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Telling the difference between gut and fear in relationships

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  • #423085
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Helcat & Anita,

    I am sorry for the grammar errors.

    And Anita, I have a question for you that came up as I was re-reading. How did you begin to see yourself? Because I admit I am realizing I often rely on others to see myself, and think I base close relationships on this feeling. What’s interesting is Helcat, when I responded to you about soulmates, I think this feeling of them turning on a light in a dark room so that I can see myself, is part of what I associate to someone being a soulmate of mine. That is why I mentioned my mom possibly being a soulmate because she does see me, and she reminds me of who I am when I need it, same with my sisters and my close long time friends.

    #423086
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Seaturtle:

    You are welcome, and thank you for your quick reply. If I was ever to publish a book about my life, the title would be UNSEEN. It’s an everyday experience for me still: for example, I was worried that you will not SEE my first post to you because of possible double posting, and when I saw your reply, I felt relieved. At the end of my first post I asked you, paraphrased, if you wanted to SEE more of my thoughts before I offered more.

    Like you, are care very much about others feeling unseen. For over 7 years when I replied to members (under a different account, I answered EVERYONE and as quickly as possible, and if I couldn’t answer at length, I notified members that I will get back to them in X hours, not wanting anyone to feel ignored, left out.. unseen/ unheard.

    The pain of growing up unseen is quite amazing in its intensity and persistence.

    For a young child, a parent is like a mirror facing the child. The child can’t see herself in any other medium. In the mirror my mother presented to me there were huge areas of darkness, so I couldn’t see the ABC about me. And then, similar to your father in suggesting that you didn’t care about him, my mother suggested the same, and she went on long tirades about how- not only did I not care about her- but that I wanted to hurt her feelings, that I made elaborate plans to hurt her, etc. All untrue, paranoid-like.

    She was my mirror and her presenting me as BAD, when I was not.. was a different kind of darkness in that mirror.

    I will soon be away from the computer for the rest of the day. We can talk more about this here on your thread over days, weeks.. or longer, for however long you would like. Take care!

    * I just noticed that you posted again. I will answer your question for me (and any more that you may add) Sat morning, in about 20 hours from now.

    anita

    #423088
    seaturtle
    Participant

    I feel that same impulse to let people know they have been heard, it also hurts me deeply when I am the cause of someone else being on the “unseen” end of an interaction with me. I find that with people who do not have this sensitivity I can come across as if I am over doing, like my partner, when I lived with him I would make sure he heard me and make sure he felt heard and it was almost like I was being too proactive because he would respond as though I had already asked the question, like “yes yes you are all good baby just be.” I still do this and even feel unsettled to let a text message go without responding, but he does not get that feeling and is fine not responding, which used to really bother me cause it made me feel unseen, I am still working on reminding myself that doesn’t mean he doesn’t see me, he just simply isn’t letting me know he sees me. (like my Dad did with me! just realized this now, My dad felt unseen and would internally accuse me of not seeing his pain and empathizing with him, all because little to my knowledge his insecure self needed me to literally tell him he was seen. I literally began to do this for him, he would say he felt  I was ungrateful for what he did for me, so much that I started to send him random texts like “I love you” “I am thankful for all you do” (he paid my tuition so I would thank him for that randomly and often). I think seeing a therapist is definitely a huge reason my self awareness is where it is at today, but also my dad training me to care for him how he needed, made me have to be hyper-aware of how he was feeling so that I could proactively be what he needed so I didn’t get criticized later, a defense mechanism that lead to awareness of the people around me and what they need.

    *this is probably one of the reasons you chose my thread to invest some of your time and mental energy to, because I began my post expressing how I felt unseen in my last thread I started in the forums. Just a thought but I am curious on your thoughts here?

    It is so interesting that you bring up the mirror metaphor, I had never heard this before until just today, right before this post I am writing, I read the thread from Caroline on “self doubt, not being sure of myself.” In it I saw your metaphor on your mother being a mirror and I thought alot about that. I related to Caroline in her feeling helpless and feeling small tasks are more daunting for her than others due to her mother, and it made me wonder about my own mother and I need to reflect more on this but my immediate thoughts are that she used to make small tasks look more daunting, she had a huge shopping addiction with my dads credit card, which money was a huge argument they had all the time. Anyways she revealed to me many coping mechanisms for when someone hurts you, she drank wine, shopped and turned to other men. She was deeply empathetic which I appreciate seeing in the mirror, but she was also very insecure. I don’t think she knew who she was, and was insecure in group settings, but would act confident because she was a beautiful woman and she knew it and would flaunt it for validation.

