March 4, 2023 at 12:23 pm #416008
I didn’t really confide in anyone just dealt with it myself and bottled it up I suppose, I used to talk to my dad about stuff if anything got majorly on top of me, but my terrible friends I tended to just put up with on my own.
I see… that’s an important piece of information that you haven’t really confided in anyone, and that you bottled it up and tried to deal with it on your own (which was to people please, to avoid further bullying). It’s always harder if we need to deal with bullying on our own, without the support of adults. Do you know why you didn’t say anything to your parents, not even to your father?
I am asking because by the time the bullying happened (you said early teens and earlier – which would means around 10 years old?), you might have already concluded why turning to your parents for help might not be a good idea (e.g. you didn’t want to make them worry or burden them, or you didn’t feel they would understand and support you, or maybe they would have made a too big deal out if it, which you didn’t want. There can be a number of reasons – I am just listing various possibilities here).
I know you said there was no particular trauma in your childhood and you had a good upbringing:
It’s hard to pinpoint where this comes from as there is nothing particularly traumatic in my past and had a good family upbringing.
However, we as children are often unaware of subtle emotional wounding that we might have suffered, even with well-intentional parents. If there was no physical abuse, no bullying or extreme criticism, we might believe that everything was fine. When in reality, we might have missed something and our emotional needs weren’t met properly. This all could have lead to us to not want to confide in our parents and to suffer alone, so to speak.
I think I caused damage by instigating this on off cycle we have been in, it’s caused a lot of hurt to her and I’ve been getting anxiety about if I’m doing the right thing or not.
Now that we’ve talked for a while and I gave you the feedback that in my opinion, you’re doing the right thing for wanting clarification and more honesty on her part – how do you feel? Are you still feeling you’re making a mistake for sticking to your values? And for standing up for yourself in this major issue?
I should have been more upfront about my concerns earlier and not sat on things as long as I did and perhaps made her feel safer about talking about her daughter.
I understand that. You regret that you haven’t spoken up earlier, but only 6 months after your engagement. And you’d been together for 6,5 years before that. I get that. But actually, you did speak up earlier, only not with that level of intensity. You asked questions, but they were never answered. They were brushed off. You were told you were insensitive for asking those questions. You were also blamed for not inquiring about your partner’s daughter, when in fact she, her mother, didn’t make any initiative to meet her.
So basically you were blamed for asking valid questions. And so you backed off. Because you probably felt guilty for hurting your partner, right? You did say that in therapy you discovered you suffer from guilt and shame. Perhaps that’s why you didn’t dare to ask more frequently, to insist, to be more assertive?
In my opinion, your only mistake was that you weren’t more assertive, that’s it. But you are assertive now! You know what they say: better later than never. You’re standing up for yourself NOW, finally.
But what I am noticing is that guilt is trying to stop you again. Guilt stopped you before (when you tried to clarify things with your partner), and guilt is trying to stop you now, when you’re trying to stand up for yourself at last. So no matter what you do, guilt is there. And it seems to me like guilt for standing up for yourself… What do you think? Do you relate?March 4, 2023 at 12:47 pm #416009
Thanks again for all the help Tee,
I think I struggled to open up to my parents through almost thinking how I was treated by my so called mates was normal behaviour maybe or maybe I was a little embarrassed to bring it up, whether through not wanting my parents to think there was a problem or me not wanting them to see I was having a problem. There were times my parents would pick up on things and would say such and such is not a good friend and they would sometimes not like some of my friends so maybe they picked up on some bits.
In the relationship, yeah I feel better for bringing everything up in some respects I suppose I’m having trouble dealing with the aftermath now, again feeling guilty for what I set in motion and guilty that I left and hurt my partner. I also get triggered by social media posts about guys who don’t appreciate the girl they had and lose them and how the girl is better off without them, so I guess I take this on myself as I have given up and I’m the bad guy. I think if I’m honest her relationship or lack of one with her child has always bothered me, or at least the fact she has never fought harder to be involved, but you’re right, now I feel guilty like I should be more understanding and accepting and it was my fault she never felt safe enough to open up. I do feel guilty for leaving and maybe it’s that guilt that is making me keep going back, like I need to make up for it, but then the issues why I left are still there.March 5, 2023 at 12:16 am #416013
Dear Freddie, you’re welcome.
I do feel guilty for leaving and maybe it’s that guilt that is making me keep going back, like I need to make up for it, but then the issues why I left are still there.
Yeah, it seems guilt is the major factor. And if you go back, those issues will still remain because you’ve been doing the on and off for 6 months now, but nothing was resolved, was it? You and partner said you’d work on things, but by the looks of it, you haven’t managed to work anything out and it only led to new arguments:
About 6 months later I started feeling like there were issues in the relationship that needed addressing, mainly to do with money and having children. We talked stuff out and said we would work on things but a few days later we argued about things and I left. I went back about a week later and stuck around for another 2 weeks before leaving again. Since then we have been off and on, one of us will make contact and the cycle starts again.
So it seems likely to me that if you go back, it would happen again. Unless you let go of the issue altogether, give up on what’s important to you, and stop “bothering” her. To me, this seems like the only way there could be “peace” and “reconciliation” between the two of you.
I mean, when you raised those concerns over the past 6 months and you two agreed to “work on things”, what exactly did you agree on? Did she agree to talk to you and explain the situation with her daughter? Did she say she’d work in therapy on her fear of opening up? I mean, was there any willingness on her part to actually address your concerns? And if so, has she done anything in that direction?
