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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Please Read. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Please Read.
copper86
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Hello, everyone,

I'm sorry I've been absent from the boards for the past few months. A lot of very agonizing things have been happening. I can't talk to my family, because whenever I'm honest with them, they just get angrier at me, and soon I have two out of three family members yelling at me. I really need someone, anyone, to listen. The past few months have been horrible.

First, my family decides to move. I don't want to. I told them I didn't want to, and though I didn't give a point-by-point dissertation on why I didn't want to, they still moved. I'm in a house that is nice but I didn't want to be here at all. I even wanted to move out before we moved, but a lack of job and the difficulty to find one made me stay. And the packing...

Next, I tell my partner I'm moving. He's not happy. We meet outside my house in an area close by to hang out. We can't use this space anymore because I'm moving - seven minutes away. He basically says "there's nowhere for us to meet where you're now living." I try to compromise, try to reason, and I pretty much ended up getting bullied. My partner is very short-tempered. And when he's mad, he uses sarcasm and very passive aggressive behaviour over texts; then ends the conversation with "figure out a place, because I still want to see you" (not verbatim, but that is the gist). So we had another argument tonight. I'm trying my best to find a good spot, and I've just moved and don't have a clue where anything is; and he's being extremely unreasonable. Sometimes he's nice and sometimes he just cuts me down. I feel like he has more PMS than I do, if that is even possible. And I know, based on my history with this boy, that many of you would say that it wouldn't matter, but I really care for him. I don't want to lose him just because I moved - something I have told him, over and over, was NOT my fault. I'm absolutely exhausted.

Two weeks ago, my dad (who is older) gets hurt. We were so scared that night. Then, the next morning, my parents sit my brother and I down and say that my dad is sick. They hadn't told us for years so we wouldn't worry. Well, now I'm completely out of it. And then I start bleeding, and I have a strange bleed. I'm so out of my mind that I just sit in my room and try to drown out everything with writing or TV. Or I cry.

I've been applying haphazardly for work. I get interviews but no hires. I get discouraged, so I spend two or three weeks not doing anything; then I go on an applying rampage and apply to as many places as possible. Not having a job is driving me crazy. I hate being at home all the time. I hate being useless. All my friends have jobs. All my friends have money. I can't handle just being the kid who still lives at home and has no money.

I try to work hard around the house. I do all the laundry, help out with the kitchen cleaning, do what my parents ask, and unpack. Unpacking is taking forever. But lately, whatever I do isn't good enough for my mom. Today, I did four loads of laundry, applied to as many jobs as I could, went for a walk to try and satisfy my partner's demands on me, and did more chores. My mother asks, "How come you only did this much laundry?" I could've just screamed or pulled my hair out. I'm trying to satisfy everybody, and I just can't.

I'm trying to become independent. I've been footdragging in driver's ed, so I just applied tonight. I'm trying hard to just focus on getting a job and getting behind the wheel. I keep asking my parents and brother to help me drive (so I can at least have some experience before next week or whenever my lessons start behind the wheel), they keep saying they will... And it never happened. I know it's my fault, too, but I ask and then nothing happens. I finally just applied myself, and I will pay for it myself if it means I can do it and be on my own.

My mother seems to pick on me lately. She makes side comments about the lack of work I do around the house, my attitude, my apparently negative behaviour. My brother can talk back to her, swear, and do whatever, but as soon as I do something, she cuts me down.

I have friends who only talk to me or send me in-depth messages when they need someone to listen to them. I have a friend who keeps sending me depressed texts about boys. I feel like I always have to be there for everyone else, but no one has time for me.

Almost my entire social circle here in town is either in married relationships, having babies, or with a significant other. I'm constantly a third, fifth, or seventh wheel. We used to all hang out as friends, but now I'm pretty much the only single girl there; and my friend Ted (who I mentioned in another thread) is usually the only other single friend there if we have a hangout day. So, as you can see, this really grates on my sanity, because I can just imagine them thinking, "Oh, they'll date sooner or later." I'm waiting for someone to make a remark about it, because I have stuff prepared.

I honestly can't take it anymore. Everyone wants a piece of me. No matter what I do, someone's mad at me. I rarely go out, and the one time I did today, was I think the reason why my mom asked why I didn't get more laundry done. I tried to do a lot, but it's never good enough. I sometimes just wish I could disappear, or that I never met my partner or agreed to be with him, because losing him over something so stupid is just too much for me. And my dad being sick and my never knowing for years until now just knocked me over the edge. I'm just so tired and so terrified and so mad that I can't stop crying now. I hate that I'm not strong enough to deal with my family, my partner, or the fact that I'm just not like my other friends. I just wanted to be happy and to have nothing change. And now everything is changing and I just feel like crap.

I'm sorry for having such a huge, pessimistic pity party thread, but I just needed to talk to someone who wouldn't put me down. I was going to talk to my friend tonight, but I could only tell her a bit about my dad (not about his condition, but that he was sick). I just feel like not getting out of bed, or doing anything. Thank you so much for reading this long and disorganized thread.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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MusicNerd
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Hey Copper! So great to hear from you!! [Smile] But not so great to hear how you're feeling, I'm so sorry to hear about things being so rough for you lately. [Frown] It's totally okay to throw a pity party every now and then; in fact, I might have some pity confetti stashed somewhere in my room and I could blast some ballads to really get the party going! [Big Grin] But really, it's totally okay to vent. [Smile]

Let me know if I miss anything from your post, but here's what I'm thinking.

