I’M THE VICTIM – says everyone who’s hurting

Let me just start by saying that there are true victims out there, who really do deserve to get justice legally, mentally, emotionally and everythingly. But this post is not about them. It’s just a way to look at things so we can stop trying to find comfort in getting justice.

So my divorce has been going rather smoothly so far, I would say. There have been a few hiccups but thankfully, not as much drama as I’ve seen in other people’s divorces.

We didn’t have kids, and we weren’t together for a long time, so the only thing we really had to split was the house.

Still, the divorce hasn’t been happening without its fair share of ‘blame and shame’.

In trying to deal with things as peacefully as I can, I’ve also been thinking about the many friends and readers I know, who are trying to deal with their own divorces.

I know that divorce is shit. Some more shitty than others. All kinds of divorces involve one thing for sure though – victimizing and dealing with trauma.

There are some people who have had very peaceful divorces, but most of us have not been as lucky.

In many scenarios, someone is usually the one “left behind”. One partner usually was the one who decided to walk out, while the other one is left to deal with the shock, pain, hurt and trauma that naturally comes with such actions. It can sometimes heavily trigger abandonment issues, or can lead to someone having abandonment issues later on.

I myself, wasn’t the one who walked out BUT. I have to admit that I definitely acknowledge giving up on the marriage prematurely. As I’d written about before, I was the one who told my partner we should experiment on dating other people, so that we could decide (for the second time) if we still wanted to stay married, or cut our losses short while we could.

Clearly, after that ‘experiment’, he decided that he had found someone better and far more suitable for him. They got engaged and are probably going to get married sooner or later. Did it sting? Hell yes. Am I sour about them getting married? C’mon…..let’s be serious. This is a guy I once loved so much I said yes to marrying him. OF COURSE I had a lot of sourness left in heart. It’s a lot to deal with – watching who you thought was the love of your life decide to leave the marriage and propose to someone else instead. I would be a robot not to feel anything, or it would have meant I didn’t really love him. Which I did.

HOWEVER

Could it have been me instead of him? YES. 99% YES. If I had happened to meet someone I felt so instantly connected to, I don’t think I can guarantee not leaving the marriage as well.

The root problem of our marriage was that we weren’t compatible. We got married based on utterly false expectations of each other.

Do I blame him for leaving? I definitely did. But I’ve made my peace with it over the last 1.5 years. Do I give them my blessing? I don’t need to. We’re no longer in each others’ lives and I don’t need to do anything I don’t feel is necessary – including being hateful towards them.

All I wanted to do is to focus on my own pain and heal from that.

Now that the pain has dulled down, I can then move on to the reason we separated in the first place – which is because we weren’t suitable or compatible for each other in the first place. I can then now, start a new chapter in my life and enjoy the fresh new lease of happiness given to me.

Easier said than done? OOOOOOFFFF Don’t get me started. The number of times I had to stop myself from checking in on how my ex and his current gf are doing……………..is very high.


Recently, a friend of mine asked me. “How do you deal with the arguments that follow? How do you negotiate the divorce terms? How do you move on??”

My dear…………I can’t tell you I have answers to all of these questions. But I would say this. That hurt people hurt. Repeat that 10000 times.

People who are genuinely happy….…..do not treat other people with venom and anger. I myself, am very guilty of this. I have definitely lashed out on innocent victims when they just happened to be in the vicinity while I was raging on about my own matters. That’s why………I prioritize so much on mending myself. Because I don’t want to be part of an ugly cycle of anger and hurt.

I find it so so sad when people start behaving out of character because of their own hurt. They’re so overwhelmed with bitterness and unhappiness that it causes them to react in such ugly and hurtful ways. Either that, or it’s just because they’re too weak to be good, so they’d rather be bad. But NEVER, let them trick you into thinking their behavior is based on what you did. As long as you know your conscience is clear, know that they are actively choosing to be like this. You’re not responsible for “fixing” their pain. You’re not responsible for them hurting you.

I have done it before – but I don’t ever want to treat someone else with disrespect again. And that’s what i would tell people to remember too. When something happens, pause…………take a moment, and instead of reacting, respond. Respond like your best self would. This doesn’t mean you have to be kind and compassionate all the time. Just don’t respond with unnecessary anger because anger can cause you to do or say things you’ll eventually regret.

Know when you’ve been bullied, but at some point, stop victimizing yourself. Stop spending your energy on blaming them and asking for justice. That’s never going to happen. Instead, leave them be and focus on your own “karma”.

I don’t know if I really believe in Karma, because I don’t know enough of it. But I do believe in the cycle of energy giving and receiving.

When you treat people right, the right people will come into your lives, the wrong people will leave. When you treat people wrong, the wrong people will stay and the right people will leave. Who’s to say who is right or wrong for you? YOU. YOU get to decide who’s right or wrong for you. There is no universal benchmark to decide for everyone. Only you will know.

