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How autism works when it comes to feelings and relations

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  • #402505
    Anna
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Your first point seems very interesting and I am really curious to read more about it. Because after all i wrote, i thought it was pretty obvious that i wasn’t seeing only the good sides of him nor mine neither. Like, ever since the beginning, i was aware of all our differences. I don’t know, for me it was about complementzrity.

    Concerning your second point: I don’t think I am trying to explain/justify the withdrawl of those two guys because of their low self-esteem or their mental illness. In the first relation, my ex was actually very honest about his depression. We talked a lot about how it made him feel, how it made him withdraw from everything and everyone. When we broke up he even said that he didn’t feel ready for anything serious because of this. And having a lower self-esteem is also part of the depression-package.. he also talked a lot about him not feeling good because of his academic failures.

    When it comes to the second guy: he got diagnosed almost a decade ago with autism, I remembered a conversation we had about our therapies, his lasted five years. His lack of self-esteem was extremely obvious through the sentences he had many times « perhaps I will be for once able to teach you something », « why did you choose yo be with me », « if you don’t make the effort to  know me, then i’m not the kind of guy you want to date », « being around those people remind me of what I don’t have and what I can’t afford » etc).

    Maybe I can also put this on his lack of experience when it comes to relationships; i was the first girl over the past 6 years he dated. But i’m also aware that when being on an autistic prism, emotions and feelings aren’t displayed in a similar way as with neurotypicals (hence why i think i’m that much attracted to neurodivergents, being ND myself, it’s way too challenging to be with a NT). I have a very good friend who is autistic as well, we talked a lot about emotions and feelings and she told me many times that love was a way too abstract concept much before I met the second guy.

    I think it’s kind of normal for me to try to understand how their brains work. It’s not about making me feel better about myself, because I could have all the answers of the world about the kind of patterns their brains took before breakint up, the results will always be the same: us being separated and me being heartbroken. I genuinely think that since I am fully aware that a relationship with a ND is « better » for me, it’s also better for me to understand how a neurodivergency different from mine works. As we know that as ND we have our own way to communicate and create emotional bond depending on how our neurodivergency works.

    I mean, after digging down a lot with my ex who was depressive, I learned a lot about myself and why i decided to stay with him: it was not about love but rather about a sens of duty to not let him down while he was doing so badly in his life.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>With the second guy, i don’t know yet what is the lesson. Hence why I keep writing here. What am i looking for despite knowing what went wrong already?</p>
    Actually when i think about it, i’m starting to see a reccuring pattern in those two last relationships. I’m not sure if i can word it yet tho.

    At the end of the day, I mostly feel that it’s more about trying to heal myself through my attempts to understand them and to forgive myself about some stuffs from my past or my own personality.

    To circle back a little bit about my depressive ex, interestingly enough, I was so sure he didn’t have feelings for me because he couldn’t develop some. But now i think it’s been roughly two months he is trying to come back, he has made it clear that he wanted to rebound with me. He told that he felt much better and that he was on his good way to finish his studies and to finally have his own appartment.

    For my first ex, i know the breakup and all the complications occured because of his depression which was very recently diagnosed when we  started to be together if I remember correctly. I wasn’t that familiar with depression.

    For the second, i think it’s pretty obvious that he wasn’t ready to settle down: him going to walk to Spain (and saying out loud that he wanted to be alone at that time), him not knowing about his life, him freshly university dropped out, him financially struggling (because from the moment he dropped out he also stopped receiving grants and these grants in our country are really huge, in USD i would say that it represents somehow 500$/month). Again his low self-esteem was also pretty obvious. Concerning his ND, the more i think about it, the more it makes quite a lot of sens. Although i’m still not completely familiar with autism yet. But him being so oblivion; for instance he asked me a lot of things which at first were common knowledges (ex: him telling me that i was really hard to emotionally interpret and it was hard for him to tell if i was really into him, despite me being physically all over him, complimenting him and spending a lot of time with him, sending pictures of me etc). To which extent his ND affected his ways to display emotions and feelings and how it makes him understand people’s emotions and feelings.

    I genuinely think he is a good person, however his life being such a mess currently, he just got confused. As I am too about many other things.