    Wow, what you said about your mother and long tirades about how you don’t care for her, as if you were out to get her, like she was paranoid. This is so hard, dealing with a parent with trust issues that they project onto you is so unfair. We were so young, trying to discover who we were and our own parent tells us we are someone who doesn’t know how to show someone we care about them. I would cry every time my dad would go on this tirade, because I am someone who cares so deeply for people, so that he accused me of the opposite made me feel so lost, made me wonder if I knew myself at all. I wonder if this created self doubt in you? and how you overcame/ are overcoming this self doubt? My dad to this day still very often misinterprets what I do and who I am and it hurts every time, he thinks I am selfish and is probably why I have fears of being selfish or narcisstic. It is scary when someone tells you that you are coming across a certain way that is unbeknownst to you, it makes me self conscious about how I do come across, which if I let myself overthink this I become awkward in social situations.

    #423089
    seaturtle
    Participant

    “She was my mirror and her presenting me as BAD, when I was not.. was a different kind of darkness in that mirror.”

    Yes, this is exactly what I mean, it has lead to so much self doubt in my life. The worst part about it is, if I allow it to, it can take over me as well. I find myself wanting to criticize my partner for similar things my dad criticized me for, like “not seeing me.” A mentality like, if I have to be hyper aware of what I am doing, like responding to messages, cleaning up after myself hyper-vigilantly, making sure YOU are seen, then why shouldn’t you have to be too… Like he will leave a mess at my apartment, something I would be way too self conscious to do at his house and I have to actively stop myself from resenting that he feels the freedom to do those things and I cannot live with it. As if I wish he had the same anxieties as me… but I also don’t wish this upon anyone, so maybe I just wish he could at least empathize my internal torment.

    #423090
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Helcat, on your last point, I would love for this to be a continual conversation, one of my fears is being stagnant in self improvement, but I can feel how effective this conversation is for me, and I hope you are benefiting from it as well?

    #423091
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Oops my bad, on my last post I meant to direct that to Anita’s last point. But Helcat too, I would love for the conversation to be continual!

    #423094
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Seaturtle

    I’m glad that you found my communication tips helpful. I enjoy communicating with and helping people, as well as sharing what I’ve learned from my experiences so far of recovering from trauma.

    Sorry, it’s hard for me to address every point because you’re quite prolific at writing. I’m glad that you are expressing yourself though! Please don’t change your habits for me. It was helpful when you reminded me of a question you wanted answered that I missed before. I was trying to focus on things that I thought might be helpful first.

    Have you considered that as you struggle with your issues, your partner struggles with feeling he’s done something wrong? This could be a theme that he experienced with his own trauma. He just might not be as aware of his issues as you are. I’m guessing that he hasn’t been to therapy. People who are less stable can struggle when people express difficult emotions sometimes.

    I think you’ve already figured out how your father came to develop these behaviours as you notice that you are experiencing them yourself.

    He was likely shamed by a parent into being very proactive in meeting their needs and cleaning up.

    The thing is, you were trained to respond in this way because it’s how your father felt most comfortable.

    You felt comfortable when he was comfortable because when he was uncomfortable he would make you feel very unwanted.

    No one has to do these things. It’s just a response to trauma.

    For example, you mentioned that you like your environment to be controlled and that helps you to feel comfortable I.e. Focusing on your interests and the things that you want to do. This strike me as potentially related to what your father was trying to achieve with his cleanliness.

    This is what I meant by being decisive. You know what you feel comfortable with and what you don’t feel comfortable with. Whether it’s people you don’t want to date or interests. Your mother taught you to be very in touch with your desires because she attempted to go above and beyond to meet your desires at times.

    At the same time you feel like you’re indecisive. Potentially, you are in two minds about things when this occurs? Whereas at other times when you decide things more easily, your focus is very clear?