At the end of the day………………….we all just want to find peace within ourselves, to forgive. Forgive them, forgive ourselves and make more room for love to fill us instead.

I’ve definitely felt a change happening recently, where I feel more space being made in my heart. Enough that I can feel compassion and forgiveness again. This healing shit is such a marathon…………..but there have been sooooo many little lessons along the way, that I wouldn’t trade my sorrows for anything else.

Sometimes when I start reflecting on things, I start feeling incredibly shameful of my own actions towards people. Even though I’ve apologized to them before, it still feels shameful because our words and actions can never be taken back. And we can’t control whether or not it caused ‘permanent damage’ to other people. Words and actions HURT.

We’ve all been hurt before, in one way or another, so we KNOW this. Now that we’re aware……………can we try to hold ourselves back from unnecessarily adding onto someone else’s load? Can we find it within ourselves to realize that we can either choose to back off and get out of the battle, or we can choose to fight till death and deal with the consequences later.

Everything that has happened or will happen in future, is a lesson. And this is what I want most. To learn, to grow, to level up, to exceed, to be alive. The lessons don’t end, it’s us who choose to stop learning.

The support we “need” from family

My Grandma just passed away. It was a very unexpected event, robbing away many of our wishes to say a final goodbye. But that’s how death happens most of the time doesnt it? We rarely have the chance to see someone off in their final moments. For many of us, we are born into this world, into our mother’s loving arms, but we leave alone. In those final moments of breath, I wonder what was going through my Ah ma’s mind. I wonder if she knew she was going to die.

She died in her sleep – at home, at night, very peacefully. My Ah gong found her in the morning, called the family over and everyone took turns to say goodbye.

When I woke up in croafia to the many missed calls and messages, it took me a while to register the news. Over the next few days, I let the moments of anguish take over me and sobbed whenever I felt like it.

In crying out for Ah ma, I kept saying goodbye to her over and over again – so that reality can start to sink in.

When a sudden death takes away a loved one, its the people who are left behind who go into a state of shock and grief. “Why? How? Should I have? I thought I’d see her again.”

I took Ah ma’s passing really well, mostly because I believe she’s gone off to a better place. I’ve been such a good friend with grief and sadness now, that it greets me like an old friend, patting me on the shoulder for comfort.

I can now very clearly separate my own interests from my wishes for her, and because I wish for her the best in this world, my missing and longing to see her again is secondary. I suppose this is how we comfort ourselves, but putting someone else’s needs before ours, so that we don’t focus on our own “selfish desires”

Still, it definitely got me thinking, that this is now my reality. By choosing to leave Singapore for the next few years at least, I’m choosing to miss many important moments in my family’s life. In one way, I’m no longer in their lives. No longer in their routines. No more Saturday blading sessions, no more random weekday dinners. My only chances of interactions or creating new memories will have to wait till I go back to visit, or when my family comes to me.

I had this impending dread before I left Singapore, that me leaving would put a distance between us – my family/friends and I. That thought saddened me quite a bit and made my previous stay in Singapore pretty depressing.

Now that I’ve accepted the fact better though, I’ve begun to really see what it means to lead your own life. One thing that people don’t really talk about – is that walking your own path can mean leaving your support system.

With the gift of technology, its true that we can still have as many conversations with our loved ones, but there’s a bitter fact that in walking our own paths, we sometimes need to settle for the fact that our families will never truly fully support our decisions. I’m lucky because my immediate family does, and I happen not to really care what any one else thinks.

However, I’ve been receiving many messages about people fearing the most important thing – disapproval from their family to do the unheard/uncertain thing.

Many have shared of the obstacles in their paths and it would be juvenile to tell them they’re making excuses for themselves. It’s not an excuse when you fear losing your family over something you’re not even sure is what you want in the first place. Their concerns are completely valid.

I started to think about what it means to not have approval or support from family, for any big decisions in life.

Having family criticise our choices, show disapproval, threaten or blackmail us for wanting to live life differently is essentially an alienating act. They may not realize they’re doing it, and from their perspectives it might even seem like we’re rejecting and alienating them.

I’ve been traveling around for 1.5 years and my Ah gong has never said a peep before. However, since Ah ma died just recently, he started thinking differently, and just 2 days ago, told me to come home.

“why don’t you come home for a while…. Your home is here. Why are you traveling around for so long? Its time to come home. If anything happens to us, its more convenient for you to be here. If anything happens to you, we can also take care of you.”

But Ah gong, my life is not in Singapore anymore. I don’t enjoy life there.

“are you joking? How can you say that? Your family is here. Your home is here. You are Singaporean. Your home is in Singapore.”

I try to joke my way out – but ah gong, many years ago, my ancestors came from China to make a better life in Singapore. Maybe that’s what I want too? To make a new life elsewhere?

