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Letting go of hope for a person’s recovery.

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  • #383123
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    you’re welcome. I think I know where you’re coming from: you sincerely care for him and would like him to be his best self, not necessarily for you, but for himself – to have as happy and fulfilling life as possible. It’s normal and understandable to feel like that towards the people we love and care about.

    The problem is when we see a potential in our partner and want to change them, because how they are at the moment isn’t acceptable to us. I’ve been with people in whom I saw a potential and wanted to “save” them, and it didn’t end well. It never does. As you yourself say, we can’t force anybody to change, and it’s really futile and even counterproductive to be in a relationship with someone whom we cannot accept the way they are at the moment. It’s much more fair to never enter such a relationship, or to step away, as you did.

    The problem for you is to how to let go of hope, since hope you say is holding you back. I think you should let go of the attachment to him changing. Because it seems a part of you is still attached to the idea that he would change and then you’d be happy together. You can still hold a vision of him being his best self (you can even pray for that, if you’re religious), but you let go of the attachment that he would change and fulfill you. That way you free yourself to live your life independent of him and his decisions, and yet you can still feel love and care for him, by holding a positive vision for him, but without any expectations.

    How do you feel about this?

    #383140
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    In this post, I will read the very beginning part of what you shared, comment on it, then read the next part and so on. This way I will be.. thinking out loud, developing my thoughts as I go along, and finally offer you with concluding thoughts- what those will be, I do not know. It depends on what comes up as I keep going. So, here it is (I italicized your words):

    On Dec 22, 2020, you started a thread titled “Grieving the loss of my soulmate“. Two members replied to you there, but you didn’t post a second time. Your original post was very well structured, organized, like a well-written, condensed and concise academic paper, starting with: “I was in a relationship with a man from August 2019-April 2020 (7 months)“, following with: “The reason for our breakup“.

    The one and only reason you listed for the breakup was your “severe depression & anxiety (“it made me difficult to deal with.. I was becoming very difficult to be around”).

    You then added: “he tried to be there for me, there wasn’t a lot he could do“.

    You took 100% responsibility for the breakup, pointing to your severe mental un-wellness as the cause. No pointing to his mental health as having anything to do with the failure of the relationship/ the breakup.

    You continued: after the breakup in April 2020, the two of you were friends, but you were “being clingy“, and two months later, in June 2020, “he started being a bit distant..  was losing patience for me“. At the same time (June-July 2020), he also told you that he loved you and the two of you “hooked up“. Yet, he told you that “he was not ready for a relationship and he thought he loved me like before, but he did not“. That hurt you, and you felt used: “I felt used even though I know he didn’t intend it to be that way“.

    At this point, in July 2020, you still love him, clingy, wanting the relationship to resume, hoping, getting hurt, disappointed and angry- angry about being used. (You didn’t mention anger, but when we people feel used, we also feel angry about it). Yet, you knew (“I know“, a confident statement) that he didn’t intend to use you/ to hurt you.

    August 2020 I cut off all contact with him and distanced myself from him“- angry, I figure.

    Still, August: “he was being very impatient with me and did not want to speak to me“- he is angry too. He did not want to speak to you: that indicates that you did not “cut off all contact with him” for long.

    You shared nothing about September, I am assuming that he still didn’t want to speak with you in September, because you wrote in regard to October 2020, that he messaged you “out of the blue“, asking you “to delete all our previous messages from the chat“- I am guessing that at this point you are very hurt and very angry.

    During the rest of October, through November and December 22, 2020, when you submitted your original post in your first thread, you “talked to him about once or twice.. the first time I did was when we were in the same video game“.

    About the April breakup and what followed (April- December), you wrote: “I think it was a good idea for us to separate.. I think the breakup was a good idea“, and the reasons: “because I have been doing much better in terms of mental health.. because his absence taught me so many important lesson.. about love and life“. You added that he was your “first love/ soulmate“, that you still loved him but didn’t need him: “I still.. love him from the bottom of my heart but I now realize I do not need him“.

    Reads like a clean breakup, by December, all is settled: he taught you important lessons about love and life, you love him and you don’t need him. Case closed.

    But then, you added: “I am still grieving every day and it is still very painful. I am trying to let go of the attachment I have for him because I still miss him and wish he were with me.. I really thought it was him but it is not. He was simply in my life to teach me important and meaningful lessons“-

    – Case not closed. It was wishful thinking to say “I don’t need him“, maybe it is something you felt for a moment, but it did not last. You try to talk sense to yourself, to use logic, comforting yourself with the thought (paraphrased): I need him so much to be my soulmate for life, but I am okay because he taught me lessons about love and life, and that’s good enough. I am satisfied.

