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Really struggling to deal with this

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  • #77456
    Tiny Butterfly
    Participant

    A little background to my story, my partner and I have been together for nearing 3 years now. We broke up last summer for 5 months and got back together. Since getting back together these past 6 months have been amazing and I felt so happy with him, but recently we’ve both been dealing with some family struggles that are taking their toll on us. Though we both support one and other through our family struggles, my main concern right now is the relationship itself as I feel that old patterns are emerging. For example we had an argument the other day and it felt as though throughout this argument my whole soul was being torn apart. During this argument I made huge attempts to make things better while he persistently told me he did not want me in his life, hung the phone up on me numerous times, blocked me online and a said the most hurtful and cruellest things that I find days later I’m still struggling to come to terms with. I bring this up as these arguments are the old patterns that I fear may be remerging and the wounds that follow feel deep. I can put on a brave face but I’m filled with anxiety on a daily basis that I may go through this again and I just can’t for my own sanity. After this argument and after pleading with him (even writing that now I feel sick knowing I had to plead with him to stay with me), I apologized and once he had calmed down he followed suit. We are both aware that we are under a lot of pressure due to our family struggles, but I cannot help the fact that days later I feel anxious wondering whether the things he said were true, I keep replaying these words in my head and I worry that another year down the line nothing will change. I physically shake at the thought of another argument and I don’t know what’s going on with me. If you’ve read this far thank you, I just don’t know what to do right now and I cannot deal with this anxiety I’m feeling.

    #77457
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Tiny Butterfly,

    Here’s my logical, outsider reasoning:

    1. If his words are true (meaning, if he really thinks/feels that way) then you should get rid of him.

    2. If he was just saying those words/statements out of anger, and they are meaningless, the danger is that he will think he can just say these things going forward. You begging him to take you back essentially gives him that permission as you “amitted” that you were “wrong” by the begging. (Hope that makes sense!)

    3. You have given him all the power in the relationship. HE blocks you. HE hangs up on you. No. This is what you do: You have to give him a little scare, or a little hurt. This time YOU go away. No arguing, just say, “I can’t take this anymore, I’m going away to get my head on straight, and I will tell you if I want to continue this relationship when I come back.”

    4. While you’re gone he will get a little scared. He will think back to his cruel words, whether he wants to or not.

    5. When you come back he may very well dump you, or you may very well dump him. But if you do agree to stick it out, it will be a VERY long time before he even thinks of pulling a stunt like that again. And in that time, the dynamic will change.

    6. P.S. Your family struggles didn’t cause the problems. They just served to illuminate your weaknesses in full relief.

    Good Luck!

    Inky

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Inky.
    #77461
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hello.

    I can relate to your partner’s behavior.I get upset easily and when I’m really angry I say hurtful things to my boyfriend and become distant because I just want him to feel what I feel. Those things are not true but in that moment I feel they are (even if I know they aren’t!).
    Maybe your partner feels really hurt and know no other way to deal with that anger. Now I see how much this kind of behavior really affects other people.
    You got back together after 5 months, that means you really love each other. It’s hard to deal with a person who can’t control his own feelings and I don’t think there is something you can do about it. He has to change or at least try to be more understanding and calm (which I know from my own experience it’s pretty damn hard).
    I don’t know your situation, all I can do is talk from my experience. I think all you can do is give him an ultimatum, but make sure he understands you’re really serious about it and he can’t change your mind if he doesn’t do what you ask him ( for example: stop saying those hurtful things). Make sure he also understands how much his behavior hurts you.

    #77467
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Butterfly:
    The man attacked you verbally, emotionally, hurting you, injuring you: “he persistently told me he did not want me in his life, hung the phone up on me numerous times, blocked me online and a said the most hurtful and cruellest things.”

    You were attacked verbally, emotionally. You were hurt, injured: “my whole soul was being torn apart…I’m filled with anxiety on a daily basis…I feel anxious wondering whether the things he said were true…I keep replaying these words in my head and I worry…I physically shake at the thought of another argument… I cannot deal with this anxiety I’m feeling.”

    The fact that his attack on you was fueled by his distress over whatever issue is not relevant to the fact that he attacked you. Most people who attack others do so because they feel distressed. Excusing your bf’s attack because of his distress is excusing the millions of attacks that are happening right now all over the world as I type this.

