How can we handle these conflicts better?

Postby Ascendant78 » Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:39 am

My girlfriend and I are trying to fix a recurring issue that has been ongoing off and on for almost a year now (since we started dating). Bear with me, as there's a lot to cover, and I want it to be thorough so we can get feedback from an informed perspective.

The recurring issue we have is a breakdown in communication that leads to arguments. Generally, I say something or ask something, she takes it in a negative or critical way (when at least 85% of the time, I don't mean it that way), and before I can clarify the intent behind what I said, she is too angry to be receptive. The anger leads to her yelling, name calling, insults, hurtful comments, threatening the relationship, or altogether ending it. I try to do my best to remain calm at those times, but after she is upset, it's rare that I can ever do anything to fix it at the time. I just hate walking away and leaving it alone when she took something the wrong way while in my eyes, she is hurt, upset, and/or angry purely over a misunderstanding. It's also nerve-wracking walking away when she has ended the relationship. It freaks me out, as I love her in a way I've never loved anyone else before in my 44yrs of life. Every time, I wonder if this is the last time, if I may have lost her permanently, and it breaks my heart.

After she does calm down (hours, days, or sometimes weeks) and we're able to have a calm conversation about it, then she is receptive to clarification and can understand where the miscommunication happened. The problem is, by that time, the damage is already done. And even then, she will oftentimes still question my real intentions, like I am possibly lying to her in order to reconcile. I have tried to tell her that makes no sense, as if she can’t deal with my intentions and who I genuinely am, this wouldn’t work. But, she still usually has lingering doubts at that point, doubts that seem to be accumulatingcompiling with every argument.as time goes on.

Some of the problems on my end is I can tend to be very blunt, and since I'm scattered (ADHD), it can be very hard to read my body language accurately, which she also relies on to determine my intent (but as already stated, it's usually wrong). This ties into her reasoning behind getting upset. She says rather than what I say, she relies more on my tone, body language, and "past things" (which I feel is predominantly comparing it to other arguments, which of course makes this even harder). She also told me she believes "her feelings" over anyone's words. However, I strongly feel those feelings have been compromised by past traumas and subconscious fears. She also bases it off what she called "vibes and such." So, in that regard, I don't see any way at all to handle that. I can't do anything to change her "vibes" or her feelings when I talk. I've been working on approaching topics more sensitively, in a more round about way, and we've established some topics we just can't talk about altogether. I'm also now trying to pay attention to my tone and my body language, but that is entirely new to me since I haven't my entire life (44yrs old now). I have tried to explain to her that her vibes are wrong, where I believe they are coming from, but she doesn't believe me.

I do feel she at least has some doubt about them, or by now, she would believe I am a terrible human being. A part of what doesn't make sense is how I'm a giver. When with her, I regularly do things for her. Massages, washing her hair for her, asking where she wants to go or do, asking what she wants to watch when we watch TV, cleaning up around the house at times, feeding the cats, brew her coffee in the mornings (I'm almost always up first), make an effort to be a part of her children's lives, and so much more. My actions are in complete contradiction to someone who is critical, looking to hurt her emotionally, etc. But, she seems to dismiss the cognitive dissonance when she is believing I have ill-intent.

On her end, she has made a huge and very noticeable effort towards remaining calmer, and I know she is really trying hard like I am, but we still have these arguments at times.

We've tried a few different ways to resolve it to no avail. I've asked her to please ask me what my intent was, or let me know how she took something I said, before getting angry. It doesn't work though, as by the time she took something in a negative way, she's already too angry to talk rationally about it. My frustration of course is that I feel if she would just ask for clarification when she takes something the wrong way, it would avoid at least 85% of our arguments, would keep her from getting hurt, and we'll be amazing again.

The best we've done so far is like I said, I now avoid certain topics altogether, have to approach other topics VERY delicately, and she does her best to keep her calm when it happens. But even then, I will sometimes say something that I feel is completely harmless, and she gets upset with me before I even know why. So, we need more ideas of ways to work on this that can help more.

We know there is some core issue not being addressed here. Her last serious relationship was 7yrs ago, and she had the same off and on relationship conflicts we have. Different problems, but the same pattern. I do feel a lot of our conflict comes from negative assumptions on her part as a defense mechanism (but she views them as those vibes or feelings about what I'm saying). Another way to look at it is triggers based on past traumas. While she could take some of my comments multiple ways, I feel sometimes, she takes it the worst way possible and insists that was what my intent was. But, talking about negative assumptions hasn't helped.

