Author Topic: Relationship  (Read 12946 times)

Twoapenny

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #465 on: June 27, 2020, 04:20:31 PM »
((((((((((((((((((((((((Hops))))))))))))))))))))))))))))  Just a hug from across the pond xx

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #466 on: June 27, 2020, 08:17:05 PM »
Thanks, Tupp, hug received!

I understand, CB.
I have old-age security on my mind, too.
Whether I should or not.

I would like to marry again, for comfort
and happiness but also for security. I have
quite a few fears about how I'll wind up.

I may or may not find that with M but it
remains a goal if it's possible. If not M,
perhaps another person.

I'd rather remain alone than marry badly,
though, so we're on the same page there.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #467 on: June 27, 2020, 08:36:48 PM »
Hops: 

When I read about your father and experience with him in the kitchen... I really thought about how that might impact your relationship with M.  I always think about things that keep our limbic systems primed and ready for blast off.  It's a what if? thing.  What if,  Hops didn't have that experience with her father?  Would she still have that emotional charge with M and food?

I'm willing to it has very little to do with your feelings, or everything or nothing at all.  I just want the truth to come out, be dealt with, and not be an issue anymore, if it IS an issue.

About M's obsession... and the way it stands with you... it's really a barrier to intimacy and shared fun around food.  It makes it difficult for you to enjoy a gourmet meal prepared for you...  no work on your part.  That's a think, IMO.  There's something under that, and I can't say what. 

I would hope M is trying to cultivate more intimacy and comfort with and for you, as a couple.  If he's not, then that's important to know.

He's making the rigth noises, but they dont' always line up with his actions.

Is that always true, or just part of the time, and if part of the time, what's it about?

Does he have control and ability to correct OR is he foundering a bit, and in need of more support and direction from a mental health professional?

He seems willing to see Ts and take direction... at least from where I sit. 

Lighter

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #468 on: June 27, 2020, 09:03:29 PM »
I'm late to the advice column Hops. So I'm not going to give you any.

Instead, I'm going to tell you what I've observed. And of course - it's my perception of what you've posted about here. It's going to be colored by my internal compass of things. It can, therefore be completely off base. Only you can decide that. My feelings won't be hurt, if you toss it in file 13.

This is not the first time you've reacted to a boundary issue. The croutongate incident was kind of the last straw; your diet being very personal to you and important to you. You've been ignored before, after receiving a pledge not to do so. Yeah - it was fried tofu instead. You misperceived that crucial detail in the moment. Most likely because before you set your bag down, he was already "force teaching" about his cooking and the meal. (Love that term, btw.) That in itself was a boundary violation. I'm not surprised that the misperception of the bowl contents happened; you were already triggered.

And this isn't an occasional problem. It seems to be (to me) an inherent disconnect in the relationship between you two. A pattern. Therapy isn't going to fix this overnight, I don't think. M seems unaware or unconcerned about how this "tic" of his that he can't control, affects other people. I don't know him; I can't say one way or the other with any certainty. But I can imagine feeling (if I were in your shoes) that what was important to me, didn't matter to him enough - to at least try harder. And I can imagine that feeling bringing up a lot of other thoughts & feelings. (((((Hops)))))

That's what I've seen. I won't compare experiences or go any further with this, unless you want to explore some options. I know you can work your way through this. Please just remember it can't always be one person doing all the heavy lifting in a relationship - trying to find a way to make it work equitably for both partners. I've not ever seen that formula lead to success and happiness.

Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #469 on: June 28, 2020, 01:37:18 PM »
You guys have all offered such insight and asked me so many perceptive questions.

I can't respond right away to each as you deserve, but want you to know how grateful I am.

I'm just weary toay, had trouble sleeping. M and I did connect today and I wrote out my interpretation of what the trouble is. Didn't dump it all on him but didn't back down on some boundaries that matter. Seeing him later to go see a historic place. We haven't done much outside our houses for months and I think that's been part of the tension buildup.

And this Thursday I do have a housecleaner coming for the first time since March. It's filthy and I just faced that I need help. Knee, back and ADD. She is very responsible and takes every virus precaution you could think of. I'll stay out all day and maybe another day too, if I can stay comfortably at M's. We'll see.

I do have new sober thoughts about the future, about how willing (or able) he is to take the deep dives I think we'd need.