In regards to your partner, since he's been passive-aggressive to you, you feel bullied when you tried compromising with him, and you wish you "never met my partner or agreed to be with him" kinda makes me wonder: What appeal do you see in keeping a relationship with him? Would you tolerate this behavior from your friends? What are you so afraid of losing?

As for your job, have you tried reaching out to people from your college? Maybe some professors or advisors you clicked well with, or your chaplain? They could have some good connections and might be willing to help refer you to someone based on their relationship with you.

As for the rough patch with your mom: have you tried telling your mom how you feel when she reacts negatively to you telling her how you feel? If so, how did that go?

That's all I can think of for now since it's an ungodly hour over here, but maybe we could start with those questions if you'd like.

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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copper86
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Hey MusicNerd! You're so sweet to welcome me back, and to even let me borrow some confetti. [Smile] Thank you for reading and answering my long post.

Regarding my partner, I really don't have any idea. I've liked him since I was probably 20 or 21, so it's been at least three years. I was debating whether or not I was in love with him. I think a lot of it is how much I enjoy spending time with him, that we both want each other and want to satisfy the other. But also he was my first and I guess if I lost him, maybe I'd lose a piece of myself. When he first made a move on me, I knew he was the "bad boy" type, but I was still thinking he was nice and that I'd be okay. He is nice but he definitely has his moods and when he's mad, he turns into some kind of overdemanding bully. I guess what I meant by "wishing I had never agreed to be with him" was because this is the third time we've had a fallout - or, in this case, a near fall-out - and it's my fault. I just hate the pain and helplessness and emptiness I feel. I sound like I should be writing a sad poem I guess, haha, but I don't really regret being with him... Just the sadness I feel, I wish wasn't there.

You know, I've thought about talking to my thesis advisor and other contacts at my university. The thing is, my university is in another city, so I don't know how much influence or advice they would have for me; but thank you for reminding me! I should email them today and see what happens. They might have some overall suggestions.

I sometimes tell my mother how I feel when she does those things, even last night I kind of said something like, "Whenever I'm honest, you get mad" or something. I can't remember exactly what I said. But whenever I'm honest with her about how I'm feeling, she gets really upset. If I told her I didn't want to move, that I'm sick of her treating me badly when I'm just trying to help (and am going through things about which she has no idea, keeping it all inside), and that I don't want to live here, she would probably blow up. And I'd maybe have her and my brother tag-teaming against me. One other thing I'm afraid of is my dad. He's older and I'm afraid if I just start exploding and being really honest - saying how I didn't want to move, that as soon as I get a job, I want to move out - he might have a heart attack or stroke or something. I'm just so scared of that. And it would be my fault. I'm much better with writing, because sometimes when I'm so angry I just start crying and everyone in my family yells louder than me; and I'm outnumbered. She was suddenly super nice to me today so far; but I'm really tired and I'm just not looking forward to anything.

Thank you again for responding to my thread. Yes, when I wrote this, it was around midnight, so I know your post was later! Thank you for your response, and you really hit the nail on the head with my partner. I'm just really scared to lose him. How are things with you? How was college this last term?

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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MusicNerd
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It wasn't a problem answering your post! In fact, I remember you being the first person to answer my long-*ss, rambling post when I first joined Scarleteen. [Smile]

You know, I may not have any experience with sexual or romantic relationships, but I think that a baseline requirement I'd have from my partner(s) would be that they make me feel happy, that there are more times that I'm smiling with them than not, and that I feel comfortable sharing my feelings with them and that they feel the same with me, too. If this guy acts like a bully when he gets mad? That's not a healthy dynamic. If he actually cares about you and how you feel, he should instead be talking out his feelings in a respectful way and allowing for open dialogue to happen between the two of you. Again, would you allow a friend to treat you this way? If your answer is no, then frankly, you shouldn't accept anything less from a romantic or sexual partner. Your partner shouldn't make you feel like you're not "meeting demands", and that nothing you do will ever be good enough for them; if you do, then that's the sign of an unhealthy dynamic. It seems to me that frankly he isn't doing enough for you.

Also, you would not be losing a piece of yourself because he's your first partner. No one can take away a piece of you, regardless of whether they're your first romantic/sexual/whatever partner. No. One. You didn't give a piece of yourself to him, you shared an experience with him. That's totally different. And something I've learned from the boards here is that it's going to be a "first time" with any new partner that you have, since everyone's different and likes different things. Also, most people don't end up staying with the first partner they've slept with; it's very uncommon to see that.

I'm not saying all of this to burst your bubble, mind you. I'm saying all this, because I really want you to think about if a relationship between a smart, caring, awesome woman like you and a guy who seems to make you feel unhappy, bullied, insecure and loaded with drama is even worth it. Like, really think about it, okay?

Yes, definitely get in contact with people from your college! You never know, they might have connections for a job in your city (you could always ask them that, too).

