Friday, January 13, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Emotional Choices

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Therapy was exhausting yesterday. Therapist was late beginning our session and I almost fell asleep in the lobby. I thought she forgot about me so I was about to leave. But then she opened her door and ushered me in. I didn’t want to talk. Talking seemed like it would take too much effort. But I tried. Fortunately Therapist talks A LOT. I’m not sure if she noticed me floating away while sitting there. It took all of my effort to remain present.

I was supposed to revise my letter to Friend and send it to him this past weekend. The letter telling him how he hurt me so that I can move on and potentially heal our friendship. Every time I looked at it though, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve been avoiding it.

I’m not even sure it matters anymore.

I’m completely detached from him. I feel nothing lately. I have a snapshot photograph of him in my mind and all these memories of things that have occurred, but it’s as if they belong to someone else and I’m just hitting the play button on someone else’s home movie. I have no emotional memory of him.

If I have no emotional memory, does trying to work through the emotional hurt even matter?

I also am not sure I want to open myself up like that to him, expose myself… make myself emotionally vulnerable to him, by admitting how I felt and how he hurt me. I don’t trust him. ::sigh:: Actually that’s not quite right. I think he’ll be gentle with my feelings. I just don’t think any of it will change anything. He won’t change his life. I no longer want him in that way anyways. At best he will concede that his actions have been continuing to hurt me and cease to do that in front of me. Maybe that’s enough. It would show he cares.

He’s been contacting me more and more lately via e-mail. I found out I had a medical disorder last week and made a vague post about bad news from the doctor. He e-mailed me over and over making sure I was ok. Today he was e-mailing me to see if I wanted him to comp my ticket to an event we do every year (that isn’t for another 3-4 months).

If I don’t talk about it with him, it may continue to fester, whether I feel it now or not. The resentment will continue to build even though now I feel nothing. If I don’t broach the subject at all, my feelings may remain dead, dissociated and detached. If that happens I will let our friendship go completely. I won’t even miss him.  It’s time for me to make a decision.

I’ll probably just do it. I can list the pros and cons either way. Why I should vs. why I shouldn’t. But I know myself. Despite all the most logical advice, I have something in my mind, and the only way to get it out is to act on it and see what comes of it. I may have impulse control problems, but at least I have well thought out impulse control problems. How’s that for rationalization?

Next up is my ongoing saga with Tech Boy. He wanted to go out after work on Wednesday so we went to a decent restaurant and had a few drinks. We talked a lot. He’s confusing. We had this snippet of conversation, which wasn’t really a red flag, because I’ve now decided that he is not a long term investment. I don’t feel an emotional connection to him anymore. Not really. It’s more, I want him to feel one for me for some reason. Anyways, not a red flag, but one more nail in the coffin of whether I should invest in him or not. Therapist thinks I shouldn’t write him off so soon. He’s young-ish. People don’t come with an understanding of how to be in relationships. Especially when they’re the product of divorce like he is. He clearly wants to be with me, but it doesn’t seem like he knows HOW to do that.    Does this sound like a justificatoin or is there some validity to it?

 Immediately after that conversation he brought up plans for his birthday in a month. He wants me to come out of state with him to one of his favorite places, and I’d be meeting all his friends. He’s planning a bit into the future, which indicates he likes my company. And it’d be 5 months for us at that point, which is probably the longest ‘relationship thing’ he’s ever had.

Therapist thinks I need to communicate more the kinds of things that I need. Like when he shut down the conversation on Regrets. I should have replied to that with, look, I don’t need you to fix it, or solve my problems or give me advice, I just need you to listen and allow me to share this part of me with you which will make me feel closer to you. That’s her advice.

I’m not sure I want to open myself to him like that. I need more indication that he’s the kind of guy I can trust with that and so far he hasn’t done that. I’m not going to ignore my instincts here.

I don’t understand why I do this. I know what kind of person I should be with. For some reason though I feel like I always make these emotionally retarded choices. I am drawn to men that are unavailable on some level, usually emotionally. I had one or two boyfriends at University who were emotionally available but I had no emotions for them. All the men I felt very strongly towards however, were not capable of reciprocating or providing me with a kind of emotional comfort that would be best for me. I do not understand why I do this. Is it protective? Do I choose people that won’t try to invade my emotional boundaries? Is it a challenge? If I can choose a man that does not function like this, but for me he changes, this would provide some validation of self-worth? It’s all convoluted.

