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Ether Blue

The Best Revenge: A Life Well Lived? Trying to prove myself after emotional abuse

6 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I was passive-aggressively bullied and emotionally abused by a peer at a university. It's a long, long story, but I'm doing better now, and am out of the situation. I wanted to ask you friends at Our Place something:

During your recovery, have you ever felt this restless feeling, like you need to prove yourself in some way? To--frankly--do something BA in order to show yourself and the abuser (even though they have no way of knowing you did something BA) that you are a tender-hearted but also capable, puts-up-with-no-more-garbage, intelligent, adult, individual person? If I were an animal, my friends tell me fondly I would be a lamb. I like this--I think the world needs more gentleness in it, and I want to "be the change I want to see in the world." But it frightens me, too, knowing there are wolves in sheep clothing out there like the person who abused me.
What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear what you have to say!
Peace to you,
Ether <3

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I'm not sure that I needed to do something bad butt to prove to myself (or to my abuser) that I was capable. But I will admit that despite my xh's predictions about my career success, my ability to handle money, etc., I take a certain amount of pleasure in knowing that I've been far more successful professionally than I ever dreamed, and am in far better financial shape than if I'd remained married to him.

I will admit that a number of years ago, when I was interviewed on CNN about my research findings, I sent him a copy of that interview mailed from a little town in a state that he didn't associate with me, with a typed note that read something to the effect of "isn't this your x-wife?" It wasn't nice, especially since since he was quite jealous of my success and thought he should be equally or more successful (without doing the necessary work).

Yes, there are wolves in sheep's clothing out there, but after going to counseling and working on my self-esteem and confidence, I no longer attract abusers. And if I notice the slightest red flag, I'm gone-life's too short to put up with garbage.

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Sorry I'm so long in replying, Percolate!

That's pretty funny, mailing your ex your interview! Made me laugh :)

I like your philosophy--"life's too short to put up with garbage." It's so true. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

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I wouldn't say BA, but I would say that my resolve to live my life in a way that makes me happy has increased, opinions of others be darned.  I would say it impacted my faith in a way that left me questioning and honestly, accepting of an idea I have learned about called open theism, something I never would have accepted before.  It is the only philosophy that has allowed me to make peace with both a loving God and the randomness of our world.  Otherwise I was close to giving up any faith entirely.  It has allowed me the freedom to make decisions regarding romance that I would have never made before--such as, if things go well with the person I'm seeing, I may stay over at his place because he lives two hours away (in a totally separate room, BTW)--but regardless something my parents would NOT want me doing and flipped out about with my ex when I did it once (due to the conservative religious background).   It has allowed me to be free financially--I can save it without having to hide it.  I have become more liberal and open minded.  NOt that I wasn't before, but it has made me more so.  It has made me strong.   Things like that. I'm not sure that makes any sense, but I hope it does.  It has made me put myself first, not in a selfish way, but in a way that I am feeling free to live my own life the way I choose.

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What you said makes total sense, 6245! In the year since my original post here in July 2016, I've found that the whole bad experience I went through has made me worry less about other people's opinions, too, in the sense that it's given me more of a spine. When I was going through the abuse, I had very little sense of what was up and what was down. It's really hard to explain, but a part of me couldn't believe what was happening was happening. It was like I learned the basics of what constitutes emotional abuse in grade school, but had difficulty "identifying it in the field," so to speak. Nowadays I definitely feel more confident in seeing garbage for what it is and calling it on it's garbage-ness. I think I know what you mean when you say your experience left you really questioning your faith--it's been that way for me as well. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself, putting yourself first! My experience is making me come to realize that I need to take care of myself in order to be there for others in a healthy way.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me!

Ether <3

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I realized that once I truly lost respect for them, then I got over the need to need to prove anything to them. Cause I no longer respect their opinion. Who cares what they think!?  

Them = all my haters

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