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Thread: Emotional Stability / Anger / Mental Health of my long term Girlfriend / Partner

  1. #11
    i have googled and read them many times before, believe it or not, i am very thougthful and have read many things that i think could apply to me and to her.

    Without a doubt i want to help her, but I am under no illusions that I, myself can be her saviour in full - that is not white knight syndrome as I understand it. It is a loving approach to help someone get past a traumatic start to their life.

    I definitely have one of the co-dependent traits, especially caretaking, but I am not controlling at all, not unrealistic about what I expect, i do not obsess over her or anything, I have no problem with being intimate with her, i communicate freely with her (within the constraints of her anger-mine field) etc. So im not sure if I could be co-dependent with only one of the traits, but I do have that trait pretty strongly. its also worth noting that I have never exhibited this trait in any other relationship, but for someone who I love, my instinct is and will always be synpathy and offers of support and help - which i accept has probably been shielding her form the realities of her rage.

    Perhaps you are right in your observation that I should not make her liver problem about me, or our relationship, in the sense that as a strategy, it has backfired. But the point remains that, looking after you physical, emotional and psychological health is an act of Love to yourself and the people who you love in your life. that is a fact and i shouldn't have to pretend like that isn't a fact and not point that out when she falls short of that mark.

    I can accept thje fact that I have effectively been enabling her, but i fear the short term reactions I will get if I stop being being able to tolerate the abuse and the threats of self harm that will likely arise.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by harveylax
    your not showing much emotioanl mturity yourself, you obviously dont understand how trauma affects people, when they rage, they think theya re raging at you, thety are not, they are raging at themselves, at their past, at the perpetrator of the abuse against them.

    She is the love of my life, and I am the love of her life, we know this to be true, you have no basis to make any judgement otherwise.

    She is also in full recognition that there are deep issues that need to be fixed, I love her the way she is, and the biggest reason I am posting on here is that I am afraid, not for my own sake, but for her sake as she struggles and fails to get on top of these issues she has. The situation is not toxic 24/7, it is idyllic at least 80% of the time, but the bad times are becoming more regular and I want to minimize it, not for my sake primarily, but for her sake and the sake of our relationship.

    My inability to walk away is because i believe in the love that we have and the strength and depth of that love. I am not seeking or expecting a 100% fix to this, We are both in need of a greater degree of stability.

    Having to argue with strangers who seem intent on making value based judgements that they are not qualified to make is making me somewhat regret ever posting on here.
    Look after your own issues of codependency, white knight syndrome and control and you will find that you are much more settled and she in turn will respond to the new you in a more acceptable manner to you. If she won't get into therapy you should reconsider your relationship or at the very least, with the help of your therapist, learn how to accept her the way she is without trying to control. If you don't do that, then you are destined to feel the way your currently do (unsettled and abused) for the rest of your lives together.

    We tend to attract people who are slightly above or slightly below our own mental/mature/psychological health. Think about that.

    After reading your response above its also clear that you are in denial about your own tendencies.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Adding: Harvey, I know it sounds like there is very little empathy in the responses (I've/We've) been giving you but this forum is to get you to get on the off ramp to your tunnel vision and look at your situation from another route. I/we understand your frustration and your concern. With the aid of your therapist, (consider him/her your GPS system) you will have a better chance at navigating your life with her.

    Good luck (sincerely)

  4. #14
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    If you went to a doctor/therapist yourself you will get a much better understanding of all this and the entire dynamic of it. However, you'll have to pay for that. At this point, you're guessing how to handle it.
    Originally Posted by harveylax
    i have googled and read them many times before, believe it or not, i am very thougthful and have read many things that i think could apply to me and to her.

  5.  

  6. #15
    Excellent and fair advice Rose, thanks so much!

    I really appreciate it.

    I certainly wont be guilt tripping her in the future, i didn't do so intentionally, but i see that is effectively what I have tried to do and I will apologize to her for doing so and explain that I am worried and that is all.

    I am wary of mentioning her past trauma, and I do not do so in arguments as I know this is not a weapon to be used against someone. I only have it as a tool for understanding and a fuel for tolerating the worse aspects of her outbursts. However she does use it, rarely to be fair, as an excuse for her outbursts and general mood swinging, so in essence it works for her as a tool to avoid taking responsibility for her lack of control, on some occasions.

