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#198670 - 01/09/08 01:36 AM A very uncomfortable thought
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I had a disturbing realization the other night. My b/f always thinks poorly of people - always. He makes these quick judgments of everyone he meets and if youíre in the shit pile, you donít get out no matter what I or anyone else may say. He has a neighbor that he has not liked from day one because, as he said, ďheís a moron.Ē OK, so heís a moron, that doesnít mean heís a jerk. The guy tried to be friendly, in a moron kind of way, but my b/f would have none of it. I kept telling him to just not worry about it, so heís a moron, so what? That doesnít make him a bad person. Well, turns out heís not only a moron, heís a jerk and even I got into it with him a little bit, which really pissed my b/f off - at the jerk, not me. Anyway, itís water under the bridge, so who cares, but my b/f insisted on reminding me that he was right from the get go, that the guy is a jerk. I had to admit he was right.

But hereís the realization. Even if you donít start off in the shit pile; he gets to know you and thinks youíre an OK guy/gal heís forever waiting for the other shoe to drop, and if it does, AT ANY TIME you are reduced to the shit pile and my b/f sees it as validation of his belief that all people are shit.

I guess Iíve known this for a long time, but itís just recently that Iíve been able to put my thoughts together and articulate this awful feeling. Can you imagine the pressure I feel!!!! My god, what if I do something to wind up in the shit pile?! Iíve seen him do this over and over and over again with people he professes to like for crying out loud! His opinion of the human race, of which I am a card carrying member, is that we are all terrible people.

Heís told me before he doesnít like people and even though he likes me, Iím still people. WTF!

Despite this sad sack post, our life has been quite calm for the last few weeks, but this just hit me a few days ago and itís got my brain all screwed up.


If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#198915 - 01/10/08 05:39 PM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: Trish4850]
childsplay4 Offline

Registered: 11/04/06
Posts: 42
Loc: USA
Hi Trish,
My Survivor periodically puts me in the "shit pile" classification when I do or say something that he misinterprets. Usually a few days, to a month later, I'm magically back to the "wonderful woman that he loves" classification.
This is the main reason why I do not call him my b/f, anymore.
He believes the worst of everyone, including, and especially himself.
Oh well, I am glad to hear that you are enjoying a period of calm.
Take Care,

#198985 - 01/11/08 06:10 AM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: childsplay4]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

Speaking from his point of view, it saves a lot of trouble and heartache. Keeping people away, at arms length or further, using one method or another is typical of us as survivors.

1. It keeps them from being too close and thus being able to hurt us (yet again).

2. It feels like it helps us feel better about ourselves if we can have them lower in the shit heap than we are.

3. It gives us a sense of control.

I guess it's just another one of those coping skills we learned as kids that doesn't work any longer. Many of us were hurt badly by people we trusted. If we keep everyone in the shit pile it's comfortable. We don't have to try to negotiate the relationship stuff and get hurt. It's better this way all things considered.

Well, that's the way we think subconsciously anyhow.

Reminds me of a song that Mikele shared with us at the Recovery Weekend. It's by Warren Zevon and the verse goes something like this.

Well I went to the doctor
I said, "I'm feeling kind of rough"
He said, "I'll break it to you, son
You're shit's f***ed up."
I said, "My shit's f***ed up?"
Well, I don't see how--"
He said, "The shit that used to work--
It won't work now."

It's kinda crude, but I'll tell you, when I heard that I heard a WHOLE LOT. It hit me where I needed to be hit.

The only way through it is forward for us I'm afraid. I really do wish you and he well. With you in his corner, at least he has a fighting chance.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#198997 - 01/11/08 11:20 AM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: WalkingSouth]
MemoryVault Offline

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Wow, Trish--

What a great post.

Why the shit pile? Some thoughts (only partially a self-portrait!):

Assuming the worst is really safe because you won't get disappointed. You already believe that humanity is bad in general, and that goes really deep. For some people, everyone starts in the pile. For others, it's one strike and you're in.

