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‘I’ve turned into a violent person since my man cheated on me’

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Question: I have been in a relationship for one year and a month, but my man cheated on me and I eventually got him to admit it. Since that day, I have huge trust issues with him.

I forgave him, but the effect is that I have become violent after what happened. I get so angry when I see him chatting with other girls, calling them “honey, sweetheart, darling, love” etc. When challenged, he says that these are just words and he has no feelings for anyone other than me. But I feel that he is planning to cheat on me again and my feelings are very hurt. We have been trying to talk and he promised to stop but he continues to charm the other women.

I don’t trust him but still I love him so much. I have found myself changing from being polite to the point where I can even hit and hurt him, and this upsets me so much.

It has reached a point where I check his texts, emails and calls and I am always questioning him. I can’t stop blaming him – sometimes I hit him and hurt him and then after I start to cry and cry. I feel bad, why have I hurt my babe. I don’t understand what this is, I have never been violent or arrogant before, but since I met him and since he cheated on me, I see myself changing. It is the love which is not changing because I still love him so much.

I have been trying and trying to break up with him, but he says he will do anything to get me back. I don’t really know if he loves me or is just using me. I want to build back my trust of him and I want to stop hitting and abusing him. If there is a problem, I think the best way to solve it is to talk about it, but this is not what happens with us – we just end up fighting.

I want to save my relationship. I want us to be happy again.

Answer: You have a recipe for disaster here – you have completely attached your happiness to your partner’s fidelity with you, and you know that this is risky due to his past behaviour and there is no great evidence that he has understood or changed his behaviour or attitude. Plus, you have become someone you don’t recognise – being violent is not something you want to practise, and you are now associating this with love, thus creating a toxic combination.

Your obsessive scrutiny of his phone and technology will not ease your fears or suspicions but will only result in giving you no rest or peace. You have to find a way to trust your judgment and not swing from blame and rage to fear and panic. In other words, you need to take some time out, figure out what is going on for you and how you came to be in this particular relationship and situation and only then choose what will be good for you going forward.

Can you imagine a future where you have a child together and when you both become unhappy with the child’s behaviour – how might you react?

The hitting and hurting is probably an attempt on your part to get your partner to connect with how distressed you are but it only makes you feel unhinged and it is unlikely that it is helping in any way. This behaviour has to stop, not just because it is unlawful but if it continues one of you could get seriously hurt. You say that you love him but this requires you to do what is best for your loved one – surely it is good for him to look into the motivation and causes of his actions so that the past does not keep repeating. Forgiveness is a difficult task and it is usually not a once-off thing – generally we bump up against our lack of forgiveness over and over and we have to continually work on it until we find there is no edge left.

Along with your partner, you also could do with some self-examination – what leads you to stay with someone whom you feel does not treat you as the most important person in his life and what has led to your outbursts of violence? Can you imagine a future where you have a child together and when you both become unhappy with the child’s behaviour – how might you react ?

You know the best way to solve or unravel the conflict is to talk, so can you start this process now. Can you use the above questions as a basis for discussion? This means that both of you have to agree to manage your feelings before you talk – no huge reactions, just listening and questioning. The best option might be to agree to have these discussions at a set time, and somewhere public so that no anger can spill over, or you can ask a trusted friend to be the mediator of your discussions.

Neither of you have a history of this kind of engagement so you will need to commit to time and effort and if you can afford it, a couples therapist could be the best money you could spend. It may be that the patterns in this relationship are too difficult to overcome and separation might be the only outcome, but even in this situation you will need to investigate your responses so that you do not bring them into any future relationships. 

Click here to send your question to Trish, or email; tellmeaboutit@irishtimes.com

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Shocking news, Irish people may be sanest in Europe

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Ireland is running low on loopers. If we don’t watch out, we could emerge from the pandemic with our reputation for wildness completely shredded. We are in danger of being exposed as the sanest people in Europe.

Vaccines go into the arm, but also into the brain. They are a kind of probe sent into the national consciousness. In Ireland’s case, the probe has discovered exciting evidence of intelligent life.

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Vienna school under fire for sex ed class using doll for children as young as six

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According to Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper, a teacher used a doll to explain “how sex works” to the children, while also encouraging them to use their hands and fingers on the doll. 

She said she wanted to “enlighten” the children about aspects of sex education. The children in the class were between the ages of six and ten. 

