Partner has two sides, urgent advice needed

Postby Donpa » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:34 am

Hi everyone,

This is a long post but the issue is so big that I cannot make it any shorter.
I wonder if anyone could help me identify what is going on.

My partner and I have been having rough time living together (over a year now). We started having fights within the first month. I do admit it was my tone and way of communication that really got to him (stemming from my childhood issues/abuse and how it formed me, I sought professional help twice and working on this, no excuses there). Anyway, this resulted in him just packing his bags and leaving with one of our dogs.

We do love each other very much and so got back together after a week. However, the fights started getting worse and over trivial things. The result was that I started getting aggressive and physically abusive (in a way that I would grab him when he was trying to leave again in order to stop him etc as I just can’t handle what happens during fights, explained below). Again, it is a terrible thing and I’ve been seeing a professional to help me to resolve this huge issue and it’s improved a lot, there are no physical attacks whatsoever, I might slam the door occasionally and get quite vocal though.

Now the problem is that I originally got to this stage mainly through the following (please bear in mind that I am not trying to excuse my actions whatsoever, I am just trying to understand my partner’s behaviour):

- At the start, my partner would completely isolate himself during arguments, would not speak to me at all, literally sit in a spare bedroom completely ignoring me like I didn’t exist. This is where it started getting more vocal from my side and there were a few physical aspects too like trying mo grab him and make him look at me etc. I firmly believe that issues can only be resolved through communication, and that was not happening at all. I felt absolutely helpless. I knew he would just pack and leave if I challenged him on this.

- He completely changes his personality while arguing (his face and expression are completely different, he looks distant and extremely angry, it is scary as he becomes a person I don’t know at all).

- He always blames me for literally everything during these arguments.

- I always try to explain logically why I want certain things/why I have that point of view, but he doesn’t seem to react to anything rational/logical.

- He often changes facts in the way that it suits him and again, I am always wrong.

- When the argument is over, he changes back to the lovey guy I know and seems perfectly ‘normal’ (whatever that means).

- During arguments he says hurtful things that are the opposite of what he would normally say in day to day life. After the arguments, he would say that he doesn’t mean the bad things that he says during fights and that he actually thinks the opposite, is. good things (eg. He would say that he hates one of our dogs (the dog has some behaviour problems that are caused by our lack of training and intervention which is our fault) and that he only likes the other dog that is so much better behaved; after the argument he would say how much he actually loves both of them) - this is only a minor thing but perfect illustration of the flip that happens every time and the topic may be something trivial but also some fundamental thing in our relationship.

- He blames me for his isolation (he spent nearly a year of working from home and completely isolated himself, we also stopped going out or doing anything together outside the house). I always say that going out with his friends is healthy and that he should do it more often. When he makes plans with friends, he doesn’t want to actually go and I mostly have to reassure him and tell him he will enjoy it once he’s there, which he does. What happens during arguments is that he says ‘This is exactly why I can’t go out with my friends, you are so manipulative and controlling’. This was said in reaction to me asking when we are going to talk about our issues and plans (we started seeing a therapist and she indicated that we obviously need to talk, he is living with his brother at the moment so I tried to find out when we are going to do the much needed work). He said he needed to clean the house and couldn’t talk that day, that he was sick and next two days he has dentist appointments and that he cannot see me then. I argued that he could make time either before or after and he said that I am being absolutely unreasonable, that his mouth is going to hurt after four hours in the chair (fair enough), but I said you can talk normally before the dentist, that normally he would still talk to me before the dentist if he was living in the house with me and he said no, that he would be in silence the whole morning. This seems absolutely absurd. My issue was that we are at a breaking point and need to do our homework and he should be proactively trying to find time rather than the opposite. For me, it doesn’t matter when we talk, I need to see some action and willingness from his side. But he turned it around and said I was just thinking about myself and that I am controlling and only want him to spend time with me. (Not true, I am doing two professional qualifications at the moment so I actually need quite a lot of time on my own to prepare for exams).

- He has a huge issue with authority. He only finished the bare minimum at school and has no qualifications, his parent just accepted it and never pushed him into doing anything (he has a very good job so he made it there in a different way which I very much respect as I do not believe in everyone fitting the tradition schooling system myself). However, as he never had to work through issues and hard times (eg. exam periods or any exams at all), didn’t have to dedicate time and effort in doing that, it seems that he has extremely problem with accepting and resolving problems and listening to any authority whatsoever (this has proved to be the case in workplace as well - multiple times), which I think explains his reactions to any challenges in our relationship (I do admit, I am not an easy person to be with, I am a stubborn perfectionist).

- He shifts any responsibility and accountability for his actions to me, this could be absolutely anything and when he gets to the stage where he withdraws himself from reality and changes to them other person’ during arguments, I feel like I’m hitting the wall, there is no space for logic or reasonableness (this fuelled my outbursts which is not an excuse but part of the problem as I am struggling to get rid of my problems that I didn’t even know about until this relationship).

- He always blames me for everything so his friends and family think that I am an insane, abusive person (I am not, I have issues, but I have been reassured by two professionals that I may be troubled in some way, but I am sane and have been working through my issues) who kicks him out of the house every time we have an argument (he can’t handle conflict so he packs his stuff and leaves with one of our dogs nearly every time we argue, then he proceeds to say that I made him leave).

