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  • #414348
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Thank you Anita

    My brother is dyslexic, potentially ASD but never diagnosed, lives at home with my parents, has no friends,  no job, no benefits. His only outing is to the shops to by food with my parents money. He’s socially anxious and anxious in general. He was most helpful when my dad was unwell at home in trying to help him to manage his anxiety have g dfound ways to try to manage his own if that makes sense. Helping with the shopping is about all he is able to offer other than that he shuts himself in his room and is nocturnal, being awake all night, and asleep most of the day.

    My mother is also dyslexic. However, she is a social butterfly, loves to meet with her friends for coffee and chatter. My dad’s anxiety frustrates her. When he was unwell at home she backed away saying she couldn’t deal with it, saying she just felt cross with him. The most she is able to help with is again food shopping, household chores, food prep/cooking. She’s doesn’t understand maths/finance neither does my brother and neither of them drive. My mum also has mobility issues.

    I just sought to be independent when younger, its the only thing I knew how to do.

    Over the years my dad has expressed his frustration and overwhelm at having to do everything, all the driving, running about, finances, maintaining the house and garden etc etc.. He’s let off steam with me, he’s shouted in exasperation at my mum, more so when I was younger, as I remember trying to calm them both by making them laugh.

    I am doing my best to support him in his recovery.

    Life has felt quite lonely. I’ve not always felt like I fitted in at times. I’ve always been active and bust. As a youngster it was sports and hobbies and helping others.. and not much has changed I that respect.

    I think I understand where you’re coming from with regards to the together feeling with A, and the loneliness after. I think a lot of the time my relationships have felt that way, I’ve put so much in, given so much of myself but it feels so lonely.. not sure that really makes any sense though?? However, I do crave that together feeling, even though my gut instinct may be telling me, as it has in the past, that something isn’t sitting right.

    A wants me when it suits him.. which stirs up memories of most of my relationships being similar. I always seem to be seeking to please, seeking to prove my worth? I don’t know

    I tried so hard to remain single, just over 3 years was good for me, and the majority of the time that was okay, i thought about dating occasionally, but having made so many mistakes/wrong choices, i chose not to date which led to feeling lonely at times. Then I hit a rough spot last year when my dad became unwell and met A at a vulnerable time. Maybe he could sense that? x

     

     

    #414350
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Palegazesunnidays

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had so much trauma in your life. Have you ever seen a therapist about this?

    I noticed at least one pattern in your dating life. When you experience difficulties you seek out a partner. You’ve done this on at least 2 occasions once after your divorce and now with A as you are dealing with a lot of stress at home. You said that it is difficult for you to say no to people when you are already struggling. This means that you might struggle with maintaining healthy boundaries and making good decisions in regards to dating at this time.

    I’m curious what initially attracted you to individuals in your dating life and any reasons why you decided to break up.

    For individuals with trauma, there is a unique situation which often occurs during dating. Essentially, it causes an attraction to individuals with characteristics that have the potential to cause further trauma. This might be something as simple as selecting a partner that is unable to meet your needs. This attraction is instinctive. It’s not a conscious decision, but it can be overcome with therapy.

    It sounds like you grew up in a dysfunctional household with parents that both struggled. It sounds like you and your brother in some ways had to fend for yourselves. Is this an accurate assessment of the situation? It sounds like your brother gave up, but you found your own way to survive. I mean no disrespect to your parents, it is difficult to raise a family.

    #414351
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Palegazesunnidays: I will read and reply to you in about 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #414364
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Hello Helcat

    Thank you. Yes I have seen a counsellor on and off over the years, and although I’ve worked through a number of things, I’m not sure I’ve really fully dealt with this trauma, it feels like it’s locked away somewhere, as I can’t understand why I would continue to make the same mistakes.