    It is also irrelevant whether deep inside him on a sunny happy day he still thinks those things he said to you when angry. The WORDS he said cannot be deleted from your memory, both intellectual and emotional memory. Your brain does not have a delete botton. Words cannot be unsaid or balanced and neutralized by good words.

    You were both distressed during that last argument. Maybe he was distressed first but soon enough as he attacked you- you were BOTH distressed. How did the two of you react to personal distress? He took the FIGHT position, attacking you, being aggressive and abusive. To feel better, to relieve his own distress, he attacked, he fought. How did you react to your distress? You took the FAWN position, the submissive posture, taking the blame, pleading with him. This is how you relieved your distress. In the short term. You felt safe for a short time.

    But in the long term you feel anxious.

    So, what is really going on?

    Can you post again: what is really going on???
    anita

    #77518
    Tiny Butterfly
    Participant

    Inky and Denise thank you for your responses they have been hugely helpful in gaining an outside perspective on what I’m going through. Anita, thank you for your description of what I feel is definitely what happened during the argument. Through reflecting on what you have said I wholeheartly feel as though relieving my distress short term isn’t beneficial for me. In terms with what’s really going on I feel an underlying sense of a power struggle(?) in the relationship and to move forward I need a relationship that is both healthy and balanced (I would like to work at this with him together if at all possible but do not know how to approach him about it). I’ve recently finished university for the summer and now have more time to reflect on our relationship and there feels at times a push and pull between us? (it’s the only way I can describe it). For instance I feel as though I could say one small thing and he will take it the complete opposite to what I meant, leaving me baffled and upset at how he could think I meant it in that way. Other times I stay quiet and do not react as I do not want something small to escalate between us (as I can sense in my bones that it will). While being in the relationship I have changed and grown for the better and I feel as though he may still hold an old perception of who I was prior to our relationship (we were acquaintances back in our ‘party days’ and very different people to who we are now). This I fear is what comes out within our arguments, especially the hurtful things that are being said and I wonder if he will always view me in a certain light. I know in my heart while he says these hurtful things to me during an argument that it isn’t who I am, so when I plead with him it’s hugely conflicting as long term I feel as though I am not being true to myself. I hope this makes sense

    #77525
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Butterfly:
    It seems to me that no matter what you choose to do about this relationship and in it, it is not going to be EASY for you. You are, I believe, going to have a difficult time no matter what. My next thought to myself, placing myself in your spot as I see it: since i am going to have a difficult time no matter what i do, why don’t I see to it that my GOAL in this is the right goal for me, so that the difficult time in front of me is going to take me someplace better in my life, so that my chances at mental and physical well being long term are maximized?

    You wrote that you have changed and grown for the better since your party days. You mentioned being true to yourself, it being something you value. You mentioned how you were very happy with your boyfriend for six months. From all that you mentioned I see your motivation to LOVE and be loved. How good it felt. That is the draw to him. You are also motivated to GROW.

    Conflict: when the price of love is shrinking, not only not growing, but shrinking, fearing, cowering, apologizing.

    Is it still love then? Does love SHRINK you? Does love work against you?

    Side note: I had a similar relationship with my mother in that she attacked me relentlessly, blaming me for her attacks, claiming I was thinking things i was not thinking, that i was trying to hurt her when i was not, ‘reading my mind” in all the wrong ways. Those physical and verbal attacks were horribly HARMFUL to me, terribly so. My anxiety was intense and ongoing, the physical toll incredible lifetime. How fortunate you are, I am thinking, for being an adult when such attacks- verbal attacks (more painful to me than the physical). How fortunate, I am thinking, that you have the physical, circumstantial power and opportunity to terminate this abuse.

    Back to you: i would suggest at this time that you reflect on your GOALS as they relate to this relationship- verbalize/ write them down. Growth- sticking to your goals (with flexibility: to evaluate, re-evaluate, examine, re-state over time and experience). Like I wrote: you will have a difficult time ANYWAY, staying (abuse) or leaving (loneliness, doubt…)

    About him: i have no doubt that sometimes he is very loving, very sweet, even vulnerable and that you feel such closeness to him at times, that you have such memories… possibly you see him at times as the vulnerable child that he is inside and you feel compassion for him… A person can get lost in such feelings. It is true he is a good kid inside, that he attacks because he is hurting… he deserves empathy. My input: he deserves somebody else’s empathy. Once he attacks you, repeatedly (a pattern) – it is no longer the job of the attacked to feel empathy for the attacker. In this predator-prey relationship empathy by prey means keeping the prey position, being hurt more and more.