Roommate thinks I should stop bothering with men period. They always give me problems. Not that women are free from problems but they don’t throw me into the psychological distress that the men I attract do. Meh. I’m going to do what I’m going to do regardless.

Hopeless. Emotionally self-destructive. Sort of.  Everything I’m doing now is one more thing to help me figure out what it is that I will ultimately need.

I’ve been burying myself in work. It’s very stressful. I’m the lead engineer on 5 major projects. There’s so much to keep track of and have done. I feel overwhelmed pretty often, but I’m managing. My boss pulled me into his office to make sure that the project load he was giving me wasn’t too much. Even he recognizes how aggressive it is. We shall see, we shall see.

14 comments:

  1. Im in the same boat, currently. However, after a decade trapped in marriage, I am appreciating the space of being involved with someone who doesnt want a fullblown relationship. I thought I needed the codependent traditional relationship, and I think I will want that again in the future, but I know its not what I really need right now. Having amazing sex and companionship a few times a week is awesome. I enjoy my me time immensely and I am more emotionally independent. Not worrying about the future of the relationship and just enjoying it for what it is.

    He does want to include you in his life or he wouldnt have invited you. Just go with it, try not to overthink it or fit it in a box marked "this is what a relationship is supposed to be." I am happy to have admitted to myself that I have caused myself undo stress by trying to make things into what I think they should be instead of being appreciative of what I have. The month we broke up I really missed him.

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    1. Yes, I'm trying to just go with what it is that we have now. I think the fact that I've decided this isn't long term makes that easier for me because I don't have any expectations of it. If I start to think there is more than 'right now' that's when i'll go a little obsessive. I have my own special brand of mental manipulation I suppose.

      I don't really know what I need right now. I've never been co-dependent in relationships, because regardless of the whole BPD abandonment thing, I do need quite a lot of time to myself, but I do also know that in the long run I will want someone that just wants to be with me. And not all the poly, swinging, alternative lifestyles I've participated in thusfar.

      One day at a time I suppose.

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    2. Yeah I think I will want monogamy again eventually, and more or less have it now. His main thing is he has major commitment issues and cant bear the idea of a real relationship. I am cool with that. For many women that would be an issue but I am not looking to get married again ever. Im not even really wanting to cohabitate in the near future. I am so terrified if I have a day in day out relationship again I will get bored and be stuck. I am really afraid of getting stuck. So if I am honest with myself, I have commitment issues too, so I cant blame him. Funny thing is I do see us as long term, in the short term sense. Do I see us growing old together? Probably not, though I wouldnt rule it out. I am mid 30s and hes almost 40 so who knows. I do know we will be together for a while, though, as long as we dont spend too much time together and smother our spark. Thing about commitment phobes is they are almost safer because while they cant promise to stay, the dont like to leave as long as things are going well and no one is pressing them for a commitment.

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    3. I think that's part of the reason I'm so attracted to emotionally unavailable men (like the commitment phobe)! They're safe, but they still want to be around. On the one hand it works, but on the other it's infuriating.

      It's funny, I technically (sorta) have monogamy now b/c he's assured me he is seeing noone else and doesn't seem to want to, but at the same time, he refuses to acknowledge more than a casual relationship (which I'm not pushing). I actually think I'm ready to be in a relationship again, but he is so emotionally undeveloped he doesn't even know what one entails that this whole thing is kind of silly.

      I'm starting to worry that by playing it his way I'll eventually break his heart. I fall hard and get wrapped up in the initial emotional maelstrom, but once that's been devalued there's really no way I'll find that intensity again, and unfortunately (thanks BPD!) I think I need that. Still, our physical chemistry is pretty addicting.

      Whenever he's not around though, I tend to forget.
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  2. Well by him keeping things casual, he is protecting himself somewhat, so dont worry too much about breaking his heart. Many men tend love shallower anyway, and if hes a bit emotionally stunted, he is probably one of them. You might bruise his ego, but he will bounce back. You wont be able to fully enjoy the time you spend together if you worry about that. Just let it be what it is and you will find fulfillment in it.

