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Why did I conform to fit someone's elses wants and needs?

Old 02-03-2011, 10:10 PM
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Why did I conform to fit someone's elses wants and needs?

Looking back now that I have broken up with my XABF all I ever did was conform who I was to fit what he wanted so I could always get his approval. Even if it meant lying or going to rediculous measures. For example, working so many hours of overtime at my job so I could make more money because he wanted someone to take him out to dinner and pay for his golf outings even though I hated working so much. Pretending that I liked to drink and party when I actually grew out of it years ago because he wanted a party girl.

I was laid off from my job for a few months but was hired back to another position and the whole time that I was off I didnt tell him because I thought he would see me as weak if I didnt have a constant income to support us. He saw money as strength. I only told him that I got a new job when I started at my new position. How crazy is all this that I couldnt be me and always had to be the "man" in the relationship when in reality I am a 25 yr old female! Does anyone have any stories they want to share about how they conformed to fit their partners crazy ideas of what they thought a relationship should be like??
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:28 PM
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I didn't tell my AXBF that I was going back to college for several months after I applied and was accepted because he constantly criticized me for a previous attempt that I failed at (I dropped out of a program because I couldn't keep up with it, plus work the 60 hours per week that he expected me to work). He also tried to make me feel bad and wouldn't take me out to dinner/movies/etc. while I was going to school because I was "wasting" my time and money when I should just work, according to him. He thought that he shouldn't have to pay for "everything". So, we just stayed in on our "dates". If we did eat together, at home, it was what he wanted and dinner was always super late, right before bedtime at usually midnight or so. Although he wouldn't admit it, he just didn't want food to ruin his all evening drinking binge (every night). By the time I usually insisted we eat before bed, he was usually too drunk to even eat, so I would maybe scrounge up a sandwich in his fridge. Or, frozen pizza. That's all he would eat, 5 or 6 nights a week. And this was a 42 year old man, not a college kid.

I could go on and on, but there's too many ways I conformed. Live and learn, as they say.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:22 AM
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I think the first major example of conforming rather than looking after myself was when I was accepted into a REALLY fine graduate degree program, which would have been actually paid for by my employer at that time. Two months before classes were to start, he asked me to marry him and I gave up graduate school to do it. I never went back. In that case, it wasn't so much him not wanting me to go to school--he never even mentioned that--that's how easy it was for me to simply give up my own goals and glom on to someone else.

After that, I gave up my friends because they were "nerds" and "no fun." His mother spent every vacation and holiday with us--I had to pick and choose carefully the times my mother came to see us (which was maybe once or twice a year) because he didn't like her. When she called collect, he'd yell and complain about it. Of ALL the ways I gave up my self, THAT is what I most regret--not standing up to him with regards to my mother. She's gone now (yesterday was the 14th anniversary of her death) and there's no getting that back.

When I got married, I never even asked about getting married in my church--he (and his family) would have been really upset about it. Never mind that I spent 12 years in Catholic school, had wanted to be a nun at one point, whereas his family was Protestant in name only, basically, again, I just rolled over, changed my religion, and raised our kids in a Protestant denomination.

There are other ways for sure, but those are the biggest I can think of at the moment.

ETA: Wow, after I read this, I couldn't believe it myself. I've thought about each thing I've given up individually, but never all together. I, literally with NO coercion, gave up my career, my family and friends, and my religion. When you think about it--I signed up to be a hostage, not a wife. This has been very eye-opening to me. Thanks for the question.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:24 AM
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I rarely failed to assert myself, but it always ended in big, ugly, knock-down, drag-out fights. He was never able to accept anything I wanted or wanted to do. It had to be his way and he would fight with a scorched-earth approach for his path.

I was so exhausted from having to defend myself all the time. Things are truly so much better now without the constant conflict and the fear of always being yelled at.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:33 AM
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He always picked what was on TV.
He picked where we went on weekends.
He picked what restaurants we ate at. (Sometimes we discussed, but it was always his choice that decided what won.)
He didn't like my family so I stopped talking to them.
He didn't want me to spend time with anyone other than him so I didn't.
He wanted to spend tons of money on the weekends so I maxed out three credit cards and lived with an average of $2 (actually it was -$998, since I had a $1k credit limit on my checking account) in my bank account.
He got impatient when I took my time doing things so I learned to rush and do thinks haphazardly.
He didn't like when I made mistakes so I tried to try and figure out how to rush and still be perfect.
He wanted to decorate my apartment so I gave up having input. (Seriously, the only thing I picked in that apartment by myself was the living room set - he HATED it but I wouldn't budge - especially since I knew he'd hate the set he picked out once it was delivered. All the other furniture I'm okay living with, and has grown on me, but I love the living room set because it was ALL my input and NONE of his and it's SO warm and comfortable.)

