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I’m probably codependent

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  • #362968
    Nicka
    Participant

    Hi there. I’m new here and I need some insight and advice about a situation involving myself, my baggage, and my (possibly ex) boyfriend. We have been seeing each other for almost five months now. We started as friends after having a class together at art school. We were couple of “the adults” there, having both returned to get our degrees. We hung out a few times platonically and really enjoyed each other’s company, and eventually he told me that he liked me but didn’t want that to interfere with us being friends if I didn’t feel the same.

    I am fairly recently divorced and re-entered the dating scene in mid-January of this year when I started seeing younger man who’d approached me. He left the country after a few weeks of us spending time together and we tried to make long-distance work, but he started receiving sexual favors from (according to him, only one) other person and didn’t tell me until I asked him directly. We talked so often and for so long that I thought he would tell me if he met someone or if something like that came up, but his claim was that he assumed I was doing the same, an assumption based in nothing. We talked about things and I tried to be okay with his actions…we weren’t fully committed (a bit of a copout), and things were otherwise pretty good, considering. He told me he loved me a few days later, after playing at trying to get me to admit that I did and just didn’t want to say it. Something about it didn’t sit right with me and the next day I didn’t feel happy, I just felt drained and doubtful. I made a long list of my questions and concerns that I wanted him to address before I felt that I could really settle into whatever we would decide to do next. And I mean…a long list. I detailed the fears and doubts I had after my divorce, and basically wanted assurance that he would be able to be honest and refrain from hurting me again. After finally getting him on the phone to discuss it, conversation quickly broke down. He didn’t want to talk about any of it. He made up excuses, put blame on me, shut me down, disrespected my feelings, projected onto me and then totally withdrew, ignoring my calls and texts, unable to be reached.

    After a dramatic text meltdown, in which I broke down all the ways in which he was and had been an asshole, I called it quits with him. He responded to these texts with his own vitriol and that was it for a few days. I am ashamed to say that I tried talking to him again. He called me a psychopath but said he missed me. We continued to periodically say hello, but nothing else came of it. I am totally over him and see how I put myself aside, acted irrationally, and embarrassed myself for someone who didn’t care enough about me because I didn’t care enough about myself.

    During our short-lived dalliance, I was platonic friends with my school bud. I didn’t see him I a romantic light and thought that he were either gay or just uninterested in me until he expressed his growing feelings (after I’d broken up with the other dude).

    We began to see more of each other and talk more and feelings started to grow. At first I liked how he seemed different from a lot of my previous choices in men, but I slowly began to see that he wasn’t that different, after all, when we ourselves have scars, wounds, or preferences based in some trauma or modeled after a parent, we are prone to unconsciously choose that type of person time and time again. He is a good listener, artistic, a great lover, and seems to care a great deal about me. But sometimes he would make offhanded comments that hurt me but I tried not to be too sensitive and take them personally. Or we’ll watch movies and he’ll openly fawn over actresses he finds attractive, or will comment on how he likes looking at a certain person. Now, I know we all look and find people attractive, bit this was a bit confusing to me, as I’d mentioned before that my ex-husband would blatantly stare at women in my presence to the point of not hearing a word I said to him, and my new guy felt this to be really disrespectful. But how is it different?

     

    I cannot claim to be the most secure or the least jealous, and in turn I try not to do things I wouldn’t want done to me: I don’t comment on men’s appearance, I don’t stare, I don’t give a reason for him to ever feel I’m not loyal or faithful. I brought it up to him out of curiosity and asked of he wanted me to join in when he makes such comments or what he felt he accomplished in drawing us closer by making such statements. He said that it was not his intention for me to also notice and comment on the person, but that he would try to filter himself a bit, as it wasn’t necessary to do what he did. I said that he is an adult and can make his own choices and that we’re too old to be trying to change certain habits if we don’t want to; it is not my job to change or control him. He said no, he thought he needed to change this habit. I felt satisfied and we moved on.

     

    However, during an argument while he’d had too much to drink, he alluded a bit angrily to having to filter himself for me. I was taken aback because I didn’t realize that was how he truly felt. During the argument, he said a lot of things that were hurtful and he shouted me down about things in a way that I felt was uncalled for, but I chalked it up to his being drunk and to my not respecting his boundaries by asking for more details about a story he told me in which he “took care of” a guy who had tried to pimp a friend of his. Why tell that story at all and leave out that very crucial detail and not expect me to be curious? He got really angry about me asking and if I’m honest, being a bit too persistent about knowing more. I tell him so much; he’d become my prime confidant during shelter-in-place. After that incident, when we were able to move past the very long and draining argument, I decided to step back quite a bit from confiding in him about my life, my daughter, my ex-husband. The week before, we’d had an argument because he mistook my comment that his life is very simple and mine is too complicated sometimes as a judgment. It really wasn’t intended that way. I told him I *wish* my life were more like his sometimes, I’m not meaning to judge. He has familial support close by, I don’t. I said that the separation we experience seems easier on him because of his support system and he disagreed, not understanding my explanation that it’s hard for me sometimes because all I have is my 6 year old, whom I see half the week and who is having some serious growing pains with the divorce, Covid-19, and a frequently stressed out mom who has no other family or friends around. What I felt was that maybe he was judging himself but kept insisting that it was me and that he had no responsibility for his own thoughts and feelings that led to his belief. He’s said before that his life is simple and easy because he’s made it that way: he is 45 years old, no kids, never married, and right now he stays with his sister and her family in an upstairs bedroom and mostly reads and paints. He has very few expenses and outside of me, he really only sees his family and family friends. I am the first person he’s brought to meet his family in about 10 years; his mom, sister, and brother-in-law really like me and the feeling is mutual. Many of his relationships have been short-lived. What was interesting to me is that we see each other so seldom and really enjoy each other when we do, but I would never see him on Wednesdays and he’d never say why or what he got up to. I’m always without my daughter on those days, but he never made an effort to get together, and breezed over it if I suggested it. I just chalked it up to maybe he does something for himself he doesn’t want to talk about and tried not to make it a big deal.