    Taking into consideration your organized well-structured writing and presentation of events and your thoughts, seems to me that Logic is strong in you, that you try to make sense of people and events using your best logic, but  your heart (emotions) and thoughts (logic) are in two separate playing fields.

    Fast forward almost seven months, you posted your second thread titled “Letting go of hope for a person’ recovery” in July 19, 2021. You started this current thread with: “Things are so much clearer after I learned that my ex has ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder)“-

    – Later you confirmed that you were talking about the same guy: your “first love/ soulmate“. That reads like a bombshell: Antisocial.. ? The same guy who you wrote earlier taught you important lessons about love and life, the same guy who was not at all the cause of the April breakup, a breakup that happened because you (not him) were difficult to deal with, because you (not him) was becoming very difficult to be around (“it made me difficult to deal with.. I was becoming very difficult to be around“)?

    – At that point, I figured that you came up with the diagnosis after the fact, sometime in between Dec 22 (your one and only post in your previous thread) and July 19 (your first post in your current thread). And I suspected that you came up with this diagnosis because it places him in the Bad/Villain category and you, in the Good/Victim category, and that makes you feel better.

    But then, it is not that simple. You struggle to think of him as bad, and you insist that his intentions are not bad: he used you but did not intend to use you, he hurt you but he did not intend to hurt you (“I felt used even though I know he didn’t intend it to be that way“- Dec 2020, “he did all the hurtful things to me.. he never meant to hurt me“, July 19, 2021).

    In your second post, you wrote: “a lot of his actions in the past make sense because of his diagnosis“- so, seems to me that you understand his behavior retroactively, using a diagnosis that you did not consider before.

    You then wrote: “He is by no means an evil person..  He is a bad person, extremely arrogant only cares for himself… he would never empathize with me or understand my situation because he was too worried about himself“- bad but not evil.. a matter of degree, I suppose, is what you meant by it. This seems like a retroactive understanding of him because back in Dec 2020 there was no mention at all of him being bad or evil, arrogant or unempathetic.

    Back in Dec 2020, it was your “severe depression & anxiety” that caused the breakup, not his (unmentioned then) Asocial Personality disorder. Back then you were the one “difficult to deal with… very difficult to be around”, not him. And back then “he tried to be there for me, there wasn’t a lot he could do“.

    Later you added: “he had told me about his symptoms way before we even dated“- he may have told about his lack of empathy, etc., symptoms of ASPD, without mentioning the diagnosis, or he may have told you that he suspects the diagnosis itself. A few sentences after the quote right above, you wrote: “He told me he found out recently because he was seeing a therapist and did not tell anyone else because he feels no need to. I was the only person he told“- meaning as I understand it, that he told you about his ASPD symptoms before August 2020 when you first dated, and that he told you about his official diagnosis by a psychotherapist,  recently, sometime in later 2021.

    I no longer have any desire to be with him (his current self) but I notice that deep down inside I have hope that he’ll go back to being his best self“- I think that you do have a desire to be with him, and a strong desire at that. I understand that you intellectually separate his “current self” from his “best self”, but your heart desires him regardless of the distinctions that your intellect makes.

    Next, you wrote: “To me, I think he was a genuinely good person even though he had lots of trouble being considerate. With his loved ones he was selfless and kind“- I understand that people are complex, some more than others, and that all people placed under one diagnosis are not all the same, but I would think that a person who was correctly diagnosed with an Asocial Personality Disorder cannot possibly be “genuinely good person.. selfless and kind“. So I figure either one of the following is true, but not both: he is either genuinely good, selfless and kind or he fits the ASPD diagnosis.

    Next, “Right now, I don’t think of him as a good person“- I wonder if you don’t think about him as a good person right now  because right now he is not speaking to you even though you want to speak with him (“We also don’t speak anymore“, you wrote earlier).

    Maybe you are struggling a lot with not speaking with him anymore. Maybe you’ve been trying to contact him repeatedly since you talked last, and he has been refusing any and all contact with you.

    I wonder about the “severe depression & anxiety” that you mentioned in the beginning of this thread, we never discussed it: I wonder if you have been seeing a psychotherapist, if you’ve been taking psychiatric medications.

    I have no other thoughts, following this long, time-consuming post. I don’t know how you felt reading it and how you feel now. I hope you are okay. You are welcome to respond to this post- or not. I wish you well regardless.

    anita

    #383152
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words I can understand. I am so comfortable of the idea that I can love him and have a position vision for him, while letting go of the attachment to the expectations. It’s very freeing knowing that I can let go of the hope and still love him. The main thing that causes me pain was the attachment to his change and I never realized how it was more than just “having hope” for him.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by canary.
    #383154
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    There is some information that is missing so I will be clearing it up.

