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  #11  
Old 07-19-2018, 12:13 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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I'm glad something I said resonated for you.

As for knowing about things but not being able to see it when you're in it... I have a degree in education, and my college education included a fair bit of psychology studies. I was in an emotionally abusive marriage for 14 years. Even though I knew what an abusive relationship looked like, and knew what emotional abuse was, and even though I knew what I would say if *someone else* came to me and said, "Here's what's going on in my relationship," I couldn't get *myself* out of it.

It's different when you're the one involved. When you're helping someone else, whether professionally or just as a concerned human being, you're removed from the situation. You can see it more objectively, because you don't have the same emotional entanglement as if you were the one in the relationship. But when it's *your* relationship, emotions get complicated as hell, and they can obscure your objective recognition of what's going on and what you could do about it, or they can obscure your *willingness* to do anything even if on an objective level you know it's a situation you don't want to be in.

I will also tell you, from the perspective of having left an abusive marriage, that leaving the abuse doesn't mean everything's instantly better. (You probably already know that as a counselor, but again, being the one in the situation isn't the same as counseling someone else.) When you're in an ongoing abusive situation, and I think especially for someone who's been living with the abuser, you become somewhat institutionalized to the abuse. It's like being in prison. You hate the structure and restrictions. You hate how you're treated. You know it isn't what you want. But when you get out of it, it takes time to find your footing and figure out how to function without the abuse, because it's become such an ingrained part of your life.

That institutionalization is one reason some people who've been in prison, especially for long periods of time, reoffend; it isn't true for all of them, and might not be the biggest reason, but for some, they can't function in the outside world because they've gotten used to how things are in prison. Likewise, that's one reason why people who are trying to leave abusive relationships go back again and again; they don't want to be abused, but they've become so used to it that they don't know how to function without it. It isn't necessarily a conscious thing; they probably aren't thinking, "Oh, I want to go back because I don't know what to do out here." But it is a subconscious reaction.

Sorry for the lecture... that's something I've had to explain over and over when talking about abuse, because some people just don't get it and blame the victim/survivor for going back to their abuser because "they must want to be treated like that."

At any rate, my point is, please be gentle with yourself as you work past this situation. You might be perfectly fine right off the bat, and that's awesome if you are. But emotional abuse can cause PTSD and other issues just as much as any other abuse, and sometimes those issues sneak up on you. I hope things go smoothly for you now that you're out, but if they don't, that isn't because there's anything "wrong" with you, it's because sometimes adjusting to life on the "outside" takes time.

As for sticking around on this forum, I'm glad you're planning to. You don't have to be poly to be here, just accepting of it.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2018, 02:11 PM
powerpuffgrl1969 powerpuffgrl1969 is offline
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Originally Posted by lunabunny View Post
I completely understand where you're coming from with this, KC. And, yes, many on this forum have been critical of attempts to "diagnose" people we don't know as having a particular personality type, disorder or mental illness, when we are not professionals in the field of psychology or the like.

Still, there is a list of set, recognisable, patterns of behaviour that point to certain personality types and/or abusive tendencies, and I still believe such patterns are worth mentioning when commenting on a thread, if we feel strongly enough that the OP could benefit from the insight/knowledge. In other words, I don't think your own comment was out of line.
Why is it not enough to just say that these behaviors are NOT OKAY, and suggest that these behaviors may not change and the person who is on the receiving end of this poor treatment is justified in believing they are within their rights to take steps to end the behavior? Either by breaking up, demanding counseling, etc?

WHY do we need to put a label on people who are behaving like "jerks?" Is "jerk" not enough, or do we feel smart enough to assign an DSM-10 label to it? If someone is persistently acting like an asshole, I strongly recommend saying, "Uh, when you get some counseling, look me up. I'm out." A womanizer is not necessarily a narcissist, and someone who doesn't text for days on end isn't necessarily on the Autism spectrum.

I am personally bipolar type 2. Until I was properly diagnosed (by a PSYCHIATRIST), I was widely accepted to be simply "depressed." That did not explain the behavior of staying up for nights at a time on occasion, episodes of blowing through money like it was water, and lots and lots of sexual infidelity. I had been to three different GP's for medication, and three different counselors until one finally told me she thought I had PTSD and sent me to a psychiatrist. SHE was wrong, too! I really AM bipolar type 2. It's as clear as day to me now, and I have been managing very well for the past seven years. I'm like a different person.

The problem with the internet is that there is so much half-baked information out there, and even if the information is valid we, as receivers of this information, are not correctly trained to interpret it. For an example:


Back in the early 90's, I was applying for a clerical job at a stamp newspaper. I was oh, about 21 or 22 or so, and had had secretarial jobs before. The older gentleman was very nice during the interview and, after what I thought was a very good conversation, he decided to give me a personality test. For those of you too young to know the concept of such nonsense, companies were doing a lot of weird-assed things back in the day to determine candidates suitable for positions. Not seeing any harm in it, I took the test.

