Hi , I’m in love with a boy i have known since i was 15 years of age. I am now 18 and i have never dated because i was always not allowed to .I live with my mother and two siblings and help out often. My mom is aware of the facts i like him and that me and him speak everyday. She thinks we have a nice relationship and understands i would like to be with him in the future. But she seems to have a very hard time with letting me hang out with him .
I know that i truly love him as a person and that he is trustworthy . He works two jobs, helps out is family, and really likes me and is a overall good person. I’m turning 19 in 4 months and he’s is turn 20 in 3 months. I love him and i know he feels like we have grown so much now its time to spend quality time together. My mom has me on a tight leash. i don’t know how to begin to tell her i want to be with him. I prayed about me and him every since i was younger and he has always entered back into my life. I’m very afraid of losing him ….what should i do ?
A: It sounds to me like your mother has lost sight of the fact that you are no longer her little girl. You are emerging into adulthood. That means that you are looking for love and will soon be leaving the nest to make a life on your own. Your guy sounds like an exemplary young man. Your mother should be proud and pleased that you have found someone to love who is so responsible.
It may be that your mom is afraid of losing your help. You didn’t mention a dad so I’m guessing that she is raising the three of you on her own. She may count on you more than she wants to admit. If that’s the case, part of the answer lies in figuring out what the family needs and alternative ways to get those needs met.
It’s time for you to stop being scared of talking to your mom. If you are old enough to have a relationship, you are old enough to have an adult-to-adult conversation with your her about how to prepare you and the family for the day when you will leave home. This isn’t something to have a fight about. Fighting will only confirm her idea that you are too young to take seriously as an adult.
Instead, lay out the problem and your suggested solutions as calmly and reasonably as you can. If she gets angry, resist the temptation to fight back. Simply tell her that you love her and that you know if may be hard for her to lose you to someone else. Emphasize that you have confidence that the two of you can work it out. Such conversations are often difficult and challenging but they are also part of growing up. I think you can do it.
I wish you well.
My dad was very physically abusive towards both my mother and me while I was growing up. He hit me, threw me against a wall, etc. I don’t think he ever was towards my two younger sisters. My mother was very emotionally abusive towards me during this time, again I don’t think she was towards my sisters. I married and left 15 years ago. I always thought that our not getting along was my fault, I was a bad daughter, etc. About 6 years ago my youngest sister (about 23 then), who was still living with my parents, had an episode where she ran away from home and ended up in a psych ward overnight. The doctor who saw her said she might be schizophrenic but she hasn’t had any more episodes and my mother said the doctor she saw afterwards said it was a misdiagnosis and she’s fine now. However her personality changed and is now very insecure (she used to be a social butterfly), still lives with my parents and won’t do anything that might upset them. About two years ago my husband and I decided to move closer to my parents and go into business with them. I still thought that we would be able to patch things up since I was now a grownup and could “behave” better.
After the first couple of months though, my mother once more became very emotionally abusive towards me and I decided then that it probably wasn’t my fault all those years ago and that I didn’t want to put up with her mistreatment anymore. Specially since I felt myself becoming just as abusive towards my children every time her and I had a fight. I tried to keep a familial relationship with her even though we weren’t working together anymore but she just kept picking on me and insulting me even when my kids were present so I opted for not visiting her and not having her over at all. This resulted in my being very calm and serene and I know I am better able to parent my children now. My husband however kept working with them because all our money is invested in that business, which she controls in its entirety. We were naive back when we started and never imagined it would come to this. Things went along fine, she would complain and cry to my husband about how I was mistreating her by refusing to see her, laying on the guilt. At first my husband and I had big problems over this because he felt that family is important and she is my mother after all, I shouldn’t treat her this way, etc. I was finally able to convince him that right now, our family: him, me and our two kids; is more important and that I needed this space to be able to function properly. He didn’t understand it, he didn’t agree with it but he was able to respect it and give me the support I needed by telling her that when he’s over at the office it’s a work relationship and to please not discuss me with him. Part of the reason he didn’t understand it is that he never got to see that other side of my mother, he only saw the nice side, the side where she’s all smiles and she wants only the best for me.
From what my husband told me over the months I could notice my mother was getting more and more frustrated by her inability to control me. Four days ago she exploded. They were at the office and she started on about how I was depriving the kids from seeing their grandmother, etc. Before I go further I want to clarify that I never did that. I told my children that they are free to call their grandma on the phone and go over to her house whenever they felt like it and if she had ever called and asked for them I would have put them on, she never did. During this time while I haven’t spoken to her, my children have gone over to her house, driven by dad, they have spent the night over there on several occassions, etc. Most of those times initiated by my children themselves. Actually 5 days ago, my dad came by my house and asked if he could take them to breakfast which he did. She could have gone with them, I don’t know why she didn’t, I don’t know where she was and I didn’t ask. The thruth is that she could have seen them a lot more if she had only wanted to. I think her complaint was only to lay the guilt on my husband and get him to intercede for her with me. My husband refused to do that and she went berserk. She attacked him physically, she insulted him, called him names, scratched him and hit him. The left side of his chest and arm are covered in bruises and scratches. She tore into shreds the shirt he was wearing. My husband came home feeling scared and very very sad because of this incident. While I am very sad that this happened to him I also feel a bit relieved because I have been saying for years that my mother wasn’t a good person to me and not having anyone believe me to the point where I even started thinking I might have imagined it all. Now he knows, which means I wasn’t crazy. But this puts us in a very awful position because our livelihood lays with her. I still don’t know what to do about that. But my question to you has to do with my sister. As I said, she is still living with them (she’s 29) and is now very emotionally dependent on my mother. Over the years I have seen her thoughts get in synch with my mother’s to the point where I don’t think she can have an opinion by herself. My mother is a very manipulative and controlling person and for some reason my sister has been very impresionable. I worry about her now being there stuck in my mother’s web but I can’t just go in and save her, she probably wouldn’t even let me but side with my mother instead. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I think that my mother might have borderline personality disorder and that her being so overbearing was what drove my sister to that lone “crazy” incident. I should say that over the years my mother has been controlling the doctors my sister goes to and the medicine they prescribe to the point where she puts it in my sister’s mouth herself. You might think my sister can’t take care of herself from what I’m saying but that’s just not so. She drives, she works, she goes to the movies, the only thing is that whenever she says anything she either checks with my mother to make sure she aproves or says something exactly like my mother would have said it. My middle sister also left home as soon as she could and now works and lives halfway around the country. She comes to visit twice a year and everything’s very amicable for those weeks. Needless to say, my sisters and I don’t have much of a relationship. We’re civil, we’re cordial, we’re just not friends, we don’t call each other to talk or any of those things that sisters seem to do. When we were kids my mother would pit us against each other, say things to compare us, etc. Even the last fight I ever had with my middle sister I remember my mother standing there watching us with a half smile on her face. I think that she enjoys the discord. My husband talked to my father and told him about my mother’s attack, my dad only said that that’s the way my mother is and we should try harder not to upset her so there’s no help there. Weird as it might seem though I wish there could be a way for us all to be a family. Is there anything that I can do? I know I can’t force my mother into therapy, I can’t swoop in and take my sister away, I can’t even protect my husband from my mother’s attacks. What can I do?
There may be no “easy” way to deal with your family situation. Your sister seems loyal to your mother. Even if being loyal to your mother means that her quality of life is severely compromised there may be nothing that you can do to change this. As you said your sister does everything your mother says. She’s under your mother’s control. Your sister cannot make a decision without consulting her. You cannot speak to your sister without your mother being present. Maybe your sister will eventually come to realize the damage your mother may be causing her but she may have to come to this understanding on her own. This process may take days, months or years. Be prepared for the possibility that your sister never comes to this realization. You can be there for your sister in case she ever needs support or advice but for now you might have to accept the relationship between your mother and your sister as it stands.