    It’s honestly hard to tell guess what might be going on with your feelings of being disconnected from your partner because your trauma is quite active. Can feelings like that occur due to trauma, sure. Can they occur for other reasons too? Sure.

    Regarding cleanliness, I’ve had to live with messy flatmates before (hoarders) and at first it made me feel quite angry. But what I learned is that different people have different standards and you can’t control how someone else behaves. So all that’s really left is processing feelings. I acknowledged that I could only control my behaviour and decided that I would prefer to be calmer and lower my expectations for the other person.

    Different people have different standards regarding all kinds of things. Texting for example. There is no right or wrong, just different preferences.

    Expanding on something I touched on before. Your father shaming you over normal teenage behaviours. There’s a logical fallacy that children experience. I experienced it too with my own abuse.

    They believe that if they act perfectly in certain ways that they can prevent abuse by managing their parents mood. But it’s not really about the behaviour. It’s about the emotional instability of the parent. Regardless of what is going on, if an unstable parent feels bad they take out their feelings on their children using excuses because children have a) no control and b) no way to defend themselves. Naturally, children accept what their parents tell them as truth. Except, in this case it’s not.

    I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. What do you think?

    Wishing you all the best! 🙏

    #423102
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Seaturtle:

    How did you begin to see yourself?“-  I think that you mean how did I begin to see myself as I truly am (not as I saw myself in the distorted mirror presented to me early in life by my mother). I think that the beginning was in my first experience   of quality psychotherapy back in 2011. Aaron (my therapist at the time) asked me questions with an open mind and an open heart.

    You know how people ask questions and don’t even wait for an answer (ex. How are you?) Or they ask out of politeness or as a conversation starter, so to talk about things that interest them.. or when you give an answer and people feel awkward and move on to something else..? Aaron asked because he wanted to know what I think, what I feel. He didn’t express any emotion (awkwardness, impatience, annoyance, etc.) that blocked me from expressing myself. He was able to take in my answers in a welcoming, patient and curious way. It was the opposite of being unseen, dismissed, ignored, etc.

    “I feel that same impulse to let people know they have been heard…I still do this and even feel unsettled to let a text message go without responding”- I totally relate.

    “My dad felt unseen and would internally accuse me of not seeing his pain and empathizing with him, all because little to my knowledge his insecure self needed me to literally tell him he was seen. I literally began to do this for him, he would say he felt  I was ungrateful for what he did for me, so much that I started to send him random texts like ‘I love you’ ‘I am thankful for all you do’…  hyper-aware of how he was feeling”- parent/ child role reversal: he presented himself to you as an insecure child who needed a mother, and you accommodated him, best you could.

    “This is probably one of the reasons you chose my thread..”-I read your first thread back in late July when you started it (I was a Guest at the time, not a Participant) and I was curious about you. I was also saddened at the time that you received angry replies. I chose to post in this thread, your second, after I read the word trauma mentioned by you, as in childhood trauma.

    “It is so interesting that you bring up the mirror metaphor…  and it made me wonder about my own mother…  She was deeply empathetic which I appreciate seeing in the mirror, but she was also very insecure. I don’t think she knew who she was, and was insecure in group settings..”-

    – growing up, you had an insecure father and an insecure mother. In my mind’s eye, I see the mirror facing the girl that you were: I see her unsteady on her feet because she has no solid ground to stand on. Or depend on. A child needs strong, secure, solid parents (not that many exist; nonetheless, a child needs what a child needs).

    “Wow, what you said about your mother and long tirades about how you don’t care for her, as if you were out to get her, like she was paranoid. This is so hard, dealing with a parent with trust issues that they project onto you is so unfair”- thank you.

    ‘I would cry every time my dad would go on this tirade, because I am someone who cares so deeply for people, so that he accused me of the opposite made me feel so lost, made me wonder if I knew myself at all. I wonder if this created self doubt in you? and how you overcame/ are overcoming this self doubt?”- I suffered from excruciating Guilt most of my life, feeling like I was a bad person and I lived a life accordingly, a life that a bad person deserves, ex., I spent little of my money- as an adult- on myself so that I could give her as much money as possible so to compensate her for having such a terribly disappointing daughter.