We just recently started talking about figuring out the core issue, as whatever it is, it isn't going away on its own. In my opinion, I feel it is fear based triggers based on past trauma. My reasoning is the recurring pattern from her past traumatic relationship. Second is I have described the situation in detail to a psychologist I talk to, and she felt the root of the problem was unhealed traumas from her previous relationship (which is why it's a similar pattern). Third, she is not like this with anyone else I have seen her interact with. With everyone else, she is very patient, understanding, compassionate, loving, etc. Of course, that just makes it hurt that much more when you feel she treats others far better than you at times. She says it's because no one else hurts her like I do, but I don't know how to get her to understand I NEVER mean to.I don't hur

While my girlfriend feels it's a personality conflict (which to an extent in some circumstances, it is), I feel that has very little to do with it most the time, as even then, if negative assumptions didn't happen about my intent, or clarification was asked before she reacted to it, the arguments wouldn't happen at least 90% of the time. The reason I say this is when she is calm and collected after the fact and I clarify why I said what I said, she then sees that with that being the case, there wasn't a need to argue about it.

So, we need to figure out a way to handle these conflicts more effectively and prevent them from escalating. We have read some of a relationship book together and other resources, and it has helped to a small extent, but not enough yet. Also, while I have been seeing a psychologist for a while now due to past issues, she just started seeing one recently. Only one session so far, but I’m sure that will help us as well. Want to do couples counseling, but our finances are tough right now. It is something we want to do though.

Her main focus right now is fixing her depression. She’s going through some really bad depression, so her priority with her counseling right now is to work on that. She has always dealt with some depression to some extent, but our prior issues with arguments exacerbated it. She feels she regressed as far as progress that she has made over the years after her break up seven years ago with her last serious relationship. In my opinion though, I feel it is issues that were just never resolved, and she dodged them by not having a serious relationship. When she had a serious relationship again, those issues came right back to the surface. But, that’s just my best guess and my psychologists, but my psychologist has never talked directly to her. She’s just going by the feedback I gave her so far. I do my best to try to be objective, but of course she's still not hearing another perspective of it.

On a good note, for the first time ever, we were able to implement the speaker/listener technique a couple times recently. Yet another example that I know she is working with me on this, as I know it was VERY hard for her to do it when she was angry. But, while not perfect, we did it, and our conflict went FAR better than how it normally does.

And before you give any feedback, no, breaking up isn't an option. We are a family, have a connection neither of us have ever had before, and we are determined to fix this, know we can fix this, but just need help fixing it.

With that said, we'd love feedback from you guys about a few things. One, how to handle the conflicts more effectively while we fix the core issue. Two, how to dig into the core issue and make sure we know what it is (I've seen some online resources, but would love to hear feedback on what ones you guys feel are the most effective). Three, if you don't feel unhealed wounds from her past is contributing at all, then any idea what the root cause could be? Four, what is cit is assuming it is wounds from her past relationship that haven't fully healed, what we as a team can do about that to help the healing process (I do know with 100% certainty she is over him, it would just be remaining trauma)? We appreciate any help you guys can give us.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Feb 08, 2022 2:14 pm

It's important to separate what you two are deliberately doing versus the unintentional.

Deliberately you are working on the relationship. Unintentionally you are feeding into each other, causing the problem as you build a codependent relationship. She intuitively gets angry because it works in the moment. You intuitively appease her because it works in the moment.

Ascendant78 wrote:And before you give any feedback, no, breaking up isn't an option. We are a family, have a connection neither of us have ever had before, and we are determined to fix this, know we can fix this, but just need help fixing it.


Sure it is. Plenty of couples are "together" as they live under the same roof yet are broken. And your relationship is no exception. Over time, like any other couple, there can be a growing emotional distance or the emotional bond can become stronger.

How you fix this is fairly straight forward. You have to be willing to walk away. You are trying appeasement. You are jumping through hoops and all that does is unintentionally provide her positive reinforcement that her anger and silence gets results. You keep returning.

It is very hard...if not impossible for anger/silence not to be her go to response when you have 100% guaranteed her that no matter what happens you will return. She has NOTHING to lose. In her deliberate, rational, pragmatic mind she can recognize that she doesn't want to get angry, but when you act in a way that she doesn't like the easiest way to resolve the issue is anger/silence. And you enable that.

