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Melinoe

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About Melinoe

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  1. Vickeee, I completely understand this perspective. It is so, so, so difficult to know what is ok and not ok in a healthy relationship when you grew up with unhealthy examples. Even though I am getting better at listening to that feeling inside me that says "I don't like this" it's hard to not respond to that voice inside with the same abusive attitudes we were raised with. You know, "it could be worse, be grateful, don't be a quitter, don't be a spoiled brat, be quiet, other people know what's best for you, just stop fighting and it won't hurt so much, don't be so unreasonable, don't be stupid, etc etc etc". I fight and fight and fight with that. I've spent years of my life stuck in a back and forth limbo of inaction because I'm arguing with what my spirit is telling me using the voices of the adults who raised me. It's such a hard cycle to end
  2. SMB73 and Quaddie I think you are both right. We are fair, reasonable people when in normal relationships, but in these cases we really don't owe them anything and if we were in normal relationships we wouldn't have to "warn" people that we are going to protect ourselves! I struggle with how to break up "maturely" from this relationship and I'm still in it because I don't know how to do that yet. I tried once already and failed.
  3. Betty i'm so glad you found this forum. Everyone here is so supportive! It's an amazing feeling to finally be told that your feelings are valid and you deserve to feel better in a relationship!!
  4. Bennu, I am beginning to see what you mean... recently we had a very strange discussion about how he feels I don't listen to him. I spent the whole argument trying to tell him I DID listen, I just didn't agree with him - I had a different opinion. And he said something like "yeah, you still thought differently even after I explained myself! You don't listen!" and I realized that he thought I should change my opinions to match his simply because he explained it. It was the first time I really thought "he doesn't see my thoughts as valid, he sees them as a challenge to him if they are different". It felt so strange, to begin to realize that. I have been reading Patricia Evan's "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" and I am beginning to start to understand that he and I operate under different realities. It explains why he thinks my idea of a good relationship is "not realistic" and why he thinks yelling and someone always needing to be wrong is the way a REAL relationship works. It is so hard to remember that he doesn't actually see things the same way I do, and that all his empathy from earlier was just an act....I still struggle to believe it...
  5. Thank you for your responses everyone. Fluffyflea, I don't know why he says these things to me...he said a whole bunch of stuff like that during our last argument (when I tried to break up, after he yelled at me and kept insisting that was normal in relationships). I guess it was to keep me from ending things. But...it seems so nonsensical now, how could someone telling me "I know you better than you know yourself, you don't understand how real relationships work, you want yourself to be a victim, and when I'm yelling you should stop and think about why I'm yelling and how you might be causing it" (paraphrasing of course)... how could that have soothed me and brought me back in to the relationship? Am I so stupid? I think sometimes my desire to be sensible and fair is not helpful. Because I am learning how to honour and validate my own feelings, I see his feelings as just as valid, so when he asserts his views I feel I must respect and acknowledge them, even if his "feelings" are that I am wrong about my own feelings. Does that even make sense? I want to live in a relationship where BOTH partner's feelings are valid and we can both be "right", but he says that is impossible. There must be a wrong and a right. I still disagree with that though... in my heart of hearts. Haha Quaddie, your poo-brownie story is a so good! I think I get what it is saying. And why I feel this always-present "something's not right" current running through my mind even when things are amazing and fun and ideal. Because these weird arguments have the poo in them, and the poo is abuse. But I think I have to work on believing that *I* am not the poo. Of course I understand that relationships are not "perfect", but the fact that I always come out of a disagreement feeling denied, unsettled, confused, and questioning myself has tainted the rest of the relationship. I still think it's me though, I blame myself for not being healthy enough to have a healthy relationship - my inability to clearly communicate my emotions is what makes him so frustrated with me. And when I get scared, I shut down, which makes him more angry. So that is why I stay, I see myself as the root of the problem - I'm the poo in the brownies. Some part of me agrees with his statements.
