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Melinoe

Tried to end the relationship

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Melinoe

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. :( 

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lizzibethak

Melinoe.............your post reads that you are an empathetic, caring person who wants to see the best in life and people and who wants to grow together with someone in a relationship that nurtures both of you.

This is NOT that relationship.  What you describe is clearly abuse and your counselor is being wise to advise you to "take a break" from the relationship in order to sort things out.  Abusers will lie, coerce, attack, belittle, minimize, threaten, crazy-talk you into staying in the relationship by constantly making you submit, recant, apologize, question yourself...........

You are not the issue.........you need to think about what you truly have gained in this relationship because if you are crazy now with all his emotional attacks, I can guarantee it is not going to change.  Oh........and that remark about not thinking he could/should be faithful...........BIG red flag..........HUGE........

 

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Appletree

Melinoe I totally agree with Lizzibethak.

What you described sounded to me like a textbook case of emotional and verbal abuse followed by typical "hoovering" (being all calm, nice, understanding, co-operative etc in order to make you stay in the relationship). Please take the actual break suggested and do not contact him or respond to his attempts to contact you during that break. You need some distance from him to start sorting out your feelings.

And yes if he threatens directly or indirectly that he cannot be faithful for a few days apart then that is a huge red flag. He's trying to scare you and make you feel guilty for setting boundaries. 

My mantra and motto is "trust your gut". If it doesn't feel right you are correct that whatever is happening isn't right - whatever he may say. Please keep posting here. We don't judge and we will validate your feelings. If you reach the decision once more that you want to end the relationship it may take more than one attempt. We will be here. If you decide you don't want to end the relationship we will be here too. But please trust your gut. It's so easy to be confused by a smart smooth talker, but deep down you know. 

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Melinoe

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...?

 

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whitebutterfly11

I don't think you are jumping to conclusions at all, Melinoe. I think you are wisely piecing it all together in a way that makes sense. That seems to be what the truth does: it enlightens and relieves us, even if it's difficult truth to learn. Many of us here have come across an article, or had that epiphany moment when it all started to make sense. That's when the truth is illuminated--usually a truth we already knew and felt on some subconscious level, but couldn't put our finger on it in the FOG of abuse. 

The narcissist love bombing/devaluing/and discarding makes sense with your situation, from what you've explained. There's this huge rift between who he was in the beginning and who he is now, and that's the real tip-off for me. Normal-functioning people don't have these drastic night-and-day changes in their personality and temperament. Unless, of course, their "niceness" was only an act to reel you into the relationship. In that case, he didn't "change" so much as he started showing who he really was once the novelty of the relationship wore off. :( 

The learning phase you're going through now, where you're taking all the the truth in, can feel a little bit unsettling and scary. Please keep sharing if it helps you to process! 

For what it's worth, I'm listing all of the red flags I picked up on from his phone conversation with you:

- Swearing at you, blaming you, yelling at you, calling you names is classic verbal abuse.

- Telling you you are sensitive, dishing out half-arsed apologies, threatening the relationship, shifting the abuse back onto you for calling him an "abusive man", then in a snap diverting back to nicey-nice guy to try to reel you back in . . . these are all components of emotional abuse.

- His "hoovering", or trying to be really humble and kind and reasonable, saying all of the right things, pretending he gets it . . . that's abuse too. :( It is, because the niceness is used to pull you back into the relationship. It's manipulative. Even if he thinks he's being genuine with his words, it's still an attempt to control the situation to get what he wants. And love isn't about that. Love isn't controlling.

I'm sure it's a lot to think about. Please do keep writing!

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MorningGlory

I always found it amazing after the governor released his toxic pain on me how good he felt. I believe he felt so good I even looked beautiful for a brief moment. How he treated me, taught me that this was not love? So I did learn I believe I finally accepted him for who he was. In fact told him I release you. They say if you love something and let it go completely go it will show you truly where the heart goes. He ran to the phone and called his EX. Then he tried to get back with me and I asked him a simple question. Even the simplest mind could answer it? I asked why do you love me? He answered me in the third person. Said you were the wife of my youth. In past tense. I said no that what you tell people when they ask you how you feel about me. Tell me why you love me? He could not give me one direct reason why he loved me. No substance. You see even narcs hit a point where they are just done with you. They string you along to give answers to make them look good. To try and show people they are trying and you can fake that kind of hate. We know that they are just slapping us in the face to hurt us deeper. To make more hurt and to stick the nail in our hearts deeper. Their wounds can be trusted. Their love inflicts pain. Their truth does not clear any hurt it makes way for them to be free and absolved. Once you know in your head you can help your heart and body understand. It does not take long then you realise you can live separately from your soul and your body pays for emotional pain. The rest of you will forgive yourself for what your mind already knows. Tell yourself you love yourself and be your own best friend. Never share that space again with an untrustworthy person. 

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