Basically, I completely gave up ME.

On top of that, I started getting into trouble at work because of him. I actually almost got fired once - and he STILL doesn't know any of this, and never will at this point, because I don't want him to know anymore.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:33 AM
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It is alot nicer to be around people who you dont have to beg and plead with to do one thing that you enjoy. Relationships are give and take. Its not always about doing what you love, but doing something with the one you love. I never thought I would be a person that would conform so easily just to make another person happy. I come from a family of very strong women. But, there I was...doing everything to fit his life even if it was damaging my own. I am so much stronger that I went through what I did because now I actually know how to have a backbone and a mind of my own.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:51 AM
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Well, I was raised by a bipolar alcoholic mother, so I was 'trained' to be a codependent.

Which would be my short answer to the question you posed in the title to this thread.

My father was an alcoholic also, but he didn't spend much time on the home front during my formative years, I've tended to fall for women that have substance abuse/alcohol/mental hygiene 'issues' and Daddy 'issues'.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:53 AM
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Takes FULL responsibility for going down the road I went down.

After being raised in the German "You must self-deny" mentality, and then marrying into it in my first marriage, the wild hedonist came into my life and WOW!
What fun! No rules! Spend like crazy, deny yourself nothing, be an alcoholic in training, dance all night, have drunken sex all day, and indulge!

What did I give up? REALITY. WILLINGLY.

Now I'm painfully getting sober, financially, life's rules, Truths with a big T. I became a drunk too, although not an alcoholic one.

What a wild ride. If only so much pain wasn't attached to it. That's what happens when we don't live life truthfully on its terms, not ours.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by brokenheartfool View Post
alcoholic in training

Do you really believe that you can 'train' yourself into alcoholism?

There are some stickies here on the subject, you may/may not be aware of the studies done on adopted identical twins from alcoholic genetic backgrounds raised in non-alcoholic households?

Can you guess how these guys turned out?
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:05 AM
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Does anyone have any stories they want to share about how they conformed to fit their partners crazy ideas of what they thought a relationship should be like??
Lord, do I EVER! And let me just say that my behavior was usually in response to a number of different ways people would try to get what they wanted from me.

-Some of it was manipulation through creating jealousy in me, wanting to do as good a job as, or better than, someone else. For instance, one XBF would regularly talk about how one or another of his EXes was GREAT or THE BEST at one thing or another (sex, cooking, cleaning, whatever it was that he wanted from me).
-Some of it was manipulation through guilt or my overgrown sense of responsibility for everything that happens in the world, such as using the "poor, pitiful me" brand of communicating. (My brother was GREAT at this too). What they do is, using an innocent, victim, or incapable persona, offer up their problems to me in regular conversation and act like a limp fish. I would then feel sorry for them, feel guilty for something I have NOTHING to do with, or feel that this person is just incapable of doing it or they just need a little help, and jump right on in to take care of that for them. If I had back all the money I have spent doing this, I would be a very wealthy woman.
-Some of it was the person's way that they felt they are entitled to something. Or that they are the boss (like making all the decisions in the relationship and not even asking me for my feelings about it, just assuming that they are the center of the universe and therefore I should go along) and just being very strong in the relationship. I have often described it as "barrelling over me." They commandeer your life by taking over everything and making all the decisions, keeping all the focus on them and their needs. And being as passive as I am, I would say nothing and just go along with it.
-Some of it was the person's sick way of doing very hurtful things so that I would always be reacting out of that hurt, and run to them to have my hurts comforted. This I think is the sickest. For instance, they cheat on you and then keep you emotionally involved with words and small behaviors that APPEAR to show that they care. They "confess" to things you don't want to hear, so that you hurt and cling tighter.

