February 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm #129367
I know that we all have issues, but how do I address hers to her without offending her or getting her defensive? I really do want to make this work.February 25, 2017 at 12:25 pm #129383
With your ex, “It was all about my issues and not looking at her own.”- and this is how it is turning to be with your current girlfriend. It may even be a payoff on her end, seeing the problems being with you frees her from the distress of looking at the problems in her thinking and behavior, as in dealing with the anger behind her tone of voice.
Over time, this is not workable, to keep her in a relationship with you by taking 100% responsibility for what you are not fully responsible. That frees her from distress, but it adds to yours and is not sustainable.
What to do? When she tells you she suffers from low self esteem- that is an opening. Ask her questions, small, gentle questions to start with, encourage her to TALK about her low self esteem, her less-than-perfect childhood, less-than-perfect life. When she feels safe, when she feels you hear her, understand her, that will encourage her to talk more and as she talk, to be engaged in a balanced relationship were both parties need each other’s help, both have issues and both are resourceful in helping the other.
So, lay off telling her how her tone makes you feel and ask her questions, gently- over time. Withdraw from now, withdraw from looking at difficult issues with her. This is not the time. Take a break from difficult conversations and with a little time, when there is an opening ask her a question.
* When you tell her something like: your tone of voice makes me feel… You do give her valuable information, but reads to me she is not able at this time to do anything with this information. She is indeed defensive. Therefore, not the time. Establish safety first.
anitaFebruary 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm #129389
* The post didn’t record… try againMarch 6, 2017 at 8:42 am #136143
Thank you for your advice about my dating situation. I took your advice to heart. I went camping this weekend with her and we had a very nice time.
I just couldn’t shake the fact that I wanted her to be more compassionate about what I would tell her that was very personal to me.
We were having breakfast and she was asking questions about my ex and I felt that she was looking for signs or patterns that she was experiencing with me. I can understand her vetting me, but I felt I was being judged. I had to really look at the situation and see if I was being defensive or that was really how I felt. It kept coming up for me, so I am pretty sure it was her tone/delivery that didn’t feel good.
I kept telling her that her tone/delivery didn’t make me feel good. She never took responsibility for how it made me feel. Such as, “I’m really sorry that it doesn’t make you feel good, I’ll work on it”. In the end, I just think that is how she is and it’s nobody’s fault.
I brought up to her that I am not perfect and that I’m working on things as we speak, ie: not being redundant (harping) in saying things to her. I think the reason I do that is that I’m not feeling heard.
I never felt a sense of relatedness when I opened up. She would take in what I said and wouldn’t say anything afterwards. I’ve explained to her in the past that I would at least like some form of acknowledgement if she can’t give me any compassion. I also explained how it made me feel when she didn’t give me any acknowledgement.
In the end, I realized how important is me to be with someone who is very compassionate towards me and in general. I explained to her that my love language is “Words of Affirmation” and that I like to be complimented, etc. She thought that “action speaks louder then words” and I said “maybe for you, but not for me”. I’ve been talking to her about the 5 love languages and she draws a blank when I talk to her about it. It was almost like she didn’t believe me. I explained that to her, action speaks louder, so I’ve been doing so much at her house, (fixing things, getting her things she needs for her house, decorating it so her kids feel comfortable there), but she never asks me what I want. She just gets defensive when I tell her that I need words of affirmation. Yesterday I explained that I go out of my way to give her wants she wants but I don’t feel the same in return. I guess that I am bummed that she didn’t go out of her way to learn about the 5 love languages and what I need, (since I’ve said it about 10 times) and she didn’t understand it. She said she was waiting for me to give her the book.
Anyway, she says that I’ve been trying to sabotage the relationship from the very start and that we should just have the relationship fun and easy in the beginning. I totally agreed, but said that I can’t help how I feel and that I want to address my feelings ASAP, so that I can clear them up and respect how I feel. She never took responsibility for how her behavior made me feel and said it was all me and that I need to get over my ex.