He wasn’t having none of it. “those ancestors are long ago gone, I am your ancestor and I’m here in Singapore now.”

Ah gong if you miss me just say la, I tease….. He finally breaks and say “yea of cos I miss you.”

Before we ended the call I shouted Ah gong I love you!!!! He didn’t reply so I said “you have to say it back!” “I love you!!” he chimed back.

This is how I’ll choose to deal with my family. To acknowledge their concerns but also stand firm on my decision – because this is my life and ive lived too long of it trying to please people around me. I know I come from a very comparatively supportive family so I’m lucky. So I’m wondering how I would deal with a difficult family who either threatens to disown me, and violently disapproves of me doing anything.

I know this may be easier to say than to do, but I would think it’s all the more reason to ensure that what you want to do, is firstly justified by yourself.

We can have many obstacles come in our way, but when we really feel stuck in our lives, and want to explore other options, it’s the will that matters most.

The overarching principle I adopted when I first left Singapore – was to focus on myself. Perhaps its because my grief and broken heart were so big, I couldnt care less about what my family thought. I didn’t actually think to ask them for approval. I put my needs first, in order to heal. I had to do that, if not I would have crumbled even more.

By building up a strong shield around myself against anyone else’s perspectives or well meaning concerns, I created a safe haven for myself. One where I cried in, got angry in, showed my most vulnerable self in. All to myself, all with myself. I became my own support system, and my own best friend.

I would say – to those who find it hard to convince your family of certain decisions you want to make – to communicate with them better. Yall know I’m not a professional, but here’s how my thought process led me to choosing my path in life.

1. Change your way of communication. Instead of leading with defensive statements, always start with “I feel”, “what you said makes me feel”, “I hear you and this is what I feel”.

2. Focus on your Why’s and explain them to your family. Sometimes, all our family want to know is whether we have a plan or not. Their worries stem from a place of concern.

3. For families who depend on your financially and emotionally, I’m sure you will find solutions or actually already have solutions in mind. Sometimes it might mean having to make peace with “abandoning them”. But even if it’s just to travel for 6 months, that time you’re carving out for yourself is important for your mental health. So that you can be a better support system for your family.

4. Communicate more with them. If a dialogue often leads to arguments, try writing what you feel in a letter to them. Use other mediums. It might seem awkward and strange but hey, that might actually catch their attention better, so they know you’re actually serious and you want to make a serious case.

5. Have a mediator to help you. With people we love the most, we sometimes have the least patience for them. Having a mediator is a good way to ensure both parties can peacefully express themselves without letting things get out of hand.

Everyone’s situation is different, so of course the ‘solution’ will be different.

What I feel though, is that I’m now finally living my life the way I want. Its not the fact that I’m in croatia and not in Singapore. The location is not the constraint – but my mindset was.

In the past, I would always prioritise my family over anything else. I don’t think that it’s bad to do that, but if in doing that, you compromise too much on what you want, and how you feel, causing you to feel depressed and empty all the time…..its worth considering when you want to save yourself.

If you are running on empty, or feel like you’ve been empty for a long time, it’s time to reconsider your priorities. When we’re full of happiness and zest for life, that’s when we can genuinely live life to the fullest. If we want to love people around us the best way they deserve, its really important for us to first be in love with our own lives.

The effects of one person’s happiness can very much spread to your loved ones, causing a positive charge to be passed around to people you spend time / communicate with.

Similarly, if we continue running on empty, and don’t do anything about our unhappy lives, what usually happens is that we sow seeds of bitterness in our lives. Have you ever wondered why you get annoyed/irritated easily? Have you yourself gotten very impatient with yourself? Do you sometimes catch your bitterness in life manifesting in ugly behavior towards people you love? These are all signs of being burnt out in life.

I remember when my Ah Ma was alive, that my Ah gong was constantly yelling at her. They’ve been together for 60 over years, and towards the last decade, especially after both of them stopped working, my Ah gong’s patience with her ran empty and he kept taking things out on her. If my Ah Ma had not been more patient or understanding, more fights would have happened. They were already sleeping in separate rooms for many years, but were dependent on each other for companionship so forced themselves to tolerate each other.

How sad is that? When you can’t control your behavior towards your lived ones, and yet run out of time to make amends.

Running on empty hurts you, and people around you.

The sooner we realize that our actions and behavior will cause either positive or negative charges in other people’s lives, the sooner we will want to take charge of our own. The only thing we can control is our own lives, and what we do with it.

Either way, know that you’re not alone. My friends and I have started a telegram group for anyone who’s been looking to leave Singapore for a while, to either travel during covid or work as a digital nomad. Feel free to dm me on ig so I can add you into the telegram group.

Sending my thoughts to you, you, you, you and you.

Pot calling the Kettle black

One of my favourite shows to watch and rewatch is ‘Grace & Frankie’.