The big issue survivors face is betrayal. Remember what happened to a survivor: Someone, often someone we cared about, did something that was genuinely evil. It wasn't a mistake or an ordinary human failing. Early in our lives, we had someone who we cared about who fell into the shit pile and really did belong there.

Maybe, weirdly, they're the one person we still can't put there, so we practice putting other, safer, people there instead. We're teaching ourselves not to forgive or minimize or say it's okay, and we're going overboard because we're not very good at it...we haven't had a lot of practice.

We also often don't believe ourselves. Someone feels not good to us, and we think we're crazy or wrong. So we're hungry for validation, for proof that that person is really not good. Like we constantly need to build our case. It's hard for us just to have a feeling, accept it, and go on. Bad feelings about people become this major issue.

I don't know what hope to offer, except that things do change. When we start understanding why we're really hurt, who really does belong in the pile, we can start to ease up on the people who are just temporarily bugging us. \:\) When we start to believe ourselves, we don't need to go to extremes to prove that we're right all the time.

Hope this helps!


#199009 - 01/11/08 02:01 PM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: MemoryVault]
sweet-n-sour Offline

Registered: 10/03/06
Posts: 409
Loc: chicago
Dear Trish:

A very interesting post indeed. I suspect it has to do with a see someone as "shit" before they have a chance to pull any "shit" on them. It's from being hurt can a person possibly trust anyone when their past experiences lead them to believe that they will be hurt present day and in the future?

I know this from personal experience and in trusting the wrong people repeatedly...from never being allowed any sort of personal boundaries growing up. It is much easier to keep everyone away rather than let them get anywhere close enough to lash out.

Interesting. My husband accuses me of being paranoid and yet, I am the one out of the both of us who will extend myself to talk to people...generally, he avoids new people at all costs. Maybe between the two of us WE both have a lot to learn. Not all people are "shit." I've met some very nice people throughout the years, nice enough that I am filled with hope that the good will forever out number the abusive people.
Thanks for bringing this into the light.
Best wishes,

"As long as he continues to try, I will meet him in that determination and commitment."

cm 2007

#199032 - 01/11/08 05:47 PM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: sweet-n-sour]
honey girl Offline

Registered: 10/09/06
Posts: 245
Loc: Midwest US
Dear Trish and everybody,

Great topic, fascinating replies. It all makes sense to me!

I hope this will count as a contribution, not as a criticism, because it's meant as the former not as the latter.

Recently, on an entirely different site devoted to an entirely different subject, I read something I've been mulling over ever since. As I recall, it's a nugget of wisdom that comes from Buddhism, and I have probably been at risk of over-applying it to every conceivable situation since. But it has some relevance here, too.

The question: Are you attached to your suffering?

My interpretation of this, in relation to the thread here, is that I have wound up quite invested in a worldview that supports my sense of powerlessness and inadequacy. My own experiences have provided plenty of evidence for believing that there's a lot of people who do rightly belong in that shit pile. And so, partly because that's what I have expected, that's what has been reinforced. Now, I am beginning to consider what might be possible if I am not "attached" to that belief system. It's all I knew, until quite recently, but it is becoming more and more limiting and inaccurate. And so more and more often I have to ask myself how it benefits me, really, to cling to that belief system, and whether I would be better off taking the risk of attempting a new method of perceiving the world. Because it's quite risky to let go of one behavior when you're not at all sure what the returns are going to be from adopting another....

For me, this also comes uncomfortably close to the idea that we "shape our own reality" somehow. I don't want to go that far, not at all. On the other hand, I do think that we choose to emphasize certain elements of our experience more than others, and that perhaps this habit of perception/interpretation is more self-perpetuating than we generally admit.

It has required the appearance (also rather new) of a belief in my ability to survive and even flourish, even if I do encounter disappointing people. It has required recognizing what I have done that has kept me going, and acknowledging that people are generally not all bad or all good--but that this doesn't negate the good. However it has happened, of late I am much more settled about myself, much less inclined to put myself down. These are probably all related elements, I suspect....

I hope this makes sense. More importantly, I hope you find it useful!


I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger, a million miles away from home.