I feel good about my decision. I realize that her and others (my family) feel that I sabotage relationships, and it makes me feel insecure in what I want. Actually, it really insults me! I do know what I want and I am very secure and confident with that. But, I am always checking in with myself and seeing if there is any truth to what they are saying. Meaning I am looking at myself and potential faults and I never felt that from the woman I was dating. I always felt that she would get defensive and never look at herself. Yesterday she told me, I am so hurt, I have no idea why you are doing this?!! I told her that she’s not listening to what I’m saying. Literally, I am explaining to her exactly what I need and she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t look at herself and see what’s upsetting me. I think that’s another reason I was turned off. If she went to me and said, “you know, I’m really sorry that you feel that way and I’ll really try to work on that”, I would feel a lot better. It’s exactly how I felt with my ex wife. Am I asking too much or still hooked into my past, I don’t think so. Or that I want someone to answer/behave in the exact way I want, possibly. But that’s what I want and I feel that I’m allowed to want. I just want to learn from my mistakes and be reasonable in my requests for what I want.
I sent her text this morning apologizing for breaking up with her at the end of our fun trip and that she is an amazing woman and haven’t heard back from her. I think she is very hurt and upset with me. Me, I feel I did the right thing, listening to my gut.
Anyway, thank you again for your advice as it really helps!!March 6, 2017 at 9:31 am #136159
Since you mentioned The Five Love languages, I googled it. There is a short Wikipedia entry on it and there is amazon offering the various books. “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts Paperback – January 1, 2015 by Gary Chapman (Author), starting price $4.56. These can be purchased in any major bookstore in Southern California, and there are plenty of bookstores.
Thing is, you explained to her clearly and repeatedly, that the information in the book is very important to you, that you need the type of communication explained in the book. But she didn’t bother buying it.
Instead, she stuck to the position “action speak louder than words”- but wait, ACTION would have meant BUYING the book, reading it, talking to you about what she read and practicing what she read in communication with you.
Oh, so she doesn’t walk her own talk.
And so, breaking up with her is understandable to me.
Other thoughts: “she was asking questions about my ex and I felt that she was looking for signs or patterns that she was experiencing with me”- could be she was not looking for patterns, but was motivated by something else. Some women ask a man about his exes because they feel less than other women. Just saying, unless you discussed her motivation, you are making assumptions.
You wrote: “I kept telling her that her tone/delivery didn’t make me feel good.”- there is her tone, and there is your mother’s tone projected into her tone.
But action does speak louder than words, and the fact that she had the time and opportunity to buy (or borrow from a library, or just visit a library and read and take notes), but she chose to NOT take that action, does speak louder than words, and so I support your breakup decision- especially since you did practice this principle with her, fixing and working on her house. She did not reciprocate.
anitaMarch 6, 2017 at 10:19 am #136169
Thank you for your advice.
I don’t believe that I was interpreting her tone with my mothers. My mother isn’t judgemental, But…There is a similarity. I fully explain what I want, and it isn’t heard or I should say “A sense of relatedness” and saying, “I’ll do my best since it doesn’t make you feel good.” I always ask, “what is it that you want from me since this isn’t a one way street?” She doesn’t say anything and says that she has a very hard time asking for help or what she needs. Wait, she did mention that she wants to keep things light and fun. The thing is, we are spending a lot of time together, learning about each other, and I’m spending the night at her house a lot. I don’t mean to be so intense with her (even though I am intense and passionate), but I do need to address the way I’m feeling. She says that I’m beating a dead horse and that I keep creating arguements and that it’s too much too soon. I explained that it’s the same issue, (her tone, lack of compassion, or just the lack of response to my communicating with me while I open up to her). I explained that when she asks me questions and I really open to her and she doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t make me feel good. She says that she is processing the info. I explained that she just needs to say that versus saying nothing. I even explained to her that if she said something like, “wow, that must have really felt bad, or thank you for sharing, I know that it’s a sensitive issue for you”, I would have been totally cool. I know that I’m asking for someone to answer a way that I want and that may not be realistic. The thing is, that’s what I do for her. Also, when I open up to her, she seems to think that it’s something I’m doing wrong, (a similar feel I get with my step-mom).
She also mentioned (three times now) that my behavior will stop me from having any real relationship and that I will scare away women. I do listen to that as I want to grow and be a better person/partner, but I also have to listen to my gut.
If my ex-wife would have apologized to me for not hearing me and that she would do a better job working with me, it would have diffused a lot of my insecurity that she was going to leave and my anxiety.