I’m having trouble dealing with the aftermath now, again feeling guilty for what I set in motion and guilty that I left and hurt my partner.
Yes, you did set things in motion, but you did it for clarity, for your own future happiness frankly, because you didn’t want to get married and have children with someone who might have issues being a mother. You stirred things up not because you wanted to hurt her or because you’re selfish, but because you have the right to know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s a major life decisions that we’re talking about here.
But I can imagine this was met with blame and guilt-tripping you, as if it was somehow your fault that she wasn’t more interested in her daughter. It seems to me your partner refused to take responsibility for her part of the problem, and instead shifted the blame on you. And you, being quick to blame yourself, went along and accepted it. You accepted that it was you to blame for the breakup of your relationship. Would you agree?
I also get triggered by social media posts about guys who don’t appreciate the girl they had and lose them and how the girl is better off without them, so I guess I take this on myself as I have given up and I’m the bad guy.
Has she been posting those types of posts on social media? But even if not, if you’re prone to self-blame, these kinds of posts would have found a “fertile ground” in you, and they would exacerbate your sense of guilt…March 5, 2023 at 4:30 am #416015
no we weren’t really resolving anything, think we just fell in the pattern of enjoying each others company when we were together and buried what we really needed to be talking about. She was doing therapy, not sure if she still is and if she is I’m not sure how much of it covers talking about her daughter. She did talk about it a little bit with me after I set this in motion but again it seemed like the abridged script and I think it’s a bigger, deeper topic than a 10 min chat. I think it became easy to put the blame on me due to the back and forth I was doing and I took a lot of the blame, although I shoulder some responsibility I’m beginning to see that how I was feeling and what I felt were valid too and it seemed them issues became non issues to her, but they were never fully resolved. I know seeing her now would not be good for either of us, we both need some time and space to reflect and work on ourselves, whether that leads to us talking in the future who knows. I need start getting a grip on why I feel anxious and looking at dealing with these issues around feeling guilty all the time.March 5, 2023 at 5:39 am #416016
no we weren’t really resolving anything, think we just fell in the pattern of enjoying each others company when we were together and buried what we really needed to be talking about.
Right… you said you otherwise had an enjoyable relationship (The relationship was happy for the most part, we get on really well, we enjoy similar things, we made each other laugh and the sex life was great), and I can imagine how easy it is slip into the feel-good aspect of it.
It’s like having a pink elephant in the room and pretending it’s not there. As long as both of you pretended, things were fine and enjoyable. But as soon as you started asking questions, you were made to be the bad guy. You disrupted the “idyll”. Only it wasn’t idyll, but something that had the potential to turn into a major problem a few years down the road…
She did talk about it a little bit with me after I set this in motion but again it seemed like the abridged script and I think it’s a bigger, deeper topic than a 10 min chat.
Would you like to share what she said about it? I agree that it’s a big topic, and not something you can explain in 10 minutes and then put it to rest forever.
I think it became easy to put the blame on me due to the back and forth I was doing and I took a lot of the blame,
Yeah, it seems you felt guilty (and were probably blamed too) for bringing it up again and again, for not being able to let it go. It’s almost like blaming yourself (or being blamed) for mentioning the pink elephant again and again, and refusing to drop the subject…
although I shoulder some responsibility I’m beginning to see that how I was feeling and what I felt were valid too and it seemed them issues became non issues to her, but they were never fully resolved.
I am glad you’re starting to see that your feelings and concerns are valid. And that it’s not the way to go if she believes that what concerns you (and rightly so) is a non-issue and refuses to talk about it.
I need start getting a grip on why I feel anxious and looking at dealing with these issues around feeling guilty all the time.
Yeah, I think so too. What occurred to me is that there might be a certain similarity between you walking on eggshells around her for the past 6 years and basically people-pleasing her (not asking “uncomfortable” questions), and what you said about your childhood and people-pleasing those “friends” of yours. Perhaps you didn’t dare to stand up for yourself back then, similarly like you didn’t dare to stand up for yourself until very recently now, in your relationship?March 5, 2023 at 8:56 am #416017
yeah this definitely correlates with me never speaking up for myself or asking things I felt I shouldn’t, this has been an issue throughout my life, I go with the flow or comprise myself and my thoughts to please others. I think early on in our relationship I don’t want to press her because of how much I liked her and didn’t want risk a break up, but this snowballed into me holding onto questions and topics we should have been discussing.March 5, 2023 at 10:49 am #416019
yeah this definitely correlates with me never speaking up for myself or asking things I felt I shouldn’t, this has been an issue throughout my life, I go with the flow or comprise myself and my thoughts to please others.
Okay, so it’s a known pattern to you, and you actually repeated it with her too. But the issue of having children with her (and also her money problems) was too big to be overlooked, and you had to speak up. Good for you! You did something good for yourself!
At the same time, I know it hurts because you feel guilty for “letting her down”, and so far you saw it as almost entirely your responsibility. But I hope you can see that you only stopped people-pleasing her – you haven’t done anything unfair or morally objectionable. You haven’t let her down, you actually stopped letting yourself down. As you said, you stopped compromising yourself.
So I hope that at least on the mental level you know that you’re not a bad guy and that you’re not being unfair or unloving. I hope this will help you blame yourself less.
You’d also need to work on it in therapy, because it probably does stem from your childhood. Feeling guilty for asking anything for yourself, for asserting yourself…. do you have siblings who were more demanding and needy than you, while you didn’t ask much for yourself as a child?March 13, 2023 at 10:33 am #416252johnwilliandoParticipant