    This week, he left his sister’s house (which is an hour away) where he’s been sheltering and moved closer because he thought campus studios would be open and he said he wanted to be closer to me. We usually see each other for 3 or 4 days every two weeks, as I share custody with my ex. After he took the rental, which he never saw in person, signing the papers after relying on a video that misrepresented the actual place, which was essentially an upstairs room in someone else’s house with no locks on the doors, no closet space (as they were using it for storage), and a different, pungently overwhelming smell from an unknown source everyday, he moved out, with my help, after 5 days. He seemed way too happy that “the landlady really really liked” him, and less invested in making a good decision, in spite of my gentle coaxing to go see it first. He’s an adult, he can decide that for himself. But he is like this, he gets very excited about people really liking him, based on very little evidence. This woman wanted to rent him a room, of course she’s going to be nice, this does not mean you can forego doing your due diligence before spending thousands of dollars on a place you don’t see in person first. He said another time that he didn’t need me to think he’s attractive (although I do and I tell him all the time, in spite of his questions of “why would you want to be with *this*? and gesturing to his body, which I don’t need to be perfect), because other people on the street have said we’re a “beautiful couple.” Really? It’s more important what a random stranger thinks of you in relation to me than what I think of you? To me, it seems he needs a lot of external validation, but I’m not perfect, so while it can be annoying sometimes, I try to overlook it.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I have been very empathetic with him, but in arguments, misunderstandings, or discussions, he always makes everything about him. I am a le to explain my own emotions, if not at first, then with further exploration. I am also able to explain and understand his emotions to him, even when he comes at me with what turns out to be a projection. I take responsiblity for my emotions, apologize, and move forward, having learned from the experience. But I have my deep seated issues. My ex-husband recently broke up with someone who then started stalking me. I don’t know her. She thought he and I were getting back together and that he was cheating on her with me. Nope. Never. She called me and pretended to be me, AT me. Then she pretended to be someone I know, and became verbally abusive before I hung up. She called me over 30 times in an hour, then called and hung up 20+ times late that night. She verbally threatened him for 20 minutes on the phone after I told him I’d been receiving strange calls and texts and he realized it was her and told her to stop. She is needing attention and care, and I asked him to file a restraining order because I didn’t feel safe. When we were married, he had an inappropriate relationship with the 18 year old babysitter because she needed attention and help and he has a martyr/savior complex. He consistently put her feelings and needs over mine. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back in our marriage.</p>
    This past weekend, we went to my possibly ex-bf’s sister’s house to drop off the things he’d moved. When we arrived, there was a pretty young girl on the sofa, the daughter of one of the family friends. This is the third time I’ve been there and seen a young girl that he clearly has a pretty close relationship with, all teens. Their reception to me is usually chilly, but they’re teen girls, what could I expect? But it did raise a red flag after this last time. I tried to ignore it, but this is a girl he’s mentioned before, pretty early on. I’m sorry, but it’s strange to me that a 45 year old man would have such a close relationship with teenage girls. My own insecurity/jealousy, past experiences, and being preyed upon by family friends as a teen inform my feelings. I have also told him about being preyed upon as a child. I didn’t tell him about my ex and the babysitter, however.

    My issues reared their ugly heads the other night. His family is big on having fun in the pool, drinking, and just having a good time. I felt a little apprehensive because I’m never sure how others will receive me and I’ma former shy girl, but hey, I can step outside my comfort zone and get to know people. And I did. I immediately started having a good time, talking, laughing, having shots by the pool. It felt good to unwind after being cooped up and not having much fun or contact with others. But, I’m a bit of a lightweight. I don’t drink caffeine, but I’d had some of his caffeine drink before arriving, as my energy was low and I wanted to have a little more pep for hanging out. After many shots and smoking two cigarettes (I don’t smoke tobacco), I was still having fun, but had reached my limit. The whole time, I was mostly hanging with others and mingling, not needing to hang on to my bf. After changing into a bathing suit to swim, pleading with him to come have fun, trying to get him to change and join us, he went inside to talk to the teen girl. This was it for me. Inside I felt, “I am here for and because of you. I am taking the time to be with your people, get comfortable around them, get them comfortable around me. You have barely been here. You’re in here talking to a child, who, mind you, could have talked to it hung with his nephew or niece, who is closer to her age. I’ve been here before and this is too much for me.” Before I had that moment, the girl’s mom had offhandedly commented that she had said, “Mom, we just do art together.” I didn’t know that they did that. Is that where he is on Wednesdays? If I don’t have to say or allude to anything and the girl’s mom is explaining a situation, surely it was strange to her, too. I got out of the pool and my drunk self made the mistake of telling his brother-in-law that I didn’t like that he wasn’t spending any time with me and instead chose the girl. I said I’d been in a teen babysitter situation with my ex-husband. He tried to talk me down, but it didn’t help much. My bf came outside and we went upstairs to talk. He proceeded to yell at me about it. He says I pointed my finger in his face and that was why he slapped my hand, but I was sitting in a chair and I was not that close to his face. I got angry that he touched me that way and that once again, his feelings and his ego came before everything. That once again, he is shouting me down instead of breathing, listening, or assessing the actual situation. Why touch me? Why not walk away? I’m clearly toasted. After that, I kicked at a stool and he claims I got violent and tried to kick him. I don’t recall that, but I do recall the other stuff. I got dressed and went downstairs again, where his sister tried to talk me down, to no avail. The slap had been too much. I called myself a car and his bro in law tried to get me to stay, tried to talk to me, but I felt so angry, embarrassed, insulted. I was drunk. Bf kept coming out to see who the driver was so I “wouldn’t get raped” but I didn’t want him around. He said it was stupid to go and pay all that money. I let two cars come and go after he asked me to stay. At one point he broke he threw his beer bottle into the street. This sounds so foolish and codependent. I’m ashamed of my behavior, but I know that I wasn’t ashamed enough to have gone home when I wanted and to not lash out drunkenly.

    I tried calming down later and reiterating that I just wanted him to hear me and understand the pain I was feeling. He couldn’t and wouldn’t. After more yelling at me, saying I don’t love him or care a out him, a common refrain I hear in heated conversations, he left the room with disgust and the proclamation that he was done. So I called a car and left.

    When we fight, he is a totally different person. He is no longer kind and understanding. He accuses me of not loving him if I have any constructive criticism or personal pain that isn’t really about him. He is no longer able to access empathy and fairness. I know enough about him to understand how childhood issues inform these responses and we talk things out in the end. But I don’t think I can live down the scene that I caused.

