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Truth or Trauma?

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  • This topic has 11 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by TeaK.
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  • #386043
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’ve been writing lots on here recently! My brains been in a bit of a muddle. Basically I’ve been starting to feel like my boyfriend is a bit toxic, there’s just loads of things that have happened that I feel have been intentional however I have been friends with him for years and I dont think he means it out of badness, he does struggle with his mental health, I think its out of insecurity. He doesn’t have the best view of himself. However I was in a really bad relationship before, I could write pages about the stuff that happened but to put it short he was just horrible in every way, controlling, manipulative, a compsive liar etc…

     

    So the problem is I tried to bring up my issues  to my boyfriend last night which I was scared about as he usually just goes silent and doesn’t say anything, which he initially did but after I said I was just going to go home he started speaking and I had said that at the minute its scary for me because I feel like he is doing things intentionally.. And he said that he thinks that I just think that of him anyway because of my ex basically, so like maybe I have trauma from my ex which is making me feel like I’m back in the same situation again. I dont think that would be a completely crazy idea because my last relationship has definitely scarred me, however there’s literally so much things I’m noticing all the time… This is honestly terrifying for me because I feel like I’m back in the same situation again (obviously its not the same- my ex was nuts, this is just quite small things happening regularly, but isn’t that how it starts?) but i dont like the feeling of questioning my own thoughts or sanity as my last relationship done that, i feel like im fighting with myself. I dont think im crazy… I cant be just making all this up??? I think that the signs must be there for me to be thinking this way, maybe my brain is making it seem more extreme and dangerous than what it actually is… For example him saying that a conversation has happened when I can’t remember it (maybe it did maybe it didnt) might just be a small thing but for me it feels like im in the same situation again where someone is convincing me that i can’t rely on my own mind and last time it got to the point where I actually was seriously doubting myself even though I knew what he was saying was lies.. Its so hard, i now dont know if im really seeing red flags and ignoring them for the sake of not hurting someone (AGAIN) or if im traumatised and picking up on things that aren’t there and freaking myself out and ruining a good thing… What a situation to be in! How am I supposed to fix this?

    #386047
    anita
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart:

    In April 25 this year, when your relationship reached its 1 year mark, you were worried that he and another woman in your friends group were arranging to meet behind your back: “Found out yesterday off someone else that they have plans for her birthday and no one has told me so far… I just cant stop thinking about this… I just cant get it out my head and its making me feel miserable… I feel like I’m going crazy“.

    Fast forward 4.5 months (Sept 10), your brain is “in a bit of a muddle” from all that overthinking about all kinds of evidence, or red flags (“there’s literally so much things I’m noticing all the time.. For example him saying that a conversation has happened when I can’t remember it“), showing that your boyfriend may be “a bit toxic.. doing things intentionally“.

    Back to April 25, you were also worried about him losing interest in you, but you didn’t know if he really was losing interest in you or you were just imagining it: “I also don’t know if what I think is loss of interest is actually just my brain telling me things are wrong? I’m struggling to distinguish between what’s really happening and what I think is happening, which is crazy“.

    OrangeHeart, I think that what is happening is that you grew up in a home where things were often wrong and as a result, you were often distressed and alert to what next is going to turn wrong. Fast forward, you are doing the same in your relationship: being alert to what is wrong so to be prepared or plan your next move. I think that mentally, you are re-living your childhood.

    Here is the wrongness you grew up with: “My parents relationship is rubbish!.. My mum is quite abusive towards my dad and brings him down to nothing at any chance she gets. She done the same with my sister and I growing up“.

    A few days ago, Sept 6, you wrote about your boyfriend: “I’ve really lost trust recently, not that I think hes going to cheat on me but just overall trust, I cant rely on him and I never know what I’m going to get“- you don’t trust him just as you didn’t trust your mother, alert to her next abusive behavior toward your father or your sister.. or toward you.

    I wouldn’t say he lies to me but he only tells me half a story!“- you are suspicious of him, looking for evidence that he lies to you. But it hardly ever happens that a person tells the whole story at any one time.. people forget details for a moment, remember later.. they focus on one part of the story at one time,  and on another part of the story at another time. An incomplete story at any one time (unless a suspect is interrogated for hours by a detective who is taking notes, or by a prepared and practiced courtroom attorney) is not evidence of lying.

