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Any other 'Women Who Love Too Much' here

(36 Posts)
Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 12:36:36

Hi there

I recently bought myself the Women Who Love Too Much book by Robin Norwood and have found it an incredibly insightful read.

I bought it because I am sick of my relationships following the same doomed pattern.

my background is absent/unloving father and co-dependant mother. I remember snippets of my childhood but only a handful of happy times.

I am in my late-30s and never had a truly fulfilling relationship. All my exes have been alcoholics, commitmentphobes and one physically assaulted me and was also a stoner.

I am a bright woman, well-travelled, an amazing bunch of close friends and yet I am a disaster in relationships. I have never been attracted to 'nice' men. I always dive in head-first and either make a fool of myself (too clingy) or end up in one-sided relationships where I do everything for my partner's love. Nothing is never too much to ask and I am always taken for a total fool and left heartbroken questioning why has it happened again.

I am halfway through the book. I find I can only read it in small chunks as it is so overwhelming how many boxes I tick.

I have always said I never want children. Not because I don't love them (I am atually really, really good with them) but it is like my mind shut off to the idea in my 20s and I have never entertained the thought of them since (and considering the partners I have had, that is a good thing).

I am on here because I want to hear from strong women that don't behave the way I do, and also those that maybe did and can offer some advice.

I read threads on here and people say 'oh my God, he is so clingy, run for the hills' and am so ashamed as I am that person they are talking about.

Anyone have any advice? I really don't know what else to say other than I am hurting for the lost years but more worried I will never have the kind of relationships my friends seem to have.

I am the person my friends come to for top-notch advice and yet I feel such a total hypocrite because is all fairness I am probably the most messed up one of all.

Sorry this is long and thank you for reading.

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 14:32:22

Hey Bluebelle ,yep i was one of those women and yep i have had a complete revamp since my ex walked out on me and 2 kids 2yrs ago .Ask anything you like .Yes i did readthat book and parts made me think ...aah shite!!its been that obvious and i just didnt see it at all .I too felt ashamed but it was pointed out to me that we are set up for this kind of behaviour in childhood .I read as much as i could about the subject and will continue to read and develop my emotional awareness because it has made my life so much happier .So all in all its a gift that ur now on this journey of self discovery .Its an emotional road but it teaches us many things and helps us let go of all the baggage we collect along the way.Independence and good self esteem are fab qualities to have xxxxxxxxx

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 14:47:10

Thanks so much Patience. I am so, so glad you have come out the other side it gives me hope.

I cringe reading the book, I have done most of the desperate things at some time and it makes me feel so pathetic.

I used to get up earlier than one bf to make his lunch for him. WTF??? I buy them gifts instead of treating myself, I can see now how wrong it is.

Years ago I did some counselling after a break-up and the counsellor asked me what would I do if a partner turned up and said he had bought two tickets to Paris and was taking me there for the weekend? I was dumbstruck and couldn't help but cry because I don't know how I'd react. I am not used to anything like that.

I look after myself, keep fit, I never saw myself as a doormat as I was always really strong when it came to work situations and giving advice to friends and yet.... this same situation keeps happening again and again.

I totally see how having to grow up very quickly meant I never had a childhood (my mother has mental health problems and was constantly in and out of hospital). I can see it all clearly now and it makes me so sad. But as you have proved, there is a better life out there for me.

I am prepared to put in the hard work necessary because I don't want to be like this any more.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, and fair play to you smile

notsorted Fri 16-Sep-11 15:13:16

Hi, I post on Emotional Abuse thread. My counsellor suggested I read the book. Yup, it has helped and I too had mother with MH problems. But there are other issues too. I particularly like the "two to tango" idea. We are set up for them, they are set up for us. I don't know where you are on road to where you want to be, but one thought that the book doesn't deal with very well is taking blame away from you for their behaviour. Yes, set up to tolerate it more, but don't feel guilty about what they were.

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 15:25:52

Thanks notsorted, my parents had their own problems and my upbringing was very dysfunctional. I would see my dad at w'ends and he had two women on the go and we were made to lie for him. I remember deciding I didn't want to see him anymore and I didn't. He never showed any love.