The real question is why do you enable it? Why do you think trying to appease a person that will use anger/silence to manipulate you is the "best connection" in your 44 years? Why have you deliberately placed yourself in a no-win situation by creating your own rule of "breaking up is not an option" which then drastically handicaps your ability to find a solution?
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#2

Postby Ascendant78 » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:25 pm

I appreciate the feedback Richard, and I know with something like this, it is extremely challenging to fully explain all the details. Let me try to clarify what happens when we break up.

When she gets angry, she gets overwhelmed and needs space. She doesn't always call it a break up. Sometimes, she just calls it a time out. She calls it a breakup when she is extremely upset and overwhelmed, because she doesn't know what else to do at that time.

I do understand how it can be seen as a manipulative tactic on her part. I don't believe it is. I believe she is just so overwhelmed at those times, she doesn't know what else to do but try to escape. She told me that was always her go-to in the past too - escape. But, I do know that type of reaction to conflict needs to be worked on, as does she (we've talked about it a lot), and like I said, she has made a serious effort to work on it. But yes, it does need to stop and alternatives need to happen. The break ups are devastating to me emotionally, and of course only so many times something like that can happen until you give up.

It was actually much, much better and wasn't happening before her depression. For months, no breakups at all, just occasional time outs. Right now, I feel it has become her go-to again because she is struggling day to day just because of her depression, so she can't handle any additional stress. I know this and I know I need to ease back on expectations as she works on herself. But, I refuse to give up on her, and I don't feel she wants to most the time either.

If she was making no effort, sure, this would be a waste of time. Can't keep doing what we've been doing. But, there's so many things we haven't tried yet. We just don't want to give up with what we have when things are good.

Like I said, she literally just started her own counseling, so that is going to take time and should certainly help. I am going to start looking into couple's counseling soon. And she was supposed to be a part of my last counseling session, but my counselor went MIA and never called me. Like I've said, she needs to focus on handling her depression first, then we can focus more on the relationship. I'm going to focus more on just supporting her for now, and ease back on expectations, questions, etc. It's just too much for her.

There is a LOT to lose here. We both have great relationships with each other's children. I've never had any woman be as good with my children as she is. She's an amazing mom and step-mom. The chemistry we have is something neither of us found before each other. The sex is mind-blowing. When things are good, our conversations flow so easily. There are no core issues we don't agree on. We see eye to eye on so many, many things. Too much to cover, but there is indeed something here we've never had before.

What I meant as breaking up is not an option is that currently, that is not on the table. Of course if things don't improve, even after her depression subsides, then things couldn't work. But, I have every bit of confidence we can and will fix this. With what we have, we have to at least try.

There are so many other things I haven't covered either. Like with her depression, when I show up, so long as we aren't having conflict, she's happier. She has energy, motivation, and has told me it's the only time she has the drive to get things done (house chores, errands, etc.). I'm not about to leave her to fight it on her own. To me, that would be a messed up thing to do.

All couples have hard times here and there. Yes, ours are severe when they do happen, but if everyone gave up as soon as things got hard, no one would have a lasting relationship.

There's a quote I really love: "When asked how they managed to stay together for 65 years, the woman replied 'We were born in a time where if something was broke, you fixed it... not throw it away.'" That really resonated with me. THAT is the type of mindset that makes relationships endure. That gets them through the hard times even stronger than before.

The fact that we are both making an effort to make it work shows me there's hope here, and we ARE making progress in a few different ways. We both know some things need to be changed, but that's why we're here - to try and get help, not suggestions to break up and give up.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Feb 08, 2022 3:46 pm

Ascendant78 wrote:...it is extremely challenging to fully explain all the details...


True. And understandably my responses are limited by this challenge. No matter how much detail you provide it is but a snapshot of the overall picture. It is the nature of a forum like this.

Two quick questions....

-1- Are you more concerned about fixing the relationship or the person(s) involved?

-2- Do you often make people angry in your life, i.e. is it common for people to lash out at you for your behaviors?
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#4

Postby Ascendant78 » Tue Feb 08, 2022 4:16 pm

For question 1:
Currently, my priority is her herself (as is hers). Getting out of the depression she is in and get in a better mindset. I know I can't "fix" her, but I'm doing my best to support her though it.