I know that you wish your family’s situation would improve. It’s unclear whether or not they can change. Your mother seems to have many mental health issues. This may make it impossible for the family to be fully functional and cohesive. Your father excuses her behavior probably because it’s easier for him to believe that “is the way she is.” There may be many other family dynamics at play as well that were not described in your letter.
Another major concern is that you and your husband own a business with your mother. As you said, your “livelihood” is dependent on her. This is an untenable position to be in. In the near future it would be wise to explore how you can cut ties with your mother and this business. I do not mean that you should sell your business but you need to find a way to regain control over your financial life. You do not want to be inextricably reliant on your unstable mother for your income. You need to protect yourself, your husband and your two children from your mother’s instability. I would suggest contacting a lawyer regarding this business matter.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph you may not be able to change your family situation. Your sister may always be reliant on your mother. Your father might always make excuses for your mother. Your mother may never change her behavior towards you or other family members. Unfortunately you may never have the type of family you desire. You have to deal with the “hand you’re dealt.” In order words, you have to deal with the reality of your family situation.
You may not be able to change your family but you can learn new ways to deal with them. It’s important to learn how to protect yourself, especially from your mother. For instance you cannot change your mother but you can change the way you react to her. It’s important for you to learn not to give into her, how to handle her when she makes unreasonable demands, how to place boundaries on what you will and will not do for her, what you will tolerate from her, and so forth. If you need coaching on how to deal with your mother then I would suggest therapy. A good therapist can advise you about more constructive ways to handle her and the rest of your family. Your husband might benefit from counseling as well.
It’s not going to be easy to change how you deal with your family but you can if you try. I should also warn you that if you change the way you react to your mother she’s probably not going to like it. It seems like she has always had control over much of what you do and how you think. If you begin to change the way the two of you interact she might feel like it’s a threat to her control over you. It’s a complicated situation and that’s why you should consider seeing a therapist about this matter. It’s time that you take control of your own life. Therapy can help with this.
My boyfriend and I have been together 3 years. He has a female friend that I knew about but never worried about due to how he would explain their relationship. He said he don’t like her; she was an ex at one point but it ended wrong they became friends. Nothing more nothing less. I found out last year that they have been having sexual encounters via phone and video chats like Skype and snap chat. He said she stopped after last year which means it was going on almost 2 years. We talked he promised to leave her alone. I found out last week they don’t talk on the regular but she’s still his friend. I asked if he would end their friendship because I’m not comfortable with it and lhe said no whether I like it or not she is going to be his friend. Says I’m crazy and over reacting because she’s only a friend, not a threat and he don’t want her. I heard this the last time. So I broke up with him. Am I wrong for how I feel about their friendship?
I do not believe that you are wrong for how you feel about their “friendship.” The proof is that he had been cheating on you with her. That was your concern and you were right to be concerned. She was not a “friend.” That was a lie. She was effectively his lover.
He may have kept the relationship going with her because he was attracted to her and thought that he could resume a sexual relationship with her in the future. Or they had been having a sexual relationship all along. Nothing about their relationship would classify it as a friendship.
Typically, friendships don’t involve sexual relations. Once it does, it moves out of the realm of friendship and into something else such as “friends with benefits,” which is a euphemism for having casual sex with someone without a commitment.
I am also curious about how you learned that they were having sexual encounters via the phone and Internet. When you did find out, it seems as though you immediately spoke to him about it. You were right to ask him to “leave her alone.” Many people, at that point, would have ended the relationship. Asking him to stop wouldn’t have been an option for many people.
A concerning aspect of the relationship was when you expressed how uncomfortable you were with their continued “friendship” he, in no uncertain terms, refused to end it. He outright refused to end his “friendship” with her no matter how it made you feel. In other words, it didn’t matter that you disapproved of his having a relationship with someone whom you knew he had been cheating on you with. He didn’t care. He cared more about continuing his friendship with her than he did in continuing his relationship with you. He made a choice and it wasn’t you.
In addition, he then accused you of overreacting, claiming she wasn’t a threat and that he didn’t want her, all statements that you now know to be untrue. He was doing what he wanted to do and you had to simply live with it if you wanted to continue dating him. Perhaps that would have been the best time to end the relationship. The fact that he chose her over you was a sign that he didn’t seem like a match for you.
It seems like ending the relationship was the right thing to do. He was cheating on you and unwilling to give up his “friend.” What you wanted mattered less to him than what he wanted or what his ex-lover wanted. In relationships, equality is important. Whenever there is an imbalance, that is a problem. Hopefully, you’ll find someone who is worthy of you. Good luck in your search. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Her husband ignores her feelings.
I have been married for 3 months and my husband don’t touch , talk, or sleep in the same room as I do. Recently he has been texting and call his ex. when I tell him that I think he should stop he say’s that she is his friend but he forgot that he told me that she cheated on him when they were together and that she is no good, so why would he want to keep in contact with someone like that?
My husband has a lot of issues and I believe that he suffers from depression or may even be bipolar. He drinks everyday, has up’s and down mood swings, never wants to have sex or even touch me, talks about how bad his childhood was, complains about his job everday and show me no attention ever. About 3 1/2 years ago 4 men broke into his house and shot him twice and slit his neck but he lived through all of that. he went to councelin for awhile and stoped but I have convienced him to go back.
I want my marriage to work but i dont know if I can now put up with the ex’s calling and him making me feel that they are more important then me. When i try and tell him how I feel about it he say’s thing like im jealous, crazy, and that I need to get help. He says as long as he is not having sex with them then what is the problem. I would not have a problem if he did not hide or lie about it. If it’s nothing then why does he feel the need to sneek and do it.
You may be terribly disappointed. You may be angry. You may be confused. But you are not crazy. This is a sad, sad situation. I’m sure this isn’t what you had in mind when you married your husband. What you didn’t tell me is whether he has always been this way. I’m guessing that your husband has been struggling with his issues for a long time but he was able to hold it together for the shorter periods of togetherness that went with dating. Now that you are together more and more dependent on each other, he is less able to manage his personal troubles. I’m also guessing that you were so in love with him that you didn’t let yourself see how troubled he really is. It sounds like he can’t manage the closeness that marriage usually requires. He puts former partners, alcohol, and blame in the middle of your marriage to avoid being close to you. Having come so close to death, it’s as if he is afraid to completely love and live. I’m really glad you talked him into returning to therapy and I wish him all the best as he works on making peace with himself.
Meanwhile, you have an important decision to make. If your husband continues to refuse to take responsibility for himself and doesn’t make a genuine effort to change, it may be that this marriage was a mistake. If, on the other hand, he stops blaming you, starts going to AA instead of to the bottle, stops calling ex lovers and starts doing serious work in therapy, he will be showing you that the marriage means as much to him as it does to you. In that case, it may be that the two of you can make a real marriage. I do suggest you find a therapist for yourself to help you figure out what to do and to give you some support. It is also important for you to understand how you got yourself into this situation so you don’t contribute to it and so, if you do separate, you don’t do it again.
I wish you well.
I Got Tricked into Sex Work, Boyfriend Doesn’t Believe Me
I have been in a relationship with my best friend for five years. We are a great fit in all ways, but he frequently questions my integrity and his self-worth.
A few years ago, I took a high paying job as a personal assistant. We were living in a bad neighborhood and I jumped at the opportunity to make more money- without questioning the logistics. It ended up being a personal assistant to a pimp, arranging dates, managing money, and sending out ads for the girls. We talked about what my job would entail, and he was not happy with it, but agreed that we needed the money and it wouldn’t be forever.
A few months after I started, my boss forced me to do something not in my job description. In the situation, I feared for my life, so I obliged.
I didn’t show up for my shift the next day, hoping it would all just go away and I could find a different job quickly. I started receiving threatening phone calls. My boss demanded all the money he had paid me back ($20,000). He had a copy of my ID and social from the hiring process. He made it very clear that my life was in his hands.
