Three Stories

*A very dear friend of mine was brave enough to ask me for help and so I am putting this heartfelt post of hers out into the blogisphere in the hopes that you can lend some of your wisdom and kindness to her as you have to me so many times. It breaks my heart that someone as beautiful, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent and funny is not treated as such by those who are supposed to love her the most.*

1.

This past Tuesday, I discovered that the boy to whom I “lost my virginity” is now a “respected” buddhist monk. Let me put it another way for you: Nine years ago, I was raped by a buddhist monk. The fact that the boy who held me down by the throat and raped me is now a buddhist monk makes me want to vomit. A “Man of God” raped me. He made me bleed, and he laughed. And in the morning, he made me take the sheets back to my dorm room in a plastic bag and wash them. He said that my blood made him feel nauseous and unclean. I had soiled him and his sheets, and I needed to repair the damage. A Man Of God did this to me. And according to him, God has forgiven him. Meaning that, to him, I should also forgive him. According to him, and the majority of my family. Let’s just add that extra little bit of weight in there.
On the plus side, he looks like he has aged about fifty years. So there’s something, I suppose.

2.

I was recently sent a series of photos of myself from elementary school. I hit puberty early, around age 9. By age 10, I had D-size breasts, hips that wouldn’t quit swinging in the breeze, and a face only a mother could love. My mother? She frequently told me that one day, someone might fall in love with me DESPITE the fact that I was “a dog.” Yes, she used those words. Those exact words. I have spent the past several years “coming into my own,” and I had sort of convinced myself that it had all been in my head. Surely, I thought, I wasn’t that awkward. Surely it hadn’t been that bad. Seeing those photos, however, I realized that it had been that bad. It was, in point of fact, a horrible horrible horrible time in my life. I was ugly. I was awkward. I had terrible skin and braces and enormous breasts and no friends and a mother who fervently wished I was someone else. I know that realizing these things should leave me feeling cathartic. I should be feeling victorious for having survived that experience. I should be proud of the marginally successful, marginally attractive person that I have become. I should be feeling these empowering things, but instead I feel like a failure. I feel like that little girl in the photos, dressed in monochromatic (red, teal, olive green) sweatsuits and white sneakers. I realize that I’ve never really lost the conviction that I am that girl. I feel lost and alone.

3.

My boyfriend is planning on proposing in a week. Today, I suddenly had the sinking realization that I don’t know if I want to say yes. My boyfriend is wonderful. My boyfriend is a dream. He is smart, sweet, hilarious, and completely one of a kind. He is wonderful. He has been wonderful for the duration of our relationship of over two years. Well… until the past six months. For the past six months, he has been a whiny, selfish brat. He has whined about the food that I have prepared on a nightly basis. He has whined about having to split bills with me (despite the fact that he makes over twice my salary). He has demanded that I procure “our joint” Christmas gifts for his family, and then, once I have done so, has whined about the quality of said Christmas gifts. He has been an utter asshole. He has mentioned my “engagement ring” at least three times a week for the past six months. He has taken me to look at engagement rings. He has told me that my choice, a $500 vintage emerald, is “not good enough.” And then he has whined about the one diamond that we finally agreed upon, a wildly affordable option. He has whined about the fact that the cost is stressing him out. Repeatedly. And then, when I get angry about the fact that he is effectively putting me through hell, he has whined that I am being “a crazy girl.”

I know that many men do this. I know that they morph into the worst versions of themselves right before asking someone to commit a lifetime to them. I know this. But I expect better. I want more than a man who forewarns me for six months that a proposal is imminent, as though to warn me to stay on my best behavior. I want more romance in my life than a man who builds up the fact that he will “produce a romantic meal for a specific Tuesday night” for three weeks, and then “the specific Tuesday night” arrives with a dinner of Thai takeout and hockey on the television.

I want more romance than a man who tells me, two weeks prior, that he will be proposing on Christmas morning. Is this selfish? Yes. Do I care? Sort of. But not that much. I think that this should be romantic. IT SHOULD BE. I am terrified of the life that I would be signing on for. I don’t know what to say. Do I say “yes,” hoping that he returns to his previous self? Or do I trust the past six months? Do I take the past six months under advisement? I do not know what to say.

I have a horrible feeling that, on Christmas morning, he is just going to chuck a ring in my direction and say, “Here you go! We’re getting married now, right?” It breaks my heart. And I feel like a horrible, selfish, whiny bitch, because here is a man who is at least going to ask me to marry him, despite the fact that vignettes 1 and 2 are still true. And I don’t know what to say.

I do not know how to reconcile these three stories. Can someone please tell me how to do that? Please?

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55 thoughts on “Three Stories

  1. What an extraordinary set of stories. I have lots of thoughts that come into my head, the strongest of which is I am in no place to offer advice. What you have dealt with in your lifetime has been extremely traumatic. A good healthy dose of therapy is what I’d recommend – we can all use it at some point in our lives. It might help you come to grips with your past and to be able to define your present and future. On that note, I see nothing wrong with being a honest with your boyfriend and asking him to postpone any plans for engagement in 2009. It might not be the most comfortable conversation, but it will certainly be better than saying no when he does propose, or even worse, saying yes and not feeling completely elated about it.

  2. I agree with the comment by SoMi’s Nilsa: therapy would probably help you move beyond points 1 and 2. As for point 3, I had no idea that many men behave their worst before they ask for a commitment. Really? Once again, I have to agree with SoMi’s Nilsa on this, although my first instinct was to tell you to dump him, but that’s a little reactionary.

