Deep seated distortion - self fulfilling?

Whirlwind

MyPTSD Pro
I was asked how long has it been since I was married (years), do I plan to date (no) but "would I like to have a committed partner in my life" (theoretically yes).

The person is a widow and her questions were meant very kindly. She laughed and reminded me I need to do the former to get to the latter. She's a lovely person and thinks I am a "catch" and I "deserve" a nice person in my life. It took me by surprise to hear myself described like that.

The word "deserve" really stuck with me and unexpectedly the conversation has bothered me.

I recognize my own distortion in that my DV marriage cemented a core belief that I do not "deserve" or will be "allowed" to have a life partner that is honest, kind, supportive etc. I did have non-DV relationships but there was an imbalance and cheating on their end so dishonestly was a theme.

I've also gotten complimentary feedback lately that I am "strong".

I suppose I appear strong but the reality is I just never had an alternative. Strong = requirement. If I "don't" then it "doesn't get done" in my world. It is always on me so I automatically just "do". My perceived strength is mere necessity/reflex.

Sure it is tiring and it would be nice to share the load in life, buoy struggles with trust and laughter. I can't even imagine. An intimate partner that doesn't have ulterior motive, plan to take advantage, lies etc? HUH? :-)

I've come a long way and I want to undue as much old programming as I can. Her comment that "I deserve" stuck with me, thus implying I am worthy.

It hit me, am I creating a self fulfilling prophecy? As a partner I've had positive feedback at least from what I know. I do very well alone and and assume it to be my forever future. That acceptance doesn't scare me anymore for which I am grateful. But is it my preference? No, I just assumed it to be my lot in life and especially after more than enough marital DV.

When something like this hits me these days I commit to trying to address the underlying belief. I this case it occurred to me....am I (still) punishing myself?

I say "still" as a child there was a lot of "women=bad/sin" and a thick slather of we were defective/undeserving/abnormal. I have shed most of that old garbage but something makes me think I've got some more clearing to do.

Thanks for hanging in there and listening.

Take care,

Whirlwind
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
I understand what you are saying and feeling. After my last divorce, I made a conscious decision/choice to not be in another relationship. I too was the one that got things done. But I was also at an age that it didn't matter anymore. I owned that I had lousy taste in men. And I was just too damned tired to try again.

Was it a core belief that I wasn't worthy of a functional, honest and loving relationship? I don't know. Once I made that choice I put everything that applied to that part of my life on a shelf and haven't looked back.

I know I'm not giving you feedback and support for moving forward. But I am telling you that I understand. And if you do desire another relationship, then do the work it takes to know that you DO deserve a healthy relationship. Unlearn the things that keep getting in the way.

I honestly don't know if I feel I don't deserve a healthy relationship or I simply had reached a point in my life that I was tired of the whole relationship process. I truly enjoy being alone. I don't get lonely. I have friends. I have many interests and I don't have to consider anyone else for a change. I find that very freeing.

So, I hope you decide what is right for you. I think I felt I 'deserved' a good relationship, just wasn't willing to use all that energy to find one.

If it is something you want, then I wish you nothing but success and happiness. But I do understand.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
but something makes me think I've got some more clearing to do.

I find it healthy to recognize your inner voice and offer a little self-compassion for the courage to further explore if those feelings are indeed based in facts.

However, there is a lot of society, media, commerce, financial pressure to be a couple. There may be a lot of sound reasons for this mainstream stance but times and cultures are moving forward. Slowly the stigma for women to choose to remain single is being lifted as education as well as moxie has allowed options. Plus a bunch of us women BabyBoomers have outlived statically males in the same age group. Most of the women seniors (and some younger women as well) that I have talked to, don’t even want to couple up in a committed relationship as we feel lol, we deserve our freedom.

So with that little ditty above😂 in consideration perhaps it isn’t about you subconsciously thinking about being deserving or not deserving and punishment …maybe you are just weighing a relationship in general with what it means to you. Happy exploring !
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I think all your feelings are valid and sometimes that is all they are really - feelings floating around for attention and acknowledgement not necessarily act on.

I find when I do not resist my default feeling(years of abuse gave me a great record playing) (but choose not to act) is when I am at most peace. An example is I feel really angry at my husband right now but I do not need to act on it, deny it and try to change it non-angry or fight against with rationalization - why am I angry in the first place? I just did all that and it has not changed the anger feelings, just acknowledge it.

What I am trying to say is this: Right at this moment of your life: you are single, you have good head/body, you have friends, you have basics of life and you do not have a partner...all true. That itself is great accomplishment. Can you fantasize what it may be like having a partner again? Sure why not but it will not change the fact you are here still the same person with all those good qualities and single. Being single is not better or worse than being with someone both have their good and bad qualities. You are here. You are good catch - and that is it. If a great partner walks over, you may catch or you may not...so far you are not saying you were hushing away great partners...so no regrets from what you wrote here!

These words -deserving, punishing, wanting, yearning, etc are all just no less or no more than that anger I had but decided to hold cause it is mine...These are just a script, that you have that is running to make you do something and life's great mystery is - what is that something and most likely it is not to quench any of those feelings cause trust me they never go away even when in love! So rather than becoming imprison by your feelings scripted or not what is it you want right now?

[removed redundant sentence]
 

Whirlwind

MyPTSD Pro
I simply had reached a point in my life that I was tired of the whole relationship process.
I get it. I thought that was where I was/am too.

I was surprised to recognize there is some old tapes running...the idea I am not deserving. If the former is accurate, that is just fine with me but I want any decision to be clean of negative programming (as possible).

we deserve our freedom.

I still revel in this, and regardless of any old programming I am not ready to "negotiate" my time for anyone.

that is all they are really - feelings floating around for attention and acknowledgement not necessarily act on.

Good point. As for what I want "right now" it isn't a intimate relationship. I'm happy to report I am too busy with some really cool projects and I'm so into it I don't want to put my energy elsewhere :-)

Can you fantasize what it may be like having a partner again?

No, I can't. Can any of you? If I try to imagine the day to day and what I would "like" such as good sense of humor....next thought is ((so charming and probable cheater)).

Men don't have to worry about me entering the arena anytime soon, LOL.

But if I opt to stay out of the corral, I want to make sure its "my" decision and not invisible strings from my past.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
One thing we forget is that no decision is cut in stone. You can always change your mind in either direction. I was very confident and sure 'no more', MY TURN, so I never looked back.

I was in my early 50's and wanted to see how high I could fly. No regrets.
 
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