    I am not against taking time outs at all, and i think that is a good idea, although it saddens me that it has come to this.

    You are right that I am very frustrated and it is insightful of you to observe that is can or has come across as callous and controlling, I am trying to ensure that my efforts to mend this are coming from a good place, not a place of frustration. But I am only human and therefore susceptible to the same provocations as anyone i suppose, but I will try to do better.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by harveylax
    Excellent and fair advice Rose, thanks so much!

    I really appreciate it.

    I certainly wont be guilt tripping her in the future, i didn't do so intentionally, but i see that is effectively what I have tried to do and I will apologize to her for doing so and explain that I am worried and that is all.

    I am wary of mentioning her past trauma, and I do not do so in arguments as I know this is not a weapon to be used against someone. I only have it as a tool for understanding and a fuel for tolerating the worse aspects of her outbursts. However she does use it, rarely to be fair, as an excuse for her outbursts and general mood swinging, so in essence it works for her as a tool to avoid taking responsibility for her lack of control, on some occasions.

    I am not against taking time outs at all, and i think that is a good idea, although it saddens me that it has come to this.

    You are right that I am very frustrated and it is insightful of you to observe that is can or has come across as callous and controlling, I am trying to ensure that my efforts to mend this are coming from a good place, not a place of frustration. But I am only human and therefore susceptible to the same provocations as anyone i suppose, but I will try to do better.
    You're welcome. Take it easy and go back to that initial/original love and care that both of you have together. Sometimes when we are caught up in difficulties or miscommunications with each other, we tend to replay those instances in error and it can colour our outlook over time and in future conversations. She may or may not need real help from someone qualified or a psychologist to help her work through her insecurities and fears related to her childhood. I'd encourage her to see someone also if she shows interest in working through those memories. It is not ok to use as a scapegoat during disagreements or as an excuse to belittle or hurt someone else (I'm speaking about the way she may be addressing her past difficulties). If she does bring it up, I would remain as neutral as possible without antagonizing the situation or placing heavy emphasis on it. There's a difference between acknowledging and zoning right in. I do sense your worry. Since she is close to you, the level of acknowledgement and worry is warranted. I think the key is in empowering each other.

    I dislike the term enabling, personally, as it devalues attempts made on both sides to understand and create safer spaces. I do understand it exists and there are some situations that definitely involve enabling partners but in order to climb out of it, I think it needs to transition to empowering and safe/healthy distances (knowing when it is not in our power to change someone or a situation). I think it's in all of us to enact those safe spaces and encourage growth both personally and in others. You shouldn't be her therapist but you should feel confident in practicing your own safe spaces/distances and in your ability to remain firm when it comes to confusing situations, especially situations that are fraught with worry.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    We tend to attract people who are slightly above or slightly below our own mental/mature/psychological health. Think about that.
    Succinctly put.

    We can join you in the dissection of her psychology that has occupied the better part of a decade of your life, but that very dissection wouldn't be necessary if you were invested in someone who, in your deepest core, you believed was capable of meeting you at your level or who was in many respects stronger, more stable than you, functioning at a level you had no choice by to admire and could only sustain a connection with by functioning at your highest level.

    While I believe your affection and compassion for her is genuine, I don't get the sense that you have much genuine faith in her, or respect for her, at least not as much as you have faith and respect in your own ability to "deal" with her and the general business of living. You yourself said that you're able to handle all this, largely, because you don't take her seriously. You said this with a trace of pride, even. Think about that for a moment. Imagine someone saying that about you, even thinking it about you.

    All anyone wants, regardless of their station in life, is to be taken seriously, to be respected for who they are not for who they might be with some coaxing and patience. I'd imagine that she is very much aware—on a cellular, if not a cerebral, level—that you regard her a bit more as patient or project than a person—that, gun to head, you do not believe she is as skilled in the basic business of being a human being as you are.

    So she goes about reclaiming her selfhood, and escaping your belittling gaze, through destructive means: lashing out, throwing tantrums, neglecting her own health in favor of finding some way to "stand up" to you. None of that is mature, all of that prevents her, you, and you two, from growing. But, hey, it "works." She gets taken seriously in a way—becoming the subject of a thread like this, to say nothing of your girlfriend for nine years—but it's a warped way that, ultimately, just keeps you both rooted in roles neither of you want to play.