  6. So I thought I had figured out what I was dealing with, in terms of why I felt so awful and not-heard in my relationship. For a few days everything made sense and I felt strong again. I don't know if I'm questioning myself because I'm in a physically weak place right now, but my boyfriend is being wonderful again and now I am confused and unsure again. Yesterday I had to go to the hospital for a simple gynecological procedure. Most women can get it done just in their normal doctor's office, but because I get extreme anxiety during gyno stuff, I was getting sedated for it. I was told it would be very fast and I could go home the same day. I got there and after they had put me in a gown and everything the anesthesiologist told me he had decided to keep me there overnight, because they wanted to watch how the sedation affected me. Things happened really fast then, all these people were pulling off my clothes and pushing my body into place and it was so cold and I think I started having a panic attack as they administered the anesthesia, because when I came out of it afterwards, I woke up to myself thrashing around and the doctors and nurses telling me to stop and calm down and breathe, but I felt like I couldn't breathe. I was so embarrassed because I was crying and trying to move around and everyone was telling me to stop, but it was like I couldn't. I had no control over myself and I felt so bad about it. It was just really traumatic. Once I finally calmed down and was in the room for my overnight stay, I texted my boyfriend - he had sent me a few messages saying how worried he was about me and to tell him how I was doing. I told him about how I had come out from the anesthesia in such an awful way and how scary it was. I felt a sense of shame because this should have been such an easy thing that would have taken 10 minutes in my own doctor's office if only I was a normal woman who could handle it. And he was super understanding and reassuring. Said all these things about how brave I was, validated how scary it must have been, how proud he was of me, and that it doesn't matter how other women handle it, he was proud of how I handled it. He talked about how he wished he was there, and even wished he could fly here overnight to come be with me, and if he was there he'd do all these sweet things, and in the future I'd never need to do this alone, etc. He was back to being the supportive guy I originally fell in love with. So... is this just another part of it, of being loving and great and sometimes empathetic to keep me with him? Or am I doing what he says, jumping to the worst conclusion and seeing abuse where is none, making myself into a victim and having unrealistic expectations for my relationship??
  7. omg Vickeee it's like you are describing my relationship too. Yes, yes. He can read my shift in emotions and starts after me with "what's wrong, what's wrong," but when I blatantly tell them "I am hurt by what you said/did" he can't handle that and explodes, or is totally uncaring.
  8. Whitebutterfly, I totally understand! I think I am dealing with the same thing, and it is so confusing! When someone acts emotionally aware and empathetic but then whenever you tell them about your pain, they start blaming, discrediting, crazymaking. And you're thinking why don't they get me the way they get other people? Why aren't they understanding me? Maybe they are right, because they obviously DO know how to communicate in a caring healthy way with others, just not me! So it MUST be me! I also get how learning and validating your experience through knowledge is helpful. I have just entered this phase myself (I think).
  9. Thanks very much Lizzibethak and Appletree. I think I will keep posting here... it's taking a while for me to admit this actually is an abusive relationship. But I came across something that really snapped everything into focus. I read an article the other day (because I spend a lot of my time trying to research why things are falling apart so badly when they were once so wonderful) and I found something that resonated so clear and strong with me. The thing that was making me SO unhappy and so confused was that I didn't understand how a man who could spend a whole year being supportive, caring, empathetic, and adoring could switch to being so unthinking, unfeeling, and uninterested in my pain when I told him I was hurting. The fact that things didn't make sense any more...just didn't make sense. How could I have let this happen? I felt such a feeling of personal failure. But then I came across an article that outlined the 3 phases of an altruistic narcissist relationship cycle: Over-Evaluation/Love Bombing, Devaluing, and Discarding. And it suddenly ALL MADE SENSE. For the first year, he was in the first phase. He love bombed me, hard, every day for a year. He was mirroring the kind of partner he knew I was looking for - which was an emotionally healthy, devoted, mature, loving, communicative, respectful and empathetic person. We never had arguments. We always talked through our feelings calmly and lovingly and I always felt heard, understood and validated. He worshipped me and I totally luxuriated in his adoration. He even loved the things I was self-conscious about. He tenderly treasured all my weak spots, declaring them beautiful because they were parts of me. I thought I had found the kind of partner that everyone deserves. And he invited me to share his life in a faraway land of beauty and adventure. People were so happy for me. They called it a fairytale, and it felt like one. So magical. Now he is entering the Devaluing Stage. His false self that he showed me for a whole year is falling away. That's why I'm so shocked by his "sudden" cruelty and lack of empathy, after a year of the perfect loving partner (although looking back, there were hints to this that I totally missed, because I gave him the benefit of the doubt). I don't know why, but figuring this out has made me feel....incredible. It was like this great, pressing weight has been lifted off of me, and the "old me" came rushing back again. I was finally understanding that his behaviour really wasn't my fault, as an indisputable fact. I was having such trouble getting that before - because I honestly thought he was a normal, fair, rational person like me, with the same capacity for empathy and love. I thought he was like me and therefore behaved by the same standards of conscience. But if he is some type of narcissist, he isn't playing by the same rules at all! He was only pretending to! Right?? Or maybe I'm jumping to conclusions...?