    I guess my partner following my divorce was experiencing the same as me. I was physically attracted to him, the conversation flowed, we laughed a lot and had a similar sense of humor. He was separated from his wife, as i was from my husband. He had 3 children (5, 8 and 11 at the time) who lived with his wife. We were both going through divorce, we were seeking similar things at the time i guess. About 6 months after moving in together, i felt unsettled, i was suddenly looking after his 3 children part time, plus my two sons (2 and 3 at the time). 3 or 4 years in i was feeling unhappy, he was quite volatile could anger easily, liked to be in control and have things his way, would undermine my parenting and his oldest child (son) could do no wrong, and he’d take his frustration out on his middle child (daughter) alot of the time classing her as the troublesome one along with my youngest son. I eventually moved out, we stayed together for another year and then i called it quits. I guess the best way to explain it would be i got fed up of living his life, things his way and of feeling bullied and always in the wrong.

    The first emotionally abusive one, i fell for his gift of the gab (same as my husband). I was sort of attracted to him, i think more for what he said than physically. I ended it when he got physical with my youngest son, throwing him and his toys off a sofa that he wanted to sit on. I told him to leave my house and he gave me a mouthful of abuse before he departed.

    The next one I knew from school, he was quite shy, and still was. He disclosed about a month later that he was Bipolar. His behaviour was erratic, up one minute down the next, but if a rollercoaster. I cut him some slack, it wasn’t his fault his moods were so up and down, and my friend was Bipolar so i knew to expect it. After 6 months of his erratic mood swings and alot of patience and understanding, i decided to end it as it was taking it toll, but he took me on an emotional rollercoaster, being mean, then calm and pleasant then angry etc, it was frightening and i took back my decision to end it. We remained together (not living together thankfully) for another year and a half, i found out that he also had psychotic depression and anxiety as well as being Bipolar. I also found out he was not taking his medications as he should have been which obviously affected his moods and behaviour. I spent that next year and a half trying to work out how to end it and get away from him whilst enduring emotional abuse and physical bullying (pinching, so called ‘jokey’ ‘soft’ punches, and being named called and criticised). I eventually found the courage to end it and he gave me hell for the next 3 months, turning up at my house, phone calls etc before he stopped having found someone else to ‘date’.

    I was alone for a year before I met my next partner, the friend i knew from work. (I felt afraid to date and go out and meet anyone. I’ve not been on a dating site or made any effort to date since the previous relationship).

    I wasn’t physically attracted to him but i knew he was a nice enough guy. I was afraid of getting involved though, hugs frightened me, kissing felt uncomfortable i guess because of what i had experienced with my last partner. He treated me well tho, we went out for walks, lunch, dinner, cinema the usual thing, we chatted and texted loads and we got on. Over time though, he became frustrated at the amount of time i was able to spend with him due to looking after my boys, he visited me less and i was left driving over to his the majority of the time. He then started meeting up more with his mates, going to support his beloved footy team. This was about 8 months in and i spoke to him about it, and he vowed to make changes as he didn’t want to lose me. It was okay for 3 or 4 months then returned to how it had been. I eventually plucked up the courage to call it quits and ended the relationship. Were remained friends and chatted over the phone now and again, but that phased out after about a year.

    And then theres A.. I had briefly met him years ago (about 11 years ago) at a friend’s party, just the pleasantaries, hello and brief chat whilst chatting to my friends. He’d seen me out and about recently (through the start of last year) and I received a message from him on Facebook asking how I was and if I fancied going out for a walk sometime..

    Growing up, my mum was quite focused on my brother. He was born with a heart defect, a speech defect and a webbed hand (like a ducks foot). He needed an op for his hand, speech therapy and regular check ups. Whilst this was happening and my dad was working around it all, I’d stay with my grandparents (my dad’s mum and stepdad). I learnt from a young age to be independent, look after myself and be helpful to my mum and brother. I always looked out for my brother through school and when we were out and about. I always looked out for my mum and helped her when she needed help. My brother has never really been pushed into or given the opportunity to fend for himself because my mum and dad have always been there, and he’s latched onto that, I guess because he had nothing else??

     

    #414369
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Palegazesunnidays

    That makes sense, I can see that you are very grounded and able to see situations for what they are. You have a wonderful level of self awareness.