After 40 years of marriage, 2 law partners finally tell their wives that they’ve been in love with each other and that they’re leaving their marriages to be with each other. They’re 70 years old and have finally decided to live openly as a gay couple.

The actors and actresses are amazing, but what I love about the show is how brutally honest it is.

When the wives first found out, they were livid of course. How could their husbands suddenly decide to tell them this? Why not 20 years ago when they were 50 and still had a chance to remarry? What were they supposed to do now at 70?

The show spans for 6 seasons, and you should totally watch it.

But I really love how through many different dramatic breakthroughs, the wives eventually become bestfriends and the 4 of them figure out a way to forgive and still be there for each other.

It is, of course, still a show and hardly reflects what reality is. But I have known of actual real life stories similar to this fictional show, where people have put aside differences and mistakes to forgive each other.

Anyhoo, I’ve been feeling alot more relaxed about everything. Ahhhhh it feels so much lighter really. Like alot of space has been created for positive feelings 🙂 And i’m finally able to FEEEEEEEL what happy feels like.

As much as I am still sad about how things happened, I’m also finally identifying the UPs.

I’m happy for them the same way I’m also really happy for me and Marco.

I know that D and I were never truly right for each other, and I remember looking at photos of them and really hoping they would be happy together.

I’ve finally found someone who has shown me what true love can really be – and it’s so amazing. If true love is something they really have, how can I not be happy for them?

I’ve never believed that true love can only be found in one person. I definitely believe you can love different people at different points of your life. But it’s really rare to meet even one person who’s both compatible and one that you met at the right time of your life.

So, no matter what, I definitely feel like I’m finally “myself” again. I know that my therapist warns me not to think I can’t be angry/sad. She also reminded not to nee

Breakthrough

I had a dream about her again. In my dream we had bumped into each other somewhere, I don’t know where.

All I could feel for her in my dream, was forgiveness. I didn’t feel any hate, any anger or even sadness. All I felt was true happiness for her, for them.

This week was a breakthrough.

After almost 2 months of being depressed and sad, I finally got myself to do a workout. It was a Buti Yoga workout. The energy is pumped, people are going WOOOOOHOOOOAAAA, and the point is to get connected with your primal energy.

It worked, because I could feel the energy and adrenaline of the live class. There were 30 odd people in the live class, and I was so far away, in my living room. Yet, I felt it. And it shook me.

Less than 5 mins into the workout, I started shaking with tears, uncontrollably. I felt all of the anger and trauma bleeding out of my eyes in the form of tears. I couldn’t control my crying. Sobbing eventually turned into a full on break down, and I had to stop for a few minutes to just yell. I yelled and I cried. And then I went back to doing mountain climbers.

It was such a release…. It felt really good.

Today again, during therapy, my therapist asked me why I wanted to forgive them so much. “do you think they deserve forgiveness?” “I don’t know. But I’m so tired of being sad and angry”

“it doesn’t work this way. Trying to forgive people who haven’t asked for your forgiveness doesn’t work. Why do you need them to like you so much?”

Ouch.

That question got me thinking. And during the therapy session we dug out the fact that I had trauma from feeling rejected when I was young. I went through early puberty when I was young, developing breasts at 7 and getting my first period at 9.

Because of that, I never truly fit in with friends my age, and yet kids who were older never really wanted to hang out with me too. From when I was 6 till when I was 15, I remembered always feeling “left out”, unable to really connect or relate with people my age.

Later on, I did manage to find friends who’ve been there for me since. I just never thought those “rejections” I faced in my childhood led to my people pleasing tendencies.

“some people don’t deserve you to love. Some people are just mean Jane. You don’t and you shouldnt make excuses for them.”

I realized that I had never really learnt to draw boundaries before. My therapist made a good point. “maybe you had to learn this lesson, so you learn how to identify toxicity in people.”

“maybe” – I croaked out, in between sobs.

This week though, I definitely feel a change. I feel stronger. I feel alot more like myself again. Working out helps. Ive also gotten back to playing music and doing things that make me happy. Having 2 weeks away from Marco has been great too. I needed to not have distractions, so I could focus on this “down” period.

I’m well aware that this process is long and hard. A friend also told me that a healing journey never really ends, so maybe instead of “healing” we can think of it as “growing”.

I like the concept alot. Here’s to growing, and realizing that we give meaning to things, whether good or bad. And instead of painting them bad, sometimes we can try looking at them as ‘not great’.

Sadness is a blessing

When I set down the intention to face my trauma and go through the healing process…….I didn’t imagine the amount of sadness that would overwhelm me.

You know when you’ve committed to a pirate ship ride in a theme park?

It looks doable……. you watch groups of people do it while you queue for 45 mins. Even though you’re afraid, you psyche yourself up anyway and tell yourself “It can’t be that bad”.

