My Face In My Mirror


The good qualities I saw in Him are the qualities I have, because he mirrored them to hook me into thinking he was ‘just like me’

Dependable.  Caring.  Reliable.  Hard Working.  Faithful.  Honest.  Intelligent.  Independent.  Sexy.  Liberal minded.  Working on spiritual growth.  Introspective.  Loyal.  Confident.  Desiring improvement.

Bad, red flags I should have paid way much  more attention to:

Tendency toward lazy.  Overindulgent.  Likes fantasy.  Childlike.  Very conservative.  Sees people in stereotypes.  Very sorry for himself about sex abuse – made me feel sorry for him, very victim.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  How bad other people are, don’t do this, are hypocrites, lie, etc etc etc, without any empathy for them.  I guess that’s your problem.  Utter silence in the face of complaint or emotion from me.  No one has ever complained before (about sexual, but I wasn’t getting off or feeling really a part of it).  I am a God (that’s a joke).  I am TWO.  I’ll fix your little red wagon.  I feel like such a tool. 

The good qualities I see in T in case they are just a mirror also: remember, if something feels off, or too good to be true, it probably is.  Something feels ‘off’.

Spiritual.  Self possessed.  Good listener.  Number of skills – rides, plays flute and drum, makes mead, cooks.  Seems very taken with me.  Knows many spiritual people (as well as he claims?)

Bad, red flags:

‘you get me’ about vanity.  Vain.  Marriage ended badly with him feeling victim (and so do I).  If I find someone attractive, they probably are bad for me.  At beck and call of multiple women.  Grandiosity about his skills (I have that some, too).  How he had a marriage with many ‘things’ and lost those things.   Aloof.  Friends may call me a perv, but they are just gossiping, and he dropped it when I became all triggered.   Liking to view women at HPF.    How he has his emotions under control now because he was too intense and scared women away, then figured out which kind were scared, and quit worrying about it (but he still acts like he must be in control).  I am a diva, like my horse. 

How to behave – not feel sorry for him.  not try to carry any of his own burden.  not feeding his ego.  watch for – self pity, blaming other people/ex, playing the hero to look good, pay strict attention to his parent’s relationship and his relationship with his mother – if close to his father, not quite so bad

Oh.  He was falling in love with someone else, all along.  Ok.  Passed over for a chance at true love.  I can truly accept that.  Hell of a lot better than being passed over for some fantasy porn whore in some manslut’s happy/shameful/self hate addiction.  I may feel somewhat sorry for myself, lonely, sad, scared, but I can feel happy for him. 

Hope.

Tests for anyone I might consider in the future:  how would you define empathy?  What would you do if you found yourself in a bad situation?  How is your parent’s relationship?  How is your current relationship with your ex?  How is your relationship with your mother?  Father?  Brothers?

Someone else’s thoughts, I like:

“I think maybe the most important thing I’ve learned from my relationships with Ns–and it’s really basic but worth repeating over and over–is to always trust your instincts. Always, no matter how unfounded they seem, because truly skilled manipulators might not give you obvious warning signs at first. You might not be able to catch them in a blatant lie, but only have the pervasive feeling that you’re being lied to. They might not call you a bitch or a whore or an idiot, but say subtly mean things about your appearance or behavior or intelligence that make you feel uncomfortable or ashamed. They might not keep tabs on everything you do, but exhibit low-level contempt for your friends or family (and if they show contempt or disregard for their own friends and family, LOOK OUT!). They might not get into physical fights, but stand or walk or gesture in ways that appear physically imposing to you. In other words, they are sometimes very, very indirect, and it is at this point that they’ll have you starting to question your perceptions and scrambling to reconcile your reality with theirs. This is when the unraveling begins. And the less you trust your own judgment, the harder it is to leave. 

“If you have the feeling you can’t be yourself with him, that he’s silently judging you or those you care about, if you’re afraid of making mistakes or criticisms or to simply bring up a concern because he may belittle you or that he’s keeping score, if you constantly sense that he’s hiding something from you even though you don’t have proof, don’t wait until you have “hard evidence” to make a decision about the relationship. By then your heart may be broken and your life shattered. Show yourself the respect you deserve and GET OUT. You owe him nothing!”

 
Someone else’s rules:  I like these, so I need to pay attention:

1.  He’s in your space/overstepping your boundaries (pay attention to how you feel)–pushing for something from you, probably sex way too early (healthy, respectful men don’t do this and I refuse to set boundaries for another adult);

2.  Comments about women in a derogatory manner or focuses and makes comments about other women, esp. their bodies, in my presence (bye, bye);

3.  Talks about self incessantly (toodle loo);

4.  Has a pity story (tell it to Jesus, son);

5.  Expects instant gratification (instant girlfriend, just add water…no thanks);

6.  He doesn’t ask you about yourself or you feel like he’s not paying attention when you tell him about yourself;

7.  He doesn’t know how to converse (If you open a discussion that’s deeper than banter, he doesn’t follow you there.);

8.  He seems immature (i.e., the most recent guy I started to date and pretty quickly ditched told me a story about his dog on the 1st date….said he couldn’t have dogs anymore because he had dropped his last dog off at someone’s house and never gone back for him….all this was said sort of like, “My bad,” but for me it was a huge red flag.);

9.  He has substance abuse issues (Note to Self:  It’s hard to track this if you’re also imbibing excessively);

10.  You set the pace and vary it. See how he deals with this….can he respect seeing you, say, once a week or not seeing you for a week when you’re unavailable.

11.  Is he a yo, yo (all over you then, poof, he disappears only to reappear when it’s convenient to him).

Oh. I see myself in some of these red flags, too.  I am certainly not perfect, and I manipulate a little more than I prefer, and  I am not particularly close to my family, especially my parents.  I hope to hell I am not saying subtly cruel things, because my mother was so good at that I might not even notice if I am.  I don’t want to think like that about other people, let alone act that way.  How to be safe and protect myself, yet honest and positive about other people?  Such is life, to try to be self aware, and recognize my own failings, just never someone else’s.  And that is how I fail, to continually overlook other people’s fatal flaws and accept what outcome, until it nearly kills me.

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