A lot of books...
Beverly Engel: Healing your Emotional Self
Gloria Steinem: Revolution from Within
Iyanla Vanzant: Yesterday I Cried
Georg Weinberg: Self Creation
and several others.
I know it's not that simple.
There's a scared little child inside all of us.
It wasn't his fault that I reacted the way I did. It's not his fault that I respond to events by... well... giving me a lot of crap.
It really is very unfair of me to expect him to clean up the mess. Even when he didn't handle it very well. He did the best he could with what he had at the time it happened. It's not his fault his best wasn't good enough.
And it's not my fault either.
I too did the best I could with what I had at the time it happened, and it's not my fault my best wasn't good enough.
And of course he can change, too, if he ever wishes to.
Phil Stutz and Barry Michels say in The Tools that it's really childish and immature to expect the world to be just and wait for the "rightful punishment" for the people who have wronged you.
Most injustice and unfairness and when people wrong, hurt and insult us, disrespect and offenses are not as bad as we experience them. It's usually just our unfair expectations, preconceived notions, prejudices and assumptions that are hurt, not us. It's just the sense of being right that's hurt.
We get caught in a labyrinth of obsession, where we obsess about the justice and revenge... and I do want to hurt him as bad as I feel hurt.
But the problem here is that it wasn't he who hurt me... it was me.
His words don't matter. His opinion doesn't matter, especially when I really don't know what it is.
It's my words and my opinion - it's what I tell myself because of what happened.
And I tell myself that I am disgusting, vile, nasty; ugly, fat and filthy, unkempt, pathetic, lousy piece of crap, and no-one will ever want to spend time with me. No-one will ever play with me. I will have to be alone for the rest of my life, because I am disgusting.
He didn't tell me any of these things. I did.
He just didn't deny them or try to mote them or tell anything different.
So I tell myself that he must agree with me about me, like everyone else on this world. Everyone who has ever met me must think I'm disgusting, so he must think so too.
This is a really dysfunctional way of thinking.
But it's my PTSD talking.
Now, I have read the MOODJUICE's PTSD self-help guide, too.
And my husband is active in the 12 steps movement.
So - there's a payback in everything I do. I don't bash myself just because that is the way I am used to treat myself. I do it to protect myself.
You see... I had come some way with my self-esteem before I met this man, so I thought it's ok to tell him I like him. Ok, that I have a crush on him. And when he disappeared, I fell straight to all the old patterns, and one of them is "I am such a vile being I'm not worth telling a decent human being I have a crush on him. Me being so impudent, so audacious as to assume I could see him as a being of same standard, same status, same art and same value and even HAVE a crush on him, is an insult."
So it's my own fault I got hurt.
The "I'm vile" filter is there to protect me from getting hurt, getting rejected... If I just remember I'm vile, I will be grateful for every kind word, and every kind action, and not do such stupid things as fall in love with people so apparently above my level.
But that is not true...
That's my shadow. That's my inner saboteur speaking. That's some 15 years of bullying in schools and absent parents and being poor and not having much social life, ever, speaking.
That's some 40+ years of not having much guidance, leading or answers, having been forced to figure things out on my own, speaking.
I have got a lot of stuff wrong. Some a little wrong, some horribly wrong.
Like this with my looks and presence and impression... I can't believe anyone would find me attractive. I'm still, after 14 years of marriage, puzzled by how my husband can think I'm not only the most beautiful woman in the universe, I'm also attractive, graceful, sexy and all kinds of other things I long to be but can't believe I have any chances in hell to be.
It doesn't help that I understand how a lot of my ideas of myself were born.
I have Asperger's, so I don't much like being with people, so I don't have much practice of the social part.
As I wasn't socially active, I don't have much experience of dealing with boys/men.
As I was bullied in school, I believe I'm worth that kind of treatment, nothing better, and that's all I have to expect from people, which makes me even more reluctant to socialize, which makes my opportunities to practice and experience social interactions even smaller.
I was taller than my class mates and athletic, and I have broad shoulders and back - which made me weigh 10 kilos more than all the other girls of my age I knew, and because of my shoulders and ribcage I needed bigger size tops, which made me think I was huge and fat, already when I wasn't.
I have Asperger's, so I have some problems with getting the hygiene part working - I am very sensitive, so the circumstances must be right, and the way we lived when I was small, the circumstances were not right. We didn't have plumbing, running water or bathroom, there was no shower and no bathtub. We had sauna twice a week, and if one wanted to wash oneself other times, one had to warm water on the stove and wash oneself in a wash bowl, like they did 100 years ago. And as I was very athletic, I would have needed to wash myself more often than I did, but as it was very complicated and uncomfortable, I avoided washing myself - and my hair and skin are very oily, so I looked dirtier than I was, and the other kids at school talked about it...
And I know, intellectually, that I am not ugly. In fact, I'm rather beautiful. Scientifically. Impartially. When I get a quick glimpse of my face, I am amazed at how pretty I really am... but when I look at myself longer, the features turn into this... troll face. All I see are the defects and features I wish were different, and... I see ugly.
And that is because I didn't have a boyfriend before I was 26. I believed I must be so ugly no-one wants me. I know it was mostly because of my Asperger's which makes it hard for me to know if someone is interested in me. I know it was also because of my lack of social experience, and bad self confidence. It had nothing to do with how pretty I was.
Because boys really aren't that shallow.
(Also, my husband says that the fact that I really am rather pretty, and I have style and grace and all that I would like to have, the boys might have been a bit scared by me. You know, no-one asks a super model out because no-one thinks they are at her level. They didn't know how I saw myself, they saw something very different. And perhaps they thought I was proud and though myself too good for them... when in reality I thought the very opposite... Who knows...
Well, the boys know what they thought.)