    When I finally left, he was really angry that I had, moreso about that than about everything else that transpired. He said I could have slept on his bed and he on the couch. Surprise…the young girl was on the other couch down there. I just needed to go. It was ugly, it was negative, embarrassing, and I wanted to go home. He berated me for making “an absurd point” by leaving and “putting the nail in the coffin of our relationship by doing so, when we could have worked everything out.” I told him I loved him but if I don’t take care of me, who will? His answer, “Me! My family!” wasn’t good enough. Because he still refused to hear me and try to understand why I felt so triggered when I was so drunk. But also, why is it my responsibility to understand and take care of him when he’s drunk, but when I’m drunk, I’m somehow more accountable than he is? I don’t drink often and I never drink as much as I did at one time. With the caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and little food, I basically poisoned myself and proceeded to act like an asshole. But by leaving to take care of myself, he feels I’m doing something to him. We were texting while I was in the car home and he was upset that we’d not had the convo by voice. Well, that tactic hadn’t worked all night and I really didn’t feel like subjecting my kind and innocent driver to that nonsense. I told him that I don’t do everything that I do with and for him out of boredom. That I cared for him and still do, that I sometimes have fears and want acceptance just like everyone else. His response, “Whatever.”

    He still has some things at my place so the next day I broke the ice by texting and asking if he were still hungover. According to him, he wasn’t really that drunk, which further upset me. But he still tried to play down his actions and play up my “violence” even though he slapped my hand and broke the bottle in the street. It showed further evidence that his actions are always justified, yet mine never are. He tried to act like he was understanding of my leaving, but that was really far from everything that he’d said and texted the night before. He tried playing that down, too. He said he wanted to take a step back and come by for his things in a few days. I see that I am codependent because I still wanted to work things out and talk about them. I said if he were dragging things out, let’s just end things now. He was still angry and wanted to think things through. I said I agreed with taking a break but he wanted to know how I felt and if I wanted to continue talking. I said I always like to communicate and bring things out and he knows that. I asked him the same question and he responded with irritation that he wanted to wait until Wednesday. Then why ask me that after I’d already agreed to him coming by on Wednesday to get his stuff? It’s as if he wants to know my feelings so he can have some power over the situation.

    So look, I see that I have a lot of baggage and co-dependant tendencies. And perhaps I’m once again with a man child who cannot look past his own ego to really be with me in the way that I need. What do you think I need to see and hear out of all of this? I don’t have anyone else to confide in about this and I could really use some honesty about myself and this situation. I am feeling like it’s time to let go and be alone for awhile so I can really work on myself. This isn’t everything that I am. I am bright, caring, insightful, funny, sensitive, creative, understanding. I don’t want to be a fool anymore.

    Please help.

     

     

    #362997
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nicka:

    You shared that you are fairly recently divorced, a mother to a 6 year old, shared custody. You re-entered the dating scene in mid-January this year, started seeing a younger man. After a few weeks together, he left the country and had sexual interactions with another woman (or more) in that country. He told you that he assumed you were “doing the same, an assumption based in nothing”. When that happened, you “felt drained and doubtful”, and you gave him a very long list of questions and concerns that you wanted him to address, detailing your fears and doubts, wanting him to assure you that he will be honest with you in the future, and refrain from hurting you again.

    Discussing the list on the phone was short, “He didnt want to talk about any of it.. and then totally withdrew, ignoring my calls and texts, unable to be reached”. At times he responded to you, and at one of those times, you wrote” “He called me a psychopath but said he missed me”. Eventually the communication died out altogether, leaving you “totally over him”, but also embarrassed.

    After that, you met your now 45 year old boyfriend (“possibly ex”), who stays at his sister’s home in an upstairs bedroom, “and mostly reads and paints”. He was never married and has no kids. The two of you started as friends in art school (both having returned to school to get your respective degrees). Over time, “feelings started to grow”.

    “He seemed different from a lot of my previous choices in men, but I slowly began to see that he wasn’t that different, after all”. He is a good listener, artistic, a great lover, and seems to care a great deal about you, but sometimes he made “off handed comments” that hurt you, and while watching movies, he openly fawned over actresses he found attractive, even though you told him that your ex-husband blatantly stared at women in your presence, and your boyfriend commented that he “felt this to be really disrespectful”.

    You talked with him about it, and he said that “he would try to filter himself a bit”. He also told you: “that he is an adult and can make his own choices and that we’re too old to be trying to change certain habits if we don’t want to; it is not my job to change or control him”. Later, during an argument while he drank too much, he “alluded a bit angrily to having to filter himself” for you. It was a “very long and draining argument”.

    The other night you joined him and his family to a party by the pool, had too much caffeine before hand, then drank too much and .. well, I read the story (I enjoyed your sense of humor, by the way).

    You asked: “What do you think I need to see and hear out of all of this?”-

    My answer:

    1. As you make practical choices in life, including whether to end this relationship or not- choose what will minimize your stress level, which I think should be your highest priority, for your own well being and for your daughter “who is having some serious growing pains with the divorce, Covid-19, and a frequently stressed out mom“.

    2. You mentioned your lack of social support: “a frequently stressed out mom who has no other family or friends around.. I don’t have anyone else to confide in about this”- if you find my input helpful, keep posting here and I will be glad to read from you and reply every time you post.

    * Now, my comments regarding the relationships you described:

    – the first man, it was not effective to give him a long, or very long list of your questions and concerns, fears and doubts. There was an assumption on your part that he is able and willing to process all that information and come up with a plan of action that will take care of your long list of issues with him and otherwise. I very much doubt that he was that capable. Even if he was a capable psychotherapist, he would have been way less capable in the context of a personal relationship. You gave him too much credit, giving him that list and attempting to discuss it.

    – the second man, like you implied, he is quite immature, but he reads like a good guy. You see him as worse than he is; again, giving him too much credit in a negative way. His easy going lifestyle/young age lifestyle may be a benefit to you, in comparison to being involved with a very mature, busy and very uptight man.

    – you are overly critical of the men, expecting some kind of impossible perfection from them. Not that any of the men was even close to any idea of perfection, but your expectations are unreasonable. You watch them too closely, looking for reasons to get suspicious and offended, not giving them the space to just be. You expect them to remember everything you told them at all times, be focused, and filter themselves accordingly, on an ongoing basis- an impossible task for a human (possible for a computerized robot).

    Having this unrealistic human-behavior expectation would make a healthy and lasting relationship with any man, including one who is almost perfect- an impossibility.

    – reads to me that you are over-reactive at times, to put it mildly, earning yourself the term “psychopath” that the first man mentioned and the what the second man referred to as your violence (“he still tried to.. play up my ‘violence'”). A daily routine of aerobic exercise, like long, brisk daily walks, listening to guided meditations and practicing Mindfulness can help you to pause between feeling triggered and reacting/ over-reacting to the feeling.

    anita

    #363088
    GL
    Participant

    Dear Nicka,

    Each person do have their own personal baggage. So the question is: how have you learned how to live with yours?

    Though you’ve detailed the paths some of your relationship had taken, you don’t have anything on the topic of self care, other than you don’t have any support near you? Do they live far from you? Are you active in any social forums? Were you a part of any group meet ups before that you can contact via Zoom? What activities have you taken up other than attending classes?

