend quite a bit of time in prayer and reflection. It is good for my soul. Derek is gone, I let him go yesterday. He honestly did seem like a great guy, just not the one for me. He will be missed.

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    4. Bon Voyage, Derek, may you and your brother share many vicarious adventures! ;-)

      How to tell the difference between a sincere person and the mimicry of the manipulative one...here goes another helpful link, I am just fulla them! http://www.manipulative-people.com/ This author distinguishes between the hurt-people-hurt-people neurotic model vs. character disorder (they know it's wrong but they don't care). I think neurotics are within the margin of giving chances to when you choose to, whereas character defective types are like venomous creatures to avoid.

      Peace! Hope the weather where you live is treating your right.

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    5. I should start a catalogue of helpful links on the side of my blog for other people to view as well. Plus I keep losing them and have to go back through all the comments on all the posts to find them again. I am definitely bookmarking that link

      The first part made me giggle :)

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  9. To preface, I absolutely love you and your blog. You offer so much inspiration to everyone and it takes and incredibly strong person to share such a story.

    Coming from someone who also has trust issues, I can see how his betrayal stung -- especially after you made him promise and swear up and down that he would tell no one. He sounds like a nice guy otherwise, but no one means no one, you know what I'm saying? "I'll only tell my brother" is not the same as "I won't tell anyone." Especially with something of the caliber of your past, the fact that he told his brother and told you that he was afraid of how his family would judge you based on your past, (hinting at the fact that his brother has now told the family as well) is doubly hurtful.

    That being said, this is a question to ask yourself -- could you move past that? Do his redeeming qualities outweigh this slip up? Would this incident always be in the back of your mind? From what I understand, he is an otherwise awesome guy, but if you don't think you can trust him, that's up to you. I know you know this, but always put yourself first. You and your children are what comes first and if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

    That being said, if you feel that you could be really happy with this man, regardless of his slip-up, then I say give it another shot. As you've written, he feels terrible about what he did and is willing to work for your trust, that's a good sign. You move as slowly as you need to. He obviously will know better for whenever you decide to trust him again. I hope this wasn't harsh, I am not very good at communicating what I'm thinking in type, but you have given so much to us, the readers of your blog, that I wanted to help you during a difficult time.

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    1. Aw, bless your heart love. Thank you for your kind words of encouragment :)

      You know what? It wasn't until I read what you wrote, "afraid of how his family would judge you based on your past," did I realize something. Which is funny, bc I wrote that in my post, but seeing someone else say it again, brings new light on it. Why would he be worried how his family would react? Is he ashamed of me? Does he think they would be ashamed of me? He is essentially saying he is afraid his family will think he can do better then me. WHAT ON EARTH!? I am so tired of feeling less than. :(

      Anyways, that wasn't the point of your response, it was just something that popped out at me.

      I told him today that I'm not sure what we are, or where we will go, but that I'm willing to let him stick around and feel things out, and that is the best I can do right now. :/

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  10. Arrgh, trust issues! Please remember this "advice" is coming from another injured person - haha. Years of therapy, a wonderful daughter and her family, a few loyal friends and tons of laughter have brought me this far; so, I'm not doing so bad, right? My "picker" was off as well. In hindsight, I probably let a few good ones pass while choosing an emotionally/mentally/sexually abusive narcissistic sociopath masquerading as a friend for twelve years for a second husband. It has been 9 years of recovery from the disaster. The worst of it was I had a 10 year-old daughter to protect and, at that, I seriously failed. I am grateful nothing happened to her physically; but, the scars of emotional/mental abuse don't ever completely heal. It was a gradual slide into hell that became my personal avalanche. Nothing to be seen by family or friends, so, what could I say? Successful, responsible, a beautiful life, all outward appearances perfect - until that front door closed behind us for ten loooong fucking years. I would have looked like the crazy one. Then I became crazy and no longer "useful". Then HE divorced me. YEAH!!!! Leaving every asset I was owed and a ton of my own, I left broke, broken and defeated, I thought - sure felt that way then. It took another three years to even come out of the fog. And now I am here, stronger, better than I have ever been; buuuut, alone - still. And that's ok.

    You posted that you just finished therapy a few months ago. Really? Have you thought about continuing? It saved my life. Still an ongoing process.

    I recently reconnected with someone I passed over many years ago. He is different from what I have always thought was "my type". I am going so slowly with this relationship it borders on the ridiculous. I haven't told him any details, just that it was a horrible experience for us. As far as he knows, it was a contentious divorce. Fine. If we continue (I hope we do), I may reveal the sordid story; but, not all at once and no time soon. You are a bit younger than me and I have been alone for years now. I have learned to enjoy me and my time alone - and yes, I have been lonely; but, the break was necessary.

