Friday, September 14, 2012

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – To the Breaking Point

I’m incredibly stressed out. I’m not coping especially well. All I want, more than anything, is to be left alone. To curl up in my room, with my cat, and shut out the rest of the world. Part of this is my own fault. If you caught my bonus post last night, my routines, and the things I need to do to take care of myself have been very off. Other things, not necessarily of my control.

I’m still struggling with Tech Boy. He’s not making it easier either. I’ve seen so little of him lately. I’ve felt so disconnected to him. And the time we do spend together it feels like I’m fighting to find something that bonds us.

Every time I see him it feels like I’m trying to get to know him all over again. While at the same time I recognize that he doesn’t struggle with this and just sees his girlfriend that he misses and wants to be close to. But it’s hard for me to be physically close to someone that feels like an emotional stranger. I have to reestablish my connection with him every time I see him now and it’s harder and harder for me to do that because I don’t feel like I’m getting anything in return. I’m so uncomfortable.

Last weekend, xRoommate, her Boyfriend, Techboy, and I went out to dinner at a great little bistro and then back to my place to watch horror movies (it’s Halloween season after all!). He was drinking a lot (it’s football season after all, bleh). All throughout the night I made mention of how stressed out I’ve been; when he picked me up, on the drive there, when xRoommate asked me how I’ve been, on the drive back to my place… I wasn’t harping on it, but trying to discuss it constructively. Despite my stress levels I managed to have some fun, enjoying the company. Though I do admit I was pretty uncomfortable when TechBoy was trying to get snuggly on the couch.

Around midnight everyone leaves because we all have to work in the morning. Tech Boy finishes probably his 10th beer. He decides he wants frisky time and things go the way they usually do. I was so uncomfortable. Having him touch me was making my skin crawl. Plus I’m so stressed out, and sober, so I just can’t get myself in the mood. I tell him we need to stop, I’m just too stressed out, and not up to this tonight.

Time #2, the second time, in 11 months together, that I’ve declined sex.  Last time he flipped out and started a fight with me. This time he flopped over, got defensive, said “fine, it’s cool, I just won’t touch you ever.” He laid there for a few more minutes, got up and eventually said he was having trouble sleeping and left.

He left.

He texted me the next day and apologized for leaving early. Abbreviated conversation to follow:

Him: Sorry for leaving last night… It’s just your whole elevated stress level is really starting to stress me out, and that doesn’t happen easily.

Me: I’ve had a lot that I had to deal with. I’m trying the best I can. I’m sorry I’m stressing you out too. But honestly I thought you were mad that I stopped us having sex. It’s only the second time I’ve done hat and the last time I got a big unhappy reaction from you too.

Him: Well yeah, kind of that too. It sends me weird signals and I don’t really know how to take it.

Me: That’s a problem. When I’m this stressed out I can’t just make myself be in the mood. When I’m this stressed out my sex drive drops, which is pretty typical. It’s not your fault but you need to be able to respect the fact that there are times I can’t or don’t want to have sex though. When you start a fight or walk out because I said no the message that sends, is that you’re only sticking around for sex and what good is any of this if you’re not getting it. That’s how it makes me feel.

Him: I’m not in it only for the sex. At all. But I will admit that I need to work on being more sensitive to your plights. You gotta remember this is a learning experience for me. I’ve never really had any of this in my life before.

Me: I just need something comforting occasionally and not feel pressured when I’m not up to it. Not guilted. I know you haven’t had much relationship experience but that’s not exactly easy on me either. I end up feeling like shit for taking care of myself instead of your urges.

Him: Which obviously shouldn’t be the case. You can count on me knocking that shit off. I’ll try not to stand on my inexperience crutch too much longer.

Me: We’ve been together for almost a year now. I’m not exactly mystery woman that makes you guess what’s bothering me. Inexperienced or not you should probably have been paying attention at some points during the last year.

Him: And I have been. I’ve just been pretty famous in my life for missing the more subtle cues. It just catches me by surprise when we go out and have a good time and all of a sudden a switch flips and you’re really stressed.

Me: Subtle and all of a sudden? Did you miss how I’ve been really stressed out for weeks now? Or when I told everyone half a dozen times last night, including on the drive back to my place how stressed I feel? That didn’t go unspoken and stress wears on me over time. Stress doesn’t just mysteriously evaporate. You were drinking a lot though, which tends to make your fun go up and  your paying attention to me go down.  