    It’s not lies but its not quite the whole truth“- same thing, it hardly ever happens that you will get the whole truth from a person at any one time, and even at a series of times- except in court when questioned for hours by a prepared and practiced courtroom attorney, after stating: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

    At the end of your original post here, you asked: “How am I supposed to fix this?“- quality psychotherapy where you will process your experience growing up with your abusive mother will be a great start!

    anita

    #386048
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart,

    good you’ve spoken to your boyfriend… I don’t know if he is manipulating you on purpose, convincing you that a conversation happened which never happened. But even if you had bad memory, you described some of his behavior on your previous thread, and it is controlling, manipulative and immature. This is what I wrote on your previous thread about how I see your boyfriend, summarizing what you described:

    He has tried to come between you and your best friend, he badmouthed him, so you wouldn’t spend time with him. He gets offended and gives you the silent treatment when you speak to this same friend on the phone. [At the same time, he secretly goes visit this friend and spends time with him without your knowledge.]

    He is also hiding things from you, not telling you the whole truth, inventing things that never happened (gaslighting you), due to which you started questioning your sanity. He gives you a 2-day silent treatment even for washing the dishes at his place!

    He might not be a malignant narcissist and a pathological liar like your ex boyfriend, but his insecurity and his mental health issues cause him to behave in a toxic manner. And you are right to be upset about it – you aren’t overreacting or projecting issues from your past relationship. He is truly behaving badly and immaturely.

    You might have tolerated it so far, because while growing up you’ve learned to suppress yourself and adapt to other people’s needs. But you are less and less willing to tolerate it now. You are less and less wiling to suppress yourself and your needs. And that’s why your boyfriend’s behavior is becoming less and  less tolerable.

    I encourage you to stand your ground and not allow him to question your sanity. He is using you for his needs, with you he feels better about himself, and no wonder he doesn’t want to lose you. That’s why he is doing everything in his power (even twisting the truth perhaps) so you’d stay with him. But you don’t need to accept that any more.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by TeaK.
    #386053
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thanks for your response, I definitely need to get therapy I think, its just expensive! And I dont really know what kind to go for, other than childhood trauma i know there’s other things I’d like to visit in therapy! And i know people specialise in different things so ill need to have a look into it, i dont think it is all just because of trauma though. I do think there’s more substance to my thoughts than just trauma, i hope so anyway, or I’d be a nightmare to be with 😂

    #386054
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    Dear Teak

    Thanks for your response, Its hard because I do love him and I really dont want to hurt him but at the minute he’s hurting me with his behaviour and inability to communicate! I really think things would be better if he would talk to me about stuff but he just doesn’t. I need to try and set some sort of boundaries but dont even know where to start! I think I’m going to spend less time with him and see If that helps

    #386055
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    Dear Anita, i think you may be right that I’m mentally reliving my childhood, I feel down constantly just now and im never usually like this! My heads always fine! This year has been terrible for me. I feel so trapped and unheard and I feel like im walking on eggshells and scared to speak about things and a whole range of other emotions! I do feel like I’d feel better if I was alone but I’ve always been like that, I prefer being alone, Its a lot easier! I dont want to throw a good relationship down the drain over my issues but I’m struggling to see a way to make things better at the minute

    #386057
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart,

    Thanks for your response, Its hard because I do love him and I really dont want to hurt him but at the minute he’s hurting me with his behaviour and inability to communicate! I really think things would be better if he would talk to me about stuff but he just doesn’t.

    you are welcome. So he doesn’t want to communicate at the moment but is giving you silent treatment, after he told you you’re overreacting due to trauma from your previous relationship? Giving you silent treatment is his usual style of punishing you, and he does that for full 2 days, even for smallest “offenses”, like you washing the dishes at his place. I understand you don’t want to hurt him, but is it healthy to be “hurt” for days, for something which shouldn’t even be a problem in the first place?

    I need to try and set some sort of boundaries but dont even know where to start! I think I’m going to spend less time with him and see If that helps

    You said in a previous thread that you try your best not to upset your boyfriend:

    My boyfriend also struggles with his mental health and the smallest thing can totally ruin his day, if not his week. i feel like i really go out my way for things to run smoothly for him. Ill do things he wants just so he doesn’t get upset even if its not what I want, just because its easier. When he is upset, im upset… So its easier to keep him happy so I can feel happy. Even if its not what I want to be doing!

    This is how you can practice setting boundaries: to not agree to do things you don’t want to do just so that he wouldn’t be upset. Or to not give up something you like – like going to a concert of your favorite band – just so that no one around you would get offended. Try doing what you want, try giving yourself permission to do what your heart desires, even if your boyfriend or your sister would object.

     

    #386058
    anita
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart:

    In April 25, you wrote about your current relationship compared to previous: “In every other relationship I’ve been in once it gets to around the year mark I realize I don’t want to be with them anymore and I end up leaving them but this time its not the case!“-

    – Well, it seems like it is the case, there was just a delay of some time.

    I don’t think it is all just because of trauma though. I do think there’s more substance to my thoughts than just trauma“- of course there is substance to your thoughts.. it’s just that when trauma sticks to them like hair to soap.. it gets messy.

