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This is a question The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

In amongst all the tales of bitterness and poo, we occasionally get fluffy stories that bring a small tear to our internet-jaded eyes.

In celebration of this, what is the nicest thing someone's done for you? Whether you thoroughly deserved it or it came out of the blue, tell us of heartwarming, selfless acts by others.

Failing that, what nice things have you done for other people, whether they liked it or not?

(, Thu 2 Oct 2008, 16:14)
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Thank you
Oh boy, here goes... wasn't sure if I would really be able to do this QOTW justice. It's such an overwhelming subject for me to try and address. But I just found myself writing, and writing, and writing... because I want to send my eternal gratitude out into the universe.

Apologies in advance for length. Hell, nobody has to read it, it's just enough for me to know it's out there.


My relationship with control freak ex was destructive and bad right from the start. I was 17 and slightly damaged, and he was 37 when we got together. He was like nobody I'd ever come across, he was intelligent, insightful, thoughtful... But more than that he was pure logic, and to my young, conflicted self he was the answer to all my problems. He answered questions that I'd never managed to find answers to before. I believed he was The One. He took my low self esteem and self loathing and dissolved it by making me feel I was special, and amazing and perfect.

However. It was quickly established that this came with a price. It was conditional.
If I was "good" he rewarded me with the most amazing love in the world. If I didn't reach his impossible standard, I was punished with abuse, rejection, scorn, contempt - in short being made to feel like the worst and most useless person who ever lived. Some examples: Not giving him instant responses. Letting any man take the impression that I fancied them (not just giving impressions, but anything which did not actively discourage it - so basically I had to be unfriendly to every male I encountered, whether I knew them or not). Giving someone else their cup of tea before him. Taping over a video I thought he'd finished with. Not 'communicating properly'. Not doing what he told me to do no matter how uncomfortable I was with it - and he made it my responsibility to do EVERYTHING from answering the phone, to managing our money, to dealing with people: friends, acquaintances, strangers, enemies - mostly to make people enemies, such was his wont. Voicing any opinions of my own which I dared to have that conflicted with his. The list goes on.

He dumped me frequently for such offences as these, making me beg and promise to change... usually he would tell me I had two minutes to convince him to take me back, and if I didn't manage it I was full of shit and worthless. Despite the "two minute" rule these situations would last hours, sometimes days. Somehow I always managed it eventually, but it was a game with love as the prize and rejection the cost of failure, for which he had made the rules, and I didn't understand them... I would end up utterly wrung out, my mind and body disintegrating.

Basically, he had all the power and I had all the responsibility. His manipulative mind games made me uneasy but I had to convince myself of his absolute infallibility, or I would be having "bad thoughts" which would cause me to collapse in fear and panic. If I even had so much as half a thought I knew he would disapprove of I had panic attacks so severe I threw up. As I was terrified of him sometimes I would lie to avoid his wrath... which led to further panic attacks, and eventually full blown neuroses. I had to police every single thing I said, did or thought. I had to convince myself of all sorts of things, and I had to do it well. I could not harbour resentment. He did a comprehensive job of brainwashing me. In fact, no, he was more clever than that - he actually managed to get me to brainwash myself.

I couldn't work (and he didn't work either) so spent all my time in the house with him.
My life with him was miserable. It made me ill, mentally and physically. I couldn't eat and was very underweight. I had few friends, and certainly none who I shared my inner turmoil with. My family were unaware of the extent of the destructiveness of the situation, but he convinced me they were bad people too, and that I should cut them from my life.

As anyone who has ever been brought up in a strict religion - say, the Jehovah's Witnesses - will tell you, you reach a point where you have keep on believing what you have always believed, because you have to keep going. To admit to yourself the scale of the wrongness would destroy your whole life, and would cause you to realise the magnitude of your wasted self and soul. But sometimes, you just become more and more unstable until the truth comes bursting out of you like an alien out of John Hurt.


So this story has a happy ending. A happy beginning, in fact. After 12 years I left him.


During the split he put me through months of mental and emotional torture, cumlinating in my having a massive mental breakdown... and yet somehow part of me that I didn't know I possessed got me through it. I got through the overwhelming pressure he put me under, the manipulation, the threats to kill himself, the times he held me hostage to get me to change my mind, the times he fought me to stop me getting away from him, his boot in my face when I went for the phone to try and call the police... I stuck it out. There were times when I was convinced suicide was the only escape from the trap I was in. Times when doing things to feel physical pain was the only way to escape the pain in my head. Times when my brain packed up completely and stopped functioning, short circuiting and making me twitch and flinch at random. I knew it was the toughest thing I would ever have to do, and doing it destroyed me, but I did it.


The nicest things anyone has ever done for me are as follows...

