November 2, 2016 at 3:42 am #119414Tiny BuddyParticipant
I never post in forums, but I am compelled to now because it seems that this is a nice community with some mindful humans and I have been going through quite a wild time these past three weeks. And I can’t sleep. Disclaimer: this is going to be a long one.
I have been in a wonderful relationship with a man I dearly love for just under two years now. I’ve never felt such a connection with a person before, and he has been such a supportive source of warmth this entire time together. I’ve grown so much through being with him, and we have provided each other with a lot of love– I couldn’t ask for more love from a partner.
Within the last few months, things got a little rocky. He went on his first meditation retreat, I went to Minnesota with a friend to work on a week-long project, and the time apart provided us both with some uncomfortable insight. I suppose since we spent most all of our time together, we hadn’t really been allowed the perspective. What we discussed, upon being back in the same place, was that our dynamic was wonky. He was afraid to leave me alone, worried that he needed to take care of me, and I insisted on my independence and at times felt infantilized by him.
Why this happened, in part: I moved out of my place a year prior and moved in “temporarily” with him. It was truly supposed to be temporary, as we were going on two trips together over the coming two months and it didn’t make sense to get a new place just to leave it (I was making a very modest restaurant worker living and we happen to live in one of the most expensive areas in the US). So, I moved my stuff to his, and then… I guess, just got comfortable. What really happened was that I realized, why get my own place when my family lives so close? I can take some classes, hop between the two houses and see my family and also my boyfriend. Sounded great. Worked out for a little while, too. But it got tiring, and the commute of 2.5 hours by train each way was difficult. My things were in two places. I ended up staying mostly at my boyfriends, and most of my stuff gradually moved back into his place. I was fitting into his spaces and at times that definitely made me feel strange and indebted to him. But it was also super lovely! We get on so well, we laugh and have similar interests and fascinating discussions. I love this man. We started talking about moving away together– he is from France and wanted to quit his job, so wouldn’t be able to stay in the country; I grew up in this area and was excited for a change of pace and lifestyle. We discussed a short stay in France, perhaps a move to Berlin or Lisbon… I even got a Canadian visa in case we chose Montreal. It felt very real, very tangible. We were talking about it up until last July, when we were on vacation in Paris to see his family and friends and he got word that the small company he worked for was suddenly acquired by a giant, dream company. Of course he took the job, it was the perfect fit for him and an amazing opportunity– but our plans changed so suddenly and I suppose I realized that I had put so much effort into being flexible and romanticizing our global move that I had sacrificed making obligations where I was, finding a better job, and making commitments. I felt a little abandoned, and that scared me. I would get tense when we talked about his new job, and he would of course call me out on it. It was weird, and I felt like we had so many plans together that just got pushed to the side – understandably so, as the job he got is amazing and I have a nice network in this area myself, but still. I was scared that this new job meant that perhaps he would leave me, find more interesting people and perhaps a more interesting woman. That I wouldn’t see him as much and that things were working out so well for him that I would be left behind. So. This is what happened, and as you can understand it was nobody’s fault. I do believe we both could have been more mindful about my essentially moving in in the first place, and with how our relationship and dynamic evolved to this point, but like I said we had been so crazy for each other that it didn’t seem to be an issue… until it was an issue.
Something else I should mention, as it is very relevant to what has happened more recently: as a restaurant worker, there were temptations everywhere. I also am an impulsive person and can enjoy drinking… too much, at times. Not only after a shift, but when I go out with friends, etc. I have some social anxiety, which sometimes spurs on excessive drinking, but I also just enjoy the act and like losing myself a little. I admit it. And it leads to some sketchy situations. It also leads to intense panic attacks, sometimes. Panic attacks that I can’t control and that have left my boyfriend powerless to console me. Very intense things. He, in contrast, barely drinks and is a very responsible person. I don’t feel that I need to drink when I’m with him, as we always have a lot of fun together. For what it’s worth. But that’s definitely a tender topic for us, and relates to the next thing…
Three and a half weeks ago found us much better in our relationship. We had gone through an awful week of me moving my things out of his house to my dad’s, finding a place to live with a friend and beginning to casually job hunt. I saw ‘awful’ because it was awful to have this sort of conflict, and we were really reevaluating our relationship and talking things through. I honestly thought that we might break up. The changes themselves were for the best, but that week was very rough. Necessary, but rough. So three and a half weeks ago, we had gotten past that bit and were rebuilding and it was going really well. On a Saturday we got to spend some quality time together (our hours are opposite, so we couldn’t see each other as much as we wanted to) and we left one another all heart-eyes and texting the other how much we enjoyed our 24-hours of cooking and kissing and being with each other. Then I went to work that night, and fucked everything up.