     

    In June 2020 when we hooked up, I had the intention that we were going to get back into a relationship together and I was very much attached to him. He told me he had feelings for me for a week or two, and then told me that he wasn’t even sure if they were real. I was hurt by that and he could obviously see it. He felt extreme guilt for what he did (hooking up with me and leading me on), I could see this on his face when we met up to talk about our relationship in person. I was the one who wanted to talk to him about our relationship because it helps me understand better, he agreed to it but he did not have anything to say, except for, “Sorry for being a shitty person.”. That was the only thing he said to me when we were in person, he never even comforted me while I was crying because he did not know what to do. After that he was being distant and it was because he was guilty for what he did to me.

    Mid August 2020, we stopped talking completely because I seemed to be the only one initiating and starting the conversations, I realized how unhealthy it was.

    We did talk a few times during September 2020 – Jan 2021, but it was very brief and unrelated to our past.

    This is an important thing that I did not mention in my post because I did not think it was necessary but here I go.

    During September 2020 – Jan 2021 I was working on my mental health and grieving the loss of my relationship. My depression and anxiety significantly improved, because I realized that most of it was coming from my toxic relationship with my ex. I was very anxiously attached to him, and he was very avoidant, this caused me a lot of distress. So when I finally cut off contact, I was obviously sad and grieving but I felt a sense of freedom because during this time I was figuring out who I am and what I actually want in life, (I am still doing this but I am so much more happier now).

    One night in February, I was asking myself one question about my past relationship. I seemed to have understood the reasoning for our breakup and it was very clear, so I was over the breakup, but I was not over one thing. That was, why my ex left me when we promised a friendship together. My ex had promised me that even if things didn’t work out in the future, we could still be friends. We had a great bond and connection so it hurt me so much to think that he did not care about me anymore, and I was wondering why. So that night, I messaged my ex if I could talk to him about something. I made it as clear as possible, I just wanted to ask him one question and he replied in a positive way. He was open to talking to me about it, so I asked him the question “Why did you leave when you promised a friendship with me?” and he told me it was because of the guilt he had for hooking up with me in July 2020. I did not know at the time but after he cleared this up for me I was so much happier knowing that I did nothing wrong that made him not want to speak to me, and that he didn’t hate me.

    We continued our conversation like normal, it was so crazy to me because we were talking like we had just spoken but it had been months since we last spoke. We were very casual and cracking jokes together and I was a bit worried that speaking to him would hurt me, but it didn’t.

    We ended up being friends again naturally, we did not force anything at all, and he was very kind and sweet. He always listened when I had something to say (especially about our past relationship), and he would answer as honestly as possible. I even told him honestly, that I still had feelings for him and he said that it’s okay and that I should do what is best for me, even if that meant ending our friendship.

    At the time, I was learning to be independent and it honestly helped me so much that I had someone who I loved very much by my side making me feel comfortable with the new changes. So I did not end the friendship because the feelings were not bothering me that much, I was able to control them and just be friendly with him and not be jealous of any other girl that he was talking to.

    We talked every single day like best friends, and then a month later (March 2021), he told me has feelings for me. I was so shocked, that he caught feelings for me again. I wasn’t sure if those feelings were genuine because he was telling me that it might have just been because I was the only girl talking to him at the time and he might have been caught up in old feelings. I was so anxiously attached to him that I wanted another relationship with him. He told me that he couldn’t because he was moving to a different city for college in September and he does not like long distant relationships.

    This hurt me because I knew I would do anything to be with this boy even if we were long distant. I gave him the impression that I wasn’t hurt by this. We never did anything and he slowly lost feelings for me throughout April – May 2021.

    Now I’m not sure what exactly happened in April – May 2021, but we ended up arguing a lot. This is because he was not being as nice and kind as before. He would only talk about himself, and he would say a lot of hurtful things to me that were just unacceptable. I was being disrespected by being friends with him. I said multiple times that we can’t be friends if he’s not going to value me and respect me. He just gave me the impression that he did not care. This period was very confusing for me and very hurtful because I just couldn’t believe I was being disrespected by someone I loved and respected so much.

    He had remorse for some of the things he said and did to me, and I held onto the potential I saw in him. I kept telling myself he didn’t mean these things (and I still believe he didn’t have the intention to hurt me), and that he would be a better person. He even told me he is changing his behavior and I was so happy to see him not be as angry and rude for a week. But after that week, he was back to being his old self.

    After a lot of conversations with him, I realized he wasn’t going to change at all. So I left. He gave me the impression that he did not mind my absence, even though I did because we were best friends and talked to each other about everything. Last time we spoke was in June when I messaged him about one thing regarding his behavior and he told me that he has been professionally diagnosed with ASPD.