For question 2:
No, not at all. I have had some prior girlfriends complain that I ask TONS of questions. That's a part of my process of getting to know someone I'm with. I ask all kinds of details about their past. This doesn't mesh well with her, as a lot of her past was very rough, and by asking her about it, she said she sort of relives the pain. So, that is one of the things we've had to work on. I can't ask anything about any past relationships or hardships she's been through, which I'm fine with. I already know quite a bit about her past already. To me, knowing a person's past is important, as it lets you get to understand them better, know what they've been through, what they learned, etc. For her, she just likes seeing how a person is in the now and taking it at face value.
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Feb 08, 2022 6:56 pm

Ascendant78 wrote:For question 1:
Currently, my priority is her herself (as is hers). Getting out of the depression she is in and get in a better mindset. I know I can't "fix" her, but I'm doing my best to support her though it.

For question 2:
No, not at all.


A father has a son that gets angry, depressed and needs space. The son will not talk to the father for days/weeks. The son recognizes his problem and wants to work on his relationship with his father. Based on your response to question #2, the father is not needing to "be fixed" as the father has a decent relationship with others. It is only with the son that these issues take place.

How does the father help the son?

The father sets and enforces boundaries. That is the support the father can give. Nothing more. The father is not a therapist or psychologist. The father must play the role of father, not counselor. At some point the father must allow the son to take his own path in life.

And at some point it is about supporting the individual, not the relationship. The father/son relationship may very well need to be dissolved in order for the individual to be "fixed". The father says, "All I care about is that he is okay, regardless if I'm a part of his life or not."

Define your role. Establish and enforce those boundaries.
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#6

Postby Ascendant78 » Tue Feb 08, 2022 8:09 pm

Thank you again for your feedback. I completely get what you're saying.

We have worked on setting boundaries on both sides to mitigate the problems. Prior to her depression, things were working great. Some hiccups from time to time, but the depression definitely increased conflict again.

I know I can't "fix" her, and best I can do is work on myself, which I am. She did not like it when I tried to psychoanalyze her, and I quickly realized it's not my place. It just sucks, as I want to fix this so bad. But, she does have the counseling now. In addition, while I know I can't do it directly, I am offering her support and resources that can help her. So, I'm doing what I can to help while not crossing that boundary.

As she continues counseling, and as we have talked more about the boundaries we need at this time, I'm hoping it will mitigate our issues. Just certain things need to be avoided at this point. Time will tell how effective it's going to be.
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#7

Postby Ascendant78 » Mon Feb 14, 2022 4:41 am

** UPDATE **

For starters, thank all of you for your feedback here. It was VERY helpful and insightful.

We finally broke up for good this past weekend. I covered it here in case you care to see: viewtopic.php?t=110053&p=929959&sid=516b3b313e070bae0da6901afb16e83a#p929959

Anyway, someone on there (along with similar posts here) gave me a harsh wake up call.

She really had me believing it was my fault. That because of how the tone of my voice was when I said something, or my physical cues, or because of her "gut" feeling, I was in the wrong. She really had me convinced it was my fault. She was VERY manipulative, and had me for quite a while.

Looking back though, she knew what she was doing. In the beginning, when she would pick fights, she acknowledged it was issues on her end. She said she was working on getting control of her temper, blamed it on her ex that damaged her, and was grateful to have someone like me who would stick with her though it as she worked on herself.

As time went on though, the story changed. Instead of her admitting she needed to work on it, she looked for reasons to justify it and blame me for it. She had so many excuses. She kept telling me I had to be more careful how I asked questions, my behaviors when I asked them, my tone of voice, etc. Meanwhile, NO other ex ever did this to me! NONE! Of all the fights I ever had with exes, there was not a single one who ever lashed out at me for asking a question. I mean if someone asks a question and you don't want to get into it, you simply say you don't want to talk about it! There is NO excuse to begin emotionally abusing someone because they asked you a question you didn't like!

I can't believe I fell for it. I looked back on those original texts she wrote me, and can see clear as day the manipulation. The gradual transitioning, from her accepting fault, to projecting it ALL onto me.

I tried to reason with her. I'd tell her "If you take something in a negative way, instead of lashing out at me, please ask me for clarification first. Ask me how I mean it!" But, she always had an excuse to not have to change her behaviors. The main excuse was "I shouldn't have to ask, you should be more careful how you say it!" No matter how I tried to resolve the issue, she refused to do anything on her end.