    Thank you for clarifying about your brother. I can see now that you were treat differently. I can only imagine how much stress you and your family were under with a sick sibling growing up. It’s unfortunately common that the healthy sibling is left to take care of themselves. It’s a difficult situation but it is a shame because it does have an impact.

    I can see that even though you find it difficult to say no to people when you are struggling. You see the red flags and you are concerned for your own wellbeing. This is very healthy, I’m pleased for you. Since you have left unhealthy relationships in the past, I believe that you can protect yourself when you need to. You are getting better and better and faster at identifying when things aren’t working out.

    Dating is really difficult because there are a lot of unhealthy people out there. The prevalence of abuse is quite high. I feel like at every stage of the dating process, it’s a waiting game to see if any unhealthy traits are revealed. Once you’ve been together for 6 months people believe they don’t need to put in as much effort. Once you move in together you find out what someone is really like. When you see them suffering you see them at their worst. Once you’re married, well they don’t need to worry anymore because you’re locked in.

    For me, what I appreciate in dating is someone who is willing to listen and try to fix problems. Everyone has problems, no one is perfect.

    Have you made any decisions yet about what you’d like to do with A?

    #414374
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Palegazesunnidays:

    You are welcome. In regard to your romantic relationships, you shared that before your youngest was born, you separated from your then husband, father of your two sons, because of his adultery. You had a few relationships since. The first lasted several years: he was separated from his spouse and going through a divorce, just like you; he had 3 children, and you have 2. Living together, he was volatile, angered easily, undermined your parenting and took his frustration on his middle daughter and on your younger son. You eventually moved out, and a year later, you called it quits: “I got fed up of living his life, things his way and of feeling bullied and always in the wrong“.

    The 2nd relationship lasted 3 months: he got physical with your youngest son, “throwing him and his toys off the sofa“, following which you told him to leave the house.

    The 3rd relationship lasted 2 years: he suffered from Bipolar, psychotic depression and anxiety. He displayed erratic mood swings, “being mean, then calm and pleasant then angry etc.“, emotionally abused you and physically bullied you by pinching you and throwing ‘soft’ punches at you.

    The 4th relationship lasted  2.5 years: he was a nice guy, but over time, he got frustrated with the limited amount of time you spent with him due to parenting your two boys, and he gradually withdrew from you, spending more time with his mates. You eventually ended the relationship. The 5th and current relationship, with A, has lasted a year so far, and it is currently very unsatisfactory: “A wants me when it suits him“.

    In regard to your original family, you shared that your brother “was born with a heart defect, a speech defect and a webbed hand“, needed an operation for his hand, speech therapy and regular checkups. Your mother focused on him and your father, the sole source of income for the family, “was working around it all“. Your brother is currently dyslexic, and possibly ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), although never diagnosed with ASD. He still lives at home, as an adult, having no friends, no job, and no benefits. He is anxious in general and socially anxious in particular. He “shuts himself in his room and is nocturnal, being awake all night, and asleep most of the day“.

    Your mother is dyslexic as well, but unlike your socially anxious brother, “she is a social butterfly, loves to meet with her friends for coffee and chatter“. She doesn’t have a job, nor does she drive, and she has mobility issues. “The most she is able to help with is.. food shopping, household chores, food prep/ cooking“.

    Your father has been the sole source of income in the home, and before his mental health breakdown last June, he handled all the finances, all the driving for the family, and more: “Over the years my dad has expressed his frustration and overwhelm at having to do everything, all the driving, running about, finances, maintaining the house and garden etc. etc.. He’s let off steam with me, he’s shouted in exasperation at my mum, more so when I was younger, as I remember trying to calm them both by making them laugh“.   .

    In regard to the responses to your father anxiety and depression breakdown, you responded by going into overdrive, doing a whole lot to help your father, and to help your mother and brother (who could no longer be helped by your father, as far as driving etc.). Your brother rose to the occasion: “He was most helpful when my dad was unwell at home in trying to help him to manage his anxiety have found ways to try to manage his own“.

    Your mother‘s response: “My dad’s anxiety frustrates her. When he was unwell at home she backed away saying she couldn’t deal with it, saying she just felt cross with him“.

