Am I a jerk? I might have lost her

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by Copperhead, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. Copperhead

    Copperhead Active Member

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    Hi guys, I used to have a thread called "What is a serious relationship? My gf says I'm not ready for one" but due to the new design in the site it got deleted... I might do it again but today I come to you because of a new tiny issue that's keeping my head busy. I have a girlfriend, P, and we've been dating almost for a year and a half, actually our 18 monthanniversary is this saturday, we are both 19.
    She introduced me to her relatives last year, a long time ago when we had been dating for less than 3 months.
    She came out to her mom in Feb last year but didn't tell her we were dating, she saw us kissing and found out, it was a mess but she is ok with it now; she introduced me to her family but just told a couple of them she is dating me.
    A few weeks ago she went to visit her family in another country and she told her cousin's wife we were together and she reacted really well. So now almost everyone knows and her family is quite small, it's formed of 11 relatives or so. I even agreed to travel and save for the plane ticket to mer her family next year.

    I came out to my parents 4 years ago and before we started dating I told my mom I liked P and when we began dating I told her and my dad figured it out, I confirmed it when I officially asked her to be my gf. I introduced her to some friends in person and some through chat.
    She met my mom's family in March last year in a funeral but I introduced her as my best friend,in July last year she got mad at me because I hadn't come out to my grandma because she said it was tougher for her because she had dated guys before and because she is princess girly while I'm not so no one had expectations on me so she didn't understand why I hadn't come out to her, truth is it terrified me because my grandma is the most important person in my life; however due to how mad she got I went over to my grandma's and told her.
    I haven't formally introduced her to my families because I haven't come out to them and that is royally pissing her off because she thinks I am ashamed of her and I'm not; when we have had opportunities to introduce her she couldn't go or didn't feel comfortable because we were fighting.
    So now, I told her I want to take her to meet my family, and she said it was ok, that she was nervous becase she thought they would hate her and convince me to dump her.
    Yesterday I went out with my cousins and I told one fo them and it turns out EVERYONE in my dad's family already knows, even the ones who I though were going to reject me took it quite well and think we look really cute together and that they want to meet her so I told her I would take my gf and then I sent P a text and I told her....and she told me I am not her girlfriend anymore.

    She is still trying to break up with me and says that she is tired of this, that she doesn't care about what I say because she's had enough and that she will find someone who gives her her space and is proud of her and that she doesn't settle for little, and I don't either but I am WAY more patient than she is, because I do want a long relationship with her, I madly love her but I sometimes fail miserably....like now.
    She insists that I'm ashamed of her even though I told her that it took me so long because I was scared of their reaction but she places the entire problem on her and says she hopes she can meet someone that values her (because I don't according to her), and that isn't ashamed of her and she said she knew many people would be proud to introduce her to their family.

    I work my ass off for this relationship, I really do but I feel like I am at disadvantge because of this family thing.
    And it frustrates me too damn much when she tells me I don't like her or love her because she has this crazy mood swings in which we are ok, totally lovely....and then she tells me we are just friends and all that.
    I just needed to get that out and to know your opinion on this.
    I'm not ashamed of her, I was just scared of my family's reaction and specially because they are just too many and because I grew apart from my family and we stopped talking so I really wasn't in touch with anyone.
    To those who reached the end, thank you for reading and to anyone who comments, thanks for taking your time to help me.
     
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  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Dear dear dear Copperhead, you have not been a jerk at all. Coming out to your family is intensely personal and she should have never ever pushed you. Would you have put that kind of pressure on her to introduce you to her whole family and made sure everyone liked you two together?

    If I can remember correctly, she is the one with the nit-pick du jour in your relationship, she thinks you don't love her because you like a certain kind of music right? So, now it is this one thing about your family? Copperhead, you need help, because, again if I can remember correctly, she is turning your sense of self and any kind of esteem you have for yourself into mush. I am not discouraging you from coming here and asking questions, on the contrary, if there was a person from the old threads I worry about it is you. I just hope you find a real life counselor who can talk to in person as well.

    You are a kind person to others, so kind that I hope all the kids in my extended family will grow up to be kind 19 year olds like you on how to treat others. You are not kind to yourself at all because you are under this very disturbed ladies agenda 24/7. There is not a minute you don't think about her, and every, and everything you find as a joie de vivre she sees as a competition to your utter devotion of her and she must criticize you to your very core and make you feel small. You did work your ass off for her, and nothing is ever going to be enough. I hope you let her go on her unhappy way and just heal.
     