I didn’t feel safe opening up to this woman as I felt she would judge me. Meaning, when I did explain an argument that I had with an ex, she would bring that up and have me look at my anger. Now, I don’t want to say I’m perfect and don’t have any issues, but I never felt that she totally had my back. Similar to how I feel about my father and step-mom. But…I did have a long talk with my dad/step-mom and that did help a little bit even though I don’t expect them to change. It felt good to be heard and not be defensive, which I felt with this woman.
Now, how can i learn from this, I’m not totally sure. I want to be aware of my shortcomings (fear of a woman leaving once they know me, potential unrealistic way of someone communicating with me, anger), but I also want to listen to my gut. I will watch my own tone with someone in the future while communicating my fears, or projecting my ex-wifes’s or parents behavior.
How do I really learn from this and my past relationships?
This woman says I need to go to therapy for not getting passed my ex.March 6, 2017 at 10:47 am #136191
How you felt with this woman, your gut feelings, are strongly affected by how you felt with your parent figures as a child, as your perceptions of reality go through your previous experiences. There is no escaping this fact, at least, until enough healing is done.
But this fact does not mean that she was an adequate girlfriend. After all, it is not only your parents that were, indeed, inadequate in the ways they interacted with you- there are plenty of people, not related to you, whose interactions with others are inadequate, even heartless.
I imagine you did go on and on about things and that got too much for her. On the other hand, reads to me that she was most non-responsive to you. If you were too-much, she was too-little. Actually, reads like there was not even a “little” on her part. A “little” would have been reading a couple of pages from the book you mentioned and trying to practice one suggestion in that book.
It also reads to me that she tends to point her finger at others instead of looking into herself. And this brings me to what you can learn from this:
you know your tendency (which you have) to look into yourself. As you meet a possible intimate candidate in your life, pay attention to whether she tends to point to troubles being with others, with you specifically or does she tend to look into herself (as well as to look at others). No doubt, I am certain, that you need the second type of a woman.
Regarding your last line: “This woman says (you) need to go to therapy for not getting passed (your) ex”- this input by her irks me, because truth is, in her relationship with you, with her input, she ADDED to your reason to go to therapy.
And it would be nice if she gave you a bit of money for your first few sessions of therapy, as payment for the work you have done on her house-
This is bringing me to another thing to learn- don’t do all that work for the next woman, to make up for not spending “enough” money on her dating. You don’t need to buy her affections. Didn’t work this time, did it? Make it a win-win relationship, you need to benefit.
March 6, 2017 at 10:51 am #136195
- This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by anita.
God you are good Anita.
I will do my best to practice your suggestions. You’re right, it does need to be a win-win and not me giving too much.
Thank you for all support and advice. And…I also appreciate that you have me look at my short comings/things to work on…:)))March 6, 2017 at 11:05 am #136201
You are welcome, anytime. And yes: look at your stuff but also at others’- both. A relationship is not a one-man (or woman) show. It got to be two people involved, motivated, looking inward and outward, continuously. And this is hard work (which she was not willing to do, reads to me).
anitaApril 19, 2017 at 9:47 am #145847
I’m so bummed! I just wrote you a long message and it didn’t go through…:(
Anyway, It’s been a while. Recap for the last month, I broke up with the woman I was dating (for the reasons that we talked about before), and feel I did the right thing. I’ve also worked my butt off getting a friend/client into his new house. We had to purchase everything for it and he paid me for it. It felt really good to be busy! I had such a good month with work and now it’s all stopped and I’m feeling depressed.
My friend/client was hoping that doing his house and all his financial support would be a good push into Interior Design. After the job, I explained to him that I don’t want to be an Interior Designer and that I want to help people. I want to help people create a calm and relaxing home. He thinks it’s a good idea, but is there a market for it? I’m also working with a good friend who is a PR rep and she’s been pushing me to into the “Wellness Designer” path (which I coined) then just interior design.
Long story short, I am freaked out that this might be a pipe dream and not realistic. It’s something I know I can do, but he has a point, is there a market for this? I was doing so great, feeling good, positive while working and now I’m totally bummed out. I’m getting those negative feelings back and it scares me. Call me crazy, but I never expected (and kinda feel the same) that i would never live past 50. I don’t know what would happen, but that was just my feeling. I never think about retirement because I am just trying to put gas in my car and not go crazy in my head.