But one question, I think Tupp's--yes, most of the time I do feel safe and comfortable. The exceptions are painful but there is a lot of enjoyment as a base.

However, I do have new and I think realistic concerns. A lot will depend on our T process, and also on how much time I can/want to dedicate to this, and especially as y'all have pointed out, is M working as hard for us as I am?

I think he is trying, and his improvements appear sideways and after a week or so. I think he's slow to absorb psychodynamic information. If the Sikh can't get through to him I will probably give it up. But I'm willing to give it more time. Some.

More TK...

hugs and a grateful heart,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #470 on: June 29, 2020, 02:09:51 PM »
Thanks, Lighter.
Sometimes it feels like bullying ("I'll talk at you nonstop even though I know it's uncomfortable for you") but then, other times, I wonder if it's neurological or related to undiagnosed OCD, which he says he "is." He even said "I'm an OCD control-freak perfectionist in the kitchen." (He allowed me to participate by chopping veggies last night, which was so much more natural to me than being pinned on a chair while he Julia-Childs). It was a little uncomfortable for him but he was good about it and we enjoyed an amazing omelet. I also asked if I could participate by doing dishes, if he'd show me exactly how he likes it done. Both things helped.

If it's neurological, then I want to develop more patience around it if I can do that while also caring for myself. He said once in T that he finds it very difficult to stop a narration if he hasn't reached the end, and the T said it's sometimes as though M has a tape in his head that is louder than anything I'm saying. That sounds very neurological to me, that his own ADD/attention issues mean he is listening to his own head just nonstop. Hence when I start talking, he's deaf.

If it's also or instead dominance, I want to retreat.

I think it's both at times, which makes it quite complex. Both T's will help. As you guys do! (Seriously, send me your bills....)

CB, thanks much. You really do keep me mindful of the cultural perspective, when it comes to male dominance. It's a big thing. That said, I don't think it would be the cultural differences that would end our bid for a future together. He is Americanized and Europeanized to a large degree, and also he questions and examines culture for a living. He doesn't believe in macho swagger. (If anything, the micro-cultures of wealth and power in his family, and Presbyterian modesty and frugality in mine, are where more of our contrasts originate.)

I completely understood where you got to with your M, and for your very good reasons. I believe you had a very loving relationship with him but understood entirely why you realized marriage or living together wasn't the answer for you two. He is lucky to have had you in his life as long as he did, and even vice versa. That he still tries to take care of you to this day by bringing bulk food now and then is very touching. What a sweetheart. I think I was half in love with him myself when you used to talk about him.

Your ability to let that relationship go took courage. And then there's the piece that is different in our lives...family and backup in life. I will figure that out eventually. I know close friendships make a huge difference, but also know they can weaken. The quarantine, plus folks using social media (which I don't), has brought some connections into sharp relief. No abandonments, per se, but a recognition that people may retreat into themselves not just now, but also as they get older and the struggle of daily life is harder for us all. So there's less effort to stay in touch.

Amber, your take on Croutongate was deft and extremely perceptive. The thing about boundaries and why I was triggered, was how that weird event felt exactly. Precisely.

Boundaries, how to set and hold them, and what it costs me stress-wise when he fires up his bulldozer (whether intentionally or obliviously) and drives over them, is probably the #1 thing.

I'm going to talk about it all today in couples T. BTW, I have now gotten upset with M THREE times this week. The second time was Saturday, when he suddenly out of the blue made a belittling comment about a poem of mine ("that poem was trendy and au courant"). When I said Please stop talking about my poem, I didn't ask for feedback, he kept saying "I do this for a living." [In hindsight, he might have been trying to be closer to me, as he'd offered feedback I invited him to, previously, and I'd been pleased with his insight. I think it some unconscious way he was trying to kindle that sort of thing--that he'd do a critique as he does all day long with students. Boy did it backfire. Not only was his comment this time unsolicited and supercilious, but he wouldn't stop. That's the core of it. He doesn't stop. So he kept talking about and justifying it and obviously insisting that he force-teach me in that moment .... and I blew up and left.

Later I spent ages writing him to explain why that had upset me so. That poets I know do not offer their work for feedback except voluntarily, and that his refusal to stop holding forth about it when I had asked him to stop....blah blah. And that I do NOT want feedback from him on my writing unless I ask for it, regardless of what he does for a living, etc. That this is a personal and protected space of mine, etc.