I drank after work– drank too much. On my walk home (it was my first night walking to work from my new place), I got creeped on from some guy in a car who wanted to pick me up. Then somehow I ended up befriending a homeless man and we walked around together and he introduced me to his crew at the subway and before I knew it, I was translating a crack deal between two guys, one of whom only spoke Spanish. I barely even speak Spanish! I don’t know what the hell I was doing. Later, my new friend and I continued walking around and one thing led to another and I ended up smoking crack with him. I have never smoked crack before. I have never had the desire to smoke crack– it has definitely been on my list of never-try drugs. And yet, there I was. Smoking crack with a homeless guy. On the sidewalk a few blocks from the restaurant I work at. What in the world.
I freaked out. I started breathing heavily, having a panic attack. I was shouting about my mother raping me (more on this to come). I couldn’t believe that I had smoked that stuff. Just, shocked. This guy started getting spooked at my behavior. I texted a coworker that I had just exchanged numbers with that night– unfortunately, a man I actually found really attractive and knew also that he had a crush on me for awhile. I remember thinking that I couldn’t contact my boyfriend because I had just smoked crack and I didn’t know how I could explain that. Not to mention, it was very late and he was asleep and had work in the morning. So. I texted this coworker for help, told him that I had just smoked crack, and since he was close by (partying with his friends) he walked over to where I was. I was totally freaked out, and the guy I had met on the street left me. So there I was with my coworker and his friend, and we walked back to his place, which was only a short walk away. They were really sweet and understanding and once we got there his friend curled up to go to sleep on the couch while my coworker and I went into his room. He said I could just chill out there for a bit and we’d watch some cartoons. Well, of course one thing led to another and I woke up the next morning feeling absolutely awful and ashamed. He reassured me, and said that we should get a little breakfast cocktail to take the edge off. I agreed, and one drink led to another and one bad choice became another bad choice.. and there I was again. I cheated on my boyfriend by sleeping with another man. Who I was in those moments, and why I was self-sabotaging so completely… I couldn’t tell you. I remember having the thought that I had already fucked everything up, so what does it matter now? Fascinating logic, right.
I went back to my own house that evening, after falling asleep again, and I was still drunk. I had shirked all my responsibilities that day to do this thing and found my housemate immediately upon coming home. I freaked out in his room and cried in disbelief. I then called my boyfriend and told him what happened (sans details, but the gist). I simply could not believe myself. I still can’t. What I was doing, I don’t know.
The thing is: this is not the first time I have done something like this. This was certainly a low, but it’s not the first time I have cheated on a partner while wasted, and it’s not the first time I have gotten drunk and self-sabotaged, found myself in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, or self-harmed. I suffered some childhood trauma– my mother sexually and physically abused me and I was taken from her when I was two and a half (and she continued to stalk me for my entire childhood/ early adult life, still occasionally popping up now), and then my step mother branded me as the black sheep of the family when I was five and convinced me and everyone else that I was a bad kid, until she kicked me out when I was around eight. So, there’s some shit there. And it comes out in these.. terrible, terrible ways. I am a very loving and kind person, and in general I am a considerate and passionate partner. In no way do I want to hurt myself or the people I love. But since this event happened a few weeks ago I am forced to look at my life and find these patterns, this thread that leads back to these early childhood traumas. It’s a scary thing, and I have never considered my life in such a way before– I guess I thought I could handle these memories alone and that they didn’t affect me anymore. But I was lying to myself, as now that I am giving an honest look I see that the struggle and the pain of these events surfaces all of the time. It has affected the way that I view myself, the fear I have of being abandoned. It’s the reason that I am so incredibly harsh on myself and suffer from such anxiety. Conversely, it’s also the reason for my intense empathy and understanding, and I believe it has given me mature insight into some darker aspects of life that I don’t think everybody gets to. So, there is some light there, and some goodness that I have found throughout it all. But there is a definite dark side that I have revealed to myself time and time again, and it took this catastrophic 24 hour period for me to finally take real notice and action.