    “I feel down constantly just now and I’m never usually like this!”- except when it’s time to end a relationship, which is what you are about to do, isn’t it…

    I feel so trapped and unheard and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells and scared to speak about things and a whole range of other emotions! I do feel like I’d feel better if I was alone..  Its a lot easier!“- you feel  trapped and unheard and walking on eggshells just as you did as a child, and the solution: to end the relationship and feel better!

    Understandably, you are motivated to talk about Him, to put together all possible evidence that he is abusive and toxic.. maybe call him a narcissist, and close the book on him and on the relationship. I am not interested in discussing Him and helping you close the book on him just so that you feel better for it temporarily and then.. repeat.

    Some men are abusive, of course, and maybe this one as well.. but I didn’t see evidence to it in your writings. In any case, if, and only if you want to discuss your childhood trauma with me at any time (not the guy), you  are welcome to address me individually, and I will reply to you further.

    anita

    #386059
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>So when he’s in a bad mood about something, he doesn’t completely not speak to me, but he doesn’t make conversation, the atmosphere totally changes, he will give one word answers, when I ask what’s wrong he will insist its nothing but there definitely is something. Its really obvious when he’s annoyed at something I can tell within seconds! But he still won’t tell me and most of the time it happens after something I’ve done, so for example when I done the dishes, or when i was on the phone to my friend… If I keep asking him sometimes he will tell me what’s wrong but it usually doesn’t make anything better..</p>
     

    I definitely need to try setting those boundaries! I’m just so used to doing it that its my automatic response, i sometimes don’t even form an idea of what I’d like, i just automatically go with other people’s ideas. So i need to spend some time thinking about things I want to do I think

    #386060
    OrangeHeart
    Participant

    Hi anita,

    Thanks for your response, i feel like I’ve annoyed you I didn’t mean to. I dont think all men are abusers or narcissists in the slightest, my dad is an angel. I have a healthy attitude towards men I would say. Also my boyfriend has been one of my best friends for almost 10 years i don’t want to just close the book on him and I don’t want to repeat my past cycles. The reason I’ve posted on here is because it helps me clear my mind and get advice from people outside of my situation. Sorry if I offended you in any way I didn’t mean it. Thanks for your help

    #386061
    anita
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart:

    You are welcome. No reason for you to apologize for my annoyance, you’ve done no wrong to me! In regard to my offer to discuss your childhood trauma, if you ever want to do that- start a new thread on the topic and we’ll talk about it there. Otherwise, I wish you well!

    anita

    #386064
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear OrangeHeart,

    So when he’s in a bad mood about something, he doesn’t completely not speak to me, but he doesn’t make conversation, the atmosphere totally changes, he will give one word answers, when I ask what’s wrong he will insist its nothing but there definitely is something. Its really obvious when he’s annoyed at something I can tell within seconds! But he still won’t tell me

    Well, that’s practically a silent treatment and a very childish behavior – he gets offended for something, you don’t even know what it is and wouldn’t even expect it (e.g. for washing the dishes), and then he won’t tell you why. You are pleading to tell you why, so you can “repair” the behavior, but even that’s not good enough for him – he is punishing you for something only he understands. I believe this kind of behavior is toxic and abusive.

    If you experience it again, I believe you should stop pleading him to tell you what’s wrong. If I were you, I’d tell him that I don’t want to play those games. If he holds something against you, he should tell you openly, otherwise you’re not interested in his games because such behavior hurts you. That would be one way to set a boundary. A relationship should be based on open and honest communication, and if he isn’t willing to do it, but withdraws and sulks, he isn’t able for a mature relationship.

    I definitely need to try setting those boundaries! I’m just so used to doing it that its my automatic response, i sometimes don’t even form an idea of what I’d like, i just automatically go with other people’s ideas. So i need to spend some time thinking about things I want to do I think

    Yes, so try to observe yourself and your impulses and preferences. When someone suggests something, is it something you would like to do or not? And if not, don’t automatically say yes, but say “let me think about it”. And then you at least give yourself some space to not comply automatically, but you give yourself a chance to stop, consider and develop the courage to say No.

    You don’t need to reject everything you don’t like, but start with one thing (perhaps something easier, where it won’t cause a big upheaval). You can practice it when you are alone: allow yourself to feel the sense of No in your gut, then make a rejecting  movement with your body and your arms as if you are pushing something away. At the same time, say No out loud. You may repeat it several times. This is how you can practice rejection, in the privacy of your home.

    When you develop enough courage and determination, you can then refuse the thing you don’t want to in front of other people – not rudely, but respectfully. It won’t be easy at first, but I believe practicing at home might help. Let me know what you think about it (and you are welcome to not like it and to reject it – I won’t mind, and it will do you good for practice 🙂 ).

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