  10. Yesterday I tried to end my relationship. Tried. The chain of events began when we had a fight over the phone. My boyfriend had just come from asking his father's advice on something. I asked him what his dad said about the issue, and what I heard (I swear to god this is what I heard) was that "he said his dad said if you really loved me, you'd understand why I need to do this". I was a bit hurt by this and I admit I made a sarcastic comment like "well gee I'm glad your dad thinks I've proven my love for you." He was outraged by this because he thought I was criticizing his father, and began yelling at me: "you always f*cking do this, you twist my words around and jump to the worst possible conclusion, I'm sick of it, etc." At this point with him yelling and swearing at me, I sort of...froze. I got scared but instead of hanging up (first mistake), I went into appeasement mode (second mistake). I made my voice sound as super-calm as possible. I think I sort of blacked out because I can't even remember what the rest of the conversation was about. I do remember at one point he was demanding that I say what I had done wrong, because he wanted to know I understood what I had done wrong. Because I was still confused about how I had managed to twist his words so badly (and still had a small inner voice saying "this is wrong, he shouldn't be so angry at you, it's not your fault"), I stumbled and stammered. He was angered about this too - that I was unable to freely admit to my mistake. Eventually I recovered enough to tell him that I did not appreciate his yelling and swearing at me. I said I had a boundary about that, because it makes me feel afraid. He replied he had already said he was sorry (I guess after the yelling and swearing he had said "sorry to swear, but..." however I don't remember it). We then had a long, confusing talk about how he's allowed to express emotions (which I agreed with but said he did not have the right to yell at me, if he was that angry he should hang up and wait until he was calm - he took this as a criticism that I was allowed to express emotions but he wasn't), and that it was normal to raise your voice, and that I was too sensitive (which he felt bad about telling me, he said), and that when I told him I felt threatened HE felt threatened because he said I was accusing him of being "the big bad abusive man". After this conversation I just felt sick at heart. Just totally sick. It wasn't right, nothing felt right. Later, I tried to break up over text because I recognized that when I talk to him over the phone, I am not able to articulate myself as well anymore. I get tongue tied and flustered and more easily confused, and emotionally exhausted to the point that I just say "you're right, I'm sorry" so I can leave the conversation. So we had a text-fight. It started when I tried to do what my therapist suggested, which was to take a break from talking to him for a couple days, to get back in touch with my own inner voice and feelings. I tried telling him I was taking some time away from contact, and he was very hurt. He didn't understand why I would leave him alone and upset. He started calling it "a break" and saying that he would explore what made him happy too, while I was off not talking to him. I admit I got a flash of paranoia and interpreted that to mean he would have sex with other people (he has already told me once that he finds being faithful to be difficult). So I told him I did not consider us on a "relationship break" - but if he was going to go out and start other relationships while I was away for two days, then it wouldn't work. He took issue with that and thought I was being unfair, putting expectations on him and making rules for him but not myself, and being "one-sided" (something he accuses me of often, not seeing his side and "making him the bad guy"). I finally got angry and said "fine, then it's not a break. It's a break-up, I am ending this relationship. We seem to have different values. Goodbye, I hope you have much happiness." He kept asking me if I was serious, were we really broken