You know, when you told me how your mom reacts to you being honest about your feelings and you being worried about how your dad will react, it honestly reminded me way too much of how my parents react to me doing that (which is why I tend not to talk about my feelings to them, either). But here's the thing: if you're in a space where you feel unhappy and like you'll be tag-teamed for expressing what you want? Then, it's time to go. You're not only a legal adult who has the right to not live with your family, it's also not very uncommon for people your age to not live with their parents. Maybe after you get your living situation all figured out (signed the lease, roommates (or not, who knows), money for rent, etc), you could tell your parents a couple months before you move out that you're leaving so that they can have enough time to adjust to the idea. That's what my therapist suggested to me, since I too don't want to live with my parents next summer. But, even if you don't have a job now, you can start looking around at apartments and seeing how much money you'll need and start budgeting out everything.

As for worrying about your dad's health? The thing is: you deserve to be happy. Your mom will still be there to help take care of him, and you moving won't mean that you guys can't visit each other sometimes, you know? That can still totally be a thing, and you can tell them that when the time comes. You can still have that connection while also having your happiness and piece of mind.

College has had its ups and downs for me, but I don't think I have enough pity confetti to throw two pity parties on the same thread. lol I might have to invest in getting a pity disco ball or something! [Razz] But, thanks for asking. [Smile]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Heather
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Hey, copper86. It's good to hear from you, though, of course it sucks that feeling like this is why.

I could weigh in a bit on this, too, but before I do I want to check in with you on some of what I might say. In the past, you know I have expressed ongoing concern that your sexual relationship isn't anything close to what I consider healthy. And, as I recall, we agreed to silence from me on that because it's what you asked for, and really, all I would likely do anyway is simply repeat the same things I've been saying for a long time.

So, before I add to this, I wanted to check in on where we stood with that.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Hello!

Yes, I do remember that time. I do like your long posts, though!

Regarding what you said about my partner, I can see that there are aspects of our relationship that are unhealthy. It's troublesome, because when things are good between us, I feel more at ease and think that he truly is a nice person. But when he's mad or annoyed, I'm afraid to talk to him or afraid that he'll just end up "dumping" me. His moods and how his temper turns are similar to my brother's, and there have been times when my brother and I have had yelling matches; but I've never yelled at my partner, especially since, unfortunately, most of our "arguments" are over text, and I kind of have this rule that no matter how mad or upset I get, I try not to let it show in a text. Because of my partner and some of the other friends I have that either send somewhat mean or very triggering texts that annoy me, I try not to send mean texts back, you know? I wouldn't want someone to do it to me, so I try not to do it to them. I've never yelled at my partner before, but part of me thinks I'd be no match for him, like with my brother.

I am trying to see who he is when he's mad as well as who he is when he's nice to me. I don't like how I feel when he treats me like I'm stupid. I don't know if he knows he's doing it - especially since he's by nature an aloof and not-too-demonstrative person; and because he's always nice to me in person - but it still bothers me. Especially since he knows, because I've told him, that I have low self-esteem. Again, I don't know if this is intentional or not for him, but still.

I almost cried when I read your paragraph about not losing a piece of myself. I guess I can try and see things more in that respect; that I would have shared an experience with him. It's just that I gave him my virginity (another "classic" or old phrase, but still); and obviously it was my choice, but I can see that really hurting me later.

To make things a bit more complicated, my brother has a best friend that I've known for years. We recently started hanging out sometimes, doing random things - going to the beach, or to a bar when there's a live band - and although nothing has come of those things, I like this friend a lot. We have a ton in common, he's really nice to me, and he's one of the only guys I know who doesn't think he's right all the time. I have some guy friends who just think they know everything, and I'm always wrong - it's annoying! Lol. So I'm pretty confused. I still feel more for my partner, and if I could be with him I would; but this friend is still special to me, and sometimes I wonder what it would be like if he was my boyfriend and if my life would be less of a bundle of nerves.

I emailed my thesis advisor yesterday, and he responded later, telling me a whole bunch of employment tips; so that made me feel better. He again brought up grad school, so I might look into that further. It sometimes bops around in my head, but I don't know if I can handle that much pressure and reading. [Wink]

I did look around at apartments before, but I definitely didn't have the funds to move out six months ago. I now probably have enough for two months' rent or something, which I don't think is secure enough without a job. It's difficult because (and you might experience this, too) I have really good moments/days and then really bad ones with my family. When they're bad, I want to get out as fast as possible. When they're good, I wonder if I was overreacting. But I sometimes feel trapped, so maybe that is a sign that I should be on my own. I absolutely love the idea of being independent. Congratulations on deciding to move out next summer! Are you going to move closer to your school?

I'm just really nervous that my father will take a turn for the worst if I start explaining all these things to my parents. My brother wants to stay at home, whereas I want to move; but I've never had an official job (tutoring, but people don't see that as a 9-5 job), and I'm just starting to take driver's ed; so I don't know if they'd take me seriously or not. That's the problem. But I can manage, and I want them to know that. I guess the real next step would be for me to actually get a job first (besides looking at apartments and budgeting, as you suggested); but that has taken a while. Hopefully it happens.

Do you want to talk about anything that happened at college? I'd love to listen!

Hi Heather,

I didn't see your post until I finished this one, so I'm just going to add onto this one. [Smile]

Hi! Thank you for welcoming me back! It's been a really tough summer.

