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He's Ignoring Me but He Says it's to Help Me
February 22, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I've been with my ex since high school. We were best friends and our relationship has been off and on. It's been mainly off and on because of him; he can't let go of the sexual abuseSexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called...(Click for full definition.) that happened in his past. He's forever thinking that he hurts me when I tell him that he isn't and he doesn't think he's good enough for me. He would always ask questions like why would I choose him to date when there's someone better out there. I would tell him that I don't judge by outside appearance and I look into their hearts and that he was good enough for me. I would tell him that whenever he got down.
We spent Thanksgiving together and had a wonderful time. I met his family and they liked me a lot and Christmas also. During my break in college he admitted to me that he cheated on me with the person who had sexually assualted him and he felt guilty and dirty and he couldn't forgive himself. I forgave him and told him that I would still stay with him because I was in love with him and will always be in love with him.
Then we would spend time together but he would always spend them with his friends and when I told him about that he said that he's trying to balance but really doesn't know how. I was his first girlfriend. Before we broke up he said he was always hurting me and that he doesn't want to hurt me anymore. The thing is I was never hurting when I was with him. When I tried to tell him that he didn't say anything and he kept apologizing and then said that he would always be there whenever I needed him.
I called him one day and he told me not to ever call him again and his attitude totally changed. I was confused. One, because I didn't want to break up because I was in love with him and two because it was unexpected. I didn't do anything. I tried calling him and making contact with him but he just ignores me and he says that he's doing it for me and I am totally confused and hurt. My friend's would tell me that he looks happy and everything like he never cared; but I know that deep down he is hurting and he pretends that he's happy when he's not. He was my best friend for years before we dated.
If it's for me then why am I hurting so much and it seems like he isn't? Why does he pretend? I love him so much...Is that a coping mechanism?
Confused, Hurt, and Can't Let Go
Yours is a sad tale.
You asked me three questions: 1) Why are you hurting and why is he not? 2) Why does he pretend? 3) Is that a coping mechanism?
Your second question, why does he pretend, answers the first question. Asking why he pretends means that you know he's hurting and pretending not to hurt! Your third question answers the first two!
You are surely right. He is doing what he needs to do to cope. All humans seek pleasure and avoid pain. The problem is familiar pain is actually more comfortable than the pain of the unfamiliar.
Being in a healthy, loving relationship is clearly too painful for him. He thinks he deserves to be abused and he is actually more comfortable being treated poorly.
How do I know?
Throughout your relationship, he told you in words and deeds that he didn’t deserve you, and that he didn’t know why you wanted him. He pushed you away, spent too much time with friends, and he also broke up with you repeatedly. He even returned to the person who abused him.
Your ex’s self-esteem is lower than pond scum. Sexual abuseSexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called...(Click for full definition.) survivors often feel this way.
I had a patient many years ago who had been molested in her childhood. She lived with the feeling that she was bad, dirty, and didn’t deserve love. One day, I discovered that she felt to blame for the abuse! Why? She recalled having felt sexual pleasure when she was being abused. Because of this she believed that she, somehow, asked for the abuse.
I helped her to realize that the human body is wired for pleasure. It is not uncommon for a person to feel sexual pleasure even when he/she is being sexually abused. This doesn’t mean that the person invited the abuse!
I see that your ex is like the patient I describe. He is confused and feels self-loathing and utterly unworthy of love. He is very emotionally disturbed.
I know you asked me the questions you did because hope springs eternal. You are hoping to hear that your ex truly loves you and is merely pretending not to care. You are hoping that by some miracle he will return to you.
I know that what I am about to tell you will be sad and heartbreaking news for you. But it is the truth, and you need to hear it…
Your ex is too broken to have a relationship with you. If a person doesn’t love himself, he can’t love another, nor can he allow another person to love him.
For a moment I want to turn to another matter that must be addressed, one that you didn’t contemplate in your letter to me: YOU.
I urge you to look at why you are chasing a rainbow, trying to get blood from a stone. Your desperate clinging to this man who cannot reciprocate your love gives me a clue as to your own injury.
I am certain that you are caught in a repetition compulsion (search this term in my archived columns). The repetition compulsion refers to the process by which we all unconsciously repeat our worst and most painful childhood traumas, hoping to achieve a “Happy Ending” this time around.