    “My dad to this day still very often misinterprets what I do and who I am and it hurts every time, he thinks I am selfish and is probably why I have fears of being selfish or narcissistic…”-  emotionally, he is stuck in the narcissistic development stage of childhood, toddler age: me! mine!

    I too had a toddler for a parent.. A BIG, dangerous toddler.

    I find myself…  cleaning up after myself hyper-vigilantly, making sure YOU are seen, then why shouldn’t you have to be too… Like he will leave a mess at my apartment, something I would be way too self conscious to do at his house and I have to actively stop myself from resenting that he feels the freedom to do those things and I cannot live with it. As if I wish he had the same anxieties as me… but I also don’t wish this upon anyone, so maybe I just wish he could at least empathize my internal torment”-

    – the girl that you were hyper-vigilantly cleaned etc., so to please the.. BIG, Dangerous Toddler (BDT), so that he doesn’t throw a tantrum and shake the ground you were standing on. A child on shaky ground does not have the freedom to do anything; the focus is either on preventing the ground from shaking, or on stopping the shaking once it started.

    Fast forward, as an adult, emotionally you mistaken your partner for your BDT, and part of you is angry at him for not suffering like you, for… not having had his own BDT to grow up with and react to.

    “I would love for this to be a continual conversation, one of my fears is being stagnant in self improvement, but I can feel how effective this conversation is for me, and I hope you are benefiting from it as well?”- yes, t is benefiting me as well, thank you. I’ve been using these forums (since May 2015, every day, with a break from Feb to Aug this year) for the purpose of self improvement and so can you!

    anita

    #423429
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Dear Helcat,

    “Have you considered that as you struggle with your issues, your partner struggles with feeling he’s done something wrong? … People who are less stable can struggle when people express difficult emotions sometimes.”

    Yes he constantly thinks he has done something wrong, but I can totally see how he felt that way with how I would communicate him pressing a trigger. I would ask him why he kept hurting me. At the time, and quite honestly still, during the trigger response I feel upset the pain could have been avoided by him being more in-tuned with my feelings. I will literally tell him exactly what triggers me and sometimes he just goes and obliviously does it again and that makes me so upset, has he done something wrong in this case? When I have very clearly told him certain things are very touchy for me, him being late to dates is a common argument we have. That feeling of being forgotten by him, and therefore being unseen, hits me hard whenever he is late which is at least once every two weeks or so, if not more. I get upset, then he gets upset cause to him he is on time 80% of the time and I should accept that, but that’s way easier said than done, I cant just turn off the trigger or I would. But he thinks I should just be mentally stronger, like he seems to be.

    “You felt comfortable when he was comfortable because when he was uncomfortable he would make you feel very unwanted.”

    -Exactly.

    “Your mother taught you to be very in touch with your desires because she attempted to go above and beyond to meet your desires at times.”

    -Very interesting and feels true.

    “At the same time you feel like you’re indecisive. Potentially, you are in two minds about things when this occurs?”

    I feel like I am always in two minds, or at lest the majority of the time. Do you know of helpful techniques to focus and be in unity with one mind?

    “They believe that if they act perfectly in certain ways that they can prevent abuse by managing their parents mood.”

    This is definitely a mentality I remember happening, but I also remember feeling like no matter how hard I tried I fell short and something was wrong with me for it.

     

    #423430
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “It was the opposite of being unseen…”

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your experience of what therapy can do. When I read this portion of your description it hit me, I think this is exactly what really drove me to tell my parents I needed therapy, I was just deeply craving to be seen. In highschool I was bullied in a way that others could not see. I played soccer, and was very good, I made varsity at a large school my sophomore year. At the start I got along great with the other girls, but then the seniors hazed the newcomers by driving us blind folded in a car up a spiral parking garage. The “hazing” was all in good fun, I was with some fellow teammates and didn’t fear harm, but I had to leave the sleepover early because the driving did make me terribly motion sick. One of the girls in the group who were hazed with me, told the principal about the experience, leading to the seniors to be suspended for the first three games of the season. Because I went home early, they all thought it was me, the girl who really did it stayed silently by as I took the hit. I was ignored, they would stop whispering once I came over, they would not pass the ball to me even if I was part of the play. What makes it all worse is I had no idea they thought I “tattled,” I had no idea why they went from friends to bullies, I lost so much confidence in my ability to play soccer and who I was socially. They made me feel awkward and I was UNSEEN completely. Then I would go home to my dad who also could not see me. I needed therapy, being unseen is, I believe, genuinely dangerous.