    The above is my organized summary of what you shared in your 3 recent posts. If you re-read it when you have the time, when you feel calm and patient: does any new insight come up for you?

    anita

     

    #414380
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Hello Anita..

    There are a few things that come to mind when reading through..

    In all my relationships, these were/are men that wanted only what they wanted.. and for me to slot into that equation. My husband just did his own thing, in the form of seeing other women behind my back, hanging out with his mates with me in tow, moto-x with his father whilst i cheered on the sidelines. I looked after him and our house, listened when he felt troubled, supported him with very little in return, he wasn’t there for me when i really needed him.. I like I wasn’t enough, I felt alone.

    My next partner.. he was very full on to start with, we’d go out to eat, for days and evenings out, we’d take all the kids out, hang out at each others houses. I’d calm him when he was angry, listen when he was frustrated, I tried my best to compromise on matters that were important only to be told that I just wanted everything my way or no way, or I was being silly. I helped him find and take part in new activities – golf, working out because he’d said he felt his social life had closed in on him. I encouraged and taught him to cook when he said he couldn’t do it. Again, when I really needed him, he wasn’t there for me, I felt unimportant, and alone.

    Number 3.. he was very cruel.. I’d cooked dinner for us once, only for him to berate it and he said he’d cook for us in future because he was really good at it. He dissed my style saying I needed to dress better. On the flip side he’d say how I was great at cooking deserts, and looked good I the dress he picked.. he was volatile. I listened and I did.. he ‘supported’, ‘cared for’ me although that’s not what it felt like. I couldn’t do anything but listen and do.. I felt worthless and alone. I guess because I could support/care for him etc.. I ended the relationship pretty swiftly in comparrison to all my other relationships.

    No. 4 with Bipolar.. I supported, I cared, I listened, I helped him with all sorts of difficulties he was having over the time we were together. But I’m aware I also enabled him to rely on me which was probably the worst thing I could have done. There was nothing at all in return from him, apart from demands for more from me and I continued to enable. I felt emotionally drained, worthless and very alone.

    No. 5.. the nice guy.. he was very full on to start with, we’d go out to eat, for days and evenings out, hang out at each others houses with and without our kids (all un their teens by now). I listened to him poor out his feelings of loneliness (guess that’s why I tried so hard to find time to spend with him??). I joined him and his mates for nights out where I’d be left at the table practically ignored whilst he socialised, but when he joined me with my friends I’d be by his side, introduce him to people etc. I joined him at some of the footy matches he’d go to watch, but he never joined me on the things I enjoyed, apart from walking. I supported him through some tough moments, but he wasn’t there when I really needed him. Yet again, I felt like I wasn’t enough, and alone.

    And A.. same story, different guy..

    When I look at my family dynamics in comparison to my relationships.. I see a similar pattern.. I listened, helped, supported, calmed, looked after.. Mum couldn’t do the same for me because she relied on me.. Dad was working, he was there for in the sense that he would listen when i needed to talk, he supported me with my studies and leisure activities.. my brother was unable to be there for me.. I don’t remember feelings of loneliness growing up, I guess I had school and my friends though and my clubs and activities, hanging out with the kids round my area.. always busy  never a chance to feel alone. Around the age of 11, or 12, when I moved from primary school into high school I remember the feeling of not really fitting in and feeling alone, but despite that would try my best to do so. I always felt like I had to prove my worth throughout my teenage years though, because of not feeling like I fitted in.

    If I look at my work life it has always revolved around helping and supporting others to achieve things – I worked as a personal trainer/fitness coach, in a hospital, in a nursery looking after babies and toddlers, in a school for one to one support, and as a support worker and carer over the last several years.. its where I feel most comfortable I guess.. its what I know and I know I’m good at it in that context.. but very obviously not within the context of a relationship. I’ve not intentionally meant to behave in the way I have/do in my relationships, I just do it instinctively. And even when I know the relationship is not right for me, I override my gut instinct and plough on believing if I just do a bit more, of I am a bit more then things will change. Its not changed within my family relationship, so goodness knows why I think it will be any different within my relationships. I allow them to be one sided, I allow myself to stay when it’s not right for me. I couldn’t say no to my mum, dad and brother, I can’t now.. and in my relationships I was the same, I am the same.

