I need your help because I sabotage my own life by comparing myself to the ex’s new woman (one of the many OW behind my back).
She owns a business. She is also a cross fit junkie with abs of steel. My body is soft. She is blond. I have almost black hair. You get the gist.
I’m a mere school teacher working 12 hours a day, raising my special needs child alone (not his child but my son knew this man from the age of 2). My spare time is spent seeing friends or being an advocate for my son. I have no time to sculpt chiselled abs or create perfect hairstyles. I’m in bed alone, waiting to be woken by my now almost 8 year old son as his disability often has him up frequently, whilst the ex is having fun and screwing her. I feel lame.
The thing is, I know in my heart I have so much to offer and that I’m a good person.
I don’t blame the OW as I know how manipulative and charming he is. He is also good at being a victim when he has no idea about hardship.
But my question is, how do I start being happy again? How do I stop comparing my not very exciting life to their “wonderful” life? How do I stop comparing myself to her and always making myself out to be the loser or not matching up? How do I stop comparing my looks to the point where I cry when I see my face in the mirror and can’t eat.
Am I lame because I haven’t moved on yet? I have the opportunity to with nice men but I push them away. It’s been a year.
The thing is, even though I know he’s a piece of sh*t, he also gave me some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life. I used to think we were deeply connected. Now I see he’s a narcissist who mirrors people. But how do I move past the fact that I actually really loved him? Even though he abused me physically and psychologically.
Does he win because he’s always had women who want him and is in a new relationship as fast as lightening?
Please help. I’m sick of feeling depressed, worthless and replaceable. Why am I so hooked on him?
The Comparing Exhausted Mum
Dear Comparing Exhausted Mum,
Whoa. Forget abs of steel, you need a complete values overhaul. If I could make your self-worth drop and give me 40, I would.
He won? What did he win? He’s still him, right? A manipulative shit of man who physically and emotionally abused you, and cheated with multiple other women.
I swear I’m going to create an SEO tag “She Won the Sparkly Turd.”
He did NOT have a character transplant. Ms. Crossfit won a guy who beats women and cheats. If that’s winning, what’s second prize? Ebola?
The thing is, even though I know he’s a piece of sh*t, he also gave me some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life.
Bullshit. He sold you a fantasy. Abusers have hooks. They love bomb. They charm. Of course they do, because if they led with pure odiousness, no one would fuck them or share their bank routing numbers.
Narcissist sparkles (narkles?) feel awesome. So does heroin. You see where I’m going with this? This isn’t healthy love. It’s distraction, it’s limerence, it’s God-my-single-mom-to-a-special-needs-child-life-is-exhausting-and-I-need-a-whirl-around-the-dance-floor.
People who love you don’t exalt you… only to drop you. They don’t power trip on your pain or goad to you to pick me dance. They just love you, squishy midsection and all.
I’d like to share a radical revelation — I am a 52-year-old woman and I’ve got abs like an exploded can of biscuits — it does not render me unlovable. (It makes jeans a bitch to find, however.) I made worse relationship choices when I was young and could bounce quarters off my stomach. Your lack of rock-hard abs says NOTHING about you that matters. If you want rock-hard abs, I’m sure you could have them, should you set your mind to it. (If you’re 52, however, I’d say forget it. Your body turns to melting candle wax at this age. No not really — YES, YES IT DOES, I lift weights and eat kale and FUCK belly fat! Anyway, the squidgy struggle is real and I’m digressing…) My point is, you’re a not a “mere” school teacher and single mom to a special needs son — you’re MIGHTY!
But me typing it doesn’t make it so if you don’t believe it. If those aren’t your values, if you don’t think educating children, or raising a child on your own, or being a honest person who loves with her whole heart is a BETTER thing than being a con artist, I can’t help you.
Is it unjust that you got chumped? Yes. But the continuing flagellation of self is completely on you. If that man beat you with a stick and left, would you pick the stick up and keep beating yourself with it? No. That sounds ridiculous.
But my question is, how do I start being happy again?
When you put that stick down.
How do I stop comparing my not very exciting life to their “wonderful” life?
You have no idea what their life is like. Trust me, it’s not exciting, unless you think domestic violence is a thrill ride.
How do I stop comparing myself to her and always making myself out to be the loser or not matching up?
STOP IT. Seriously, STOP doing it. You have a choice. There’s agency here. You stop doing the self-destructive thing. Put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it, or imagine me reaching out from cyber space to slap you. You STOP doing the dumb thing. And the more you stop doing it, the more you rewire your brain for other stimuli, like cute things your kid does, or peonies, or the new Elton John movie… FILL YOUR LIFE.
That’s the “gain a life” part of the equation. It takes effort. You’re good at effort. (See also “Teacher” and “Mom.”) You only get so much precious life, so stop giving it to fuckwits.
How do I stop comparing my looks to the point where I cry when I see my face in the mirror and can’t eat.
Well, stop doing whatever you’re doing to keep these idiots central. (How do you know about her abdomen anyway?) Turn off the social media, practice no contact like it was transcendental meditation.
Am I lame because I haven’t moved on yet?
You’re grieving, but you could be smarter about it.
I have the opportunity to with nice men but I push them away.
That’s lame. Nice people YES. Bad people NO.
You think I’m being flippant? I’m not. That’s the ethos of this blog distilled into two sentences. In fact, that might be my new tagline.
It’s been a year.
Okay, it’s totally fine that you’re not ready to date. You’re doing you. (Sobbing in the mirror looking at yourself.) Heal up. Do the gain a life thing and when you’re feeling less wobbly and you find your belly fat charming or at least utterly irrelevant, then date. Or go on a burning mission to be an American ninja warrior with abs of steel.
I have no time to sculpt chiselled abs or create perfect hairstyles.
Okay, then you have no time to mourn fuckwits either. I think we’re in agreement here on the time management.
I’m in bed alone, waiting to be woken by my now almost 8 year old son as his disability often has him up frequently, whilst the ex is having fun and screwing her. I feel lame.
Maybe you feel tired? Unappreciated? Unsupported? Why is this bad feeling self directed? It’s like writing, I lifted a car off a trapped pensioner. I feel lame. You are doing magnificent feats of caring. That isn’t lame — that’s heroic. But even superheroes need a rest sometime. Respite care? Moving closer to family and a support network? You’re allowed to carve out some me time for that life rebuilding. It’s a-okay. The fact that you think the best times of your life were spent with an abuser tells me you really need to get out more.
I’m not snarking. I’ve been there. I swear I was good kibbles for a sociopath because I was an exhausted single mom who needed that twirl on the dance floor. Love bombing take me away! Maybe if I was less exhausted, maybe if a few more people in my life told me I was mighty then, or I told myself that, I wouldn’t have found a fuckwit so intoxicating.
Our mental scripts matter. Rewrite yours.