    Maybe, just maybe, this guy is the right guy for you. Only you know how you feel about him. All his other character traits, are they wonderful? Does he make you feel fantastic about yourself - other than telling his brother your story? Huge mistake on his part. But, you must remember he was probably freaked to hell and back. He may have needed to bounce it off his brother - hopefully, his best friend? Reading the comments here and you see many posters are shocked these things happened to you. That is the problem with sharing and putting a spotlight on that dark place. Everything will come to light and THAT, is the scariest thing of all. But, here you are putting it all out there.

    Only you can decide if this guy deserves continuing "probation" of this relationship and rebuilding trust with him. If he fits all your other criteria (and makes you feel wonderful about you) and is someone that deserves to be in your children's lives, maybe he deserves a second chance. But, don't do this because you are lonely. Only continue with anyone because you WANT to, not because you NEED to. There is a huge difference between the two. That is what gets us into our messes - as adults. So, I guess my best advice if you should decide to continue with him, based on my own experiences, is slooooow and steady. One more slip-up from the new guy - he gets the axe!!!! LOL

    I wish for you a healthy, happy and successful 2014! Looks like big, wonderful things are happening! Always, always, always take good care of you - first!

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    1. I read your comments and I wish I could pull up a chair and have coffee with you, I would love to pick your brain and gain your insights on a lot of different things. Everything from how your daughter is doing to how you handled the divorce. I think I could learn a lot from you :)

      Thank you for your advice! I told him this morning that I am willing to let him stick around and feel things out, but that I can't make any commitments right now. He is a great guy, but I have a nagging feeling that he thinks his family will look down on me, like he could do better. That hurts. Guess we will see.

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    2. Oh, and as far as the therapy goes, it was getting SO hard to fit into my schedule, and I have no insurance :( I know it sounds ridiculous, but my therapist and I agreed that I was making great gains, continuing to attend a support group, and if I feel like I've stalled in my recovery, I'll check back in. :)

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    3. You are a sweetheart and if you are ever on an east coast trip we will have that coffee (or three), a huge hug and a nice long chat!

      I will tell you my daughter - bless her soul - is a 30 year old wonderful woman with a fantastic husband and a one-year old daughter. Sadly, she had to pick her partners through the default process since I had not shown her by example. Her father (Husband #1) is an exceptional dad/grandfather; just a sucky husband that cheated. Told you my picker was off. LOL We have always been very good friends for her well-being, sharing holiday dinners, random get-togethers/outings with our significant/insignificant others.

      Ehhh, the divorce. We can chat later. hehheh I was not in my best form - to put it mildly - so, I wasn't very.....present or attentive to exactly what was going on. Best advice: keep your wits about you!

      I didn't even get to his family's mention. The bad X's family thought I was quite a few rungs below them and treated us openly like that. Terrible way to start out. Keep that in mind as you go forward. You don't marry the family; but, that shitty attitude does affect you and influence "their" person.

      I hate that you have no insurance. Hopefully, that will change this year and you can jump back in. I feel it is so very important to have even one hour weekly when it is all about you, your feelings, behaviors, responses to events, etc., to keep a check on progress or a needed perspective adjustment. I hope you can do that for yourself.

      Just be careful going forward. Sloooooow. Just reloaded my Starbucks card, so I'm ready for you!

      Happy New Year to you and all who matter to you!

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    4. Haha, aw how I would love a vacation! And to see you of course!!!

      I am 30, so I am exactly your daughters age. I am so happy that she has started her own little family. You may have been through some tough times, but your daughter is so lucky to have you :)

      I agree with the x's family, which is part of what makes me nervous. I haven't even met them and he is afraid they might judge me by my past. I am so tired of being "less than" someone else :(

      Yea, the no insurance sucks!!

      Yay starbucks!

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  11. I read your post on xoJane, and came right over to your blog. Your story touched me so much, and you're an amazing writer.

    Two comments on your post:

    1. Should you trust this guy? I don't know. I tell my sister everything so I kind of get why he told his brother...when I say "I won't tell anyone" I might as well say "...except my sister" and people who know me well, know that. But that doesn't excuse what he did...just might explain it. He does sound like a nice guy and it might be worth letting him in to your life slowly, carefully, and seeing if he is worthy of your love.

