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June 1, 2023 at 1:14 am #419530
I always understood relationships are hard work and never perfect.
Did you get that from your own parents and their marriage? Have they preserved their marriage in spite of difficulties?
If I didn’t stick around when my partner treated me bad nothing would’ve changed. I honestly believe it would’ve been another example of me not loving or caring to her. I think if I was the one to not stick around and move on id be regretting it now, I needed to see it through especially after my other break ups I didn’t really fight or see things through at first. … I wanted to show my ex that I will always be there.
I see. You partly sabotaged your previous relationships by smoking and not being present. And then after the girl broke up with you, you tried to repair things, but it never worked out. So with this girl, you perhaps made a vow to yourself that you won’t mess up this time, that you’ll do the best you can and will not be the cause of breakup?
I get in my head that she didn’t actually mean it. She always spoke about how she feels like she just does things and she cant control it, I think all the conflicted thoughts she had makes it harder for me to let go of the attachment. It wasn’t like she said ‘I love someone else’ or anything. There was always a follow up apology followed by a connection and I think that is still what I am hoping for and I am trying to accept that I may not get that ontop of it not being healthy at the moment.
I hear you. That’s the hardest when the person seems to mean well, but they can’t “control themselves”, something is “stronger than them”, and they seem to be the victim of forces beyond them. That’s why you see her as the victim and you have empathy for her. And you also hope that as the victim, some day she will be free from those “forces”.
But there are 2 problems with that. One is that she actually could have done a number of things about her moods, but she chose not to. I mean, she saw she was getting worse without medication, but she decided to cut it down on her own and just keep doing it, hoping that some day, she’d magically get over it. So she wasn’t a complete victim in this – she chose a path which made her feel worse, and made your relationship worse too, but she kept doing it.
And second, even more important: abuse is abuse. Even if she suffered trauma in the past, her behavior is abusive, and you don’t need to tolerate it. To give an extreme example: most perpetrators of violent crimes were abused themselves as children. However, that doesn’t condone their actions. Abuse is abuse, regardless of what caused it.
There was always a follow up apology followed by a connection
What I’ve heard from you is that after each argument she would break up, and then either of you would reach out, and then I guess she was a bit apologetic, and you too were determined not to upset her again. So you modified her behavior and adapted to her more and more. But her behavior didn’t get better. She hasn’t modified anything, right?
And also, your relationship followed the typical cycle of abuse (as your therapist told you): you reconcile, things are a bit better for a while, but then shortly after that it starts deteriorating again, which ends up in new abuse. It’s a never-ending cycle.
I remember asking myself am I really a shit boyfriend? I was so conflicted in thought and wasn’t sure if it was abuse or I was overthinking.
Yes, if you suffer from self-esteem issues, then her criticism would be enough to cause you to question yourself and believe that it is your fault.
I knew I was being distant and I was kicking myself a bit for that. It was very hard for me to process at the time.
You naturally withdrew when she would attack and accuse you – that’s a natural self-protection mechanism. But then you blamed yourself for that, telling yourself you’re not a good boyfriend.
But I knew something was up during our last argument. She just seemed so critical of me and everything I did. I am really struggling not too reach out to her at the moment.
You see the train of thoughts here? First thought: She seemed so critical of me. And the next thought: I am really struggling not to reach out.
It’s like you can’t bear the thought of her being critical of you. You can’t bear that she thinks badly of you. You need to reach out and try to prove the opposite. That’s the wounded inner child in action. He needs to prove he is worthy, so he needs to reach out.
I think I could be attracted to the protector role. All my relationships have had similarities when it comes my exes criticism of me. My exes all brought up gaming, smoking and affection. I wouldn’t say I feel unworthy if my partner isn’t pleased with me but I do feel like I failed to some degree.
Okay, so you feel like a failure. That’s similar. It’s feeling not good enough. So when your partner is critical of you, you feel not good enough. And by pleasing your partner and going back for more, you are trying to prove that you are good enough. That you are a good person. Because deep down, you believe you’re not.
When we believe that we’re not good enough, we believe there’s something deeply wrong with us, that we are inherently faulty. And that’s when we tend to self-medicate with addictions, daydreaming etc. Because the pain of believing that “there is something terribly wrong with me” is unbearable.
However I don’t think my first 2 partners were impossible to please, I do think it just wasn’t the right time for me and I wasn’t sure if it was actually what I wanted.
Okay, you weren’t that attracted to them. I’d dare say your inner child didn’t get so attached to them as he did with your most recent ex.
This time I knew what I wanted and thats why I fought so hard. I would say my most recent ex was basically impossible to please and it was so disheartening and it still is.
Yes, so just allow that to sink in: she was impossible to please. Even if you (your inner child) want to try again, be aware of the fact that it’s like hitting your head against the wall: it won’t bend. You will get the same results over and over again.
I hate saying this but I do feel like I’m attracted to ‘damaged goods’ of some sorts. I wanted to help my ex through all her issues so when she came out the other side she would see I am still there despite all the crap we went through. I’ll admit I wanted to be the one to help so she could look back and see how I was always there and in turn be able to love me even more.
This is key: you’re attracted to fragile and sensitive girls, because you believe that by helping them you will prove that you are good enough and that you deserve their love. You will prove that you are worthy of love. That you are lovable.
Do you resonate with this?
I wanted that unbreakable bond and I genuinely thought going through stuff like this would create that. But maybe that’s just what creates toxic relationships and not real love.
You wanted the unbreakable bond, however an even deeper longing of yours (which stems from a wound) is to prove that you are good enough and lovable. That’s why it is unhealthy. Because it stems from a wound, not from a healthy motivation to stick with your partner through thick and thin.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s totally okay and commendable to stick with your partner through tough times. However, if the partner is not right for you – if you picked her due to your unmet emotional needs – that’s not a healthy constellation to begin with. Sticking with someone who is not right for you and who is abusing you is not a proof of anything. It’s not a proof of your character.
I really enjoy having a partner and building a relationship with someone. I am quick to get that destined and attached feeling, this time it was like no other I’ve ever had and it was a great feeling at first.