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    +1

    Hello again.

    I absolutely agree with greylin. I remember your previous post as well, and the extended discussion we had about your girlfriend always setting the terms, describing and defining your behavior and motivations without input from you, and her emotionally abusive behavior around music, her ex-boyfriend, sex, etc.

    To answer your question - no, you're not a jerk. It's your personal decision. If she's not okay with it, then she gets to make a decision about whether to be with you independent of your decision - without ultimatums, guilt-tripping, or other nonsense. (I don't date women who are more than 20% in the closet, because I find it exhausting and difficult to have to modify my behavior in different environments. That said, I respect that everyone has the individual right to decide when to come out, and would never try to make the decision for someone else.) We all come out in our own time, and in our own way, and have different histories and reasons that inform those decisions; it's deeply unfair of your girlfriend to decide what your decision means to you, separate of what it means to her. Copperhead: you're not now, nor have been in any previous posts, a jerk.

    This piece - coming out to your family and her decision to make it all about her and whether your not you love her - is part and parcel of this larger puzzle. She is once again TELLING YOU that your decision not to come out to your family means what SHE says it does: that you aren't proud of your relationship, that you don't value her, that you don't really love her. Do you see the pattern? What you say about your own decisions - your own heart and mind and soul and process - is not a valid reason. She is once again not accepting what you say about yourself, and insisting on defining you based on her own understanding of the situation. This time, there are consequences to her understanding that result in a break up.

    This is toxic, Copperhead. If your family doesn't like her - honestly, I get it. It's not because she's a woman, it's because she's emotionally manipulative and unstable, and no one likes to see their loved ones struggle like this. Relationships are work, yes, but they are not supposed to be so uneven or so hard. You should not have to ask, every month, who's right and who's the jerk and oh god is it you? You should not have to live in that space, after more than a year together, of crippling uncertainty and blame. I know it hurts, but let her go. Don't fight for a relationship that doesn't work and that you are the only one fighting for. It's not healthy, it's not smart, and it will only contribute to a broken heart in the end. Because here's what will happen next, if you don't move on and start to heal your heart. You will continue to pester and beg, and she will eventually take you back - with more conditions, more onus on you because in her story of what's going on, you're the one who fucked up and "owe her," with you more emotionally dependent on her to know how to act and feel. She will use her power over you, as the gracious one who took you back, to put you through the emotional wringer again - to follow her lead and become the person she wants you to be. You will become more insecure, more doubtful, more convinced that you are the jerk here - and less able to stand up for what you need, want, and deserve in terms of support and love.
     
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  4. Copperhead

    Copperhead Active Member

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    Update...

    I feel dumb, it took me one hour to figure out how to reply to my own thread, but anyways, here's the update.

    So, she came over to my place on Wednesday and she apologized for being so rough on me and the day was beautiful and I took her to meet some of my realtives that night and they liked her a lot and she liked them so I thought it'd be fine, because we were already making plans to go out with my family.
    Fast forward to Thursday, she and I were texting and it had been a long time since she was so sweet to me, it even brought me to tears and I thought: wow, she really wants us to work, this is awesome, we'll have a nice year and a half monthanniversary.
    But on Friday she was acting weird, rude and I thought it was because of the date, because every month she picks up a fight with me just before our monthanniversary, she once told me it was because seeing how "long we've been together scares her, because she didn't plan on having a long relationship (this is long for her and for me because it is my first relationship).
    At night she began with the "you need a break from me, go experiment with other people, alcohol, drugs, have fun, go out" monlogue and said that I'm gonna regret changing my lifestyle (even though I prefer to be healthier like I am now) , and that she knew I complained about beind deprived of my freedom every six months so she didn't want that and was doing that to prevent it. To make it short, she decided to cancel our plans for our anniversary and I told her that was not the way to solve things, that we could work it out and I could give her hints about how I feel more comfortable and that cancelling would piss me off, so we argued all night and the next morning, in the end she came over and nothing went as planned or the way she wanted and it just SUCKED like all our other anniversaries, they never turn out good, ever.