    So basically, I’m saying, “What she said.” ↑

  3. I agree completely with Nilsa. All of these things are both unique and overwhelming and a qualified and caring therapist is my only advice. Working through trauma takes bravery and you should not have to do it alone. Be completely honest with your boyfriend. If you are not ready, for any reason, you should not feel the pressure of an engagement and then a marriage. You deserve for those to be completely happy times in your life.

  4. One of my very favorite quotes says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I’d hope he could become what he once was, but until he does (and proves that old person is back to stay), he’s showing you right now, today, who he is, and you deserve better. You deserve a romantic, unexpected proposal. You deserve to feel good, plain and simple. This is your entire life — you want to be giddy off the excitement of what’s to come, not hopeful things will change one day.

  5. “What they said”. But also, I’m in the process of ending a 28 year marriage. I wanted it to work. I tried and tried for 28 years, regardless of the warning signs.

    I hate to be a naysayer, but I would say you definitely need to take the past 6 months under advisement and have a heartfelt conversation with him – let him know he has not been the man you thought he was for the past 6 months and see what *is* bothering him. Maybe he is just dominant once he gets into that “committed couple” situation. You should never get married expecting the other person to change. That is just asking for trouble. Take a hard look at what you have now, have some honest heart to heart conversations with your boyfriend, and then decide. There is no reason to rush!!

    Everyone deserves happiness, and it doesn’t come from being someone elses door mat.

    Best of luck to you.

  6. Please forgive me if this sounds harsh. I think because of #1 and #2, that you’re settling for the crap in #3.

    Good men don’t act like that, even when they have commitment jitters. Please consider talking to a doctor or a therapist before you get engaged. Terrible things have been done and said to you, are still being done and said to you, and you don’t deserve that. Be good to yourself.

  7. What you have been through is nothing short of a lot. For numbers 1&2, perhaps it would be best to go see a therapist. They are great in allowing you an unbiased, secure, and confidential space where you can talk about anything. You DO NOT deserve what you went through AT ALL and somewhere deep inside I hope you know that.

    The way your boyfriend is treating you is unacceptable. He’s showing you his true self. I don’t recall any of my friend’s boyfriends (now husbands) ever acting in such a way before they proposed to my friends so I’m going to have to say no, that’s not natural or right at all. Perhaps it would be best to put your engagement on hold, while you work through the first two points you mentioned because they are clearly weighing heavy on you and a marriage to a whiny boy isn’t going to make it any better.

    You deserve to be happy. Please know this. You shouldn’t be treated like this at all. Even though I don’t know you, I’m sending you a lot of hugs.

  8. The only way to reconcile these three stories is to figure out what you WANT from life. Here is how I see things:

    1) The ‘Monk’ is a disgusting perversion of what is expected from a man of “God” and more than likely has decided that his life choices are supported by the fact that he has found excuses the awful things he has done. That doesn’t mean that you have to forgive him and it doesn’t mean that you have to let that experience define you. He can’t define who you are. You are the only person that can do that. A bad man victimized you. You were a victim of a crime. But that doesn’t mean that is who you are.

    2) Your Mother was abusive. Plain and simple. No mother should tell their child such horrible things. You are a gift and a creation to the world. Puberty is a hard, confusing, frustrating and difficult time for those of us with the best of support, but what she did to you was WRONG. She was emotionally abusive to you and has provided tapes that you are playing over and over again in your mind. But that is not who you are.

    3) And about this guy that has been stringing you along with promises of a lifetime of wedded bliss only to put you down and complain about the things that you do for him, and about the simple ‘requirements’ related to getting married, etc? He is being emotionally manipulative and is preying on someone that is vulnerable. This is how he handles a stressful situation? NOT cool, not right. You deserve better and as someone who has been married for almost 4 years, I can tell you that you have described a MASSIVE red flag, because if this is what you see now, this is what you will get after you are married, amplified by about 1000x. RUN. This guy will not the be last that comes along. Stop concentrating on the fact that this man is *willing* to marry you (he should be jumping up and down to marry a strong woman that has survided a lot!!!) and concentrate on what sort of life you want for yourself. There are many fishies in the sea and this guy does not sound up to the job. The greatest gift you could give yourself is to walk away and to let a REAL man that deserves you into your life.

    And I don’t care if #1 & 2 have happened to you, this is NOT WHO YOU ARE, DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR WORTH, but simply are two terrible situations that of how people have mistreated you. It seems like it may happen again with the fiance – That said, I am seeing a pattern of abuse in your life and it appears that you are suffering from self esteem issues.

    So knowing that – Ask yourself what you want from your life. You do have a right to demand that people treat you as you deserve. You have to ask yourself (despite what has happened to you), if you are allowing the right people in your life, or do you deserve better? Can you see a counselor, a professional that can help you work through these problems? That is always helpful – To have an impartial party that has your best interests at heart is invaluable.

    Know, that you are a strong person for having survived what you have experienced, and that the past does not equal the future. Good Luck!

  9. Wordy McWord to everything that has been said so far.

    My thoughts for 1: Understand that there are other women out there who have been through similar attacks, and are facing similar situations (maybe not a Buddhist monk, but having to see their rapist every day or something). If you’re not comfortable with therapy, try a survivor’s group. You are definitely NOT alone. You have every right to be pissed off, and do no have to forgive him, even if his God has done so.