It was crazy the things she would pick fights over. I mean I never cheated, never stole, never did anything to ever intentionally hurt her or the children, yet all it took was me asking the wrong question, or making a statement she could take the wrong way, and now suddenly, I'm this monster she has to emotionally abuse to defend herself?! And I BOUGHT it! For almost 11mos, I BOUGHT it!!!!

Thank all of you for waking me up to this. Looking back, I can't believe the things I believed. She really beat me down to the point where I felt at fault. I get it now though.

It's sad that after 11mos, she is now finally getting the counseling she so desperately needed. Maybe with her counselor, she will resolve her issues. Sadly, she will still probably always believe I was still at fault though. Might fix herself and be fine in her next relationship, and that would reinforce I was the bad guy. Conversely, the counseling may only inform her how screwed up she is, she may NEVER get the anger under control, and she may go on to one man after another, abusing all of them, blaming each of them every step of the way. Just like she did her ex-husband, just like she did me. Everyone's fault but her own.

And god forbid you told her things she needed to work on. As soon as you'd say that, no matter how much you acknowledged you could work on things too, she would accuse you of putting all the blame on her. So, you couldn't address her issues without her lashing out either. Always found a way to turn it into an argument. Always found a way to blame you.

I doubt it will ever change, but who knows, maybe with counseling, it will. Just sad that she didn't start it sooner. If she had, maybe we could have worked. At the minimum, it would have at least assured me there was absolutely no hope in fixing it. But now, it's hard for me to NOT wonder the "what if" now that she has a counselor.

Who knows. Maybe in the weeks or months to come, the counselor will bring things to her attention that will finally get her to realize it is her, not me, not us (she would blame it on personality conflicts, but it wasn't - no personality could avoid fights with her). Maybe one day, she will reach back out to me, realizing her wrongdoings, and trying to do it right. Maybe we will get back together. Maybe by then, I will have moved on. Maybe she will move on, find someone she won't argue with like this. It just breaks my heart. I loved her so much. Outside of the arguments, we had a chemistry that I NEVER had with anyone all my life. But, maybe it was just really convincing love-bombing. I'll most likely never know.
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#8

Postby Livetowin » Mon Feb 14, 2022 2:38 pm

I'm so glad to hear you have broken away from this ill fated relationship. As always, Richard is an excellent source of insight into the complexities of such matters and I personally love his analysis no matter the subject. For myself I would just like to add this... I hope you learn to love yourself more.

I read your previous thread and I was ready to forget this individual two paragraphs in. And I understand when people hear that kind of reaction, their first thought is, " Well its easy to say that because you weren't walking in my shoes and feeling what I was experiencing." Well... I've been in those shoes when I was a much younger man and really didn't know who I was or what it meant to understand that fully.

When you know who you are, there's a boundary that is clearly marked between what is your identity and the world around you. That might sound overly simplified, but the clarity that comes from that perspective is profound, because you don't let what's happening on the outside control what you see from the inside. . Its like seeing someone crossing the street and getting hit by a car that just ran a red light. When you see that, you understand what you just saw. You're not lost in the minutia of whose at fault because its as clear as the nose on your face. It works that same way when you discover yourself. What people say and do become much more literal, because you quit making excuses not only for their actions but your own as well. In short, actions speak for themselves.

What I saw in your situation was you rewarding allot of bad behavior where she was insulting you and essentially bullying you by using your emotions against you. Funny how the people who argue emotional distress and a lack of control seem to ironically have a well oil machine when it comes to controlling those around them.

Learn to make people accountable for their own behavior. When you hand out a free pass for people to treat you devoid of a standard, you set yourself up for allot of stress and harm that very well could reinforce negative images you have of yourself. Its hard to build yourself up and find a new perspective, if you allow people to keep you down. Let your own voice be heard and don't be afraid if they walk away, because in truth they actually did you a favor. Knowing your enemies is equally as important as knowing your friends. And you can't let emotions interfere with that perspective.

If a person can not offer you the foundational dignity that you give anyone you care about, then they're not worth the clothes on their back. Drop them and don't worry what they're reasons are. Thats their journey to sort out, not yours. All my best.
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#9

Postby Ascendant78 » Tue Feb 15, 2022 4:31 pm

Livetowin, thanks for your feedback.

I completely get what you're saying. I honestly don't know how I fell for it. It was such a subtle transition from her accepting blame, to putting it all on me. And she was SO convincing! She'd brag about how high her emotional IQ is, and how no matter what I tell her my intentions were, she "knew" I was lying about it because she could "read me."