My family:
For being cool enough to let me go in the first place when I was a headstrong teenager, knowing that if they tried to convince me he was bad I would just dig my heels in and it would cause rifts between us.
For being there with unconditional love and support when I finally found the courage to leave him.
My mum for her pragmatism, for instantly taking me in when he threw me out of the house, making sure I was eating proper meals for the first time in years, and going to bed at sensible times, giving me a copy of How To Mend Your Broken Heart and paying for me to have nine months of counselling.
My stepdad, for his acceptance when he came home to find I was staying for an unspecified amount of time, and for his practical advice and good humour for the following three months of sharing his home with me.
My brothers for forgiving me for falling out with them at CF ex's bidding and shutting them out for four years, and for putting their time and energy into me to help me learn what it feels like to be a normal person. My best friends.

Not one of them ever judged me or said "I told you so".

My boss:
For her empathy and compassion. For her tolerance of my fuckedupedness while at work, not firing me when I was late because I had been prevented from leaving the house by CF ex or had crashed my car because I was too exhausted to drive, or when I forgot to pass messages on because my head was broken. And for her guidance and encouragement towards emotional and spiritual health.

My new ex, the one who has proposed to marry me on my 40th birthday despite our current separation:
For the little extras he gave me when I started going into his coffee shop for lunch, when he realised I didn't have much money.
For his friendship, which made me feel like I was a worthwhile and likeable person.
For his understanding of my neuroses, including my requests that we would never make promises to each other, and my aversion to the word "perfect", whereupon he coined the word "perfucked" to describe me.
For showing me what love TRULY is, and thus achieving the only thing that nine months of otherwise outstanding counselling could not. When I was not sure I deserved his love, he said to me:

"Fuck deserving. Deserving love implies that you can be undeserving of love. Well my love doesn't work like that - you don't have to earn it, it's a gift, I am giving it of my own free will, you can do what you want with it, but you can't give it back because I won't accept it. It's yours now, unconditionally."

So now, at the age of 32, I feel like I have been born again (scuse the god-awful cliche). Every day I am thankful that I've been given a second chance to live my life. I still feel unworthy but so, so lucky to have the people who helped me... and now I have to stop writing because I can't see for tears.
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 20:32, closed)
I'll repeat......
What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.

and good luck with the future : )
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 20:51, closed)
Courage
Is exactly what you showed here. No story has touched me so much in the last year.
I have no experience of such a destructive relationship, but very well done. You're a born survivor.
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 20:57, closed)
that must have taken a hell of lot of courage
to leave after so long.
breaking the behaviour patterns is also tough.
and it's never too late to change your life, i hope :)
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 21:06, closed)
Nope, never.
Similar story here, 13 years.
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 21:37, closed)
Hello, I remember you
Lol. My relationship was 12 years but we continued to share the house for a year and half, so I lived with him for 13 years... I lost my 20s, but am making up for it :)

*solidarity hugs*
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 0:24, closed)
Good woman yourself.
just a message to say fair deuse to you, and i know, having family as a strong anchor is the best thing in the world ever, never under estimate family, as they are always the ones to drag you out the other side
(, Fri 3 Oct 2008, 23:57, closed)
YES
Brilliant, I am so happy for you, like the other person said, it makes you a stronger and better person for the experience.
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 0:15, closed)
Thank you
After all those years of not allowing myself to share emotions with anybody, when the floodgates opened they opened wide... I now have a huge capacity for love, and am sitting here smiling because a connection has been made between me and some previously total strangers on 'tinternet :)

And, as I said but can't emphasise enough, how thankful I am for the people I have mentioned above. My story is a backdrop for their positivity, unconditional love and all round GOODness that shines in my life. My past went untold for too long, and I am happy to have had the chance to tell it here... but I wrote it first and foremost in order to express my gratitude, so that the whole world knows how amazing I think they are.
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 0:30, closed)
i want to give you a big cuddle.
you have had a lot of shit, i reckon you are due a lot of good times-enjoy!
:)
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 0:56, closed)
Hah
Born again, god-awful cliche....hahahaha, I get it. Genius.
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 1:44, closed)
I knew someone a bit like that
He enticed my girlfriend from me when we were seventeen. Thankfully it only lasted a couple of months and he has since mysteriously vanished. What happened to your guy, if you don't mind my asking?
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 2:25, closed)
This might take some explaining...
As I said, we shared the house for a year and a half after we broke up. Throughout the split, which lasted for months, and for some time after it was intolerable. Gradually we came to be able to coexist in a kind of uneasy impasse. Eventually we reached a plateau of distance but understanding. We'd both expressed a lot of feelings that had been unspoken the whole time we were together. We came about as close to closure as I think it was possible to.

He had no real means of moving out (the house was in my name), but then I met someone, the other ex mentioned above. He needed somewhere to stay when he split up from his wife and it made sense for him to move in with me - my rent is ridiculously cheap - and so instead of renting somewhere more expensive, he paid CF ex's costs to move out.

He is now living a few miles away, and I still speak to him occasionally. Despite everything I bear him no ill will. He has his own side of the story and I would hate for anyone to read my side of things and judge him solely on the strength of it. I am now balanced in what I take responsibility for, and while I see that there were many things I blamed myself for unnecessarily, I also said and did things I am not proud of, things that hurt him greatly.