- Note: He has never had a proper relationship before, only one long distance and his best friend had to log into his facebook profile in order to break up with the girl.

- Note 2: One of our struggles has been that for me this is a serious relationship where I wanted to get married, buy a house and have kids. He is getting closer to thirty and has NO idea what he want a in life (personal or career). Literally not a clue. Although he says that he wants what I want too, but he doesn’t know any specifics of when, how we are going to achieve that etc. He said to me that it is not a normal thing for people to plan like this and that no one knows where they’re going to be in 5 years. It is true that we cannot know for certain, but I think having some plans or idea of what we’re doing with our lives is a pretty standard thing?

There is so much more, but I was wondering if there is any psychological explanation for this.
I haven’t been diagnosed, but Borderline Personality Disorder would explain a lot of my issues.. I wonder if there is something that would explain his issues (I only found and article about argumentative personalities that sort of fits)? I am constantly led to believe that I am the problem and the one to blame for everything, but I just can’t accept that because it is simply not true. I don’t feel like I can fight something so strong going against me. I constantly question whether I’m actually wrong and not sane.

I would say he is the nicest, most caring boyfriend until it comes to any sort of conflict and he becomes a completely different person. I would really like to try to find the root cause of this as I do believe we could have a compete normal and happy relationship once we both resolve our issues. He doesn’t accept at all that he may have any issues so I really want to help him, but I don’t know what I’m fighting against. Any ideas?
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#1

Postby Candid » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:51 am

Donpa wrote:I do believe we could have a compete normal and happy relationship once we both resolve our issues.


You may be right, but history has already shown you you can't get on together the way things are. The best you can manage is to blame each other for your troubles, and that's keeping you both stuck.

He doesn’t accept at all that he may have any issues so I really want to help him


Donpa, help yourself first. You two are each looking into a mirror, each believing everything would be great if only the other person would change.

I know this isn't the answer you want, but the only way to resolve this is to get away from him and figure out your own solutions. If you subsequently get back together all well and good, but sorting yourself out has to be your top priority.

for me this is a serious relationship where I wanted to get married, buy a house and have kids


I'm glad you wrote "wanted", past tense. Please don't do this. It's the commonest method people have for taking the spotlight off themselves and having one or more additional people to blame for anything that goes wrong. There's more than enough finger-pointing going on here already. Having children would be disastrous in your case and could only lead to young people who would have serious problems themselves.
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#2

Postby Donpa » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:51 am

Thanks for your reply. We are separated at the moment.

I wanted to figure out what his issues is. Put a name on it or figure out what makes him behave like that. Any ideas?

On a side note, I do not point fingers, I have accepted my issues and have been working on them. I only want to find out why he behaves the way he does.
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#3

Postby Candid » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:42 pm

Donpa wrote:I wanted to figure out what his issues is. Put a name on it or figure out what makes him behave like that. Any ideas?


I'm not interested in him. He isn't posting here. There's no evidence at all that he thinks he has a problem.

The biggest mistake in the relationship game is to choose someone with similar issues to oneself and set about trying to fix them. You'll make the same relationship mistake over and over until you work out what makes YOU tick.

I only want to find out why he behaves the way he does.


I don't think you can afford to waste any more time and energy obsessing about him.
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#4

Postby Donpa » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:56 pm

Why would you then bother replying to my thread where I’m specifically asking about what issues he may or may not have?

This is what I am interested in. I am not looking for a solution, I simply wonder what makes an individual behave like that. I’m not obsessing about him, I’m simply curious.
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#5

Postby Candid » Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:46 pm

Donpa wrote:Why would you then bother replying to my thread where I’m specifically asking about what issues he may or may not have?


Your thread title is Partner has two sides, urgent advice needed, not What's wrong with my partner? I responded accordingly. If I missed the real query it may have been because while there was an urgent aspect to your relationship woes, there's nothing urgent about whatever his issues are.

No one on Uncommon Forum or anywhere else is qualified to diagnosis "issues" based on what someone else (with a vested interest) says about a third party, but I'll have a go anyway. Based on what you say, his most obvious issue is that he falls for women who want to "help" him.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:55 pm

Donpa wrote: I simply wonder what makes an individual behave like that. I’m not obsessing about him, I’m simply curious.


You wonder what makes an individual cower, disengage, or otherwise flee from repeated acts of physical and/or verbal abuse?

I understand that you take responsibility and have sought professional help, but that is not sufficient to stop a person from wanting to get the @#$# out of dodge.

Or do you mean you wonder why an individual would leave for a week only to return for more abuse?

That has to do with the well established cycle of domestic violence. There is:

-1- The Honeymoon phase where everything is bliss.
-2- Tension building where he isn’t meeting your expectations.
-3- Violence erupts in various forms.
-4- The abuser apologizes.

The abused returns or stays in the abusive relationship because they lack confidence for a wide variety of reasons. They want to believe the abusers apologizes and the honeymoon phase is better than being single for those with low confidence related to mating.

You are currently separated which means that the dynamic in the relationship probably shifted. He has changed or his circumstances have changed in a non trivial way.

My best guess is that he has been surfing Tinder. And why wouldn’t he? He is not married and he is tired of the abusive cycle. He’s been shopping around for better options.

I mean...you know he’s been shopping right? You really don’t believe he was dealing with your outbursts and still not surfing to see what else was out there, right?
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