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This topic contains 31 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #306339

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    That makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you. In regards to my ex, I was able to share all of my emotions, and he was soothing. That was a very addicting feeling to me.

    I would really love to hear about some of the strategies you learned.  We both agreed to sign up for it together. It is his first time going to therapy, so he is very intimidated to do it alone.

    V

    #306371

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    You are welcome. On the first page of your thread you wrote: “I often felt like I took on a lot of my mother’s emotions… the emotional dumping when I was younger, and now the need to still be there for every feeling she has… I feel like because I often would carry the weight of other people’s emotions.. I don’t have a place to ‘dump’ my own”.

    When your mother dumped (and still does) her emotions on you, she gets to express herself at your expense. She unloads herself and uploads you with her excess emotional weight. It is a Win-Lose interaction: she Wins, you Lose.

    The principle behind effective social interactions and interpersonal skills is Win-Win.

    When you were a child and your mother dumped her emotions on you, you automatically took responsibility for her emotions, figuring it was your job and duty to make her feel better. Children do that because they are unable to see the mother as a separate person. For the child, mother and child are one,  one mental unit. Fast forward, you feel responsible not only for her feelings but for your friends’ and your boyfriend’s feelings. This burden of false responsibility is what makes it so difficult to listen to your friends’ and boyfriend’s feelings.

    No one should dump their feelings on another, that is, expect and demand the other to make them feel better. People should share responsibly what they feel. Not going on and on endlessly, not talking to the listener whenever they feel like talking, regardless of what the listener is doing or feeling.

    When your boyfriend shares with you about a difficulty he has, a distress, sadness, and you are not responsible for that, you didn’t cause it, remind yourself of this very thing: I didn’t cause it. He felt this way before he ever met me, etc. This will take away from your burden.

    See to it that as you share, you keep it short, you don’t go on and on burdening a person. Share in Moderation. And expect him to do the same.

    Put an end to your mother dumping her emotions on you. Do you think you can do that?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  anita.
    #306403

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I agree that it should be a win-win, and I have been trying to implement boundaries around responsibility. It has been an ongoing practice. However, with my boyfriend, I find that when I try to have a conversation about things that are concerning, he stonewalls (gives very little in response, won’t make eye contact). He doesn’t know how to effectively communicate, and this is where a large part of the anxiety comes from in the relationship. I try to offer strategies, and let him know exactly what I need when we are in conflict. This is also why I found my ex’s approach so soothing. I need to be able to talk through things and have a plan of action to move forward. I do not get this now, and it causes me a lot of distress.

    I understand that I am responsible for my feelings; and I want to be able to do that, however, I am feeling like I am taking on an emotional load which is exhausting me.

    The boundary work is something I will continue to practice.

    V

    #306413

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    “with my boyfriend, I find that when I try to have a conversation about things that are concerning, he stonewalls (gives very little in response, won’t make eye contact)”-

    Do you want to take your time and type a conversation you had with him where you brought up a concern and he stone walled you, type it in the form of she said/ he said, adding c0mments such as looks away, gets up and leaves, and such?

    anita

    #306419

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Sure. I’m happy to do that. Most recently, we’ve been in a cycle of arguments about communicating more effectively with myself and others. Specifically, he finds it difficult to socialize, and yesterday I introduced him to my friends. We went out to dinner and he asked some questions, but after that just sat and did not engage with anyone else. Before the next stop, I spoke to him privately and asked if he was comfortable and asked him to try and engage more because it’s important to me. This turned into a huge spiral argument about everything else.

    V: It is really important to me that you get along with my friends and family. I am feeling like you don’t try to engage with the people who are important to me. I know that you’re a great person, and I would like for everyone else to see it as well.

    D: I am trying but they didn’t engage with me either.

    V: You’re right, but I think that as the new person you need to try taking some initiative. For example, you could try sharing stories about yourself, and asking open ended questions.

    D: Okay, sorry. (Not looking at me)

    V: (I have to add that I feel quite upset when he just says sorry without acknowledging anything I’ve said. I feel like he does it to end a conversation). I’m not really looking for an apology, I’m trying to help you come up with a plan.

    D: *silence*

    V: Can you please say something?