    “I was curious about you. I was also saddened at the time that you received angry replies”

    This makes me feel validated that they were not helpful replies. I came here to feel seen and those responses made me feel the opposite, but I didn’t know why and thought maybe my concerns were too minuscule to be acknowledged.

    “growing up, you had an insecure father and an insecure mother. In my mind’s eye, I see the mirror facing the girl that you were: I see her unsteady on her feet because she has no solid ground to stand on. Or depend on. A child needs strong, secure, solid parents”

    Can two insecure parents raise a secure child? Being insecure is a place I really do not like to be, my ground literally shakes and I feel paralyzed in my abilities to decide and even socialize. I want to be secure, and I know there will always be doses of insecurity in life but I do wish I was more sure of myself than I am right now.

    ” “My dad to this day still very often misinterprets what I do and who I am and it hurts every time, he thinks I am selfish and is probably why I have fears of being selfish or narcissistic…”-  emotionally, he is stuck in the narcissistic development stage of childhood, toddler age: me! mine! “

    My dad came to where I live this weekend because he had a golf tournament with some friends. We were able to squeeze some time in together. He has changed his view of me a drastic amount within one year. When we had a heart to heart over Christmas, it was the first time I had ever been emotionally real with him, it just took me until then to be able to. For the second time in my life (first was when my mom cheated on him) I witnessed tears in his eyes and felt his emotions. He wasn’t able to express his emotions very articulately but he allowed himself to feel them. This meant so much to me, and ever since then I have just wanted more. He visited me after I moved here around my birthday in April this year, we spent a touching weekend together where we just genuinely enjoyed eachothers company. We would have glimpses of this when I lived with him too, we both liked topics of philosophy and would talk for hours. This weekend I only got a small hour or so with him alone and in that small time he got teary eyed again, I could tell he was trying to hide it, and he told me he was proud of me. He genuinely asked me questions about myself while actually genuinely listening, I feel he may be beginning to see me. He asked me how I turned from a jock to an artist, actress and working in an art gallery, he really wanted to know and this is what made him emotional as if he recognized that there was a huge part of who I was that he missed, did not see, while I grew up. This is the first year of my life where he is changing and I think he is beginning to unsee what he thought of me that I was selfish and egocentric. Does this all mean he is growing up from a narcissistic development stage of childhood? I still though have a fear he will revert back and see me how he did up till a year ago.

    “the girl that you were hyper-vigilantly cleaned etc., so to please the.. BIG, Dangerous Toddler (BDT), so that he doesn’t throw a tantrum and shake the ground you were standing on.”

    How do I undo this trauma response? Is it simply how you would end a bad habit by forcing yourself to not give in until the reaction/impulse is gone?

    Thank you again for your response, I am learning about myself that I desire the self improvement, but it is something I need to take a break from on weekends so that I am not constantly in my head thinking. So I will likely not respond on weekends, just to let you know 🙂

    #423432
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Seaturtle

    I totally empathize, I know how hard triggers are to deal with in relationships.

    My husband’s family is loud, my husband is loud, his voice is quite deep. When he is excited he can be loud, when he is surprised he can be loud, when he is upset he can be loud.

    Loudness for me is a trigger when it comes to disagreements. It makes me feel like I am being shouted at. My mother shouted horrible things at me growing up and it lead to violence. Even if my husband isn’t saying anything mean, his loudness during disagreements makes me feel afraid like I did back then.

    When I get triggered during disagreements I shut down. I stop talking for about 20 minutes. This helps me to calm down. This in turn triggers him because he’s had previous partners ignore him for a long time.

    Like your partner my husband tries not to trigger me. He manages it maybe 80% of the time. But he isn’t perfect, no one is. And his loudness is a part of him. I’ve learned that I should accept him for who he is.

    He’s learned that my PTSD is a part of me and if I need to be quiet for 20 minutes to feel better, he accepts that.