    And then at the bottom of the pile, after everyone else is okay.. I put myself.. I guess its no wonder I feel alone, especially within a relationship.. and feel worthless when nothing comes back..

     

     

    #414385
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    A few other things have popped up in my mind.. guilt.. for wanting to leave my previous partners, how can I leave when they need me.. Guilt about hurting them despite feeling hurt myself.

    A need for feeling needed?? My parents and my brother needed me. My needs weren’t/ aren’t being met by the other person/people because they are focused on themselves.

     

     

     

    #414387
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Palegazesunnidays:

    I read your recent two posts, fascinating! I am so very impressed by your intelligence, emotional honesty and resulting, amazing insight, wow! You said it all, you got it: putting yourself last in your own life has to come to an end. Imagine being first (while being fair to others and continuing to parents your sons well)…how would that feel like?

    anita

    #414389
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Thank you Anita.. I must admit I felt quite emotional writing it all down and seeing it laid out bare in front of me.

    It would feel great to put myself first whilst behaving with respect and kindness towards others and parenting my sons as best I can. I’m just not quite sure where to start to be able to do that and how to keep doing it without falling back into old habits.

     

     

     

    #414391
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Palegazesunnidays:

    You are very welcome. I am still moved by your insight and how well you expressed it in words. I would love to try and help you to put yourself first and not call back into old habits. Let’s continue to communicate for as long as you want, and figure it out together, shall we?  (I will soon be away from the computer for the rest of the day).

    anita

    #414396
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for your kind words. I would very much appreciate continuing to communicate and to figure out together how I can move away from (and not return to) old habits.

    I I chose to look after myself this evening whilst my sons are out with their friends. I ran myself a bath, lit a few candles and relaxed for a short while and I now plan to read my book before I retire for the night.

    Thank you again

    (And thank you too Helcat x)

    #414431
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Palegazesunnidays:

    You are welcome and thank you for being as amazing as you are!

    I chose to look after myself this evening..“- you chose to put yourself first last evening, excellent!

    You wrote: “It would feel great to put myself first whilst behaving with respect and kindness towards others and parenting my sons as best I can. I’m just not quite sure where to start to be able to do that and how to keep doing it without falling back into old habits“-

    – old habits cannot be underestimated because they are powerful and we are creatures of habit. Simplified yet true: habits are established physical and chemical connections between nerve cells in the brain. It takes patience, practice and time to weaken old habits (physical and chemical connection) and create new habits. It is called Neuroplasticity aka neural plasticity, or brain plasticity: “the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. It is when the brain is rewired to function in some way that differs from how it previously functioned” (Wikipedia).

    I grew up feeling excruciating guilt in regard to believing that I made my mother miserable, the last thing I wanted to do because… it felt so terrible. Guilt was like a very dark cloud that followed me everywhere, making living and thriving impossible. My brain was heavily wired to feel Guilty (with a capital G). At the age of 24, I left my mother, country, continent and travelled to America, all by myself. I remember the magical freedom being away from her, seeing the first Christmas in my life, in New York City (NYC).. how wonderful life could be. But then.. I felt Guilty to witness all this magic while my mother never traveled abroad, and so (I am not adding all the details here and what it took), I had her come over to NYC and visit the city (and elsewhere in Eastern U.S.A.), with me. After she left, there was no more magic for me in NYC and I sought it elsewhere.

    Fast forward, at about 28, I experienced a new magic: I got my first full time  job as a teacher in the U.S., I was making more than minimum wage for the first time in my life. Buying my own home- in the future- became a possibility. I purchased those cassette tapes that were advertised on TV, full of calming music and positive affirmations. Affirmations like: I deserve to be happy, I am a worthy person (I don’t remember the exact words). I listened to those while jogging and it felt so good, as if I believed those things about myself… but then I felt too guilty to not visit my mother when on vacation from school, so I did.. and the Guilt returned, the positive affirmations were gone.. I lost my job, never to regain a full-time job.