Your turn comes, you’re actually excited!!! You buckle down, choosing the back row because Hey if we’re gonna do this shit, we might as well do it ALL THE WAY.

The ride starts, people start whooping, and you start to wiggle your legs in excitement, hands relaxed by your side. You can feel the adrenaline getting ready to have a party, and you quickly contemplate if you’re gonna be putting your hands up or not.

A mere 10 seconds later, you’ve gone through the first swing and you’re starting to regret your choice. You feel a nausea start building up in the pit of your stomach and you start looking left and right at other people, who seem to be doing COMPLETELY FINE while you’re freaking the fuck out.

By the time you’re on the 3rd swing, your palms are soaking wet, you can taste the FIVE GUYS burger you chomped down for lunch and there’s no way you’re getting out of this without throwing up on someone. You really wish you hadn’t taken the back row now.


It’s a light-hearted metaphor to explain how I felt/still feel during the “depression stage” but hey – that’s how I cope. Bad humor, watching documentaries about how the world is going to end, and wishing it happens. 1 hour later, I start watching David Attenborough tell me how we should be saving the world because I feel guilty I wanted the world to burn up into ashes.

It’s a difficult place to navigate – sadness.

The crying…………..is so erratic. I literally cry at the most unexpected times.

I’m so glad I work from home……..because I would be so embarrassed and would basically be “having period blues” for 3 weeks straight.

Also, repeatedly listening to sad songs doesn’t really help, but it’s still better than listening to happy songs that you’re not feeling either.

I definitely feel better today……….after a combination of different things.

Therapy. Eating gelato. Talking to my friends. Getting a full refund for a flight i was gonna take but not anymore. Killing it at work. Meeting new people and getting inspired. Working on a passion project. Binge watching ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘The Bold Type’. Having Marco in my life. More therapy. More conversations. Long walks while dog sitting Mr Spock for 4 days (I think it was more like him human sitting me). Listening to Su lee’s songs. Reading up on narcissism and understanding why my ex’s actions severely contradicted his words. Eating more gelato. Watching funny videos. And last but not least – writing.


I’m not sure if anyone can understand this. But when i start writing, something takes over and I’m no longer consciously writing. Not really.

The words take over, and I let myself emote through my writing.

Sometimes, I would read my posts just a day after, and not remember what I wrote. I surprise myself with the amount of clarity I seem to have, because I swear………on a day to day basis, it does NOT feel like that at all.

I still read a lot of my old posts, just to track how I was doing back then vs now and it still appalls me to know I wrote those things.

I suppose everyone expresses themselves differently. Some of us hold podcasts, some of us dive deep into art, some get tattoos, some sing, some dance, and some write. I’ve found that writing is my easiest way of expression. It might not be the best way, or the only way – but it is the easiest for me.

I encourage all of us to find your medium of expression.

Sometimes, even just writing out my pain would make me feel better. Of course, most of those posts are kept in my drafts. But yes. I would almost always feel better – even just a teeny bit helps sometimes. Something to make you feel like you’re the most useless person in the world.

Anyhoo, I just wanted to note down this one hour of me not feeling so sad.

I had a rather down day yesterday, leading to a lot of sobbing, not enough eating, and relying on friends for comfort. This morning, I woke up feeling pretty numb still, to everything. And then somehow, through the day, things have gotten a teeny tiny better.

🙂

I have just a bit more hope now, that I’ll start feeling much better soon.

Can’t wait till this persistent dark cloud over me will decide to pass over. For now, the forecast still reads – Cloudy with a chance of sadness. At least we know forecasts are hardly ever reliable.

Who knows what will happen tomorrow?

the power of love

For the past few days, I’ve been taking care of Mr. Spock.

He’s a really good dog, and super smart. Because of him, I’ve been taking 2 walks a day, a short one in the morning in the dog park, and a longer one by the lake in Jarun park.

I had forgotten how good long walks are.

The walks gave me so much freedom to think, to feel and to debate on.

I thought alot, about the the power of Love.

Lately, I’ve been reading up alot about narcissism and the traits of narcissists.

Mostly because my therapist suggested that my ex husband was one, and that helped to explain alot of his behavior.

However, as I kept reading about narcissism, I couldn’t help but feel that at some point in my life, I could have been one too. Or at least, I had traits very similar to them.

Pinpointing the fact that he was a narcissist was helpful to explain alot of his actions, and helped me “solve” alot of the mysteries I was trying to solve. Still, it didn’t take away the fact that I felt bad for him. And her too actually. I don’t think they actually meant to hurt me. No matter how the evidence looks, I don’t think they really wanted to hurt me. I think they just wanted to defend themselves. And if anything, I know alot about wanting to protect oneself.

I felt bad for them – that they must each have been so hurt, in some point in their lives, that they had to hurt other people like that. I wonder what it could have been that had changed them, and created in them, such manifestations.

I know what created mine, and I’m choosing to weed them out.

