June 23, 2019 at 3:57 am #300385
Turning here for support and clarity again.
I am back in my home country and at my
parents house after ten months abroad. In
the ten months I started dating. I was cautious and kept an eye out for red flags and did not pursue things if something seemed off. I become closer with one person and near the end of my time abroad it felt like I was onto a good thing. I felt healthy and happy, and loved. I trusted this person in ways I didn’t think I would be able to trust people. If we did have problems we would address them. He would take the lead on this if he thought i was upset about something because I honestly wasn’t able to most times. We agreed to stay in touch and try to make things work inspite of the distance. Since I have come back however, I have been thinking about somethings that happened in our relationship that could potentially be red flags. I am feeling confused and upset because I don’t know if my ptsd is making me hyper vigilant and I am twisting everything to make it seem worse and abusive or if these things were actually abusive. I am also upset because if he is abusive than I am still vulnerable to the trap of trusting someone who would be dangerous for me to trust. I promised myself as a child that I would never enter into an abusive situation, and if a situation did turn abusive I would leave immediately. I feel like I am letting myself down. I don’t know what to do or what to think. I am feeling despair and hopelessness.
I have tried discussing the things that seemed like red flags on a ptsd forum I belong to and got such mixed responses it confused me even more. I feel like in person I trust him, and the distance makes it harder. But I would think this even if I was in abusive situation.
I would appreciate advice and insight. I can share the things I thought were red flags if people think it’s helpful. I haven’t in this post because the responses I got on the forum confused me further and seemed to lean extremely one way or the other (he doesn’t care about you, it’s disgusting and abusive/ it’s just miscommunication and you need to be more assertive) and I don’t want to cloud my head further. I did speak to him about one of these things and he said that he wished I had told him about this sooner, he is sorry for hurting me and he will behave differently in the future. He also asked me to share things like this when they happen. To my mind, even this fairly reasonable reply (stretched out over a few messages back and forth) seemed like he was blaming me (these things happened because I wasn’t assertive enough). It also felt like he just knows the right things to say and so is saying them.
One more thing is that this year in therapy I realized that I had loved and trusted my father as a child and he betrayed me by hurting me, sometimes through clever and subtle ways. I am sure this impacts how I am reading this situation but I would rather be alone than trust someone I shouldn’t trust:
Thank you for reading this long post.
June 23, 2019 at 6:45 am #300393InkyParticipant
- This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by greenshade.
I think you should view this person as a learning experience. I’m not crazy about long distance relationships in general, so I won’t make the case to be with him. What I do think is that you should date a local person who treats you with the dignity, honor and respect you deserve.
InkyJune 23, 2019 at 8:44 am #300409
Thanks for your reply. For reasons of fear of safety, cultural appropriateness and differences in my own values, life goals and preferred family structure with local values I don’t date locally. There are a few people I have tried with who shared my values but they all had temper or addiction issues or their ego turned me off. I am in this country for at least the next two years. My reason for interest in maintaining this relationship is that it “fills my cup” in a way that I haven’t really experienced before and now that I know what it feels like I don’t want to go back to having no one in my life who is a source of comfort happiness and joy. Two years feels like a long time to be without those things. I have friends but having a partner feels different.
My own concern is around the fact that I feel unable to detect red flags and protect myself in this or relationships in the future. In this case, I either did not detect red flags early enough and things have the potential to be abusive or I am inaccurately painting this guy in the same light as my dad and not knowing what the reality is feels distressing to me. Even if I end this relationship, I would want to end it on a positive note (if that is the reality) and not on the note of feeling taking advantage of and manipulated (unless that is the reality).
June 25, 2019 at 9:25 am #300685
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by greenshade.
Just bumping this thread as I am feeling quite distressed by this issue, and am at a loss as to how I can address it.
MJune 25, 2019 at 10:59 am #300697
welcome back. It will be three years of you posting on this website in a few days, late June 2016 was the first time, I believe.
“I promised myself as a child that I would never enter into an abusive situation, and if a situation did turn abusive I would leave immediately”- and yet, after 10 months abroad most recently, you returned to the small apartment where you have lived with your parents for almost 30 years at this point, the place where you were abused severely by your father, and at times, by your mother as well. Your father was the one who screamed at you for hours at a time, forcing you to accompany him outdoors while you had high fever, and so on; your mother for months at a time, if not longer, expressing invalid anger at you six days out of a week. (I get angry thinking of it…!)
Regarding red flags and the man you dated when you were abroad, you wrote: “he said that he wished I had told him about this sooner, he is sorry for hurting me and he will behave differently in the future. He also asked me to share things like this when they happen… seemed like he was blaming me”- doesn’t seem like that to me at all and I am certain that from what you shared (quoted above), there is absolutely no blaming on his part, no red flag and his response was empathetic, kind and useful, very mature on is part, impressive.
When we (adult children) have been abused by a parent, or both parents, and still interact with them, and perhaps worse, still living with them, it means that we are partially blind to what happened to us, and to what is still happening to us inside the home of our childhood. Because of this partial blindness we don’t only not see clearly what is happening to us inside the home, we don’t see clearly what is happening outside the home.
So you close your eyes to the three decade red flags inside the home of your childhood, with your parents, and you see red flags where they don’t exist, in the relationship with this man you mentioned and everywhere else.
Everywhere you look, you see red flags except not where danger exists for you, in your very home.
June 25, 2019 at 11:27 am #300701MarkParticipant
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by anita.
You are in a long distant relationship. You can make the way you do this relationship that meets your needs of safety. You will not be actually be in his physical presence.
You can set boundaries and rules-of-engagement so you can feel safe.
Do you do video chat (e.g. Skype) or text or email or voice communications?