    Our relationship is open, but hes not seeing anyone else. We both just like the psychological freedom of not being tied down. I honestly dont care if he does get laid as long as it doesnt effect me getting laid lol.

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  3. "I had one or two boyfriends at University who were emotionally available but I had no emotions for them. All the men I felt very strongly towards however, were not capable of reciprocating or providing me with a kind of emotional comfort that would be best for me. I do not understand why I do this. Is it protective? Do I choose people that won’t try to invade my emotional boundaries? Is it a challenge? If I can choose a man that does not function like this, but for me he changes, this would provide some validation of self-worth? It’s all convoluted."

    I don't know why, I'm the same way though. All I've ever wanted was an emotional man. Bt as soon as I have one shuving himself down my throat, it makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out with a spoon. I really think I chose guys that allow me to keep the focus off me. If they are emotionally stunted, (A) it makes me look somewhat normal and (B) working to "change" them or figure them out keeps me busy,keeps the focus off of me. Em

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    1. I don't really want an emotional man, I just want one that can deal with my emotions haha. I can't deal with guys that are more emotional than me. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own.

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  4. Hi Haven, My ex is a high functioning BPD female and we're just friends now. She still gets irritated a lot with me, probably may have devalued me, but I'm not sure what she needs in terms of how I should communicate to her knowing that she has this condition. I normally offer support and encouragement in her life and try to inspire her. But if the email or conversation gets to her feelings, or gets heavy, she gets very irritated. Can you offer advice ? I dont bombard her, but I know she has lost trust with me and wants lighter conversation and the odd hanging out. She immerses herself in work and prefectionism to supress things and also talks to me by telling me off as if I was an infant (she is incredibly articulate!). How, as friend, can I try to gently make her see she needs help ? She deserves to recognise and possibly help herself but I along with her ex partner are the only ones who really have seen this in her - no one else knows as she comes across as totally successful and vibrant but under the mask is a diferent story only a few of us have seen. many thanks. N

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    1. Hm, that's tricky. Getting someone that doesn't realize they need help to seek therapy or counseling is not usually easy. You have to approach it from a point of view of caring and for her best interest. Perhaps if when you're talking one day if she gets irritated try this: Validate her feelings. Tell her it seems like she is irritated, and you wish you understood why so it could be avoided. If she's a perfectionist and always immerses in work her stress and anxiety levels will be pretty high. Tell her you've noticed that she seems stressed out and that it might benefit her if she had someone to talk to that could help her manage that stress. Try not to get too personal or be accusatory in any way. Therapy and counseling never works unless the person realizes they need it AND also wants to be there.

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    2. @Anonymous - I could've written that word for word.

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  5. I'm with Sarah. I think she said pretty much all I would've said.

    Tech Boy doesn't seem emotionally unavailable (nor does he seem to rush to full commitment). He's just showing gradual signs of commitment.

    It seems he's making his moves and you are feeling your answers to them in your own way. Your growing disinterest might be a defense mechanism, a triggered detachment. Or not. Seems to be a good idea to do a soulsearch.

    In any event, what you are having with him is already therapeutic, it seems. This experience kickstarts a new you.

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    1. I think you're definitely right about my growing disinterest being a defense mechanism. I also start feeling like things slow down, even if nothing has changed, and subconsciously read too much into this, like it's a sign he's no longer interested. Bleh, I'm also starting to bait him a little I've noticed. I either like him more than I'm letting on, or I'm just stuck in some habitual patterns.

      Either way, he does have a way of relaxing me and I do enjoy the sexual exploration that we have going on.

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  6. Hi Haven, thanks so much for your advice on how to converse with my ex. Its real tricky days right now with her as I sense she knows, I know ! And hence she is pushing me away and had a quiet rage at me over the phone telling me off in an incredibly parental, insensitive manner - I am trying hard to validate her thoughts but its almost as if she's trying to saboutage even our frienship by baiting me - how do I e mail you privately if you're willing to give a little advice ? Thanks N.

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    1. I know very well her side of the coin. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. My e-mail is havennyx@gmail.com . Feel free to e-mail me anytime.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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