Right. I think you crave being in a relationship because you want to prove that you are good enough and lovable. I think that’s your main motivation. You get attached quickly because it’s a craving, it’s like a magnet. It pulls us to the person, if we feel they might be the person to finally give us what we long for. And it can feel like destiny. It’s like “finally, I will get what I am longing for. Finally, I will be fulfilled!”
I think I chase that feeling sometimes. Going back to that rollercoaster of emotions, I think I do enjoy the highs and lows of a relationship because I do feel quite steady and dull when I’m alone.
I think your inner child becomes hopeful when you are in a relationship. He wants to feel loved and is “high” on that feeling, while it lasts. I don’t think you crave for the lows, but you take it as a side-effect of chasing the highs. You can’t avoid it. But I think it’s the highs what you’re after: the moments when you feel loved and lovable.
Its weird though because now I am alone I feel like I am in a better routine and more motivated when I actually think about it. I am working out, cleaning, cooking, walking the dog doing all these things until 7pm or so. I am actually smoking less at the moment compared to when we were together the last couple weeks.
This is good! You are taking care of yourself and your needs. Even if you’re thinking about her a lot and have an urge to reach out, you’re not completely overwhelmed by the feeling and you don’t have such a huge need to self-medicate. You can stay present with both your rational self and your emotions, and sort of keep a distance. That’s progress, Adam.
When we were together I was less motivated to do these things like work out, cut down smoking etc. and I think it was because I wasn’t getting my own time. Instead I would game and smoke until 7pm then go see her a lot of the time, neglecting my house duties. However towards the end I would make excuses as to what I was actually doing and why I couldn’t come over. I was scared of telling her the truth and afraid of being abused for it.
Right. I think that’s because the relationship was in the “lows”. You didn’t get anything positive from her, and so you needed to self-soothe with smoking and gaming. And you didn’t even want to meet her because you knew she would criticize you. So you tried to find excuses why you can’t go. It’s pretty clear: you wanted to escape the lows and you wanted to stay home and self-medicate.
I was going to ask for some help if she does ever reach out. I have heard that its good to plan a message. My psych told me to say something a long the lines of “as much as I want a connection right now we both know what we need to do”. However I feel like we had this discussion last time and we eventually met up and then rekindled disregarding what we both needed to do. I’m torn between wanting to reach out to her, her reaching out to me and also the possibility of her not ever reaching out. I am trying my best to stay rational about all of this.
Good that you’re trying to stay rational and not follow your urges. I hope that as we’re slowly unpacking this dynamic, you’ll find it easier to stay present with your feelings and not escape into any extremes (reaching out as one extreme, or self-medicating as the other).
If she reaches out, you can say something similar to what your therapist suggested. However, I would keep it in the first person: “As much as I want a connection right now, I know I have to first work on myself and do some healing, before being ready again for a relationship”. I’d keep it in the first person and wouldn’t make any assumptions about her and what she needs to do. Just speak for yourself.
How can this all be fixed? I do resonate with parts of it.
If your core wound is not feeling good enough and believing that there is something fundamentally wrong with you, you’d need to heal that wound. Inner child work is a great way to heal.
But first you’d need to figure out what the core wound is, only then can you start healing. I am trying to unpack things and help you get to the core problem. Let me know if what I said today makes sense.May 31, 2023 at 11:04 am #419521
you are very welcome!
Thank you for the insight. I’ve just read up on covert narcissism and he does fit the traits. I had always assumed narcissist were charismatic and obviously manipulative. I can see that covert narcissists are different to what we typically think a narcissist is.
Yes, covert narcissists are much more difficult to spot because they are not outwardly bragging and full of themselves. On the contrary, they are more introverted and even may seem fragile and insecure.
There is a very good youtube video on covert narcissists, titled “The mind of a covert narcissist: What to look for“, by Barbara Heffernan. She is describing a lot of the features that your ex also had: introverted, seemingly low self-esteem, the “poor me” stance etc.
You asked if I was scared of physical abuse. I wasn’t scared of this, I was very scared of emotional abuse and him being cold to me. He would hide his emotions so I was afraid of what he could be like if angered but never actually saw him angry.
Oh I see. You were scared of “offending” him and driving him away, if you complained about his behavior or about anything that disturbed you about him. You were scared to criticize him, right? Because he might get offended and leave?
I feel anger sometimes but mostly I’m in disbelief. I’d say I can’t believe that it came so out of the blue but at the same time, it doesn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is leaving me when I was still poorly and needing hospital treatment after miscarriage complications. That was a level of low I could not have predicted.
Right… because it was probably the lowest thing he’s ever done to you. At the time you were still “under his spell”, still hoping that he would come around some day and start loving you properly. That’s why you were willing to forgive him, once he returned from Thailand and said those sweet things. But now in retrospect, you see how low his behavior actually was, and how selfish he was. Now it all clicks into place, I guess.
And yeah, it does leave a normal person in disbelief. Like, how could someone do such a thing? But a narcissist unfortunately can, since they have no empathy whatsoever.
I am bitter because I know he doesn’t suffer. Everyone else suffers instead. He rips through peoples lives like a natural disaster. I am trying to work on letting this go but the unfairness of it gets to me.
Right. I get that you are bitter, because it’s like innocent people get hurt. You are this innocent person who got hurt. You showed compassion and understanding for someone who had no compassion and understanding for you. It hurts. But I think the best revenge is to get back on your feet, get your life back in order, and rise above him. And never allow to be fooled like that again.
I will be having therapy next week so will start to feel the anger, like you say.
Good, you do that!
I don’t have any social media so it’s difficult for him to contact me. I don’t think he will be back for his narcissistic supply though anyway. He used to put me down in so many ways .. my job, the house I own, the way I live my life.. so if you say he put me down because he was envious or he felt I was “better” than him, he probably won’t get an ego boost from me now.
Sorry, didn’t understand this: do you mean he wouldn’t get an ego boost from you because you wouldn’t let him, or because you don’t feel good about yourself at the moment, so he wouldn’t be motivated to put you down? You did say you redecorated your house and found a great new job, so I guess he would have something to be envious about.