-I practically became a gourmet chef in response to XBF's verbal manipulations and jealousy-making. I cooked, cleaned, sewed, provided childcare, you name it, all in some weird race or competition to do just as good as the person's ex-spouses and mother. Because otherwise, I would be LESS THAN, wouldn't I?
-I became a party animal, drinking all night, every night, even on work nights. Neglected my health, my career, my college classes, and severely hurting my reputation.
-I became the savior of the person's children in response to the person's constant finger-pointing at and blame of the childrens mother. I HAD to help these poor kids, otherwise, OMG! What is going to happen to them?!?!?!
-I moved out of my own home and into someone else's, taking over his entire life as my own. Accompanied him everywhere, even used my own limited vacation time to go where he wanted to go and do what he wanted to do, leaving no vacation time for me to do what I wanted to do. (That's a mild example, it was much worse than just how I spent my vacations).

Honestly, I could probably write a good three pages or more listing all the ways I conformed to someone else's idea of who and what I should be. But ultimately, what I know (now) is that I can't allow myself to be manipulated and controlled anymore. I take responsibility for the role I played in all these relationships.
-It is up to me to build and maintain my self-esteem so that I don't compare myself to others anymore.
-It is up to me to parent myself, to take care of me, and to maintain a relationship with my Higher Power, so that during times of stress I do not run to other people to take care of my needs.
-It is up to me to know what I want out of my life, and to do the work that will get me there, instead of giving it over to someone else.
-It is up to me to maintain my sobriety and avoid the people, places and things that "make" me drink. It is up to me to avoid participating in activities that I will regret later on.
-It is up to me to know what is my responsibility and what is someone else's, and not to do or spend money on what I do not own.
-It is up to me to know what is within my control and what is not, and not accept responsibility for, or try to change, that which is not within my control.
-It is up to me to remain aware of the games people play, and to avoid toxic people.

WOW, awesome thread. Thank you so much duqld.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
I rarely failed to assert myself, but it always ended in big, ugly, knock-down, drag-out fights. He was never able to accept anything I wanted or wanted to do. It had to be his way and he would fight with a scorched-earth approach for his path.

I was so exhausted from having to defend myself all the time. Things are truly so much better now without the constant conflict and the fear of always being yelled at.
lol. Yes, I am quoting myself.

I just realized that I conformed by giving him the fight that he was always looking for. I let him pick fights with me and I always fell for it. He would request or demand things that no one in his right mind would - just to be in a power struggle and set me up as the bad-guy authority figure, and I always fell for it. For 15 years. Until I learned to detach. Then he became even meaner and more hostile and wanted out. Because I wouldn't play.

I hate that I allowed myself to become aggressive and defensive in response to his manipulations.

What an eye-opening discussion!
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:14 AM
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SoloMio:
Of ALL the ways I gave up my self, THAT is what I most regret--not standing up to him with regards to my mother. She's gone now (yesterday was the 14th anniversary of her death) and there's no getting that back.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by stella27 View Post
lol. Yes, I am quoting myself.
:rotfxko

I just realized that I conformed by giving him the fight that he was always looking for. I let him pick fights with me and I always fell for it. He would request or demand things that no one in his right mind would - just to be in a power struggle and set me up as the bad-guy authority figure, and I always fell for it. For 15 years. ... I hate that I allowed myself to become aggressive and defensive in response to his manipulations.

What an eye-opening discussion!
Me too. One of my EXes was VERY volatile, angry, always trying to fight. I remember feeling like I was a cornered, scared animal and it got to the point where I would physically attack in response to the constant verbal attacks. It was horrible. Sick. Really.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by JustBeaches4me View Post
I didn't tell my AXBF that I was going back to college for several months after I applied and was accepted because he constantly criticized me for a previous attempt that I failed at (I dropped out of a program because I couldn't keep up with it, plus work the 60 hours per week that he expected me to work). He also tried to make me feel bad and wouldn't take me out to dinner/movies/etc. while I was going to school because I was "wasting" my time and money when I should just work, according to him. He thought that he shouldn't have to pay for "everything". So, we just stayed in on our "dates". If we did eat together, at home, it was what he wanted and dinner was always super late, right before bedtime at usually midnight or so. Although he wouldn't admit it, he just didn't want food to ruin his all evening drinking binge (every night). By the time I usually insisted we eat before bed, he was usually too drunk to even eat, so I would maybe scrounge up a sandwich in his fridge. Or, frozen pizza. That's all he would eat, 5 or 6 nights a week. And this was a 42 year old man, not a college kid.

