Category Archives: Old Patterns

Not Ghosted, Just a Classic Case of Gaslighting

Remember how I figured I was ghosted by the most recent guy I’d started dating? And I accepted and it moved on? Welp, I guess it was not the end…

Apparently, I was being given the silent treatment. For 2 1/2 days to be exact. My last form of communication with the guy was on a Thursday morning. I figured by Friday evening, with no response from him, that we were pretty much over. Because who does that? He was an insta-texter, so I knew a long period of silence meant he was either sleeping, or not happy about something. He often texted me all day long while he was working, so he didn’t let daily business stop him. And why didn’t we talk on the phone? Well because the few times I asked him to, he didn’t feel like talking. Yes, a red flag, but I’m an idiot sometimes. So we mostly texted and made plans to see each other on the weekends.

My brain already started to decompress by Friday night. I even hopped back on my paused dating site profile. After all, it had only been about 3 weeks of “dating”. We hadn’t had the commitment conversation, didn’t make it that far. I wasn’t feeling bad because I already did that for two whole days — I am done with confusing relationships. If I’m confused, even after attempting clarification, then there’s something not working. Boy was I right.

So I went to bed on Thursday and Friday nights feeling sad, just because I don’t like the dating world in general and thought maybe I’d found a nice one. But I was also relieved because I felt like a dodged a bad boyfriend bullet way sooner than later. So I did a little sulking and by Saturday morning I was in acceptance mode. I did some yoga and had some nice quiet time by myself until it was time to go pick up my kids from their dad.

On the way home Saturday evening, I heard a text notification on my phone. I didn’t check it right away because I was driving. When I got to a red light, I glanced at my phone. It was him.

He texted, “So…how was your week?”

How was my week? Well well well, we have a man here who wants to interact but not confront the actual situation. I believe when someone is trying to get a big reaction out of you and causes you to question your own reality, that’s called gaslighting. I decided this was an unacceptable response after 2 1/2 days of silence. He was trying to get a reaction out of me, and I didn’t have one to give because I no longer cared. I didn’t respond, spent a nice evening with my kids, drank some wine, and went to bed. Silent treatment right back at ya buddy. (I never do the silent treatment by the way, I think it’s awful and you owe someone direct communication, but I knew this was no longer a viable relationship).

On Sunday morning, I made a big breakfast, took a long shower, took the kids shopping a little bit, and then we came home and chilled out. I took a nice mid-afternoon nap on my couch. It was glorious. I woke up from my great nap and glanced at my phone. Oh for crying out loud, he sent a long rambling defensive text. Come on dude!

I was equal parts annoyed and happy. Annoyed, because I’ve seen this behavior before (aka ex husband behavior) and it is exhausting. But happy, because I didn’t do anything wrong, it was doomed from the start. It wouldn’t have mattered how much I tiptoed around this guy with my replies, he was going to find a way to be pissed about something. He needs endless ego-stroking, and his ego will forever act like he is the victim and blame someone else for what he is feeling. He even stated at one point “People think I’m a dick, but I’m really just confident.” No, no no.

I took a deep breath and (against my better judgement) responded to his long rambling text with my own lengthy text (for my own closure) that was full of my very constructive observations on what happened with our miscommunication and then bid him farewell told him good luck. I got an instant response from him telling me I made so many assumptions and that I only cared about my own feelings. I responded one last time “Then we’re not compatible, move on.” …. and he kept responding and I had to block him.

I shed a few tears out of pure frustration. And then instantly felt better and made dinner for my kids.

Dating is stupid. I don’t recommend it.

Stifle Me Not

Retraining My Brain to Think About Me

Sooooo. I’m bored.

When I get bored, I think too much. When I think too much, I make decisions that I probably wouldn’t make when I’m not bored.

I’m trying to stop the insanity before it starts by trying a simpler approach: Let change roll in rather than pull it in.

I’m a change driver. I always have been. I know how to make things happen. It’s when I force things that it gets complicated.