    D: I feel like you’ve been on me for everything, and you’re bashing me.

    V: I am trying to connect with you, and support you because I know it makes you feel uncomfortable.

    D: *silence*

    V: I find it very challenging when I’m trying to have a conversation with you, and I get little to no response. Can you please say something?

    D: What do you want me to say?

    At this point, I would start to get upset because I feel like I’m not being heard or understood. I know that he shuts down when he feels threatened, and he acknowledges that he does this, but doesn’t actively try to stop it.

    V: I am feeling very disconnected. Whenever I’m trying to have a conversation with you, I feel like I need to ask at least 10 questions to get one response and it is upsetting for me. I want to feel like we can have open and honest communication, but every time I try to talk to you about something, you shut down and the conversation can’t come to a resolution.

    D: Okay, I won’t disconnect next time.

    V: (This also upsets me because it’s just a blanket response) I feel like I have heard you say that, but I’m not sure if we have an active plan to make sure that doesn’t happen. Whenever I ask you if you need help, or need suggestions on a plan for when we’re in conflict, you say you’ll figure it out. You can’t get a different result from the same strategy.

    Inevitably, this conversation ended because it was late, and we were both tired. Today, when I tried to speak with him, he said he feels like he’s always being criticized and that he doesn’t feel like showing love when he feels that way. I said that I was trying to connect with him, and he said after last night it was hard for him to do that, and that if I were in his position, I would feel the same way.

    I responded by saying that he was right, I would not like it. But I would try to take the information and do something with it because I know that something I am doing is causing distress, and I should be aware of behaviours that are coming up for me.

    I haven’t received a response from him since then. This last section was through text.

    #306423

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    I am looking forward to read your recent post (and any you may add to it, another example if you think it may be helpful for me to read) when I am back to the computer in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #306465

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    I am back earlier than I intended. I read the conversation you detailed. In the conversation you detailed you are harassing him, really. You are being unfair to him.  He didn’t do anything wrong or rude when in the company of your friends. He asked them a few questions and they didn’t respond much to him, and he didn’t insist on asking them yet more questions, open ended or not. (D:.. they didn’t engage with me either, V: You’re right).

    When he told you: “I feel like you’ve been on me for everything, and you’re bashing me”, reads like he is accurate.

    You told him: “I know that you’re a great person, and I would like for everyone else to see it as well”- this is condescending to him, presenting him as inferior to your friend, for why is it that you don’t want your friends to show your boyfriend what great people they are by engaging with him more?

    You told him: “I am feeling very disconnected”, giving him the responsibility for you feeling disconnected. But he is not responsible for it, he is just the way he was before. You don’t feel disconnected because he is not more outgoing than he is.  I think you feel disconnected because (if I remember correctly, first page) because marriage came up and you got scared and started thinking a lot about your ex boyfriend.

    Isn’t it true that you feel disconnected from your boyfriend because marriage was brought up and you’ve been thinking about your ex boyfriend?

    anita

    #306623

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I couldn’t respond yesterday as I was away from my computer. I can completely agree that my tone recently has been in that way and take full responsibility for that.

    I have said this in a previous forum and I do still think this to be true, I think I see myself having patterns of relationship OCD. I over analyze my relationships, question my feelings, and think about it way more than I should which leads me to becoming a bit too much. While it doesn’t excuse the behaviour, I definitely see a trend.

    I should definitely have been more supportive while we was around my friends. I just have this weird anxiety about what people think about my partner and us together that gets to be very overwhelming at times.

    #306633

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    I re-read your posts page one. I agree that you suffer from anxiety in the context of relationships with men. Let’s look at the anxiety: “In the last two weeks, I noticed myself feeling really great in my relationship and talking about getting married- and that’s when everything changed and that horrible detrimental feeling came which I am familiar with from all of my other relationships. I started picking out all of the things I didn’t like, and started wanting to be with my ex again. This time, it was very intense and has caused great distance in my relationship”-

    You felt very close to this man, your boyfriend, you panicked and the instinct to run away from the relationship kicked in. First, you ran away emotionally best you could, feeling disconnected, unheard, misunerstood. Then you started picking on him, so to convince yourself that he is the wrong match for you.