I do appreciate you asking first, and I do understand that you would be repeating yourself a lot; as we have discussed this in the past. I'm starting to see the issues here, but at the same time, it's still pretty hurtful to address them. I don't know what to really say on that front. Part of me wants to tell you to just say whatever you feel like, but I think there's still a part of me that's really hurting and I don't know how much I can take at this point. The family dynamics here are driving me nuts, and I hate myself for feeling this way about them. My partner is also making me go crazy. It's kind of a toss-up.

How have you been? I'm sure you're busy here, and with work. I still remember your Easter story, and I gotta say, dressing up as a bunny and playing with kids would be a dream job!

[ 08-03-2013, 12:50 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I've been okay, thanks for asking. [Smile]

So, let's try this, would you like me to have a stab at:
• Helping you with next steps here, with figuring out a plan to move forward, improving the things you can, things that are in your control? Including maybe doing some triage here, like picking just one thing to start with, perhaps the thing you have the MOST control over?
• Talking about ways to really use all those tough feelings and anger, instead of drowning in them, or trying to stamp them down with guilt and such?
• Maybe doing some reality-checking here, like fears about moving into your life as an adult, like moving into your own place, and that totalling parents, when, if fact, you doing that would actually probably be the most developmantally sounds thing for all of you, and healthier vs. traumatic or less healthy?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I really like the sound of your second bullet point at the moment. I'm feeling a lot of stuff that is really weighing on me. Whenever I get in a fight with my parents, whenever they team up on me, whenever my partner says something that hurts my feelings... I find myself just exhausted. I keep wanting to get up early and do stuff but I don't want to get out of bed. I'm constantly trying to please other people, or do something ASAP do I don't get "in crap."

Edit: Also, my family just moved less than a month ago, and we're still unpacking. I imagine it would seem foolish if I were to announce so quickly, "I'm moving out" after we all just moved. But I've lived on my own when I was at university, and I loved it. I loved doing whatever I wanted, and doing things for myself. I was still in touch with my family, but I just liked being my own person. So I think that may be why I want to leave, but I'm just worried about not being able to do it right away or at all if I can't find a job.

[ 08-03-2013, 01:16 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Okay.

So, can you maybe fill me in on what you typically do when you have these kinds of feelings?

How and where do you express them, for instance? How, where and for what do you use them positively?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Thank you so much.

Well, my problem is that whenever I get overloaded, I cry. I don't like crying. But when I get that way, I go to my room and cry there. I usually just get as loud or as desperate as I want. The problem with this new house, though, is that if my parents are right above my room, they can hear me crying. So I can't let myself go as much now, if that makes sense.

Other times, I listen to music or just have verbal monologue rants in my room; usually involving accusations, foul language, more anger, and more crying. Kind of destructive, but at the same time, it gets my inner thoughts out.

I sometimes lose it when I get angry with my family, so I sometimes end up yelling at my parents in whatever room we're currently in. I don't like doing that. I get really guilty and apologize, because I think I'll get punished by God (which is another thing, but I'm learning to not think that way) or that my guilt will eat me up if I don't do something. Unfortunately, not only does that cancel out my feelings and what I'd said, my mom would just dismiss it and say something like, "Yeah, alright" or "whatever." My brother, on the other hand, will just say something like, "stop saying sorry" and will dismiss it in that way. So it's hard for me to apologize. And I do apologize a lot, so that's why my brother is tired of hearing it.

I sometimes use my anger and distress positively. I love writing, and I now get out my feelings by incorporating them into a story I'm currently writing. It usually works well. I get them out without yelling or crying hard.

Another way I use my feelings positively is that sometimes, when I'm mad enough or angry enough, I do things that take courage for me to do when I'm feeling okay or happy. For example, I applied for driver's ed the same night I wrote this first post. I was just so fed up with being stuck that I decided it was time for me to make a move on being more independent.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Setting aside how you feel about crying, does crying feel good to you when you do it in those situations? In other words, does it feel cathartic? Does it leave you feeling better than before you did?

Per getting angry with your family and how that goes, does it feel/go any differently when instead of yelling at your parents, you more calmly communicate your feelings of anger to them?

I'm also wondering if besides crying or yelling, especially since you have conflicted feelings about those things, you have found other kinetic ways of expressing and feeling your anger; other ways to do so in a way that is physical to some degree?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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It doesn't feel good to me when I do it in those situations, but when I finish, I sometimes feel better because of it. Or I just stop because I feel like I'm too tired or I don't want to cry any longer.

I've sometimes tried calmly explaining things to them, but admittedly, it doesn't happen often. My mother and brother tend to trigger my defensiveness by saying things that really annoy me; so I unfortunately lash out instead of calmly explaining things. And yelling seems to be how they deal with arguments, and if I'm just stating a point - yelling or calmly - they interrupt, yell, or my brother tells me to shut up (I hate that, but I sometimes just snap back at him to shut up).

I don't think I have any ways of physically expressing my anger other than crying, yelling, or through my writing. I used to go for walks when I was angry, but I don't think that will help now. My parents don't always like me going for walks sometimes, so if I ask, I'm sometimes met with some resistance.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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What about writing them letters to express your anger with them in a healthy way they might also respond to differently?