up, are we still a couple yes or no. I held firm. I even started taking down the cards and pictures I had of him in my room. I was determined to be kind and fair to myself and him by ending things. Then...he called me. We had a video chat and... he was so different. His voice was warm and gentle and he said things I agreed with - that we were learning together and if we can talk through these things together, we would be ok. He pointed out all the good things in our relationship and that we had hope to be happy again. He said I was beautiful and he loved me and respected me and he was sorry for losing his temper. He said it was all the stress he had been under (with problems at work and his health) and the fact that we weren't in person and couldn't read each other's expressions and body language. I ended up feeling good after talking to him - like things finally made sense again. I know I am not the best at phone conversations, so I thought maybe he was right. I felt reassured that we were a functional couple again, that our values matched up again. But, I personally decided to become stronger in defending my boundaries and not being sorry for what I wanted in the relationship. He kept looking for reassurance that I wouldn't threaten to break up again. I kept saying "as long as you treat me with respect, you have nothing to worry about". I didn't want to make any promises. If he yells again, I am going to hang up - no matter how frustrated he is due to stress or from my words, I do not deserve to be yelled at. I am NOT too sensitive. I'm gonna just keep telling that to myself. Sometimes I wonder if my spirituality doesn't both help and hurt me... I am one of those people who believes that things happen for a reason. That everything is a lesson. Meeting my partner felt like the universe had sent me the perfect potential for happiness. The life we would have would be incredible and nothing like what I could experience in my own country. Everything seemed to fall into place and be designed just for me. I was once so radiantly happy. How could things change so much? What am I meant to learn from this? Do I really need to leave behind all the other gains I could have in order to become a stronger person? If nothing really mattered but how I felt in the immediate present, I would end things. But I feel like I can't. Isn't that childish and shallow? Isn't facing difficulty how you grow? Even this failed break-up makes me think something else is meant for me....that I just don't understand the lesson yet.
  11. I feel like I can't help but repeat thank you, thank you, to everyone - but I really do feel such gratitude for all the support I'm getting here! Hoping, he does come up here to see me, but not for long visits. My last visit in his country was for 2 months, and the longest he's been in my country is 8 days. Because he has a job and I do not. I do prefer to be financially independent, and even though it would complicate our visits further, I do want to find another job. Even something temporary. It would help me feel a lot more secure. Quaddie, you mention something that is really hitting home for me - which is that I'm allowed to end a relationship for any reason I want. I keep thinking to myself: well, ok, so I don't feel about him or us the way I once did. But is that a good enough reason to end it? Surely this is what people mean when they say "relationships are work" - working through these spells of not-being-in-love? I keep hoping perhaps those old feelings will come back, somehow, and I just have to be patient. I am not sure where the relationship-ending line is. I used to think my limits were so clear - but do I really want to wait until something truly horrible happens to prove to myself that it's ok to leave and I tried my best? Ugh, I feel so disappointed in myself for not being stronger and more decisive. I will definitely read the books - and keep them to myself, as you suggest. I'm glad you said that, otherwise I probably would have shared what I was learning with him...because he wants me to share everything with him.