    Tbh Anita, i may be digging down where i should  have stopped earlier but i promise, it helps me a lot.

    #402506
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anna:

    I read your recent post but am not focused enough to process it. I will be back to your thread in about 11 hours from now. If you would like to answer, before I return (having talked about the guys’ self-esteem): how do you evaluate your own self-esteem, growing up and currently?

    anita

    #402510
    Anna
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I hope you had a good night (it’s soon 11:00 am here).

    I would say about my own self-esteem that it’s doing pretty good actually. Besides the breakup which obviously hurt me a lot, I really enjoy what I do, who I am and the people I am surrounded by. And everything got better since I’ve been taking distance with my mother. It’s amazing how a simple decision like this has changed me so much in only 6/7 months.

    When I was younger I grew up being over and under-estimated at the same time: being praised for my skills, for being part of the “elit”, for being cute, polite and nice, yet everything I did was never enough, I got a B? Oh well, I could have gotten an A if I had put more efforts. I got a new haircut? Oh well, you could have left your hair a bit longer, etc.

    Hence why I decided a few months ago to distance myself from the environment for which I never was enough. I realized that I could and wanted to do so a few weeks after my last conversation with my depressive ex. I was also talking with someone about relationship and I asked THE question: “are we meant to be together?”, she told me “it’s not about knowing whether you are meant to be or not, it’s about what you want to give and if the other can reciprocate it. Give what you want to give if you feel like it, don’t restrain yourself because you are scared.” So after, I completely opened up about my feelings for him, of course I was scared he would reject me, but I also understood and accepted that if I decided to tell him how I felt, it was in a first place mostly for me and only for me. My feelings are too precious, too unique, they belong to me and only to me, metaphorically speaking: it’s like wanting to share candies, if the other doesn’t want your candies, then it won’t make you like less those candies. You will keep liking and wanting them and at some point in your life you will find someone willing to take your candies and shares their candies with you.

    I fell in love with the second guy because of the emotional bond we developed the 5 first months we knew each other, it was not imaginary, maybe it was just about timing. Although I also think that everything happens for a reason at a certain time. So I don’t know. Maybe at the end, he also realized before me that me and him would have also been extremely complicated in the sens that from the 20th of June, we wouldn’t have been able to see each other for at least 5/6 months because of our schedules and that would be unfair for all of us to stay with someone yet not being able to provide the emotional and physical care needed when in relationship with someone. Also I just realized that he was going to walk to Spain and after we both knew that I was going to leave for Asia around January/February for at least 5/6 months. Ehhhh..

    #402525
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anna:

    It is now 3:38 pm your time (6:38 am my time). I read your recent post where you wrote that your self-esteem is “doing pretty good” and better since you distanced yourself from your mother in the last 6-7 months. I hope you keep the distance then!

    I mentioned the time because I am gong to slowly study your two threads, so we’ll see at what time I will submit this post.

    On April 20, 2021, almost a year and two months ago, in your first thread, “A depressed boyfriend“, you were hyper focused on your (now ex) boyfriend and considered his depression as the reason for his withdrawal: “when he tried to withdraw himself (i.e. when he wanted to break up… ) from me… deep inside him it was the illness speaking“.

    You tried to not take his withdrawal personally, and assigned it to his depression: “I understand that he is going through a phase where he withdraws himself from everything and everyone including me“.

    But you were not sure: “I am at this point where I can’t make the difference anymore between what he really feels for me and when the depression talks for him“.

    You were hyper focused on him and shared about his life circumstances, his family, his mental state, his motivations, his feelings, his thinking, his behaviors. You shared the first thing about yourself (“I went through depressive phases which led me to go to hospital due to suicide attempts, however I was not diagnosed MDD“) only so to explain that you understood his depression.

    We once decided to take a break around December and it lasted one month, I felt like a complete wreck. I can’t imagine my life without him“, you wrote on April 21, 2021.

    Almost six months later, on October 17, 2021, you wrote: “I didn’t force him to anything towards me, I have always been clear and honest about how I felt and what I wanted, always told him that if he didn’t feel the same, he had to tell it so I would not have to agonize and waiting for him to make his moves” – in this sentence, you wanted to express that you were not pushy with him, that you were fair and reasonable with him, but what slipped at the end of the sentence was that you were agonizing for a long time, agonizing and waiting for him to make his moves. Agony means extreme suffering, anguish, misery.