  10. Everything changes. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. Sometimes temporarily, sometimes for a very long time indeed (until another change inevitably occurs). You can’t stop change. And while you can learn from the past, you shouldn’t live there. Accept things as they are now, and decide if you can be happy with that. If not… then perhaps it’s you who might be needing a change. Try to make it a positive one and be happy. πŸ™‚

  11. I agree with everyone else. And also I am struck by how you say that you know men become the worst versions of themselves right before they commit. I have never heard that before. Certainly, my husband did not change at all, and DEFINITELY did not become an asshole or manipulative as it sounds like your boyfriend is currently being, before or after he proposed. I agree that therapy would help you work through your issues from one and two. I guess what I’m seeing is that your expectations for yourself and what you deserve seem very low. Why should you expect all men to turn into cruel manipulative jerks right before asking you to commit to spending your life with them? You deserve more than that. And it sounds to me (not that I’m qualified to make this sort of assessment) that items 1 and 2 have led to you making allowances for this sort of behavior. And I hope that therapy could help with that.

    In the meantime, I think it would be reasonable, though somewhat unpleasant, to ask your boyfriend not to propose this year, and to stop discussing it for the time being. It sounds like he is holding this over your head in some sort of power play, and by removing it as a topic of discussion, hopefully you will take some of the wind out of the sails of that particular game.

    Good luck!

  12. again…what Nilsa said. My first reaction was to tell you to kick him to the curb…but I agree…give it time. I do not know you, and am in no place to give advice to a person that I have not met…however, as a therapist, I would strongly suggest that you do not do an engagement this year. Even if you were to get engaged and make a long engagement out of it to think things through, it adds on an added pressure that is unnatural. take time before you make a big mistake

  13. I am sorry that #1 ever happened, but my belief system says that things happen in life as lessons so we can perfect ourselves for Mother and Father God. I can’t begin to tell you what that lesson is because I don’t know.

    As for the abusive Mom, I have a friend who has a mother that used to abuse her. She is not allowing that to happen any longer because she has been seeing a therapist and was told by her therapist the same thing me and many other friends tried to tell her. Just because she gave birth to you doesn’t mean you have to endure her. Let her go for your own health.

    #3 Do not get engaged to this man. He is showing you who he is and my guess is that he has probably shown other signs but because of the abuse that you have endured you have said to yourself “He treats me better than others.” He is still abusive. I have been there, I know. I would tell him not to ask you on Christmas morning because you will have to answer NO.

    Of course, all opinion. I am pretty direct so please take no offense. I would rather just see you find somebody who truly loves you. I have been waiting for over 20 years for the right one to come a long. I do believe that it will happen though. Patience, patience, patience. God bless you!

  14. If you want to know how someone will treat you in the future, simply look at how they have treated you in the past.

  15. Dude, marriage is not something you should commit to because you think this is the best you are going to be able to do. If you are not able to joyfully say YES with emphasis, than you should say no, or at the very least, not now.

  16. You have gone through some harsh stuff. I thought #1 you were asking if you needed to forgive this guy like everyone else. He may be a better person now. He may have found god and stopped being a scumbag but who cares. Why the hell would you ever have to deal with this guy again? I hate that people think everyone needs to get along and be friends and at peace. What he did was horrible and you are under no obligation to do anything but think he is a piece of crap.

    The first thing leading into the second a little.. who cares what your family thinks. Judging from your mother’s comments they have no sense at all. I can relate to a lousy family situation. Personally I just have nothing to do with my family. It is pretty sad your mom would say such hurtful things to you.

    As for the third thing — I agree with the comments so far, I have not heard of guys just becoming assholes because they are about to be married. It did not happen to me. Perhaps since he feels more comfortable and like he “owns” you, he is letting more of his true self out. Only you can really make the decision but don’t settle on someone.. you will only end up stuck in a bad situation, or divorced and wondering what happened a few years from now. I guess the fact that you have questions about even getting married probably says you should really think about it.

    Good luck with all of this. Life is tough.

  17. Breaks my heart, too.
    #1: Asshole. God will deal with him in the end – or karma. I think you are entirely within your rights to not forgive, but it doesn’t mean you have to let this create a negative energy within you. Melissa at suburbanbliss.net has some great thoughts on her view of experiences with her father. Go read it. I think it will give you another perspective and help you articulate why you don’t have to forgive.
    #2: This I understand – somewhat. I didn’t have the same puberty issues (in fact, I was a very late bloomer and am still waiting for my breasts to appear – and I’m pushing the big 4-0). In any case, I know the feelings of insecurity more than I want. I wonder how I was not a more confident child and if there was anything my parents could have done to build that confidence. I have it now, but it wasn’t until breaking free from my environment.
    #3: You deserve better. I’d tell him, for all the reasons you articulated (in the nicest way possible), that his behaviour makes you wonder if this is the lifelong happy relationship that is good for both of you. If you say “yes”, I’d make it conditional on counseling. If you still are not comfortable with “yes” – DON’T do it. As a former divorcee, I said “yes” the first time when I was not comfortable and it, well, clearly didn’t work out in the end. If your man won’t agree to counseling now – then something tells me you will struggle with effective communication as long as you’re in this relationship.

  18. I think that when someone tells you that you are unlovable when you are young and vulnerable, it is very easy to believe that and continue to believe that and feel like the person you are with is “the best you can do.” I’ve done that myself. But being tied down to someone who is pulling you down and not lifting you up in any way, someone who reinforces your negative beliefs about yourself, that’s no way to live your life.

    I don’t even know you other than reading this about you, but I believe you deserve better. Don’t be so hard on your past self. You did the best you could then with what you know.