Him: I guess when I see you out having a good time, I figure that the stress went away or maybe I’m just hoping it did. I don’t like seeing you miserable. I mean, I try to help as much as possible by trying to have fun with you, but I think I can see now that’s probably not the best approach. A more supportive role seems better than trying to remedy something that’s really out of my control. 

Anyways, there was more, but that’s the gist. He tried pushing it off as the stress being the main issue and saying it would pass. That’s not the issue. Stress makes things harder, but that’s not the problem. The problem is our lack of emotional connection and responsiveness.

I get that he doesn’t have a lot of relationship experience, but I have too much. While he’s learning, I’m being wounded because he hasn’t figured out how to not be a jerk to women. Okay, that was judgmental. And I told him, he’s never had to deal with this stuff before so no one would expect him to just instinctively know how to do everything. I get it. Really I do. But I’ve dealt with this a lot and I’m already sensitized to it all so that isn’t going to make me a great guinea pig for him.

He’s learning, and he does learn, he does always try to be better.  But while he’s learning, he fucks up a lot, and I get hurt. Bad. Every time it’s like cutting another piece of my heart off and then trying to glue it back on again. Except it doesn’t quite feel the same after. Every time my heart gets worn down more and more.
And after the music tour last month with his friends I feel like my rose colored glasses were just ripped off and I’ve had a clearer picture of the kind of person he is… which is someone I don’t have much in common with.

I was so angry. So frustrated. So sad. It was an awful session and Therapist was making me so mad! She kept being so positive. Wanting me to give it more time, work it out, telling me he’s still young and by the time he’s my age he’ll be at an amazing relationship place…. So that means I should just wait for years while he gets his shit together? How is that fair to me.

I was borderline out of control in therapy last night. My frustration was right at the surface and I was much more stubborn and reactive than usual. I actually told Therapist that she was frustrating the shit out of me. Just because he’s a good guy, and capable of learning, doesn’t mean we’re necessarily right for each other.

There’s no emotional connection! I don’t trust his ability to empathize or even listen to me when I have something deep, meaningful, or emotionally important to express. Anytime I’ve tried to express something emotional I can visually see him shut down, not know how to handle it, or flat out tell me he doesn’t want to think about or talk about things like that. He’s emotionally closed, which leaves me needing an attachment he won’t help me with.

And Therapist thinks that’s the main problem. We keep having these big disconnects where he’s off and away, don’t see each other, and our connection fails, and on top of it he’s emotionally closed off in ways that I need to feel close to him. His drinking isn't conducive to emotional connection either, and it's gotten to the point where I'm clearly on edge around him when he's drinking. 

Therapist also points out that when things like that happen, I do shut down. I close off, I push away. And he’s probably picking up on that. I shut down emotionally and flip to a hyper logic mode. I go from love and life to Mr. Spock. And you know it’s bad when I’m using a Trekkie reference. I’m a Dark Lady of the Sith that thrives on emotional passion, but when I feel my security threatened I shut down and all trace of emotion is covered by Vulcan logic. Genres just shouldn’t mix like that. It’s practically blasphemy.

But I don’t think I’m wrong about everything. I’m second guessing and doubting everything. We have so very little in common. I can’t talk to him about things that are important to me because he doesn’t care and has no opinions on anything. What he’s interested in are so left brain typical frat boy I makes me want to vomit. I want passion, and creativity, and debate, and someone to make the world a better place with. He’s grounding guy that keeps my feet on the ground, which I guess is good in one sense, but it’s also incredibly dull. After the music tour something broke for me. It hasn’t come back. The love and comfort I had felt, got drowned in tears and smashed with beer cans.

Is it so wrong to want to have something in common that inspires passion in us both?

I was so angry that Therapist harped on me about this being such a wonderful, loving relationship, like she was the one idealizing it. I’ve been dubious from the start. Admittedly there have been quite a lot of great moments and comforting times, but nothing that makes me fear letting it go. We're at different points in our emotional maturity and what we need in life. Very different points. I don't feel like I should be expected to wait around on the chance that he eventually catches up. He likes the things he likes. I don't feel any need to change him. Compromise is one thing, but for me to be really connected, he would have to be a different person and I'm not interested in trying to make him someone he's not. 