    There is more to the story, of course, but fast forward many years, I finally ended all contact with my mother, and currently, I no longer feel Guilt. And it is quite recent that I feel that I am on my own side, that I am for me (no longer against me), that I don’t deserve to suffer and that I deserve to feel good, even in difficult situations.  I tell you all this so to let you know where I come from and what I know about changing habits: changing physical and chemical habits of the brain, in a practical sense.

    Back to you, you wrote yesterday: “A few other things have popped up in my mind.. guilt.. for wanting to leave my previous partners, how can I leave when they need me.. Guilt about hurting them despite feeling hurt myself”- so we have Guilt in common.

    “Guilt about hurting the despite feeling hurt myself. A need for feeling needed?? My parents and my brother needed me. My needs weren’t/ aren’t being met by the other person/people because they are focused on themselves”-

    – you figured that if you gave them what they needed, they will then turn around and give you what you needed. Isn’t it so?

    Still yesterday, you wrote: “In all my relationships, these were/are men that wanted only what they wanted… My husband just did his own thing.. I looked after him and our house, listened when he felt troubled, supported him with very little in return, he wasn’t there for me when I really needed him.. I like I wasn’t enough, I felt alone”-

    I figure that the above is a replay of your childhood: you gave everyone what you believed they needed, but received very little in return. And you felt alone, that you weren’t enough or worthy to be looked after, to be listened to, to be supported. A habit was formed in your childhood: to take care of others and to wait till they will turn around and take care of you.

    My next partner.. I’d calm him when he was angry, listen when he was frustrated“- just like you did for your father, isn’t it?

    “Again, when I really needed him, he wasn’t there for me, I felt unimportant, and alone. Number 3… No. 4… I felt emotionally drained, worthless and very alone. No. 5.. the nice guy..  but he wasn’t there when I really needed him. Yet again, I felt like I wasn’t enough, and alone. And A.. same story, different guy”-

    – same childhood story, and same childhood feelings: unimportant, worthless, not enough; emotionally drained; very alone.

    I don’t remember feelings of loneliness growing up“- you forgot. Those feelings must have been there.

    “If I look at my work life it has always revolved around helping and supporting others to achieve things…  it’s what I know and I know I’m good at it in that context.. but very obviously not within the context of a relationship… And then at the bottom of the pile, after everyone else is okay.. I put myself… and feel worthless when nothing comes back“-

    -let’s return to what you shared most recently: “I chose to look after myself this evening whilst my sons are out with their friends. I ran myself a bath, lit a few candles and relaxed for a short while and I now plan to read my book before I retire for the night“-

    – let’s say (and I hope so) that you did retire for the night and had a good night. Fast forward, another evening, your sons are out with their friends, and you figure that you’ll do the same again. You run yourself a bath, lit a few candles.. but you don’t feel relaxed because you talked a bit earlier with your father and he sounded particularly depressed. Him sounding this way triggered the old habit: to take care of others and to wait till they will turn around and take care of you.

    What you need, in the scenario I outlined right above, is to relax. But according to that physical and chemical habit, the way for you to relax is to make your father feel better first. Associated with this habit is the belief that you are not yet worthy of being relaxed, you still have to earn it by taking care of your father and then wait for him to give/allow you the relaxation that you need.  I could go on but this post is long enough. Please take all the time you need to read and respond, if you will.

    * One more thing: my story that I shared with you in this post, it is not about you making me feel better and taking care of me. It’s meant to let you know where I come from in regard to the topic we are discussing.

    anita

     

    #414456
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for sharing your story with me, it is thought provoking.