#199087 - 01/12/08 12:57 AM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: Trish4850]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
Dear Trish,
Don't take this the wrong way, but your post made me smile. I can't tell you how many times I've felt the same way! I have also felt the pressure and that he's waiting for me to make a mistake. It doesn't matter how many right things I do or say, only the wrong one will matter. He's not really close with many people and he's passive-aggressive alot of the time. When he said he didn't like people he said I was "different". That's me alright, the "different" one.
Hoping things remain relatively calm for you both.

#199096 - 01/12/08 01:35 AM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: Liv2124]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

It doesn't matter how many right things I do or say, only the wrong one will matter

Yup, thatís whatís so scary. I try like hell and I think that more often than not, I live up to expectations. The problem is, the expectations are so low that I donít really know what that means. I so get the passive aggressive - heíll nudge me and our friends right to the edge and then say, ďwhatís wrong?Ē *Grrrrrrrrrrr*


The question: Are you attached to your suffering?

Thatís HUGE. Weíve had a conversation where very similar thoughts have come up. He is attached to his suffering, not because he wants to be, but because itís the only thing he know. Thatís the point of therapy I guess, to release it and put the cause of such suffering where it belongs, which is certainly not with him.


On the money. He wonít let himself be vulnerable because vulnerable in his eyes is weak. He only occasionally letís me even get him a glass of water if Iím standing in the kitchen and heís sitting in the recliner - ďI can get itĒ is always the answer despite the silliness of it.

David and John,

Your posts are so insightful and full of very sad truths. He doesnít trust anyone. Both he and his T have told me that he trust me more than heís ever trusted anyone in his life, which is wonderful, but heís 47 years old so for 41 of those years, he trusted no one. Even those who did help him werenít really trusted; they were nice yes, but.........Adults knew of the physical abuse and tried to help him when they could, but no one really stepped up for any long term solution so he had to keep going back. He was a kid dammit and no one would go the extra mile to save him when he couldnít save himself. So now, thatís his only goal - to stay safe in the only way he knows how. But it doesnít work now.

Thank you......Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#199133 - 01/12/08 05:33 AM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: Trish4850]
Brokenhearted Offline

Registered: 08/07/06
Posts: 644
Loc: TX

Our therapist once called it his "black and white thinking." Apparently it's some kind of immature way of reasoning things. You're either good or bad, no in-between. You can be good as gold for weeks, but just one disagreement and you're BAD for a long time.

Oh, also, "I'll get it" is always his reply too when I ask if he'd like something to drink, even if I'm standing at the fridge and he's sitting at the table eating!

Edited by Brokenhearted (01/12/08 05:35 AM)

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

#199154 - 01/12/08 12:37 PM Re: A very uncomfortable thought [Re: Trish4850]
Liv2124 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 159
Loc: New Jersey
I had to give up on "living up to expectations" a long time ago. With him, the expectations were all over the place. Sometimes they seemed low, like if I came through as anything less than an axe murderer, I was alright. But sometimes, they seemed unbelievably high. The problem was, that they were always changing. What was okay one minute might not be okay the next. Sometimes, he'll ask me a question, and I'll answer and everything is cool. Other times, he might ask the same question a different way, get the same answer, and tell me ,"That's not nice". He's also great for quoting what "People" say. Before I comment, I'll always ask him who these "People" are. Most of the time, these are things from tv, radio, or something he heard or read somewhere, making it virtually impossible to assess what these people actually know and where these people actually got their information in the first place.
I have also come to realize that he will believe the negative alot quicker than the positive, regardless of the source.
I also realize that if I can't be perfect, (which, nobody can) I can be consistent. Sometimes, I get frustrated. I'm human. It happens. It doesn't make me a bad person. What was done to him has affected me too in alot of ways. Certainly not to the extent that it has him, but it has complicated things. He doesn't trust me because of what someone else did, I can't touch him because of what someone else did, etc. etc. Seeing him in emotional pain causes me a considerable amount of pain as well because I can't fix this. He sees me in pain and considers himself the cause. He's not. It's hard to deal with the concrete thinking, because there are alot of colors other than black and white.
Here's to life, breathing through one issue at a time.

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