December 12, 2019 at 8:46 am #327259
His parents hurt him a lot, I figure, this is why he doesn’t visit them. It is not that he was born without “the capability to love, or show people his love”. All children love their parents (their present parents, that is, parents living with and taking care of the child), and all children naturally show their love to their parents. It is when a child gets hurt for a long time by a parent, that he or she stays away from the parent.
His behavior with you is congruent with him having been severely mistreated by his parents.
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 2:35 pm #332747ConnieParticipant
I would like to share some updates:
this past month has been very difficult for me.
My bf and I were talking about breaking up, but I guess both of us still had a lot of feelings toward each other and we wanted to keep trying, so we came back together eventually. (There were a lot of communication, going back and forth, etc.)
He finally confessed that he’s been alcoholic since college, which is like half of his entire life. His alcoholism and depression are definitely correlated. I had gone through some alcohol withdrawal episodes with him already prior to his confession. But I never knew it was alcoholism.
Last time we talked, he told me he always felt he was loved differently by his family, he made some bad mistakes, and hence his drinking habit started and worsened.
I said I was willing to go through everything together and help him get over alcoholism. And if he wanted, we could create our own future together. He said he wanted to do that and started acting actively to change things. I was glad to see the progress he made.
But we still have some problems. Just like when we first started seeing each other, he would withdrawal himself from my for no reason periodically. Each time he withdrawal, I feel particularly sad and unloved. I addressed this issue many times with him. He said he remembered that the promises made – one of them was to never ignore me. But he didn’t have the capability to keep that when he fell into his dark hole.
He’s been sober for almost two weeks this time. But last night he got mad at me because I called him while he was asleep. I don’t know if waking him up agitated him or he was already agitated, he sounded quite upset when answering the phone. Every time when things like this happen, I can foresee he’s gonna withdrawal/ignore me for sometime again.
I have seen the pattern and become more understanding in this situation. However, I still feel hurt when it happens.
We agreed never to mention “breakup” again no matter how difficult things are. But I just can’t help but think maybe this relationship is not right for me. I am in a paradox now. Because I can’t imagine how sad we both will be if we break up. I don’t want to break up but I am not sure about what to do and how to make things better.January 11, 2020 at 2:54 pm #332751
I am sorry things are better between you and him. The relationship has been troubled from the beginning, hasn’t it, and you tried hard all through, you are still trying. “I am not sure about what to do and how to make things better”, you wrote.
Maybe you should stop trying so hard, maybe if you stop saying and doing so much for him and for the relationship, maybe, just maybe he will rise to the occasion and try harder himself to make things better.
(I will be away from the computer for a while).
anitaJanuary 11, 2020 at 3:17 pm #332763ConnieParticipant
I have been thinking about the same thing. Maybe me trying to help and be supportive is actually enabling his condition.
I thought a lot about not trying and just focusing on myself. And actually I have been spending a lot more time with myself and my friends as well as people with positive energy. One thing that bothers me is that I am still allowing him to control how I feel. I am trying to take ownership of my emotions and stay as objective as possible – and maybe that’s what I should have been focusing on. Also, for some reason, I feel bad if I go out and have fun without him. I actually feel guilty for not being able to spend time with him. Perhaps I am just thinking and worrying too much about him.January 11, 2020 at 4:32 pm #332767
I think that you made a few very good points in your recent post. I want to re-read it (as well as anything you may add to it before I return) when I am back to the computer tomorrow morning, in about 14 hours from now.
anitaJanuary 12, 2020 at 6:56 am #332847
You wrote earlier yesterday that you told him: “I was willing to go through everything and help him get over alcoholism. And if he wanted, we could create our own future together”.
But even though you are willing to go through everything, what if you are not able long term to go through everything with him because going through everything with him is exhausting and makes you weaker and weaker?
“Each time he withdraws, I feel particularly sad and unloved.. I still feel hurt when it happens”, it is exhausting to feel sad and unloved and hurt again and again, and again. It is exhausting to not know what will cause him to withdraw next time, to be anxious about the next time he withdraws.