    Which lead to the question: what is the relationship you have with yourself? Is it similar to the kind of relationship you had with your exes? Is it the kind that you called yourself names and shame yourself? Is it the kind that you find boring if it’s just you alone with yourself? Do you allow yourself to feel your emotions or do you feel them through the reactions of others?

    You write of the actions of your ex in the context that he did not provide much emotional support and it’s fine to want that from a partner, but you can’t tell someone that you know what they are feeling because you don’t. He might have ‘close’ family nearby that could potentially support him, but you don’t know their family’s history as intimately as he does. So it was a judgement on your part to tell him that it felt that the separation easier for him than you because he had ‘support’. His anger of that is pretty understandable. You decided you knew what his possible emotional state was or the support he had when you’re not even him. But did he actually told you that he wasn’t responsible for his emotions or was that you deciding how to interpret it? Because a lot of his actions does look like from your narrative, but you’ll also have to see it as a judgement call on your part too.

    Now, it’s understandable that you’re combing through your memories to try to make sense of your past, but your vocabulary has a feeling of blame in it. You don’t want to be a fool? What does that mean? You were ashamed of being drunk even though that’s just a chemical reaction in your body which means you weren’t clear headed at that moment? You have a lot of baggage, yes, but where’s the compassion for being human? You’re caring, but for whom?

    You’ve excused a lot of your ex behavior until the straw broke the camel back so what’s helped you opened your eyes to the reality of your relationship? To the relationships that you want, but don’t do much to cultivate? There are many ways to create a support system, but you’ve only focused on romantic relationships so far. What about friendship? Why did so much of your effort go into romantic relationships and not friendships? You want a support system, but it doesn’t seem you’ve tried to established any friendships to even get it started.

    You have a lot of questions to sort through so please think of getting some of kind counseling for that if you can. You don’t have to grapple with these issues alone, but you’ll have to be the one to cultivate the steps to helping yourself.

    Good luck.

    #363128
    Nicka
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi GL. Thanks for your reply. I’ll do my best to address your questions.</p>
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Each person do have their own personal baggage. So the question is: how have you learned how to live with yours?</p>
    I have seen many therapists over the years. I was once on medication before I decided to try more alternative routes. I currently work with a life coach who helps me identify harmful core beliefs. I am always trying to understand my past and my childhood and how those events inform my current actions and situations. I don’t sit still on getting help, changing, or mental health. I am still working at just accepting that I am who I am and maybe I won’t ever change. I tend to think that I can change the things in my life that don’t serve me.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Though you’ve detailed the paths some of your relationship had taken, you don’t have anything on the topic of self care, other than you don’t have any support near you? Do they live far from you? Are you active in any social forums? Were you a part of any group meet ups before that you can contact via Zoom? What activities have you taken up other than attending classes?</p>
    Yes, my family live in other states and out of the country. I am not active in social forums, though I am looking to find some. I was part of a few groups and organizations that do not meet by Zoom as they have disbanded due to the virus. I have not identified other organizations in the past few months to get involved in.

    Which lead to the question: what is the relationship you have with yourself? Is it similar to the kind of relationship you had with your exes? Is it the kind that you called yourself names and shame yourself? Is it the kind that you find boring if it’s just you alone with yourself? Do you allow yourself to feel your emotions or do you feel them through the reactions of others?

    I did not shame those men. When I talk about their actions or where they are I’m their lives, it is meant to be descriptive, curious, etc. I am an introvert, so I typically prefer my own company and don’t mind being bored or alone. That has often contributed to friends falling by the wayside over the years; in periods of recharge or depression or loss, not everyone stays around. Or I put more effort into my own quiet than in developing friendships. I do well with one on one relationships and intimacy, so I do end up in romantic relationships. Things are a two way street, though. My efforts to make new friends don’t always go the way I’d like. I try, not everyone responds. Not everyone is everyone else’s cup of tea. It’s painful and sometimes I shut down and get down on myself for not being better at making friends. This has been me my whole life. And honestly, I’m at a point where I don’t always trust others or that they’ll stay or want to be around. One of my issues. Also, I do allow myself to feel my own emotions, sometimes to a fault. It would behoove me to detach from them a bit more at times.

    He might have ‘close’ family nearby that could potentially support him, but you don’t know their family’s history as intimately as he does. So it was a judgement on your part to tell him that it felt that the separation easier for him than you because he had ‘support’. His anger of that is pretty understandable. You decided you knew what his possible emotional state was or the support he had when you’re not even him. But did he actually told you that he wasn’t responsible for his emotions or was that you deciding how to interpret it? Because a lot of his actions does look like from your narrative, but you’ll also have to see it as a judgement call on your part too.

    He and I have talked at length about his relationship with his family and I have experienced it firsthand; this was not am out-of-pocket observation. I did not tell him how he felt so much as assume. “It seems like maybe separation is easier for you because you have family around.” That is an assumption that is easily refuted and I do not mind being corrected and told what the deal really is when it comes to other’s emotions. I said it when trying to understand his relative nonchalance about it when he is oftentimes more effusive about his feelings toward me. People make assumptions all the time and we correct them. He makes them at me often. I may get a little peeved, but I try to correct the assumption. He doesn’t always shift his assumption based on my correction, however. I can’t do anything about that. I said he doesn’t take responsibility for his emotions because he often doesn’t. He will lodge a judgment at me, “You think I’m being weak right now, stop looking at me like I’m weak,” when that is the farthest thing from my mind. I take a moment to see where he’s coming from and think, “Ok, this isn’t about me,” and try to be patient about getting to what’s really going on.

    Now, it’s understandable that you’re combing through your memories to try to make sense of your past, but your vocabulary has a feeling of blame in it. You don’t want to be a fool? What does that mean? You were ashamed of being drunk even though that’s just a chemical reaction in your body which means you weren’t clear headed at that moment? You have a lot of baggage, yes, but where’s the compassion for being human? You’re caring, but for whom?

    Maybe there is some blame there, when I’m really just wanting to take responsiblity for my actions. I don’t want to be a fool drunkenly accusing people of things when sober I would never have behaved like that. But I am the one who chose to drink. I was ashamed of how I behaved, yes. Shame can be a powerful motivator to make different choices in the future: “I know I don’t tolerate caffeine and nicotine well. I will limit myself to x amount of drinks.” I don’t judge all drunk people for drinking or doing drunk behaviors. I felt bad that we’d had such a great time and a pretty good relationship and I potentially ruined it with my actions. It’s up to me to forgive myself and I’m mostly there. I do have compassion for myself for being a young victim of predators. I do have compassion for myself for feeling sad about being betrayed. Sometimes we don’t know when a trigger will get pulled. I was also being judged by him for those same chemical reactions you mention, although when he had a similar chemical reaction recently, that same standard did not apply to him, but to me to be aware of his state and not hold him accountable, and I did not. It just doesn’t feel fair to me. But hey, life isn’t right?