Mind, I do have to say that it's tough to bring healthy dynamics to a dysfunctional family or relationship. Unless they want to do things differently? It likely won't work or change, so it's going to be all about what is healthy for YOU and is a way for you to at least feel you have expressed yourself, whether or not you get heard.

Want some ideas of ways to physically release some of that anger?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I could write them letters, but I'm not sure if I would ever send them. Just to get out my anger and upset feelings.

I have a hard time associating the word "dysfunctional" with my family. I mean, sure, we have our fights and blow-ups and screaming matches, but we are all very close and I don't know where I'd be without them. But, I know that every family has their problems, so I guess I should accept that my family has problems and I need to try and figure this out.

Not being heard is something I struggle with. I hate giving more personal stuff on here, but my dad is older - over 75. He's sick now. The medication is helping him and he won't die from this illness anymore because of it; but he is often tired or weak and trips. If I completely turn their world upside down with "I want to move out, I'm not happy, I want my own space", I'm so scared my Dad would have a stroke or heart attack (which is also why I keep things like not being a virgin anymore to myself). Not that I'm the most important thing ever that he would, but still, I worry about it. He already makes these grimacing faces and sighs when I yell; and then my mom and brother take turns ripping into me. Which I don't find fair, because I don't team up with mom against him much at all anymore. If he's not involved in the fight, stay out of it, you know?

Yes, I would love some ideas to physically release that anger in a non self-destructive way!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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copper: my use of that term is based on all you have shared about your family in your tenure here, and the way that "dysfunctional" is most standardly used in this context right now. By all means, you get to make your own determinations, but, as we've talked about before with both your family and your sexual partner, what is and isn't healthy interpersonally really isn't just a matter of opinion. We do have some agreed-upon -- in the healthcare community -- definitions for these things. Like, for instance, the enmeshment I believe we have talked about before, which, as we've also talked about, is a very different thing than closeness.

Closeness, for instance, allows us independence and autonomy; we can be close and it can still be okay for us to do things like move into our own adults lives. Closeness also means we share things, rather than hiding them, and that we are allowed to be different people, so can share things which others may not agree with or approve of, but will accept because they know -- and appreciate that! -- we are separate people.

Enmeshment, amongst other things, is the kind of dynamic where healthy separation isn't allowed, or we get the message the whole world would fall apart if we sought it out; or where that separation would mean we no longer can have closeness.

But too, you're kind of moving this into an area where I'm not sure if you want to have discussions with me. Particularly since, since part of my job involves being as responsible and ethical as I can per making clear to users if and when they're not in healthy dynamics, I just can't say nothing or kind of go along with what, from where I am sitting, are denials about dysfunction or unhealthy dynamics.

So, I'll need you to make some choices with that around these kinds of discussions, okay?

Per some ideas with physical ways to release anger, in general we're talking about things where you can get your heart rate up, and release muscle tension. Too, doing things where you are allowed to feel angry, and can let it out physically in a safe way, are part and parcel here.

So, that can be things like:
- boxing, kickboxing or a martial art
- hitting pillows or other things you can express anger unto physically where you or no one else gets hurt
- going somewhere where you can REALLY yell: the full-throated kind that would echo through the hills
- a physical art, like dance or heck, you can even make something like painting physical
- some manual tasks are great for releasing/using anger, like weeding, beating rugs or mattresses, etc.

[ 08-03-2013, 03:34 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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copper86
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Heather,

I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to imply that I didn't care for your advice. Please, feel free to just say whatever is on your mind. I appreciate that you have a job to do, and you not being able to be honest with me means that you can't do your job to the fullest.

So please, have these discussions with me. I'm at a point now where I'm just scared of everything; so maybe hearing all this will help.Or it won't, but I gotta face it sometime, right? [Smile] And "it" means all my issues that I have to somehow work through. [Smile]

Those ideas sound really good. Hitting pillows seems like a smart move, and something I can do without going anywhere. I wish I could go somewhere and yell throatily (is that a word?); but this is a family subdivision, and there's nowhere I can really do that here. It's unfortunate. Maybe I can yell in a pillow? I actually love tearing up boxes and grinding coffee. That gets my anger out. But now I'm getting annoyed by everyone and just want to be alone. Kind of wish I lived alone now, haha.

[ 08-03-2013, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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No need to be sorry, it's just that I feel like I often find myself in a tough spot with you and some of this stuff, where -- from my point of view -- the denials around things that have long been, and continue to be, messing you up and making you miserable are so constant, and something you seem so committed to, I'm just not sure what I/we can even do at a certain point, you know?

But I also know that with some of this, timing is everything. Sometimes we are ready to hear things and reconsider our ideas, other times, not so much. I'd just hope that with you knowing how rotten you keep feeling, and seeing the patterns, that sometime soon you might at least consider the way you have been thinking about your family and your sexual partner obviously aren't working for you, and can't possibly be sound, or else you wouldn't continually be feeling with them like you are, you know?

Maybe, part of getting through this could -- should? -- involve making a clear plan FOR moving out and living on your own, be that alone or with housemates? One that isn't a maybe, but instead, a given, as in, "This is my plan for this thing I am doing, without question, by X date."