I’m sure that you had a parent who couldn’t return your love.
I’m sure you felt that it was your fault. All kids think that they are the center of the universe and that whatever goes wrong at home is their fault. This is called the narcissism of childhood.
Kids also think that if they try harder to be a better more giving, patient, forgiving and loving son or daughter that the parent will see their goodness and reward them with love. All kids labor under what’s called “magical thinking” combined with “omnipotent—meaning all powerful—fantasies. This is a dangerous combination because kids think that they have the power to fix their messed up parents.
When they can’t fix their parents, they feel like failures and their self-esteem plunges.
For all of us, this early wound goes unhealed; the kid grows up and carries the wound into adulthood.
Here’s where the repetition compulsion kicks in. The adult who was abused, neglected or abandoned in childhood unconsciously chooses a lover or spouse who emotionally resembles the parent who let him/her down. I call this “Setting the Stage.”
The next thing you know, you’re reliving the pain of your childhood all over again. Instead of healing the old wound and achieving a “Happy Ending” you just end up getting reinjured over and over again, driving the old wound deeper and deeper into your psyche and soul.
But here’s the tragic part. You can’t let go. You can’t give up. That would feel like abandoning all hope of healing. This is the place where you find yourself now.
I want you to hear that you will never achieve your Happy Ending with your ex. Why? Precisely because he’s damaged like your parent was. This means he can’t give you any more or any better than your parent did.
You need to let go of the hope of ever being loved by him and grieve.
Accept that you didn’t create your parent’s or your boyfriend’s damage. Also accept that you can’t fix either of them.
I encourage you to read my book Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First). It will help you to identify your exact wound and guide you on how to heal yourself.
As you come through the grief, and learn to love the wounded little girl inside yourself, you will be transformed, like Phoenix rising from the ashes. You will finally be free of this impossible repetition compulsion; free to find a partner who can truly give you that “Happy Ending,” and love you with all of his heart.
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"Love Never Dies is guaranteed to give immense hope to those grieving the perceived loss of a loved one. Dr. Jamie Turndorf, together with her husband, Jean, now in spirit, provide stunning evidence of the continuity of love and life, along with the tools to help anyone connect with those in the unseen world."
Author of Messages of Hope
"Dr. Turndorf's eternal love story powerfully proves that our loved ones in spirit are waiting for us to reconnect with them! Read this amazing book and discover her new dialoguing technique, which enables you to reconnect and turn grief into peace and joy."
-- Mira Kelley,
bestselling author of Beyond Past Lives
“Dr. Turndorf's extraordinary memoir/self-help book provides astonishing proof that we don't die and that we are meant to reconnect and stay connected to loved ones in spirit. Read this book, learn her powerful new method for reconnecting and making peace with the deceased, and you will transform your grief to joy.”
-- Fr. Richard Rohr,
Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC), and bestselling author of Falling Upward
“I found the book very helpful in guiding people to learn how to tune into spirit messages, and particularly liked Dr. Turndorf's guidance through meditations. In Parts two and three, Dr. Turndorf covered so many of the ways that spirits convey messages and this book will be a great help for people trying to get in touch with their loved ones.
Part 1 was her story of losing the love of her life. Reading about the pain and agony she experienced and SO MANY people experience will be healing to know that others experience the same emotions after the passing of a loved one. I think the first part could be a book on it's own merit because it is so beneficial to people dealing with the same intensity of grief.
As a scientist myself, I was glad to read that she didn't focus on a religion. As a medium, I have come to know that "god" not of a religion, but is the consciousness of all living things. Like Dr. Turndorf I've learned that all people are equal and all creatures part of all existence (and with "souls.").
I particularly enjoyed reading how she used her talent/mediumship to help people overcome their grief. Readers will get a lot out of this book and know that their loved ones are always connected.”