     

    Now, I have been significantly happier without him but as I’ve stated before, the hope I have for him changing into his best self is hurting me and I’d really like to let it go.

    I am grateful for all the important lessons I’ve learned by being in a relationship with him, and I’ve also learned that there is no point going back to him because he is the same man he was a year ago. Part of me feels so sad because I know the reason he feels this way is because hes very depressed and denies his emotions, and he does not know how to deal with them.

    I’m not sure if he hates me because I never wanted to hurt him and he held onto one joke I made (that was completely unrelated to him!) and assumed that I meant it to hurt him but I never did. The joke was never meant to hurt him and I never ever meant it in the way he took it, he was so angry with me and I’m not sure if he still is. (This happened in May 2021).

    I admit I did act like the victim in front of him during May/June, because I was incredibly hurt and my feelings were always being invalidated and I believed a lot of things in the relationship that weren’t ever true! (Such as, it was my fault for our relationship in April 2020 to end because of my mental health). I was never dumping my feelings onto him, I was simply asking for support and he was unable to provide it to me and told me that I was “complaining”. He STILL believes that every time I talk to him about his behavior and how it’s unacceptable, it’s just me complaining.

    I got out of the victim mindset once I started feeling empathy for him as well as myself. I realized that he did not have the intention to hurt me, and the reason he did is because of his traumatic childhood that made him develop ASPD and not be able to love/trust anyone except for a few people, me being one of them.

    When I say my ex was very kind and selfless, I only mean he was that way to his loved ones (1 or 2 people including me), not to everyone else. He does NOT trust anyone else and is always skeptical of their intentions. Please remember that it is definitely possible for a person diagnosed with ASPD to feel love towards a selected group of people. His diagnosis does not mean he is incapable of feeling love and empathy, it means he has trouble with it.

    So I got rid of that Good/Victim category that you are talking about, and I do not feel that way anymore. In fact, I have already forgiven him for all the pain that he has caused me and I’ve apologized to him for everything I did that hurt him. I do not feel any resentment or anger towards him anymore, just sadness and hope that he could change into his best self… the best self I saw in him multiple times.

    The reason I do not see him as bad, is because we have been friends for many years and I was one of the only people he trusted to talk to about his feelings and I remember every thing he told me. There is no reason for him to lie to me because he never wanted anything from me. So I believe what I’ve seen is the true him.

    “”I think that you do have a desire to be with him, and a strong desire at that. I understand that you intellectually separate his “current self” from his “best self”, but your heart desires him regardless of the distinctions that your intellect makes.””

    I agree with this, I do have a desire to be with him (my emotions), but logically I know I shouldn’t because being with his current self will bring me nothing but pain and I’m interested in relationships that will allow me to grow.

    “”I understand that people are complex, some more than others, and that all people placed under one diagnosis are not all the same, but I would think that a person who was correctly diagnosed with an Asocial Personality Disorder cannot possibly be “genuinely good person.. selfless and kind“. So I figure either one of the following is true, but not both: he is either genuinely good, selfless and kind or he fits the ASPD diagnosis.””

    I think you have misunderstood. He is only a “good person” with his loved ones (a few people), and with the rest of the world he isn’t. Though, I have seen him do selfless acts to random strangers even if he gained nothing. I’m not sure if that makes his diagnosis valid or not but I’m going based off what he told me.

    Symptoms for ASPD:

    • Disregard for right and wrong
    • Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
    • Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
    • Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure
    • Arrogance, a sense of superiority and being extremely opinionated
    • Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
    • Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
    • Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
    • Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
    • Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
    • Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
    • Poor or abusive relationships
    • Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
    • Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations

    He fits most of the symptoms.

    For example, he may manipulate and lie to people to gain something for himself, even if it’s very small (he has told me about this). He is very arrogant, impulsive, hostile and aggressive. He lacks empathy as well, he has admitted to all of these things. He would never intentionally hurt me (because he does not want anything from me), or his loved ones and pets. He told me he has a lot of empathy for animals and pets and not a lot for humans.

    “”Next, “Right now, I don’t think of him as a good person“- I wonder if you don’t think about him as a good person right now  because right now he is not speaking to you even though you want to speak with him (“We also don’t speak anymore“, you wrote earlier).””

    I do not think of him as a good person because of his actions, not because we dont speak. He has also admitted himself, that he see’s himself as a bad person because of his actions and mindset.

    “Maybe you are struggling a lot with not speaking with him anymore. Maybe you’ve been trying to contact him repeatedly since you talked last, and he has been refusing any and all contact with you.”

    It does hurt a lot not speaking to him, but honestly I prefer not talking to him (his current self) because he was very rude and it brought me a lot of pain.