    2. You worry about people judging you for your past...it is possible that they could judge you in a good way. I am judging you myself...judging you as an amazingly strong woman who has overcome incredible odds to get where she is today.

    I look forward to reading more from you. Happy new year.

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    1. I am glad you have found your way here, happy to have you!! Thank you for your kind words :)

      It's so hard for me to understand the sibling dynamic since I don't have a relationship with mine, so I thank you for your insight ;)

      Haha, I think I like your judgements :) You seem pretty darn awesome yourself!

      Happy New Year!

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  12. I'm going to give you some specific advice. Some of it comes from my life experience, some from the experience of my friends, and some of it from my training in pastoral counselling. I hope that it helps, but don't think it substitutes for the advice of a real live therapist or counsellor. :)

    First off, give yourself a lot more time than you have. I'm with the person who suggested that maybe you continue therapy. I know this may be hard to hear, but you (like many others I know) may be in and out of therapy for much of the rest of your life, because the scars you have will tend to trip you up whenever there are significant life events--your daughter's first period, she starts dating, etc.

    Second, take the time to learn to love and trust YOURSELF. You don't need a man to treat you like a princess, you need yourself to treat you like a queen, one who is truly in command of her life and her body. From what I've read, you're well on your way to doing this. Stay the course. Remember, right now, a relationship should be something you WANT, not something you NEED, because if you're coming from a needy place, looking for a man to validate you, you'll pick wrong every time.

    Third, take every relationship slowly. I know from experience that what's inside is like a monster, trying to get out, and with the least bit of sympathy, you'll want to dump. Think beforehand about how to do the reveal slowly. You won't want your life partner not to know what you've gone through, but that doesn't mean you have to tell him everything one or two months into the relationship. Practise the "slow reveal." When he asks, instead of saying "It's complicated," say, "I was abused as a child, and I no longer have contact with my family. I made some wrong choices as an adult, and have had two bad marriages. I'm willing to try again, but I need time to get to know you well before I can trust you completely."

    Take that time. At least a year, maybe more. I dated the man I married for FOUR YEARS before we got married. Although mostly it was because I was fifteen when we met, it gave me the chance to really get to know him, his mother and father and brothers. How he reacted to stress, what he really thought about women and relationships, what he did for a living, what he wanted out of life. Smart and funny and charming only go so far, especially since they are three hallmark traits of psychopaths. (Really!)

    Finally, good men don't go around sounding like Hallmark greeting cards. They sound real. If you haven't already researched the signs that a relationship might be or might turn out to be abusive, do so.

    And DO NOT blame yourself for not picking the "right" guy. We tend to pick men (and women) who are very like our parents, not because it's best for us, but because it's what we know and are comfortable with and believe in our hearts is the only way to be in relationship. You'll have to do something most women don't have to do--learn to like something different, something outside your experience.

    It can be done. I have spent some time recently with an elderly woman whose first marriage was a nightmare, but whose second marriage was good beyond belief. There IS hope, and there are great guys who want to treat both you and your children with the love, courtesy and respect you all deserve!

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    1. THIS ^^^^^^!!!!!! You have stated it so well!

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    2. Wow, all my commenters are SO smart!!! Every comment is giving me so much to think about.

      I absolutely agree with you about the therapy. It, like my healing, will come in waves. I think that for the moment I am at a good place, have a good support group, and an open line of communication with my therapist. Hopefully that will help me :) I've done so much work with my counselor in the last year, we agreed that I was in a good place to be on my own for a while, and I'll keep a good emotional inventory :)

      I couldn't agree more with you about the difference between wanting and needing a relationship. I would LOVE to have someone, I would love to feel wanted, but at the same time, I am happy alone. I love my kids, my house, my life. I want to add to it, but I don't need it, which is another reason I have too easy of a time cutting people loose.

      I also couldnt agree more, its time to learn to love something new. Something that feels uncormfortable to me could be my new healthy "normal," outside of the "comfort and normalcy" of the dysfunction I am used too.

