storms Posted January 29, 2018 Share Posted January 29, 2018 I'd love some outside perspectives. Thanks in advance! Sorry if this ends up a bit long. I am 31, male, while my girlfriend is 24, female. We've been together just over two years and are unmarried. We moved into a house together (rented) 3 months ago. I love her but am having serious doubts, most of which stem from some core incompatibilities and what I think might be some mental health issues she is uninterested in addressing. However, I'm also hoping some of you might tell me differently / point out where I'm also to blame, etc. Over the course of the last year and a half or so -- and doubly so those months we've lived together -- I've found myself sinking into depression, anxiety and general apathy. I've dabbled in antidepressants and, furthermore, go to great lengths with regards self-care -- avoiding social media, meditating, exercise, eating right, seeing friends. Everything you can think of. A week away visiting my parents has made an underlying cause of my ill-feeling clearer than before -- the dynamic of my relationship. It's hard to know where to start, so I'll begin with some positives. Much of the time my gf is incredibly sweet, caring, thoughtful, well-intentioned, generous, funny and we share a lot of similar interests. On the other hand, she finds it incredibly hard to be alone, cannot take any form of criticism, needs to speak to me every day, and requires a level of emotional/affection upkeep I find hard to maintain. She also cuts herself -- her arms are mostly scar tissue at this point. When we first began dating I thought this behaviour had stopped but clearly I was very wrong about that. She's told me on multiple occasions that she feels like killing herself -- often after we've had a fight. I don't believe she means this manipulatively (at least consciously). I do believe she is deathly afraid of being abandoned and has very low self esteem. Indeed, she explicitly blames me for her low self esteem -- with the cause being that I am insufficiently affectionate towards her, or that I hurt her by some of the things I say, or that I make her feel stupid. I'm sympathetic to that -- we've both said some mean stuff to each during fights. However, her words are 'objectively' worse much of the time (insofar as that's possible; I'll give an example) -- it's just that her level of feeling is so much worse. Everything I do or say has the capacity to hurt her, including if I tell her I'm feeling miserable. If I tell her that her behaviour upsets me she really can't seem to handle it -- and tells me I'm horrible, a sh** person, that kind of thing. She thinks I'm constantly harbouring thoughts about what a 'bad person' she is. I've tried to make it clear to her that the idea of anyone being a 'bad person' in our relationship is entirely her projection -- I'm simply trying to work out something fair where I don't feel chronically stressed out by someone acting (as it seems to me) like a child. Perspective on this is hard, though. In the end, of course, she's the one who ends up calling me a bad person... So an example from our most recent fight (the fights have escalated to a point where we seem to be fighting more days than not) -- I told her that I'd thought things through as thoroughly as I could (our relationship dynamic) and couldn't see any way in which her behaviour was 'right' or fair; she took this as incredibly wounding, that I was apparently 'making her feel small' and stupid because I was saying my thinking (I presume) was something like the word of law. She soon after stood over me telling me I was a sh** person, terrible, awful, horrible, etc. I'm an adult, I can take name-calling -- but the unfairness (because she's obviously so wounded by name-calling yet does it often) galls me. Moreover -- the point I'd been trying to get across was how desperate I was to be able to see some way in which I might be wrong. I find myself trying to perform mental gymnastics to justify her behaviour and how I must, actually, be the one somehow misbehaving. This is getting increasingly difficult. I also do have a habit of overthinking things as a defence mechanism against feeling particularly difficult emotions. I don't believe myself to be uncaring, but I do value space and independence and time alone. And privacy for that matter. I've had to fight extremely hard for all of these things (she likes to go through the contents of my computer) and still feel they aren't really respected and perhaps never will be. The idea that I might be away for several days is viscerally harrowing for her. Within hours she'll speak to me on the phone and tell me how much she misses me -- I've tried telling her I miss her too, but she doesn't believe me, which is fair enough because usually I feel so oversaturated that a few days apart feels like a blessing. My negative feelings begin to diminish and I'm able to relax. I feel like I'm in the role of an emotional care-giver much of the time -- and that she tends towards occupying a somewhat childish role. I do almost all of the chores in the house, cooking most evenings (for her lunch the next day at work, too), washing up, picking things up after her -- all that petty stuff I really don't want to be cross about. I'm aware there's a fair age gap between us, but I'm not convinced it justifies the behaviour. She isn't totally remiss -- she'll sometimes make a nice meal, and she tends to do the clothes washing since I struggle to bend to the washing machine due to a back injury; but the difference in pure time/energy spent is considerable. I'm at the point where I feel as if I'd be happier by myself. I know that isn't the case for her. I suspect the underlying thing is something like this -- she's terrified of being left alone so is incredibly clingy, yet looks for ways to be hurt by me and is hyper-sensitive and cannot be reasoned with (she's right to feel whatever she feels, she insists, and to a degree that's true, but after a certain point I doubt anyone can deal with it). I've seen her play our a remarkably similar thing with her father, whom she is incredibly quick to be enraged by and, subsequently, to feel neglected by. In short: I'm tired of being cast as her neglectful dad. Whew. This really is turning into an epic. Sorry. Finally, I've come to her these last few days and tried to make it clear where I stand. Her response has simply been that she needs me to change too, she needs it to be equal, etc. My stipulation has been that she talk to someone or somehow seek treatment for what I increasingly believe resembles a personality disorder. She was sectioned for several years when she was a teenager and has tried to take her life on several occasions (though not, as far as I know, while I've been with her). She has flat out refused to see therapists -- she's been through that enough, she says, and they don't help. She has no really close friends -- even talking to them might help her see that her behaviour is sometimes unreasonable (I have a reasonably good social circle...a fact she's often not very happy about in itself). I don't really know where to go with this. I told myself I'd leave if she refused to seek some sort of treatment, but I do love her -- and, more uncomfortable still to admit, is that I suspect I want to suffer in this way to some extent. My mother displayed similar behaviours as I grew up, and is an abuse survivor herself who has since turned into an alcoholic etc. So... Any follow-up questions/perspectives/words of advice would be great. My not-so-secret desire is for you all to tell me that I'm in the wrong and it can be all worked out and it's something I can fix (in myself), etc. Many thanks. Link to comment
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