Anyway, I hope you’re doing well and love to hear any thoughts you have oh master of advice…:)April 19, 2017 at 10:50 am #145867
Glad you are back. Remember, to prevent losing a post, you can Copy it before submitting.
I like your Wellness Design idea, felt some excitement about it because it feels to me like such a good idea. Is there a market to it? There could be and LA would be the place for it, more than most other places because of how huge LA is, how urban, how crowded and because there are a lot of people with money to invest in such. Urban and crowded makes a market for country-tranquility and space, which you can create in designing homes. Ideas that come to mind: less furniture- more space. Cool colors maybe, sky-blue- more space than hot, dark colors. Water, images or an indoor fountain, the sound of water flowing, my goodness, this is exciting!
And advertising your idea- perhaps in collaboration of mental health facilities, even government departments/ social work… And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, for those who have less.
It is understandable that you feel bummed following the excitement of a busy long term task. It is difficult to adjust to no-doing after so much doing.
Makes me think it can help if you DO- maybe exercise more, make an active routine for yourself. Reign your attention in from long term thinking and focus on the moment by moment, hour by hour reality of your life. Every choice counts.
Research the market, will you?
anitaApril 20, 2017 at 7:15 am #145969
So great to hear from you!
Thank you for the great advice. After getting your message, I instantly felt better and more relaxed. I thought I might have been slipping into my old darkness. 😉 . Yes, one moment at a time and stop thinking so deeply. It’s helped me already since your message! I’m doing a rigorous work out in the morning (just started two weeks ago) and it’s really helped!
I’m so happy that you really like my business plan. I’m working with this PR gal (she’s not charging me since I did her house and we are college friends), and I’m really excited about launching. We should be launching in the next three weeks. She has come up with a great story and will be pitching it to some editors of magazines that she knows, (fingers crossed). Things seem to be going well and I feel it’s a matter of learning how to use coping mechanism when things get rough. At least that’s what I’m thinking.
I appreciate all your advice more than you know!
Keep you posted!!April 20, 2017 at 7:56 am #145977
You are welcome and do keep me posted.
I am still excited about your idea and have more thoughts: people, I am sure, often decorate their homes according to magazines and exhibits in furniture stores. What if you can introduce to some the idea that personal expression is more valuable then the conventional thinking, the marketed messages. Not only personal expression but what is calming to the person individually. For one it may be flowers, for another the ocean, and yet, for another, a forest theme. There is probably going to be an initial interview or session where those things will be discussed, questions you will be prepared with.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful if people will decorate their homes to fit their authentic needs for well being instead of being led by marketing and shoulds?
Here I am being carried away with your idea. Makes me think, if it gets me excited, I am sure, there will be others who will be excited. Don’t give up following initial discouragements and “can’t do” and “it won’t work” attitudes: keep flexible, adjust your plan as you proceed, keep flexible but tenacious.
April 20, 2017 at 8:09 am #145985
- This reply was modified 3 days, 4 hours ago by anita.
I’m so happy that you like my new business…:) I think it can really be a game changer. I use to do feng shui consultations and that was awesome. There were some aspects that I really didn’t care for, but very practical and cool things that were life changing. I have a questionare that I have clients fill out before we meet. The difference between what I’m doing and interior design is that people WANT this service because they want calmness and relaxation. It’s a different attitude…:)
My friend/client wanted me to interior design and it’s just not my thing. I love the creative process, but that’s only 15% of the job, the rest is admin believe it or not. I’m not sure what you mean by being flexible though. I want to stay focused on what I want to do and not be veered away from my goal of helping people create this kind of environment. How do I stay flexible?
And yes, that’s part of my goal. Each person has a different vision of what is authentic and relaxing and I will cater to that.
You know exactly what I’m doing and I’m glad that you are excited about it. So am I!…:))April 20, 2017 at 8:19 am #145991
By being flexible I didn’t mean compromising your authenticity and passion, not at all. I meant to be flexible regarding implementing the many, many details involved in a business plan, the multiple small details of implementation, not the principles, the spirit of it, the passion.