February 22, 2018 at 9:40 am #193907
Anita, thank you again!
And yes, I certainly told her that I was ending the relationship. Soon thereafter, I realized that I did not in fact want the relationship to end, but rather I wanted her silent treatments to end. Instead of saying “I am ending the relationship,” it would have been more accurate to say “Stop not talking to me. I can’t stand it. Let’s do this differently.”
That’s why I was posting about not having given up on her. I reached out to her after I had said the ending words, to tell her that I wanted to work on things. She said No, in indirect and direct ways, so then I canceled my flight tickets, and you know the rest of the story.
I could have been wiser in how I handled myself, but that is what happened.February 22, 2018 at 10:03 am #193913
If her silent treatments of you are meant to punish you (that is the definition of the term), then these are acts of aggression, the passive-aggressive kind of aggression. This is a different aspect to her behavior than “just” distorted thinking. When a person is repeatedly aggressive toward you, habitually giving you the silent treatments, the right thing for you is to end the relationship.
If these are indeed silent treatments then she has been motivated by anger, not fear, as you indicated before. Do you think you missed the anger when evaluating her motivation earlier?
anitaFebruary 22, 2018 at 10:58 am #193937MarkParticipant
…I realized that I did not in fact want the relationship to end, but rather I wanted her silent treatments to end. Instead of saying “I am ending the relationship,” it would have been more accurate to say “Stop not talking to me. I can’t stand it. Let’s do this differently.” … I could have been wiser in how I handled myself, …
I believe that she is what she is no matter what you said to her or how you phrased it. She would not have changed her behavior.
I use to believe if the other person loved me or wanted the relationship to work then they would take in my requests and change. I don’t believe that anymore.
I do hope that those who are self-aware have the tools and awareness to be able to communicate back with me. This way we can have a discussion that possibly evoke changes to make the relationship better.
For the most part, I can only state my truth and make clear requests with the other with no attachment to the outcome.
MarkFebruary 22, 2018 at 11:05 am #193941
A pattern, and my interpretation goes something like this: She will text me something that she thinks is a joke. I don’t realize that it is a joke and respond if it she just said something serious. She will then say “You are not funny” and “We don’t have the same sense of humor.” Then she does “withdrawing” behaviors such as cutting off the texting, saying good bye without the usual affectionate emoticons, and significantly reducing texting the next day.
These behaviors indeed seemed “angry” to me, and I guessed that they are driven by the fear that she will not be understood in a deep way that she wants. I’m not saying, of course, that her behaviors will get her what she wants. Probably her behaviors, unless she changes them, will make it very difficult for her to have a sustained, close, relationship where she feels deeply understood.
These are only my guesses. The collapse of the relationship seemed to happen so fast that we never got deeply into what was going on with her when she would withdraw.February 22, 2018 at 12:44 pm #193961
My thoughts: she texts you something she intends to be a joke. You respond in a way that indicates you didn’t realize she was joking. After one or two such experiences, I would imagine a reasonable person on the sending end of the jokes will stop sending them. But she kept doing so three, four and more times. Is that correct? Either she is not reasonable and/ or she is manipulative, that is, finding a “reason” (same reason, over and over again), to withdraw. She is producing a reason to withdraw.
It fits with her telling you that there is no future between the two of you, the other day, and then waiting to see if you cancel the tickets. She may have her reasons to withdraw but needs a better reason, so she produces reasons: you don’t get her jokes, you cancelled the tickets.
I don’t know her motivation underneath her intent to withdraw. I think anger. Underneath the anger, probably fear. But then fear is underneath almost every motivation to withdraw or to fight.
<span style=”font-family: Arial;”> </span>February 22, 2018 at 2:28 pm #193983
Mark, thank you for your input. I really get what you’re saying about how the way I phrased things isn’t really the point. People stumble over words and communication all the time, I think, and in healthy communication, both parties work to get clarity in a way that is gracious and supportive. I am coming closer to the conclusion that I wish I weren’t true, which is my belief that this woman isn’t particularly interest in discovering or fixing behaviors that undermined our relationship. I might differ from your point of view a little bit, in that I think there are people whose love or desire for the relationship to succeed, will motivate them to try to listen to their partner and change behaviors to meet their partner’s needs. Heck, I think I’m one of them. But I understand if your experience has been different.
Anita, thank you for your thoughts. Yes, this text-joke-withdraw pattern has occurred many times. Several times I have wondered due to many behaviors (such as the text-joke thing and others) if she has been trying to prove to herself that I’m not compatible with her, and therefore she should withdraw. I imagine that the fear driving her frequent testing of me is the fear of getting close to me, because then she might get hurt. It’s easier to present lots of tests and challenges that can’t possibly be passed and conclude I’m not a guy she wants to be with, than risk being vulnerable to me. It’s my best guess as to what this is about.
February 22, 2018 at 7:54 pm #194003abubinParticipant
- This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Craig.
Reading this gave me insights to my own relationship issue. Really a good read about avoidants.