I’m not saying I’m going go the lazy route and do nothing in my life. It’s the big life decisions I’m talking about. For those changes, I’m choosing to remain on the prowl and pounce during the right timing rather than roam out in the wild trying to make something happen, spinning my wheels, when it would be easier if I just waited it out in the first place.

I’m realizing too, that I’m bored because I’ve finally simplified my life. My ex added “excitement” (see: complications) to every aspect – from how I rushed to and from work, to what was for dinner, to how he judged my reactions to just about anything, to keeping me up late at night when he was out “hanging with the guys”. My life is simpler now, with less worries. I didn’t realize how “full (of shit)” my life was before; therefore, I was never bored with anything. There was always something for me to worry about.

Now I’m like “now what?” There is no urgency to please him, or anyone else. I didn’t realize before how  every response he had to something I did or didn’t do “shaped” (see: forced) all of my decisions. My ex kept me so busy with his shit that now I’m confused on how to live for myself. I suppose recognizing this fact is a first substantial step forward.

Wow, how relieving and bewildering all at the same time.

I realized my life would be simplified when I made the decision to split from him 2 years ago. But it’s 2 years later that I’m actually living my own life for me and not him. It’s 2 years later and I’m “bored” (see: not overwhelmed). I’m constantly having to adjust my perspective so I don’t force unwanted change that’s bad for me.

This lack of overwhelming complications in my life  feels like I’m waiting around for life to happen, but I have to remind myself that I’m really just adjusting my mindset to make the right decisions FOR ME without someone inflicting their agenda on my life.

It’s been difficult for me to make the smallest decisions lately – like my brain is fogged up and doesn’t know how to think for itself. I feel like a dog trained to do things a certain way for someone else, and now I’m on my own and I’m not quite sure how to navigate without watching for his response queues to guide me.

As I was typing this, my 10-year old came up behind me and gave me a hug from the back of me. I flinched. I seriously had a negative “get away” response to a very loving gesture. In my old life, I was so used a hug from behind (from my ex) being a sign of I need to stop what I’m doing and focus on him. If I didn’t comply, he would be be angry and the day would be lost to my simple desire to finish what I was doing – I could be typing an email, putting on make up, trying to pay a bill — anything he had no interest in was not to be confused with “priorities” in life (see: him). I was the selfish one, I was the rude one, I was the one that should look in the mirror and figure myself out for being so “unkind” (see: wanting to finish whatever task I was doing).

Whenever I get caught up in a decision-making cycle, I just have to ask myself: What do I want? 

Gosh, it shouldn’t be this hard. What a simple question that shouldn’t be so confusing. I guess it took me 18 years in a relationship to get this way, so 2 years being out of the relationship isn’t going to be an automatic fix.

So while I wait in boredom for the house of my dreams to surface in this horrible buyer’s market (see: wonderful seller’s market), and continue “not to date” (see: hide) in the process, I will keep retraining my brain.

I know I’ll get there. I’m a work in process for sure. My new life has already begun, I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Stifle Me Not

 

Gifts Coming Full Circle

This week I talked to a mortgage broker and we made a plan for when it realistically makes sense for me to get pre-approved to buy a home. I could do it now, but I have a few more things to clean up before I go that route. The daily life of living at my parents’ house has not been unbearable. I have the patience and the will power to hold out a bit longer. I have a feeling the payoff will be rewarding. That feeling usually serves me well.

In the meantime, I refinanced my car this week. I asked the mortgage broker to refer me to someone that does car loans. He referred me to a friend of his at a local bank to refinance my car at a good rate. I had to get my ex’s name off of my car loan. When I scheduled the meeting to go sign the closing paperwork, I found out that my first payment isn’t until mid-November (more money to save for a house!) and I got a YETI cooler as a gift. I had no idea about these perks, but it was a welcome surprise.