In other words, perhaps some ongoing gradual steps would help get you through. Sometimes just knowing something we want now is at least going to happen soon can go a long way.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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treetops
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Hi copper,
I don't have any helpful advice but I wanted to say that I'm so sorry you're having a bad time and I hope things improve for you soon. Thinking of you x

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copper86
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I hear you. You know, I deal with friends who are in complete denial about things, and I can clearly see it; and I get frustrated with them because they don't do anything to change their situation. I guess I'm a hypocrite. But I do know that it's often hard to take our own advice. But I definitely understand what you are saying in your first paragraph. I guess it takes a whole bunch of chaos to make me start to see how everything is affecting me. Just it all happening at once is kind of sad.

I understand what you mean in your second paragraph. I hate writing this, and I feel so horrible to even type it, because I really care for him so much, and I only seem to post about him being rude/mean/etc. and don't often mention the good things about him; but sometimes I think my relationship might be abusive. I'm not sure. I know that abuse isn't just hitting - as he's never laid a hand on me - but I know from school and reading the articles here that emotional/verbal abuse exist. It's hard for me to admit, but sometimes I wonder if it is abuse. I mean, texts that are belittling, making it sound like all this moving crap is my fault, making me feel like if I don't please him, he'll guillotine me emotionally or dump me... I don't know, if someone told me their partner was doing that, I'd probably feel differently than if it was me. Or maybe he just does this to me, and he's super nice to everyone else. Maybe I'm the exception. And that hurts, too.

I think your third paragraph about making a clear plan to move out is a good idea. I love how you said that I can say, "by x date, I'm moving out." It's just that I have no job. I apply as often as I can (and, admittedly, my mood and what's happening put a damper on applications - that and the economy in the city and province in which I live); but that plan might only truly work if I do get a job before x date. I like your last two sentences. I'm already feeling pretty good about driver's ed, so at least I know that I can finally buy a car in the future if I ever want to; or can be more independent in that respect. Knowing I will move out and not just think about it or say it to myself will also help me. Thank you so much!

Edit: Treetops, I just read your post and cried. Thank you so much! You're so sweet!

Edit 2: Heather, I am reading the "Enmeshment" article you linked me to, as well.

[ 08-03-2013, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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quote:
It's hard for me to admit, but sometimes I wonder if it is abuse. I mean, texts that are belittling, making it sound like all this moving crap is my fault, making me feel like if I don't please him, he'll guillotine me emotionally or dump me...
Wonder no more. Seriously, these are -- as are other things we've talked about in the past -- very much things that are abusive, or ways people tend to feel, are made to feel, within abuse.

By all means, it's often hardest to take our own advice, or honor our own feelings; easier to give to others, and say others can do. I understand.

I also understand how overwhelming it is when everything becomes a mess all at once. But I often find that, things totally outside our control, like a parent being ill, notwithstanding, that most often tends to happen when we have been letting a lot of things go to that inevitable place for a while. That's not a "This is your fault," rather, just some more motivation to start making some positive changes.

You know, it's a little outside of what we do, but personally, I think that getting some independence is so, so vital when we're transitioning from childhood to adulthood, so if you want some help making that plan, including figuring out alternatives for employment/paying the bills, I'd be happy to give it.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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This is a lot to process. I will have to wrap my head around it. Part of me thinks it isn't, though, and I'm making a big deal out of nothing. I'm not sure. Is it normal to have these feelings? What if you really love the person?

I know that trying to find a job, etc. are outside of your scope for the mission and purpose of this site; so I thank you sincerely for offering that help to me. I'm currently applying to as many jobs as I can get my fingers on; so hopefully, one of those options will come through. I just need to be more persistent with applying, no matter what.

Thank you also for being so available to me today. I really needed someone to talk to, and I appreciate your non-judgmental and caring attitude. I definitely feel safe here.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I'm not sure what you mean by "what if you really love the person."

That doesn't mean they can't abuse you: in fact, I'd say most people being abused in intimate relationships is any way love the person abusing them. (Why else would you stay?) It also doesn't mean it's healthy or sound to keep yourself in a position to be abused, and to enable that person to abuse you.

This is obviously an analogy of much less complexity and depth, but it's kind of like saying, "Why not stand in front of a train? I love trains!" I could love trains all I wanted, but that doesn't make it wise, smart, or loving to stand on the tracks right in front of one which isn't going to stop or be able to stop just because I'm standing there.

It is common for people who are being abused to diminish that? very much so. Usually the person doing the abusing gaslights a lot, so they get coached in doing just that )and with some levels of abuse, outright forced with threat of injury or harm if they don't), and people who wind up in abuse in elective relationships often have a history, often with family, of denying or diminishing abuse or dysfunction, so they're especially vulnerable to abuse for that reason alone.

And you're welcome, it's my pleasure. I hope you know I'm always glad to see you here, and that it's also clear that you're a pretty cherished member of this community, where staff and other users alike obviously hate to see you suffering.

[ 08-03-2013, 06:08 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I think what you wrote in your second paragraph answered my "what if you really love the person?" question perfectly.

I hate to sound unintelligent, but could you please explain the term "gaslighting" to me? Does that mean they explode and then revert back to a "honeymoon" phase with you? It's embarrassing that I don't know this...