  19. Wow my heart just sunk at all of these. I don’t know what to say but Nilsa and pretty much everyone else has summed it up well. I have no words for 1 and 2 but 3? HE should be on his best behavior as well if he wants you to say yes. You should definitely talk to him about this and ask him to delay. You should be elated to spend the rest of your life with someone and while I think it may be too hasty to dump him, how he treats you now might be a sign of what’s to come. You have to make sure this is just temporary, not a window into how it will be. My ex made my life a living hell the last 6 months of our relationship (when it was getting to the point where he was going to propose) and I left him. Granted the two and a half years prior to that hadn’t been wonderful and there were a lot of other reasons for leaving the relationship, but I’m a firm believer in never settling. Just because he is treating you better than the rest, doesn’t mean he isn’t treating you the GREATEST.I’d really take a look at the relationship and see if this is what you really want. And don’t be scared to leave it if it turns out it really isn’t.

    Best of luck!

  20. like everyone has said, i can’t get give any advice but can only impart my own experience.

    your BF’s current behavior reminds me of my ex-husband’s. nothing i did was ever “right” – from chopping vegetables, to not earning enough money, to sex. there’s constructive criticism, but if that’s not balanced by affection and appreciation, it just wears down your soul.

    on top of that, i devoted a lot of time to helping his mom, who had parkinson’s disease, but i don’t remember ever getting a word of thanks or appreciation. it was simply expected because we were married now.

    while my dream in life is to be a writer, my ex wished i’d give that up and make more money instead, although he knew that was what i wanted most in the world, since i was 12 years old.

    i completely lost myself. for four years i put other people first, but that was also my way of not trying to figure out what i wanted, of giving in to my fear of voicing my opinions. it took my ex cheating on me to finally wake me up.

    now that i’m with someone who not only accepts me but supports everything i do, i realize the contrast. my ex and i wanted different things – he wanted prestige and money; all i wanted was to be with someone i loved and to write. now i have that.

    it took me a long time to see the warning signs, which like another commenter said, were probably evident before we got married. although i haven’t been through what you have, i did grow up with a hyper critical mother, and thought being criticized constantly and trying to earn someone’s love was simply how love is. IT’S NOT.

    i don’t know if your BF will change, but i do know that it’s not up to you to change him, or to wait around, hoping he will. we cannot control other people’s behavior; we can only change our perceptions of other people and situations, and our own behavior.

  21. My heart broke as I read that post. I am so sorry for everything that happened to you. Nobody should have to endure ANY of it, letalone all of it. I felt that my reply was going to be honest, yet a bit tough to write and then I realized that Annettek took the words right out of my mouth.

    This is one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard…”The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get less than you settled for.”

    Only you can decide in your heart what to do….but please don’t ever feel like you have to settle!!

  22. My advice is that if you think you are settling, if you feel that way even a fraction of an amount, no matter your past history and your past insecurities, no matter how great your boyfriend has been in the past (prior to the last six months), you need to say “no.” Or, at the very least, take a step back and wait until you feel 100% happy about saying “yes.”

    (I am so sorry about the rape. That is something no one should ever have to endure, and the fact that you have to now deal with additional information about this person and how “Christ-like” he apparently is only adds insult to injury. I truly hope you can find peace in the future, and that you never have to hear about how he’s doing ever again.)

  23. I can’t reconcile all of the stories, because while experiences can be similar (I can relate to #2, oh god can I ever…) what makes us individuals is how we deal with them.

    But I wanted to comment on this.

    “And I feel like a horrible, selfish, whiny bitch, because here is a man who IS AT LEAST GOING to ask me to marry him,”

    (Emphasis mine.)

    That seems to say everything that needs to be said. I think that people should be grateful for kind people and loving partners. These are the sort of qualities that are deserving of such feelings.

    But I don’t think they should be grateful that someone is willing to marry them, because that says to me that that person doesn’t think she’s worth ANYTHING. That’s troubling.

    I can say for certain without knowing her that she is worth more than that.

  24. I am so sorry about what has happened to you. Please be kind and patient and good to yourself. I wish you nothing but peace and clarity and happiness in the future.

  25. Greetings Dear One:

    I’m very sorry I can’t help with numbers one and two. Regarding number three…DUMP HIS ASS. Seriously.

  26. These stories really strike a chord for me, being someone who has endured sexual assault and childhood abuse and who has spent a lot of time grappling with the echoes of these things in my adult life and relationships. And I too was faced with a similar choice– a long-term boyfriend whom I loved dearly, whom I know loved me, but who nonetheless was quite disrespectful towards me. I said yes when he asked me to marry him, in part because I stupidly thought it would make things better between us, and it was probably the biggest mistake of my life. Suffice it to say that we never did get married, because things only got worse and we wound up having a horrible, wrenching breakup just before the wedding was to have happened. It was so hard to go through at the time, but now I look back and realize that I essentially dodged a bullet. And I spent a few years afterward going to therapy and working through everything and it was tough going at times, but I felt alive and in control of my life in a way I never had before. And I somehow emerged from all of it fundamentally changed- a happier, healthier person. And I’m now in a happy, healthy relationship, too, with someone who treats me exactly the way I want to be treated, every day.

    So my advice, since it sounds like you do want to salvage the relationship if at all possible: talk to him. Tell him your concerns. Do it as calmly and you can. Don’t put him on the defensive, don’t attack him, just tell him how you feel. If he can respond to you, make you feel heard, make it clear that you are important to him and he wants to work on making your relationship better, then perhaps one day you both will feel good about taking that leap together. And if he can’t, then realize that you are effectively making a lifetime commitment to be treated with less respect and love than you deserve.

  27. Oh, my sweet love. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face, at a loss for all that you have endured. Please, please, PLEASE know the following:

    1. People don’t get to FORCE you into forgiving them. It is a choice, and that choice belongs to you. You were raped, my love. Please see a therapist, a counselor, a survivor group or SOMETHING. Please KNOW this wasn’t your fault. I can not stress this enough.