I actually wrote a super long email to Dom and his current fiancee once. In the name of wanting to make peace. Details aside, things happened last year. Things that hurt everyone in the process.

I wrote that e-mail, so we could all reconcile our pain, and just connect.

But I didn’t send it. Because I still don’t trust myself to not react, just in case the response is as bad as the one he sent me. I wrote him once, a super nice email, and all he did was tear me down, and cause me unnecessary pain. I definitely have phobia, from wanting to reach out to them and just say……I’m sorry for whatever hurt you’ve been through in life, but this is how you hurt me.

One time I had a dream………….that they were drowning in a flood.

In that dream, there was a moment, where I could choose to save them or let them drown.

I saved them. And then we all hugged it out in a good ol’ fashioned sense. Edit: I think in my dream, I didn’t want to feel hate towards them, so my ultimate question is always – if you would save someone’s life, what’s the point really of being angry with them still?

The thing about dreams…is that they reflect only what you want, but not how reality is.

In reality, I doubt I will ever make my peace with them.

The good thing is that we never have to cross paths. And I only wish them well, and for them to never cause me any pain ever again.

Our pain makes us who we are

The first time I ever really liked a boy was when I was 15.

He and I were family friends. We went on fishing trips together, and knew each other since I was 9 and he was 10.

At 9 and 10, we didn’t know anything about love. Just fun and games.

We connected really well, and always had fun together. We stuck together like glue, constantly around each other from day to night, at least during those fishing trips.

We didn’t meet again till I was 15 and he was 16.

This time, we saw each other differently. This time, we weren’t kids anymore.

The first time we kissed, was when we had all fallen asleep on the same bed after playing card games.

In the middle of the night, he rolled over towards me and I happened to face him too.

Barely awake, I felt him kiss me and our emotions took over. He had a girlfriend then, but I didn’t care.

Later on, he would reject me. Telling me that he didn’t want to break up with his girlfriend because he felt that she was more compatible for him. He loved her – he said. I asked “Then why kiss me?”

He never answered.

It happened again a few months later. This time, so stupidly romantic, under a sky full of stars and in the middle of the ocean, where we could hear only the waves and a light breeze.

Stupidly after, I felt like a fool. Again, he made it known that he was choosing her over me. Again, I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him. Again, i felt completely used.

I never got over those feelings. Those memories stayed and haunted me for years to come. Every time i bumped into him during funerals or coincidentally on the street, he would avoid me. Unable to even look into my eyes.

He’s married now, to that same girlfriend and they have a child together. He probably never ever thought of me again. And I wonder if he ever knew how hurt I was. I wonder if he ever knew how much impact his actions made on my life. But of course, how could he? He was 16.

————————————————–

Later on in life, I would go on to date jerk after jerk, cheater after cheater. Boys who displayed the same emotional unavailability. It almost felt like my heart sought them out, so it could be broken over and over again.

I dated some good ones too, and then didn’t know how to love them and ended up breaking their hearts. I cheated too.

I remember one particular boyfriend I had – who went completely ballistic after I tried to break up with him. We were 21, and I was in the US doing a summer job. I was young, in the US and in a long distance relationship that I didn’t really want. I tried breaking up with him but instead, he came to the US to try and patch things up. He demanded that i concede to his demands and requests. He later on hacked into my emails, tried to blackmail me and also extorted money from my mum. He spread all sorts of crazy rumors about me and basically traumatized me for months. Once, he even found me in school and pretended nothing had happened – asking me for a hug hello.

I thought he was the worst guy I would ever date. I thought wrong. Clearly, I hadn’t learnt my mistake. Because I married the biggest jerk of them all.

I have however, been someone else’s jerk too before.

One time I dated the sweetest guy. I kinda knew I didn’t love him the same way he loved me. But I liked the attention and it was too good to resist. I was young, and he was giving me everything he had. Even after finding out that I cheated on me, he forgave me very quickly and wanted us to work things out. It was only after that I told him I didn’t love him the same way. I had taken the easy way out – to just ruin things before they properly end. I too, once was a coward.

Even with my marriage, there were so many things I could have done better. I think deep down, a part of me wasn’t ready to be married. I remember having that sinking feeling of making a mistake. I even woke up on my wedding day crying, worried that I was making a wrong move. Back then – I cared too much about how other people thought. Back then, I was too blind to realize I wasn’t living a happy life, and I wasn’t living life the way I wanted to. Should I have been more honest with myself, we would have never gotten married so soon. And maybe we could have had a better parting that we did. It’s not that I didn’t love Dom. I remember loving him so much I would have given up just about anything.

But I married him for all the wrong reasons, none of the right ones. We were so incompatible……but I thought love could fix all of that.

I married him, subconsciously thinking his “love” for me would fix my past abandonment hurt. I believed his lies for so long – because I clung on to the hope that he was not like the many who had just wanted something from me, but never willing to give more than they took. I wanted so badly, for him to finally be the one, who would choose me instead of someone else.