I look at children now and think they are so spoilt. They aren't spoilt. A childhood should be a childhood and I never had one. I am crying writing this and should probably go back into counselling but can't afford it.

The time has come to heal myself and that in itself is truly terrifying.

I know I need to stay single for a good while until I sort myself out. I also know that may take years.

I think the terrifying thought is I won't get better, but the downside of not even trying is resigning to living like this forever.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to get it out. I just feel like my head could implode at the moment.

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 15:46:06

Other good books I read were co dependent no more melody beattie and the homecoming by john bradshaw although i found his audio version much easier pm me if u want details.I agree not one book will give u all the answers but we can learn is emotional reflecting on our past but like I said before we were set up for this by the adults in our childhood.But shit happens ,we just gotta dry our eyes and now u have a chance to change ur behaviour.once u recognize it u can change it.Ur worthy of self love ,u will shake off the co dependent chains that held u back ,dump them and move on with a fabulous emotional freedom.Just start celebrating being you ,because ur worth it !!!!!

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 15:56:03

Thank you, Paience, I will get those books as well.

In a lot of ways it is quite exciting, a sense of finally knowing some of the answers. I always felt really lost and I suppose sad and I feel as if this is a new chapter and I am really ready to embrace it now, no matter how painful.

I was thinking earlier, it's such a shame I got to this age before I realised what I am now realising, but no point in thinking like that. New beginnings smile

And yes, we're all worth it (swooshes hair) grin

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 15:57:38

Oh also I have been single for the last 2yrs.I have real high standards now ,but everyday I can say I live my life with honesty and integrity.I enjoy my independence .if I meet man he needs to be able to cope with a strong independent woman.I want tickets to Paris this time ,i truly feel I am worthy of that now smile It's just a gift to urself and will bring u peace ,u let go of blame and negatives ,you have nothing to lose xxx

notsorted Fri 16-Sep-11 15:57:48

Lots of good stuff on MN to read and ponder, if you can't afford a counsellor. I've found, weirdly giving advice, sort of empowers you. You can sometimes see a way forward in other people's problems and it helps you, plus it's slightly distanced so you can let your need/ability to be empathetic reach someone who deserves it or will benefit from it. And you can't get too co-dependent.

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 16:08:15

Thing is bb some folk never find peace ,I started this at 38 i was 40 this is exciting.another book I enjoyed was End the struggle and dance with life by Susan jeffers.its not complicated just about having a more positive Outlook to life.i read that b4 the others. A big thing I don't do now is re energising bad times ie overanalysing.instead i see that as my past .its over, learn from it and let it go .

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 16:09:25

Oooh, I will look forward to my tickets to Paris in a few years - if I haven't already taken myself!!!

Yes, the standards need to be so much higher. God, I actually blush with shame thinking about some of the people I actually went out with. But that is the past now and I am not going to dwell on it, but learn from it - there's a big difference smile

Notsorted - thank you smile I want to be happy on my own so that I never accept such dregs (and they really were) into my life again xx

thisishowifeel Fri 16-Sep-11 16:09:42

I read that book in 1990.

I don't think that there is anything remotely wrong with the way I love, actually.

I now find the title somewhat offensive....but it's an old book now. I get truly pissed off that it's always the woman that's "wrong"...where's the self help book for the emotionally unavailable father? I know...he wouldn't read it, so there's no point...but you get my drift?

There is a lot wrong with the men I choose to love though, and that has been instilled in me from dreadfully dysfunctional and toxic parents. A life script can be changed through therapy and informing yourself. Men and women!

Ask your GP, say that you want to break the pattern that you can see from your family. I've had LOADS of therapy on the nhs, and topped it up with a spot of CBT privately.

I found that posting on the Stately Homes thread on here was like group therapy, it has helped LOADS! There are very wise and knowing people on these boards.

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 16:18:32

ThisishowIfeel - no chance my father would read a book about emotionally unavailable fathers. Apparently he has a new family now and is a different person (not his kids, his new wife's). Well, all I can say is I hope so.