    Returning to the aspect of guilt for a moment.. regarding the more recent event of my father becoming unwell..
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>In the preceeding 6 months or so leading up to his mental health breaking down, I had noticed him becoming a little less motivated, a little withdrawn even. At the time I was also in a position where I had become increasingly frustrated of running around after and looking after everyone, work included. I’d stopped from support work to working in a special needs school supporting children with considerable needs, the class I was in the children were all non verbal, had mobility needs, had behavioural issues etc. It was very full on and I thought it would be a good role for me. The people I worked with were great, apart from the class teacher, who I found very frustrating as he always felt unwell, was injured, or was just leaving us to everything and sitting back doing ‘admin’ in the main office. I was finding the role quite difficult as it was so intense and I became just as upset and frustrated with work as I felt at home.. Going back to where I mention above of feeling frustrated, upset, angry even of lofe at home. For as long as I can remember my parents have always visited for the day 2 to 3 days each week. When my boys were younger it was a great help and support as it enabled me to be able to work a few days a week, and gave my boys a kind of father figure (in my dad) as their dad only saw them one weekend every few weeks (his choice). In the last few years, and now my boys are that much older, my parents have continued to visit 2 or 3 days a week (and have continued to join us when we go on days trips or on holiday). They’d stay for several hours at a time and I’d provide lunch and evening meal, and try to think of something, anything we could do whilst they were here as my boys were in their rooms or out with friends/at college etc. I was frustrated about the time they spent round at mine, I tried to change it, but it fell on deaf ears. My dad would say, ‘Well you’ve got the boys, so it’s easier if we come see you’, ‘I’ve arranged it so your mum and I didn’t do anything on the days we come to see you’ etc.. I tried expressing my frustrating in as calm and kind a manner as I could to my mum in the hope that she would be able to help my dad to understand. But she just agreed with me saying she ‘knows they come round too much, but that’s just the way you’re dad is, I get cross with him too’. She never said anything to him.</p>
    I became a but snappy and sought to escape the house for walks alone when they visited. Each time my dad said ‘oh I’m really sorry we can’t come over on Tues next week’ I respond saying, that’s okay, you don’t have to come over, one day a week is plenty and we could always pop and see you instead of you always coming here’ to which he’d never reply with anything more than an ‘hmm’.

    I return to the mention of guilt.. when my dad fell unwell and the deterioration of his mental health picked up pace, I partially blamed myself for not wanting him and my mum to come round as much as they were, I felt guilty that I’d pushed him away and it was my fault. That guilt still floats in and out of my mind, I know it was a combination of things that led to his breakdown, but a small part of me feels I was part of it.

    I did everything I could to support him whilst he was at his worst, and in the early days of him being home. I’ve let go a bit now that I know he has psychological support on board each week now, and that he is making small steps to recovery. But that sense of loss for me is great, and the guilt sits right beside it.

    With me being in a vulnerable place, I latched onto A. I knew from day one, probably as I did with all my partners I was with before, that he wasn’t right for me, he spoke as the others did, all about himself, his work, his alcoholic dad leaving him when he was young, his partners cheating on him or leaving him.. the ‘poor old me’ scenario, the ‘I need to be needed’ scenario.. the victim.. and I step into care/support/mother mode.. If I care/support/meet their needs, then they’ll do the same for me.. but they can’t. I attract the wrong guys because I’m attracted to those that ‘need’ me.

    #414457
    Palegazesunnidays
    Participant

    To break that habit that resides within me will be hard.. not because I don’t want to break it, but because it is so enground within me.

    My logical mind or my gut instinct knows early on that they’re not right for me.. my subconscious informs me otherwise.

    I know that I am being hurt, I feel it, of course I do, but it’s so normal for me that I allow it to continue, to go unnoticed. I then end up in a position where I know I want to get out, to walk away, but in creeps the guilt.. It’ll hurt them. And I know what hurt feels like, I can’t do that to them.. so I stay, either until I find the confidence to walk away, or a succession of events/things said or done really presses my buttons, anger erupts inside and I decide enough is enough and pluck up the confidence to walk away.

    With A right now.. I’m feeling guilt. Guilty that I will hurt him, that he will again feel abandoned (as he has  mentioned he has been by his past partners, his dad..). although I’m also aware there’s the possibility I may well have been manipulated.

    I’m also feeling one minute that I want to feel needed and held by A, and the next, strong enough to call it quits. I feel pulled in different directions by my conflicting feelings.

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