Yesterday (event #3) in the car on our outing, again out of the blue, he brings up the poem AGAIN and starts holding forth about it (he's judging it a good poem but was insisting on me hearing his analysis) ... and I blew up and yelled, top of lungs, STOP IT! I've asked you NOT TO DO THIS! Shook me to the core, as when I'm pushed to the breaking point...there it is. I can get angry.

So, bottom line, I think if I need to pick ONE thing that would (probably will) sink us forever or....if miraculously M is able to contain his impulses and respect a boundary when I ask him to.....it's boundaries.

I have reached the end of my rope and plan to explain that to the Sikh today. I'm not going to try to control anything about the session. I'll TRY to keep my descriptions brief of these 3 events, but basically what I've got to say is that I give up. I'm losing hope, I feel I'm/we're failing, and the stress of all this means that although I love M and am grateful for our relationship, I'm thinking we may not be able to get past this issue of respecting boundaries comfortably, without snark or payback. (That's where dominance may also come in. I just can't fathom why, as intelligent as he is, he can't assimilate something I've asked that's important to me, and let it go. He finally did manage to stop poking my daughter-wound, but that took me stress to the point of a stroke--I honestly believe that's why it happened.)

And I'll see what happens. I just want to own my end of it and leave M's to him and to the Sikh. Either I become capable of steady constant assertiveness and boundary guarding without undue stress, or I can't. It may be too much for me.

M is someone who cares about integrity and ethics in his professional and family life. That's genuine. So one small hope may lie in discovering whether or not some of his behavior is compulsive. I think he just doesn't see or hear me half the time, except as a gauzy woman he loves. One thing I may also mention is that the effect of the boundary violations is that in the moment, he always agrees. Certainly. I will do that. I won't do that again.

But I no longer can believe him. That's really it. That may shock or disturb him to hear, but it's the cumulative effect of my experience. He DOES mean it in the moment. But in action, he winds up firing up the bulldozer.

Can you believe I still love him? I do. I write here mostly about our struggles. But he has sweetness and a lot of light in him and a big capacity for joy. I enjoy him 70% of the time. It's just that the obstacles, I think, are coming into much bigger relief and I'm realizing something has to give.

I don't know what is baked in neurologically for him, or even for me, altogether. I don't know if he is able to counter it all, or if I am. It may be as simple as, love isn't enough (I knew that) and behavior is what we live with.

For me, blowing up and yelling in frustration and distress is a major thing. I can't live that way. I won't.

More TK after T, maybe tomorrow.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO grateful for all of you. I can't even express what a comfort this is. If we need to break up I'll be very sad but I also know I will ultimately be okay.

love and gratitude,
Hops
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 02:17:55 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #471 on: June 29, 2020, 04:17:46 PM »
I was trembling in T, it was hard to say it all. Had chest pain during. Fingers shook. But I did. The biggest thing being that I am overwhelmed, felt at the end of my rope, and don't trust that when I set a boundary it will be respected. It makes me feel frequently guarded or unsafe, despite love and affection. Also made clear I am not accusing M of malice, just that I do not feel heard or respected when his behavior ignores a boundary I've explained repeatedly and he's agreed to.

M was defensive, replied that he now feels unsafe too and repeated his accusations that I was "ill-mannered" (Croutongate) and a long justification about his opinion of my poem. What he missed was his insistence on delivering his opinion until he is satisfied even while I'm asking him to STOP. I think his may be feeling that pushing out his opinions (enormously rewarding professionally) works the same way at home. He is "right" and "brilliant" and accustomed to never being stopped.

What I couldn't get across was, I need to know I have the RIGHT (regardless of his interest or determination to talk to/at me about something) to say, I need you not to talk about this now. Or, please stop. This is a sensitive area that I don't want to share right now. Or whatever. I mentioned it had happened about my D, in bed, and over smaller boundaries.

T told me that anger is human, and three occurrences in a week mean I'm stressed. He told M that it's important to say "I'm sorry what I said upset you" (M rarely apologizes) and that checking in with me during his monologues would help. M said he needs a string around his finger. Sikh said, I want you to tattoo it on your hand.