I wanted him to be the one, who would never let me go.

And that is why, I married him for the wrong reasons. I went into a marriage, wanting my past hurts to be fixed, longing for someone to just choose me always. I thought that by standing in front of witnesses, it would finally convince me that I’m worthy of love. I was so foolish. I was so naive. But now, the pain has made me learn so much.

The should haves, could haves, would haves in life are far too many.

But it made me think.

When do we realize that our self worth doesn’t depend on someone else’s love? What does it take – for us to realize that love has to come from within?

I wonder, if there was a time in my life, that I could look back upon and realize all of my toxic relationships happened mostly because of that feeling of abandonment. Could I have learned of this fact sooner?

Whose fault is it?

In which part of the vicious cycle are we stuck in?

What role do we play?

Are we the first person to make someone else feel abandoned, used and unappreciated?

Are we the asshole who can sniff out a desperate heart, and selfish enough to take advantage of them?

Or are we the victim who is just constantly shuffling between toxic and more toxic people?

When do we stop and put a band-aid on a wound before letting it rip apart again?

I think that all of us, no matter which role we’re playing now, can wake up and stop lying to ourselves.


It might be hard at first, admitting that we’re not in love with the person we’re with. It might be even harder if there are children involved. It’s always tricky.

But if we do realize and are self aware that we’re hurting people around us, then I hope we also recognize that love is a choice.

We might have fallen in love with our partners years ago, and have since forgotten how that felt like.

We might have fallen in love with someone, who later on changed to become someone else. We have a choice to leave or to stay.

We might be emotionally mistreating our children or our parents, holding grudges against them, for things they hold no fault for, except for just existing. Many of us are unaware of how much our parents’ actions affect us and how much our actions impact our children.

It’s a vicious cycle. Pain breeds more pain. Hurt people hurt others.

When does it stop?

When do we make that decision to break that cycle?

What must happen, before we hit rock bottom and it’s all too late?

It’s cliché, but I feel that the power of love can always overcome the power of revenge. Revenge can only ease our pain temporarily, but never really fill us up with happiness.

I’ve heard people say: The best form of revenge is to lead a happy life.

I say no to that. Don’t pursue a seemingly happy life just to rub it in the noses of your perpetrators If you’re in despair, BE in despair.

Don’t pretend like you’re okay when you’re not. Ignore everyone else, and do things for you. Take care of you first. If you’re in pain, you have to treat that wound. Don’t even think about anything else first.

We may not realize we’re doing things out of rage, we may not understand what we’ve done in the name of vengeance. But I do feel that everyone deserves to feel heard. Everyone deserves to let their pain be known.

Love however, might sometimes mean putting yourself first. Loving yourself first. If we don’t know how to love ourselves, how can we love someone else? Loving ourselves can come in so many ways and forms, but the intention you set must be clear.

It starts by being honest with yourself. “How do you feel today?”

I wish I had been more honest with myself, but then again, my pain makes me who I am today.

My experiences in life will continue to grow me as a person.

The best thing my pain gave me was self-awareness. It also taught me how to love myself. I have so much more love for myself now, that it’s much easier to love others around me. It’s much easier to catch myself having bad thoughts of others and correcting myself. It’s much easier to forgive and empathize, and remind myself that everyone is just carrying their own trauma around.

I’ve learned so much about myself and I’m only learning more.

My ‘bottom’ was thankfully, just a divorce without any children involved.

But there could have easily been a child.

For those of us, who now realize we’re stuck in this cycle, contributing to the pain of someone else, or being the recipient of toxicity and abuse –

What will your rock bottom be? Before you pull yourself out? When does it become too late?

Someone has to break the cycle first

I now understand why people say forgiveness is for yourself, and not for your perpetrator.

I think that forgiveness is really the key to getting over trauma. The power of love is always greater than hate. And love can create what hate can only destroy.

I had a dream the other day.

That Dom and I met. And in that dream, he looked the same as when I first met him. I could only remember how kind, loving and genuine he felt. In my dream, we spoke very openly about how everything ended up so nastily. He finally told me about all his grievances and I spoke very openly about how hurt I was too, after everything that had happened.

In my dream, we forgave each other. We decided to put everything in the past and just wished each other well. In that moment, I felt such power in that act of love. That act of generosity. There was so much light, in that one act of connecting and empathizing with each other.

I woke up, and felt a little sad. That reality isn’t such the case. But that feeling of love stayed with me. And i want it.

So i’m working towards fully forgiving him, just as I ask for forgiveness for ever hurting him too.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we have to forget. But it does mean that we look beyond, and recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiving someone else, is also one step further to forgiving yourself.

I want to get to a point, where I can one day look him in the eye and truly wish him all my best. And all my love.