Is there anything in particular in terms of behavior/words that you are afraid of him saying?
MarkJune 25, 2019 at 11:59 am #300707
Thanks for replying.
I think you are right. I did not want to come
back, but had to due to financial and visa related reasons. Before coming back, I had been considering if I can move back out in six months after I start working again (my trip abroad was a study trip and depleted all my savings). Since I have come back however, that seems harder. I have fallen into the old role of my life revolving around my mum and my primary focus (which had shifted to building a healthy happy life for myself ) has shifted back to taking care of my parents and wanting to see my mom happy. My doubts about my relationship grew exponentially after coming back home. My mum feels like my life and I don’t wish to abandon her (is what I am feeling) and that makes it harder for me to have motivation to move out again as I had previously planned (and in truth I also want to avoid a scene. I don’t think I can move out without hurting my mum or making her angry). There is calm at home rn and that also makes it seem unreasonable to me that I want to move out (it is almost unheard of in my culture). After two years (when my work abroad restrictions end) I was thinking of going back to my life with my boyfriend but right now that feels far off and not real. I don’t know. I am definitely feeling like I have moved backwards since coming home.June 25, 2019 at 12:12 pm #300713
thanks for replying!
i call and talk via recorded video and audio messages with my boyfriend. I am scared of losing myself in my relationship with him as I am unable to control not focusing solely on him. When saying goodbye, we had considered traveling back to the us after two years to pick things up again. I am scared of going back to another abusive situation and also of abandoning my family (and the start of my precareer ) for him.My concerns with him had mostly been around respecting physical boundaries. However, I am not sure what I communicated that he ignored and what I didn’t communicate. For example, when we would goof off physically (play fights,he would pick me up , tickling etc) and I would say no no no, it was an automatic response and I would actually enjoy the situation. However, a couple of times I was genuinely scared and said no and he didn’t stop until I said it a few times stressing it more. After I came home I became concerned that he doesn’t stop when I say no and that is a problem. However, I was confused because the physical interaction mostly felt healthy and fun to me and healing too because I have always wanted to play fight since childhood but was afraid of being aggressive even in play. My other doubts are around similar things.
June 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm #300717
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by greenshade.
I just realized I may have been unclear about this. In six months I will financially be able to move out to a different appartment in my city. With this I am scared of sexual assault as women living alone are seen as easy and acceptable targets in my society. In two years, I will be able to work outside the country as my scholarship requirements will be met then. However, my Impact in my own society will be greater than I can make elsewhere (because my health related field is just taking off here but is already well established wlsewhere)June 25, 2019 at 2:00 pm #300733
You are welcome. Are there technologically effective security systems available in the city where you live and where you consider living alone in six months, so to protect yourself from possible sexual assaults in your home?
I hope you do what it takes so that your primary focus shifts to what you wrote here: “building a healthy happy life for myself”. It will not be easy, but if you leave your home of origin and stay away from it and from your role in it (“taking care of my parents and wanting to see my mom happy), and if you work hard and persevere, it is possible for you, to live no longer “Confused and full of mistrust”.
anitaJune 26, 2019 at 1:47 am #300791
I have been thinking more about your last post. I think I do not clearly see my mom. I still fear abandonment by her and I try to get as far away as I can without jeopardizing the relationship. I will try to work on this.
About your question, I don’t know if electronic security will make me feel safer but there is safety in numbers. Maybe I can get an apartment with a friend or in a gated community.
Thanks again for your reply and your words of support.
mJune 26, 2019 at 5:52 am #300809
You are welcome. A gated community and/or having roommates reads good to me, didn’t think of it.
“I think I do not clearly see my mom”- a young child and her mother, in the child’s perception/ brain, are not two separate people, but one person, one mental unit. It is only if the child, maybe in the later second decade of life or later, separates from her mother mentally, that it becomes possible for the now adult-child to see her mother as she is, and to see herself as (the daughter) is.
If a mother of a young child appears weak, unsure, very sad, troubled, scared… the child sees her mother as the child, and sees herself as the adult. The child feels great empathy toward her troubled mother and wants to take care of her. Even if that weak appearing mother abuses the child, the child still sees her as the weak one that needs protection and care.
This is how I saw my mother until I mentally separated from her (later in life). Now I can see that I was the child (when I was a child), not her. Now I can see her the way she has been, the way she is (I am in no contact with her since 2013).
June 26, 2019 at 10:20 pm #300991
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by anita.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me.Yes, that did happen when I was a child. I saw my mother was unable to deal with the world around her or my father and tried to step in and be the adult and I still feel that way about my mum (she is unable to care for herself). Yet she did in the ten months I was away. I can see my dads behavior clearly as abuse, but it is hard for me to see my mums behavior that way. I think we are very enmeshed. It has always been hard for me to imagine a life in my city not with my parents or moving abroad permanently but I have been thinking about it and trying to imagine it in the last few days.
mJune 27, 2019 at 5:57 am #301027
That enmeshed experience with your mother, as you referred to it, is that one mental unit I referred to. Within that enmeshed experience/ that singular mental unit, we can’t see ourselves clearly and we cannot see the mother clearly… the two are indeed enmeshed. The mother is seen as the child, the child as the mother. We think she needs us while reality is.. we need her.
I’ve seen it in my life and in others: the adult child feels her mother needs her while it is the adult child needing the mother. If you place who-needs-whom in the right boxes, in this enmeshed/ confused picture, then it will be easier for you to ..to live.
anitaJune 29, 2019 at 3:29 pm #301377
I’ve been trying to apply this as best as I can at the moment (creating space and a routine separate from her in the house with boundaries around how much time I spend with her rather than just waiting for her to tell me to do things. Just an update.