After scoring my test, this ever-so-nice man told me that I was a laid back procrastinator who would have to be prodded to do my job, having not one ounce of self-motivation. I almost burst into tears. During my interview, I had lauded myself as a self-starter who works well with NO supervision. He just looked at me like I was a liar, and said that he would "give me a chance" and offered me the job. Nonetheless, I told him that this really wasn't the case about me. He handed me the graded test and gave me a start date. Unfortunately, he also relayed this information to the women who would be my coworkers and supervisor.

I drove home and looked at the test. This ever so nice, judgmental man MADE AN ARITHMATIC ERROR. He was off by about 20 points or so, putting me in the pushy, take no prisoners category. I was on the phone to him in about 10 seconds flat. He was very apologetic, but I stuck up for myself and said, "I told you that just wasn't ME; I'm NOT like that." You would think, just from my pointed protestations in the first place, which would be out of character for someone who was so "laid back," that something was amiss.

That's what happens when you erroneously interpret the information you are presented. I almost lost a job because of an arithmetic error, and I have gotten the side-eye from more than a few people who find out I'm bipolar. A jerk is a jerk is a jerk. They don't need a DSM-10 diagnosis from an aggrieved party; they need the door in their face with a parting shot of "go get some help, will you?"

This is why I will continue to be the stick in the mud about assigning labels. It's the one thing on this board I am personally, passionately, against.

Last edited by powerpuffgrl1969; 07-22-2018 at 01:50 AM.
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  #13  
Old 07-23-2018, 10:10 AM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Well, I agree with you to a large extent, powerpuff. I'm sorry if that didn't come across.

I myself have ASD and a range of other, clinically diagnosed conditions such as anxiety and depression and have also studied some psychology.

While I realise that doesn't make me an expert who's able to diagnose strangers on the internet, I do believe that in cases where an OP (generally speaking, not necessarily in ladyjane's case) describes a certain set of traits/behaviours in their partner or situation, yet doesn't seem to be aware that *something* else besides "jerkish" behaviour might be at play, it's worthwhile pointing out a range of possibilities if only to make the person aware that such possibilities exist.

It is then up to them to connect the dots, do their own reading/research, and ask the relevant questions of themselves/their partner/therapist/partner's therapist - should they so choose. You're right that it's not up to us on the forum to say "s/he HAS *xyz* condition", but I don't think it's totally off the wall to suggest that the described behaviour MAY fall into the range of abusive, depressive, narcissistic (or whathaveyou) traits.
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  #14  
Old 07-23-2018, 12:51 PM
powerpuffgrl1969 powerpuffgrl1969 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunabunny View Post
I do believe that in cases where an OP (generally speaking, not necessarily in ladyjane's case) describes a certain set of traits/behaviours in their partner or situation, yet doesn't seem to be aware that *something* else besides "jerkish" behaviour might be at play, it's worthwhile pointing out a range of possibilities if only to make the person aware that such possibilities exist.
Luna, here is where I am coming from on this.

I DO agree that pointing out harmful behaviors could be a sign of something more lying underneath can be very useful. For example, if a poster said that his/her OP was trying to control their interactions with their family and friends, that would be cause for concern and I would encourage them to look deeper and see if counseling is in order, or just walking away.


I'm just of the mindset that, when presented with a set of behaviors that are filtered through the lens of the poster (NOT that I think they are lying, but they are in the thick of the situation), I wouldn't try to delineate what the possibilities are (narcissism, borderline, etc). If someone who is in a bad situation grabs on to the term "narcissism," that kind of sticks in the brain and can create a situation where the behaviors that are being displayed manage to "fit" into a narcissism box through the interpretation of the observer. It's a truism that many behaviors are present in any number of ICD-10 diagnoses and plucking out two or three can't give a clear picture of what you are dealing with.

It's like, if you are sick with some unexplainable symptoms, trying to diagnose yourself on Web MD. Before you know it, you have diagnosed yourself with incurable cancer.

So, when I read a post about troubling behaviors, I generally just go to the old standby of suggesting to either leave the situation or recommend counseling. Like a different thread that is active right now, where the poster has experienced a physical assault. As much as I might LIKE to attach a label on it, I won't.

Anyway, that's my take on it and I will quit derailing.
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  #15  
Old 07-25-2018, 11:58 AM
ladyjane ladyjane is offline
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Thank you KC43 for that Whilst some things that happened wasn't right...upon reflection I wouldn't say it was emotional abuse (although others around me had disagreed). Definitely didn't think it was right though, but I question if he had any bad intentions when he did it. Leaving abusive relationships is psychologically still extremely tough, and possibly as hard as staying in one, and can take a lot of time to adjust to. So I definitely agree.

Thank you powerpuffgrl1969 for your input, I totally understand what you mean about the possible harms of labelling. I studied psychology and a biggest controversy we learn about is the DSM, and whether or not these "labels" are accurate and helpful. I think they had good intentions though, and I imagine for the poster who said this, putting a label can highlight just how harmful the said behaviour sounds to alert the person to this.

I was hoping to ask for some objective advice, and since everyone here is so lovely and supportive (seriously thank you all again for all of your replies, education on what a real healthy poly relationship is and reassurances, i have been so grateful), I thought I would reply here. It is not poly related, so understand if admin takes this down. But was hoping to give it a shot.