I'm just really perlexed about all of this. I haven't been myself. I kind of wish all of this was a nightmare and I could just wake up and have everything like it was before. I know that's impossible, but I still wish it could happen.

Thank you so much, Heather. I cried when I read your last paragraph. In times like these, when one feels really alone, it's so nice to have this kind of support. Most of my friends in town are busy with their own relationships and happiness, so I feel kind of left out or unable to talk to them. I didn't go to a regular social event tonight; for more than just trying to make my own plans (which fell through). This may sound kind of bitter, but I'm getting kind of tired of seeing everyone around me acting so happy/in love/happy with their baby or pregnancy/etc. I know everyone has some type of conflict in their life, and I'm only hearing about or seeing the good; but it still kind of hurts me, especially since I don't see these friends as much, since they want to hang out with friends who have partners. Thank you again!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Karybu
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Gaslighting essentially involves an abuser manipulating you to convince you that they haven't done anything wrong: that you're overreacting to their behaviour, that it's your fault because you're too emotional, don't understand them, they were just joking, etc. Basically, they try to make you think that you're the one out of line, not them. It's a very common occurrence in abusive relationships, and it can make it very difficult to identify what the problem is, because the person being abused starts to doubt their own perceptions of what's happening.

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copper86
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Thank you, Karybu! I definitely understand that paragraph better now that I know what it means. I feel like that might be the case here. But it's simple things, like "you do know ____?" or sarcastic comments, or really not listening or trusting what I say, and basically diminishing whatever kind of assertion I try to make. I have friends who think they're always right, too; so maybe this is just a clash of personalities. But I don't bash people when I think they're wrong. That's why I love civilized debate.

Would the abuser consciously know that he or she was manipulating his or her partner? I'm sure they are aware in some cases, but I'm just curious if they themselves are aware of those manipulation cycles and the effect they're having on the person being abused.

[ 08-03-2013, 10:19 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I think it's safe to say, based on what we know to date about people who abuse that yes, they know what they are doing, and they most certainly know, and want, what effect it is having on the people they are doing it to. If they didn't, they'd do things differently, no?

Mind -- and I think I once suggested a book that address this for you? -- we also know that for abusive people, of various sorts, they have messed-up ideas about love and, in some sense, truly think the way they "love" is love or loving.

The thing with that is, though, that if and when someone says it's not, says they are hurting them, controlling them, doing them ill, then any claim to ignorance is gone. You really, no matter who you are, can't argue with someone who says to you, "What you are doing to me/how you are treating to me is painful to me, and is doing me harm."

But of course, that someone has to say that, rather than stay silent, or enable the behaviour by sticking around, playing along, etc. And that gets harder for that person to do the longer they stick around in something abusive or otherwise unhealthy, because they then develop patterns of behaviour together, and then become more and more controlled and disempowered.

All of that is a VERY brief sumup: this is very complex stuff, and those few paragraphs don't do it justice.

But I will say this: I think anyone needs to know that if you find yourself even asking these questions about someone you're with? Then it's about 99.9% likely you're in something abusive or unhealthy. And if and when you are, the why's, whatever they are, IF they are, really don't matter. Because whether they are, if you stay in it, all the why's in the world, all the ways to convince yourself what is happening really isn't, aren't going to change the fact that you're in abuse, nor will they change an abuser. If anything, it's the opposite: enabling and staying in very clearly tells them what they're doing is working. [Frown]

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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I think he is most likely consciously aware, at least some of the time or even most of the time, that what he does is extremely hurtful. I was exhausted yesterday and didn't have the energy to go looking for a spot; and today he sent me a text (after a long day of driver's ed, feeling so tired I felt sick, doing homework and having a headache), "so were you bull----ing me or did you check out that place?" I tried to explain to him how busy I have been - and not to mention helping my parents with everything at home - and he just got more accusatory and even when I apologized, he basically snapped at me and said something like "you're sorry because you didn't do what you said you were going to do yesterday." If I had a dollar for every time he's cancelled out on me, or never answered my texts, or never answered texts asking if he were free or not, I wouldn't need a part-time job. I finally just told him how busy I had been, but I'm not sure if he's softened up entirely or if he's going to keep stating that it's my fault; even after my compromising efforts.

I'm just tired of trying to satisfy everyone. I should've done something for him when I could yesterday, but I shouldn't have to apologize over and over and still have him continue on like this. Some of my post got accidentally deleted by me when I was pasting and cutting; so I don't really remember what else I said - other than the fact that if I could punch a punching bag or something right now, I would - but I also wanted to add that I understand that this is more of a rant post than anything else. I just needed to get this out.

I know if this is definitely abuse - which I'm starting to believe - but I still have trouble accepting that. When I was thinking about it, I just kind of hesitated and then when I dismissed it, I felt better. Is that because of denial and everything? Is this normal? I feel like I'm being so stubborn. I pride myself on being a rational (sort of) person, so I just don't like being weak like this.

One other comment: I feel like this dynamic isn't the same as the other relationships I've studied in school (I know that not all relatiionships fall into a pattern or all fit the same fold), but I often feel like he will just dump me eventually anyway; because I always seem to be making him angry. So since I doubt he wants to hang onto the relationship or me, does this still fit an abusive model? I can see that the doubt I have could be used as a motivator for manipulation, too; I'm just thinking that that is making my case different from others'...