One question for Craig, I feel that you know you have to end the relationship because it won’t work unless she stop avoiding the issue start facing it. However, it is in her avoidant nature to avoid and it cannot be changed. Do you still hanging on to hope of getting back with her?February 23, 2018 at 4:14 am #194025
You are welcome. Regarding her fear being “of getting close to (you), because then she might bet hurt”- probably, but then, who is not afraid to get close to or too close to another and then get hurt? Isn’t everyone to one degree or another?
This is what I think is particular to this woman: I think she has very little insight about her own feelings. There is a disconnect between what she feels and the message in what she feels. She feels something and gets confused.
In her recent interaction with you, she might have felt/ thought something like this: feeling distant, angry, uncomfortable, wanting again to end the relationship. She thinks: I don’t know what to do. She then thinks: I will tell him that I am ending the relationship. If he cancels the tickets by tomorrow, then I will know that breaking up was the right thing to do.
Then she checks and finds out that you cancelled the tickets and she feels relief: I did the right thing! Yes!
Later she may doubt herself again because she lacks insight or understanding about herself, you and the relationship. And she may resort to looking for another sign about what she should do, maybe sending you more messages and in one of them there will be another “joke”. If you get him it will be a sign that the relationship is meant to be. If you don’t get it, well, it will be a sign that the relationship is not meant to be.
Is this congruent with her thinking about other issues in her life, not being sure of what to do, doubting herself, being lost in not-knowing?
anitaFebruary 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm #194129
Funny thing, Anita – in other areas of her life, she seems to be quite a clear thinker and when she sets goals, usually attains them. She raised two very nice kids, has held professional jobs, and has navigated and learned her way around a culture that is very different from her own. But I have the opinion that her thinking about relationships, boundaries, feelings, who is responsible for what, often seems mixed up. This apparent disconnect – between her clarity about life skills and her relative troubles around relationships – well, there’s something sad about it. Even as my anger comes through in some of my posts, at the same time, I think very highly of her, love and like her.
But I want her to stop doing “destructive” things, like the silent treatment etc. That’s why my questions bubbled up a few posts ago, about when to work with a partner, and when to totally give up and flee. I used to give my partners the silent treatment, but I learned to behave differently. I wasn’t a lost cause. But, as long as she doesn’t want to work with me, it’s not a question I have to answer.February 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm #194173
Abubin, thank you for posting. I don’t see avoiding as having to do with issues per se, but rather avoiding intimacy. I think people can and do change, as I have changed myself and I have seen others change themselves. In fact, change is one of the few things we can rely on in life, I believe. Whether my ex is motivated to change herself is what I’m trying to gauge. It doesn’t look likely, but I haven’t made my final conclusion yet. Without her doing some work on her habit of retreating into silence, I can’t see being with her again.February 24, 2018 at 5:10 am #194221
You wrote that she has raised “two very nice kids”- doesn’t mean they are two emotionally well kids. I hope they are, but nice does not mean healthy. Lots of kids act nice in the company of strangers because they have to, because otherwise they will be punished later. Maybe, just maybe you look up to her in some ways, not seeing all there is to see. What you shared here about her thinking and interacting with you cannot possibly be only in the context of a romantic relationship.
You wrote: “change is one of the few things we can rely on in life”- except for something that remains amazingly the same, something amazingly resistant to change: our core beliefs, what we believe from an early age. That remains the same for decades, most often lifetime. It just doesn’t change without intentional, ongoing, persistent work through a long, long time.
anitaFebruary 24, 2018 at 8:29 am #194247
Dear Anita and Mark and Abubin and others who have followed this thread, thank you for your presence and thoughts. I could go on a long time discussing these issues, as I have a strong belief that understanding the mind and relationships makes it possible to learn better relationship skills and hence have healthier relationships.
At this point, I am going to pause my posts on this thread (unless something significant materializes) so that this thread doesn’t keep going to the top and push other threads down. As I catch my breath, I would like to participate more in some of these other threads.February 24, 2018 at 8:56 am #194265
You are welcome. I am looking forward to your participation in other threads, after you catch your breath, that is.
anitaFebruary 24, 2018 at 6:41 pm #194309ZoeParticipant
I am on the other end of this story. I have just come out of a long term relationship where I was the avoidant one. I didn’t realise that because I was so out of touch with myself I could not find a point of connection with my partner. Unfortunately because I didn’t understand myself I could not find a solution. I kept over thinking the relationship and looking at him for clues as to why the relationship was struggling. I was looking at him as being the problematic one in the relationship and also looking at the context of our relationship rather than at myself. I have now realised that I have most likely lost someone I truly loved but unfortunately those feelings were buried under layers of unnecessary thinking and doubt. I didn’t realise that I had a lot of fear and hurting that stopped me from being in touch with myself and as a result in touch with my partner. The tragic irony is that in the process of breaking up those feelings came up so clearly and I feel as though I had some kind of spiritual awakening. I am now struggling with the feeling that I need to forgive myself and learn to love myself and on the other hand feeling a sense of loss that is actually overwhelming.