The teacher also explained to the children that “condoms should be used if you don’t want to have babies”, the newspaper reports. 

One boy was told to remove the clothes of the doll but refused before being told that he had to do so. 

The boys parents removed him from the school, saying that he was “overwhelmed” after the class and had started touching his sister inappropriately. 

“We have never seen our son like this before, he was completely overwhelmed” the parents said anonymously, “we are taking him out of the school.”

“We can already see the consequences. 

“A few days after these disturbing lessons, a classmate came to us to play. Like many times before, the boy also played with our ten-year-old daughter. This time he suddenly wanted to pull her pants down.

Peter Stippl, President of the Association for Psychotherapy, said that while sex education was crucially important, it needed to be age appropriate in order to be effective. 

“(This type of sexual education) scares the children! They get a wrong approach to the topic and their natural limit of shame is violated,” he said. 

“Sex education must always be age-appropriate and development-appropriate. Many children are six, seven or eight years old – or even older – not interested in sexual intercourse.

“We should never explain sexuality in schools in isolation from love and relationships. It makes you feel insecure and afraid. It harms the development of children.”

The Austrian Ministry of Education will now set up a commission to determine who will be allowed to teach sex ed in schools. 

The city of Vienna is also investigating the specific incident. 



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Madrid’s Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado granted World Heritage status | Culture

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Madrid’s famous Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado boulevard have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The decision, made on Sunday, brings the total number of World Heritage Sites in Spain to 49 – the third-highest in the world after Italy and China.

Up until Sunday, none of these sites were located in the Spanish capital. The Madrid region, however, was home to three: El Escorial Monastery in Alcalá de Henares, the historical center of Aranjuez and the Montejo beech forest in Montejo de la Sierra.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez celebrated the news on Twitter, saying it was a “deserved recognition of a space in the capital that enriches our historical, artistic and cultural legacy.”

Retiro Park is a green refuge of 118 hectares in the center of the city of Madrid. Paseo del Prado boulevard is another icon of the capital, featuring six museums, major fountains such as the Fuente de Cibeles as well as the famous Plaza de Cibeles square.

For the sites to be granted World Heritage status, Spain needed the support of two-thirds of the UNESCO committee – 15 votes from 21 countries. The proposal was backed by Brazil, Ethiopia, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.
Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.Víctor Sainz

Prior to the vote, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the organization that advises UNESCO, had argued against considering the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park as one site, and recommended that the latter be left out on the grounds that there were no “historic justifications” for the two to be paired.

This idea was strongly opposed by Spain’s ambassador to UNESCO, Andrés Perelló, who said: “What they are asking us to do is rip out a lung from Madrid. El Prado and El Retiro are a happy union, whose marriage is certified with a cartography more than three centuries old.” The origins of Paseo del Prado date back to 1565, while Retiro Park was first opened to the public during the Enlightenment.

Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado.
Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado. Víctor Sainz

The ICOMOS report also denounced the air pollution surrounding the site. To address these concerns, Madrid City Hall indicated it plans to reduce car traffic under its Madrid 360 initiative, which among other things is set to turn 10 kilometers of 48 streets into pedestrian areas, but is considered less ambitious than its predecessor Madrid Central.

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee took place in the Chinese city of Fuzhou and was broadcast live at Madrid’s El Prado Museum. Perelló summed up the reasons to include Retiro Park and El Paseo de Prado in less than three minutes.

“When people say ‘from Madrid to heaven’ [the slogan of the Spanish capital] I ask myself why would you want to go to heaven when heaven is already in Madrid,” he told delegates at the event, which was scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, UNESCO evaluates 25 proposals for additions to the World Heritage List. In the case of the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, the site was judged on whether it evidenced an exchange of considerable architectural influences, was a representative example of a form of construction or complex and if it was associated with traditions that are still alive today. The famous park and boulevard sought to be inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992, but its candidacy did not reach the final stage of the process.

Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).
Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).Biblioteca Nacional de España

The effort to win recognition for the sites’ outstanding universal value began again in 2014 under former Madrid mayor Ana Botella, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), and was strengthed by her successor Manuela Carmena, of the leftist Ahora Madrid party, which was later renamed Más Madrid. An advisor from UNESCO visited the site in October 2019.

English version by Melissa Kitson.



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