  12. Thank you again for such supportive responses. I have started making a list of books to read thanks to all of your great recommendations! Hoping, you make a good point about how I have never seen him depressed. That is true - he starts talking about depression only when I am in my own country, far away from him. He talks about how my next visit is the only thing keeping him going. He could very well be doing it to manipulate.... Quaddie, thank you so much for the book recommendation. Boundaries are definitely something I need to work on. I feel guilty whenever I try to create a boundary. You are right in that I don't have much practice with them, in a relationship or even in general! I am also going to really focus on myself and getting back to how I felt when I first met him, before I met him - I finally liked who I was, and celebrated my unique sense of self. I want to be unapologetically myself. I stopped doing a lot of the things I used to love because of the insidious little comments he would make about them. Again Quaddie you are right in that it seems I am compelled to give up pieces of myself willingly, and if I were to say anything he could truthfully say "I never asked you to do that". It's true, he never has. I have never been able to properly explain why I get the sense that he almost...doesn't even like me, as a person, anymore. I once tried to bring this up, saying I felt like we should be excited about and celebrate each other's interests, even the quirky things. He seemed angry about it and said "So what, I should call you every time I see a cupcake?" (because I have a sweet tooth and love to bake - and he makes little comments about how unhealthy sugar is, or if my meals have lots of sugar or carbs in them)....and that reaction made me think, oh, yes perhaps that is ridiculous. But afterwards I was thinking....is it really ridiculous?? To get excited and send me pictures of cupcakes because they remind you of me?? What's so terrible about that, really? His reaction made it sound so preposterous, but if I call him on it, he can honestly say "I never said it was preposterous", and if I say that's how the reaction made me feel, then I am jumping to conclusions and making him the bad guy. And round and round we go. Grabforjoy, the way you describe how your abuser would make unnerving statements about you that you felt weren't true but you couldn't deny, that's just how I feel too. Every argument we have ends with me getting so...muddled, where I want to explain myself, but I'm not even sure why I am explaining myself, and I end up just mentally exhausted and apologizing so I can get away from the conversation... Edit: I decided to make my profile picture a cupcake, because it's ok to like cupcakes!!!!!!!!
  13. Thank you for the kind responses....I am both relieved to know I'm not as abusive as I feared, but also upset that this is all happening. I thought my boyfriend and I had such a healthy relationship with good communication before, and I was so proud of that. Proud that I was able to find and keep a healthy relationship despite being a past victim of abuse. But things seem to have changed so much and I don't understand why or how. I feel like I can't go even a day without getting upset or upsetting him and having another dumb fight...and I am so confused because I usually don't even know why we are fighting. A couple of times I have said to him "I apologise for hurting your feelings, but I am still not sure what I did wrong" because it seemed to me we were just having a normal conversation where I was sharing my feelings, observations, and thoughts - and these things seemed to upset him. Perhaps that's why he thinks I am abusive - I don't seem to think the same way as he does. So he says that my apologies are not sincere. And when it happens again (because I never know when I'm being abusive) he says I am doing it again, laughing at him or jumping all over him like he's a bad guy. I've never before felt so much like I can never say the right thing or express myself correctly. But I used to feel very heard and understood by him. How can things change like that?? I know he is struggling with untreated depression and anxiety. He uses alcohol to make himself feel better and has said that he knows he needs to talk to his doctor to find some other way of dealing with it. But he seems to need me there to do it, he feels very alone and gets overwhelmed with the steps he needs to take, and says things like it doesn't matter anyway, he's a bad person who deserves to feel bad; typical depression stuff. It's impossible for me though, because I am in another country. I have looked up how to datre someone with depression, and to me it almost reads as instructions on how to accept abuse. "Don't take things personally, they are just hurting. Understand that they do take everything personally and will twist your good intentioned words into an attack on themselves. Show him that he deserves love and that his inner unworthy thoughts are not true. Don't tell him that he could choose to behave differently. He will seem like a "different person" who behaves obstinately - be patient and understand this is not the true man you are dating. Don't try to fix him". But it also says "don't excuse the behaviour, and it's ok to leave to protect yourself". ??????????????????????? From my own personal experience I know how hard it is to take those steps to seek help. So I try to be supportive and encouraging, but I also know I can't do it for him. I simply do not know how to balance supporting someone with depression and protecting myself from abuse