    2. As a mum, I can’t imagine saying what you heard growing up. Listen to me, my love. These words are from a mum, spoken to YOU: You are beautiful. You are smart. You are worthwhile. You are LOVED. I mean every word of this.

    3. Boys that become moody and mean and dangle carrots and promises of a future while chipping away at your self worth and making you grateful for ‘having someone’ are passive aggressive bastards. Do NOT marry this man without extensive premarital counseling.

    I am so very sorry, sweet one. Please print out these comments and re-read them over and over and over again until you begin to know the truth of these statements in your heart.

    I mean it.

  28. I agree with all of these other posters. Settling is not something one does as a life long commitment. You deserve more than this. If he is not willing to listen to your concerns and seriously talk to you about the situation, then I would say run, be free and be happy. I’d rather be alone and happy than with someone and miserable.

  29. This absolutely broke my heart, and my first thought was, “The sweet girl needs a Psych Spectacular [my rock-awesome therapist] of her own.” It’s all already been said in the comments, so I’ll leave it with them, but really, a GOOD therapist could help you level all of this crap, I think. No shame in it. I think abusive mothers have the potential to do so much more damage than any of us want to contemplate; to make it worse, it’s so rarely heard of, and thus, all the more taboo in some circles. But you’re not the only one to suffer it, if it helps at all.

    Through the whole post I just wanted to give you a hug, and tell you you’re worth so much more than what any of them have given you thus far … ‘cuz when it comes down to it, that’s all I’ve got. A hug, and a very human perspective. I second Renn – print these comments and keep them close until they start to sink in. Things in black and white tend to carry more weight anyway … let them (and us) help you a bit here.

    And by the way, you’re a beautiful writer (this from someone extremely picky about the writing she deems “beautiful”).

  30. I do not mean to diminish your pain or discount what you’ve been through. I do feel compelled to point out two things that jumped out at me from your story:

    Story #1: A Buddhist Monk is not considered a man of God. He may be calling himself that, but Buddhists do not subscribe to the Western notion of a creator/father/savior. Buddhists look inside for peace, not toward a higher being. I point this out because calling the person who would rape a woman a man of God and a Buddhist in the same breath offends me in the same way so many call despicable beings “a good Christian.” Please do not be confused about what this man says about himself and Buddhism. Do forgive him, if you can.

    Story #2: You call yourself marginally successfully and attractive. Until you can remove the disclaimer from your own notion of yourself, you will be consigned to the dishonor so obvious in Story #3, if only in your own heart. I can’t fathom how hard it must be to embrace your goodness and worthiness given your story, but I urge you to try. There are many good counselors who can help you. And — as ironic as this may sound — so could Buddhism, which teaches us to resist judgments and conclusions. If you could discard the notion that your mother and the man who raped you called you “bad,” and that this label has merit, you would not have to struggle so to believe you are “good.” It is these kinds of dualistic notions that torment us and Buddhists try to resist them.

    I wish you healing and peace.

  31. 1. Religion = hypocrisy.

    2. The way you see your outside is directly related to the way you feel inside. You were made to feel ugly as a child so that is what you see.

    3. Say no to that “wonderful” boyfriend. He is not wonderful. You WILL meet someone better who will adore you and be nice to you. Don’t put up with shitty behaviour, because you will continue to receive it as long as you take it. Just say no and see what happens. Love yourself first.

  32. I am sure that telling you you are an amazing woman to get to where you currently are, to push through those horrendous walls, isn’t the help you need right now. But I believe that if it were me, I am unsure if I could have ever been this strong.
    It sounds as you already have the decision standing right in front of you in terms of your current situation…but I am so far removed, so what the heck do I know.

  33. i recently got married (last month) and even though i waited 4.75 years for him to propose – i knew, in my heart, that he was the man i was meant to be with… i had dated my share of men – some good, and some bad – and can only tell you to follow your gut… DO NOT SETTLE for the sake of settling, if that makes any sense… i will be turning 39 next year and though i’m way behind on the whole marriage/kid thing – i have found a man that loves, respects and cares, for me… you deserve the same! πŸ™‚

  34. my mom grew up with a mother who always wanted more than what she delivered. and my mom stayed with men who perpetuated this lack of self esteem because she never believed she deserved better. she was abused in the majority of her relationships. sexually, physically, verbally, emotionally.
    you have some work to do, lady. and it ain’t gonna be easy. surround yourself with people who love you. and that means they support you in ways that make you feel better about yourself, not worse.
    think of what you want in a life partner and ask yourself if you’re headed that direction. your answer may not mean you have to change leading men. it just might mean you work out some kinks before walking forward together, in the same direction.
    any person who truly loves themself enough to be able to truly love you will WANT you to work this stuff out prior to embarking on a life together. that’s what it is…it’s not the ring, it’s not the wedding, it’s not the celebrating at christmas with the family. it’s everything that follows.
    you’re worth what follows. we all are.
    (oh, and be kind to yourself when you face your truths. it’s much more liberating and joyful in the long run.)

  35. This is all ONE PERSON? If it is, she needs to put her life on HOLD, until she feels in control. Scenario #3, FOR SURE. Those are all huge red flags, and ones she should warrant seriously. It only gets worse from there. #3 should step into a marriage scenario when she feels that it will only better her life experience, and be something they can join in, Together. It sounds like the guy has control issues, as well as some backhanded anger issues. He is conflicted, and this is not conducive for a positive start. If he LOVES HER, he will wait for her. She needs to step back, and make sure, he does.