    #383155
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canari:

    I am looking forward to read and reply to you Wed morning, which is in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #383160
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    you’re welcome, and I am glad it feels freeing to you to still love him but not having expectations of him changing. This helps you be free from emotional attachment to him, from the hope and excitement that you feel if he shows signs of improvement, followed by disappointment and anger if he hurts you again. Basically, it frees you from the emotional roller-coaster, where you make your happiness and well-being dependent on his actions. I am sure you know all this, but I am still saying it out loud to make a stronger point 🙂

    As for his disorder, there are people who love and care only about their immediate family, and would do anything for them – even lie, cheat and steal if necessary (i.e. behave in an antisocial manner). It seems your ex might belong to this category of people… When you were his friend and then girlfriend, he might have put you in the “loved ones” group and would behave kindly to you, or at least would try. Although you say that even then he lacked empathy, but perhaps he was willing to work on it and become “a better person” for your sake. Even after you broke up, up until April 2021, it seems he had remorse for leading you on and hurting your feelings. He even said he was a “shitty person”. He seems to have regretted that he’d hurt you.

    I guess this is the personality that you liked – that he at least saw how some of his actions were hurtful and perhaps showed a willingness to change. But this April, it seems he stopped caring – you say he stopped caring how his actions affect you. I guess this is how he behaves with everybody outside of his “loved ones” group: he doesn’t care about them, doesn’t care if he hurts them or exploits them. This is probably the personality you detest and don’t want to have anything to do with.

    It seems to me you saw a potential in him when he was open to change, when he would admit his mistakes and show some remorse. That was attractive to you and got you hooked, got you hopes up. Based on what you’ve written, he never was truly caring and supportive of you, but at least he was “trying”, or he saw that he “should be” more empathic, and this was what kept you hoping. You did say in your last post that you had “a great bond and connection”. But I wonder if that bond was rather around working on his “improvement” and his need to change, and not really a bond in terms of feeling respected and supported by him?

     

    #383166
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canari:

    I made an 8-phase time-line of your relationship with your former soulmate and first love as you referred to him: (1) The Relationship: August 2019- April 2020 (7 months), (2) Friendship: April 2020- June 2020, (3) Hook up/s: June-July 2020, (4) No-Talking: Mid August, (5) A few brief, casual talks: Sept 2020-Jan 2021, (6) Daily talks, Best Friends: February-March 2021, (7) Troubled Friendship: April-June 2021, (8) No-Talking: July 2021 (current).

    (Regarding # 3, the Hook up/s- the timing I mentioned is based on what you wrote: “In June 2020 when we hooked up…. the guilt he had for hooking up with me in July 2020″).

    The reason for the breakup of phase 1, April 2020: “The reason for our breakup: I was suffering from severe depression & anxiety and it made me difficult to deal with.. Because of those anxious thoughts I was becoming very difficult to be around which caused him to back away from me… Although he tried to be there for me, there wasn’t a lot he could do” (quote from Dec 2020).

    In regard to Sept 2020- Jan 2021, you wrote: “I was very anxiously attached to him, and he was very avoidant, this caused me a lot of distress” (quote from July 2021)

    Being in your first relationship/ first love, caused you anxiety because in the context of an intimate, romantic relationship you feel anxiety. Psychology today: The anxious attachment style is always concerned about the stability or security of the relationship. People with this attachment style tend to agonize over the meaning of words or actions by a partner. They read negatives into otherwise neutral or positive interactions. They also tend to crave constant reassurance that the relationship is secure, and the affection and love are still present.”

    You were anxious during the 7 months of the  1st phase. You were anxious after the breakup, during the 2nd phase (“being clingy”). You were anxious when he “started being a bit distant” in June 2020. You were anxious during and after the hook up/s of the 3rd phase because you “had the intention that we were going to get back into a relationship together and I was very much attached to him“, but he told you that “he was not ready for a relationship and he thought he loved me like before, but he did not“.

    But then, as is typical to a person with the anxious attachment style, when not in a romantic relationship, one’s anxiety significantly lessens and the person experiences a relief, a sense of freedom from anxiety. For you, this freedom began during the 4th phase and into the 5th phase of Sept 2020-Jan 2021, when your contact with him involved only a few conversations that were “very brief and unrelated to our past“. For a person who is anxious in the context of an intimate, romantic relationship, being outside that context provides much relief: “My depression and anxiety significantly improved… I felt a sense of freedom“.

    The relative freedom from anxiety continued into the 6th phase, which made it possible for you to be in the best-friends phase for less than a couple of months (Feb-March 2021). In March, “he told me has feelings for me. I was so shocked“, shocked and anxious again: “I wasn’t sure if those feelings were genuine.. I was so anxiously attached to him that I wanted another relationship with him“, but he rejected the idea, telling you that “he couldn’t“.