    Your boyfriend reads like a good guy. You wrote about him: “We are friends, he is affectionate, family oriented, thoughtful and considerate”- correction: reads to me like he is a great guy. You wrote that he has a low self esteem, but that doesn’t make him bad. It makes him one of the majority of people: most people have a low self esteem, some lower than others, that is all.

    Let’s look at what you said to him in the conversation you detailed above:

    “I am feeling like you don’t try to engage with the people who are important to me… you need to try taking some initiative”- your anxiety is building up a case against him: he is not engaging with my friends, he doesn’t take initiative—> bad match, better end the relationship.

    “I’m not really looking for an apology, I’m trying to help you come up with a plan”- not really, you are not trying to help him. Your anxiety is trying to help itself and is following its own plan: to blame him, to pick on him, and to break up with him.

    “I am trying to connect with you”- not your anxiety- it is trying to disconnect from him and end the relationship.

    About your thoughts during the conversation, you wrote: “At this point, I would start to get upset because I feel like I’m not being heard or understood”-

    -your anxiety is building its case successfully. You feel unheard and misunderstood-> you blame him -> you feel anger (anger motivates a break up).

    “I am feeling very disconnected” you told him and you blame him for it: “Whenever I’m trying to have a conversation with you.. you shut down”- you are the one shutting down, preparing for a breakup.

    Your anxiety is about the fear of re-living your painful childhood experience (“that horrible detrimental feeling”) with your mother and your father. You wrote about your relationships with your parents: “Today, the relationship is better, I try not to get upset with them because I know they were doing the best they can”. Later you wrote regarding your mother: “I sense that the hostility comes from the emotional dumping when I was younger, and now the need to still be there for every feeling she has (whether I agree with it or not)”-

    -the emotional dumping by your mother, it is still happening in the present. You avail yourself to your mother dumping her emotions on you still, while you redirect or project your anger from her to your boyfriend, blaming him and wanting to break up with him instead of .. what you really need to do, which is to break up with your mother.

    anita

     

     

    #306763

    VLC90
    Participant

    Anita,

    You are making some great connections with the little information I’ve been able to share. Thank you.

    My concern is, even after seeing and acknowledging these connections, it still feels so real.

    I still feel very off my boyfriend, and thoughtful of my ex, and I find it challenging to sit with that.

    In regards to my mother, I have been working on boundaries. She is still an important person in my life, so boundaries will help with that relationship, I am hopeful.

    V

    #306851

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    “it still feels so real”- feelings are very convincing. We don’t know if something is real unless we feel it. So you feel off with your boyfriend. The relationship really is off. But then, so was your relationship with your ex, it was off too. And every other relationship with men  in the past, wasn’t each one of them off?

    anita

    #306853

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Yes, you’re right. Each one of them has felt that way. However, I can’t but think that because this is a trend with all my relationships, then I must have ended my previous one (which despite our differences, was one of the strongest relationships I’ve felt) because of this feeling, and I could have worked through them if I had tried to.

    That is really what keeps sending me back there.

    #306859

    anita
    Participant

    Dear V:

    In your recent post you mean that you are obsessing about your previous relationship thinking you should get back together with your ex boyfriend so to make it work this time?

    Also, I was wondering: can you tell me more about this hope: “In regards to my mother, I have been working on boundaries. She is still an important person in my life, so boundaries will help with that relationship, I am hopeful”- what are you hoping for; what are you hoping to get from your mother? And if you got it, what difference will it make in your life?

    anita

     

    #325521

    VLC90
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I apologize for not replying. I had gone on vacation and had forgotten to answer. I am; however, back again. Still challenged by the cycle that brought me here initially. I am scared to take a step forward in my current relationship, and keep obsessing about my past one. There are times where I convince myself that my rOCD made me break up my last relationship, while also battling that rOCD may be causing this pain in my current relationship. I do not know what to do.

    #325605

    anita
    Participant

    Dear VLC90:

    No need to apologize for not replying earlier. You can post anytime you want, no time requirements. But did you really forget our communication because you went on a vacation? It surprises me because I see so much meaning in it. Will you re-read it and get back to me with what you think makes sense in it so far? If you do, let me know what it is that makes sense and we’ll take it from there.

    anita

     

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