    Will he change? Grow? The fact that he so inaccurately reads your mind means he practices distorted thinking severe enough to be a problem. The fact that he may do that “only when distressed” is very discouraging because future distress is inevitable. it means that you can realistically expect to be attacked ON TOP of future distresses. You can expect to be attacked when you are down (as in family struggles). He will need to be distressed by his own dysfunction and desire a better way. He will need to choose the more difficult way- to grow (and experience growing pains) and not go with the path of least resistance, temporary, immediate relief in the existing patterns.

    You may think it should be easy for him… to choose what works, what will obviously make his life better on the long run?

    Not so, if it was easy, you wouldn’t have the difficult time you are having in making your life better on the long run.

    What do you think? Back to writing goals…?
    Take care:
    anita

    #77566
    Tiny Butterfly
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you again for your response and providing me with more insight to what I’m going through, I really appreciate your words. I took some time to reflect upon what you had said and it actually occurred to me that I have never written down or verbalised any relationship goals for myself (like EVER) or for the relationship I am in (or previous ones for that matter!). Therefore your words really hit home for me and open my eyes and I thank you for that. I decided that I WILL reflect and start to write down some goals that I want for myself from the relationship along with goals for outside of the relationship (eg. workout more, meditate more etc). I also felt it would be important once I’ve done these to verbalise them to partner. Though things are good at the moment (both getting on with things and getting on), I cannot deny the need for such goals are crucial for my well being. I’m unsure as to how he will perceive what I will verbalise once I have my goals written down, but I now feel a little more confident in that being true to myself and my own values in verbalising my own needs will rid some of the fear that stirs within me.

    Your comment about whether love shrinks me also hit a cord as I can see now love should do the opposite – it should motivate you to grow. Although in the relationship I have loved myself enough to want to change and grow as a person, I worry that he may not feel love for himself enough to do the same – which tied in with your growing pains comment which I now can relate with well. You sharing your own story with me inspired me, knowing that you terminated the abuse you were going through, that takes true strength and courage – keeping your story in my thoughts helps me build up strength for what lies ahead.

    Finally, your comment on empathy is a 100% true – while I do see the inner boy in him and know of his painful experiences, I do agree that empathy should come from elsewhere and not from me during these attacks. Becoming the person that he thinks it is okay to talk to in such cruel ways and comforting him following this, continuously feeding his ego is not the person I am and I would not expect him to do the same ever should my attacks towards him reflect his. I know in my heart that saying these things I would never expect him to forgive me, never mind comfort me following them or beg and plead to be with me still – that’s what’s messed up about it. I will continue to reflect, write goals and improve on myself regardless of the storm I feel surrounds me. Thank you for your advice and the others in the forum, I feel more confident in myself knowing that regardless of what happens between us that I will be ok (no more begging or pleading).

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    #77569
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Butterfly:
    You are welcome. I appreciate your intelligence, wisdom, kindness and grace as it is expressed to me in your post above. I like your assrtion at the end of your post: “No more begging or pleading.” Everything you wrote makes sense to me and I am impressed by the fact that you read and paid attention to everything i wrote to you. I imagine you pay a lot of attention to your bf as well- he is fortunate in this regard, being visible and attended to. You need to be visible to him as well. It is not a one side visibility thing, shoulnd’t be. Which brings something else to my mind, within the goals work, goals for the relationship- incorporating needs to be met in a relationship- needs to be met: what do you need… Is being seen, validated important to you? how important? As important as giving him the validation and visibility that you yourself need…

    Please post again, tiny Butterfly and best to you:
    anita

    #102068
    Tiny Butterfly
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I wanted to update you following this situation as I feel what you wrote nearing a year ago now gave me strength to make the decisions I have. What followed from this was continuous months of not airing how I felt to him still. While on many occasions we would continue our dysfunctional pattern, things for me got worse. It got to a stage where my anxiety got worse and depression closed in on me. I sought help from a doctor and was put on antidepressants. However deep down none of what was going on sat well within me, as I knew the problem was within the relationship I was in. While I continued to take the antidepressants, changed jobs, lost friends and isolated myself I was growing more and more resentful inside. This was hard.