I feel very drained and am relieved I won't see M until Thursday.

No idea about the outcome, not very optimistic, but a lot's out on the table anyway. T is away next week so it'll be a while. We'll find out how we do.

I really do think we need a breakthrough or we'll be over. Wasn't expecting it now but I guess things rise when they must.

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Garbanzo

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #472 on: June 29, 2020, 05:08:28 PM »
I read you. No advice but I read you.

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #473 on: June 29, 2020, 05:52:51 PM »
M'dear... I hope you forgive yourself being angry. MAYBE M actually heard you that time about the boundary. As unpleasant as it feels to be angry - it's equally unpleasant to have direct requests or boundaries ignored. Bulldozed.I hope he didn't dismiss your genuine feeling of anger. And understand it.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #474 on: June 29, 2020, 06:32:05 PM »
Thanks, (((((G)))))).
That's deeply kind, to tell me you hear.
I appreciate it and it's valuable. You are.

(((((Amber)))))
Thank you. You and a friend I called said the same, and I think after an hour's distress, I got it. I do forgive myself for getting angry. Sikh told me to understand the experience of anger FEELS bad, but it does not mean I AM bad. Aha. Ahahaaa.

I think I'll be okay. I'm much calmer now, even contemplating my capability to end this if I need to. But. We don't have another T session for two weeks, and I'm not going to pull the plug instantly.

I just recognize now that I can if I need to (iow, if I didn't get through to him). I'll find out. And probably pretty soon.

Many thanks again,
Hops

PS--No, he didn't seem to validate or understand my anger. Just focused on how in Croutongate, I'd been "ill-mannered." I think that's the explanation he'll retreat to, but am totally willing to be pleasantly surprised.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 07:02:32 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #475 on: June 29, 2020, 07:06:45 PM »
So you took the forks back from the zombies and M stopped being so prim and proper and bent on SAYING "the right thing" all the time.  He spoke his truth, IME.  Refreshing if one is sick of hearing him parrot what is expected of him, when he doesn't understand it fully, IMO.  I don't know he understands how difficult a concept it IS to self reflect, consistently, check in with his partner, consistently, and STOP, when he's used to bulldozing through, no matter what. 

I see this as progress.  Things are getting real, and that's OK.  I hope you don't feel you have to forgive yourself, Hops.  You're human.  Your anger was self protection, and you have a duty to protect yourself.  The T said so. 

::nod::

It's likely things will take unexpected twists and turns over the next 2 weeks, IME. 

Try to drop expectation, get your nose off the crouton, and see the entire field,  Hops. 

Even if it's not OK....
it's OK.   

Lighter


Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #476 on: June 29, 2020, 07:38:32 PM »
Thanks, ((((Lighter)))).

For this:

Quote
get your nose off the crouton

...you win my heart!

I loooove a consistent theme, and you're right!

Speechless. Delighted.
Hoping I won't get too stuck on future croutons!

hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

CB123

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #477 on: June 29, 2020, 07:42:34 PM »
Crouton gate is absolutely my favorite.

You've got this, Hops. I've had my share of screaming anger, and I must say it brought clarity to me at the time. Not sorry.

Love,
CB
When they are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way -- and it surely has not -- she adjusted her sails.  Elizabeth Edwards 2010

Hopalong

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #478 on: June 29, 2020, 07:51:31 PM »
Thanks, ((((((CB)))))) hon!

You're right. Even though it felt like an attack from parasitic Martians living in my spinal cord, that sudden fury (times three) this week really did bring clarity.

Reality is still my friend and I think my inner self rose up and smacked me upside-a da head.

Not pleasant, but ultimately it was probably a gift. Not probably. Really.

Q: When does life stop being a f***ing learning experience?
A: Never.

Hugs
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

sKePTiKal

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Re: Relationship
« Reply #479 on: June 30, 2020, 12:43:19 AM »
OH PLEASE...  if we ever stop learning, just shoot me, OK?

Who'd a thunk my biggest challenge was just accepting being happy & loved & protected?
Pleasurable evening here. I have everything my little heart desires. Well, OK, maybe a saner economy would ease my OCD brain... but really, I have no complaints.

I have total faith in you Hops. You're going to find the right place to put your toes on the path... and walk it as you choose. You can DO THIS. Whatever comes. I KNOW you can.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.