I worked as a sex worker for a year and a half to pay him back in full. During that time, my boyfriend found out about it and understandably flipped out. Our marriage plans went out the window, I was forced out of our friend group, and was left to deal with the aftermath alone.
That was two years ago, and we are in a much better place now. But for him, marriage still isn’t on the table and his friends haven’t welcomed me back. He says that he often blames himself for not figuring it out sooner, and blames me for not coming to him for help. I try to explain to him that I was scared to involve anyone else for fear of what would happen to them, but he just doesn’t understand why I didn’t go to the cops. I’m afraid this occurrence will always be a stain on my relationship resume with him, and that he will only see his pain of feeling betrayed and cheated on, when that was not my intention. Can we work towards forgiveness? Or am I wasting my time? (From the USA)
There are several layers here, and I am very appreciative of your courage and resilience in discussing the issues. What is clear is that this isn’t a situation you alone got yourself into. Your boyfriend was very much part of the process and dynamics that got you into the dilemma in the first place. This wasn’t something you did on your own to benefit yourself.
There are three important questions here that you need to answer for yourself. First, is marriage what you want? Are you looking for that in your life at this time or is this relationship good enough for now. In other words, does the relationship you have with your boyfriend meet enough of your needs for now. If marriage is no longer a big deal for you then this might be okay enough.
Does your boyfriend’s unforgiveness knock him out of the running for a good long term partner? If you do want to get married does it feel as if your partner won’t be able to get over this? If marriage is what you want then let him know this in no uncertain terms. If he can’t forgive you and will hold resentment toward you then it is not worth going forward. He may feel that if he forgives you that he will lose his friends, or that he is settling rather than working through. But if he can’t get past this and you want to get married then you’ll have to let him know the relationship can’t go forward. In these terms, he can’t give you what you want and need.
Finally, I’d encourage you both to read this book Forgive For Good, and find a workshop specifically focused on forgiveness. In addition, you may want to find a couple’s counselor who can help the two of you work together on this.
There are two elements of forgiveness. There is forgiveness of the other and unforgiveness. The unforgiveness has little to do with the situation or another person. It has to do with the feelings you have that negatively ruminate about the situation. People can be unforgiving about someone who has passed on — or a situation that is long since dissolved but the bitterness remains.
Perhaps is a good place to start because your unforgiveness of yourself and your boyfriends lack of concern for you during that time may be beneath the whole situation. One way to break this cycle of unforgiveness is with self-compassion. As it’s essence self-compassion is being able to treat yourself like a good friend would treat you. Nurturing yourself in this way can ease the discomfort of the past — while setting the stage for not only being more tolerant of yourself and your boyfriend. Obviously, this works best when both of you work at this level.
Here is a brief video on self-compassion you may find interesting to help you connect with that part of yours or that needs nurturing.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Am I safe from him?
I have been married to my husband for six years. Three years ago he’s physically abused me about 4-5 times. He blamed it on the alcohol and I’ve felt it was my fault as well because I provoked it. I’d always get angry with him for getting drunk and coming home late. I was getting tired of it and I always told him I was going to leave. But every time I tried to walk out that door he’d hurt me in so many ways. The abuse has stopped now and we are fine. Things are perfect between us but I’m he will go back to his old ways. He still drinks but not as much as he used to. Recently he told me he wanted to start a family with me. Also, just this past week he has shown signs of jealousy. I think it’s because I am going out more and I have more friends. Prior to this I would only go out with him. He tells me it’s fine that I go out and have a good time but when I come home late he’d question me as if I was having an affair. I love him and I would never do anything to hurt him. Please help me understand what my relationship can lead to. Am I safe? Thank you for reading and sharing your advice.
I am glad you have written and have asked the question. The short answer to your question is “no.” You are not safe. There are three things that prompt me to be so direct.
First, your husband displays a very particular profile of men with anger management issues which involves alcohol / drug abuse, jealousy, and a history of being physically abusive. This is a VERY difficult pattern of behavior to change. It requires a significant amount of desire and commitment to therapy and recovery. While I am glad that things are okay, I know how difficult it is for true change to happen for men with anger management problems.
You did not mention any treatment for your husband like AA or an anger management group. He cannot make any significant gains if he continues to drink. The alcohol is both a mask and then a lit fuse for his unresolved anger.
Finally, he blames you and doesn’t take responsibility for his own behavior. Adding a baby to the mix is likely to increase his stress. The barometer will be his signs of jealousy and then increased drinking. With other men like your husband it is typically only a matter of time before abuse happens again.
The real work here is for you to get some support. Your community should have a women’s center. Please call them and start counseling with them. Explain what is happening so that you can get some support. This organization can help you find a women’s center nearby.
Wishing you patience and peace,
How Can I Improve My Relationship with My Mother?
From a young woman in Canada: My mother and I always seem to get into arguments when we speak. Often times when I find myself speaking about my emotions or issues with her, she’ll quickly dismiss them or compare my feelings to others. This makes me feel like my emotions are invalid or not important to her. I’e tried to explain this to her many times, but I don’t think she’ll ever quite understand my point on this.
Because of this, I often try to avoid speaking with her altogether. Even when she makes remarks generally, I find myself annoyed or automatically put off by her opinion.
\I’d like to know what strategies I can use to reduce this habit of continual frustration and annoyance by my mother’s behaviour. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and treat her with the same openness as I can usually manage with others. However, I’m finding it quite hard and I’d like some more information on what this type of phenomenon is called and what I can do to start improving my relationship with her.
Any insights or suggests you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Thank you for writing. Let me ask you this: If you find that a door is locked, how many times do you shake the doorknob before you give up? Do you get annoyed with the door? Or do you look for other ways to take care of the situation?
Your mother is who she is. Her ability to deal with emotions is locked up. You have tried everything you can think of to have more intimate conversations with her. She can’t handle it. This is not new information. It doesn’t matter what her behavior might be called. It doesn’t matter that you want things to be different. It doesn’t matter how many different ways you try to make her understand. She just. Can’t. Do. It. (at least for now).
The way to give up a tug of war is to drop your end of the rope. A fight can only happen if you agree to participate. You don’t need her validation for your feelings to be valid. You don’t need to frustrate yourself by trying to change her. You don’t need to continue to frighten her by rattling her locks. That only shuts her down more.
You are asking her to accept you as you are, but you aren’t returning the favor. There are probably good but painful reasons why she can’t handle your feelings that are buried in her own history. She is so fearful of opening up that she can’t even do it for you. Imagine how big that fear must be if she feels she has to avoid that level of intimacy with her own daughter.
My suggestion? Have more compassion. Accept her for who she is. Look to your good friends for validation and support. If you are looking for a romantic partner, do look for someone who is in touch with his own feelings and who can support you in yours. It’s a legitimate need. You deserve to have a partner with whom you can mutually share an emotional and intimate part of life.
Most important, look to yourself. Trust your own instincts and your own sense of what is right to confirm your points of view. It should be enough. If it isn’t, maybe it would be helpful for you to see a therapist to dig into why you keep looking for something from your mother that isn’t there. A therapist can also offer you practical strategies for managing your relationship with her.
I wish you well.
My Girlfriend Hates Herself and Can’t Move on from Her Ex
From Indonesia: Hi, I have been together with my girlfriend for over than 2 years. And now we were in long distance relationship. It has never been an issue for us because we trust and love each other.
I met her when she and I were single, she is my first girlfriend, and I am her second. Later she told me that her ex was treating her so bad, and in the end my girlfriend decided to leave her in “bleeding heart.” A year after or so, she met me.
Now after 2 years her ex came back and lives near her and wants to apologize to her.
I feel jealous, but then I trust her to finish her business while she’s still telling me a story about it.
I was okay and hoping they could be friends. But one day after she and her ex going to sort things out away, my girlfriend backing herself off.
I was confused, and I asked her what is the reason. She kept shutting herself down until one day she asked for breaking up. Because she feels she is being unfair to both of me and her ex. She said she could not move on completely from her, and that makes her feel unworthy of my love. And she loves me a lot also, that she could not even have the heart to be back completely with her ex.