    Scene#1– Here is the thing with the Buddist ideal, and it may turn some heads for me to say this: People who seek this sort of “enlightenment” often need it, very much. He may have anger issues, and feel very conflicted about what he did, that night to her. That’s why the blood on his sheets repulsed him– it wasn’t HER, it was HIM, and what he did. It was Proof of what he did. So, this was one of the events that led to him seeking Peace, and Forgiveness for some of the things he did and commited on innocent people in his anger and lashing out. He was seeking Peace, for his troubled soul. Often the only solution for this, is complete and utter seperation of Self, from Life and desires. They take the Self out of the equation of things, because Self and Ego are the source of their problems.Once they are unencumbered, they can seek TRUTH and Peace. Once they can seek these things? They are freed of their sins, and what they have done. They feel utter forgiveness for what they have done, because they feel it was the stepping stones that brought them in human experience to Enlightenment. You can see how in this wayt, religion offers a relief to those who need it most. Only GOD can forgive some of what people have done– and this man has embraced that. He discarded what harms he has done, to embrace an inner peace. If he was feeling consumed by his anger and “badness”? It was a survivor-stance, to save himself from being consumed. This does not help the Girl’s feeling of anger and victimization, and she will have to find this peace and forgiveness now for herself– but it does explain HIS motivation, and why it is he can seperate himself Now from what he has done Prior. That is Past. Past has no bearing on the Present. The Present is what it is, and when you abide in it totally? You are free as a balloon. That’s the rhetoric, anyway. I think you have to be a little too-cerebral, even a bit sociopathic, to embrace this concept fully. To discard yourself as a Person, and to discard yourself wholly from what you have done, it takes a bigger leap than I could make.

  36. Scenario#2– this is touchy for me. I’m a bit sensitive on the topic of mother’s being harsh and rejecting their own offspring. It’s happening again, this generation, with my own sister.

    We are evolving, growing people. We start from these little babies of Hope, that parents look at and see only the potential for perfection, this time around. We are a very personalized projection of themselves. When they see us, they react in a way, to seeing a part of themselves, or their Youth, and sometimes there is Judgement, and even hatred. Sometimes there is Jealousy, and it burns like a fire you must get away from you. I think that we as teens judge ourselves harshly as it is, so to have a Parent judge and hate us, it eats at our core in a way nothing else can. There are A-LOT of books out there, about mother issues, and the Whys of things… but the long and the short is this:
    You could not help what genetics made you. You were also a growing, incomplete, blob, that had yet to take full-form. It needed time, and nurturing, and shaping and encouraging.

    Girls with big breasts really fight not only a stereotype of being a slut, but also, the unwanted attraction of boys (and men). This may really be something that triggered her Mom. This is ALL her Mother’s Issues, and she should as an adult, seek to divest herself of the responsibility. We all hate the way we looked as teens, because of the judgement and evolution thing– and she should not hate herself. Her job as an adult is to do inner-child work now, and learn to LOVE herself. People like us, with judging mother’s and self-issues, we NEED THIS. Often, when we look at it as,”Would we treat unkindly a child we met at a school who looked like that?” the answer is “NO! Of course not!” We need to learn to love ourselves, so that we can free ourselves up, inside.

    Girl, you need to discard what your mother said to you, and see it as her being hateful. They are not a reflection of Truth. I’m sure you are a lovely person, with many good attributes, and many other people have told you that too. Believe the Good. Embrace the Positive. Hardest tho? Try to see your Mom as a simple Human, who failed in this regard to you. Relief is possible, just keep doing the recovery work. (hugs)

  37. Oh, I’m just going to sound like an echo in the room. You are worth more than you have been given or are getting right now. Stories #1 and #2 are heartbreaking. Please talk to someone about them (a therapist or a trusted friend or even a sexual assault hotline – whoever you are most comfortable talking to).

    And, as for #3, I’ve never heard that men change right before they propose. My husband certainly didn’t change (and he never – not once – told me that the cost of the ring was an inconvenience to him, he only told me that it was an investment for our future). So, I think, just like everyone else, that you’re settling for this because of your traumatic past.

    You deserve better. Please know that. I wish you peace in your journey.

  38. Not much to add here. Great advice. (And I’m with 1 and 2 leading to 3…)

    I’m going to say and I don’t want it to sounds harsh.

    You need to love yourself. It is not super, IMHO, to treat someone like crap. You are as deserving of a healthy happy relationship as anyone else… you deserve someone who thinks you are the bees knees and who you think is as magical and wonderful…

    Good luck.

  39. I don’t feel equipped to offer advice to you, since everyone’s experience and journey is different. But I can offer you some of my story if it helps.

    I have experienced what it was like to feel “not enough” for my family. My circumstances were different, but I also had these feelings.

    I also I know what it is like to be raped while still a virgin, and to be raped by someone who holds a position in society that is supposed to embody honor and trustworthiness. And I know what it’s like to have family who knew this had happened to me, but who didn’t want to (or, probably more accurately, were too ill equipped to) be on my side or provide support.

    In my case, it was a doctor–and he was already a doctor at the time it happened, unlike the timing in your case where the rapist has become a monk after the fact. Regardless, it sounds like you may be experiencing similar feelings to what I did due to the strange conflict of his actions vs. his “title.” More specifically, there was conflict and confusion I experienced by being unable to reconcile the violence I experienced, all alone, at the hands of this person, and the lack of support I received when I needed it (still left all alone) versus all the respect, love, and admiration he continued to receive for his position and the “goodness” people attached to him and his work. All alone, I had to live with this contradiction, feeling without an ally, while he appeared to be rewarded and condoned by society. He got to move around freely, do what he wanted, get respect. Meanwhile, I got to move around raped, victimized, confused, angry, scared, and feeling like *I* was the loser for having been victimized. For the rest of my life.