    You added on that day: “I am aware that I hyper-focused on him for a longtime, but it got better for 7/8 months now though“.

    In October 22, 2021, you shared for the first time about your mother and you: “I am only child, raised by a single mom… never happy with what I did because it was never enough. I am from a wealthy environment. All my current successes, she sees that as a very easy thing… dismiss(es) it… I made peace, not with my mother, but with myself…. she will always try to find something to criticize…. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I am successful, feeling good in my skin, she can talk, I am not listening anymore“, “she didn’t have the right to make me feel like a trash“.

    Seven  months and 3 weeks later, on June 13, 2022, in your second, current thread, you shared about your life: “I don’t count my money, I spend it on whatever I want, I go wherever I want. And besides my studies, I work very closely with a lot of diplomats, NGOs, the national parliament and many ambassadors request me for cooperation. I am also very close to finish my bachelor and soon to be in a very prestigious university for my master… I am used to be friends and work with politicians, European commissioners/parliamentary” – but you were hyper focused not on a diplomat, or a parliamentary commissioner, but on a guy, a school dropout who worked in the same student pub where you worked, a guy you dated for a month or so. You were hyper focused on what he said, what he thought and felt, on his state of mind.

    The title of your thread , “How autism works..” is not about your state of mind, but about his state of mind, his autism. You provided meticulous details of your interactions with him, details you thought to be extremely important (“I would really like to pin-point all of those details, they are extremely important“). Every one of his words, his moves, how others reacted seeing you and him together, what other people said about him, the expression on his face, in which direction he was staring, the calendar dates when things happened..  all these were extremely important (“On the 12th of May, the three of us were talking about the situation. My friend said ‘why…?’…. ‘ On the 20th of May, ‘my’ guy said to my friend… My friend told him by message on the 22th of May: ‘I think… which ‘my’ guy responded ‘He’s…’.. After our clash on the 26th of May, the same day, he came to my friend…‘).

    You tried so hard to figure out what he feels and why he broke up with you and why he got together with the other girl. You wrote: “I know I’m kind of overthinking but at the same time, so many hard facts keep converging towards all of those assumptions.. Sorry for all those posts, I just remembered another thing ” – over thinking, hyper focused.

    Hyper focused on him and angry at him: “what infuriates me so much is that he… I am so mad at him for breaking up something which made us both  genuinely happy… What is wrong with him?  I know he freaked out, I know he didn’t feel worth it of being loved (he talked a lot about it). But he knew when he was going to leave for Spain, he knew he wasn’t ready. Why then did he start something with her right after breaking up with me?“-

    – At one point, you were ready to accept that he broke up with you because he didn’t feel worthy of being loved and because he planned to go to Spain. But when he started dating the other girl, he took this explanation away from you, and the explanation that was left as to why he broke up with you infuriated you.

    *Note, before I proceed: I assume (and I may be wrong) that you do are not going to like reading parts of whatever is to follow- so I am okay if you choose to stop reading and/ or to not reply, and I am okay if you continue to read later, when you are calm.

    On June 14, I wrote to you: “what if.. what if what is missing is not entirely his self esteem, but your self esteem: what if your self esteem is tied to your higher social class, to your family wealth, to your professional prestige and social connectedness… (while all along what you truly crave is ‘a strong emotional and physical connection’)?”

    You answered: “Obviously my self-esteem is extremely tied to my social class, this is how I was raised.. Modesty isn’t my best quality for sure…  I think this is really sad that I don’t care about social classes, money and those kind of things when it comes to my personal relations, as you said, I want deep and genuine emotional connections“, “I want to see people for what they truly are and I want them to see me for what I truly am“.

    On June 15, you wrote: “I am mad at him because we saw each other for what we truly are, yet, when I thought he accepted me for what I was, he.. rejected me“-

    – I think that you do care most about having a deep and genuine emotional connection with another person and not about social class, money, educational degrees, etc.