    You’ve excused a lot of your ex behavior until the straw broke the camel back so what’s helped you opened your eyes to the reality of your relationship? To the relationships that you want, but don’t do much to cultivate? There are many ways to create a support system, but you’ve only focused on romantic relationships so far. What about friendship? Why did so much of your effort go into romantic relationships and not friendships? You want a support system, but it doesn’t seem you’ve tried to established any friendships to even get it started.

    Again, friendships are a two way street. I’ve had many emails and texts go unanswered over the past months. Even though it seems I wrote a tome up there and tried to provide some context, one cannot fully write one’s life out completely in a post that’s focused on getting insight about a particular situation. I have walked into many rooms and been immediately dismissed. I have had long, deep, and supportive talks with people that I’d see on a regular basis that end up going nowhere. I am friendly and open in my old (ha) age, but things don’t always click. At the party the other night, I made friends with the wives and shot the shit with the husbands. Great times had by all until I lost my mind. Like everyone, surely there are many things about myself I’m missing, I know that. But if I knew what to do differently, I would.

    Again, thanks for your comment GL.

    #363132
    Nicka
    Participant

    Anita, thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.

    1. As you make practical choices in life, including whether to end this relationship or not- choose what will minimize your stress level, which I think should be your highest priority, for your own well being and for your daughter “who is having some serious growing pains with the divorce, Covid-19, and a frequently stressed out mom“.

    You are very right about this. Prioritizing my peace should always be at the top of my list.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>2. You mentioned your lack of social support: “a frequently stressed out mom who has no other family or friends around.. I don’t have anyone else to confide in about this”- if you find my input helpful, keep posting here and I will be glad to read from you and reply every time you post.</p>
    I appreciate that.

    – the first man, it was not effective to give him a long, or very long list of your questions and concerns, fears and doubts. There was an assumption on your part that he is able and willing to process all that information and come up with a plan of action that will take care of your long list of issues with him and otherwise. I very much doubt that he was that capable. Even if he was a capable psychotherapist, he would have been way less capable in the context of a personal relationship. You gave him too much credit, giving him that list and attempting to discuss it.

    I feel you’re right about this too. I’d had a few literally sleepless nights. He was living in Asia and we’d had some long conversations in which I abandoned my needs for sleep in order to communicate with him, so by the time I decided to write out all those questions, concerns, and explanations, I wasn’t really thinking that clearly. No, it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but deep down I knew I didn’t trust him anymore anyway. That list was just a way of trying to confirm something that didn’t need his confirmation. It made zero sense.

    – the second man, like you implied, he is quite immature, but he reads like a good guy. You see him as worse than he is; again, giving him too much credit in a negative way. His easy going lifestyle/young age lifestyle may be a benefit to you, in comparison to being involved with a very mature, busy and very uptight man.

    Yeah, he is a good guy. I think the only way in which I see him as worse than he is is with my having issues with his relationships with teenage girls. My own past raises my hackles when I see it, to an irrational point. I feel it to be something I need to really get used to and understand over time before I can truly trust that it’s solely innocent. I hate that it’s like that for me, but it’s true. It doesn’t just come from nowhere, but it is harmful in the context of a relationship. And again, I don’t judge him for his life. I comment on its simplicity as a boon to him and because I wish I had it. Mentioning it to him reads as judgment, but that is not what I feel about it. And you are right, I do not want to be with an uptight, busy, overly mature man. I like to be silly and spontaneous and have fun. I have enough on my plate and don’t need to add further seriousness to it. When I say he doesn’t leave the house and reads and paints, these are his words, too. Not a judgment.

    – you are overly critical of the men, expecting some kind of impossible perfection from them. Not that any of the men was even close to any idea of perfection, but your expectations are unreasonable. You watch them too closely, looking for reasons to get suspicious and offended, not giving them the space to just be. You expect them to remember everything you told them at all times, be focused, and filter themselves accordingly, on an ongoing basis- an impossible task for a human (possible for a computerized robot).

    I actually have a lot more flexibility in what I allow than I communicate here. But if literally one of your only issues with a partner was constant comments on other women’s looks or bodies and you mention it to him instead of sitting on it and silently stewing, why can’t that be a topic? I don’t tell anyone how to dress, be, etc. But if I start to feel uncomfortable or disrespected, it’s expecting too much to bring it up and want to have a conversation about it, one that ends with me saying, “Hey, that’s just how I feel. I cannot tell you how to be or what to do.” And when it came to sexual favors with the last guy, that was something he could have communicated to me. He asked me to maintain a long-distance relationship. We talked about almost everything. Maybe it was foolish of me to think that that would be a topic he would broach, but I did. I was trusting. I don’t even ask for constant filtering. I truly don’t. But I did want to address it because we also talk about a lot of topics and I wanted to understand his thought process in those moments. I find people attractive, but I don’t need to always call it out. It raises questions of, is there an underlying reason for this? Some people truly want you to feel insecure by doing that. If he had said, yeah join in, I think it’s blah blah blah, I’d have said sure! But he nixed that idea. I just try to make sense of things for myself. Is it annoying to others? Yeah, probably so. I know that not everything makes sense or needs to be analyzed.

    Having this unrealistic human-behavior expectation would make a healthy and lasting relationship with any man, including one who is almost perfect- an impossibility.

    I give and accept a lot. But I am also inquisitive and not always the most trusting of every single thing. Time and experience have shown me that I mustn’t trust without clarity or an explanation sometimes (see the above sexual favors response in which I trusted he was not straying because I thought we were more straightforward than that). But yes, I could probably stand to focus more on myself and making myself happy so that I am less focused on the behaviors of the people I’m seeing.

    – reads to me that you are over-reactive at times, to put it mildly, earning yourself the term “psychopath” that the first man mentioned and the what the second man referred to as your violence (“he still tried to.. play up my ‘violence’”). A daily routine of aerobic exercise, like long, brisk daily walks, listening to guided meditations and practicing Mindfulness can help you to pause between feeling triggered and reacting/ over-reacting to the feeling.