  14. This is a heck of a first post.... So, my partner says my behaviour is abusive. But my therapist thinks my partner is actually the abuser, not me. I am really mixed up and feel pretty stuck about what the best course of action is. I'd appreciate some outside insight. Here's the story: I am in a long distance relationship. I have long visits (a few weeks at a time) every couple of months. Our goal was for me to immigrate to his country so we can eventually marry. We've been together for almost a year and a half. Until this October, the relationship was great. We were both very happy. I come from an abusive background (victim of sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse), so I do struggle with knowing what is healthy behaviour in a relationship, and this is my first serious relationship, too. I admit that I have a very abusive inner monologue that I fight against constantly. I sometimes have urges to be abusive because some part of me sees domination as "winning" in relationships, but I thought I did a good job not acting on those urges. I have been in regular therapy for the past 6 years and I made a lot of progress with learning to love and trust myself - I know I am not perfect, and will sometimes fall back on listening to that old abusive voice in my head. But I keep trying. It's like learning a new language and requires constant practice. In October, I quit my job so that I could really give this relationship a chance. I am living off my savings at home with my family again so that I can spent more time with my partner. For the past 4 months since I quit my job, my BF and I have been getting into more arguments. I have found myself feeling...not happy. And often nervous to speak my thoughts. My BF has told me that I have exhibited these signs of abuse: - Withholding (getting quiet) - Sarcasm and hurtful jokes (he thinks I laugh at him) - Countering (where I challenge his opinions and feelings as though they are wrong) - Lack of empathy and understanding (for his feelings) - Cycle of abuse (I say I'm so sorry and will never do it again, but I do. I can't change.) When he first told me my actions were abusive, I was devastated (and I still am). They say abuse is a choice, but if I am being abusive - I don't even realize when I'm choosing it!! I never think "aha, I know how to hurt him" or say/do things just to be cruel. I grew up in a very violent and abusive environment, but I have devoted nearly my entire adult life to to healing those wounds and ending the cycle of abuse I learned from my family. I went to therapy, made sure my own mental illness was controlled with medication, and attended support groups and workshops. To be told I failed and that I am the abuser I always feared I would become...well, I feel incredibly awful. When he said he felt abused, I wanted to end the relationship. Not as a manipulation, but because I didn't think I was a healthy partner or influence, if I made him feel that way. I told him that I still had more work to do on myself. But he said that would be walking out on him. So we are still together, but I have not been very happy for the past few months. I am so horrified that I don't even realize when I'm being abusive, so I watch what I say very carefully. I try to always make sure I am kind, understanding, earnest (not sarcastic any more), and that I don't challenge everything he says. I have huge amounts of self doubt now, something that I worked so hard to heal previously. My therapist says my boyfriend is actually the abuser, because I exhibit the following signs of being in a verbally abusive relationship: - self doubt over whether my choices will upset my partner (what I eat, my hobbies, my appearance, what I find funny) - isolating myself so I can focus more energy on making sure my partner feels that I'm "there for them", and my partner encourages me to keep the relationship problems "private" and not discuss them with friends, family, or therapists. - walking on egg shells and hesitant to bring up certain topics, my thoughts and feelings in case they upset my partner - feeling demoralized because my partner points out my flaws and weaknesses - feeling trapped in the relationship because my partner says I am the only good thing in his world, that nobody could ever love me the way he does, that he loves me unconditionally (without boundaries) and expects me to do the same, and that leaving him is abandonment. - turning issues around to be about his feelings and how they impact him or reflect upon him I'm not sure what to believe. Maybe it is a combination? That I do follow abusive patterns I learned growing up, and they are just coming out now because this is my first real relationship? And maybe he has some issues too, and together our issues just equal trouble? I have asked my partner to go to couples therapy together, and he is thinking about it. He says if I can find a good therapist, he will come along. I hope there is hope for me. I know it might take me my whole life to to overcome my abusive behaviour. I am not sure if I should end my relationship and focus on changing my behaviour, or if ending the relationship counts as more abuse and manipulation? I feel very stuck and confused. I do not think anyone should be in a relationship where they feel abused - even if the abuser happens to be me. Thank you for reading. I hope I will be welcome here as someone who does sincerely want to do better and change