      I hope you visit here often, I am loving your insights

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    3. This is pretty much what I was going to say. You've got a lot going on and you don't need to play all your cards at once. Often questions people ask each other while dating aren't so much a desire to know as they are a statement of what is important to the person asking the question. (You can sub out dating for new friendship as well) When Derek was asking you about your family, I think what he was saying initially was "My family is really important to me, is family really important to you?" It may not have started out as a serious question, but when you refused to answer it ("It's complicated") it became interesting, something he NEEDED to know about. My suggestion would be to come up with some non-answers that sound like answers for next time that don't quite slam the door in the asker's face. Examples:
      - This isn't the right time to talk about this, but I'll let you know when it is. (tells him this is not a good subject for you, but stick around)
      - My kids are my family .... talk about traditions you have with them with them. (answers the question unless it's a "what were things like for you growing up?" and lets him know who comes first)
      - I'm not in contact with my blood relations. How about that local sports team? (answers question and redirects)
      - I was abused as a child and have just gotten up the courage to cut them out of my life. (bare bones answer that should satisfy)

      Basically, have you ever watched one of those interviews on ET or something where the reporter is pushing away and the actor keeps redirecting to the movie or the part they played rather than what it was like on set or their relationship with their costar? That's what you are going to be doing. Answer the questions you wanted to hear rather than the one you were asked.

      As for this guy? I'd let him off with a warning that if he ever does this again, you're out.

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    4. You, my dear, are extremely smart. Can you just move into my house and feed me little bits of your brilliance as needed??

      I love what you said about asking questions being a reflection of what is important to them. Brilliant lol

      I need to work on my redirect responses (great example).

      Thank you for taking the time to tell me all of this!

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    5. I'll move into your digital home. IRL, there's a busy pants toddler dying to destroy everything and sow duplos everywhere.

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    6. Oh my gosh lol, I love it. He can hang out with my two year old son who is doing the exact same thing!!

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    7. I'll be hanging out digitally, too. You've built quite a support group around this blog, and it's made of neat people I'd like to hang with.

      As for my wisdom, it has been earned through a lifetime of experience. By the time you're in your fifties, you'll be just as wise, if not more so. Go you!

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    8. I agree, most everyone sans a few trolls have been awesome! So excited to see everyone learning and growing together :)

      Well I've got 20 years to absorb all the wisdom from you guys as I can :)

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  13. Hey gurl... so, you wanted some advise, here it goes:

    You have 2 young children. Dating, sounds great, relationships? Give it a while... quite a while... You say you have trust issues? Throw some strange guys into the mix and your kids will have a lifetime of trust issues because of it. I speak from experience.

    Trying to have a relationship with a man while parenting 2 small children is crazy-making. Men (sorry guys, don't mean to generalize, but I am gonna anyway) are needy creatures... and even the extremely independent ones have got their insecurities, and you WILL be torn between being an awesome mom, there for your kids, and assuaging your boyfriends bruised ego when you cant be there for him 24/7 like he is used to from his past relationships.

    ALSO. And this is way, way big...Yea, you are a total hottie... but, YOUR CHILDREN are very attractive to some guys, and they will be mr. everything to you to gain your trust to let them into your kids lives, only to do some very heinous things to them. Be very, very careful. You will never forgive yourself if something were to happen to them, and you unsuspectingly allowed it to. Mental, emotional, physical abuse... it's all bad and you can't control it if its coming from Mr. Ithoughtyouweretheone.

    So, go ahead, date, have some epic fun... but keep them at an arms distance until your kids know what a personal boundary is, and how to kick and scream if it is crossed. 10 years from now, you will still be super hot, and even more successful than you are now, and the right one will come knocking, and you and your kids will be ready. He won't live 2 hours away, and he will understand what a promise is. Brother or not.

    all the best, keep it coming...

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    1. Ha, I agree, dating with small kids is hard. If they hate my children, they are gone. If they love them, I'm all "in exactly what way do you LOVE children." Ugh, one more thing to complicate life.

      Thank you for your insights and bringing your concerns to my attention :)

      And heck yea, I still plan on being super hot in ten years haha!!!

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  14. Hello, I'm also seventeen so not sure how useful my advice will be. I'm not going to share my story or anything like that. But from what I can see and what I have read from you, it looks like- obviously, you have major trust issues. Here's the thing: unfortunately and as much as we would like them to, it's very hard for people to keep secrets. About yourself, it's easy, but when it's about someone you love it's very difficult to keep that to yourself. I think that you also have to consider his perspective in that he does care about you, and telling you that he was worried was not a personal attack, but more him trying to open up to you, so he shows that he trusts you- which is another step of you learning to trust him. I totally understand why you're upset that he crossed boundaries, but from just reading those little texts he does seem genuinely, really , really sorry. The fact that he is willing to drive two hours in the icy snow down to see you should tell you that he cares if nothing else does, and he's willing to fight to win you back. People with different issues find it extremely difficult to deal with people like us, who are emotionally vulnerable and find sharing very difficult. It can be taxing on them. I think so far he has done an amazing job, barr one slip up. It could be that he told a friend at the bar when he was drunk, who then tells another friend etc. Also, if you have a future with him, his family were bound to find out. I don't think they're judging you- I think they're more worried about their own son, and how it might be taxing on him to 'have to deal with someone with that past.'