    I have to disagree with the psychopath reference here, Anita. That is a serious thing to lodge at someone that he was actually pretty mean to. What strikes me is that I am always meant to be more forgiving of these men but that same understanding is not always as readily welcome to me. I know that I am only responsible for myself, but they have accountability too. I’m drunk, I kick at a stool while seated, I don’t knock it down or go on a rampage, but feel like his touching my person was uncalled for. I’d gone on a five mile walk that day, but too much alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine with not enough food spell disaster for someone with a sensitive system. So yes, that is a combo that made me particularly “over-reactive.” And again, I was quite out of it, but he slapped my hand and broke a beer bottle in the street and I’m the one needing to take responsiblity for all of it? How? Again, accountability on both sides here.

     

    #363138
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nicka:

    “accountability on both sides”- I agree.

    In my first post I did not address everything in your original post. One of the things I didn’t address was my discomfort regarding his behavior involving teenage girls. I felt that there is something wrong with his attitude and some of his behavior in this context. I don’t know if he understand how wrong it is to flirt with and even spend time alone with any teenage girl (at least teenagers who  are not part of the household).

    I am not clear if you agree, disagree or partially agree with my understanding that you have unrealistic expectations of men, specifically, expecting the current guy to filter his thoughts and behaviors to such a degree that he has to be overly careful/ uncomfortable about what he says and does?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
    #363154
    GL
    Participant

    Hey Nicka,

    Thanks for the expanded clarifications. There’s still some point that is still a little confusing though.

    So you’ve worked with therapists before, but that doesn’t really detailed what your relationship with yourself as is. You might have worked hard on your mental health, trying to accept yourself as is, but it still seems that you wish to change things about yourself? As you tend to think that you can change what doesn’t serve you in life? Does that mean letting go of the toxic messages that was ingrained into you or changing your personality? But I don’t think you ‘should’ have to do anything. Everything is a choice and you have the choice to do what is reasonable for you.

    Now, regarding your relationship, what kind of people are you letting into your life? No idea if you live in an area teeming with a huge population that you can meet a lot of people, and making friends is difficult. But what kind of people are you letting take up your time and attention? I don’t write this to shame/blame you, but I am curious as to why you’ve tolerated your ex projecting his insecurities onto you. From your narrative, he has done it multiple times. You’ve realized it wasn’t about you, of course, but you still stayed with him. You’d made the choice to stay with him. Why?

    I don’t know if the previous guy before this did the same thing, but him calling you names is shaming and gas-lighting you. You wanted to discuss his hurtful actions and he tried to shift the blame to ‘you’ being a “psychopath” therefore he wouldn’t have to take total responsibility for sleeping with someone else. You still wanted to speak with him after that.

    Though I am glad you’ve made a list of your concerns. You wanted a bigger picture of the relationship and you had concerns to which you are totally entitled to address with the other party because they have chosen to involved themselves with you. Of course, they have the choice to actually address your concerns in a calm and rational manner or totally ignored your concerns by calling you a psychopath. Hence, why I am an advocate of writing down the toxic things people said or did to you so that you can revisit another day when you’re calm and rational. The note serve as evidence that such a thing did happened and that you weren’t imagining it just because you wonder if them calling you ‘crazy’ has any validity to it.

    You can’t change people, but you can choose to tolerate their actions. But why did you choose to tolerate them not taking responsibility for their actions and their emotions? You’ve tolerated them pushing the responsibilities onto you. From the guy who called you a psychopath while he chose to sleep with someone else to the guy who needed external validations from people while accusing you of looking down at him.

    I’m all for accepting people as they are, but that doesn’t mean tolerating toxic behavior. Hence, why the question of what is your relationship with yourself that you would tolerate these behaviors? Do you feel that you don’t deserve better or that as good as it gets?

    So you feel emotions intensely, but do you act on them the moment you feel it because you seem to think it’s not a good thing. Your emotions may be strong, but you are the one giving them meaning. You can honestly just feel then move on with life. Why would you wish to detach from them at times?

    You don’t like relationships ending, okay. But life does not promise forever. Regardless of how much you care about someone, when a relationship has run its course, then the best you can do is wish the other well. Goodbyes are said all the time, what with the earth becoming a global economy. You can fly and live anywhere as long as you have the means. Emotions are fleeting and people do grow out of their relationships. Nothing is guaranteed in life. So where does your mistrust come from? That when people said they ‘liked’ you, that it was false because they eventually bid you farewell? Or does it come from your insecurity that you’re not worth the effort to cultivate a relationship with? But what do you think you deserve?

    #363159
    Nicka
    Participant

    Hey Anita, to address your questions and comments,
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>One of the things I didn’t address was my discomfort regarding his behavior involving teenage girls. I felt that there is something wrong with his attitude and some of his behavior in this context. I don’t know if he understand how wrong it is to flirt with and even spend time alone with any teenage girl (at least teenagers who  are not part of the household).</p>
    The teenage girls are family friends. They are both daughters of folks who come to the house. The one in question is the sister of his late nephew’s best friend. He explained today that he sometimes invites her over to hang out or watch movies and didn’t mention it to me because it didn’t seem worthy of mention. Hm. Ok. We talk about our days and that just doesn’t come up? Sure, anything is possible. Also, there are other people in the household and family who are closer to her age. Why isn’t she spending time with them? Why would you even WANT to spend time with a 19 year old girl as a 45 year old man? I am a few years younger than him and a woman and if I don’t have much in common with her, how do you? But he is a bit of a free spirit and apparently her family knows they hang out and no one else has an issue but me.

    I am not clear if you agree, disagree or partially agree with my understanding that you have unrealistic expectations of men, specifically, expecting the current guy to filter his thoughts and behaviors to such a degree that he has to be overly careful/ uncomfortable about what he says and does?

    He doesn’t have to be, that’s the thing. I expressed how I felt, asked questions about what he thinks of/why he thinks he does it out loud to me, and said he doesn’t have to do anything. It was his choice to try filtering and then getting mad that he “had to.” Say and do what you want, but if you can do that, why can’t I also say that this is how I feel about it sometimes? If I can be slightly less uncomfortable about it and he can be slightly less effusive, great. It’s not that I don’t try. As for other unrealistic expectations, that’s possible. But for me, it’s often about trying to strike a balance between not being too rigid/letting my sensitivity overtake another person’s free will and letting too much get past me in that effort, which is being touched on with GL and their comments.

    Thanks, Anita

    #363172
    Nicka
    Participant

    So you’ve worked with therapists before, but that doesn’t really detailed what your relationship with yourself as is. You might have worked hard on your mental health, trying to accept yourself as is, but it still seems that you wish to change things about yourself? As you tend to think that you can change what doesn’t serve you in life? Does that mean letting go of the toxic messages that was ingrained into you or changing your personality? But I don’t think you ‘should’ have to do anything. Everything is a choice and you have the choice to do what is reasonable for you.