I just long for the day where I can look back at all this and think “wow, he was terrible. I can’t believe I was actually upset over that”
Well, he really was terrible. And what you’ve been through is not a small thing. He was a master manipulator and you fell for it. But I guess one of the lessons is not to justify the abuse. Not to seek excuses. I don’t care what his childhood trauma is – if he is cheating on you, that’s abuse and is inexcusable. So in that sense, have less compassion for the abuser and more compassion for yourself.May 31, 2023 at 9:55 am #419517
I kinda already have a new cat (Even though it’s not mine)
she’s a feral cat. So not easy to handle. She almost looks like a tiny cute cheetah.
🙂 How are you getting along with her? Does she allow to be cuddled?
But I mean like someone to share that grief with?
Yes, it’s good to have someone to share difficult moments with, not to be alone with our grief. But having a partner just so they can console us in hard times would be a bit unfair to them. I mean, the goal would be to have a full spectrum of emotional intimacy, in both good and bad times. That’s the point of a healthy relationship.
Talking about her, we met yesterday and she asked me that if it’s okay If we still be in physical things. And I’m thinking about saying yes. Because maybe ignoring my physical needs isn’t letting me properly focus on more important day to day things?
Hmmm… I thought she was smarter than that. Instead of learning to be on her own for a while, she offered you a friends-with-benefits arrangement. That’s hurtful, specially for women, because they usually get more attached than men. And in the case of you two, we know that she is much more attached to you than you to her. So I think she is putting herself in a situation which she will regret.
Because maybe ignoring my physical needs isn’t letting me properly focus on more important day to day things?
Well, I personally don’t view sex in the same rank of physical needs as eating, drinking or getting enough sleep. It’s not a part of self-care. So I don’t think it will help you be more productive, if that’s what you meant. But you know yourself best – have you noticed that sex makes you more productive at work?
Yes I agree with you, But nowadays I feel anxious and scared like lot of What Ifs, What if it this happens and what if this goes wrong which is depleting my energy and self-esteem
You feel that anxiety in social situations or with work-related tasks?
Well you do have a point there but we can’t point out that single thing for her emotional support can we? Because she and my grandma lifted me up when I was feeling down time to time.
I am happy if they did show emotional support in some situations. But your mother, if I understood well, was your father’s enabler. She enabled him to criticize you and verbally abuse you without intervening. She basically told you to endure it and to be “mature” about it. She failed to protect you. That’s a big omission. And it’s not something that happened once or twice, but consistently. The whole situation was so unbearable that you left home at the age of 16. Those are no small things…
Yes that’s right that’s how it was in my childhood, For example my father gave me the very expensive bike because I ranked first in my primary school.
Okay, so you felt your father was kind and “loving” to you only if you performed well at school? You felt that when he praised you, he expected no less than top performance from you? You had to be No1, or else he wouldn’t be pleased? (I am just trying to understand what you said earlier that you felt that people are insincere when they praise you and that they want something in return. So perhaps this behavior doesn’t come from your mother, but from your father?)
I’m just starting to be more open about compliments. Before I wouldn’t even give an attention to it. Now I think it would be better for my self-esteem. Because it has more “Evidence” to backup. Because inner critic is super rational and have more negative perception and I think providing evidence would help.
It’s good that you’re more open to compliments. Because if the inner critic is strong, it will disregard even the strongest evidence. That happens in the impostor syndrome. But if you silence the inner critic a bit and allow yourself to receive praise, without immediately dismissing it, that’s a good start.
Also I had a session with my therapist. She said I’m doing good so far.
Yay, happy to hear that! 🙂
She even told me that I don’t listen to my inner critic that much like before, Which is impressive she said that lot of the people she worked with it took lot of time but I’m doing well in shorter time span. She also said how much things I’m doing on my own (Also with your help So thanks)
You are very welcome!
Allow yourself to receive that praise from your therapist and accept that you’re actually doing good and having results pretty quickly. So don’t dismiss it as false praise, but allow yourself to be satisfied with yourself.
She asked me lot of questions about my current situation and how I feel. And said that my inner child wants to live in slower pace, but my fierce need to get things done doesn’t letting it happen. That’s why I feel restless. And like that I have many two-faced tendencies like that I need to work on.
Right. So the drill sergeant is still active, still pushing you to do more and faster. Try to notice it and then stop yourself, i.e. invite the good general (forgot his name, sorry) to come to your rescue and send the drill sergeant away.May 31, 2023 at 8:42 am #419516
Your right I shouldn’t be excusing her behavior and trying to rationalize why she mistreated me.
I am glad you’re realizing that!
I did set the example that no matter how she treated me I would stick around and be available.
It almost sounds like a vow. Are you aware of how this “vow” came to be? What do you think would happen if you wouldn’t stick around when your partner treats you badly?
I get frustrated with myself if my partner says they are displeased.
What are you telling yourself in those moments? Or rather, what is your inner critic telling you about yourself in those moments?
I noticed none of my exes really wanted to admit fault or own up to their own feelings. It’s like I was meant to be a protector for them all. Yet once that role would slightly shift I was too blame. Thats what this past relationship felt like, as well as the one before just less extreme.
It seems you were/are attracted to girls with mental health problems (you said all of them suffered from anxiety or were prescribed medications). I would expect that such people are usually more demanding to be around, more sensitive, more fragile. So you are probably attracted to the protector role a bit.
Protector (and care-taker) is focused on the other person’s needs and feelings. They try to meet the other person’s needs and please them, because that gives them the sense that they are useful and worthy. So the protector’s sense of worth is tied to pleasing the other person.
It seems to me that in relationships, you get caught in the dynamic of being the protector and trying to please your partner (by taking care of their needs), in order to feel loved and appreciated. In order to feel worthy. If your partner is not pleased with you, you feel you’ve failed and you’re not worthy. Would you agree with this?
If so, your partner’s criticism triggers your sense of unworthiness. If they are pleased with you, you feel worthy.
The “curse” of this dynamic is that you are attracted to girls who are very needy and presumably quite critical too. So if you want to please them, you need to take extra precautions, you need to diminish yourself and your own needs, and you need to walk on eggshells.