Now I’m confused, I want to support her and stay with her because she is so important to me, and I love her. She is so depressed by the fact that she could not decide her heart right away… She even started to hate herself. It seems like she is in shock about the fact that she could love 2 persons at the same time. I don’t even know what kind of love splitted that way, and I don’t know how to react. I know she loves me deeply, but the fact that she could not move on from her ex is killing her.
Could you please help me? What and how should I do something as her current girlfriend who loves and care for her. I can’t see her break down like this.
I am so sorry that you and your girlfriend are going through this difficult time. But I would completely honor the fact that she is confused and is not position to make a full commitment. I wouldn’t try to change her mind about this — or overextend yourself. I would negotiate very brief amount of time for her to make a decision after which you should move on. Maybe 30 or 60 days but certainly not much more than that. Give her a very short time to sort through these issues but make it clear that you are giving her this time and space, but you’re looking for a committed relationship. If she can’t make that commitment to you — you’ll want to find someone who can.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Is This Considered Molestation?
The other night after a semiformal dance, there was a small party afterwards. (there was alcohol involved.) When everyone was settled down and sleeping, including me, I felt a good friend of mine come and lay down next to me, and put his arm around me. I didn’t think much of this. He then pulled me on top of him and kept trying to take my shirt off. I refused and kept telling him no. Throughout this he was kissing, and dry humping me, while I continued to refuse. he then took my hand and put it on his penis over his pants. I got off and told him to go to bed, when he pulled me close and held very tightly he put his hands down my pants and i continues to refuse. He somewhat listened, for he didn’t do anything more than grope me. Is this considered molestation? By this point of the night (4:30 am) I was sober.
It has really been bothering me. And i have not been able to tell anyone since everyone knows him and he’s a friendly person. He also acts as if nothing is wrong, but I feel sick to my stomach and have to force myself to act unaffected. I also have a boyfriend and feel guilty that I let it happen even though I tried refusing. I feel like it’s my fault and that I did something wrong, but am I making a big deal out of nothing? Please help.
Molestation is a relative term because people use it to mean different things. Generally speaking molestation refers to the act of subjecting an individual to unwanted sexual advances or activity. Using that definition it would seem that your friend did molest you. The question becomes what are you to do about it?
It is something that seems to be bothering you. If this continues then you may want to see a therapist. I do not think that you should blame yourself for what happened. It is not your fault. You may think that it is safe to be in a situation where drinking and drunkenness are found but people lose control and good judgment when they are no longer sober. The reality is that when people are drinking they are not thinking clearly. With each drink an individual consumes, their IQ decreases. An individual loses their ability to know what is happening around them or to control their behavior. If an individual drinks too much alcohol they may become unconscious. There are many people who choose not to consume mind-altering substances because they want their mind to be free and clear at all times.
Think about it from a purely logical standpoint. When people ingest mind-altering substances, unfortunately it increases the likelihood that negative things will happen. If an individual wants to limit the number of possible negative things that could occur then they need to decrease or eliminate the number of times they place themselves in high risk situations. I have said this in an attempt to protect you in the future.
Having said that, no one has the right to force their sexual attention on you. You told him no and did so repeatedly. You fought off his sexual advances. In my opinion, you were sexually assaulted. It was not your fault. Sexual assault or sexual mistakes often accompany drinking and partying. It should not be this way but unfortunately it is. You said no but that was not enough to protect you. I am very sorry that this happened to you. Counseling would help, if you find yourself having difficulty moving forward.
Here’s a link to the Psychology Today website. You can type in your zip code and find a therapist who practices in your area. If you choose to see a therapist you may want to discuss the possibility of filing a formal sexual assault complaint with the police against your friend. Legally, I am not certain if that is an option but it is something to explore. I hope you’re able to successfully work through this problem. Thank you for your question.
My Boyfriend Has Anger Issues and I Have Depression
From England: Hi there. So these past couple months my Significant other seems to get angrier and angrier at things that are so simple. I will say something, that with any other person, could be annoying but easily fixable and not worth a fight. The moment I say it to him, he loses it. Starts to yell at me, tells me to shut up, gets in my face, and tell me he doesn’t give a crap about me.
I have depression, and I am trying to deal with it. But when he says these things, it makes me cry. Crying while he is angry only seems to make it worse. He then says “stop crying, you sound so annoying”. Or other things along those lines. Sometimes he even just say “Keep crying. Not like I care”. Eventually after a while, I try to calm down and I usually just tell him I am sorry for upsetting him, and ask him to also calm down because he is saying things I know he doesn’t mean. Usually he does calm down. Then he apologizes for everything and says he doesn’t mean it. But lately after he calms down he apologizes and then says “I wouldn’t have even gotten mad if you hadn’t done what you did”.
Sometimes I admit, what I do is stupid, and sometimes I start the fights. But how angry he gets is what hurts. He says the meanest things, he screams and screams, and if I try to go near him he pushes me away and tells me not to touch him. I do not know what to do anymore. I love him so much. I have talked to him about the issue when he is calm and he says that he knows he has a problem. But he refuses to go get help on his own.
He tells me he loves me and wants to get better. But then he also tells me I have to too. It’s like he won’t even try to change until I do. I am trying, this depression thing is hard, and it makes me act stupid sometimes. But with his anger, what do I do? I am starting to hate myself and it is breaking me down. I do not want to lose him, but I don’t want to lose myself either. Please help.
What your boyfriend is doing is emotional and verbal abuse. It is not normal. It is not acceptable. It is not loving. You do not have to put up with it.
However much you love this guy, he is not for you. He is not behaving in a loving way. He blames you for his issues. He refuses to work on his own problems and plays mind games with you, suggesting that you have to change before he’ll even try. That’s nonsense. Yes, you have issues too, but that doesn’t give him an excuse for avoiding his problems with anger management.
Please stop taking this all on yourself. You are not responsible for his anger. You are not responsible for setting him off or for healing him. Only he can do that.
You are only 20. Get out of this relationship. Take the time to heal. Then make yourself available for someone who will love you and cherish you and treat you as you deserve.
I wish you well.
When Is It Love?
From a woman in the UK: Hi, I moved to London from Berlin 9 months ago because I was bored in my old life and like London better than Berlin. In my new job, I’ve been feeling very attracted to a colleague which I told him after 5 months of low-key flirting in the office. We talked a lot that night. He said he doesn’t want a relationship since we’re too different in his opinion (and that’s probably true).
I was hoping he would change his mind and we had a one-night stand even though he tried to talk me out of it first because he knew I feel more and didn’t want to hurt me. After not really talking much in the next two months afterwards (he was reserved) he suddenly started flirting with me again, wanted sex. I had been thinking a lot about him, still being very distracted at work. He wasn’t aware how draining the situation had been for me and after explaining to him how hurt I was and that I can’t sleep with him again I suddenly changed my mind because I see him at work anyway and thought we could then at least enjoy the sex.
It’s been six weeks now that we’ve spent quite a lot of time together, during lunch breaks and especially on weekends. I’ve been going through a rough time (stress at work, with my flatmates and frequently getting ill due to all that stress) and he’s always been there for me, made an effort to see me. He messages me every day and cares a lot about me but sometimes he’s a bit more withdrawn. He said he’s sometimes confused and doesn’t know what he wants but doesn’t want to hurt me.
I realised how deep my feelings are for him, how much I want him to be happy and said to him I love him which he couldn’t return (and I knew that but said it anyway).A few days ago I had lots of stress at work and I became very anxious. My performance is suffering from my thoughts about him so we had a chat and he said he likes me a lot and has some feelings for me plus feels very attracted to me BUT hasn’t fallen in love with me. It doesn’t make sense to me because for me this is all connected. How is that possible?
Thank you for writing. This sounds very painful. But it also sounds to me like he just isn’t into you the way you want him to be. He sounds like a decent guy who has tried to be helpful but who has also been clear from the start that he doesn’t see this relationship going anywhere.