    It had got to a point where I hated him. Hated our relationship and couldn’t take much more of it. The straw that broke the camels back for me was my uncle passing away this weekend and an argument I had with my auntie. He could not show an ounce of sympathy and I could see and still can, this and things were never going to change between us. I’d finally had enough and broke up with him. During this I was honest in what I needed in a man and told him he was not it. I aired how hateful I had become towards him and took responsibility for my part in staying so long when I shouldn’t. What became apparent during this is that he would not take an ounce of responsibility for his part, but would concentrate solely on making me feel bad for being honest with him and my real thoughts and feelings towards him and our relationship. He’s glad he knows how I really feel, and I am glad I told him.

    Right now I hurt. I cannot sleep and I have and will no doubt miss him. But it would hurt me and my mental health to stay with him in this situation. I only wished I would have realised what I needed from a relationship a long time ago and had the self esteem to leave. While my self esteem is low at the moment I will take comfort in knowing I made the decision that was right for ME (at last) in the end. It’s funny how the only time my ex partner has ever agreed with me on anything is when it comes down to us breaking up, which I should’ve let happen a long time ago when he could continuously do this. There will be moments where I want to go back but too much is at stake in my life to do this anymore. I will grieve the relationship, but it will be healthier to let it go when I’m done. I’ve learnt and grown and making this decision shows to me how I need to put my needs over him now and heal myself from this mess.

    Sending you warm wishes Anita.

    #102114
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Butterfly:

    I am impressed that you came back to your almost 11 month old thread for an update. Most people don’t do that.

    Right decision and as often is the case, the right decision for us is followed by distress and sadness, anger, grief.

    I was wondering, in May 29 last year (first post) you wrote about your family troubles and in your last post you wrote about an argument with your aunt. I was wondering about these family troubles as they may need to be attended to for the future of your well being. Would you like to share about those?

    anita

    #102241
    Tiny Butterfly
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I agree with you on attending some of my family issues, as it’s been quite the turbulent year for us. The family issues I was referring to in my May 29th post was the aftermath of finding out that my father was having an affair and had moved out of the home we all shared. I found it hard at the time as my father and I were very close and I felt abandoned by him. I was under a lot of stress at the time, not only to be there for my mother and adjust to our new life both emotionally and financially, but also keeping up appearances in my unhealthy relationship. His family struggles at that time were his uncle being diagnosed at the time with cancer (thankfully he overcame this months down the line and is OK now). I felt at the time I was there for my partner in many ways emotionally that he could not be for me during my father leaving. This would often lead to conflicts between us hence the May 29th post.

    The argument with my aunt has surfaced recently, though I would say is connected to my fathers affair. When he left I was there for my mother but had my own things to deal with at the time such as finishing university, graduating and finding a new job. Thankfully I somehow managed to achieve all of that throughout the 7 months that followed. However, recently my aunt feels as though I should be doing more for my mother when I feel I do/have done enough. She feels the need to air this to my mother and not directly to me. She does not understand my life and what I am going through and it hurt a lot to hear her say that I was a bad daughter. What she fails to realise is that financially I can’t afford to do anymore for her right now (I’ve recently had to switch jobs to something that was more stable for me than the previous) and I need my own space from her to create my own life after the chaos of this past year. After all how am I meant to heal from it if I’m focused on everyone else? After hearing from my mother that my aunt had continued not once, but this would be the third time to bad mouth me to her on the phone I decided enough was enough and confronted her about it. This unfortunately landed on the day of the news that my uncle had passed, therefore my emotions were running sky high. At that point I was done with all the nonsense that was in my life (and would follow suit 9 hours later by also breaking up with my partner). I confronted her and she could not empathise or understand where I was coming from which was frustrating. We went back and forth for over an hour and I finally gave up trying. She is my aunt and I’ve not once nor would I ever make up assumptions about the way she chooses to live her life as it’s none of my business.

    Apologies for the length in post but that felt really good to write out.

    #102244
    Anne
    Participant

    Tiny Butterfly,
    I wanted to let you know that this statement has a lot of meaning to me right now. Thank you for it.
    “There will be moments where I want to go back but too much is at stake in my life to do this anymore.”

    #102245
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Butterfly:

    Did your mother stop your aunt from bad mouthing you?

    Why did your mother tell you that your aunt bad mouthed you and what she said … unless your mother is sending you the message that you should do more for her?

    It is also possible that your mother has been feeding your aunt’s resentment toward you for not doing more for her.

    what do you think?

    anita

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