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Why I Am Becoming an Ass

By Ox Drover

Many of you know that I have a background and interest in animal behavior, and that I look at the way animals behave and apply what I see to my own life.

I have two mammoth (horse-sized) donkeys (correctly called asses) named Fat and Hairy that I frequently talk about on the blog. Someone called them the Lovefraud mascots, because I talk about them so frequently.

I’ve ridden and owned various horses over the years and they are loveable creatures, but really not very bright. They will trust their safety to you without question once they are trained and will do what you tell them to, usually without protest, even if it gets them into a situation where they will be injured or killed. If they sense danger from a sudden loud noise or something else, they will frequently panic, and in their own panic and efforts to flee the supposed danger, they will injure themselves or run blindly directly into the danger.

Asses, on the other hand are quite bright and will never trust their safety to anyone except themselves. Because of this tendency to refuse to budge toward something they don’t personally think is safe, asses have become labeled “stubborn” and “hard headed” and “balky” and “uncooperative.” In fact, it is not the case at all! They are just very very self-protective and cautious. They will never trust their safety to someone they aren’t sure puts their safety as high a priority as they do.

In the wild, or even with some tame horses, if there is danger, a horse will just take off in all directions at once, but if an ass senses danger, he will assess the situation before he does anything. He will decide for himself to flee or fight, and if he decides to flee, he will make sure he is going in the direction away from the danger. Not so the horse.

Asses never panic. They put their own safety as the top priority and they know that panic puts them at a decided disadvantage in taking care of themselves, over having a cool head in a crisis. While a horse will run blindly in panic and fear, the ass will stop some distance away from the perceived threat and turn around to observe if it is necessary to keep on running.

Asses are not cowards and sometimes they feel it is necessary to fight to maintain their safety.They are quite capable fighters, using their teeth and all four feet as formidable weapons. Because of this tendency, they are frequently used as guardian animals for sheep, goats and other prey-type livestock. They will not allow a strange animal in their territory. I even have photos of a mule killing a cougar. (Mules are half-horse, half-ass hybrids, but have more ass characteristics than horse characteristics. They are quite bright and also take their own safety into their own hoofs.)

Even though both asses and their mule offspring have reputations for being stubborn and difficult to deal with, I see their intense consciousness for their own safety and wellbeing as a positive characteristic that we should all emulate.

A while back I was riding Fat Ass on a trail ride and we came around a bend and he saw something new to him and stopped to examine it before proceeding. It was a bright shiny new white fence, in contrast to the barbed wire fences he was familiar with. He observed and sniffed this fence from a safe distance until he decided it was harmless and then proceeded. If I had tried to force him to proceed before he was ready to proceed, he would never have gone. His attention would have been diverted from examining the potential danger to resisting my forcing him. I could have beaten him with an iron rod and he would never have moved. A horse, on the other hand would have said., in essence, “Okay, if you think it is safe and you are going to hit me, I will go on.” Not an ass. They have minds of their own and their own safety is uppermost in their minds, as it should be in ours.

Like a horse, I have left my own safety in the hands of others. I have let them force me into places that were not safe, because of the punishment they inflicted on me if I did not do their will. Instead of keeping my own safety uppermost in my mind, I allowed others to “rein me in” and “spur me on” into unknown dangers. I abdicated my own good sense and let someone else take over the reins.

When I panicked, when I finally did see the danger that I had allowed someone else to lead me into, I “rode off in all directions at once” like a panicked horse, running blindly, sometimes right into the danger itself. I fled sometimes when I should have stood and fought, and fought sometimes when I should have fled, because in my panic I didn’t take time to assess the situation and come to a reasonable decision about what I should do.

When I was injured, I concentrated on the injury itself, rather than taking myself out of danger of further injury as an ass would have done. I begged my abusers to stop beating me. I gave in to their demands that I do something I wasn’t sure about.

If a horse has been injured or mistreated, it may remain in a hyper-vigilant state of high stress and never be able to relax. It may become nervous and anxious all the time if it has been hurt or stalked. After my injuries by the psychopaths, I became the nervous horse, seeing danger behind every tree. Living in stressful terror and “waiting for the other shoe to fall.”

The ass however, does not live in a hyper-vigilant state. The ass is continually alert for danger, but not anxious. He doesn’t blow and snort and dance the way an anxious or nervous horse does. He has confidence in the best protector of his safety, himself.

Yea, I’m working on becoming an A.S.S.—-Assertive Survivor of a Sociopath!



133 Comments on "Why I Am Becoming an Ass"

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  1. learnthelesson says:

    Skippy…

    “I doubt that I would have ever been motivated enough to make the very focused and profound changes in the way I think about myself and treat myself that I have in the last couple of years if this hadn’t happened.”

    The good from something bad.. the one and only reason I am thankful for the experience. It didnt almost destroy me…it helped to recreate myself and allow me to love myself first and foremost.

  2. sabrina says:

    Dear Matt-
    I’ve related to so many of your well spoken posts, even before I ever began posting. Thank you for all your contributions, legal advice, and “on the money” comments you’ve given to all of us. You are making progress.