    My relationship to myself is one that is ever evolving. It hasn’t always been the best. I haven’t had a whole lot of people support me, be on my side, or show me how to really love myself, so I had to learn and I am still learning. I have come really far, but things still crop up because I, like most, am a work in progress. And no, I know there is no “should” necessary in that, but if I keep running into problems in my life because of something that stems from my issue(s), I work hard to fix it. So it isn’t about changing my personality so much as working to fix the ingrained messages and beliefs that make connecting to myself or others more difficult.

    Now, regarding your relationship, what kind of people are you letting into your life? No idea if you live in an area teeming with a huge population that you can meet a lot of people, and making friends is difficult. But what kind of people are you letting take up your time and attention? I don’t write this to shame/blame you, but I am curious as to why you’ve tolerated your ex projecting his insecurities onto you. From your narrative, he has done it multiple times. You’ve realized it wasn’t about you, of course, but you still stayed with him. You’d made the choice to stay with him. Why?

    I live in a small suburb but have access to larger cities. Covid 19 makes getting out and making new people harder. Introversion does, too. But it’s not impossible. I think that if I made a special, all out push for an extended period of time, I could cultivate some more friendships. As for what I’ve tolerated, I tend to think it’s because I do know that I’m an imperfect work in progress who would like forgiveness and understanding. And he’s great I’m enough ways for these to not be total deal breakers. But when these things come up and I feel like I’m fighting on my own or that we can’t be on the same side or that these instances are more than momentary lapses to be learned from, I can and do walk away. Sometimes it might take me longer than average person though, honestly. But I do wonder if it’s deeper than that and if I’m allowing myself to be taken advantage of/hurt/abused sometimes out of trying to be tolerant, patient, or understanding. A hard thing to face, but definitely a possibility. But I’ve also cut a lot of people out of my life who were otherwise draining, selfish, or incompatible. I try to take a little time to truly figure out the difference. If he is unable to see anything past his own nose, ego, and needs, then no this won’t work. The imbalance will be too great.
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I don’t know if the previous guy before this did the same thing, but him calling you names is shaming and gas-lighting you. You wanted to discuss his hurtful actions and he tried to shift the blame to ‘you’ being a “psychopath” therefore he wouldn’t have to take total responsibility for sleeping with someone else. You still wanted to speak with him after that.</p>
    Yes, as for the gaslighting you’re right. I knew it and felt it and let him know about himself as a result. But I did miss talking to him and reached out for very brief interactions later, never to any real satisfaction. Maybe just to get it out of my system, because I knew I didn’t want to restart a relationship with him, even when he tried. Not a great choice, but I did what I did. It’s like, we cared about each other at one point, I need to ease myself off of this relationship and see that it actually isn’t what I thought and isn’t worth the headache.

    Hence, why I am an advocate of writing down the toxic things people said or did to you so that you can revisit another day when you’re calm and rational. The note serve as evidence that such a thing did happened and that you weren’t imagining it just because you wonder if them calling you ‘crazy’ has any validity to it.

    I will start using this tactic.

    You can’t change people, but you can choose to tolerate their actions. But why did you choose to tolerate them not taking responsibility for their actions and their emotions? You’ve tolerated them pushing the responsibilities onto you. From the guy who called you a psychopath while he chose to sleep with someone else to the guy who needed external validations from people while accusing you of looking down at him.

    I hear you, GL. He called me a psychopath and I asked what he was even basing that on. He had no response and changed the subject, so I knew for sure that he was just saying it to be an ass. I think that stemmed from my own insecurities about depression and anxiety and wondering, “am I ok? Do people see something about me that I’m missing?” But with that mindset, it’s so easy to let other people dictate ourselves to us. But that was a thought that came and went quickly in that scenario. I see that I do let people (usually guys) mistreat me and I let them off the hook. Self-esteem? Come in, self-esteem, do you read me? I will say that in the moment of the guy accusing me of looking down at him, I got peeved for a moment, told him I thought no such thing, walked away, and realized he was projecting how he felt about having vertigo as a byproduct of health conditions that he has. He doesn’t share the issues with people and felt vulnerable that I’d seen it. After walking away, I came back, looked at his face, and just hugged him. He started to cry. He felt vulnerable in an unbearable way initially and then leaned into feeling vulnerable in a good way. I do wish he were able to access those feelings himself without first laying blame, and maybe I AM too tolerant of other people’s childhood traumas and subsequent coping mechanisms (or lack thereof). But again, I have my own stuff and try not to immediately shut people out because of them. We progress and grow in stages. If they seem like they are able to shift and grow, why throw them out? I need to see a little more (again, maybe too much) before I do that and I have done that.

    I’m all for accepting people as they are, but that doesn’t mean tolerating toxic behavior. Hence, why the question of what is your relationship with yourself that you would tolerate these behaviors? Do you feel that you don’t deserve better or that as good as it gets?

    I think I’ve addressed this at other points in this post, so I won’t be repetitive, but you do raise a good point. I am tolerant to a fault, but I don’t stay in a situation forever and live with my fate. I grapple with it, I try to understand what else might be going on, I try not to take it personally. I am good about expressing myself and not backing down in a fight. Some would say I’m scrappy, have cojones, or that I can even be too tough about somethings. But I do have a tendency to bend too much in my romantic relationships. When I reach my limit, though, I do break up, divorce, or otherwise walk away. But again, I take longer to do so than many. Do I feel that it’s as good as it gets? No, I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but where I feel codependency creeping in is still feeling attached to that person and not wanting to give up on them and let them go if I don’t feel ready. This all sounds so contradictory.

    So you feel emotions intensely, but do you act on them the moment you feel it because you seem to think it’s not a good thing. Your emotions may be strong, but you are the one giving them meaning. You can honestly just feel then move on with life. Why would you wish to detach from them at times?

    When I say detach from them, I do mean to feel them/notice them without clinging to them/giving them meaning and acting on them, not to just ignore them or shove them down. I was unclear there.