    I later learned that she is sad again and by that I mean strating to get depressed because all or her issues at home, because she found out what makes her happy and she can't have it here, because she didn't want to come back to this country, then she said I treat her just like a friend and that I never manage to do what she wants.
    It really breaks me to see her so sad and to know everything she feels but inside I know this is gonna turn out just like last year when her uncle died (she is remembering all those months, so it obviously makes things worse because it's been almost a year sicne he died) I can't blame her, it is really unfair but I can't fight against all of that and actually win, I never stood a chance.
    She says I don't make her happy like before and she says we should just be friends....what then drives me nuts is that she says I don't really love her and all of that, and I haven't learned to deal with that because that is just wrong and false.

    Finally today she was acting distant again and she just told me nothing makes her happy anymore, that she is not gonna kill herself, she'll just let herself die slowly (this is normal but I know it isn't ok, I've tried to get her help...she tends to say she wants to die when we have a huge fight), that she kows she'll never make me happy so she has to let me go, and besides I am not pleasing her sexually that she doesn't feel pretty, wanted or anything, she feels lonely, that she might be mentally ill and she is out of everyone's league aaaaand that she's never felt passion on my side.

    I know I have to break this off because I'm already begginning to get sick, I'm losing weight, I look like hell, I wake up really late, I cry and I just want to dissappear...but I can't bring myself to leave her because I'll miss her and she is gonna get depressed again and she'll be alone cause she doesn't have anyone else but me.
    At the end she told me she would only be with me if we could start all over again with the cards, poems, flowers, "first" kiss, and all of that...I really don't find how that's gonna make things better, I've tried to keep that up but I' m tired.
    The worst part is that I know she'll never be ok, she'll always be unstable until she moves out of her house and gets what she wants and that is very far from the present. We even discussed maybe she should get medication or antidepressants, I know she is mentally unstable, I guess it just pisses me off because I really love her and care for her and I don't think it's fair for either of us.
    I told her I could be her friend, that maybe that way things would be better but she had more things in mind so she just gave me the "we start all over" ultimatum.

    Thanks, greylin and lorienczhiu, you've helped me a lot since I posted the original thread, I just wish I knew as much as you guys do cause one really feels dumb sometimes.
     
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  5. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Time moves a lot slower for you young folks. I think you are basically a joyful person who can find a lot of happiness in a single good day out of a lot of bad days in a relationship. That is why this has lasted so long. It is good that she recognizes that she has a problem and she is asking you to let her go. I know you worry about her, but it is a healthy thing to do for her. I know love is healing, but you can't be her healer in this case. You have probably given her more happy days than she has ever had. Her depression is so deep that a good love affair is not going to lift it. And I think it is at a critical point that she will get even worse if you hung around.

    You won't be doing her any favors by being her emotional punching bag, she knows it in her saner moments and tries to warn you. She does need help, and sometimes a simple behavioral and talk therapy can do wonders. Perhaps through therapy, she can gain skills to cope with her life, her feelings. A good therapist can help her assess what she needs.

    I guess I should have started this by saying you need to do this for you. And that is the right place to start. But I think you are too focused on her to realize that you need to come first and this is not good for both of you. Like I have mentioned before, you are someone who can do a lot with happiness. If I were in your situation I would take her to a therapist and start there, maybe even do an exit therapy as you are letting her go. And I repeat, I would not try to heal her by being a girlfriend.
     
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  6. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    on wisdom...

    Oh, man, Copperhead - feeling dumb is basically the human condition. For a while, I told myself that I would probably just do something dumb each day; as long as it was a new dumb thing, it meant that I was learning. When I repeat dumb things, it means that I'm not paying attention to my own growth. So don't beat yourself because you feel stupid or clueless; figure out what steps you can take so that your stupid is about something new next time. Nobody knows everything, and nobody learned a damn thing without making a ton of mistakes.

    Got it, grasshopper? That said:

    Your girlfriend seems to be mentally ill. I say that not to punish her or make her be the bad guy, but out of love and concern (or as much love and concern as a perfect internet stranger can realistically have) - for her, and for you. I have struggled with my own mental health, with depression, with thoughts of suicide, with disordered eating and other behaviors centered around control. I have been, at times, the nutso controlling unpredictable codependent demanding girlfriend; thank god, never much and never for long, but I've been there. I have hated myself enough to push friends away, and I have lost partners over the kind of emotional manipulation she's practicing on you. So when I reply to your post, don't imagine me as yourself, saying all the smart things you wish you could act on but lack the wisdom to; I am not that person. I am much more like your girlfriend, with a bunch of years and a battle towards healing behind me.