I immediately quit my restaurant job. I put in two weeks notice, got all my shifts covered, and haven’t been back except to pick up my last paycheck. I got a yoga membership to a studio close to my home, as that has always been a very healing practice for me but I haven’t always been consistent in it. I reached out to my friends, my family. I cried a lot. I recognized that I need counseling and to tackle these issues of mine– I am completely dirt poor right now, and a friend directed me to a donation-based group therapy for adult survivors of childhood abuse that I started going to last week. I printed out their handbook and started reading and highlighting and understanding. I am meditating more, and writing, and walking all over the city. Walking a lot. My boyfriend and I are on a break, and he says that he is not mad at me and that I need to forgive myself. I have started to do that, though I can’t shake the disappointment quite yet. I have seen him five or six times in the past few weeks, which feels like nothing compared to how often we were seeing each other before. We don’t kiss- though he’s kissed me on the forehead lovingly twice. He pats me on the back when we hug. I really long for him, and miss him so much. I drank on Halloween weekend (and I was sad last night so poured myself a bit of rum) but otherwise have told myself that alcohol is not my friend. Perhaps a beer or glass or wine here or there, in awhile when I have done more healing. But not for now– I can’t go running to my vices (though I have been smoking some cigarettes, what can I say).
He leaves for Berlin this evening (it is currently 3am my time and I cannot sleep, hence this lengthy post). This trip was made because he is going to a music conference, but was expanded to include me and his family and some quality time together. He paid for my ticket and was going to pay for everything, as he got a nice severance package when he switched jobs. It was a sort of “thank you” for staying in the area, as he knew that I wanted to move abroad together and that I was remaining flexible for him. Now, given the circumstances, he is going alone. Of course. It wouldn’t make sense for me to go- it would be entirely inappropriate and neither of us would feel comfortable with that. But I still am so saddened. I love his family, and I know his sister knows the details of this whole situation. Perhaps his parents will too… though he says he is just telling them that we are on a break. Who knows. I guess that point isn’t as important. It’s just so heavy right now.
Perhaps this post was more an act of healing than an invitation for advice. Still, I am open to thoughts. I am diving more into my mindfulness practice while trying to understand my own demons. I take full responsibility for the things I have done, and asking my partner to commit to repairing this fracture is a TALL order. I understand that. But I have so much love for him- and though he won’t say “I love you” or kiss me, I think he still loves me too. I don’t know how we could turn that off so quickly. I think this space will be healing for both of us- good perspective and time to focus on our individual needs- but I can’t help but be afraid that we might not meet on the other side of these two weeks (or however long it takes to mull through this) with the conviction to rekindle our love. We text each other everyday, still, though it is not the same as before. But still, we are present with one another. I don’t know. I am a bit lost and a bit found, all at once. This is a terrible and heartbreaking situation, but had it not been for hitting this low I would not have realized these parts of myself that so desperately need to be addressed. A mixed bag, indeed. I know what I need to do, but I don’t know if this will lead to being with this man again in the way we were before. Or in a way which is comparable. Is it possible to mend and meet again after something like this, finding love with one another once more? I really hope so- this man has provided me with so much light. I am grateful for any thoughts, and would appreciate if my failings could be met with some kindness– I know that I am in the wrong here. But I am not a bad person, and my intentions to address these wounds are very honest.November 2, 2016 at 5:00 am #119420InkyParticipant
You were abused and rejected before and by the time you were eight years old! Considering many people’s mental bodies don’t come in until then, it was easy to internalize that you yourself are “bad”. That is the core issue.
Seek ye a qualified therapist! You deserve it! Repeat 100 times: “I deserve it!”
