what's normal?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
what's normal?
19
Wed, 07-14-2010 - 11:00pm

Hello All, I am new to this board. I'll try to make a long story short;) I suffered emotional abuse as a child and it has affected my self esteem my whole life. I know I can not blame my past and must stop the internal negative self talk but it has affected my whole life.

I left my home and got married at 20--now I realize it was to escape--not a good idea. My ex h had an affair and fell into drug use. I divorced at 25. At that time I sold all my belongings except for my summer clothes, my bike and my parakeet and moved thousands of miles away to Key West where I had friends from high school. I stayed for over 20 years :) I started painting full time, I'm an artist, I successfully opened galleries with artist friends and bought my own home on the water--sounds great doesn't it? It is truly a paradise!

During my time in Key West I had a relationship with a man who is an alcoholic. Of course, I always took care of him and 'fixed' everything but never expected the same for myself. Yes I know classic co-dependant, I have read all the books. So eventually I kicked him out told him I couldn't take it any more and lived happily single until I was 45 then I met King Turd! (not his actual name of course but a moniker given him by a friend;)

He was wonderful in the beginning--told me he loved me with all his heart and that he was the luckiest man on earth--yadda, yadda, yadda, we dated for a short time and got married. Within two years I discovered he was having online affairs was on dating sites listed as single, meeting women out of town when he was away for work and had ran up my credit cards to astronomical proportions and had taken tens of thousands of dollars from me. Of course, stupid me, I willingly helped him in every way I could before I discovered his nonsense. We separated and divorced 3 years ago. I went from my owning my own home and having a successful business to having to file bankruptcy and live with my sister in another state.

So now I am rebuilding my life. I met a new man 9 months ago and he is pretty wonderful. The total opposite of any other relationship in my life. He has had some health issues this past summer--open heart surgery--for a congenital heart condition. I was with him throughout the whole ordeal. He is much better, has almost totally recovered and feeling great. During this time I didn't work on my artwork totally was by his side. This week my Honey wanted to go to visit his family out of town and I said go, enjoy yourself but I NEED to get some work done. So all this week I have been at home by myself and I realize I don't know how to be in a truly healthy relationship!? When He didn't call me in the evening I kind of freaked! What? I have talked to him every day during the day. So I called him tonight and we had a great conversation.

So how do I not lose myself, again, in this relationship? What is normal behavior in a healthy relationship? Do I expect him to call at certain times? Am I being silly? How do you ask for what you want or need? I have a problem asking for anything! ugg! This week I realized my self esteem is still in the tank. I am so willing to give, give, give and don't feel I DESERVE to receive. Help? any thoughts?

Ollie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Mon, 08-02-2010 - 9:11am

i'd take a terrier over a teenager any day! ours acts like a jack russell sometimes; he can leap so high he almost (1) clears the back fence and (2) can see out the living-room window (he likes to look for rabbits). it's really, really funny. so we started teaching him how to run the obstacle course at the park; he is okay at it. he is definitely still a baby but has matured a lot over the 8 months that we've had him. he likes to fetch, too, but is more likely to do it outside than inside. i don't know why. i think the trick with terriers is that you have to take them to obedience school right away; the ones i know who have been trained are a lot calmer than the ones who haven't. and they love to socialize so it's good for them! i

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Fri, 07-30-2010 - 8:50am

I love cairn terriers!!! I almost got a toto pup before I chose my fox terrier. Your dog is still a baby. When I first took my fox terrier to her obedience school someone told me it would be 7 years before she settled down even somewhat. I think she is right! I could have walked her for 4 hours straight when she was 1 year old and it didn't tire her! So I taught her to play fetch and now she will go for hours fetching her toys and my legs can get a little rest:) My terrier likes the dog park too, the poodle--not so much, he usually stands by my legs and barks at the other dogs.