    I think that you thought that you had that which you care most about with the first guy and later, with the second guy. When each guy withdrew from you and when the second broke up with you, he took away from you that which you care for most, and that is why you got so angry.

    I think that deep inside you, you doubt your worth and you suspect that you are not worthy of that which you care for most: love= a deep and genuine emotional connection with another person.

    I think that you feel better about your worth when attaching it to social class, money, education, professional connectiveness and prestige, but these (social class, money, etc.) do not substitute for what you care for most.

    I think that when the first guy withdrew from you (“when he tried to withdraw himself (i.e. when he wanted to break up“, original post Aprill 20, 2021), and when the second guy withdrew from you (“I started t feel that something was off with him“, June 2022) and then broke up with you, you panicked and “felt like a complete wreck“, because you saw it as an indication that indeed you are not worthy of love. Panicking and agonizing, you hyper focused on each guy, trying to locate a reason for his withdrawal that is different from the reason you fear most, which is that you are not worthy of love.

    I think that the reason you fear so much that you are not worthy of love is because your mother didn’t love you, not when she dismissed your successes and criticized you and sent you the message that you are never enough, etc., which she did often.

    I asked him if we could talk, he clearly avoided me, I didn’t even understand why… And when I asked him why he was avoiding me, he told me yeah no, I thought you were going to talk about the situation and I genuinely think that we have nothing left to say. I don’t even understand why… he just avoided me, like WHY“- I think that it is likely that once you started panicking and agonizing with each guy, the guy noticed and wanted to avoid your panic and agony by avoiding you.

    On Oct 3, 2021, you wrote about the first guy: “he feels unworthy of being loved, unworthy of my love because I am successful and he is being afraid that I would realize that he wasn’t ‘worth it’“, and you suggested the same about the second guy (“Many times he told me little phrases such as ‘ehh, well you know, you chose a poor boy’, ‘maybe for once I would finally be able to be useful and teach you something’“, etc.), and it’s probably true that both suffer from a low self-esteem, or better say perhaps: at times, they suffer a low self-esteem.

    But at times, almost everyone suffers a low self esteem, feeling unworthy of love. And so do you. At times, you feel it quite strongly, so strongly that you panic and agonize, overthink and hyper focus on a guy.

    I will close this long post with your most recent post: “I would say about my own self-esteem that it’s doing pretty good actually. Besides the breakup which obviously hurt me a lot” – your self esteem is very vulnerable in the context of a romantic relationship.

    When I was younger I grew up being over and under-estimated at the same time: being praised… yet everything I did was never enough” – I am guessing that you grew up overthinking and hyper focusing on everything, so to  be praised and not be under-estimated for the next thing you do.

    Hence why I decided a few months ago to distance myself from the environment for which I never was enough” – good choice! In your next romantic relationship, the challenge would be to distance yourself from the message that you are not enough to be loved, and get closer and closer to believing otherwise.

    anita

    #402606
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Anna,

    I am really sorry for your heart-break and for having been rejected by someone you deeply cared about. You haven’t responded to anita’s latest post, but I think she gave you an excellent possible explanation for your relationship difficulties: feeling not good enough. You said:

    When I was younger I grew up being over and under-estimated at the same time: being praised for my skills, for being part of the “elit”, for being cute, polite and nice, yet everything I did was never enough, I got a B? Oh well, I could have gotten an A if I had put more efforts. I got a new haircut? Oh well, you could have left your hair a bit longer, etc.

    Hence why I decided a few months ago to distance myself from the environment for which I never was enough.

    You might have been praised for the things you felt are superficial: being part of the elite and having the skills needed to fit in nicely among the elite: having great social skills, being intelligent, being an excellent student, being polite and cute – in short, having all that it takes to reach success. And not any kind of success but the kind that is expected from talented youth of your social status, I imagine? And you have reached that success: at the age of 26 you are working closely with politicians, diplomats, EU commissioners and MPs, you are going to a prestigious university for your masters degree, you are publishing papers in renowned journals… you are shining like a star, and you are headed towards even bigger successes. You are heading to the top!