Now, I’m not here being paid to endorse YETI, but as an owner of this brand’s coffee cup, I will say that I am a fan. I love keeping my hot drinks hot and my cold drinks cold. This brand figured it out and makes quality products in my opinion.

But this situation with the YETI cooler is a bit ironic.

Let me explain.

After being together for 18 years, and married for 11, I found myself becoming increasingly stressed when it came to birthdays, Father’s day, and Christmas gifts for my ex. I have a problem with giving, and over-giving. I give too much of myself and never expect  anything in return. Even if I do expect it, I don’t express my disappointment if I don’t get it. I make excuses for others and go about my business secretly unhappy. My ex knew that. I just figured it out in the last few years. Smart manipulating guy. Naive me (I was too busy thinking of others)… but not anymore.

So one of the last time’s I was stressing about getting him a gift (I think it was his birthday in 2017), I considered getting him the exact YETI cooler (that I just received as a gift for my car loan). Giving big nice gifts had become my thing. I felt like every year I was trying to outdo the last gift that I gave. But each time I would surprise myself and think of something even grander that he would love. And he did, he loved all of it. Well that year I looked into buying him a YETI cooler, and I was about to buy it. I had it picked out and was about to buy it online. But I didn’t. Something was off. I just thought  I shouldn’t spend so much money that year for some reason. Again, a little later I was at a sporting goods store and had the YETI right in front of me and almost bought it. Again, something was off. I don’t remember what gift I ended up getting him, but it wasn’t that. And I wasn’t excited by his reaction when he opened whatever it was that I bought, but I didn’t care for some reason.

I remember thinking later that I’d wished I had gotten the cooler because I wanted it. But whatever, I figured I’d just saved some money and moved on with life.

So now here I am in present day, and I’m relieved that I didn’t buy that damn cooler and listened to my gut. That small little whisper that says “hey, you, what are you doing?”… that little nagging thought that is surrounded by question marks and a weird feeling in your belly…

I recently listened to it again when that asshole was trying to talk me out of buying a home where I’m presently looking. And instead of giving into my frets about him trying to sway my decisions, I called a mortgage broker, which led me to the place where I refinanced my car, which led to my own free YETI cooler and more money for me to save toward my future home.

I’m going to buy a great home, and I’m going to throw a house-warming party with lots of ice and drinks in my YETI cooler.

I’d say this wasn’t just some coincidence. I see you God and your universe angels, quietly looking out for me. My eyes are wide open.

Thank for these gifts that promise cold drinks and peace of mind.

Stifle Me Not

Good-bye Old Patterns

I’m 40 and I’m finally somewhat happy.

I say “somewhat” because I feel like I have a new life that is just beginning. There’s more to come. But I’m pretty freakin’ happy considering how my life was since October 2017. I’m in a whole new world and I like it. It’ a little scary at times, but I welcome it.

I find that my path right now is to continue taking care of my family the best way I know how while continuing to be honest with myself. To not repeat old patterns and push through past mistakes. Don’t repeat the past. If it didn’t work the first 500 times, it won’t work now.

Because I’m finally single, my mind naturally drifts to a thought of “who will I be with next?”

And that is quickly followed up with “ugh, is anyone really worth it?” I get very anxious when I think of different guys and how our lives might “fit” together. Because “fit” in my mind ends up with me accommodating someone… and I’m over that old pattern.

I recently had a friend ask me if I was dating. I said I was open to it. But what she meant was am I online dating. No, no I’m not. And no, I have no desire to match myself online with random strangers at this time. It’s bad enough getting to know a semi-stranger in person let alone online. I actually missed the online dating boat by a few years. It didn’t become popular until I was already dating my ex. Then we moved on to get married. I never had the opportunity to do the online dating thing.

Now it’s normal. But I’m not there yet. I’m not comfortable or even remotely interested in it.

My friend’s response to me was “Well,  you’re just gonna have to get over that.”

Do I really?

I’m loving life right now. I don’t think I need a perfect stranger to get in the way of that.

Stifle Me Not