[ 08-05-2013, 08:33 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

I want to flip one of your questions around and ask: Since you do have this belief that he's going to dump you, what makes you want to stay around only to eventually be dumped?

Abusive relationships do take various forms, depending on the people involved, the life situations they're in, what's going on around them, et cetera. There's no person's case that is going to be exactly the same as someone else's case. There's really also no situation that's better or worse than any other. What you're in now is your situation, and it's probably not overly helpful to compare it to things you learned about in school, particularly since what you learned about was probably mostly in textbooks, lacking the nuance, the small things that add up to big things, that make every relationship unique.


It can be really helpful to recognize something as abuse, to recognize the pattern, but it's also not necessary to definitively diagnose something as abusive to know that you don't like it and don't want to have to experience it anymore.

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Heather
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I'm only just briefly checking things before bed, but I wanted to add to this, and answer some of your "Is this abuse?" questions with just this:

I'd say feeling like you are on pins and needles with someone all the time or often, and that at any time, you can err so easily -- in their minds -- and feel sure they will totally dismiss and ditch you in some way with even the lightest misstep?

I'd say if and when anyone feels like that, what they are most likely feeling are very much core feelings when in abuse.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Robin,

Hi! I've missed talking with you! Thank you for answering my post.

Well, this is kind of a sensitive and embarrassing answer for me to give... But whenever I feel like he'll dump me, I worry and worry and it doesn't happen, so then I feel better. But it goes in a cycle if I ever feel like I messed up somehow. I felt like they weren't as severe or as real until last week; when he would switch from arguments and then all of a sudden saying stuff like, "can we hang out?" or things that make me feel better and wanted. So, I'm always relieved and happy that he didn't dump me, so I stay since we still want each other. I don't know if it's my self-esteem thinking he will or if he's actually going to, you know?

Yes, I do see your point about what I studied in school. I guess my scenario just seems a little different - though you're right, everyone's situations are different.

Heather,

Hi! Thank you so much for checking in. I really appreciate you all helping me, especially since you are all so busy!

That one paragraph sums up everything I feel. In his mind, I am a failure, but I feel like I am; like "if only I wasn't so tired and did x. Then he wouldn't be mad." And I feel like whenever I give reasonable excuses (the woods are dangerous at night or in the morning when it's dark, how am I supposed to find anything, my parents need me at home, I have driver's ed, I had to help with company), I feel like he'll just dismiss them and steamroll over me anyway. If I was just sitting at home and not busy at all - or not dealing with a ton of family stuff, and he doesn't know a lot of it - then maybe I would understand if he was annoyed that I wasn't pulling my weight. But this is different.

I feel like I'm failing him and myself, even though I'm doing okay in some of the other areas of my life. I'm just burnt out, and I wish he could understand that I'm going through a lot of transitions and that I need to just take things one minute at a time.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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I really think you need to give up on this guy understanding you. There has just clearly been a long pattern of him simply not being anything close to as invested in you as you are in him, and a long pattern of what he wants clearly being something very different than what you do. Which, from what I can tell, is a crummy relationship that's primarily about sex.

And you? You are clearly WAY more emotionally invested than that. That. too, has been clear for a long time.

I mean, let's even look at what most of this is about right now: you being able to show up or not for sex. Okay? This is the reality of things. And it's that this is someone who may be very invested in having sex with you, but who still doesn't seem invested in you as a whole person, beyond their own interests.

I know that is the freaking worst, but I think continuing to try and change a situation that isn't changing and staying in that, trying to convince someone to care about you in a way they don't? Way worse.

Things aren't going to change with this guy. This many years in, with nothing changing, with his feelings and behaviours remaining the same, I think the least you need to do here for yourself is accept that. And I'd say until you do, you're going to stay stuck, not just in this relationship, but in, probably, a bunch of relationships with these kinds of dynamics. [Frown]

[ 08-06-2013, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I hope you know, btw, I don't say these things to be hurtful.

My aim in saying them is to try to help you accept the reality here, so you can hopefully move forward, AWAY from things like this that you know make you feel terrible and won't stop, and be able to move towards feelings about yourself, and relationships that DO feel good, including emotionally, and that really are about someone else caring about you the way you care about them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I just had an idea that might get us somewhere new.

Thinking about your relationship with this guy, and your family, do you feel you treat yourself better, the same, or worse than they do?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Just checking in about this dropping off (but seeing you checking it today), and seeing if you might be up to answering my last question. I truly do think it might be helpful.

[ 08-14-2013, 11:57 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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My feelings are really complicated. I understand what you said, and I know that you're not saying any of this to be hurtful. [Smile]

With regards to your last question, I think I treat myself worse than how they treat me. I don't think my family ever intend to hurt me, and I understand that all families have their arguments and everything. I'm a really sensitive person, so I think I take everything they say as a direct attack on me (for example, when there's constructive criticism); and that doesn't help the situation, because I often defend myself maybe too harshly, which causes them to say, "hey, calm down, it wasn't an insult" or something.

With regards to my partner, I still think I treat myself worse than he does. I mean, sometimes it may be the same, but I think my own feelings usually hit worse than whatever he says (usually).

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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