I’d dare say that your girlfriends are impossible to please! You are doing your best, but it’s simply mission impossible. (I remember you said your last ex was angry with you “just because”, even though you stopped “provoking” her with questions about job and therapy, and did everything as she pleased).
So perhaps the summary can be: you’re attracted to girls who are impossible to please. You desperately want to please them because that’s how you would prove your worth. But since it is mission impossible, you always end up miserable and hurt.
Do you resonate with this explanation?
After my other break ups I ended up in another relationship quite quickly, lets say a few months later. Do you think this has any significance? I honestly do enjoy being in a relationship and I think I do look for them in a way. I much prefer exclusivity as I am a jealous person too. My psych told me I should leave a longer period to get to know some first before jumping in a relationship.
Yes, I think it is significant that you can’t be alone for too long. You said you don’t know what to do with yourself, you feel bored, unmotivated, you start self-medicating. You can’t function properly on your own.
It seems like you’re running away from yourself and seek solace in relationships. And if I am right in my assumptions, what you seek primarily is the sense of worth. You need a relationship to prove your own worth.
This can all be fixed, don’t worry. But let me know if you resonate with this explanation?May 30, 2023 at 10:06 am #419500
It is a selfish attitude but I also can’t blame her for being selfish. I do believe she had her and maybe even our best interest in mind. Part of me thinks she knew I was unhappy and she could see that I wasn’t going to leave but I would always fight. But you’re right her attitude was selfish and she wasn’t very thoughtful of how I would feel. Imagine I told her ‘you treat me like shit’ that would really hurt her and I think she knew what she said hurt me at times. I honestly think she purposefully said some things and left because she knew it would hurt me and get me to fight. She always went to the extreme to get that reaction from me though. Yes the last week I really felt so lost in the relationship but I knew I would find myself again and things would be good between us. A rough patch is what I thought it was, however it occurred quite a bit and it was all instigated by her not feeling wanted or loved. I always felt happy and loved until she left. I think that’s why I felt so alone, because she already left me before she broke up with me. She said herself that she took it out on me and processed the whole break up before it happened. I do have a deep desire to please people especially partners once they mention they are unhappy.
I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but this entire paragraph is so-called rationalization: you’re rationalizing why she was abusive to you.
One of those rationalizing thoughts is that when she abused you, she had your best interest in mind: “I do believe she had her and maybe even our best interest in mind“. That she hurt you so you would leave, because she knew you would never leave on your own (Part of me thinks she knew I was unhappy and she could see that I wasn’t going to leave but I would always fight.) Which by the way isn’t true because you never left, even if she hurt you badly. It was always her who broke up with you. So she knew that no matter what she says and how badly she hurts you, you’d stick around.
Next, you are rationalizing that she said hurtful things and left, so you would finally start fighting for her (I honestly think she purposefully said some things and left because she knew it would hurt me and get me to fight.) Well, she didn’t need to get you to fight – you were always fighting for her. What her intention for leaving might have been is to manipulate you into submission. Because each time you reconciled, you became less and less demanding and more and more tolerant of her moods. You stopped complaining or demanding anything.
Yes the last week I really felt so lost in the relationship but I knew I would find myself again and things would be good between us. A rough patch is what I thought it was, however it occurred quite a bit and it was all instigated by her not feeling wanted or loved. I always felt happy and loved until she left
The above is self-gaslighting. You forgot about the 29 “grievances” that you expressed here (and you said it’s not even half of it all), where you explained how miserable you felt. According to those 29 grievances, you didn’t feel happy and loved at all. Towards the end you felt like a shell, you felt like her punching bag.
But you have a rationalization for that too: she used you as her punching bag because she already decided to break up before she told you, so she wasn’t holding back: I think that’s why I felt so alone, because she already left me before she broke up with me. She said herself that she took it out on me and processed the whole break up before it happened.
In short: whatever abuse she did, no matter how selfish and rude she was to you, you found a rationalization and an excuse for it. So that in your mind, she could remain a loving girlfriend, who has your best interest in mind.
This is how your emotional mind (your wounded inner child) overwrites what actually happened and comes up with a retouched narrative. So that you can keep hoping…
I do have a deep desire to please people especially partners once they mention they are unhappy.
It seems you cannot bear if the woman you love is displeased with you. You’d do anything to make her happy, even if it’s to your own detriment.
I do want to get that validation and love from her it sucks…
This is related to the above: You would do anything to get validation from your partner, and you cannot stand if she is displeased with you.
The first relationship was when I got out of prison.
Sorry, I didn’t get it: was she your first girlfriend after you got out of prison?
Honestly I think it could have to do with just being my first real relationship. Also I felt bad about how it ended after all those months. I find her very attractive to this day, more so than other exes. So maybe the attachment is there because of my attraction to her as well.
Possibly, physical attraction plays a role too.
I wouldn’t say I’m unloveable or not worthy. I know deep down I am a steal and most girls would be very lucky to have me, I say that humbly. I just know I can support, love and bring joy to people especially a partner.
That’s the rational part speaking. Rationally you know you are a good partner. But when she accused you of being selfish, you readily believed her. You believed it was your fault that she isn’t happy with you, and that she doesn’t find joy in the relationship.
So again the discrepancy: in theory you know you’re a good person, but in practice, when in the relationship, you totally forget it. Probably that’s when your wounded inner child takes over, and you feel inadequate and try everything in your power to prove how good of a partner you are.
I am trying to be a good parent to my inner child, only I am getting caught in the bad habits. I unblocked her the other day to look at her profiles etc. I also did a detour past her house the other day as she lives around the corner. Again it’s like I’m looking for a reason to move on.
When you engage in those behaviors, you are not being a good parent to your inner child, but your inner child is actually running the show. Because your inner child pulls you to obsess about her, to hope, to ruminate, to want to go back…
It does feel as though my rational side is being taken over by my emotional side a lot of the time. So my emotional side is my inner child basically?
Yes. I mean, not all of our emotions stem from our inner child. But if we have very strong emotions, which are more like obsession, infatuation, behaving irrationally and often to our own detriment – that’s coming from the wounded inner child.