    Please understand that this is not in any way meant to degrade or upset you, I just think that when you're in such a difficult phase it is hard to look at things from anothers' perspective because you are still fixing yourself, and I completely understand that and am going through the same process.

    Good luck on letting people in in the future. I promise you there are people that are worth it- and of course they are hard to find, but having some failures will help build you and make you even stronger as a person, and rely & appreciate the people in your life that will be there- and I think it's possible that Derek will be one of them...

    x

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    1. For 17, you are pretty darn smart. Keep at it girly, you have a bright future ahead of you, I'm certain of it. :)

      Sending hugs!

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  15. also I would love to talk further with you about something privately. If it's not too much trouble, could you please contact me at katherinegrace1996@gmail.com. I would be very grateful,

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    1. Of course hun. I'm sending you an email now

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  16. I came here via xoJane because your story moved me a great deal. But as someone who also comes from a very violent background, I've learned to dole out that information on a need-to-know basis with men I'm dating. I don't tell men "I'll never trust you," because that's a challenge and once that challenge is conquered, they tend to go away.

    And IMHO, your counselor is nuts if she thinks you're ready to quit. Perhaps you've come to terms with what you've been through, but you're still putting yourself out there to the world as damaged goods, which is ridiculous. You're strong and beautiful—that you've conquered actual demons to get there is incredible. I highly recommend you read "The Glass Castle." I think it'll ring very true for you.

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    1. I never thought about it as a challenge before. Yikes. I hate feeling like a fix it project. I almost never tell anyone that I date about my past. I rarely tell anyone more then the tiny bits. I can't even count more then three people that know. Pasts are so hard. You try to escape them, but somehow they seem to cling on and sneak up behind you.

      Im still very much damaged goods lol. But Im making progress, and that's all I can do right now. If I feel like Im slipping, I will def go back. It was just so hard to get there working several jobs and having two kids with special needs. Ugh. I know that I need to make myself a priority in order to make the rest of my life functional, so I'm keeping good tabs on myself.

      Thank you for your concern :)

      I'll check out that book!

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  17. He may mean well, and he's a bridge you should not burn. Maybe he isn't the one you're to spend your life with, but that's something hard to come by. Trust me, I spent every day since puberty looking for someone and shattering inwardly over and over again. After what you've been through, you really don't need to be hurt anymore, but letting him go as a relationship option and letting him in as a friend, might be for the best.

    One cannot know great joy without feeling great pain, nor great love without great loss. Until then just keep testing the waters, eventually you'll get lucky. It's a roll of a die every relationship but it's not a fixed die and your number WILL show up. Eventually. Until then, cuddle up next to some Dorothy Parker poetry and remember a lot of girls hurt in relationships, too. But not all that many have as much depth to their person as you, and you're strong.

    I know why he told...it's human to do as such. A secret can be kept between two so long as one of them is dead. Even I can't help it, I need someone to reflect upon things with, I need someone else's view. He didn't mean any harm in it, but unfortunately the deed has been done. C'est la vie. I hope you can understand why he did it at least, if not forgive. Forgiveness isn't easy. Forgive, but don't forget.

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    1. Thank you for your advice :) Now that its had a few days to sink in, I can see that it probably isn't as big as it feels to me. Feelings and reality do not always line up.

      With that being said, I am going to proceed with caution. I told him we could date, but at this point, it needs to be casual. Not even so much bc of any of the reasons in my post, just bc of where I am at. I don't know what I'm feeling, and he should feel free to explore his other options while I figure it out.

      If its meant to be, it will be. If not, no use stressing.

      :)

      hugs!!

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    2. Just...be careful with casual dating, however. If you end up feeling something and he gets with someone else, however casual it is...it can hurt like hell. And if you're unlucky, like I've been...you might lose something great. But hey, they weren't the ones, anyhow...still, just a word of caution.

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    3. Very true. That has definitely happened to me before. AH, I hate dating!!

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  18. No one is going to be perfect; you are going to, occasionally, get hurt by mistakes. But, for the most part, people are not awful. They're not malicious, they're not in it just to hurt you. That guy you trusted right after your marriage probably even was not awful... just, he said some awful things at the end, to mask his own pain (relationship-ending is hard, people will lash out in really terrible ways sometimes, or just generally make bad decisions when going through that). Total dick move nonetheless, even if he was otherwise a truly great guy: his comment was engineered to cause lasting harm, and that's not cool. I mean, I don't know, maybe you've got awful luck and he too was just a completely terrible person, I could not possibly learn enough about him from a blog post to tell the difference.