    I imagine many are praising you and have praised you while you were growing up, but not your mother… for her you were never good enough. Perhaps she is even minimizing your academic and other achievements, because “you had it easy”, so in her eyes, your success is self-understood and nothing special. A (rare) B could have been an A, you could have left your hair longer… I know the feeling, my mother was the same – never happy and never pleased with me.

    So even though you are very successful according to external measure, I imagine that internally you feel like a failure. Never good enough. And you are looking for someone for whom you will be good enough. For someone who will choose you not because of your status and wealth, not because of these external adornments, but because of you, the real you. The vulnerable, less than perfect, messy but still beautiful and amazing – you. You are no longer expecting to get it from your mother (you gave up on her) but you are expecting to get it from your romantic partner.

    And I imagine you are attracted to men who are vulnerable and messy themselves, with whom you can be your true self. So that they would finally accept you and love you as you are. You aren’t attracted to promising young diplomats and others from the same social circle because maybe you expect that they will be superficial or judgmental like your mother?

    You are currently dating someone who is very ambitious, knows what he wants, belongs to the same social circle, but… you aren’t feeling it (He’s amazing, ambition-wise, we are at the same level, we come from the same social environment, he knows what he wants etc. But.. I am not emotionally connected as much as I was with the other one). The reason you aren’t feeling it could be because he really is superficial and focused only on external successes, or you might be projecting that he is superficial and this is a big turn-off for you. Because you don’t want anyone who reminds you of your mother.

    What do you think? Does this sound true to you?

     

    #402957
    Anna
    Participant

    Hi Anita and Tee,

    Thank you for responding to my thread and I apologize for being so late. I was having my graduation ceremony and as major of my year, I had to prepare a speech and I was helping with the preparations. In addition I was having an interview for a job: I am now the deputy-editor-in-chief of a European think tank. I am really looking forwards to this new experience.

    I will respond later to your answers, because it actually helps me a lot to understand myself lately and I also needed time to process.

    However I would like to come back to some events which have happened so far this week. Obviously I bumped into him many times and I even saw him with that girl I was talking about. Tonight I was at a party with one of his best friends. She told me that he was taking distance with everyone ever since he was “dating/seeing” her. Apparently he was kind of living with her and they kind of rebounded, I am not sure if I understood properly this part, because his contract with his room was over or soon-to-be, or something like this, they live together until he goes on vacations with his family. I also saw him a few times at the building of our associations, he was there from 12:00 to at least 7/8:00, obviously I wasn’t here all the time, but every time I went there, he was also present and always eating the stuffs from the association. So it hits me: he had absolutely no reasons to be present in this building, he was there because he could eat something. I am not sure to which extent his situation is bad, but when I saw him, he wasn’t doing good at all. It was really obvious. I am not saying he wasn’t feeling ok because of me, but it seems to me that his situation is kinda alarming if he is at the point of having to go to our association’s building to eat for free just because he can’t afford something decent. And having to live with someone you barely know just because you don’t have a roof above you is also a bit concerning no? As someone who still cares for him, I can’t help myself but feel a bit worried for him.. I mean, when I saw him today, he was really pale and skinny.

    #402968
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anna:

    Good to read back from you. Congratulations for graduating! Does it mean that you will soon receive your Bachelor’s degree?

    I am now the deputy-editor-in-chief of a European think tank. I am really looking forwards to this new experience” – I don’t know what a European think tank is, but from the little I read, it sounds impressive, congratulations!

    I was wondering, on June 13 this year, you wrote: “I work very closely with a lot of diplomats, NGOs, the national parliament and many ambassadors request me for cooperation… I am used to be friends and work with politicians, European commissioners/parliamentary” –

    – I don’t understand how a 27 year old student, not yet having a bachelor degree. does not only work with a lot of diplomats, but works closely with a lot of diplomats and ambassadors and politicians etc. How can this be.. in what context?
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    “he wasn’t doing good at all… his situation is kinda alarming if he is at the point of having to go to our association’s building to eat for free just because he can’t afford something decent… As someone who still cares for him, I can’t help myself but feel a bit worried for him.. I mean, when I saw him today, he was really pale and skinny” – do you want to help him eat better, maybe hand him a big, healthy food basket, as a gift?

    anita

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    #402973
    Anna
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you! I actually had my ceremony yesterday. Technically I am graduated since the 10th of June but we got the ceremony only now.