The whole thing was a tragedy from start to finish. I do believe he loved me. And I believe his need to control came from lack of trust in people, and the universe at large, and insecurity. This was something I started to think while we were still together and I started to try to convince him that he had problems that he wasn't addressing... which of course he resisted, at my expense. But I know he wasn't like that because he liked being a bastard... he was trying to fulfil his own need for love, the only way he knew how. I think he knows now that I would have freely given him all the love I had if he had handled things differently. And that works boths ways.

I don't judge him. Or myself, any more.

[apologies for lifting some of this from a gaz I sent earlier, I couldn't think how else to explain]
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 3:02, closed)
I could almost have been that guy...
...but much younger. At the age of 22 or so having spent lots of time studying the interfaces of psychology, hypnosis, and "magic" I had a funny bag of tricks which I was not above using for amusement- for example I once "trained" a girl to experience a tickling sensation if I hummed a few bars of a particular piece of music.
Later I fell in with a much younger woman and she fell hard in love with me ( I did not discover this until much later- please understand I would have been more gentle otherwise) and we lived together for several years. I eventually realised that she was too-much "into" me and discouraged this as best I could without hurting her (read: not enough). Luckily she met someone else and began "cheating" on me. I found out and let her know it was ok by me- but we were no longer going to be together sexually. So she transferred her affections to this other. Again luckily, we remained friends- and are to this day.
I feel guilty because her "new guy" was rather like "that guy", cutting her off from her old friends (including me) and administering the odd beating (ironic, that, since she was considerably stronger than he and she was well-schooled in the art of hurting a fucker) but after 5 years she's finally kicked that shit to a kerb and married a man who while I find him dull, she finds endlessly fascinating... and he treats her as well (or maybe better) than she deserves. Finally!
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 6:39, closed)
I know exactly how you felt.
I'm still suffering from panic attacks which were triggered by me ex... I had my first one when he left knocked my glasses off my face in the middle of the road, called me a "blind bitch" and ran home. At 2 in the morning. In central London.

Worse thing? We've been split up a year in two weeks.

Hugs

*clicks*
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 12:57, closed)
My pet hate
is men who treat women bad. Where does this bastard live, because I'd sincerely like to rape him with a metal pole.

To any men reading this: for God's sake, respect women, Stop to think about all they do for us, and you'll see why...
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 15:50, closed)
But it does work both ways
One of the lads who did some building work for has a wife that repeatedly kicks the shit out of him; attacks him with blunt instruments and generally demeans him. And yet at the same time professes to love him with all her heart and soul, citing him as her saviour.

I actually witnessed one of her attacks on him. At a barbeque. At someone else's house. She saw him giving someone else a hug, completely got the wrong end of the stick, threw a pint of vodka and orange over him (and a few others standing nearby), shoved him to the ground and proceeded to stamp all over his head and groin. Then she set about attacking the person on the receiving end of the hug, pushing her against the wall where she smacked her head of the table with all the barbeque stuff on. It all happened so bloody quickly that by the time we'd managed to drag her off she'd inflicted some serious damage.

The poor girl in question was the eldest daughter of our host, and is only 17 (but looks about 13 - she's tiny).

She's a fucking psycho who needs locking up. The worst thing was, there were young children about, including Sweary Jr.
(, Sat 4 Oct 2008, 16:53, closed)
Thank God
For speed reading. And thanks also to the people who stick by you even when you don't realise they are there. Have a click and good wishes for the rest of your sojourn.
(, Sun 5 Oct 2008, 2:33, closed)
Wow
Hats off to you - It's good to hear that you're realigning yourself properly.

I was in a 10 year relationship, while not even close to yours, meant me changing myself in every way and alienating my family which I'm truly sad about but am on the path to fixing.
(, Mon 6 Oct 2008, 10:12, closed)
oh dear
thats just awful.

One of my friends has had a series of disasters with control freaks and stalkers, but luckily she m,arried the copper who arrested her stalker, so its all win.

you madam with a nice hat and don't even look remotely old enough to be 30, get a click
(, Mon 6 Oct 2008, 12:42, closed)
One of my lovely brothers
bought me the hat. I love it! I wear it all the time :)
(, Mon 6 Oct 2008, 19:27, closed)
* clickyhugs *
But you are worthy!

Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm glad you had the courage to leave and pick up the pieces, and glad you got the support you needed.

Truly, you are a survivor!

* hugs *
(, Mon 6 Oct 2008, 15:49, closed)
*sends you warm fuzzy hugs*
Glad you made it and can now share the story. For what it's worth I think you're awesome (especially your slide shows).

xx
(, Wed 8 Oct 2008, 12:37, closed)
Please accept
just a little more unconditional love floated your way:

*wafts*


and *clicks*
(, Wed 8 Oct 2008, 12:39, closed)

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