    So listen to me when I say: you cannot help her out of that space until she decides to leave. You staying by her side, and reenacting the glory days of your courtship will not help her; it teaches her that she can hit the reset button without making real change. You putting up with her shit does not help her; it teaches her that there are not real consequences to her shit. You letting her define and dictate your relationship does not help; it teaches her that she is the only one whose opinions matter. Every time you come back to her, you teach her that she can vent her pain and sadness on the people around her, and that if they love her they will not hold her accountable for it. Until she realizes how harmful these behaviors are to herself, her relationships, and the people around her, and makes the decision to do the hard and long work of self-care, nothing will change.

    That is not love, Copperhead. It's not even kindness, because you are protecting a wound that needs to heal, letting the broken place heal crooked in order to avoid the bigger pain of setting it right. Real healing - it hurts. It is going to hurt, and that feels like the worst thing you can do do someone you love, but it really isn't. It's much worse to let her continue to hurt you, because beating up on someone like she beats up on you and getting away with it doesn't feel good. Hurting other people that way, as an extension of the shit in your head, is a scary place to be, and you start to wonder: why do they let you get away with it? Is hurting each other just what people do? Am I the only one who is feeling so much pain?

    I agree with greylin, that you need to do this for you - but I also know that right now, in the crazy codependent place you're in, that you can't separate your needs from hers. Okay. So here's the amazing truth, from someone who once confused her girlfriend with an emotional punching bag: what's bad for you is bad for her. She does not have the strength to do the right thing, though it does sound like from time to time she tries, but this relationship is not helping her grow, or heal, or figure out how to cope with her mental health in a real way. Nothing will change her or heal her until she decides that's what she wants and that she is ready to do the work, and if you cannot be with her the way she is, then you shouldn't be with her, because it's a long road that leads back on itself sometimes, and sometimes the damage we do along the way is irreparable.

    (Also? Just a note: if what she is struggling with is mental health, when "she moves out of her house and gets what she wants" she will still be unhappy. Sucks, right? But bandaids do not fix broken bones, and every person struggling with depression has said "when I have a better job... a nicer girlfriend... my own place... lose 10 pounds..." and it is very rare that not having what we want is the real source of our unhappiness. Plus: you have to learn to live in the now, and be able to treat yourself and others kindly even when things aren't perfect.)
     
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  7. RVT

    RVT Well-Known Member

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    lorienczhiu for class president.
     
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  8. Copperhead

    Copperhead Active Member

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    Hello! I'm sorry for disappearing for so long, I'm back at uni so I've been running around with lots of stuff to do.
    I thought I should update a bit, it's quite short (finally).

    Well, my gf did go into a pseudo depressive crisis, not a good one....but I convinced her to talk to some people that can actually serve as counselors for her, one of them is trying to get her a therapist but I'm not sure if that person will actually do it, however, my gf is doing better now, at least for the moment. I'm happy because at least I got her some help, because I can't do it all by myself, since she has no one else but me...but with these new additions she isn't that lonely anymore.

    We had some fights (surprise surprise), one of them was quite nasty actually, but well...right now I'm trying to be as comprehensive as I can but I am sorta getting ready to leave because I know, just like you guys have told me, the "solutions" we've been trying out will not solve the real problem.

    Right now, I really don't understand what I'm doing, because some things have come up that I guess should be hurting me a lot but I'm not letting them get to me, I don't know why but I sorta built a huge ass wall so I won't get burned that bad, I don't know if this is good or bad because I feel numb....I guess that's the best way to put it.
    I think I finally learned to not push my limits if I know I can't take it, so I'm being much more careful.

    I can't pretend to come here and post an update every time she and I have issues (although you guys are really thoughtful and help me out each time, thank you so much!) because we need a permanent solution and I don't want to abuse of your kindness....and mostly because I know thanks to a lot of thinking and your responses (yeah, I'm....slow) that this is just not going anywhere, so solving each little or huge ass fight won't really fix it all.

    I hope I can update with good news sometime, when we finally make the decision to part ways, or when she gets a therapist, dunno.... right now I'm not doing great but not that bad either...there's some progress at last :)

    Again, thank you a thousand times, for trying to make me think and for sharing your personal experiences with me. You really help me to stay calm and think a bit more, you have no idea.
     