I will say my friend has a jack russell terrier--now that dog is really hyper and active! I do love terrier breeds though, they are so spunky and fun:) I keep reminding my BF that most women my age have teenagers and he could be dealing with that instead;)

Ollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 2:00pm
the 'good trade' line that my dad told me was in reference to buying a car - if you and the dealer both walk away feeling like you've won then it's a good deal. but it pertains to relationships, too :)
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Thu, 07-29-2010 - 1:57pm

you're welcome. i'm glad you guys were able to talk it out - don't you feel so much better? i didn't even think about the dogs jangling with their tags on (duh!).


i agree, there is something else that is keeping your BF awake at night; maybe he is stressed out about work or his surgery or something like that. if he doesn't want to talk about it he could try writing in a journal before bed; that helps me a lot. i think it is hard for people to open up in relationships, period, but like you said we are all works in progress and none of us is perfect. and everyone gets hurt. i have trouble asking for what i want, too, but the worse that can happen is that the other person will say "no". which isn't such a big deal, if you think about it. i'm glad that he is open to change - that is a relief!


i'm really proud of you for speaking up for yourself. it gets easier and easier each time; you'll see. just remember not to get in your own way :) i hope that you will keep us posted on how you guys are doing!


ps - we have a

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 2:53pm

CONGRATS!

I've been wondering how your conversation went. Sounds like a true compromise, you walk & remove tags, they sleep in the room.

happy.pants, it's funny, not 20 minutes ago my DS came up & told me about a trade he made with my DD. He asked if it was a good trade and I said, 'if both people walk away happy than it's always a good trade.'

And Ollie, I agree... to live is to be a work in progress. Once you stop progressing, you stop living.

Glad it all worked out for you. What a relief that must be, I think you were holding a lot in.

Peace




"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Wed, 07-28-2010 - 1:48pm

Hi Happy pants, Well my BF and I have been living together for 7 months. During this time my pups have been sleeping in the bedroom with us in their beds and have not caused BF any sleep problems until now. They are really good dogs and for their entire lives have slept in my bedroom on their beds so they are used to it. When I put them downstairs-so my BF wouldn't be disturbed-the one dog cried and yipped all night. This went on for 3 nights, I got no sleep trying to keep them quiet as I was concerned about BF.

After the three nights with no progress I had the talk with BF. I told him I thought his insomnia was the product of something else since he has not had his sleep disrupted by the dogs for the 7 months before. I also told him the dogs were and are a part of my life that he knew about before we moved in. I am an animal lover and most probably will always have a pet in my life, he knows this. So I told him he is going to have to make some compromises if I am going to live here. I told him it feels to me that I am always being the one to make all the compromises and I have felt like I walk on eggshells when it comes to the dogs and even my work (I'm and artist and have lots of supplies etc.) hoping not to disturb his life. He hasn't returned the favor. I told him I love him and never regret helping him through his ordeal with his surgery and being the one to care for and support him but I just didn't feel it coming back my way and I deserve to be treated with love and respect. I also told him I would not play the victim role any more in my life. I said if he couldn't make compromises as far as the dogs were concerned I would have to move out and back with my sister (she is a single mom and could use my help and support!). He still had issues with the pups so I started packing my things and loading my van.

He sat on the sofa and started crying. I told him we could still date but I would not live where I didn't feel comfortable and loved. Wow! this is really big for me!! This is the first time I have stood up for myself and actually spoken my own truth. Miraculously his friend called about this time to invite him to lunch and he told her that I was moving out. His friend said, don't let her leave! what are you doing shooting yourself in the foot again? My BF divorced 7 years ago and has lived by himself since and has had a hard time letting anyone else in his life.

After a short time he told me he was sorry and would I please stay, that he had lots of things on his mind then he couldn't sleep when he heard the dogs moving around and he realized he was afraid to really open himself up in a relationship. I said I had never really spoken my truth in a relationship and I would never be in one again where I would let myself feel I couldn't and anywhere I lived the dogs would be and they will move around at night and are not perfect. We had a great conversation about each of our own fears and I realize now we both have self esteem issues. Fortunately he really wants to learn and change how he has dealt with things in the past as am I. So I am still here. He seems to have a different attitude about my pups--who love him dearly by the way. We'll see what the future holds.

