O. Summary

1. With you, I saw myself being mired forever in your childhood conflicts and past troubles. I donít want to spend the rest of my life with a chronically angry and bitter person.

2. Being with you, I felt that all the best parts of myself--my self-esteem, my joy of life--were stifled. I lost a lot of myself. A relationship should make you feel good about yourself. It should enrich and add to your life, not narrow it and fill it with pain. Love should not have to hurt.

3. I sense a total unwillingness on your part to acknowledge how poorly youíve treated me. This letter is a final attempt to express to you my feelings, which I feel you have systematically ignored for the last two years.

4. I have had enough of:

> having my feelings ridiculed, discounted and ignored
> attempting to be perfect or to read your mind, to avoid being yelled at
> feeling continually trapped in double binds and going crazy from mixed messages
> wondering whatís wrong with me for not being able to "take it"
> when trying to address problems, being told that Iím "trying too hard" to have a relationship
> feeling that I cannot pursue my other interests and friendships without sulking and retaliation
> feeling that I am constantly walking on eggs
> having the door slam shut on my desires to communicate
> being treated as if my thoughts and opinions donít count
> being snapped at for trivial matters, out of the blue
> feeling trapped in an endless cycle of conflict and reconciliation
> hearing you minimize, justify, accuse, deny, and blame, in order to avoid responsibility for your behavior
> hoping and believing in you, only to be hurt time and time again
> not feeling free to be who I really am
> trying to figure out how I failed. I know I gave it my best shot. I did not fail at anything.

5. It has been a painful journey for me to reclaim my self-esteem. I now realize that I am a good person and a) donít deserve to be treated poorly and b) do deserve to be in a happy, healthy, relationship.

6. Feeling like a victim or a failure is no excuse for treating other people poorly. Furthermore, you cannot treat other poople poorly and then expect them to be nice to you. Perhaps if you treated others not with hostility and distrust, but with kindness and respect, they in turn would treat you in a similar way, and then you would not have to deal with feeling "victimized" by them.

7. In order to have a good relationship that lasts, I think you are probably going to have to change your behavior. I donít have a crystal ball. Perhaps you will meet someone who is better able to handle you, and is less sensitive to your words and actions. However, it is my opinion, that I donít think anybody likes being criticized, yelled at, snapped at, ridiculed, given the silent treatment, sent mixed messages, placed in double binds, incessantly nagged, and emotionally pushed away.

8. You cannot truly open yourself up to intimacy with another person until you love yourself first. Self- worth cannot be derived from someone else--it can only come from the self.

9. No one is going to rescue you. Only you are responsible for yourself and your actions! If you donít like your life or relationships the way they are, instead of blaming others, take some steps yourself to make them better. Donít fall into the trap of self-sabotage. If you truly believe that will never achieve anything in life, or that every relationship you have is doomed to fail, and you then act accordingly as if these are the only possible outcomes and never even try for something better, then your life will be nothing but a succession of self- fulfilling prophecies. If you feel like a failure and act accordingly, then you will only end up feeling more like a failure.

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