Because at one point in my life, I genuinely did love him a lot. Enough to be this hurt. And maybe his actions were the consequence of being hurt. Maybe by me, maybe by his past. Maybe he has so many welled up insecurities. Maybe he was so badly hurt in his childhood, that he’s not even aware of how they have manifested into his current adulthood.

Or maybe he really is, just a jerk. No one will ever know but him.

It still doesn’t change how I would choose to act. For my own sake.

I choose to forgive.

i’m sorry for your pain

I was talking to a new friend of mine. And he shared with me how his parents denied him after they found out he was gay.

His family was very religious, and they didn’t understand his coming out. They didn’t understand what he was trying to explain to them.

At 17, he made the brave decision to come clean and tell his family that he was never going to get married in a church, that he would never have children, and that he can never live up to their expectations.

At 17, they denied him. On the surface, he attended every family function. But his parents never stopped badgering him to go for counselling, to go for confirmation classes and they never stopped hoping he would “change his wretched ways”.

He’s 32 now. He’s getting married in Germany soon, and they’re planning to have a baby through surrogacy. His family is still in touch with him, but he no longer feels that they’re his family. By denying him, they have chosen to put a distance between them and him.

Who’s wrong, and who’s right?

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I recall another memory of my childhood friend, whose father had 2 families. His first wife knew about the mistress, but accepted it as a matter-of-fact. She even once bought him a shiny red car, so that he would stay. Barely a few years later, he met yet another woman, married her and had a baby – 23 years younger than his second daughter.

Two daughters took their family fate very differently. The eldest one was always closer to her father, and she supported him by attending her step-sister’s birthdays and school events. She got married very early on, moved out and left her younger sister with their mother.

After being abandoned a second time, their mother fell heavily into depression, and never was the same again. She just couldn’t find joy in life anymore.

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My own grandmother, was sold as a baby – for $12 Singaporean dollars. Her adopted parents were lovely people, and also adopted another two children. At 19 however, her father suddenly died of a heart attack, leaving behind his wife, my grandma, and her two step siblings.

A week after her father’s passing, her mother died of an aneurysm, after having cried for 7 days in a row. Her heartbreak killed her.

At 19, my grandmother became a mother, father, and an elder sister. She no longer could think about herself. She had to learn how to survive and thrive as a young female in 1930s-40s of Singapore.

Very quickly, she learnt different trades, and converted each skill into a business. She rented a shophouse in tiong bahru, teaching people how to sew on the 2nd floor, and teaching people how to do floristry on the ground floor. She also learnt that investing in a payphone would be good in the long run, and collected a good side income from that.

My grandma survived and thrived, raising 2 step children, and later on 4 children, mostly all on her own.

But her insecurities never went away. She ended up marrying a man who was not worthy of her.

Till now, even after 60 years, she still suffers verbal abuse from him every day, and she’s still living with her decision of marrying a man who behaves like a child.

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I share these stories, so we can learn from them

Everyone has suffered through something in their lives before. What we cannot control, is what others do to us, and how tribulations surprise us from time to time. No one can cheat death, heartache, or grief.

But what we can do, is control how we respond to life. We can decide if we want to let them cage us in an unhappy cycle of hurt and hate. Or – we can decide to transform all of that pain and rage into beauty. Beauty in the form of extending compassion to others. In the form of apologizing when we’ve done wrong.

We can choose to become better human beings, by righting our wrongs, and deciding that from this day forward, we set intentions to be better. To listen better, to empathize more, and to put down our egos and place ourselves in the other person’s position more.

We forgive those who deserve forgiving. And we work on loving people around us more.

As much pain as we hold, it gets better when we share it around, and when we know we’re not alone.

love is the answer to all?

I have a confession

I think the reason why i feel so much guilt from our marriage is because I gave up on it first.

I was the reason he ever met someone else. I told him to take a month off the marriage so that we could both date other people, and see if we wanted to choose the marriage. to be honest, even if he didn’t leave, i would have left as well. he just beat me to it.

and so, i think the person i need to forgive, is not him, but myself.

i thought that venting and ranting was going to help, and it did for a bit. but really, the person i have to forgive – is still me.

a good friend told me to “forgive that you gave your freedom away”

I could go on and on and on about the things that he did. i could rehash all the traumatic memories and replay them in my mind over and over again.

but if i were to be completely honest with myself – it doesn’t really matter.

Things have happened. Words were said. Actions were made. No matter what, I cannot keep blaming him for things. I also cannot keep blaming myself.

I’m not entirely proud of my own faults too. So what i’d like to do, is to forgive.

Just in general, be more forgiving towards myself. Have patience for my anxiety to pass.

To those of you who have been writing to me, i just want you to know that you’ve been a great help, and that i really enjoy hearing all of your recovery stories. I love that you’ve reached out, to let me feel less alone.

thank you.