You wrote yesterday: “He said he remembered that the promises made- one of them was to never ignore me. But he didn’t have the capacity to keep that when he fell into his dark hole”.
But what if you are falling into your own dark hole because of this relationship?
The idea of a future together is that two people make each other’s life better, not two people sinking into their individual dark holes.
“Maybe me trying to help and be supportive is actually enabling his condition”-
– what if you trying to help him is enabling your condition, that of getting more and more exhausted, feeling unloved, sad, hurt; bad, guilty and worried (“I feel bad if I go out and have fun without him. I actually feel guilty for not being able to spend time with him…worrying too much about him”)?
anitaJanuary 15, 2020 at 6:44 pm #333717PurpleHorseParticipant
If I was your friend Connie, I’d tell you to walk away from this relationship. The reality is that you will go up and down, round and round, push/pull throughout this relationship until one day in the future you’ll wake up and say ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and by that time you will be so attached to this person and moving on will be incredibly painful.
I tell you this because I have been there. Here are some things I’ve learnt:
1. Hurt people hurt people – it may be unintentional, it may be subconscious but he is and will continue to hurt you while you stay in this relationship
2. Never ignore red flags + when someone shows you who they are believe them – you are not just seeing and identifying some of his red flags, he’s verbally telling you them.
3. We can’t always be the hero. I would love to tell you that your deep, great love and reassurances will fill the big hole and voids in his heart but the cold, hard truth is that it doesn’t. He will heal when he chooses to take the steps to heal i.e. when he chooses to see a therapist and commit to it, when he learns to deal with his past and his issues. Until then, I can assure you that you are entering a rollercoaster.
4. Trust actions not words. Yes with his mouth he says he loves you and wants a future with you (which I believe he does) but what are his actions actually saying to you?
From what you describe, there is a lot about his relationships with his parents (and possibly his childhood) that I believe he hasn’t opened up to you about yet.
I would love to come back to this post in a year or two and so on and hear that the two of you are in a loving, healthy relationship but I think the reality is he has a lot of work to do on himself, by himself and unless you are willing to get on the rollercoaster ride with no guarantees at the end, this will be a very very emotionally challenging relationship for you.
Ask yourself, what you want from a relationship? You sound anxious like me. We want regular healthy communication with our partners, our relationships occupy a lot of our thoughts, we like to be reassured, we want commitment, we want true love…are you getting this from this relationship? I doubt it because this man is clearly, oh ever so clearly avoidant and depressed and has issues with alcohol.
Connie, you want emotional closeness, he is emotionally unavailable. You will likely eventually want to be around him more and more yet he makes excuses after agreeing to a two night sleepover ‘because he was sweaty and gross’ – why wouldn’t a simple shower solve this? He shuts down and withdraws from you – one of the worst things to do to an anxious person
I hope nothing I’ve said comes across as harsh, and we’ll be here whichever way it goes but I’ve been there so I’m talking from experience, I too thought I could be the person to save a broken man but it is definitely a journey they have to embark on them self and it’s not a good sign that he doesn’t want to proceed with therapy or medication because, nothing will change. What I will also tell you is ironically, the more you try to be there for him, the further you’ll push him away.
One thing I’ve learnt about humans is that as different as we all are, we largely follow behavioural patterns. The more you read about avoidants or being in a relationship with someone with depression or alcoholism, you will see that many before have followed the same behavioural patterns as him and the emotional impact it had on the person who loved them/was in a relationship with them.
Whatever you decide to do, I recommend you read Attached by Amir Levine. It’s incredibly accurate about Anxious/Avoidant relationships (the worst combo) & watch YouTube videos by Thais Gibson (Personal Development School) & Coach Craig Kenneth.January 15, 2020 at 6:44 pm #333719PurpleHorseParticipant
I should add btw in reference to your very first post ‘Most people seem to have baggage and are extremely careful when entering relationships.’ – I agree with this.
I am open to a person having baggage and I’m not expecting a partner to be perfect, BUT…what is important is what are they doing to address their baggage? If they are sailing through life without being self-aware or working on their issues then I am unapologetically running in the opposite direction from now on.