    But for the most part, people are not terrible, just human. There are going to be misunderstandings, there are going to be mistakes, and you are going to get hurt sometimes. If you knew for certain that you would not get hurt, there would be no trust needed, because you *knew*!

    Trust takes time. I do not think it can be willed into being. We talk a lot about deciding who and when to trust, but I'm not sure it really works like that... trust is a feeling, it accumulates just like friendship or love, it is not especially controllable or even rational. That doesn't mean it's not valid, though. Our feelings are real, even if they are not predictable by computer algorithm or some other cold hard scientific process, and they should be respected (I need to remind myself of this often). You should trust someone when you want to trust them, not necessarily for any careful timing or calculations or hurdles met or social pressures.

    It's ok if there's some cost-benefit analysis that goes into this; weighing the chance of being hurt against the amount you enjoy being with this person, how good they make you feel. It's ok if right now you feel like you will never fully trust someone again. It's ok to trust this guy less now for having thoughtlessly violated your trust. It's ok to not be sure what you'd like to do, and to take your time in coming to a decision about him. It's ok to ask for space in the meantime, or to spend time together as you figure things out.

    The main thing is, to trust yourself. That will come with time, too. And yes, you will make mistakes, and get hurt. That doesn't mean that you are awful. Just human. And sometimes you'll trust yourself and get hurt and it will cause you to trust yourself less for a bit, and that's ok too. But trust builds with time, and if you take care of yourself you will earn your trust back.

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    1. Its so hard to trust myself when my standards and learned realities are so skewed, but I'm learning. I wish I just had that natural sense of reading people that a lot of people have. But, nope. None of that here. haha.

      In the meantime, I'm glad that I have all of you and your spectacular advice!!

      He came over tonight. We snuggled and talked. I was very honest that I don't know what we are, or where we are, or what I feel, and that is just going to have to be ok for now. And if its not, well, sorry, I can't help you with that. He said he was fine with that, no pressure. I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I will definitely be a bit more censored. :/

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    2. In my childhood, my motives were always assumed to be wrong and I was constantly punished and shunned. I developed very black and white thinking about rightness and wrongness under this training. Any tiny defect meant the entire thing is worthless. I keep falling into this trap with my self assessment, and my asseessment of others. It's called "splitting". People are either on the pedestal, or they are evil, toxic, dangerous. It takes a lot of mindful awareness to sort out the gray areas. Human foibles. We've all got em. Which ones will we tolerate in ourselves, in others? What kind of justice will be served to me, to the people I find "evil"? I find comfort in just being the the Now, but it takes soooo much daily practice and discipline.

      btw, my current reality is happily married 15 years to a man that told me that my past was my past, and all he cared about was what we were building today. And he had a lot of issues and didn't look great on paper back then, but for some reason, I leaped into Trust with him. We've had some crazy times sorting out our foibles. I do not use the word "crazy" lightly. Now that we're in our forties, we have mellowed into sublime comfort and total honesty, absolute trust. I continue to need tune-ups of Somatic Experiencing treatment. Because the past lodges itself in your tissues and it takes bodywork to get them out....I'm constantly learning how to discern my shit from my husband's shit. Every moment is a new adventure.

      I guess I shared that because I wanted to show you there is hope to find true love and absolute trust in this world.

      Love,
      Cat, the hyper-poster today, hope it's ok. <3

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    3. I love my hyper poster lol!!

      I like the splitting thing. I had not thought about that either. My gosh my head is so full of information these days it might explode!!!

      I'm so happy that you have found a way to make it work with someone :)

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  19. There is no greater advice for a person in your situation (or for anyone) than this:

    When a person tells you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.

    And by "tells you," I mean with their actions. Anybody can lie with their words. Their actions will tell you the truth. This man's actions told you he is someone who can not be trusted. BELIEVE THAT.

    I know it can seem so complicated when you're in the middle of a thing like this, but try to step out of it for a moment and look at this simple picture: First he betrayed your trust, then you asked if you should trust him. It looks pretty silly when you look at that simple order of events, right?

    I'm one of the people who came to your blog from the xojane article, and I believe you are an incredibly brave women with a chance for a future a million times greater than your past, but that kind of past warps your thinking (as you know) and you have to use your head to make up for what your heart and your instincts weren't trained to do. Ignore your feelings, because feelings lie like words, and instead remember that when someone's actions tell you who they are, believe them. THAT is what you can trust.