I’m just tired. I don’t want to see him right now. I don’t want to see anyone. I just want to be alone. 


  1. Then why don't you just break up with him???

    1. I'm trying to work through things so I don't react inappropriately. I also don't want to hurt him, so I'm trying to not just act.

  2. Not that easy, really; especially not for a person in our position, I think. While we may know that we don't want a certain person in our lives for certain reasons, we begin to question (especially those of us that are self aware of our problems)

    Is it just us, or is there something legitimately wrong? Am I over reacting? Is it the disorder talking or is it me, and where does one end and the other begin?

    Couple this with the crippling pain of separation (at least for the first little while) And you basically have someone too scared to leave and too frustrated to remain committed to staying at the same time . And the significant other often picks up on this, and it's not fair to them either.

    It's as if we're so blind to the fact that there's a whole world beyond the pain of separation, just on the other side of it..that we stay in places or with people that will cumulatively cause us more.

    1. This is all very true. I think that's part of why my Therapist wants me to slow down and let it work out, because she thinks it may be my defensiveness and my impulse to push away (BPD stuff) as opposed to legitimate feelings of non-commitment.

      It's not easy at all, and I'm trying to be responsible and cause as little pain as possible.

  3. You have stated a few times in previous entries that this would be nothing more than a transitional relationship. With that being said, perhaps it's time to cut your losses and move on?

    1. Yeah I think that's where I'm getting to. It just, takes some time to really get there.

  4. You shouldn't have to try and change him, he is either what you want or he isn't. If you think you're in a rut right now, take the time to think it through before throwing in the towel. It can't hurt anything I suppose. Just do what your heart tells you, lame I know! :) Hang in there lady. I'm feeling ya on the stress levels, gawd!

    1. I really just want to spend some time, maybe reconnect a little, but mainly to communicate and discuss what is going on between us. He has not been receptive to this idea at all though. Whenever I even try to bring it up, he rejects talking for very long and then just disappears or puts it off. I'm at a loss.

  5. A professor of mine told me a long time ago that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is believing you can change someone by marrying them. I know marriage isn't in the cards here, but the point is, you can't ever expect to change anyone.

    You've said over and over for months here that you don't have enough in common with him, the emotional connection isn't quite there, etc. I gather the sex has been great at times, he's been a fun companion at times, he's treated you well at times, but you don't seem compatible over the long haul. If the emotional connection isn't there after a year, that's probably all you need to know.

    You're a fantastically complicated and talented person, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can keep up with you. I hope you do, but it doesn't sound like this is the guy.

    I've read pretty much every post on your blog. This is the best source on BPD I've found on the web. And I keep coming back to find out what happens in the next chapter of Haven's saga...thank you and please keep it up.

    1. ::smiles:: Yes, I agree with your professor and I have no desire to change him as a person. Growth is good, but I don't want to change him.

      Yeah, and I think with all of our incidents coupled with this increasingly obvious point that we are just such different people, it's just nearing the end.

      I do think he's a good person in general, but that doesn't mean we're right for each other. He needs someone that is a little simpler than I am, that just wants to have fun (as he's been indicating strongly). I need someone that is a little more diverse in their interests and at least a little more experienced in relationships.

      It's still not easy though and my heart is hurting over this in so many ways.

  6. His texts sounds like he's pretty sensitive. It seems to me that everything is all about you.

    1. I fully acknowledge that he learns when he does something really upsetting to me and then tries to be sensitive to my needs. but that doesn't happen until he's done something callous and hurtful. and It's happened so much that I'm tired of being hurt by what he calls his inexperience. a woman can only be hurt so many times before her heart starts to shut down. and mine has been shutting down for a long while now.

    2. I've been following this relationship and I agree with Beezer.

    3. Wow you sure are critical of this guy in your texts, while he seems to be trying hard to be a good person. Your tone is just kinda harsh. I'd think there would be a more mature way to communicate these issues than "you should have known this! You should have known that!" Let alone doing it by text... ugh.

      If your stressed out you should let your boyfriend be a source of comfort, in the best way he can, not an annoyance. Isn't that what a relationship is all about? You're supposed to be closer and support each other, not create walls during hard times. He can't help you with that if you decide to shut yourself off instead. No matter what he does you will be annoyed or not in the mood, so I would understand if at some point he decided the only thing he could do was do nothing. Maybe that's why you don't see him so much recently?