    To answer your questions: put it simply it’s a mixt between my personal network composed by a lot of ambassador’s children/nephews and the fact that I’ve been working for a NGO for the past two years now as board member. It’s a quite big one in our country and many politicians (from national to UN level) and other big names used to be part of it in their younger days which makes the alumni network quite impressive to say the least. So basically, my personal network and my position in this NGO, allows me to work very closely with those kind of people. It’s really fun and rewarding. In addition, I worked for a while in Brussels where I also developped a strong network within the European Commission, some of my closest friends still work there.

    When it comes to him I don’t think I could ever do something to help. Because the thing is, it’s been 3 weeks now that we got our last conversation which ended with me sending him a message where I told him everything I thought about the situation and about him prior to block him from every social medias. Ever since I keep seeing him around a lot for sure, but I was ignoring him until two days ago when I bumped into him at our association’s building. Anita, I promise, it was one of the most awkwards interaction I could ever had with someone: i went to the building, he was there, i nodded to say hi, he couldn’t even do the same, like he got stuck staring at me. Then i got locked outside because i forgot my key inside so I had to ask him to open the door for me, I swear to you, I was being nice and polite. YET, he couldn’t say a single word to me, I am not joking, he didn’t even say something like « yes sure », he didn’t even nod. The tension was present and that was at some point kind of embarrassing to see thzt he couldn’t even keep a formal relation with me. Ok I mean, I know he felt very bad about me for the past two weeks but still, it shouldn’t stop someone from being polite or at least answer with a few words when I talk to him. Cmon, he made his choices, he told me straight to the point how he felt for her and for me. So did I. I thought the situation was cleared out, because cmon, if you are so sure about yourself and about all your decisions, stick to your words, be proud and confident about them. And, please, be at least polite. Like in a personal context, we can keep ignoring each other but at least when we are in this building, we both know that our relation become more professional.

    Ok I got that I may not have seen him in the best context; it’s hard to be seen when we are vulnerable and such. Because so far I think I wasn’t supposed to see him doing that. BUT STILL. He was in the middle of the main room, obviously if someone else were to come in, they would also have seen him eating.

    And it kind of annoys me to see that one month ago, he was still able to at least say hi to me, I saw him ploting some stuffs about me with his friends during parties (yes I over-heard and yes that was very dumb mostly after knowing all the context with him « dating/seeing » that other girl, like please, as I told him, during all these months where he was already seeing her, he should have ignored me out of respect for her on a personal context). Now ever since I pushed my way to tell him what I wanted to clear out with him, every time I see him, he is always looking and doing very poorly. He can’t even be formal with me. So at some point I kind of decided to ignore him. Because I know his situation is bad (and until Wednesday I didn’t really understznd the extent of it) and I don’t want to fuel more his misery. Plus, it shouldn’t be my issue anymore right? I mean, he decided to stay with that girl in a way, if he’s someone’s responsibility, he is hers.

    On top of that, as his best friend told me, he is pushing away people. I am not sure if it’s because he is going to leave to walk towards Spain soon, if it’s because of that girl specifically, if it’s because he is feeling really ashamed of his situation. Maybe a mixt a everything I guess. Point is, he is in an emotional distress.

    I genuinely wish I could help him but what am I supposed to do with someone who can’t even say hi back to me? I am making peace with myself when it comes to our past, he clearly isn’t on the same page as me when it comes to us. I can’t emotionally afford to get drained into his mess. He is not doing ok, but this girl should be the one helping him, not me. Now if he can’t even dare asking her to help him, then we circle bzck to what I was saying about the two of them. I al sorry, maybe I sound a bit harsh but as much zd I would love helping, I can’t put myself in an emotional roller coaster all over again for him. His attitude towards me isn’t correct, I understand his pain and his distress but it doesn’t mean that I have to sacrifice again my own well-being for him. As he said, we don’t owe anything to each other anymore.

    I will come back next week to reply to your answers, from today until Monday, we have a national celebration so I will be off because I al going in the archipelago with some friends. Have a nice week-end!