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    1. Thank you for your advice :) I actually ended things with him this morning. Sucks bc we had a lot of fun together and he seemed like a great guy, I just realized I was coming second to a lot of other things in his life. I don't need to be THE MAIN priority, but I refuse to be someone's side life. :) Oh well. The search continues.

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    2. Well, I do believe that you are to be the MAIN priority of someone else's life simply because you deserve it!! anything else needs to be the side line.

      From my experience, I have been through hell and back but was patient enough to wait to find one guy who was willing to be with me, for me, with all the craziness, the mood swings, the past, the present and the choices I make. Simply, believe that you deserve the best, nothing less and that will automatically set the boundaries to you of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Whilst I really appreciate your honesty and the courage to look around for guidance, the answer to the question you asked here, needs to be sought from within as only you as a person really know what you can tolerate and what not. Obviously set standards that are realistic to you as a person, don't worry if a person really wants to be with you, he will have no difficulty in sticking around when you push him back.

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    3. I was writing a way bigger comment, but my chrome made it disappear... So I'll say what i remember ):
      I'm young, but people always came to me for love stuff and i've been married for 5 years now, so I'll give you my advice and hope it helps (dunno if someone said something like this yet, the comments are way too big, I want to read more of your blog!).
      My husband and I have and amazing relationship because we are REALLY honest with each other, I always tell him if I'm angry or sad and why and he talks about his feelings with me and I'm sayong this because it made me know a lot about how men think about us.
      And what i have to tell is: first of all, i don't say what he did was right (telling his bother), but when you told him about your past, you told him that the woman he likes has so more baggage than he expected, you bundened him (i'm not saying that it's a bad thing! we share our burden with the people that love us - or anonymously), so he had to share it with someone he knows he can trust, he knows loves him and he knows can keep a secret (because he made a promise, after all) and it's unfair for you to make him promise BEFORE telling him something,sp he can trully be honest about his promise.
      And if he was going to run, he would have run by now, when you told him all about you, but he chose to share with his family, so he deserves at least a second chance.

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    4. All very good advice Lilian, thank you for sharing :) I will admit, I can see how freaked out he must have been. I need to learn to ease into it!!

      Secondly, I HATE when I'm typing a really long thing and it gets deleted. I feel your pain lol!

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  20. Glad you broke up with him, phew!

    Always best to remember the old adage...Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ME.

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    1. That saying rules my life these days. I have shamed myself many, many times. I need to start changing that!

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  21. Did you actually tell him, 'This is a secret. Don't tell anyone.'? I would think that distinction matters a lot. Granted, some people have a built-in sense of tact that warns them, 'you probably shouldn't spread this around' but many people live their lives very openly, and tend to talk about whatever's on their mind. If you didn't specify 'this is a secret', it might not occur to them, because they don't have any secrets of their own.

    Also, everyone needs someone to talk to, even (or maybe especially) someone who has just gotten a lot of new information about a friend/potential love interest. Even you need to tell people what's happened to you, and what is happening-- you choose to talk it out anonymously over this blog. He maybe didn't make the best choice in telling his brother, but he needed to tell someone. People have a need to discuss their problems, choices and conundrums with other people.

    Personally, I always choose to confide in an out-of-state friend who will never meet the person I'm talking about, so there's never gossip. I think everyone needs to tell somebody though.

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    1. He actually told me, "You can tell me anything, I won't tell anyone." I was fairly persistant that I did NOT want to tell him about my past, and he was overly reassuring that I could talk to him about ANYTHING.

      I felt like I got played.

      I need some more out of state friends lol

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  22. Know I'm a bit late commenting, but I just got to your site a few days ago. I was reading some of the older posts, and here I am. I read this post and throughout the whole thing, what I read was "I don't trust myself." "I don't trust my feelings." "I don't trust my decisions." I say that because I've been there myself. After surviving sex abuse as a child, and a sexual assault in my late teens, I was completely convinced that I could not trust my own emotions. Every time I tried to trust, people just hurt me even worse. My answer was to stop listening to my emotions. If someone told me I should feel a certain way, or NOT feel a certain way...I did! I figured they had to know better than me, right? I spent two decades like this, always doubting myself, my judgement, my emotions. I was a full-blown sex addict, partly because I didn't trust my own sense of what was healthy for me and what was not. I got married to the worst person on the planet for me partly because I figured that if he said that's what was best for me/us, then that must be true!