I have been telling myself everyday I actually need to move on and forget. I’ve been almost angry at myself for allowing myself to be fooled again as well as disrespected. Maybe I should be kinder and just accept that it happened and take it easier rather than shouting at myself. It’s like I’m trying to be my own rational thought and force the idea of moving on and letting go. Maybe I’m going about it wrong?
Well, maybe you are trying to tell yourself that you should move on, but it doesn’t really have much weight. Since the emotional pull is stronger. But you’re right, trying to force yourself to cut off your emotions isn’t helpful either.
What I think might help at this point is to observe yourself: observe both your rational thoughts, where you know she was abusive and that the relationship was toxic and that it would be best to let go. Then also observe the obsessive side, which is stalking her on social media, driving past her house, and hoping to rekindle the relationship.
Be aware of those two sides. Keep a mental distance from both of those sides. Don’t identify with either of them. And don’t judge either of them. And see if anything changes.
I am just so caught up on this feeling. I’m so stuck in the idea that this is what the universe really wanted as well as both of us. I’ve heard the saying ‘if it will be then it will be’ and I genuinely think it will be for some reason, it’s that destined feeling. I can’t help but think we will reconnect and I don’t want that feeling.
You know, if something is really destined, then it will happen, without you pushing. I heard a good metaphor once: it’s like you toss everything in the air, and if it’s destined, it will come back to you. You toss the relationship in the air – you let go of it – and if it’s destined, it will come back.
Which means that letting go is the first step, even if it’s destined.May 30, 2023 at 7:41 am #419491
His behavior was definitely abusive. First, the threat of physical violence, which was maybe never explicitly expressed, but you felt it and were scared. You were also scared to mention anything and complain about his intimidating behavior, once the behavior passed (I didn’t say anything because I was too scared. There was a lot that happened where I was too scared to say anything.)
So I assume you were living in fear of him physically hurting you?
Another aspect of his abuse was him commenting on other women’s looks, probably to make you jealous and hurt you. At the same time he didn’t like when you got compliments for your appearance, he outright laughed at it. Probably it made him angry and jealous, and his ego was hurt. It shows some narcissistic features actually – like he couldn’t stand that you would get compliments and in that way, be “better” than him.
When a guy talks like that about other women in front of his girlfriend, it is abuse, because he is trying to hurt her and put her down. It’s very likely a narcissistic thing – he did it to feel better about himself. And possibly to make you jealous as well, because he is showing interest in other women.
As for him playing the victim. He did actually always blame other people for things. Like his relationship before me, he says he was abused however I highly doubt it. He blames other people for his bad behaviour.
That’s another main feature of toxic people: always blame others for their problems and their bad behavior. Never take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
As for him going to Thailand, it was planned before I miscarried. I honestly just think he wanted to go and have a “single man lifestyle”. He was overweight as a child and is very self conscious about it and part of my thinks he wanted to sleep with women to prove his attractiveness to himself.
Okay, so you knew that he was probably going to Thailand to sleep around. But it seems you rationalized it, explaining it to yourself as just some immature behavior, which is the result of his self-esteem issues. And so you “understood” it.
I think that’s the trap you fell into: you tried to be so full of understanding for him and his supposed “suffering” (or his self-esteem problems or whatever), that you explained away even the most egregious abuse on his part. The threat of physical violence, the sexual remarks about other women, the cheating….
Please don’t think I am judging you. I think I actually understand what happened: this guy is most probably a covert narcissist. And you fell victim to narcissistic abuse. That can definitely break people down… like it broke you down.
Covert narcissists always play the victim, so I guess you fell for it too, trying to be compassionate and understanding. But it was a trap because he was abusing you, while you might have felt sorry for him…
With regards to my ex husband, I’ve worked through this and no longer hold any feelings towards what happened. I had therapy to work through this. I’m actually grateful for what happened as I’ve been able to create my own life. I don’t hold a grudge to him.
I am glad you worked this through and healed. So there are no hard feelings and you could really move on.
Back to this guy: The problem with narcissistic people is that they will misuse your goodness and empathy, and turn it against you. The kinder and more understanding you are, the more unrestrained they get. The more you give, the more they take. And suck you out completely. Perhaps that’s what happened to you too?
However, to the ex we have been discussing. I’m working on accepting what has happened. I want to let go of what has happened and move on to aid my healing. However, his behaviour is unforgivable in my opinion and he won’t be getting my forgiveness.
You don’t need to forgive him – specially if it means excusing his behavior and letting it happen again. His behavior was inexcusable and a clear abuse! So you’d need to see that clearly and in fact feel anger (healthy anger) towards him, which will enable you to never allow such a thing to happen again. After that you’ll be able to know what is acceptable and what is not, and set clear boundaries. So that it never happens again. You will also be able to recognize abuse pretty early on, instead of excusing it and tolerating it.
This healthy anger will subside and eventually you might even forgive him – as in not hold a grudge against him, because holding grudges prevents us to move on. But first things first: allow yourself to feel anger and outrage for having been abused like that (in a safe environment, preferably therapy), and then things will become much easier. And I am sure your panic attacks will stop too, because you’ll know how to recognize abuse and protect yourself from it next time.
I feel safe that he won’t reach out again as it feels final this time. I don’t think he is capable of having the emotions to be able to miss me. So I don’t think he will be asking for forgiveness anyway.
I think he is only capable of feeling sorry for himself. He is not capable of feeling any empathy for you. He might actually contact you some time in the future, since he used to reappear in your life. If he does, it will be to receive his “narcissistic supply”, i.e. to drain some more energy from you. But if he does, you’ll know what to do. In fact, I’d block him everywhere, so he cannot even bother you again!May 30, 2023 at 12:39 am #419486
I haven’t seen your last post before posting mine.
I wouldn’t mind exploring your idea on proving to her that I’m worthy.
Happy to do that. I’ve already made some suggestions in my previous post, regarding the inner child. I hope those make sense to you.
I felt alright today I’m trying to keep my head in a good place and be my own reminder that my ex was controlling and manipulating me. The first week was a lot easier, as I approach week 3 it feels as though my thoughts are slowly trying to beautify the relationship more and it’s surprising my rational thoughts at times.
