Smothering Relationship

Relationships and families - wonderful when they're working, distressing when they're not.

Postby Depende36 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:32 pm

Hello I was wondering if anyone can help, sorry it's a bit long.

I have just ended a relationship with the most perfect lovely man I have ever met, I don't think I will ever meet anyone who I get on so well with again.

We were together for 9 months and I broke up with him because he was smothering me, I needed more space but this made him feel insecure and caused problems. In the end he moved in and lost his job so he was here all the time which made me feel very claustrophobic and trapped and I felt like I had no other option than to end it. Now he's gone I miss him like crazy.

I found an article about these kind of relationships. It said that people often choose someone with the opposite "script" from us, ie someone with a fear of engulfment will choose someone with a fear of abandonment and each will find the others fear a threat. Which sounds very true of my partner and I, when I needed space he became more needy and when he was needy I felt like I needed space. When on the other hand I didn't see him so much he became much more desirable

I blamed him for not giving me enough space but at the same time I felt like I shouldn't need to have space so wasn't able to communicate my needs and ended up feeling resentful.

I understand why he had a fear of abandonment as he was neglected as a child, his parents were alcoholics and his mother died when he was young.

But what I can't work out is why I would feel so overwhelmed by his emotional needs? I was emotionally neglected as a child so according to this idea I should be needy too, instead I am the opposite.

My mother was emotionally unable to cope with anything difficult so I felt I could not burden her with my problems and felt very alone as a child.

I have thought about the way in which I cope with other peoples emotional needs and came up with a couple of things. Firstly when my own children get upset I comfort them and feel sympathetic but I don't feel empathy, if they carry on crying for too long I feel irritated. Secondly when people tell me about their problems I feel detached, again I can sympathise but nothing really bothers me.

I would be interested in people opinions as I'm a bit stuck as why this happened and would love to overcome this. As well as any opinions in general about my situation.

Thanks in advance!
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Postby elizaR » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:25 pm

I've seen lots of people go the way of being avoidant/dismissive instead of clingy. I myself tend to do this.

Instead of being needy, I've taken the stance that I don't like to deal with people and their crap. I avoid people and don't trust them. I used to also break up with people before they had a chance to hurt me - or I sabotaged the relationship to prove to myself that the other person was needy, mean, ditrustful, etc.

I don't know if this sounds like you. But I read a lot of myself in what you wrote so I thought I'd add my two cents.
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Postby Depende36 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:33 am

Thanks Eliza,
Yes it does sound like me especially the breaking up with people. But when it is happening I don't have a clue why I behave like I do. Maybe it's just unconscious, it bugs me that I am not in control of it!
Thanks for your reply x
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Postby tokeless » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:22 am

We were together for 9 months and I broke up with him because he was smothering me, I needed more space but this made him feel insecure and caused problems. In the end he moved in and lost his job so he was here all the time which made me feel very claustrophobic and trapped and I felt like I had no other option than to end it. Now he's gone I miss him like crazy.

Where is the communication between you both? You both react differently to the same situation, so talking is the only way of working out the best for you both. If you need space, he needs to know or you feed his insecurity, because he fills in ther gaps and comes up with you are abandoning him... He gets clingy, you can't handle it so you move away from him emotionally and resent him being so clingy....he doesn't know this, so he gets clingy..... Do you see the pattern?

But what I can't work out is why I would feel so overwhelmed by his emotional needs? I was emotionally neglected as a child so according to this idea I should be needy too, instead I am the opposite.

Not really... what would happen if say you had been abused as a child.. would you grow up to be an abuser? Or would you want all abusers dead? Nothing is clear cut.
I think because you were neglected, the feeling of having someone who needs you so much is too much of a swing the other way, so it's not pleasant but uncomfortable.... He is needy because of his own reasons...

If the bascis where right, you needed to talk openly about what you both need from relationships..... it's easier to accommodate each other when you know what you need.
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Postby Depende36 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:54 pm

Yes, it doesn't seem so mysterious when you put it like that.
Uncomfortable is exactly how I felt though at the time I didn't realise. I didn't understand what I was feeling I just knew I was unhappy.
We talked a lot and were very open with each other but I guess I wasn't able to explain to him what I wanted as I didn't know.
We are back together now, taking it slowly, wish us luck!
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Postby sricky990 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:32 am

If you really miss him then you must try to repair things...
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Postby Joanna W » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:17 pm

Depende36 wrote:Yes, it doesn't seem so mysterious when you put it like that.
Uncomfortable is exactly how I felt though at the time I didn't realise. I didn't understand what I was feeling I just knew I was unhappy.
We talked a lot and were very open with each other but I guess I wasn't able to explain to him what I wanted as I didn't know.
We are back together now, taking it slowly, wish us luck!


You really can't go wrong with communicating more. And the thing is, you don't have to have everything worked out in order to do it! It is perfectly possible to approach your boyfriend and say "Hey, I don't really know what's going on, but I'm feeling unhappy about X in our relationship." That way everybody is at least on the same page. And if you are both committed to working it out, then sometimes the resulting conversation can really help you both to figure out what needs to change. Good luck!
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Postby Depende36 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:14 pm

Thanks for your replies.
Sometimes I say to him that I feel like something is wrong, it makes him feel insecure if he doesn't know what it is that is wrong though. I feel like I have a mental block about where this all stems from. I know I feel uneasy but I'm not sure why, talking hasn't seemed to have helped so far.

I'm wondering if how I feel is because I am not used to being in a loving relationship, it makes me want to push him away, I find myself feeling quite emotional and picking fights with him which is not easy as he never gets angry.

Since I was a child I have felt alone and am not used to having someone who loves me and looks after me. I'm not sure of the best way to get used to this, it's a completely different sensation for me.
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Postby Joanna W » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:40 pm

Let me ask you this -- do you love and take care of yourself? It might be easier to accept it from others if you first practice accepting it from yourself. I know that may be easier said than done, but it's a worthwhile goal.
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Postby Depende36 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:53 pm

I am starting to! it's really not easy. I even quite like myself now :) It took long enough!
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Postby Joanna W » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:06 pm

Depende36 wrote:I am starting to! it's really not easy. I even quite like myself now :) It took long enough!


Glad to hear it! :D
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