I have a guess that transplanting yourself to a new country and a new job has been more stressful than you want to admit to yourself. You mentioned that you have had some difficulties with flatmates and on the job. Focusing on this relationship does let you distance yourself from the many ways the move has been difficult. Adapting to all the the cultural differences, and being lonely while finding new friends, is challenging to anyone who is starting a new life in a new place.
I think you should take a big step back from this relationship. Accept it for what it is — a good and supportive friendship. Stop having sex with this guy because it confuses you. Instead, do the personal work you need to do to adjust to your new situation.
Make friends. Figure out how to get along with your flatmates or make a change in your living situation. Work hard on the job. Get involved in some activity or sport where you will meet people who share your interests. Most important, make yourself available for someone who can return your love as you want and deserve.
I wish you well.
No Desire for Physical Contact of Any Kind
From the U.S.: Why don’t I feel any desire at all for physical contact with my boyfriend of 3 years? We are both divorced, in our 40’s, have kids from previous marriages, and are both Christians. We decided early on not to have sex, but after a month or so, we gave in. This lasted a few months, then we backed off.
For a while (close to a year), things were fine–we acted like a normal couple. We’d hold hands, kiss, hug, etc.. but we’d never let it get too far. For the past year, I’ve become extremely distant with him in the area of any physical contact. I can’t figure out why. I still think he’s a great guy, he would give me the world if he could, all of our kids and families would LOVE to see us get married, and I know he’d take excellent care of me. I don’t have a doubt he’d treat me like a queen. Most women would die for this. I simply cannot figure out what my problem is. We enjoy doing things we’ve always done–dinner, ballgames, community events, etc., but when it comes to any idea of anything physical, I’m turned off completely.
This has been the case for about a year or so now and I can’t figure out why. Nothing happened really to bring this on–it just….”died” in me somehow. It’s to the point that I’m stressed over seeing him becuase I know he’ll want to hug me or kiss me or hold my hand….and I’m just not feeling it. It’s not fair to him, and I realize the problem lies with me.
I pray every day for me to love him like he deserves to be loved, and I just don’t understand. It’s obviously causing a strain.
He’s very patient and says he’ll wait for me to come around. I don’t deserve that. I WANT to come around and get back to being able to act like a girlfriend (and eventual wife), but I just don’t have it in me to even think like that right now.
I don’t have enough information to give you much of an answer. I can only make a very tentative guess.
You see, I have to wonder why two adults in their 40s who love each other would decide not to have sex. That decision is where I think the problem begins. Of course you “gave in” and had sex. Why shouldn’t you? Sex is a normal and natural and important part of connecting intimately with someone you love. But for some reason you can’t let yourself be intimate and you feel bad if you “slip.”
It makes sense that tension would develop between what your body and emotions want and what your mind has decided it won’t do. A resolution to the discomfort of that tension is to shut down entirely, which you apparently did. That brings me back to my original question: Why on earth would two adults in their 40s give up on sex when they love each other?
For an answer to that question and perhaps to resolve it, I think you need to see a therapist who can hear the whole story and who can perhaps help you make peace with being sexual human beings. I hope the two of you will do that. People who love each other deserve the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with being close and sexually intimate with each other.
I wish you well,
Problem Passed Down through Generations
I have been married for 23 years. My husband used to be more affectionate but it has waned over the years. It is however, not completely gone. He will hold me at night as he falls asleep, kiss me upon arriving home and we are still regularly physically intimate. Although I’ve had to guide him throughout the years, he is supportive and kind despite being a bit distant and unexcitable. I know that most women would be fairly happy with this situation but for some reason, I have moments where I feel he could be more affectionate and romantically focused. He is an excellent provider and we have a beautiful home, nice kids and a blessed life. What on earth is my problem then?
I sense that my needs are coming from low self-esteem…as if I’m not being “loved enough”. When I get like this I get so narrowly focused and it feels like I need that validation from him to make me whole somehow or none of the other things seem to matter. I really get angry that I can’t get what I feel I need. I truly don’t want to live like this any longer. It’s gone on long enough.
As a side note, my mother was plagued with this same issue all of my life and my dad was a decent guy like my husband. This desperate need to be “loved” was a nasty lifelong obsession for my mother and she demanded it from all of us although we did all truly love her and tried to please her. She’s in her 80’s now and angry, bitter, alone and has turned her back on her family and grandkids, claiming that we’ve all betrayed her. I am her oldest daughter and never felt deeply loved by her or able to live up to her unreasonable expectations. I don’t want to end up like her. Please, please help me break the cycle.
You are absolutely right: This is what is called an intergenerational transmission of a problem. Children do learn what they live. You grew up taking in your mother’s unhappiness with your dad as well as her belief that he wasn’t doing a good enough job loving her.
Your problem isn’t your husband. Your problem isn’t low self-esteem. Your problem is that you haven’t been able to free yourself from that early teaching. You are very right to be scared that you will end up lonely and alienated just as she was. I hope that gives you the motivation to do something about it.
You are fortunate, indeed, that you learned from your father as well as your mother. You looked for and found a decent guy who is steadfast, who loves you and who has made a good life with you.
The something you can do is some serious therapy. Therapy can help us correct early teaching. In your case, it can also help you truly appreciate all that you have.
Apparently your negative feelings have been building for years. That tells me that if you could fix this on your own, you would have done it already. I therefore encourage you to seek out a therapist and to do that corrective work. You are right that most women would be very happy with the marriage you are tempted to throw away. Since the problem lies within you, not within the man or the marriage, I doubt very much that you will find anything better.
I wish you well.
Adult Child or Asperger’s
I have been in a relationship with a man in his mid-40’s for over a year, and as a couple without outside influences we have a supportive, loving and kind relationship, and rarely a disagreement. We moved around the corner from his mum but the last 6 months it appears she has tried to manipulatively break us up. I’ll give you some examples. She came into our home and placed photos of him as a child on our fridge and around the house. We only ever socialise with her, friends her age, and while we are at those occasions she superficially talks up her son’s talents, and looks, and how special he is. My partner lovingly tries to talk about things me or my family are also doing, and every single time she changes the subject, or worse, talks about someone she distantly knows that did the same thing or better. My partner tries to enable me to be proud of myself and my family too, but it’s always to no avail. She has completely shattered my confidence, that I don’t speak much anymore. We’ve been trying for a baby for over a year and she told me when she found out that he can’t afford to have a child because he needs her permission because he owes her money (he doesn’t owe her much). She then tried to convince me to break up with him and go out with my best friend. They have told me for some time the family does not celebrate birthdays, but recently for my partner’s 45th all her friends starting saying his mum was organising a dinner. He said my mother won’t decide for me who I spend my birthday with. I want to spend my day with you.. Next thing, a motorcyclist had bumped the side of her car, no one was injured but he said his mum was in a catatonic state. He then told her she could organise her dinner because she wanted to. We got there, and she had pulled out of her catatonic state pretty brilliantly, with balloons you’d see at 12 year olds party and her two closest friends. I couldn’t get a word in much at this dinner, but one of her friends said she was looking for a husband, and his mum said, darling you should marry her. It’s all caused me so much pain. (From Australia)
This has nothing to do with Asperger’s. You partner has to step up and confront his mother about her shenanigans. This is simply an immature manipulative effort on his mother’s part. It isn’t worth your time or effort to continuing a relationship with someone that doesn’t accept you. He needs to explain to her exactly what she is doing and how destructive it is. Once this is done –confront her every time she does something that undermines you, and both of you praise her and validate her when she does something supportive. If she doesn’t respond in a reasonable amount of time I’d begin severely limiting time and contact with her.
Wishing you patience and peace,
When do you know it’s time to call it quits?
I have been in a relationship for 18 months with a guy who is 6 years older than I am. We do not live together, and we have no kids together (although he has two older children from previous relationships).