What you said here actually confirms my theory: that your rational part is aware of all the facts and how bad and toxic the relationship was. However, the emotional part is overwriting all of that – and as you say, this comes as a surprise to your rational part.
It’s almost like two entities fighting inside of you: your reason and your emotions. As I said, the emotions cannot be shut down for too long, as you’re experiencing it yourself. These strong emotions I believe are coming from your inner child, who feels unlovable and unworthy. So the idea is to get in touch with your inner child and tell him that he is lovable and precious and worthy. And that there is nothing wrong with him.
Here are some examples of how your emotions/inner child clouds your judgment:
I still think it’s fixable if I’m being honest and it honestly is if the right steps are taken.
I remember her saying she didn’t think I was caring after all this time. That makes me feel like I should still reach out now and show her that I’m still caring
I feel like she did honestly share that destined feeling but it fizzled out a bit towards the end and she couldn’t work through the differences.
It overwrites everything your reason knows, and pushes his own agenda. For example, your reasons knows that she was bad for you: I don’t want to say she was a psycho but it genuinely feels that way a bit and that’s what everyone is telling me. She was toxic, immature, depressed, psychotic etc. these are the things people are telling me now.
But to your emotional part, it doesn’t really matter much. It is capable of forgetting all about the problems and believing that still, he needs to try again.
I hope you can see this mechanism and this battle inside of you. The more you see it, the harder it will be to be pulled into mindless hope. I say mindless on purpose, because when we are under the influence of this strong desire and longing, our rational mind switches off.May 29, 2023 at 11:51 pm #419485
Your summary about it was good. It really felt that way, like if I say or do anything to unsettle her a bit then I wasn’t being a good partner to her.
Okay, so I’ll repeat her stance: “I don’t need you to tell me how to live my life. Just do what I ask of you and don’t complain.”
That’s a pretty selfish attitude, don’t you think? She didn’t care about how you felt, she was only interested in her own needs. And if you asked anything for yourself, or tried to point out at some things, she accused you of being selfish and condescending. You had no say in that relationship. And by the end, you said you lost yourself completely. You became a shell, in order to please her.
I won’t go into too much but I went to prison a few years ago when I was about 21-22. It wasn’t for long but it wasn’t fun either. When people go on about ‘what I’ve been through’ I think this is what they mean.
Oh I am sorry about that. That is a big trauma. And it might have impacted you in some ways, even if you don’t think about it any more.
May I ask: was she the first relationship after you got out of prison? Because it may contribute to the strong attachment that you feel towards her…
I think I believed a lot about what she said. After our last fight I went outside to get some fresh air and I remember crying telling myself I’m a shit boyfriend and I should be doing better. She made me feel inadequate.
Okay, so you did believe that you were selfish and not good enough. She made you feel inadequate and you believed it. You are now starting to realize that those might have been unjust accusations, but there is still a part of you that believes they are true:
I think I’m realizing now it was unjust accusations however I still feel like I lack in some departments from being told I am so often,
A part of you still believes you are a bad person, and that this is the reason she rejected you:
You’re right I do feel rejected as a person not just a partner. The fact that I couldn’t even get broken up with in person after nearly a year is difficult.
Another part of you – the rational part – knows you deserve better, and that you were abused in that relationship:
I know what I deserve though and it’s a lot better than what I got. I need to treat myself with that love though because I never really got it from her.
Yes, you would need to treat yourself with love. You still seem to want to get that love and validation from her. Because a part of you believes you are unlovable, you’re not good enough, you are a bad person.
This wounded part – who believes you are unlovable and not good enough – is your inner child. I don’t know how and when it developed (whether in childhood or later), but it is still driving you. And I think it’s the reason behind your strong longing for her.
Because it could be that you see her as some sort of authority who should validate you and tell you that you’re a good and lovable person. That you’re worthy. That’s the feeling I get. And that’s why you can’t let her go, even if you’ve suffered so much in that relationship.
Our inner child (which is our emotional, wounded part) is incredibly strong. You can’t overwrite its desire and longing with reason. It can also give us that destined feeling, that you’re talking about.
If I am right, then nothing will help you let go, until you get in touch with that wounded part and give it the love and appreciation it craves. Until you give yourself love. You, the adult Adam, should be a good, loving parent for your inner child.
What do you think?May 29, 2023 at 10:34 pm #419483
you are welcome, glad it helped.
No second thoughts on this, absolutely spot on.
Happy to hear that your spouse is a “good, honest person, with a kind heart.”
I would consider my family very supportive in giving me my own space, I do not see that very common especially when you have little kids. I am fortunate to have enough time for the things that I love doing.
What I am also hearing is that she is supportive in giving you your own space. She also respects your need to have time for your own hobbies. All this is telling me that she is supportive (at least in some aspects), tolerant and flexible. Would you agree?
You said you may have a problem seeing the good in your spouse (I might not be seeing the good in them). I hope that you can now see the good qualities that your wife possesses: good-hearted, supportive, tolerant and flexible.
You also said you want your children to be imbibed with the qualities you find important and that you yourself possess: punctuality, order and organization (I also want to be a role model to my kids and imbibe the necessary values and principles that I follow).
I think that besides the qualities you cherish, your children should adopt some of the qualities your wife possesses too. Because both set of qualities are important.
So perhaps if you start appreciating your wife for her qualities, it will not only bring you closer to her, but will also help your children adopt those good qualities that she possesses.
I hope this helps. Wishing you all the best! Let us know how it went, if you choose to have that conversation with your wife…May 29, 2023 at 10:07 am #419474
you’re very welcome!
I think what I wanted for her was the same however the way I thought she should go about it was far different from the way she wanted to.
Yeah, possibly. You both wanted her to heal. But you had different ideas of how to go about it. You said you did respect her attempt to wean off medication on her own and get over the “hump”. However, it wasn’t getting better at all, it was getting worse. So the hump wasn’t a hump, it became a permanent state of dysregulation and suffering. But she refused to try anything else…
Maybe to her I was someone who was getting in the way of how she wanted to heal. She did say she didn’t ‘need me’.