    You don’t like relationships ending, okay. But life does not promise forever. Regardless of how much you care about someone, when a relationship has run its course, then the best you can do is wish the other well. Goodbyes are said all the time, what with the earth becoming a global economy. You can fly and live anywhere as long as you have the means. Emotions are fleeting and people do grow out of their relationships. Nothing is guaranteed in life. So where does your mistrust come from? That when people said they ‘liked’ you, that it was false because they eventually bid you farewell? Or does it come from your insecurity that you’re not worth the effort to cultivate a relationship with? But what do you think you deserve?
    <p style=”text-align: left;”>My mistrust is more like a reserve or apprehension about making new friends because things are often so fleeting. Along with my innate personality being a tad more reserved and introverted, I come from a big military background, so investing in others isn’t my strong suit. I keep trying and things don’t often work out. There can sometimes be a slight desperation in that: meeting people you click with and then all of a sudden, you’ve unclicked. It’s still jarring. But it does explain how it can perhaps be offputting to some people when I’m trying to make friends. Being either reserved/standoffish or slightly too eager doesn’t exactly bode well for new girlfriends. I can see that. I think that as far as what I deserve and should cultivate, it just keeps coming back to me and having no big expectations from anyone. Living in the moment, primarily to make myself happy and fulfilled so that I’m what I need to be for my daughter and my goals.</p>
    Thanks again, GL

     

     

    #363173
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nicka:

    Better that she is 19 than if she was younger, but still she is a teen, 26 years younger than him, it would bother me too, if I was in your place (or the teen’s mother).

    Regarding other matters, maybe I was wrong in some of my analysis earlier, and the case is simply that you have a very active mind, a very inquiring mind, curious, wanting to know more, to understand, looking at different possibilities, the bigger and bigger picture… I think you would be an excellent scientist or a private detective.

    Maybe you are just too much for most men, they can’t catch up with you. It would take a very intelligent man who has his life together, living a wholesome life (not hanging out with a teenager girl, for one), so to not trigger your questioning of his integrity, and make it work with you, is my current guess. Am I closer to the truth now?

    anita

     

     

    #363188
    Nicka
    Participant

    Anita.

    I have to tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve said here. I feel like I’m being seen and that isn’t easy to come by for me. The few people who really know me would say what you’ve said. I recently came across a poem a friend wrote me years ago in which she describes how I’m misunderstood, and that is really true. I look one way, act another way, speak and engage in a certain way and then make another impression entirely on many people. My astrologer once told me that my challenge in life is to translate myself. People don’t often get me, as I’m a tad confusing lol, but unfortunately I do tend to internalize that. I was the quiet one, the studious one, the one who never quite fit in, even when she tried. Being a loner feels more natural, but everyone needs companionship, which more frequently shows up in a romantic context. I’ve learned so much about myself and other people in them. They haven’t always been great, but I wouldn’t change them, because I grew somehow or I got stronger in some way. Challenges and limitations are some of my greatest teachers and allies.

    As for men, I don’t always have the best picker. In honesty, I tend to gravitate toward different iterations of my dad, with different ratios of both his good and his less-than-easy qualities. He has always been a staple in my life and his life was hard, so leaving men with similar qualities perhaps feels, deep down, like I am somehow abandoning him. So there it is, what I’ve heard before–I am still unconsciously working out my daddy issues.

    Finding a partner on equal footing has been challenging, but I will either meet that person or persons one day or meet an ever better version of myself as I go.

    Thank you again for this, Anita. Be well.

    #363199
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nicka:

    You are welcome and thank you for wishing me well.

    You wrote: “People don’t often get me, as I’m a tad confusing… I was the quiet one, the studious one, the one who never quite fit in, even when she tried. Being a loner feels more natural, but everyone needs companionship, which more frequently shows up in a romantic context“-

    – what if you fit in, or adjust your highly intelligent, inquiring mind to different contexts. For example, in a context of a profession, such as a researcher- ask all the questions you want to ask, lists of questions from different angles, get answers and then ask more questions.

    But in the context of a romantic relationship, don’t ask too many questions (“I made a long list of my questions and concerns that I wanted to address… And I mean.. a long list”) because people, in any kind of relationship, can’t stand being asked too many questions about their private emotional goings-on. It is easy to talk about others’ emotional goings-on, but not about one’s own. So in a personal relationship context, ask one question and wait, slower pace.

    Let’s say you participated in a book club of like-minded people, discussing characters in a book, asking many questions about the character’s motivations and emotional goings-on, that will be easy for the club members, but it will not be easy for most members, if not all,  to talk as easily about their own motivations and emotional goings-on.

    Another example of context: if you talk to young children, for the purpose of being understood and getting the information you want, you would use a simpler vocabulary and syntax than if you talk to educated adults- a matter of fitting in to context.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
    #363501
    GL
    Participant

    Hey Nicka,

    To note, this is done through phone so if nothing’s clear, do tell.

    To start this out, it’s starting to be clear that you really value relationships. And that’s a beautiful value. But you can also be too tolerant of the actions of others and might stay too long in one relationship. Certainly, your ex has his good qualities, but did you both ever discuss his insecurities? Cis gender men are mostly socialized to not show vulnerabilities but that doesn’t mean it can’t be learned later in life. So did he ever tried? Also, how many times were your ex drunk and acting like a bad drunk, like letting out his grievances on you? Sure, he was drunk but that doesn’t mean he didn’t understand his actions so much as his inhibitions was lower than normal. His action was toxic, drunk or not but how many times did it happened and how many time did you excuse it as “being drunk”? It’s great you were able to accept his insecurities for what they are but that doesn’t mean tolerating the toxic actions arising from them. You also have your insecurities but have you yourself used them as a reason to blame others or pull them down because you feel bad so they should too? Because your ex was doing that. Not always blatantly but he did.

    And you probably do have codependency tendencies because you seem to hope to help these people out of their insecurities by staying with them, but at what cost? You don’t like letting people go, but what is the price of holding on?

    There’s also this paradox. You fear that starting any platonic friendship, it will end somewhere in the future so what about your romantic relationship? Did you not fear it ending too or how were you so confident that it wouldn’t end in the future, like your friendships? You don’t seem to have problems with people pursuing you but hesitate to pursue your own friendships. Introversion have little to do with choosing to pursue friendships or any relationships. It’s either you make the effort or you don’t. You can, of course, be selective in where you put your effort. And I don’t know about you but I would be flatter if anyone wanted to friends with me, granted, they just have to not make my list of potentially toxic people. Though I’m not exactly sure of the kind of people you’re meeting, but do you really want to let in people who only see your outer shell and not try to see your quirks? And it’s not possible for any person to know and understand you because they are not you. They have not lived your life or your thoughts or your emotions. They might have empathy or understand where you’re coming from, but they’ll never truly grasp how you feel because that’s all you. Your feelings are yours.

    Or has your past jarred you to the point that you feel it hopeless to put much effort into making friends?

    So is it your effort or your thoughts holding you back from developing any friendship?

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