    So...What changed? For me, what changed was getting serious help. I found an awesome therapist who had over a decade of experience in using EMDR to treat trauma and abuse. Over the course of 6 months or so of hard work, I finally had an "Ah-hah!" moment. I re-integrated with my emotions. I (re)discovered that my emotions are incredibly valuable tools that give me important information about my surroundings and my state of being. I learned that if I can't trust myself, I can never trust anyone else. When I started trusting (and listening to, and acting on) the messages that my emotions were sending me, my life changed. Not in a huge, visible, drastic sort of way...But in a pervasive, subtle, instinctual, foundational sort of way.

    In my job, I am required to "read" people all the time. Are they telling the truth, or are they lying? Are they dangerous, or just upset? I use these skills all the time in my professional life, but every time I tried to apply them to my personal life, it was a stunning failure. Until I learned to trust myself, and my emotions/intuitions, and cared about myself enough to follow their lead.

    Now, today, I can happily say that I do trust others. Often. With my "secrets" and my "shame" and my flaws and my failures and my joys and my hopes and my dreams. I haven't found a partner to share them with yet, but that will come when I and whoever it is are ready. I'm confident in my worth, and in my ability to assess what/who's healthy for me, and who isn't. It's been that way for about 3 years now, and I'm still amazed by how GOOD it feels.

    That was an awful lot of rambling there, sorry. I don't know if any of that was helpful. Whatever it was, I hope that you find peace within yourself. I HIGHLY recommend the book "The Gifts of Imperfection," by Brene Brown. It is short & sweet, but it made such a huge difference on how I saw my "flaws" and my interactions with others.

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    1. Wow, you sure have come a long way. Congrats on an awesome recovery path!! I had never thought about how I don't trust my own emotions sometimes. I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm going to have to ponder this for awhile and let it sink in. I think you are on to something my dear.....

      I will check the book out, it sounds like it would be a good one for me to read.

      Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Happy you have found your way here :)

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  23. A little late to the party but i wanted to but my two cents out there.
    Though my life has not been as hard as yours i too do not give up my trust easily. but in the cases you have stated above i.e. the seemingly perfect man, there was/is a reason you at first did not want to let him in so fast. I think of trust as a survival instinct, my gut giving me its approval or not to let someone in. with the guy you are talking about in the post here he did betray your trust, and you deserve way better than the lame excuse of 'i tell my brother everything' that is bull! and if he did that to me i would not be so quick to let him in again, or ever.
    But with your best friend i personally think he came on to quick and strong, which would throw off anyone. I do want that happy ending for you and Best Friend, but that is not an option right now unless he starts talking to you, and you both can start a dialogue about everything.
    Trust is scary. And when your trust has been constantly betrayed, it does become precious. and it gets put on a pedestal and sometimes we want to keep it too close to our heart afraid to have it broken again. But it is possible to have trust in someone, and to be able to give it, it just takes time and trust will grow.

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    1. Trust is the one thing that I truly feel I may never have a good grasp on. Its such a grey area, and so fluid. Ugh!! So glad that I have all of you guys to bounce these issue's off of!! ((hugs))

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  24. I'm going to give you one bit of really really practical advice and it's easy to do, to boot: Don't text stuff like this. Make a phone call or say it in person. I'm reading the screenshots and just noticing how often you two were misunderstanding each other entirely. Or the response he intended to come before you spoke again came after you'd sent another message and he had to play catch-up. And those little disconnects makes it all feel weirder, right?

    I do this same thing (texting when I should be talking). Miscommunications happen in texting a whole lot more than they do when you use your voice. But I don't have any specific advice about this guy. I don't like that he told his brother when you told him not to tell anyone. It would be a major boundary violation for me, esp. when he knows you have trust issues.

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    1. But the biggest thing missing from texts is tone of voice. It communicates wonders.

      The biggest thing missing from a voice phone conversations is body language, which also is amazingly communicative. I would try to find someone closer in proximity so you can have more face-to-face conversations.

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    2. I agree %100. I'm glad you put this on here so that other people can learn that as well!

      I had actually told him earlier that I didn't want to have these kinds of conversations via text, but it gets hard sometimes when either person is impatient, and I absolutely won't have those conversations over the phone in front of my kids, so if they are there, no phone call. So sometimes better judgment and lapses and texting continues. Ah, the world of technology!

      Thank you for your advice :)

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    3. I always say there needs to be a sarcasm font haha

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  25. You know how I feel about Trust... :)

    Nathalie
    xoxoxox

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