      His reaction to you not wanting sex is actually understandable in this instance. It doesn't sound to me like it's just about him feeling entitled to sex. He's probably been getting vibes from you for a while that you subconsciously want him to go away, that you don't want him to touch you. Like you have a magnetic field around you that will electrocute him. Can't feel good for him at all.

    4. *The texts above were paraphrased so make the post not as long.

      First, he lead the conversation with trying to blame me for his leaving, when the reason he left was because he didn't get laid. Which he admitted when I called him on it. The evening when that happened I tried explaining very gently that I just couldn't do this right now, and he got incredibly defensive and melodramatic and then left.

      I would love to let him be supportive because what I did need was comfort, but it's hard to let him be supportive when instead of communicating with me, he just leaves, and makes me feel like a failure for not putting out.

      He was drunk. Again. And as is a recurring pattern with him, when he's that drunk, he gets overemotional, pushy, and something detrimental to our relationship happens.

      He also constantly leans on the "this is a learning experience, I'm new to this" crutch constantly.

      And as you will see in tomorrow's post, his big sensitive revelations, are really more about avoiding continued discussion.

      Also, what am I supposed to do? This isn't an isolated incident. Am I supposed to treat it like there hasn't been anything going wrong? Should I not let him know how what he does effects me?

      His reaction to not having sex this time was not actually okay. He could have said, "okay, you're not feeling it, that's okay," and then cuddled up and been a source of comfort. Instead he got defensive, didn't talk to me about what was going on in his head, and left. And when I called him on his leaving b/c I said 'no', he confirmed that was the reason.

      I do think you're right in one thing though, he probably has sensed that I"m distant from him and has been reacting to that as well. However that distance has been due to things he's done to me, has come from legitimate experiences I've had with him that have been very hurtful, they're not just things I made up in my head.

      I feel like people expect me to just feel better because he said he was sorry, instead of looking at how he has acted in the past, said he would 'fix' his behavior, and then continued to act insensitively. I just don't know.

  7. He seems pretty sensitive to your needs. Sounds to me that it's all about you.

    1. He's not sensitive to my needs though and that's the problem. He doesn't have a clue that he's incredibly insensitive... which is why the things he does hurt me so much.

      Once he's hurt me, and I tell him, then it dawns on him, and he acknowledges what he did. Which is good. But it's his insensitivity that is what hurt me in the first place. So idk.

      This also isn't an isolated incident. If it were just this incident, yes I think it would be getting very worked up over not so much of a thing. But it's not an isolated incident. It's more of the straw that breaks that camels back. He's hurt me so much already, acknowledging what he's done, but then not really doing anything about it, so now I'm just, uncomfortable and afraid of interacting with him when he's drunk.

  8. Sounds like the reverse of what is going on with me and my gf. I had to do myself a favor today and get myself a Hope tattoo.

  9. You say you are stressed out and since you don't see him as often you have to "reconnect" every time. Isn't this an object constancy issue? So you are stressed and having trouble reconnecting and you haven't been in your usual routine. Probably not the best time to decide what to do about this relationship. Maybe getting back in a routine and spending some consistent time with him would be the best thing to do first? The example you gave isn't really very good about emotional connection and responsiveness. In this example he does hear you and responds in a positive manner. Maybe he isn't right for you and you have always felt this way. I don't know, I haven't read your hole blog. Doesn't seem like the right time to end it to me.
    Best wishes.

    1. Yes, it is an object constancy issue. I do think that's a good suggestion, to try and get back into a routine and reestablish contact, but he hasn't been very receptive to that. We've actually seen even less of each other lately.

      Yeah, I guess this isn't a great example of emotional connection and responsiveness the way it's described. He's like me where he's good and deducing and logic-ing his way through to what the appropriate response would be... but then there's no follow through or implementation. He said instead of trying to fix things, he should take a take a more supportive role. Which I agree with... but his "taking a more supportive role" has translated to stepping back and being less communicative, less in contact, and less willing to try to work things through.

      I'm just at a loss. He is good at finding an appropriate verbal response, but then he doesn't follow through with it with his actions.


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