I could go on and on, but there's too many ways I conformed. Live and learn, as they say.
This is why I so strongly believe that ALL women should live alone for an extended period of time. Preferably going to college right out of high school, and then onto their own place after college. I did it all backwards, but am grateful that I did it either way.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by sailorjohn View Post
Do you really believe that you can 'train' yourself into alcoholism?

There are some stickies here on the subject, you may/may not be aware of the studies done on adopted identical twins from alcoholic genetic backgrounds raised in non-alcoholic households?

Can you guess how these guys turned out?
Yes I do believe that.
I know that there are genetic predispositions, or more genetically susceptible people. I think this is widely accepted, especially with the extreme vulnerability of say, Native Americans. We're all human though, and I believe we all have the vulnerability, just that some are more vulnerable.

I believe that anybody who pounds alcohol long enough will become mired in the alcoholic fog of thinking, learn to crave, learn to seek alcohol to escape or distort reality. 6 years into pounding alcohol, I too came to crave, to think alcoholically (that the rules didn't apply to me).

I think I narrowly dodged a bullet when I stopped joining the party.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by brokenheartfool View Post
Yes I do believe that.
I know that there are genetic predispositions, or more genetically susceptible people. I think this is widely accepted, especially with the extreme vulnerability of say, Native Americans. We're all human though, and I believe we all have the vulnerability, just that some are more vulnerable.

I believe that anybody who pounds alcohol long enough will become mired in the alcoholic fog of thinking, learn to crave, learn to seek alcohol to escape or distort reality. 6 years into pounding alcohol, I too came to crave, to think alcoholically (that the rules didn't apply to me).

I think I narrowly dodged a bullet when I stopped joining the party.
I believe this too. And I realized I believe this just this morning, developing my answer (post) to the original post, and reading your posts on this thread brokenheart. I know I read somewhere that the consumption of alcohol actually changes the cells of your brain. That once you consume at a certain level, you cannot change the cell structure back. They are forever changed and will always expect the alcohol in the bloodstream, something like that. I think I read it in one of the medical-type Alcoholism books. I wish I could speak to it more fluently.

It makes sense to me in my observations of myself, my own drinking behavior and addiction, and the drinking behavior/addiction of others. I tell the kids in my family all the time, just don't start.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by StarCat View Post
He always picked what was on TV.
He picked where we went on weekends.
He picked what restaurants we ate at. (Sometimes we discussed, but it was always his choice that decided what won.)
He didn't like my family so I stopped talking to them.
He didn't want me to spend time with anyone other than him so I didn't.
He wanted to spend tons of money on the weekends so I maxed out three credit cards and lived with an average of $2 (actually it was -$998, since I had a $1k credit limit on my checking account) in my bank account.
Hmm, are you sure we weren't married to same guy? I am basically very frugal and debt averse--so the fact that I wound up in such dire straits financially is another indicator of how I just gave myself up--starting in 1975 when I got my very first credit card. While I wanted to save it for emergencies, he talked me into ME buying US his-and-hers Earth Shoes!! (I did keep the burlap bag they came in and it still hangs in the closet for dustrags).
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:19 PM
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How is it that certain people have power over us like this and others dont?? Before I met my ex, I came across many guys that acted needy towards me or wanted me to do things for them and I told them to go "stick it where the sun don't shine"....then I met my ex, and I thought his words were as sacred and important as the Bible. He was an alcoholic of course but why is it that we let certain people control us and others we don't? Any thoughts?
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by duqld1717 View Post
How is it that certain people have power over us like this and others dont?? Before I met my ex, I came across many guys that acted needy towards me or wanted me to do things for them and I told them to go "stick it where the sun don't shine"....then I met my ex, and I thought his words were as sacred and important as the Bible. He was an alcoholic of course but why is it that we let certain people control us and others we don't? Any thoughts?
Oh, that's easy.... Kidding! I've wondered the same thing, Duqld1717. There were plenty of times I'd told a guy to take a hike. I suspected one of cheating on me. Later. One guy came into the store where I worked every day. Sweet, but please don't. He kept on. I told him, Really, go away.

The major red flagger that I caught was one I dated just as I started college. He told me there was no way was I moving to Oregon to go to school, when I'd gotten pretty near a full ride; I laughed; he was serious: I was supposed to stay with him. See ya and no looking back. But you know, if XAH and I had been dating then instead, I think I would have said "OK, I'll stay here." So, thank god for small favors. And I will need to really think about why this relationship was different.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:22 PM
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Maybe we secretly just wanted to "save" them???
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