I knew when we first started dating that he had some bad habits – he drank alcohol frequently, smoked marijuana, and smoked cigarettes – but at the time that we met, he was employed full-time and had lots of plans for his future that he really seemed to be starting to work on.
Fast forward to about four months ago – his marijuana habit was (in my opinion) out of control, he got fired from his job for excessive absenteeism, and he was drinking more and smoking more cigarettes than ever. I tried to be supportive when he was fired, and to help him turn it into a positive, getting him enrolled in adult education classes and helping him with homework, and I have also been a source of financial support for him, even though I am a full-time graduate student myself and am already barely making ends meet. When he started school, he gave up marijuana and alcohol, and I thought he was really going to get back on a positive track. However, it’s now about four months later, he’s about to get kicked out of school (again, for excessive absenteeism), and he’s smoking $100 worth of marijuana a week. The drug problem is so bad, it’s eating up his entire unemployment check every week, and I’m stuck buying him food and cigarettes, even when it means I can’t afford things that I need, like gas for my car to get to school and work.
To compound this, he’s become hypercritical of everything that I do – dinner’s never cooked right, I’m never home early enough, and he’s refused to have sex with me for the past seven weeks. (He claims this is because there are no curtains on his windows, and then blames me for not going out to buy curtains, even though I do not live with him and the windows are not mine.)
He’s asked me not to leave him, because he’s having a really hard time and claims to want my help getting his life together, but when push comes to shove, he ultimately refuses to do anything positive for himself. My question is, how much of this do I have to put up with? Is it wrong to leave someone who is so obviously struggling? Or am I just enabling him by sticking around? I want to leave, and have been thinking about it for some time now, but I am afraid that to do so would be unfair to him, and that it is selfish to put my own happiness above his. How do I know if it’s okay to leave?
You must really love this guy to even have a question. I’m sorry that the situation is breaking your heart. But you’re right to call it quits. It seems that this man doesn’t want a partner, he wants a care-taker. Even though you are supporting him financially and emotionally, he refuses to do his share – even for his own benefit. He’s not even grateful. He is almost 30. It’s way past time for him to get it together.
Yes, you’ve been set up as an enabler. No, you are not obligated to continue doing it. No, you are not being unfair. He most definitely is. His first love is his habit, not you. From what you’ve written, I can only support you in leaving – for both your sakes. He needs to be confronted with reality. You deserve far better than this from someone you love.
I wish you well.
Can Workplace Stress Cause PTSD?
From Australia: So I worked in an industry which is well known for boasting a “toxic” work environment for some 5 years. Throughout this time, I loved my job and was somewhat ignorant to the way that I was treated until it got pretty bad and I developed a career ending injury. For the 4th and 5th year of my career, I was not treated with respect, there was no sign of appreciation for all of those extra hours I put, or level of reliability despite illness and injury. My was not a nice person, and my manger became even worse to the point where I could no longer ask them questions as I knew the abuse would follow.
Then when I developed this injury, there was no support for me, the career that I had loved and put so much time and effort into was about to be ripped away from me, which basically alienated me from the rest of them as I began working in a less physical part of the workplace. I hated my situation, I hated my life, I would often go home and breakdown, I was in so much physical and psychological pain that I had begun to close myself off to everyone outside of work. Long story short, I live with chronic pain, but I got out of that workplace.
I am now in a new career, a new city, my pain for the most part manageable. I like my new job. But my boss and management are not great. They’re not abusive, but every time I hear from my boss, it feels like all of the blame is on me, I always feel like I am or have done something wrong. When something happens, the boss changes my shift without notice, or ignores my message regarding a vehicle safety issue, I feel an overwhelming amount of emotion flood my mind and it feels somewhat out of control.
There is a lot to this I guess, but I am wondering, can this level of stress cause some form of PTSD, or it something else that I am feeling. I just want to have a better understanding of why I feel so overwhelmed in these situations. What I can maybe do to minimise it all..
Thanks in advance
This is a very good question. I’m sure there are many people who can relate. Of course, any traumatizing situation can cause PTSD, but you would need the evaluation from a mental health counselor to determine if that is what is going on for you.
It’s also possible that you are still recovering from a terrible work experience. There is a saying: “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses”. It points to the fact that even the most wonderful job in the world can become poisonous if the leader is divisive, unappreciative, disrespectful, and/or disorganized. You experienced the creeping effects of being mistreated over a period of time. It is not at all unusual for people to not understand what is happening for awhile. No one expects to be mistreated. Often the enthusiasm for the job blinds people to the negative interpersonal dynamics — at least at first.
It makes sense to me that you are having trouble trusting that your new situation is any different, or at least different enough. It makes sense to me that you may be over-personalizing comments by your new boss. On the other hand, there may be red flags that your don’t trust yourself enough to heed. Of course you are anxious.
Regardless of whether you meet the criteria for PTSD, you deserve some support and practical help for sorting through the past and for being realistically alert for a situation that isn’t healthy for you. For that reason, I think a few sessions with a mental health counselor or your Employee Assistance Program would be beneficial. I hope you will take yourself seriously and make an appointment soon.
I wish you well.
Should We Try Couples Counseling?
Im a believer and I decided to pray for my situation. I went to a psychologist, her theory is: I have a trauma from my childhood that led me to look for a man with the same type of relationship I had with my father (a man that took care of me and that I didnt like sexually at all, my ex). My boyfriend went to a session, the psych said he also has his traumas…
The other side of the story before I thought about my ex is: At the beggining of the relationship my boyfriend tried to sleep with his ex girlfriend, I found a series of conversations through facebook. I also found 8 or more conversations of him, hitting on other girls. This was the main reason of our break up. After this, I felt really bad and thought I wanted my ex back.
Anyways, He said his friends signed in his FaceBook and talked to her but after he found out about my “thoughts about my ex” he told the thruth, “I was looking for sex”… And, during our break up… In that month, he slept with her and 2 other girls…
We got back together… Have 6 months NOW (I miscounted). And we feel great together. The only thing is trust. I’m afraid he still talks with his ex girlfriend. He did it while having a great realtionship with me, why wouldn’t he do it now? He says he woulnd’t do it now because: “now I love you. And then, I didnt know you like I do now, I thought you were just like the other girls”.
Anyways, he says I also cheated on him, maybe I did, mentally…
What can we do to build trust? Should we go together to therapy?
Thanks you for your time,
Thank you for writing. I hope you got more from the therapist than an analysis. Being told you both have trauma histories isn’t particularly useful unless you also are helped to use that information to forge a more mutually compassionate and supportive relationship. Being given only an analysis is like being told that it’s raining but not being helped to get out of the storm.
If you two feel great together and really love each other, you both need to stop keeping score. You weren’t together for awhile. He did some things. You thought some things. You both decided that you wanted to try again to make a good relationship with each other. That was like a reset button. Once you push it, old stuff doesn’t apply.
Trust is a gift we give people we love. If you both want this relationship to work, offer it lovingly and wholeheartedly but with the understanding that trust is easily broken. Pledge to be faithful and keep that pledge. Neither one of you wants to live with the constant anxiety that your partner is looking for someone else. If you can’t both, at the same time, commit to this, then wish each other well, say goodbye, and learn from the loss.
I wish you well.
Concerned About Friend/Ex With Schizophrenia
When I’d just turned 15 I started being friends with this boy (hes 1 year 4 months younger then me, so he was 13 about to turn 14 at the time). We were friends for a while and became very comfortable around each other very quickly. After about 6 months we became each others closest friend. I knew at this point that he sometimes got very angry. He said little things could set him off or often there would be no reason. But it wasn’t that bad at the time. I knew he had ADHD and was taking Ritalin.
After we’d been friends almost a year (when I turned 16, in February) he started going out with a girl in his year. This didn’t impact our relationship at all, and things were normal and fine. He said he loved her, but that if she asked him not to see me he would pick me over her, because I was a better friend to him. Our friendship meant a lot to both of us.
