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Any advice on becoming less reactive?


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So I'll preface this like I always do. I'm 26 (woman) who's currently in weekly therapy with a trauma therapist. Just seeking opinions outside of that as well. 

 

SO I've been seeing this guy for a couple months. Very nice guy, also goes to therapy which I'm a fan of. 

This isn't so much about him as it is me though. I feel like I'm a pretty stable person up until I'm dating. And then it all kicks in. I have to yoyo between not caring at all or being terrified that I'm just going to be randomly dumped and that I've done all of this for nothing. 

Granted, my history isn't the best. One very long term and abusive relationship, then several in a row where I was left for an ex. 

Plus another thing I've realized is that growing up I never witnessed a healthy adult marriage or relationship in close proximity so I'm learning I really have no basis for what is normal or healthy? 

I guess onto my current issue. This guy and I sadly have very conflicting schedules. But we're seeing each other 2x a week pretty consistently. He really hasn't done anything to throw me off. I think it's just at the point where it's no longer casual.but also not 'serious' and idk how to navigate it. This week happened to be a little more challenging schedule wise and it literally sent me into a 10 hour long meltdown because I was expecting him to cancel plans with me since he had been out late the night before. Which he didn't cancel on me. That was me projecting. But none the less it cycled into me sobbing for hours like a maniac before he came over. We talked about it and he's good at that. But it still took me over half the night to calm down at all. And now I just feel numb and dead inside. 

And just embarrassed and disgusted with myself for being so irrational. And I cannot console myself and nobody else can either.

I didn't take any of this out on him by the way. I just talked to him after. I'm not THAT crazy. Just the self destructive kind 

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I’m confused. Why did you expect him to cancel plans with you? Did an ex or someone else do that in the past? 

Can you tell us a bit more about your current partner and what he’s like? There’s some uncertainty if you don’t know someone well and are just starting out with dating one another. You’ve seen him a handful of times now despite your schedule not always lining up. What do you know about him that seems promising? 

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Well, you did bring him into it by “ discussing it “. It wasn’t caused by him. How long have you been in therapy ? What kind of therapy ? What I found the most effective for trauma is EMDR, but you have to be pretty stable before a qualified therapist will begin it. I seldom find myself reactive anymore. I think I finished my sessions  about 8 years ago. 

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Continue with the therapy, dating while being in therapy, not sure its a good idea to invest in a relationship, i would personally be more focussed on getting myself sorted in such scenario and date only when am confident with all this baggage behind me.

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7 hours ago, Spicydicey449 said:

 it cycled into me sobbing for hours like a maniac before he came over. We talked about it and he's good at that. But it still took me over half the night to calm down at all. 

See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Get some tests done. Discuss manic feelings and  hours long crying jags.

Ask for a referral to a more qualified therapist for ongoing support.

Perhaps take a break from dating until you stabilize a bit:

 

Edited by Wiseman2
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21 hours ago, Spicydicey449 said:

So I'll preface this like I always do. I'm 26 (woman) who's currently in weekly therapy with a trauma therapist. Just seeking opinions outside of that as well. 

 

SO I've been seeing this guy for a couple months. Very nice guy, also goes to therapy which I'm a fan of. 

This isn't so much about him as it is me though. I feel like I'm a pretty stable person up until I'm dating. And then it all kicks in. I have to yoyo between not caring at all or being terrified that I'm just going to be randomly dumped and that I've done all of this for nothing. 

Granted, my history isn't the best. One very long term and abusive relationship, then several in a row where I was left for an ex. 

Plus another thing I've realized is that growing up I never witnessed a healthy adult marriage or relationship in close proximity so I'm learning I really have no basis for what is normal or healthy? 

I guess onto my current issue. This guy and I sadly have very conflicting schedules. But we're seeing each other 2x a week pretty consistently. He really hasn't done anything to throw me off. I think it's just at the point where it's no longer casual.but also not 'serious' and idk how to navigate it. This week happened to be a little more challenging schedule wise and it literally sent me into a 10 hour long meltdown because I was expecting him to cancel plans with me since he had been out late the night before. Which he didn't cancel on me. That was me projecting. But none the less it cycled into me sobbing for hours like a maniac before he came over. We talked about it and he's good at that. But it still took me over half the night to calm down at all. And now I just feel numb and dead inside. 

And just embarrassed and disgusted with myself for being so irrational. And I cannot console myself and nobody else can either.

I didn't take any of this out on him by the way. I just talked to him after. I'm not THAT crazy. Just the self destructive kind 

You probably don't want to hear this. But I don't think you're ready for anything more than a casual not see each other that often relationship.

Don't worry about your history. We learn more from our failures than our successes. People come to me for advice because I've made every mistake in the book.

Concentrate on healing. Your therapy. Self care. Be glad you two have conflicting schedules. Gives you time to take care of yourself.

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One more thing. Stop putting yourself down. You're not a person with a bad history. You're a survivor. You're traumatized, not crazy. Truly crazy people don't know they're crazy. They think everyone else is. You are intelligent enough to know the root problems of your issues and articulate enough to express them. You take ownership of your mistakes, maybe too much. But you don't blame others or your experiences. And you recognize you need help to heal.

Do you have any idea how special that makes you? How many people don't even try to change. People who don't think they need help. Don't admit their mistakes. That think the world should change for them because they suffered trauma? A lot. Trust me.

Someone once said, "When angry, count to ten before you speak. When very angry count to ten and don't speak." You recognize when you're "crazy " If you can do that, you might not be able to react appropriately, you can choose not to react at all.

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I agree that you did involve him in it -half the night to calm down can be a long time and he sounds very understanding but if that happens again you start to wear out your welcome.  If you're sobbing for hours like a maniac over an imagined slight I don't think you're in the proper headspace for a relationship because you simply don't have the bandwidth to be a giving person -a person who gives from a perspective of reasonable security and confidence, and who isn't in her head to the extent you are.  

I get where you're coming from about reactive.  It's tempting to indulge that for sure even if it's "irrational."  But to be in a serious relationship means having in your tool box ways you deal with that temptation so you don't actually act it out by sobbing for hours (like if you two were together that night or living together he'd have either observed it or known about it).

I had to make a tough choice like that recently.  We were about to check in for our international flight, first one in 3 years.  With ever changing covid restrictions it was stressful and I was feeling fragile and vulnerable and so tired from all the packing and prepping and rushing to the airport. 

Gate agent drops a potential bombshell -that we may need certain forms to enter the foreign country that we don't have with us.  I realized I'd had it.  I knew I was better at handling these mess ups better than my husband -I'm more direct and assertive in those specific situations -but I also knew if I even said a word I'd lose it.  Not yell at her, not be rude but I would get upset and emotional.  And I didn't want to risk coming across as unhinged lol.  

So I made myself walk away- quietly -not "storm" although I felt like it.  I walked away.  Went to another part of the terminal and let my husband handle it.  It took everything in me not to tell her how frustrated I was with the confusion, the delay in us getting through security.  But I chose my marriage, I chose the peaceful way despite desperately wanting to vent.  I share this because it's not easy to choose not to be reactive.   

And I'm not in therapy.  I don't have a mental health issue.  I'm just a person living in these crazy times and trying to travel lol.  But I felt so much stronger walking away, knowing myself, knowing my limits, knowing what more of a train wreck I'd create if I stayed and said something.  Really hard.  so worth it.  I hope you have those sorts of experiences soon but I'd practice doing that in typical life situations before getting too seriously involved in the big leagues of a romantic relationship.  

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