-- Rob Gutro,
Author, Medium, Scientist
“I could not put this book down!!! It is so gripping from the first few words, and beautifully written. Dr. Turndorf’s courageous story of her reunion with her beloved husband after his death and the heartfelt stories of others serve to validate what many may have privately experienced but discounted as just a by-product of grief and loss and not really “REAL.” The book’s simple and powerful techniques provide essential tools for connecting to loved ones in spirit and will allow scientists to amass new data from lay people, other than mediums. Your book will make a profound contribution to the now significant scientific data already collected in laboratories around the world studying survival of individual consciousness after death, while adding richly to our own sense of love and peace. Thank you for the Gift!”
-- Linda G. Russek, Ph.D,
Former Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Human Energy Systems Laboratory, U of Arizona, Co-author of The Living Energy Universe
“This is the most beautiful true love story that I have ever read. The depth of the author's love for her husband and her terrible grief at his death, and then her triumph as she learned to continue her relationship with him even after his death are all palpable. I lived it with her, and her story has stayed in my mind. For me, though, the reason to read this book is the author's wisdom in teaching her readers how to heal rifts across the death boundary. As one who has done extensive afterlife research, I can attest to the importance of post-death healing of relationships to both our dead loved ones and ourselves! Yet few people know how essential this healing is, and fewer still know how to begin it. As a prominent relationship counselor, Dr. Turndorf tackles this essential area, and she does it well. Hers is a wonderful book.”
-- Roberta Grimes,
author of The Fun of Dying: Find Out What Really Happens Next and The Fun of Staying in Touch
“Exceptionally well written from beginning to end, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased is as informed and informative as it is inspired and inspiring. Especially recommended to the attention of anyone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one.”
-- Margaret Lane,
“Midwest Book Review”
“Love Never Dies is an astonishing and refreshing story of survival of consciousness. She clearly shows the many ways spirit can communicate through us and with animals and even objects. I could hardly put the book down, and I have read many of these types of books. This is a great read for those who have lost a loved one and are looking for answers to the ways spirit makes contact with us, and also how we can contact spirit to make peace. I highly recommend this book.”
-- Dave Campbell,
Certified Windbridge Research Medium (WCRM)
“When I held this 248 page spiritual giant in my hands, even before I started turning the pages I knew I had found a special guide that would help me through one of the hardest journeys I have taken. To love so deeply and completely and then to have the person removed from my physical life is hard enough, but then to find a way to stay connected with them is even more frustrating. So it was totally Heaven sent when I was asked to review this gentle messenger that helped me to stay connected, to recognize the connection and to even validate the connection. I also loved the way the author shared on such a deep and personal level it helped me to not feel alone and gave me courage to bypass my mind. I would recommend this sweet giant to anyone who feels the loss of a loved one. Thanks so much Jamie for the awesome blueprint. “
-- Riki Frahmann,
Chief Reviewer for the ezine Mystic Living Today
"As a colleague of both Jamie and Jean, I have been blessed with firsthand witness to their devotion and mutual love, in life and now through death. In her eloquently written new book, Dr. Turndorf has made their everlasting love accessible to all. Just as the uniqueness of their emotional connection radiated to me, it will radiate to you, the reader, in this groundbreaking work that will guide you to reestablish your relationships with loved ones in spirit... and even make peace, if needed."
-- Dr. Robert S. Pepper,
author Emotional Incest in Group Psychotherapy
"In her book, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased, Turndorf teaches a method for dialoguing with the departed which holds tremendous healing potential for everyone who has lost a loved one. Turndorf is passionate in her certainty that we can actually communicate with those we’ve lost. Since reading Love Never Dies (which describes the dialogue process in great detail) I’ve used Turndorf’s technique and it has opened life-changing doors for me. It’s a powerful process, and I encourage everyone who feels ready to try it."
-- Ken Page,
L.C.S.W. from "A Life-Changing Exercise for Anyone Who Has Lost a Loved One" published in Psychology Today
"I just finished reading Dr. Turndorf's most recent book, LOVE NEVER DIES, and I highly recommend it for everyone who wants to connect with a loved one who has passed on to the Spirit Realm. This book tells the heartfelt story of the author’s tragic loss of her husband and his subsequent messages to her from beyond the veil, and it outlines the steps we should take to communicate with the spirits of the people we loved on Earth."
-- Garnet Schulhauser,
author of Dancing on a Stamp and Dancing Forever with Spirit
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack,
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
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-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
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-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show