    Your anxiety resumed sometime during the ending of the 6th phase, and it escalated during the 7th phase of April- June 2021 when “he slowly lost feelings for me.. we ended up arguing a lot… he held onto one joke I made..  and assumed that I meant it to hurt him.. he was so angry with me”.

    Last time we spoke was in June when I messaged him about one thing regarding his behavior and he told me that he has been professionally diagnosed with ASPD“- the ASPD diagnosis did not come into play before the the last day of the last phase, phase 7th.

    When I say my ex was very kind and selfless, I only mean he was that way to his loved ones (1 or 2 people including me), not to everyone else… His diagnosis does not mean he is incapable of feeling love and empathy…He is only a “good person” with his loved ones (a few people)“-

    – Assuming that (1) it is true that his psychotherapist diagnosed him with ASPD, and that (2)  his therapist did not misdiagnose him (it is common for mental health-care professionals to misdiagnose patients, and it is common for professionals to disagree regarding a particular patient’s diagnosis), then if he was was “very kind and selfless… a good person” with you, and if he was capable of “feeling love and empathy” for you– then his ASPD diagnosis is not relevant to the 8 phases of his relationship with you.

    In summary: it is your anxiety within an intimate, romantic relationship with a man (having an anxious attachment style) that needs to be attended to. I think that rather than “Letting go of hope for (his) recovery” (the title of your thread), it is better that you continue to focus on your own recovery while abstaining for some time from any kind of a relationship with him (a future 9th phase), and/ or with any other man.

    anita

    #383188
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    I liked his personality where he was very straightforward, honest, and even caring about his loved ones. He showed a lot of passion in whatever he was interested in, he is very easy-going and funny. He did appreciate me in his own way and wanted the best for me. He was always true to himself and loved me for my good and bad sides. That’s the person I love dearly.

    The person he is today is arrogant, only cares about himself, and makes no effort to pursue his passions. He does have the same traits I stated in the beginning (honesty, straightforward, etc.) but it’s been masked by extreme hostility. This is the person I cannot love because it brings me great pain to be disrespected by him.

    “”Based on what you’ve written, he never was truly caring and supportive of you, but at least he was “trying”, or he saw that he “should be” more empathic, and this was what kept you hoping.””

    This is somewhat true. He shows his support and love to me in a very different way, at first I wasn’t used to it and I wholeheartedly believed he did not love me because he was not showing me love in a way that I understood it. It occured to me that he does in fact love me, he just shows it in a way that is hard for me to understand. This is because he has a hard time showing empathy and that is all I ever wanted. I just needed him to feel empathy towards me and show it, that is how I feel loved. I could see his efforts in trying to be more empathetic and show it, but it’s extremely difficult to “learn empathy” especially when you are older.

    “”You did say in your last post that you had “a great bond and connection”. But I wonder if that bond was rather around working on his “improvement” and his need to change, and not really a bond in terms of feeling respected and supported by him?””

    The bond I was referring to is that I’m completely comfortable with his presence, and I haven’t felt this way with anyone ever before. We’re both able to act like our complete selves in front of each other, and we just understand some things without even talking about them because we share similar values. I did for sure feel respected and supported by him in the beginning of the relationship and even during our friendship, but something changed in him and I’m not sure what, but he just became so emotionless suddenly and that’s when the disrespect started.

     

    #383189
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Just to clarify, in the beginning (5 months) of our relationship I was not anxiously attached to my partner. I had my own sense of self and was working on my treatment for depression & anxiety. I remember very clearly that I had a lot of anxiety when we had arguments in the relationship because my ex would not support me when I was going for treatment. This is why the anxiety formed. The rest is accurate, I was anxious all throughout the other phases except the 4th and 5th phases where we were not talking and I felt a sense of freedom.

    “then his ASPD diagnosis is not relevant to the 8 phases of his relationship with you.”

    He was definitely kind and selfless with me, but during our relationship in phase 1, he was having trouble with showing empathy for me even if he had lots of empathy and love for me. Then during phase 7, he was being disrespectful towards me.

    “”In summary: it is your anxiety within an intimate, romantic relationship with a man (having an anxious attachment style) that needs to be attended to. I think that rather than “Letting go of hope for (his) recovery” (the title of your thread), it is better that you continue to focus on your own recovery while abstaining for some time from any kind of a relationship with him (a future 9th phase), and/ or with any other man.””

    Thank you for putting this into words. I’ve been focusing on my mental health but I’m not sure how to relieve the anxious attachment towards my ex. Since this anxiety only shows up when I’m in a relationship with him, so I’m not sure how to work on this.