    Its becoming more of a habit to NOT discuss your x. Guarding our thoughts and protecting our spirit against them is alittle trickier, but as you are doing, we should celebrate all the mile stones!

    I’m glad this guy made you feel comfortable, maybe he can be helpful in networking as well. Having normal conversations when you feel no condemnation/judgement or need to explain your “side” of the break up is a breath of fresh air.
    Smear campaigns are damaging, but hopefully soon people forget, start to see the truth, or just plain don’t care anymore.

    As they say, time heals all wounds. My question is exactly how much time are we talking here? lol

    LTL- You said …I never learned to love myself. So true for most of us! I identified with your blog deeply as well.I’m thankful we have finally begun the much needed positive changes. Thank you for sharing with us.

  3. learnthelesson says:

    Sabrina -

    “As they say, time heals all wounds. My question is exactly how much time are we talking here?”

    Our own personal growing, learning, healing journey… a lifetime! ( I hope for all of us…

    The pain of the past…its up to each one of us and our willingness to heal ourselves when the time is right in our lives! xo

  4. blueskies says:

    I havent posted for a while – I fell completely off the NC wagon and feel back to square one, I am so furious with myself… and what I have done…

    This is probably totally off topic…but I was reading some of the older posts and I noticed the convo about going to Sedona to heal – It chilled my bones – My SP lives just outside of Sedona; I am really into nature and beauty and sunsets – an artist and amature photographer…when he was wooing me he always told me it was the kind of beautiful place I ‘belonged’ Wow! Me? I belonged in a beautiful spiritual, healing place! Finally! So I was planning away happily to move to another country (with heavy, heavy daily encouragementl; weddings, babies,building a home, designing a garden – discussions about how long it would take logistically, what would I do with my house here in england…my furniture…not to make any other plans…blah-di-blah-blah I was sooooo stupid.And in the aftermath , he turned round and told me I had been premature in my planning…eh?what?), with my son, for this dream of a future husband in this dream of a place that would be my home – and it really is the most beautiful calm spiritual place I have ever been to… I fell in love with him, his children(as did the new one – he is very good at the father just trying to do the best for his kids routine that women seem to fall so easily for) , and his environment, the whole beautiful package (I hope that doesnt sound shallow, wherever he was I would still have been hooked on him, there was initially talk of him coming to live with me)… he built me castles in the soft warm AZ air… sigh…so, anyway… if you DO go to beautiful Sedona, and happen to bump into a very charming english man. RUN !!

    I am very low about it all today. Having contact again meant I totally gave up all my shit to him again, made a complete fool of myself and gave him lots to laugh about, gave him the oppourunity to hurt me with tales of things the new one and he and the kids have been doing together, what a nice person she is, and worst of all got really angry and behaved just like the crazy lady he tells everyone I am, he uses me now in his pity -plays as the crazy lady who abused him so badly like he used his e-wife with me!:( I have also eposed myself to him again in a way he could use to hurt me. I am worried sick.

    I have pretty good relationships with all my other old bf’s, and have never got wound up like this…

    Its all so screwed up.

  5. LOSTinAZ says:

    BlueSkies….Have you ever been to Sedona in July? Were NOT talking “soft warm AZ air”! Just warm your oven to about 250 and you’ll be able to relate!

    Who says you can’t come to Sedona, by yourself? If thats what you want to do, why not? Who says you need a stinking man to do it? Sounds like you got away in time.

    Just remember you ARE a REAL person. Real People have REAL feelings. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You obviously stood up for yourself. Whats wrong with that? My mom always told me, “When somebody calls you a Bitch, say Thank-You!”

  6. OxDrover says:

    Dear Blueskies,

    Welcome back, but so sorry that you feel the pain again!

    Yep, “castles in the air” is what they provide us, it is all they can provide us because THEY can’t build anything out of brick and stone, just HOT AIR!

    The best “healing place” is inside our hearts, and we will WILL get there, stay on the road to healing, sometimes it is bumpy and sometimes there are pot holes that we fall in, but stay STAY on the road, and don’t ever listen to anyone or anything that calls to you out of the FOG! ((((hugs)))))

  7. Jen2008 says:

    Learnthelesson said: “I had/have alot to learn about me. It was easier to focus on him, his flaws our story….…I was in the relationship too…I have faults, weaknesses, dysfunction — I cant fix his — but I CAN FIX MINE if I chose to! And I do.
    My life is mine. His life is his….. I lost money and a bad man who will continue to make a lifetime of bad choices !! Anyone who wants him can have him.”

    I sooooo identify with what you wrote. Although I think it is probably pretty much the norm to obsess over him when you first get out of the relationship, it is when you get to the point of concentrating on yourself and repairing the damage to you and figuring out what makes you tick, what makes you happy, that I think I began to make progress. And yeah, I am sooo glad to not have that nutcase in my life anymore. And yeah, anybody else who wants him is welcome to him. All I can say is they have my sympathies because I know they are going to shortly be going thru hell themselves.

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