I do think she believes herself. I think it was so difficult for her to accept her own problems that it was easier to put them on me. The trust issues were subconscious. As far as she was concerned on a conscious level, she gave me her full trust in the beginning, and then I eroded it. She can't accept that the negative assumptions on her end are subconscious trust issues. Maybe her counselor will get it through to her.

I don't know. Maybe her ex-husband did break her. Maybe she wasn't always like this. Maybe it's going to take her dating another man, or two, or multiple, until she realizes it's her, not them. Or, maybe she will always blame the other people, writing it off as "bad luck" or "all men are horrible" and never accept personal accountability. There is a possibility she's high on the narcissistic spectrum, and so it's a part of who she is. Hard to say, every time I'd do a test to see, it was borderline. When calm, she doesn't seem like one. When angry, she takes on extreme narcissistic traits. It's scary, like Jeckyl and Hyde.

Maybe her counselor will bring her issues to her attention before she hurts other men. Either way, after talking to several people about the situation, I realize now that she was taking me for granted and severely abusing me, where at least 85% of the time, I was doing nothing at all wrong, she just convinced herself other otherwise and used that to justify her abuse.

The most disheartening part is we were so compatible outside of her anger and trust issues. Similar spiritual beliefs, same core values, same family values, tons of common interests, same love language (touch), same goals, and so much more. She took ALL of it for granted. Even told me one day that what I offer is easy to find and made it clear she felt I was replaceable. I know I am a VERY tough match, and she hit just about everything I wanted right on the head.

Can't help but feel if her ex didn't damage her so bad, or if she got counseling before we had met, we would have been amazing. But now, I feel like it's completely ruined.

When she first broke things off, she offered a friendship. But naturally, I was hurt and said no. Said a few nasty things after that too because of how much she hurt me. She can say hateful things to me, but god forbid I do it back. So, the next day, I tried to accept the friendship offer. She said no, doesn't want me as a friend.

After that, she said even more hateful things about me, and was desperate for any reason to criticize me. Like before I left, I put one of her spoons in my cooler so I could eat lunch with my daughter. She acted as if I tried to rob her blind. I knew very well I was going to have to come back at some point, because I know I always leave something behind after our breakups. Every time. And besides, it was a spoon! A 0.25 cent spoon! And she took TONS from me. Towels, light bulbs, stuff I bought the kids, curtains, etc. But anyway, she was determined to demonize me some way or another. She just can't accept personal accountability.

Most men would have left LONG before me. I tried to be patient, I tried to be understanding, I tried to communicate about our issues. But now, she will most likely find someone else who won't put up with the bs to the extent I did. Just a shame it's going to take that for her to realize what she had with me. I wanted so bad for this to work. I tried so hard to support her and work with her on the issues.
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#10

Postby tokeless » Wed Feb 16, 2022 5:59 am

Most men would have left LONG before me. I tried to be patient, I tried to be understanding, I tried to communicate about our issues. But now, she will most likely find someone else who won't put up with the bs to the extent I did. Just a shame it's going to take that for her to realize what she had with me. I wanted so bad for this to work. I tried so hard to support her and work with her on the issues.

I'm pleased the right decision was made, but she's still effecting you because are seeing her as a victim of herself and you as the victim of her. It doesn't matter who she meets yet, it doesn't matter if she ever finds happiness... she is no longer with you and by reading the thread, you should be thankful she isn't. It was a toxic relationship but you played your part in it. Stop ruminating on it.
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#11

Postby Livetowin » Wed Feb 16, 2022 4:58 pm

Ascendant78 its understandable to be reflective when you're so fresh from the break. But I agree with Tokeless, that you would be well served to let go of sorting through her garbage and focus on your own back yard here. What got you in trouble was only seeing her side of things instead of just seeing things as they ARE.

Anyone who has to explain themselves (or their behavior) is selling a narrative for you to follow, which is a form of control. If you see someone kicking a cat, and they tell you its okay because they were scratched by one as a child, that does not change the fact they're still hurting an animal. It's no less obvious if they turn and start kicking you for some other removed reason. Let behavior speak for itself.

And I wouldn't get hung up on what you had in common either. That mythical check list should be retitled the "First List to Disarm our Common Sense". I say that because there's no standard to meet outside of a verbal affirmation which every car salesman uses to win your influence. The number one thing you should have in common with another person is RESPECT for who they are.