    It is a painful conflict to have to carry as a woman. At least it was for me. I’d already felt “not enough” before it happened, and in some ways, the assault just seemed to confirm that further. I think after that, part of me thought I was was even *less than* not enough.

    I can tell you these feelings, while I carried them alone–for decades–invaded every aspect of my life. It colored all my choices, my friendships, my relationships, my ability to communicate with my family. In romantic relationships, I chose men who would reinforce to me my own low opinion of myself. I’d eventually gain enough strength to break up with them, and I’d choose someone else, but the same pattern kept coming up, just in different ways. No matter who I chose, it ended up as a confirmation of why I was “right” to be disgusted with myself. And I would be disgusted with the men in the end, too. Disgusted with their behavior, disgusted with my bad choice of them. But it was familiar. I was used to being unhappy. I sometimes even thought I *was* happy when I was in this unhappy pattern. I can look back now and see I was not.

    I tried many ways to break this cycle on my own. To reconcile all the choices I was making with how I grew up, what I was told about myself, and why I was choosing the men I did. I tried by attempting to change myself to convince the men I was interested in that I was worthy of better treatment. I tried by attempting to choose men who would treat me with the unconditional love I craved. I tried by attempting to love unconditionally men I didn’t really like. I always ended up unhappy.

    I tried for decades. And I can tell you I never was able to change a *thing.* Until, that is, I finally went to a therapist. Found one I really liked and trusted and decided to dig in deep, not hold back ANYTHING, and *GET MYSELF BACK.*

    Because you know that girl, the one who you secretly know, under all the bad self talk, is down there? That really amazing, nice, funny, smart girl–the one that you wish people could see and treat well, like the amazingly special superstar she is? The one you would never stand up and admit publicly you believe is there, because you wouldn’t want to be laughed at? The one who when you look in your eyes in the mirror you can see is really quite beautiful, if you REALLY look, if anyone really would? THAT girl’s the real you. *That’s* you, not all this other pain stuff. And that girl’s not dead, she’s not gone, she’s still here. She’s just under all those layers of pain.

    That is what therapy has helped me do. To free up that girl. And now that I’ve done that, I can give her the life she–I–want and deserve. But it took a lot of hard therapeutic work to get there.

    I no longer feel like I have to “move around [feeling] raped, victimized, confused, angry, scared, and feeling like *I* was the loser for having been victimized–for the rest of my life.” I feel happy. Really, really happy–the happiest place I’ve ever been in in my life. And I can say that I truly love myself. And I’m not ashamed to say it. And having gotten to that place, I find that, many, many relationships around me are also healing. And my newfound happiness is also bringing in new, more healthy people into my life. I expect the rest of my life to be spectacular. Quite a difference.

    I could never have imagined I could be here.

    It’s been a long, tough road. I’m not going to kid you. Therapy can be frigging scary. But it’s never as scary as you think it’s going to be in the end. If you’ve gotten this far, you can get through anything.

    So what I’m saying is, when I had these conflicts, I needed to step back and take that time for myself. Take care of myself. And I needed outside help–a therapist–to do that.

    This is one thing I’m sure of–if you feel alone, there IS help to be found. I found mine in therapy. I hope, hope, hope with all my heart you find yours.

    I wish you good luck!

  40. Also, I’d like to recommend the book “The Courage to Heal,” particularly if you were raped before you were 18. There is a lot of information in there about family reactions to rape, and why they might not be supportive. I found it helpful.

    http://www.amazon.com/Courage-Heal-Revised-Expanded-Survivors/dp/0060950668

    I also found listening to Alanis Morissette’s “Everything” to be helpful. πŸ™‚

    Especially the line, “And you’re still here.” Because you are. [See, ’cause I think she’s singing that song to herself, not to someone else.]

  41. I am getting in on this a little late and I have not read the other comments, so forgive me if I repeat what others have said.
    #1, I can see why you are disgusted, however forgiving him should be for you, not him and forgiveness is a way to let go, but when you are ready and for you. He deserves nothing from you and is a pig, monk or not.
    2# I had somewhat the same stuff happening in my life when I was young, my mom did not call me a dog, but close. I too at 53 still feel like that unattractive girl, but the truth is that I am beautiful and so are you, but we must see it in ourselves and that takes work and time, but you will get there.
    3# Up until this time your boyfriend has been wonderful? Or has he been pretending and now since he thinks he “has” you he is letting you know how it will be. I won’t say dump him, but I would seriously think about dumping him. Never settle.
    I wish you all the best. xoxo

  42. I agree with Nilsa, Allison, and 3jaysmom. Therapy will offer you an objective discussion with someone completely removed from the situation. Also, a serious discussion with your boyfriends is indeed in order. As someone said above, you do not want to agree to a proposal without being ecstatic, and you do not want to sign onto a marriage that will bring you more unacceptable treatment – you’ve had enough of that. As I read somewhere “marry the kindest person you know.”

  43. 1. I am so, so sorry that happened to you. You don’t have to forgive him or do anything else you’re not ready to do. I hope you were able to see a therapist when that happened; if not, maybe this is a great impetus to do that.