So I have had a crush on my dentist now orthodontist for a while now, and it seems that with every appointment (twice a year now, though they were regular when I was in high school) the crush gets stronger. It'll hang around then fade, il go back to the dentist and it'll be stronger again.

I have been so hung up since this relationship with said person ended and he cut me out of his life, and have gone through bouts of tears and feeling very low for months now. This crush I have was one of the first things to break me out of it. He's attractive and kind. But also, he's my dentist and may just be being nice as I'm his patient. I can't help but keep on thinking about driving in and writing a note for the receptionist to give him...or something so incredibly dorky like that. Even though there is no sign that he likes me at all and I may be wasting my time....the "what ifs" still keep coming to me, like what if this is the thing that breaks me out of this state I'm in? I rarely rarely rarely ever am attractive to people, 4 times in my whole life have I ever liked somebody. And usually they're unattainable, like this situation. I guess I'm also tired of going on tinder dates that i know will get no where. I want to date someone who is kind, attractive and career driven, who shares my values...and i get the sense that he does. Plus we're both asian and both have strong family cultural values. So many Australians (Australia is where I live) don't have that. I know I am attractive, i have a career, i'm at uni...but i still feel like he's out of my league.

Can somebody just tell me this is a stupid idea, I'm a little crazy right now and that i shouldn't lose a perfectly good dentist just because I'm still grieving a loss of a relationship....and stop me from thinking about giving his receptionist my number to pass along to him, because honestly, what do i have to lose?
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  #16  
Old 07-25-2018, 02:53 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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but I question if he had any bad intentions when he did it.
I see that you've concluded his behavior wasn't abusive, and that's fine. I just wanted to correct an implied misperception in the above quote from your post, though. Abuse doesn't mean the abuser had bad intentions. Many--perhaps most--don't. They get out of control, or they don't have healthy ways to manage their anger, or they were abused themselves, or... a number of other possible reasons. But in my experience and in my reading and research, the majority of abusers aren't sitting there thinking, "I'm going to abuse this person and treat them like shit," they're thinking "I'm angry!" (for example), and then lashing out physically or verbally, and then thinking, "What the hell did I just do, I'm horrible, I shouldn't have done that, but it's their fault not mine..." and the cycle continues.

Emotional abuse is particularly insidious, because the abuser might not even be fully aware of what they're doing, or at least of the fact that it is abusive behavior. Again, they're very likely *not* doing it with bad intention, they're doing it because they don't have coping skills, or someone treated them that way so they don't realize how damaging it is (even though they might, at least on some level, realize how much damage it caused *them*), or...again, a number of other possible reasons. But many are not making a conscious decision to abuse someone else. They don't have bad *intention*, because they often aren't intending, at least not entirely, to do what they're doing.

As for the situation with your orthodontist, aside from my opinion being that it's not a very good idea to get romantically and/or sexually involved with someone who is responsible for any part of your health care, ethically and sometimes legally a health care professional of any type *can't* get involved with a patient. It is an imbalance of power, and it also compromises the required objectivity on the part of the professional.

I agree that your line of thinking about this is probably because you're still reeling from the end of your previous relationship. In my opinion, it's a good idea to let at least a few weeks pass between the ending of a relationship and any attempt to start a new one, because no matter what the circumstances of the breakup were or how amicable (or not) it was, there's still some healing that needs to happen before you can fully invest yourself in another relationship. This is particularly true when a relationship was abusive, or the partner caused you a great deal of pain and doubt about yourself. You need to get yourself centered again so you have the emotional resources for a new partner and relationship.

Also, as I noted above, it is ethically wrong and may be illegal for your dentist to get involved with you on any level beyond doctor-patient, so if you did express your crush, he would have to turn it down...and if he didn't turn it down, that might indicate some poor ethics that, to me at least, would call his character into question and make me wonder if he's actually an emotionally healthy person to get involved with. If the crush is helping you feel better, by all means continue crushing, but as long as you're his patient, I would strongly advise that you keep the crush to yourself (or at least keep it from him and his staff; of course it's fine to talk about it here, or to friends).

Last edited by KC43; 07-25-2018 at 02:55 PM.
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  #17  
Old 07-25-2018, 03:55 PM
Tinwen Tinwen is offline
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Originally Posted by ladyjane View Post
I have been so hung up since this relationship with said person ended and he cut me out of his life, and have gone through bouts of tears and feeling very low for months now. This crush I have was one of the first things to break me out of it.
Crushes have a way to do that. Unless your reason is on board too, I wouldn't follow up. Enjoy the feeling, but try to think of it as impersonal. It is YOUR feeling, for some reason triggered by interacting with him in particular - but nonetheless HE is not necessary for the feeling to blossom. At this point it's actually your FANTASY of him that you're in love with. Notice how he's only present in your head when you crush?

If you're willing, I would even go a step further at to think of the loving feelings that are awaking in you as something divine and greater than you (not to be confused with a sign that he's the right one, that's not what I mean!). This divine love, you can tap into it, breathe it into your heart and channel it into the good you want for yourself and others in this world. But it has nothing really to do with you or the other person. It's a wonderful, impersonal, creative force to surrender to.
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