After he had been with her for 7 months I think (in September) I was over at his house and we kissed. We both decided not to go there again but did anyway. After a couple of weeks he left his girlfriend, saying that he could never feel about her the way he felt about me. Pretty soon after that he told me he loved me. We started seeing each other, but never made it ‘official’ and kept it a secret. This was partly because I was in the year above him at school/college and we thought people would find it weird, partly because for so long people had been saying that they thought we had a ‘thing’ or something, so to come out and say we were together seemed unappealing. And… well I think we just felt comfortable keeping it private. I’ve never had an official boyfriend, and he has dated other people, so when I asked (later in the relationship) why he personally wanted to keep it a secret when he’d been openly together with other girls, he said because it does something to change you, and that if we are openly together people will comment and expect things, and it makes us more prone to mistakes, and also that he didn’t see me like he saw the other girls, he saw me as a “life-long partner” type thing… even though we new the chances of a teenage relationship being successful long term were slim, we both had intentions of being together, and we always assumed that we would, at least, always be friends.
But then his anger started getting worse, he started feeling pressured from all angles of his life. He was confused about what he felt and thought, and in the end “I don’t know” was his answer to everything. He said he felt unable to make decisions.
This really upset me when his feelings for me started becoming part of what he was confused about, I was unfair to him I think. But at the time I didn’t know he had a problem. We’d argue a lot, and he later told me that he felt all my problems were being put on him, as well as all his problems, and he just couldn’t handle it.
We went up and down in the last 3 months (overall we were together for a year). He said he didn’t love me any more, he went through periods of wanting to end it and then not being sure. Things were bad before he went away for the whole of August, but then the day he left he was texting me, messaging me at least once a day, and telling me that he did miss me, more then he expected to. But then that stopped with no warning and he said he was just “indifferent” and he was sorry. But then the day he got back we spoke and he wanted to see me and I went over to his house and it was all great. And a few days after that he had to go to hospital, hes scared of needles and called me when he had a cannula in his arm. He asked me to come see him and I did, the whole time he was hugging me and keeping me close to him. Afterwards he told me he thought of me to get him through every injection.
By this point though his anger was really bad. He’d started biting himself (his arm, really badly, leaving welds that lasted for days and made him bleed) to let his anger out. Shortly after he was out of hospital we argued over something and he ‘snapped’, he got uncontrollably angry and took his anger out on himself and everything around him. After that he said something inside him had snapped and he just didn’t feel anything for me any more. I was devastated, as I still loved him. He was still angry with me and would hardly talk to me, although after a week or so he started sitting next to me on the bus every day again.
But then, in late September he started seeing someone else. She was new at our College and he wasn’t even speaking to her really when we broke up, so I know he didn’t leave me for her. But still, I’ve never felt more hurt, and seeing them together every day killed me.
For the first 3 months he still really wanted to be friends with me. He’d sit with me and talk every day. He called me up 2 or 3 times, to play me some music on the piano, or just chat. We’d sometimes text, although I initiated a lot of it. I know I did a lot of damage purely from a ‘getting your ex back’ perspective by being desperate and needy and still telling him I loved him. Our relationship after we split was just as up and down. We’d talk all the time but still ague, because he’d think I was ‘getting better’ and wanted to be just friends, and I’d want more and when that surfaced things got ugly. But there were times when we’d talk and get along well and he’d even be a bit flirty without seeming to notice, though when he did he would pull himself back.
By this point his anger had gotten even worse. He said he was angry all the time. He had also started Dissociating, where he wouldn’t care for or about anyone or anything. He wouldn’t feel anything for anyone. This would pass but it still unsettled him.
Then in late December we argued and he ‘snapped’ again. After that he was just angry with me. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew he wanted to be just friends, and I’d been thinking before about telling him that I wanted that too; by this point I could see the pressure he was under and was starting to worry. I thought that at least telling him I only wanted to be friends would be best for us both.
So I told him, but he said he didn’t want to talk to me. That he needed a complete break from me. That he was angry with me and now associated me with his anger.
Sometimes during the last 3 months we have spoken. I’ve almost always initiated it, and he seems fine, until the end when he gets angry and says to leave him alone, that things aren’t fine and that he was only acting polite so we wouldn’t argue.
There has been a couple of times when he messaged me saying he needed someone who understands to talk to. He says I’m the only one who understands him. That he can’t and doesn’t talk to anyone about anything. He says he has to ‘act’ all the time (with everyone, he is still with that girl but she’s included in the ‘everyone’) because hes always either angry or just withdrawn and not feeling anything. He has to act interested, and not just flat and emotionless.
Hes been diagnosed with more things now; first it was Dissociation Disorder and Paranoia (He gets paranoid that someone will kidnap and torture him, like in the Hostel and Saw films. He first mentioned this to me last April, but it didn’t seem serious then. Now he sleeps with a jujitsu weapon in his bed and wont close his eyes in the shower or put his head under the water in the bath, but he says he can usually overcome the fears by thinking logically), as well as Autism. He stopped biting himself to release his anger and started cutting. He cut himself 50 times up his arm when he ‘snapped’ (this time for no reason, but the worst so far). He says he can’t release his anger any more without cutting.
He started talking to me on MSN saying he needed someone who understood, but then he went offline. The next day I spoke to him and he said he had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia (not the type with hearing voices and delusions). Then I started asking him (which I think was a mistake) if he missed me, if he wanted to talk to me, etc…. he said he didn’t know to everything… I asked if he cared and he said he didn’t think so. He said that he would probably start talking to me now, and when I asked why he said because he had started so he may as well continue. I don’t know if he was just saying this as his way of making sense of things, but at the time I didn’t think it was good enough. I asked him not to just use me and he started getting a bit angry and that was the end of our conversation.
After that I decided to try and be friends with him, and to not bring up my feelings or concerns, because I thought he needed someone. I was nice to him when I saw him, and we chatted a few times, he leant me a book and gave me a stress ball he’d been given by a university stall, but I still felt like I was making all the effort. I said this to him and he started getting angry and told me not to. He said he didn’t want to talk to me, that he had nothing to say to me, and that he didn’t want to be friends. He told me that he didn’t even like me any more and that he hadn’t since December. He said that yes, I was the only one who understood him, and that he HATES that because he doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to talk to me. He said that I was always putting all my problems on him and that we always argue. He was getting really angry and said that he hadn’t been able to release his anger in months because his parents have hidden every sharp object (his parents know all about this and have him in psychotherapy). He said that all the bad feeling towards me was magnified because he couldn’t take his anger out on anyone else. He told me that he ‘knew’ I didn’t want to be just friends because of the way I looked at him when he was with her (which yeah I am very guilty of) and that he didn’t like me because I was so persistent and wouldn’t let go. He said that there was nothing between us at all and nothing to salvage.
He was being really cruel and harsh and at the time this devastated me. I took everything he said to heart and when I got home I fell to pieces, and it took me a day to recover from it. But now I don’t know how much of that he meant. I don’t know what effect Schizophrenia is having on him. And I don’t know if he only said those things out of anger and didn’t mean them, or if I just wish that were the case.
At the end of that conversation with him I think I managed to convince him that I only want to be friends (which is partly true, I still love him but I don’t really like him right now, because of how hes acting and how hes treated me. I don’t know if I’m ‘in love’ with him right now, but I do love him. I do want to get on the path to rebuilding our relationship, but right now the most I could handle would be friendship) and he said he’d think about it over the 2 and 1/2 week break we have from college and get back to me.
What should I do about all this? And what’s going on with him? Does he mean what he says or even know what he feels?
Your friend is not well. He is not stable and needs help. He may be unable to engage in a healthy relationship at this time because of his problems. My biggest concern is your friend’s uncontrolled anger. He has been engaged in self-harm until recently, when his weapons of self-destruction were removed by his parents. This has intensified and redirected his anger towards you. He has become so angry at times that he has “snapped” and taken out his anger on “everything and everyone around him.” Other concerning aspects of this situation include paranoia, to the point where he sleeps with a weapon under his pillow. His symptoms are not well controlled. Your safety may be at stake.