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  9. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    If you think your abusive gf deserves help, and I don't dispute that, please also know that you do as well, and so much more. Don't be afraid to talk here or to counselors and ask for help for you. Even if it seems like it is minutia. If you want to post it, someone in the community will be sure to lend you some support. Yes, you will always get the conclusive, "what are you doing with her, and why are you staying with her speech." Maybe you just need to hear it again and again? You just need to know that any flair up you are not the bad guy and you don't deserve bad treatment.

    Thank you for checking in, it is good to hear that things are progressing and you are doing somewhat ok. Please don't worry about posting often or the length or the problem. If you need help, you need help. *hugs*
     
    #9
  10. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Hey! I'm glad that things are moving forward, instead of just around and around in a holding pattern. And I want to reiterate that I respond to your posts a)because I have something I think might be helpful, and b) I like to. There have been times in my life that the only meaningful support came from internet strangers, and I think one of the most remarkable things about people is how positive and kind they are able to be in situations like this, and how willing to connect they can be. (Once, a total stranger let me cuddle her dog and drink some of her smoothie after I had a scary experience on my bike; we hung out for an hour, talking about being the target of racially-charged anonymous rage and how to cope with experiences that expose your own privilege at the expense of your safety, and I never saw her again. The internet is kind of like that.)

    I think the wall is a good step. It's the first step to being able to negotiate real distance between you, and to back yourself off from the emotional manipulation that has had you tied in knots for a long time now. It's also what happens when we get hurt again and again: we build callouses, to protect the vulnerable spots. You are building the defenses you need to keep hold of your sense of self and sense of right, no matter how inconsistent or unstable her behavior. That's a good thing.

    And of course, I want to just say that as much as things are better, know that you deserve deep, un-walled love too... whether that means building something strong enough with this woman that you can take the walls down again, or whether that means moving on. It sounds like you know that, and I'm really glad to hear that you trust yourself and your perceptions more than you did when you first started posting. Onward and upward; the only thing we can do is keep growing, no matter where we start out.
     
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  11. Copperhead

    Copperhead Active Member

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    Hi, I know it's been three months since my last update. It's been madness but I am glad to finally have something new to say.

    My gf and I are still together and after my last update she began going to therapy, she was diagnosed with a major depressive episode and began taking Prozac, however, we felt the diagnosis wasn't quite accurate, cause after a while she became quite unstable and Prozac didn't help. So we began doing some research and we had a theory of what could be happening to her.

    Long story short, her psychologist and psychiatrist reached the same conclusion she and I had reached: she has borderline personality disorder. I knew she had some sort of disorder since a long time ago but it didn't occur to me that it could be Borderline because of all the media stereotypes that I've been exposed to (mostly regarding the promiscuous and risky behavior with alcohol and drugs), which don't look much like her. She does meet the nine diagnostic criteria perfectly though.

    Now everything makes perfect sense, I know that BPD is not responsible for all of her behavior but it does explain why she behaves in the way she behaves most of the time.
    After that diagnosis I felt relief, because I know that most of the times she guilt tripped me it wasn't really because of something I had done and I know I don't suck, I finally do. I am at peace with myself, I'm not confused anymore and I've been able to forgive her, because I know she never meant to hurt me, just like I never meant to hurt her.

    She has made LOTS of progress and even though it is really tough for her when she is going through crisis, she makes an amazing effort and I do my best too to support her and through that a lot of things got much better, we barely fight anymore, she says that she finally realized who really cares and loves her, me included, that is why she treats me with respect now and apologizes when she feels she went over the top with her behavior. At the same time I am doing what I can to take care of myself, trying to get my life back and set boundaries, because if not, we will go down the same road again.

    There is still a long way to go, she will probably begin a process in Dialectic Behavior Therapy soon but we are still looking for someone who can take good care of her and we are getting money for her meds (she will take Lamictal as well, which works as a mood stabiliser). And the most important part is getting her to accept, forgive and love herself, that might take some time but I know she can do it, she is quite strong.

    Some people might feel discouraged with a diagnosis like this but it actually makes things easier because now we know what is going on and how to deal with it (I'm amazed because I've become quite good at it) and my feelings for her haven't changed and a huge bonus is that her mom knows and she is being really supportive.

    This isn't over yet but I see this as a new chapter and I want to thank you guys, specially greylin and lorienczhiu for bearing with me and giving me probably the best advice I've been given in a long time and for helping me keep myself together. Thank you so much!
     
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  12. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on your new chapter. Thank you so much for updating. It is good to hear from you if you ever want to update us again. :)))
     
    #12

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