    #383191
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    You are welcome. You wrote: “In the beginning (5 months) of our relationship I was not anxiously attached to my partner. I.. was working on my treatment for depression & anxiety“-

    – the anxiety you experienced in regard to your attachment to your ex five months into the relationship (“anxiously attached to my partner”) is not separate from the anxiety (“depression & anxiety”)  you experienced in the first 4 months of the relationship, for which you were receiving treatment.

    “I’m not sure how to relieve the anxious attachment towards my ex”-

    – because your anxiety regarding to your attachment to your ex is not separate from your anxiety in the first 4 months of the relationship (and before you met him), working on your overall anxiety is key. Can you tell me what treatment you receive for your anxiety (“I.. was working on my treatment for depression and anxiety”), and otherwise elaborate on your anxiety that is not related to your ex?

    anita

    #383193
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Antia,

    Thank you for clearing that up I understand what you mean now.

    I had been receiving counselling (from school) for 4 years and last year I tried out therapy around January. It did not help much but I was not able to receive the treatment I needed because the price was too much and my therapist was also not a good fit for me. So I had to leave because I couldn’t afford it.

    Ever since then, I’ve been trying to relieve my anxiety through self-help books and medication I received from my psychiatrist. But the medications were not helping at all, I’ve been on several (I started medication in August 2019) and none had a positive effect on me. So I recently ended my last medication (which was for anxiety) in May. I still experience withdrawal symptoms from this last medication that I ended despite it being 2 months. The withdrawals at the beginning gave me severe anxiety, but now it’s manageable. The reason I know I’m still experiencing symptoms from withdrawals is because I experience brain shivers (from the medication) and anxiety. The symptoms have gotten a lot better but I feel they aren’t fully gone yet. If you are wondering what the name of this medication is, it’s called Effexor (Venlafaxine) and it’s known for having very long and horrible withdrawal symptoms.

    I’m just not sure what to do regarding my anxiety anymore. I do practice self-care when I experience anxious thoughts or anxiety attacks, but my anxiety seems to be there all the time, and I don’t experience bad anxiety attacks anymore unless something big triggers it. It’s really difficult to get treatment, I’d really like to try therapy but it’s so expensive. I’ve filled out forms for therapy that are low-cost or even free, but they never got back to me. Since then I’ve been trying to manage my anxiety on my own by reading self-help books but that’s all I can do for now.

    I’m trying to fix my schedule and build a healthy routine by incorporating things that’ll bring me happiness. I enjoy yoga, eating healthy, reading, etc. So I’ve been trying to take things slowly so I can build this routine that’ll benefit me.

    #383194
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    He did appreciate me in his own way

    He shows his support and love to me in a very different way, at first I wasn’t used to it and I wholeheartedly believed he did not love me because he was not showing me love in a way that I understood it.

    Could you give an example of how he was showing his support and love for you, which at first you didn’t register as love?

    You say you needed him to show empathy because that’s how you feel loved. Can you give an example of a situation in which you expected more empathy but he failed to show it? And what was his reaction instead of empathy?

     

    #383196
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    I don’t remember each scenario exactly but I will try my best.

    At the beginning of the friendship, he was aware of my mental state and was checking in on me, asking if he could do anything to make me feel better. This continued on into the relationship but slowly he started checking in on me less. I would get lots of anxiety and need reassurance that he loves me. He would try his best to reassure me and make me feel better. When I was having very rough days, we wouldn’t talk as much because he was never available to talk. This really hurt me and he was aware that we weren’t talking as much and he admitted it.

    I believed he did not love me, but he was trying his best to show that he does even if he wouldn’t respond to me as quickly as I’d like. He told me that he has ADHD and would hyper-fixate on something (video games) so he couldn’t find the time to respond. I was totally fine with him responding after a while, but it was really rough for me when I was having a bad day and all I needed was someone to talk to, and he wouldn’t be there for me when I needed him. I’m aware that he was trying his best even if I didn’t feel loved by him.

    One situation really hurt me deeply and it was one of the first times I realized he couldn’t give me the empathy and support I needed. I was on my way to the hospital because I was getting admitted for suicidal ideation, I was in a really bad state of mind. I was also very nervous because it was a big step for me to ask for help from a school counsellor and I was waiting for my ride to get to the hospital. On my way, I was texting my ex-boyfriend about my situation and I was telling him how nervous I was. I was just talking to him about my current situation, and he suddenly changed the conversation towards himself, talking about how he got such a bad mark on a test (he was in class at that time). It really hurt because I felt like what I said was ignored and he did not care that I was on my way to the hospital. It was really upsetting because I needed lots of support that time, and he was the only person I had contact with during that time. I have other friends for support but they were not available to talk. I didn’t even tell my parents about this.