    It wasn’t easy to get to this point. It’s been a journey figuring out how to communicate with each other in the relationship. We even went to couples therapy.

    It’s understandable to feel hurt, and for him to be sensitive to your needs. People can only do so much though and it was important for me to learn that just because I don’t feel okay, doesn’t mean that something is wrong or that it needs to be fixed. Sometimes practicing self-care is the most important thing.

    Likewise, he needs to accept your trauma response. It is going to keep happening at times in the relationship, it’s impossible for him to not trigger you at all. Obviously, he struggles with how to handle it sometimes. Are there times when he handles your trauma response well? What does he do differently in this case?

    Regarding the lateness, does he text you when he is going to be late? Or does he just let you wait for him? Perhaps there are some things that you could plan to do, to make you feel more comfortable when he is late?

    For example, my husband was frequently late after hanging out with friends. Having fun and losing track of time. I asked him to tell me when he was planning to leave and then I would ask him at that time if he thought he would get home later. This helped me to understand what was happening and feel better.

    I hope that there is a practical solution that you might both find helpful.

    Hmm well I’ve always found journalling helpful for making decisions. But emotions are also important. I would say that personally, I don’t make decisions when I’m feeling upset. I wait until I’m feeling calmer. I think that is the most accurate reflection of how I truly feel about something when I am calm.

    So I guess, outside of being triggered. Or feeling disconnected and awkward. When you are feeling calm, how do you feel about your partner and the difficulties that you’ve both experienced in the relationship?

    You’re right on the money. That’s exactly what happens when children are unable to manage their parents moods and they’re actively told that they are to blame by their parents. They start to blame themselves. But it is the parents responsibility to manage how they feel. It is the parents responsibility to make their children to feel loved, safe and protected. Your father failed you in this way. It wasn’t your fault, it never was. It was his.

    Love and best wishes! 🙏

    #423441
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Seaturtle:

    You are very welcome!

    I am learning about myself that I desire the self improvement, but it is something I need to take a break from on weekends so that I am not constantly in my head thinking. So I will likely not respond on weekends, just to let you know“- thank you for letting me know, I appreciate it (and you know the reason!)

    I read your post and I want to re-read it and reply when I am more focused- tomorrow, Tues morning. Have a good rest of Monday!

    anita

    #423445
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Helcat,

    “When I get triggered during disagreements I shut down. I stop talking for about 20 minutes. This helps me to calm down. This in turn triggers him because he’s had previous partners ignore him for a long time.”

    I am sorry you endured that from your mother, I feel for your past self there. I relate to the part about shutting down and needing time, but this triggers my partner as well. He’s told me his mom would give him the silent treatment quite often, I am not sure what he would do to make her do this I will have to ask now that I think of it. When I need space he has seen it as withholding affection from him, like his mom. I have told him I just can’t be touched while I am upset, but I try to break this as soon as my mind can re-ground, seems this happens faster as I work on it.

    “It wasn’t easy to get to this point. It’s been a journey figuring out how to communicate with each other in the relationship. We even went to couples therapy.”

    My partner is supportive of me seeking therapy but does not believe in it, he has said “someone who doesn’t know me or my situation can’t help me.” I have tried many times to tell him the benefits of therapy, and even told him that therapy is not someone talking at you, it is a listening ear that re-phrases your own words and actions back to you so you can understand yourself. But he will not go to couples therapy with me, I think if I just make an appointment and tell him it is important to me, that he would go, at least once to try. However I am afraid of him getting a bad first impression and never wanting to go again, and I also don’t have the funds.

    “Are there times when he handles your trauma response well? What does he do differently in this case?”

    Yes, infact I feel lucky in this way, but I fear I will lose his patience and he will stop, more on this later. On fourth of July I was upset with him, honestly I cannot remember what he did, but I remember feeling like he didn’t care about my feelings and was putting other things ahead of me. I remember this causing deep feelings to which I cried and wanted to just run away for a while, but as I tried to turn to walk away he grabbed my arm and gave me a hug and this made me feel better. There were several times while I lived with him that I would be having a trigger response that lead to a panic attack and I would go into our big closet with the lights off and sit on the ground, this helps me to calm down. He would come in and sit next to me. He also has pulled me out of a panic attack by whispering in my ear “be nice to my girl,” directly communicating with the voice in my head telling me I was unseen and uncared for.