You don't have to agree with everything they like or even their politics. But there should be a common ground of respect for the space you reside in, just as you would give to them. If you can't first recognize each other as human beings, you have nothing to build upon no matter the intent. If you can master that perspective, your quality of life will be so much better because you can see people for who they are, rather than asking them what they want you to see. Use (and trust) your own eyes.
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#12

Postby gregor7782 » Wed Feb 16, 2022 5:26 pm

Often times my attachment to outcomes, leaves me disappointed. Your behavior will set the terms of your communications. Be kind, be necessary and be true. Do you trust you? Unreasonable people don’t know they’re unreasonable. Humans who feel safe; will occupy unsafe space. Are you safe? Does your partner feel safe with you? Intent is irrelevant when fear is intent.
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#13

Postby Ascendant78 » Wed Feb 16, 2022 8:17 pm

tokeless wrote:I'm pleased the right decision was made, but she's still effecting you because are seeing her as a victim of herself and you as the victim of her. It doesn't matter who she meets yet, it doesn't matter if she ever finds happiness... she is no longer with you and by reading the thread, you should be thankful she isn't. It was a toxic relationship but you played your part in it. Stop ruminating on it.


You're right, I am seeing her as a victim of herself (her subconscious). There are a LOT of issues going on subconsciously that she is unaware of, which caused me to feel sorry for her... previously.

I have damage from my past as well, but I'm not abusing my spouse because of what I've been through. That is a decision she chooses to make. She makes the choice to treat me like that. She chooses to abuse me. No matter what I've been through, I would NEVER take it out on someone else like that. She could respond in any number of ways, but she chooses violent emotional abuse. That says more about her than her prior damage.

I have brought up her abusive behaviors to her SO often, and not even ONCE did she ever agree that it isn't acceptable behavior. I really think that she feels it's ok to abuse someone if her feelings get hurt. She even goes to the extent of blaming me for the fights. It's my fault because she doesn't like what I say, or insists I said it to hurt/upset her.

The part that messes with my head the most is how nice she is to everyone else, but treated me like dirt. But, I get that it's because her issues manifest in intimate relationships.

And you know what? She has read all these posts. STILL convinces herself she's in the right and I'm wrong. Her view on things is beyond warped.

She's 42, and she has had these anger issues all her life. No matter how much counseling she gets, I doubt she's ever going to change. I mean she lies and says she was never like this with anyone but her ex-husband, but if that was the case, surely she'd have to know how screwed up it is.

There is NO chance that ANY man will be able to avoid every single topic they need to in order to keep her from abusing them. And sometimes, it's not even the topic, but just what you say that will initiate the abuse. NO ONE will ever be able to avoid that. I think she knows that, but doesn't want to admit it.

She also slips from time to time. Like one day, she said something along the lines of "a lot of people are shocked at how I am in relationships with how I am with most other people." So, sometimes she slips things out that let me know she was always like this, but then she lies, blames it on others, denies it, justifies it, etc. But again, there's no justification for her abusive behaviors, no matter hurt she was. I mean she's crushed me emotionally time and time again, but I didn't go abusing her in return.

Oh, almost forgot... one day months back, her own daughter even told me that she did the same type of thing with her ex-husband. That you have to be VERY careful what you say and how you say it with her, or she does this. Sad that she has done this to so many others, and blames everyone but herself.

I know I contributed too. I know as soon as those anger issues started happening, I should have walked away immediately. I only stuck around because she acknowledged it was something she needed to work on and was going to make an active effort to do so. With the chemistry we had and her telling me she knew it was a problem, I didn't want to walk away. But, that was under the false premise that she was going to fix it. I enabled her, and that was my screw up.

Still hurts so much. Just wished she could've fixed herself. But, a part of it is who she chooses to be, and I can't accept someone who is willing to abuse.
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#14

Postby gregor7782 » Wed Feb 16, 2022 9:14 pm

“She” may feel differently about how you see her behavior and what she chooses to or not to do. My point, it’s easy to identify the liabilities in others or in causes and conditions. The bottom line is: what will you do about your own conduct and decisions therein? You get to decide what is acceptable. You get to decide what standards you will or won’t uphold and those decisions have nothing to do with anyone but you. Respectfully. That isn’t to say you don’t consider how others may feel, but taking care of you is not negotiable. You’ll do it, one way or the other. Unreasonable people don’t know they’re unreasonable. Be kind, necessary and true.
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