    I didn’t tell him at that moment that it hurt me that I was being ignored, but I did tell him later in which he said that he is sorry for that.

    He always does this in conversations, even when I’m just talking about myself (unrelated to my mental state) he does not acknowledge it and just continues to talk about himself. It feels like I’m being ignored and I just wanted him to empathize with me and understand me to the best of his abilities.

    #383203
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canari:

    You are welcome, as I understand it, you are a teenager, a high school student living at home. Am I correct? You received counseling at school for 4 years. At one point you had suicidal thoughts and asked a school counselor for help. The school, alarmed, arranged for you to be admitted to a hospital.

    Therapy outside of school was short, expensive and not helpful. You were prescribed several medications by a psychiatrist Aug 2019- May 2021, but those were not helpful and you are still suffering from withdrawal symptoms from the last medication,  Effexor.

    Effexor (brand name)/ Venlafaxine (generic name), is an antidepressant of the Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) class, used to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social phobia. Venlafaxine has a higher rate of moderate to severe discontinuation symptoms relative to other antidepressants, but way, way less than the anti-anxiety group of medications called benzodiazepines. In my personal experience, discontinuation of an anti-depressant (from the SSRI class, in my case) was nothing compared to my withdrawal from a benzodiazepine (Klonipin).

    You wrote that Effexor is “known for having very long and horrible withdrawal symptoms“. It is the benzodiazepines that are known to have very long and horrible withdrawal symptoms. Effexor is known to have more discontinuation symptoms than other anti-depressants, but way less than benzodiazepines.

    I’d really like to try therapy but it’s so expensive. I’ve filled out forms for therapy that are low-cost or even free, but they never got back to me“- call/ message the people you sent the forms to, asking if your forms were received, if they need more information from you, and when can you expect help.

    I’m trying to fix my schedule and build a healthy routine.. I enjoy yoga, eating healthy, reading, etc. So I’ve been trying to take things slowly so I can build this routine that’ll benefit me“- this is in line with what I advised you in your first thread (“1. Get professional help..  psychotherapy with a quality therapist.. 2. A daily routine, including daily aerobic exercise.. as well as such practices such as yoga and listening to guided meditations. 3. Look  into Mindfulness, there are plenty of mindfulness exercises…4… you can learn emotional regulation skills and improve your interpersonal communication skills…).

    I started this post with my understanding that you are a teenager living at home. How are the relationships between you and your parents/ siblings?

    anita

    #383206
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    At the beginning of the friendship, he was aware of my mental state and was checking in on me, asking if he could do anything to make me feel better. This continued on into the relationship but slowly he started checking in on me less. I would get lots of anxiety and need reassurance that he loves me. He would try his best to reassure me and make me feel better. When I was having very rough days, we wouldn’t talk as much because he was never available to talk. This really hurt me and he was aware that we weren’t talking as much and he admitted it.

    Here is one possible scenario of what might have happened: In the beginning he was able to empathize with you, checking in on you, being kind and considerate, and offering help. As you were anxious quite a lot, it could be that after a while he got tired of always talking about your anxiety and being careful not to upset you. He might have started developing resentment for always needing to take care of you, and it might have manifested in him not being there for you when you needed it most: When you had a specially rough day, he wasn’t available to talk. Or when you were about to be admitted to hospital for suicidal ideation, he instead of being concerned, started talking about his exam.

    It could be that you were too much to handle for him, and so he sometimes “checked out”, exactly at the worst time. He probably couldn’t tell you directly at the time that you’re “too much”, but did it in this form of passive aggression.

    He always does this in conversations, even when I’m just talking about myself (unrelated to my mental state) he does not acknowledge it and just continues to talk about himself.

    One possible reason for this could be that he is narcissistic and really inconsiderate, and that in the beginning of your relationship he was faking kindness and interest in you. The other possibility is that he isn’t narcissistic but that he felt unheard, since a lot of your conversations were about you. As I said before, maybe he was tired of talking only about you and tending to your needs, but wanted to talk about himself, and expected you to listen to him and be there for him? I really don’t know if this is the case, just putting it out there as a possibility…

    Having read everything you wrote, I see two possibilities: 1) one is that he truly isn’t able to empathize with people and is extremely self-centered (it would be true if he were a narcissist, or someone with antisocial disorder), or 2) that he isn’t able to show as much empathy for you as you would want it – however that it’s not a failure of his character, but rather that due to your anxiety, you are very sensitive and in a big need of empathy and soothing, which he isn’t able to meet (and then reacts with resentment, and lately, is extremely hostile and disrespectful).

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by TeaK.
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