    Rose has offered some great advice. Being honest, though, I think a lot of that is more theoretical, in this case, than applicable; it's a bit like trying to make one relationship into a completely different one. It skips over the hardest thing to at least consider here, which is that you want your girlfriend to be someone she is not, and have perhaps spent more time than not thinking of her along these lines; that your frustrations right now are that your efforts to coax her into the person she could be in your imagination have been met with resistance, depriving you of the reward.

    Maybe, early, you got that reward. You could hold her hand as she navigated some minor (in your mind) fire beneath her toes. She was grateful. You, meanwhile, were empowered by her gratitude. But you've both worn out those roles, become tired by playing them, as two adults generally get tired of playing the role of parent and child alongside each other.

    Removing her from the equation here, I have to ask: Do you feel that you can grow, as a person, alongside her? Right now it sounds like you've equated personal growth with being able to "grow" her, but often when we find ourselves obsessed with another's shortcomings and psychology it's a way of sidestepping some of our own that could use attention.

  9. #18
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think it comes down to fundamental beliefs in each other and whether either party is invested in the relationship. I'm coming from this as a married person interpreting a committed relationship. Of course, if the relationship doesn't carry much commitment on both sides, we might as well throw the baby out with the bath water. I'm not inclined to think in that way. Level of investment and commitment matters and that's between the OP and his girlfriend.

  10. #19
    Thanks for your response bluecastle, i honestly appreciate the time and effort you have gone to.

    When i said i dont take her seriously, i qualified that statement by making it clear that I am referring to the ridiculous and (by her own admission) completely baseless name calling etc. that she is prone to when in the rage. I take her issues extremely seriously, but i don take offence at the rage based toxicity that comes from her in those terrible moments. If i did, we wouldn't be together.

    there seems to be a mis-interpretation, perhaps its my fault in my original description, that I somehow look down on her, i assure you i do not, i look up to her in many ways, across to her in some others and i have sympathy for her flaws because i know form where they stem. I do not regard her as a patient, or myself as a doctor, i regard us as partners in a relationship in which one of us has deep seated issues to contend with. That is actually how it is in reality. I promise you I am not mis-leading you or giving myself a shining write up. I am after real help and I know that mis-representing the situation will increase the chances of real help. It is a fact that she is not as skilled in the basic business of being a human being, shes admits this, all her family can attest to this, to pretend that isnt the case cannot be helpful, surely?

    I am not wanting her to be someone she is not, i understand that there is probably no final solution to this, in as much of here anger and negative core bleiefs ever changing, what i am trying to achieve is a greater degree of stability. that is all. She wants stability, she wants to be freed from this tendency to rage and crash and to go through these traumatic cycles. For the majority of the time she is fun, extremely loving and caring, not attention seeking, supremely intelligent, hard working and she optimistically plans for our future together. That is who she really is, or who she would be all the time, more or less, if it was not for the baggage of her childhood trauma.

    I do feel i can grow, i know I have grown massively in our time together, in so many ways. Undoubtedly i have more growing to do, but i want us to grow together, i can handle her outbursts, and i do say that with pride, because it takes strength to do so. My concern is that she cannot go on experiencing such anger and our relationship cannot survive and is not healthy until we can reduce these instances.

    People seem to have a cookie cutter mold for me as a "white knight" or "co-dependent" and seem to be mis-reading or not trusting what I am saying.

    I know I have made mistakes in how I have tried to deal with this, I am looking for help with that

  11. #20
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by harveylax
    My concern is that she cannot go on experiencing such anger and our relationship cannot survive and is not healthy until we can reduce these instances.
    It takes two. If what you are looking for is to change her and she is unwilling to change (and vice versa), what you have are serious and fundamental differences. Go back to your level of commitment to each other and figure out whether either of you see a future in this. If either of you have one foot out the door already, there's little room for compromise and understanding. I still don't feel you're coming from a place of desire to understand or compromise with her and you are entitled to that. Maybe neither of you are equipped to handle a longer term relationship at this time or you are not compatible with each other.

    Dating is about learning what works and what doesn't work for a couple. If neither or one of you are as invested, don't draw this out longer than it should be. Never coerce or force someone to change when that person is showing you signs of not wanting to change or not being as invested in the relationship as you are.

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