    2. I don’t know what you look like, but I do know that Sizzle seems to surround herself with people who radiate greatness — and that shines through. Whatever you think of your appearance, though, know that to SOMEONE (and probably quite a few someones), you are the most amazing-looking person in the world. I am sorry your mom was apparently not among those someones, but encourage you to remember that there are people out there who think you’re a hot number — and that, external validation aside, your body has survived a lot and helped you to do good things, so hopefully you can manage to feel proud of it at some point.

    3. Never, ever settle for a little bit — or a lesser version — of what you want all of. You are worth more than that. It’s entirely possible that your boyfriend is freaking out right now…but what happens when he gets spooked by the things that are bound to happen in life if you guys do get married? Does he get a ‘get out of jail free’ card which exempts him from assholery forever? I’d say this is a good time to sit down and have an incredibly frank discussion (or write a note…whatever you guys do). Good practice for marriage, at the very least.

    And if you do get engaged on Christmas, I’d encourage you guys to see a counselor to find better ways of communicating before you tie the knot.

    In any case, repeat to yourself: I am worth it. And believe it. We (Sizzle’s readers) do.

  44. I can’t add anything that I haven’t already read in the comments above.
    (((hugs)))
    Marrage is hard work, no matter what. I wish you would start with someone you felt more like a “team” with. Someone that makes you feel like a queen ~ because it does fade (or change) a bit as it requires more work to get through hard times together (emphasis on “together”). What they say about a solid foundation is true… the wobbly ones don’t make it.
    (((hugs)))

  45. I am going to guess that Story 2 and your mom in general are directly related to the men in 1 and 3 coming into your life, and no doubt to a lot of other things that have happened to you and that you have done.

    What I am about to say will sound very specific and direct for a comment in reply to just one blog post. However, please check out the materials I suggest and see what you think. Your mom very probably has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). There are huge red flags just in what you have said here alone. Read some books about NPD and then, if you feel it is relevant, make sure you go to a therapist who specializes in NPD. Do NOT go to a ‘family reconciliation’ or ‘relational’ style counselor or therapist – you need a specialist in what is wrong with your mom. You don’t mention what your relationship with her is like now but I am going to take a wild guess that she is very manipulative, treats you like a child and is highly critical. I imagine she also subjects you to guilt trips frequently.

    Good books to read are ‘Toxic Parents’ by Dr. Susan Forward and ‘Children of the Self-Absorbed’ by Nina Brown. Also check out this website:
    http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/

  46. Wow! I am floored.

    It’s been said by the other commentors and I agree.

    So sorry for all of the stories. No one should be treated that way.

    Stories #1 &2 do not define your worth.

    Story #3 is a warning. Go with your gut.

    Don’t forget to pray. He always answers.

  47. i’m awfully late on the train here as well, but wanted to chime in too. these stories floored me. i’m so, so sorry you’ve had all this negativity in your life. you’re an amazing, strong person for making it through #1 and #2; continue to grow stronger and better and don’t shackle yourself to someone (#3) who is just going to tear you back down.

    i’ve never heard of this men becoming assholes before proposing thing, either. it should be a wonderful time for HIM, too, not something he’s annoyed about and doesn’t want to do. he should be excited to marry you, and you should be thrilled to say yes. i agree with others – at the very least, maybe ask him to delay the proposal while you decide what you want.

    all the best – good luck.

  48. Instead of responding to your friend who is going through all of this, I’m going to respond to YOU. I don’t know that there is any way to reconcile these sorts of awful things. I know (like me) you are a fixer – you want to help your friends and take away their pain and tough love them into being the best they can be. But sometimes, I don’t think there is any way to help. This stuff is so heavy to carry…I think all YOU can do is listen. Don’t try to carry it for her – don’t try to solve her problems. Be supportive but detached. I hope that doesn’t sound mean, but I think that’s the only way to maintain sanity when our friends present us with such incomprehensible troubles. You take care of you and have faith that the universe and she will fix herself.

  49. A little late in the game here…

    #1 & #2 I agree with much that is said above. Therapy can be a great tool to working on your feelings about these experiences. Neither of them are your fault. You are obviously strong to have survived them.

    As for # 3…

    I would not enter into an engagement with your boyfriend until he agrees to couples therapy at the very least. I hate to jump the gun and say dump the guy, because I don’t have the full story. But I do think you realize you are not being treated as you should, nor is any of this a good sign as to how marriage will go. But at least couples therapy gives you a chance to voice how you are feeling and what his comments feel like to you, and have someone besides him there to mediate the conversation.

    I have found in my marriage that we learned very different communications styles growing up, and that made it very hard to discuss some things. Not to mention that little comments were felt far differently by the sayer rather than the reciever.

    I didn’t get a dreamy romantic proposal at all, even though it would have been nice. We also did fight a bit leading up to the proposal since he was super stressed out about it, but didn’t tell me anything. But you don’t need a wonderful proposal for a happy marriage.

    BUT that said, you still deserve wonderful. If he won’t work on things with you, won’t wait to be engaged, isn’t willing to hear why you are unhappy without invalidating you feelings, He isn’t worth it for you. Or your time. YOU DESERVE MORE!

  50. You trust yourself enough to know that you’re struggling not to have #1 & #2 define you. You are smart enough to know that #3 isn’t ok. And it isn’t. You deserve better, and somewhere inside you, you know — or believe — that. Start from there.

  51. WTF? I’ve been gone too long!

    fuck #1, fuck #2 and fuck #3.

    personally, I would like to strangle all of them and seriously? anyone would be lucky to marry you, beg you to marry them. not feel pain and suffering in making you feel like shit. married life shouldn’t make you feel like shit.

  52. I have no idea if this is appropriate, but could you fill us in on what has happened with your friend here? Is she feeling better? Did these comments help? Did she make any decisions?

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