    But lately he doesn’t grab me or hug me as much like that, and has said he feels he is always consoling me and sometimes does not have the patience to do so and instead feels falsely blamed for my pain. I fear that he is holding resentment for how much he has “consoled” me and will retaliate by making me pay him back for it in some way, like getting lazy in his effort in the relationship and make me mom him. I just want him to be seeking self improvement like I do, and not mistake consoling me and my still active triggers for me being mentally weak and lazy, leading him to be purposely that way with me.

    “Regarding the lateness, does he text you when he is going to be late? Or does he just let you wait for him? Perhaps there are some things that you could plan to do, to make you feel more comfortable when he is late?”

    He sometimes doesn’t text me and just lets me wait, which feels quite tormenting. Then the times he does let me know, his reasoning just feels like excuses and are all things that come before me, and leave me feeling unprioritized. So far the only things that makes me feel better are talking about it and feeling he understands why it bothers me, otherwise I also get an impulse to pull away and cancel our date, this hasn’t happened, but it has ruined dates before, where I feel unsettled/triggered the whole time and struggle to move on, and become irritated how quickly he moves on without validating my feelings. Even typing this out I feel like it is all because of my triggers, which exhausts me because it has been a while that we have had a full weekend without triggering me in some way. I think it is wearing on us both.

    “When you are feeling calm, how do you feel about your partner and the difficulties that you’ve both experienced in the relationship?”

    I was going to get back to you on this because I am not feeling in my most confident state right now and can tell my answer may reflect that, but I am going to challenge myself to answer it now and compare it to possibly a later edit:

    I feel I am falling out of love with him because of how worn out I feel from being triggered at a faster rate than I can heal. I am hoping me moving out will help and not harm us. It allows me more processing time, but in the meantime I do feel more disconnected from him, and quite honestly relieved he is not always around… This feeling concerns me as I thought distance made the heart grow fonder. I think so much of our relationship in the last year has been about me and my triggers and him learning them, and he has said he doesn’t bring things up because he would rather ignore it than do any more talking. This worries me because he may not be emotionally available enough for me.  We have less fun together now than we used to, it definitely feels heavy and we rarely go a whole day without him triggering me in some way and I fear this will drain us both and I will end the relationship to relieve myself and because I love him too much to spread him so thin. I recently find myself breaking up with him in my head and how I would explain myself, but I do not want to lose him. He is my best friend, who comforts me and him being out of my life seems impossible for me to accept. We are on thin ice I feel, and I think it is thinner than he is aware of, since he is not as emotionally in-tuned/aware as I am.

     

    #423446
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Thank you Anita, I look forward to your response tomorrow, enjoy your rest <3

    #423447
    seaturtle
    Participant

    Anita & Helcat

    As I briefly brought up my partners mom giving him the silent treatment and withholding affection, I thought it may help to shed some light on what I know about him.

    He told me his mom would do this and that she made him feel like a bad kid morally as he grew up. She being very Christian made him feel this way and he shared an instance where some woman from her church was trying to set up a young girl his age around 20, to which his mom quickly said Nathan wouldn’t be good for her, this affects him to this day he wonders why. He said he felt he had to constantly tell his mom he was not a bad kid, but felt “UNSEEN” by her, and still does. From my perspective his mom can come across cold, stubborn, and emotionally detached, good qualities of being consistent and caring. His dad is a huge character, he smokes a lot of weed and can also be very emotionally detached and in his own world, but then can swing to being an emotional dumper. My partner said his dad would emotionally dump on him and he felt like his therapist growing up, his dad even wanted to smoke weed with him at a young age and this made him uncomfortable.  Both his parents can be quite oblivious to what is right in front of them and their miscommunication errors seem very elementary, blaming each other for misplacing a cup, etc. They are also both very independent and don’t do a lot together, unless it involves family or the family business his mom does paperwork for.

    I don’t want to overwhelm this discussion with too many things to analyze, but I also thought it could be an essential puzzle piece. No pressure to include this in the discussion.

    with Love,

    Seaturtle

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