Well, I think she did need you in that protector role. She needed you to be on standby 24/7 and meet all her needs. But she also didn’t want you to have any demands or expectations on her. So perhaps her stance could be summarized as: “I don’t need you to tell me how to live my life. Just do what I ask of you and don’t complain.”
I may suffer from a low self esteem. My mother, best friend and even my ex all said I am too hard on myself and I should be proud of my achievements and where I’m at after everything I’ve been through
What is it that you have been through, if I may ask? Has there been a trauma that you went through?
I know I am hard on myself, I’m the first person to always admit fault and judge myself. I feel like I can’t switch it off at times but deep down I do love me.
Yes, you did say that all of your exes judged you. And because you’re quick to judge yourself too, you might have actually believed what your ex told you (that you’re not giving her enough attention, that you’re insensitive etc). I wonder how much you recognized her words as unjust accusations and how much you actually believed what she said?
I think at the moment my self esteem is low and I’m depressed but in general I’m not. I am confident and comfortable in my own skin, I always told my ex this and I wanted her to have that feeling.
There is a difference between self-confidence and self-esteem. Self-esteem is deeper: it’s a sense that you are worthy just because you exist. You don’t need to do anything to “earn” your worth. You are worthy just by being born.
Self-confidence is when you feel good about yourself because of some skill, talent or outer achievement. You are confident that you can sing, for example, because you are a talented singer. Some people have self-confidence, but they don’t have self-esteem. Because they believe that unless they perform well enough or have certain achievements, they aren’t worthy enough.
So I wonder if perhaps you do have self-confidence, because of your success in some parts of your life? (such as your career). But still, that you may lack a deeper sense of worth – a sense that you are worthy just because you exist? And that you don’t need to do anything to prove your worth?
Because I remember after the last breakup (in March) you told me you felt bad not just because she left you as her boyfriend, but that you felt bad as a person, because she refused your help. If you felt rejected as a person, this tells me that you do have problems with feeling worthy, which would indicate low self-esteem.
The relationship was unsatisfactory however I can’t help but beautify it even after everything that has happened.
I feel as though I don’t actually understand that this is a hopeless situation for me.
The urge to reach out is still there as well.
This is just an assumption, so please don’t take my word for it. But what if your main hope is to prove your worth to her? Maybe you still hope that you can prove to her that you are a good person, and not a selfish and insensitive guy she might have accused you of? If that’s what motivates you, then it would make sense that you don’t want to give up and want to prove that you’re a good person, i.e. to prove your own worth.May 29, 2023 at 8:57 am #419465
That’s great that you managed to keep calm and not attack him, but just say that you miss him. Well done, Katrine!
Keep walking and burning that stress whenever you can… yeah the summer arrived, so that helps a lot!May 29, 2023 at 8:37 am #419461
oh… sorry to hear that 🙁 I don’t think he is lying though. But it is tough on you, I totally understand. Because something always gets in the way.
Do you know when he is arriving to Portugal? I am sure that then you should be able to talk more regularly. And clarify what he actually feels about you and how to proceed.
In the meanwhile, try to reduce your anxiety, e.g. by doing some exercise, going for a brisk walk, or perhaps a jog. I think moving your body and burning that extra stress might help you calm down and feel better.May 29, 2023 at 7:49 am #419459
you are most welcome!
Tee, with the denial of pregnancy, I was terrified of telling him. I thought he would leave immediately. I’ve never been as stressed as I was with him
Hm, it seems you felt guilty for getting pregnant accidentally, and because you knew he was strongly against children, you felt you “messed up” and he’ll be angry at you and leave? Did he have anger issues, btw? Because you said: He was the one that was always difficult. He was hard work. I was scared of him.
What you described as him pushing you with full force disregarding your size, or pushing you against the fridge and holding you there, not letting you move – that’s physical abuse, if you ask me. Or at least using physical force to intimidate you. You called it degrading, but I think it’s much more than degrading. Words can be degrading, but this was physically threatening. No wonder you didn’t like it.
Have you told him you didn’t like it or you stayed silent?
I was afraid he wouldn’t be there for me and he proved me to be correct when he disappeared when I was in hospital. There were complications which made me very unwell. I was in hospital while he was in Thailand.
I am so sorry, Sammie. That’s really horrible. You laying in hospital, having complications after having miscarried his child, and he is vacationing in Thailand. Perhaps he told you it’s just too much for him and he needs to get away from it all? Like, he made himself into a victim?
I carry guilt in thinking that perhaps this is what caused the miscarriage
Please don’t blame yourself. I can tell you that my mother was very stressed while carrying me, and yet I was born a healthy child. I think it’s written in the stars, as they say. I am a little fatalistic in this respect – I think it was meant to be like that.
In terms of previous men. Some have been fantastic, caring and respectful. My last good relationship ending because we wanted different things from life. I have an ex husband who ended up being unfaithful but it ended amicably. We were very young when we met and it just ran its course. His error in judgement was not a reflection of the decade I spent with him. Most of the relationship was very good.
I see. So this one is more an exception to the rule. But it could also be that you’re a bit overly forgiving and understanding towards your partners. I mean, your ex husband cheated on you, but you explain it as his “error of judgment”. That’s nice, but I wonder if there is still some unprocessed anger at him?
If you’ve processed it and healed it, then fine – then indeed you are free and no hard feelings. But if you force yourself to be kind and understanding, that’s another pair of shoes. Because you did force yourself to be kind and understanding towards your last ex, who was emotionally and potentially physically abusive. So I am just putting it out there, in case you need to re-evaluate your earlier relationships too.
My biggest issue at the moment is the dissonance in my head between thinking I’m a failure if I don’t have a partner and what I actually want, which is time for me. I think women have a lot of pressure to be in a relationship. I’m often asked “but how are you single?” and this makes me feel like I’m the odd one out.
I have been on some dates and I panic before going out. Then panic if they come near me. However, if I’m meeting male or female friends, I’m absolutely fine.