He has been diagnosed with several psychiatric conditions, the latest one being schizophrenia. Having schizophrenia does not mean that an individual is dangerous. In fact, research shows that individuals with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims rather than perpetrators of violence but under certain circumstances, the risk for violence increases. When? Risk factors of violence include:
- Active and uncontrolled psychotic symptoms (i.e. paranoia, delusions, etc)
- Not taking medication or not taking it consistently or as prescribed
- Under the influence of drugs and alcohol
- Uncontrolled anger outbursts
- Has a history of violence
Past violence is the best predictor of future violence. Your friend has a history of violence toward himself and not others but as I pointed out, you may have become a convenient target of his anger. His mood is unstable and when he becomes upset, his behavior is unpredictable. This puts you at risk.
You should encourage your friend to remain in treatment. Do his parents know how angry he can become? If not, you should inform them. He may require more intensive treatment than he is currently receiving. His symptoms do not seem well controlled. He needs time to stabilize his mood and symptoms before you should pursue a relationship with him.
To answer your specific question, it may be difficult for him to know how he feels. That might remain the case until he is stabilized.
I also believe that you should consider therapy. A therapist could advise you about how to handle this situation. You could benefit from guidance with regard to this relationship. It is difficult and challenging.
I hope this answers your question. If you have any followup questions, please do not hesitate to write.
My Wife Connects with Men Online
My wife continues to connect with men online but says she does it to bring back passion into our relationship. My wife and I are high school sweethearts and have been together for 30 years (married for 20). Sex has never been very important to her and we are intimate a dozen or less times a year. We deeply care for each other and I have suppressed my own sexual needs to accommodate her lower desire. We have two children and over the last several years have lost a bit of our connection. I have found my wife connecting with other men on social websites and engaging in flirtatious messaging that turns into sexual chatting and even phone conversations six times over the last couple of years. I have confronted her each time I have found out and she says it is innocent and would never turn physical and that she only wants to bring passion back into our relationship. These relationships are emotional affairs in my opinion and hurt very deeply and make it hard for me to trust and connect with my wife. I have also not witnessed her bringing any passion back to me.
We have tried working with two different MFT’s and both times my wife clams up and feels attacked and gets defensive. I have worked on myself with a therapist for a couple of years and I am trying to improve my communications. When I take responsibility for my part of our problems, she very easily shifts the focus on me for everything.
I just recently discovered that she is connecting with another man online again and I am at the end of my rope. I am tired of being lied to and deceived. Her false promises to truly work on our relationship are harder to believe, but I still lover her and I want to work things out for us and our kids sake. I am just not sure she can or will focus on our relationship. She tells me she loves me, but that something is missing for her and she can’t put her finger on it.
I have suggested going to sex therapist together to work on our intimate relationship and connection, but I am afraid it will be a waste of time again. I desperately want to see my wife be a proactive partner in repairing our relationship, but I am not sure she can or will.
I am not sure how to go forward, any suggestions?
Thank you for your email. The emotional affairs your wife is engaged in involves systematic betrayal. Although you’ve tried to address the problem correctly, she continues to undermine the relationship and has failed to take adequate responsibility. It is important not to minimize this ongoing betrayal. Clearly, she is not giving your relationship the priority it deserves. It is probably time to move on from a marriage and family therapist — to a divorce mediator.
Wishing you patience and peace,
I Never Feel Good Enough
Hello, first of all I’m going to thank you for taking time to read my story. I’m 14. I wil start off by saying that my parents are divorced. I go one week with my m an other week with my dad. When I was little my parents used to fight, Horible fights, when I close my eyes I can hear them telling at each other, other than yelling at them selves my mom used to yell at me, to the point where she went pysco. Se kicked things,pulled my hair, throw things, said things to me that still hurt when I remember them. I grew like that all the time. When my patents fought I would be in my room crying my eyes out. Time went by and my dad got tired of being in that situation so he divorced my mom, he said it was the best I was 7 at the moment.
I agreed that it was the best things to do so I don’t have to hear them fight al the time. My mom made this insane lie that she couldn’t feel part of her face because of all the stress , she blamed my dad for everything. My mom and me were renting an apartment with her cousin and it was fine, my dad had an apartment as well but by himself. My mom met this guy and they’re married now, I should be happy but I’m not.. I accepted him though. Sometimes she wanted me to go to his house to get to meet him but I didn’t want to do she went into a phyco mood and started yelling and yelling, I ddnt get why ? It was her life not mine.. When I get mad I tend to cry. I dont yell or anything I keep everything inside and cry as my way to express how I feel. I ended up going and it always was like that.
My mom always wants everything her way she doesn’t care of anyone who she stomps on to get why she wants. I was 11 at this point, my dad didn’t like the guy my mom married and he still doesnt. Me and my mom are in a fight right now she kicked me out of the house and told me horrible things and that I’m not a good daughter. I think she’s not the best mom either,
I always try to be the daughter she wants.. Im never good enough. I close my eyes and I can remember all I went through. Her words buzz around my head, I think I’m marked forever.. I’m scared of her. My dad is the only person there for me he listens to me and he’s the best person in the world. One day my mom was angrily brushing my hair pulling my hair back into a pony tail and she hit me with the brush I turned around and she tried to hit me again but I grabbed her arm and pushed her back, my mind went black, I couldn’t take it anymore I felt like I wasnt thinking I just reacted, I don’t even want to remember what happens after that, I keep so much inside I don’t tell anyone, I can’t trust anyone.
In school I’m smart I have good grades and I’m trying to get into a good college but I have self confidence issues and really low self esteem. IM NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Everything is wrong with me. My mom told me I was fat. I believed it everyday I looked at te mirror and hated my self my mind was devestated. I’m putting this out here at 1:40am because as I’m laying in my bed those moment go thought my head and they hurt me, in so many ways. Please help me.
Thank you so much for writing. Your letter is an important step in your own healing. It shows me that you know in your heart that you didn’t deserve the treatment you had from your mom when you were little and you don’t deserve it now. Now we need to help you get your head in line with your heart.
You’re just like any other kid. You want your mother to love you. You long for her approval. You hope you will find some little thing that you can do to convince her to love you as a mother should.
I’m very sorry to have to tell you that it’s unlikely you will get what you are longing for. I can’t offer you an explanation for your mother’s behavior since I don’t have enough information. But from what you say, she has never been able to put other people’s needs ahead of her own, even her own child’s. She doesn’t give you love and comfort because she can’t. If a well is dry, it can’t give you water. At some point, it only makes sense to be sad about it but to go looking for another well.
In your case, you are lucky. There really are other “wells” of love available to you. Your dad is there for you. I’m guessing your teachers also think you’re smart and promising. At 14, you’ve grown up enough to know that you can survive without your mother’s care. You do need love but you don’t need hers. It’s time to do the grieving that comes with that realization and to reach out to others for the emotional and physical support a young girl needs and deserves.
Please ask yourself why you are choosing to believe your mom over your dad. You yourself call your mom “Psycho” but then you let her opinion take over the good opinions of your dad, your teachers, and even yourself. Open your mind and your heart to the people who really do think you are quite good enough as you are. They are right. Your mother isn’t.
It might be helpful for you to find a therapist to help you make the shift. Giving up on your mother won’t be easy after so many years of longing. To let yourself feel good about yourself is to give up on the argument you’ve been having with your mother. You really don’t need to convince her of a thing if you can embrace the reality that you are a good, smart, insightful, and attractive person. On some level, you already know that. But it just might be helpful to have a therapist help you connect with what you know is true.
As you enter your teens, it is a good time to do this work. A strong self-esteem will help you better manage the high school social scene and relationships. Appreciating your own talents and intelligence will let you do well in school. With a foundation of self-respect, you’ll be better able to have the future you deserve.
I wish you well.