The book title does describe the way I love though. It is too much and always with the wrong men. I choose the wrong ones and then flog a dead horse trying to make it work. All so very wrong. I don't think I ever learnt how to love myself and that is the crux of it. That and not knowing what a normal loving relationship is.

So many times I should have said 'you know what, f*ck you, I'm not being treated like that' and walked, but I couldn't do it.

I will never put myself through that again. It makes me smile thinking I won't ever accept so little again smile

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 16:49:54

Woo hoo well done bb ,always remember that ur road will be different to others.never compare urself to others.that's one of the joys of independence ,take what u need and leave the rest.v interesting to recognize co dependents now ie raise ur awareness with folk that surround u ,people get really pissed when u refuse their help LOL.just stay in ur own business and dont worry about anyone else and u won't go far wrong xxx

AnyFucker Fri 16-Sep-11 16:52:31

Learning to be selfish can be the most freeing thing you could ever do

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 17:09:22

AF ,couldn't agree more,as long as ur not hurting anyone a "healthy selfish" is a good thing ,u just start to consider ur own needs,wow shockaroonie imagine putting ur happiness first,feel the power bb ,the options r endless xxxx

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 17:24:23

Good point, AF, I have NEVER been called selfish in my life!!! One (alcoholic) ex told me when we broke up that I was not cut out for this world. Whatever! What he meant is I give way more than anyone he has ever met!

I'll get there smile

takecare Fri 16-Sep-11 18:32:02

AF is right. Learning to be selfish (without hurting anyone else) is something I learnt from my ex. There is no way I want to be a selfish, self-engrosed egotistical person like him who walks over other people, causing damage to get what he wants in life - however, I did have to learn to be more selfish towards the end of our nightmare of a relationship, because, if I wasn't he would have continue to walk all over me, and it has taught me that I need to have boundaries in life. And, I know how you feel about reading 'Women who love too much'. I had to read it in small chunks because I found when I was ticking the boxes pretty mindblowing.

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 18:42:45

Thanks, Take care. Honestly, I have never read a book like it. To see written down in print my behaviour is really an eye-opener. I think being aware of it is a big part of the battle.

The summation of your ex reminds me of most of mine!

I feel a corner is going to be turned and I really can't recommend the book enough to anyone that finds themselves consistently in destructive relationships.

AnyFucker Fri 16-Sep-11 18:44:28

I am quite selfish

I put myself mostly first, I have good self belief

I don't hurt others by doing it though...I know what hurts others and considering how something impacts you first is only a good thing

I only got there in my 40's though

I spent my childhood trying to please my father (that never worked)

then my teens trying to please abusive fuckwits (that just fucked me up)

my 20's trying to please just about everyone (who just took the piss outta me)

my 30's it started to dawn on me "wtf am I doing"

I have got there

I can say no, and mean it

I can guard my boundaries's taken a long time though

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 18:48:21

Well, they say life begins at 40 and that will be me next year.... so here's hoping I can get it right, too smile

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 19:20:44

and its not just in romantic relationships ,better self esteem will improve everything you do in life ,cos if you say yes when you mean no you are basically lying to someone and lots and lots of people lie to each other everyday and then come come and fester and bitch about how they had a bad day .Eh cos everyone ios lying about things to each other ,everyone tells you they are fine when they actually pissed off ,everyone is scared to communicate the truth incase of hurting anyones feelings and it goes on for months and all it does is breeds resentment .Nowadays i just cut to the chase tell folk what i think ,its up to them how they react to it thats their business .Im not being mean im just being honest .Im just not scared of acting honestly anymore.Sometimes folk react badly but it has cut a lot of the crap out of my life tbh x

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 19:21:23

*and then come home and fester

Bluebelle38 Fri 16-Sep-11 19:37:03

I am actually OK with saying no to my friends, say if I don't want to go or whatever and I can totally stand up for myself in professional environments, it really is just relationships... fear of abandonment I suppose. Cringe!

It really is just in relationships, I end up putting up with things I shouldn't.

Patienceobtainsallthings Fri 16-Sep-11 19:46:22

Well how fab is that .if u r already assertive with ur friends and colleagues then that is a huge help you just transfer that self worth into your relationships .It's like starting ur journey with some fuel already in the tank.

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