As to the quasi-BF… To ask, expect or hope for him to return (at least in the foreseeable future) is a little over the top. He views you as a wounded bird now. A wounded bird who also cheated on him. I suggest cooling it with the texting with him. Tell HIM that you are taking a break. Then let him pursue you. Like next year.
1. No more moving in with someone.
2. No more booze, drugs and cigs. Go to a support group for that as well. You aren’t text book addicted, but the core issues are still there which makes you do these things.
InkyNovember 2, 2016 at 8:35 am #119423AnonymousGuest
What a story! Told honestly and in a way that invites nothing but my empathy as I read it from beginning to end.
Yes, I think it is possible for you and your on-a-break boyfriend to be together again, not the way you were but better, closer.
If you continue your healing, persist in it, considering your honesty and humility expressed in your post, he will be a fortunate man to have you as his girlfriend and life partner.
As I think about your share, I am intrigued by your crack smoking evening followed by drinking and spending that night with the co worker, a stranger. Your Low, you referred to it, or as AA refers to it as “hitting rock bottom.” So you are walking home from work and .. things happen, nothing planned. You let the outside world determine what happens to you.
I am thinking about my life, when I took breaks from exacting reasonable control over my circumstances. In my case, I was TIRED, tired of thinking, of trying to figure things out, tired of … lost. During my healing, I learned, starting in my first experience with a competent therapist, to endure those lost moments, to endure distress and still, during those times of great distress, to still control my circumstances.
I remember, my thought too was: what’s the point, this is already bad, might as well be worse. I learned, in therapy, that worse… is worse than bad and better not proceed to worse. It got easier but it was very difficult to endure the distress. It was as if there was some relief in self destruction.
Back to your post, the title of your thread, I think it is a good, good thing that your on-break-boyfriend knows the situation, that you told him what he does need to know. I hope you focus on your healing because nothing good on the long run can happen for you, without your healing. And please do post here, on your thread anytime. I will reply every time you post, as long as you are willing that I reply.
anitaNovember 2, 2016 at 8:56 am #119425NinjaParticipant
Dear tinybuddha –
Let me say that I am sincerely sorry that you are going through this terrible situation.
I completely agree with everything Inky and anita just said.
Obviously, and without minimizing anything here, you’ve had an extraordinarily difficult upbringing. Unfortunately, most of us can only sympathize – as few have had such intensely damaging experiences.
As Inky suggested, get therapy. Now. It won’t erase your scars, but it may heal your wounds. While we are all products of our upbringings and experiences, we are also responsible for our actions. And your recent actions have only reversed any healing that may have taken place – and re-opened those wounds.
As for your quasi-boyfriend, you have wounded him and may have ended what you two had – at least for a time. Trust, integrity and openness are critical to the health of every relationship. Your actions have violated all three. I’m sorry if this hurts, but you probably already know this.
The good and healthy part is that you seem to know and are acknowledging your responsibility. Along with therapy, I would suggest leaving him go – at least for now. I’m not sure if he would eventually pursue you (as Inky suggested), but he may. Still, you must re-focus your attention away from him – and to yourself. You need to heal yourself right now.
Believe me, you can do this. It takes one step at a time, one day at a time. But the more positive actions you take the better you will become. I’m sure a trained professional (therapist) can add much more, but I do believe that people can change. You can change.
Peace to you today.
NinjaNovember 2, 2016 at 10:29 pm #119469greenshadeParticipant
You said “I am a very loving and kind person, and in general I am a considerate and passionate partner. In no way do I want to hurt myself or the people I love.” and that is so, so evident from your post! In my experience, love for the people we care about and wanting to stop hurting them and ourselves is what drives the best kind of change.
My two bits would be to have patience with yourself, and find a community that you can reach out to whenever you feel your lowest, as frequently as you need. It can be this community, or it can be a community or support group where you live. Find and cling to that community and don’t let go, however much you are tempted to, or however much shame provokes you to run and hide. Also, read, read, read, watch youtube videos to try and understand yourself and the effects of what you have gone through better. It was surprising for me to learn how much of the little things I do that impact my relationships and work were directly linked to childhood trauma, never mind the big things. Its also so wonderful for you that you have made contact with a therapist. Commit to therapy, self education and community :). The big three.