    #402985
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Anna:

    You are welcome! You’ve been working as a board member for an NGO (Non Governmental Organization): a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government, typically one whose purpose is to address a social or political issue. An example of an NGO is the Climate Action Network Europe located in Belgium, which is one of the 1,300 environmental NGOs in over 130 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit climate change.

    Many politicians from the national to the United Nations level, and other big names- in their younger days- used to be board members where you (at ages 25-27) have been a board member, and so, you are part of an impressive alumni network, meaning that you are in some contact with previous board members who are now politicians and other big names. Prior to this position, you worked in Brussels where you developed a strong network within the European Commission (EC). The EC’s priorities include the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives by the EC with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050.

    The above was my mini-study. Talking about connections with politicians and other big names, with the guy we are discussing- you disconnecting from him by blocking him from every social media three weeks ago. Three days ago, you bumped into him at your mutual students’ association building. You said hi, he just stared at you, didn’t say a single word, didn’t even  nod.

    Point is, he is in an emotional distress. I genuinely wish I could help him but what am I supposed to do with someone who can’t even say hi back to me?… I can’t emotionally afford to get drained into his mess… As he said, we don’t owe anything to each other anymore” – I suppose it’s time to really, really…  let him go all the way, to leave him in your past and move forward in your life, focusing on  making the world a better place through NGO work and on your own, personal and social well-being. Enjoy your national celebration and your time in the archipelago with friends, and I appreciate it that you found the time to reply before heading to the celebrations and time at the islands.

    anita

    #403005
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Anna,

    Congratulations on your graduation! I hope you are having a wonderful time at the cruise with your friends!

    You were (and are) trying to understand your boyfriend’s motives for leaving you and also for his current behavior. I agree with anita’s assessment of him (post No 402380): that he had romantic feelings for you and liked you a lot, but when he found out about your background, he started feeling inadequate, because that is his core wound and a core belief (“I am not good enough”). And then he rejected you before you (in his imagination) would reject him.

    He did that even though you never gave him any reason to feel bad about himself or his financial/social status. That’s the power of false beliefs – they distort our view of reality and make us reject things (and people) that are good for us. They make us work against our best interests.

    Unfortunately there is nothing you can say or do to convince him that he is good enough for you, or good enough in general. He would need to heal that wound first. The best thing you can do at this point is to distance yourself from him and wish him well.

    I know it’s hard for you not to be angry at him. But it might help if you saw things a bit differently: that he didn’t leave you because he hates you or he is evil, but because he is wounded. And his defense mechanism was to run away, and to even hook up with someone less “challenging” (in his view), to probably feel better about himself. It’s a quick fix for a much deeper problem that he has: a sense of inadequacy and lack of self-esteem.

    Anyway, I know it’s hard not to be angry at him, but try to understand him. Try to understand that he cannot go against himself. And then let go of him. Because you cannot save him from himself. Only he can “save” himself, if he chooses to. But it’s not your responsibility. It’s his.

    As for him not being polite, not even greeting you but just staring at you, maybe he cannot or doesn’t want to pretend that he is fine, when he is not. If I understood well, your communication stopped completely when you wrote him a long message spilling out everything you had (I assume your outrage and disbelief about his actions), and then blocking him on social media. He probably didn’t take that well, even if what you said was mostly true. I imagine there is a mix of feelings in him: anger at you, a sense of embarrassment at himself, perhaps even hatred and disappointment in himself, combined with resentment towards you, perhaps also a sense that life in unfair etc etc…

    There could be a storm of conflicting emotions inside of him, perhaps he isn’t even aware of all of them, and this makes him kind of stuck, like a deer in the headlights – frozen and unable to respond. If this is true – if he is an emotional mess right now and doesn’t know what to think or feel, it would explain why he can’t even utter a word to you. Or he might be resenting you for the things you’ve said – things that in fact might be true, but he doesn’t want to admit them. And so he “punishes” you with his silence.

    Whatever it is, his behavior is immature, driven by his emotional issues and wounds. I’d say don’t take it personally because his rejection of you is in fact his deeper rejection of himself. Try not to blame him and judge him, but at the same time, let him go. You cannot save him, he needs to do it for himself….

     

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