After standing up for myself I feel so much better. Even if I did move out I know I would be OK. Actually I am a survivor and have been one for years. You are right about always giving in and losing yourself. That has been my pattern in the past, either I gave in and just sucked it up or I left after suffering a long, long time. I know asking for what I need and deserve will be something I work toward for some time.

The last two nights before bed I took the dogs on a long walk to wear them out and took of their collars so they didn't jingle and make noise if they woke up and moved around. We all have slept soundly for the last two nights (in the same room) and yipee I don't feel like a zombie from lack of sleep! I am a work in process, ha ha and will have to really look at my choices so I don't lose myself ever again. I guess everyone is a work in progress don't you think?

I have a 7 yr old female wire fox terrier and a 6 yr old male miniature poodle (mid-size, not toy). I love their spunk and joyful natures. They do need exercise to keep them fairly calm and we usually go on several walks a day. The terrier is an excellent hunter and keeps the mice and other vermin away from our bird feeders and garden in the yard. When I lived in Key West by the water she kept the yard iguana free! ;) My poodle is a cuddle dog and would just love to sit in your lap all day if he could. I know there are people who don't like animals but I don't understand that. My pups give unconditional love that I have never found from a person and that makes up for any extra responsibility and care I give to them as far as I am concerned.

thanks all for your thoughts!
Ollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Tue, 07-27-2010 - 8:03am

okay, so let me get this straight. you and bf have been living together with your dogs for 7 months. the dogs were originally sleeping in your bedroom but when they shifted around at night they woke up your bf. now they are sleeping downstairs and are unhappy about it but your bf is sleeping peacefully. is that right? when did you move them downstairs? you know what you could try, if you haven't already: turn a radio on extra-low to a talk station, put it in the living room or wherever the dogs are sleeping, and leave it on all night. it's what we do for our dog whenever he has to sleep in a new place. also, you could line their beds with a couple of your old blankets so they have something that smells like you. what kind of dogs do you have? (i love them all.)


i think as far as compromises go, if something is vitally important to you then you shouldn't give in.

Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Mon, 07-26-2010 - 2:10pm

Ugggh, just looked through the rest of the thread. I hope all goes well for you. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. I have nasal polyps & it's resulted to me snoring. Which my H complains hard about & I went to a psychiatric meeting with him (he has bipolar) and he told his psych about my snoring and the psych told us to sleep in separate rooms. So now I sleep on the couch. My H never got up with the children or our puppy. Nighttime duties has always been my responsibility. I guess I've allowed it b/c he's so mean when his sleep is disrupted. NOW he HATES me sleeping on the couch & now I prefer it, LOL. So I sneak out after he falls asleep.

Good luck! Not sure what a compromise will be - but probably better if the two of you work it out together instead of you already having a remedy in mind.

----
First response:

I looked for it at the library - wow, lots of people must love the book b/c my branch had 8 copies & all checked out. So I got a DVD of a retreat he did in Findhorn, Scotland. The 2nd DVD was too scratched to play, but I've watched the first and really liked it.

I'm going back to the library today & it appears a few copies came in over the weekend :)




Edited 7/26/2010 2:25 pm ET by firstglimpse



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2008
Mon, 07-26-2010 - 9:04am

Hi happy pants, Today will be the talk to see if he is truly willing to compromise. It seems I always make the compromises. Last night was another sleepless night for me until I went downstairs and slept on the couch then the dogs were out like a light. My pups are 6 and 7 years old and I guess really set in their ways. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to not cry at night or if they ever will. BF seems to have slept through the night he was up bright and early going for his morning hike. What is a concern to me is that I worry about him getting his sleep be he doesn't seem concerned about me sleeping on the floor or sofa. I guess you teach people how to treat you don't you?

BF had a dog when he was married and it slept in the utility room at night. He had a dog himself last year and when he went back to school to get his Masters he gave it away. He said he felt bad that it would be alone all day. I on the other hand would have just hired an afternoon dog walker. I'm not sure what today will bring. I'll let you know.

Ollie

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Mon, 07-26-2010 - 8:34am
earplugs? or a deep-sleep CD that your BF can fall asleep to? when we first got our puppy DH and i didn't sleep very well because we were worried about him waking up in the middle of the night (which he did

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