I understand. You don’t want to be abused again. And you don’t need to, Sammie. You don’t need to force yourself into a relationship. I think your priority should be to heal and completely understand how you were abused and how to prevent abuse in the future. Because there might be some gaps there, where you were blind to some of the abuse, and are only now waking up to how bad it really was.
I would like the option of being able to meet someone when I am ready but at the moment I see the damage that my last relationship has caused.
So allow yourself time to be ready. You don’t need to rush into another relationship. As I said above, I think you still need to fully grasp in what ways you were abused, and potentially if you were overlooking abuse (albeit milder) in your previous relationships.
It is currently preventing me from having a future with someone new. I’m not sure how to get past this fear of men when they are potential romantic partners.
I think the confusion about what is and what isn’t abuse, and what you should or shouldn’t tolerate, might be adding to your fear of men at this point. You don’t want to be abused again and it could be that your panic attacks serve to protect you from abuse. It could be that your panic attacks are in fact a defense mechanism and prevent you from getting into another relationship without properly healing.
If you equip yourself with good knowledge and awareness of what is abuse and how to protect yourself from it, I think your fear of men would subside too.
What do you think? I hope my assumptions were not too much and too off the mark.May 29, 2023 at 1:11 am #419453
you are very welcome!
I was in denial about being pregnant as a coping mechanism.
He was passionately against children
I can see why you were in denial. Perhaps it was because you knew he was very much against children and you didn’t want to face the prospect of raising a child alone? And in general, I guess you knew on some level that he was a bad and unreliable partner, so you knew that having a child with him would have been very hard.
Tee, I’m grateful for your honesty. I needed to hear this. He was toxic. He was hard work. I was also scared of him. I could get a bad stomach every time he told me he was on the way to my house. I would be physically sick.
You’re welcome, I am glad it added some clarity. And if you were scared of him – wow, that says a lot! Was he physically abusive too?
He was so lovely to me at times. He took me away for my birthday and planned lovely days out for us. He would do little things like make sure I had medicine. He would tell me he would always have my back and be there for me.
Yes, that’s the worst: the abuse mixed with seeming kindness and care. That’s called trauma bonding: we get attached to the good times, when we felt loved and cared for, and we disregard and minimize the bad times, when we were abused. And we hope that some day, we’ll only get the good times and that the bad times will stop…
I did feel loved at times. What makes it so hard is that at Xmas/NYE, he was so lovely but I think he has already made his mind up to leave. It’s the dissonance of “he seemed to care but he left anyway”.
Yes, he gave you the appearance of caring. But really, he didn’t care. Because at the end of the day, his behavior was hurtful and abusive.
But, before this I was a strong, focused woman. Who I am now, I don’t recognise. But at the start of the year I asked the universe for peace, and then he left. I think I have been gifted this man leaving my life.
I am glad he left your life and that you found a measure of peace. And I hope you won’t take him back, if he comes knocking at your door again. It’s great that you’re finding your strength again: you’ve got yourself a new job, you’ve redecorated your house, you have been going out, and you’re planning to go traveling. That’s all amazing!
A lot of the times, we may be strong in other areas of our life, but in the field of romantic relationship, we suffer. We might have a weak spot for not so good guys. I don’t know what your experience with men was before him, but if you see a certain pattern, it might be worth to work on it and heal it.
I wish you peace and strength and lots of healing!May 29, 2023 at 12:14 am #419452
Was there a really big divide from what I have told you? I do understand there were differences but I didnt see it as a deal breaker similar to her. Ofcourse I am going to have some expectations when nothing changes after nearly 12 months.
I think there was a big divide in terms of what you wanted from her, and what she wanted for herself. You wanted her to get a job and seek therapy so she wouldn’t be so moody and sensitive.
She wanted to stay unemployed (at least for a while), heal on her own, and in the meanwhile, she wanted you to unconditionally accept and “respect” her moodiness and sensitivity.
In summary, she wanted you to meet all her emotional needs: soothe her when she is feeling down, understand and accept her moods, and support her in her plan to wean off medication on her own. And not push her to seek either therapy or a job.
You couldn’t accept it, because as you say, it had been almost a year and nothing changed. She was actually getting worse without her medication. But she didn’t want to be told what to do – she wanted to continue with her plan of “healing” on her own.
You see? What she wanted for herself was very different than what you hoped she would do. That’s the big divide I am talking about.
I do understand there were differences but I didnt see it as a deal breaker similar to her.
Well, you didn’t want to break up with her, even after being emotionally abused. If you’re completely honest with yourself, nothing was a deal breaker for you. But I think she saw it more clearly, and those differences were actually a deal-breaker, if you ask me.
It definitely does sound possible. I wanted her by my side to grow as a couple and build the foundations of something strong, that was what i always told her. I know relationships are hard work and are never really perfect, I just wanted someone who will stick by my side during the tough times and when we may not agree on certain things.
Sure, a healthy relationship can help us grow, as we go through challenges and tough times together. However, when you say “I want someone to grow with and show how much I can change and how good I can be“, it has a different message to it.
The message I am hearing is: “I am not good as I am, there is something wrong with me. But I can change and show you how good I can be.”
It’s different than “I know I am not perfect, no one is, but I am willing to grow.”
The first would be a message of someone with low self-esteem (“I am not good as I am. There is something wrong with me”).
The latter would be someone with healthy self-esteem (“I am good as I am. There is nothing deeply wrong with me. I am open to improvement though, because no one is perfect”).
I am bringing this up, Adam, because I think you might be suffering from low self-esteem, even though you might not be aware of it.
One sign of low self-esteem is being prone to addiction. Because when we feel bad about ourselves, we want to soothe and numb that constant pain that we feel.
Another sign of low self-esteem might be daydreaming about being famous. You said it’s almost like an urge, you can’t really stop it. And it gives you a relief for a while. It’s kind of an escape. And that’s typical for people with low self-esteem: to dream about being famous, because they feel that’s what will finally make them worthy.
So this is the feeling I am getting about you – that perhaps you suffer from low self-esteem. I did mention it in the past, but you said that no, you do love yourself and feel good about yourself. But after talking to you more, I do believe there might be problems in that department.
What do you say?