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Woman of my Dreams is a Nightmare
I don't know where to start or how to begin. There isn't a short way to describe my story and so many topics that all feed into why I'm here and writing this.
I've been reading some threads of others and I keep feeling that I shouldn't be here, there are so many people with lives worse than mine. What right do I have to be unhappy, what am I so sad about?
My girlfriend has escaped a relationship with my help from who I believe to of been a Sociopath or at the very least show many of their attributes. I'd know my GF since she was 14 and we tried to date in highschool so after not seeing her for nearly 20yrs and finding out the girl of my dreams was an abused prisoner I helped her find the strength to leave her partner of nearly 6yrs, 5 of which were spattered with physical and emotional abuse, coercion and forced acts.
We began our new lives together slowly. I'd spend weekends with her and occasionally stay for tea during the week. Issues surrounding her behaviour became clearer and clearer to me with time and she is getting better, namely guessing what I'm thinking or about to think and then taking action i.e. Presuming I'm upset or angry with her and becoming defensive when I wasnt upset/angry at all.
I've taken to keeping a diary of these sorts of events to try find ways of keeping her calm based on my notes. She still overreacts to things I do or don't do or say the wrong way, tumbling down into yet another argument from her while I try to convince her I'm not angry with her.
Everything is always my fault, no matter what. I'm the argumentative one. I break down and cry to manipulate her and embarrass her. I ruin our weekends, our weeknights, dinner with friends.
We were supposed to go on a road trip just today for a getaway holiday to relax but last night we had another argument after I got the hiccups and couldnt stop them.
She tried to help then thought when I got up to go to the toilet that I left because I was unhappy with her and she felt embarrassed. Later when both in bed and she was telling me off for treating her poorly and I snapped, told her to leave.
I started yelling it like a crazed man holding the bedsheets up under my chin. She left and I was too stunned with shock to get up and try to stop her.
I love her with every fibre of my being, flaws, habits, warts and all. I'm ashamed, hurt and disgusted with myself I swore I'd never leave her. She's let me back into the house but I think damage is done. I don't know why I said it, she hates me
Hi Sir Lurkalot,
Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. I am sorry to hear you are both having a rough time. Are either of you seeing a counsellor or such? Your partner has been through a lot and it wouldn't be surprising if her mental health has been compromised. It must be difficult for both of you, she is possibly reacting to situations out of her condition and it would be hard if not impossible for you to understand her reactions.
You could benefit greatly from some professional support, foster some understanding of her condition and learn how you can respond as a partner. It's important to keep the communication channels open, have you talked to her about your regret for yelling at her? Let's presume she doesn't hate you until she says so. Talk any time.
dear Sir Lurkalot, thanks for posting your comment, and firstly can I say as I always do when anybody says exactly what you have ' so many people with lives worse than mine', and yes there are, but when it comes to how you feel then that's the most important issue here.
The title of your post isn't necessarily how I have read your comment, and please I hope that this won't horrify you or upset you, because I am only commenting on how I take what you have said.
In saying that I believe that the problem is 50/50 in a possible love-hate relationship, where the both of you need counselling together and then separately.
I'm not too sure who starts the arguments, and whether it's how she thinks or whether your decision to challenge her which starts the disagreement.
I hope that you can get back to us. Geoff.
Dear Sir Lurkalot
I love the name, you must have a great sense of humour. Welcome to Beyond Blue, great to have you aboard.
I feel I understand your GF's situation. I lived with my husband for 30 years before I found the courage to leave. From what you have written I believe your GF was in a far worse situation than me, but it makes no difference. It's as Geoff says, the situation you are in is the one that counts. There is no hierarchy of need or damage otherwise most of us would never receive help. And it's the same for your GF and me. She sounds to have been far more brutally damaged but I still deserve help. Does that make sense to you?
I find I do the same things as your GF. This shows up very clearly in interactions with my psychologist. I constantly question why he puts up with me and does not say he will no longer offer me counseling. I am demanding and aggressive at times, verbally that is. I am certain many other people would have shown me the door by now. He says he does not take my comments personally, which is fortunate. Why do I act in that fashion? Well at first I was puzzled by this and put it down to all sorts of reasons. Having made progress in other areas he now says many of my actions stem from my domestic violence issues.
I am very nervous in interactions with other men, even trivial conversations. There are times when I am so nervous and anxious talking to a man that I want to run away. I doubt that any of them want to harm me in any way but that's the way it is for me. So I am guessing this is the same with your GF.
I am greatly upset when anyone shows any sign of displeasure or disagreement with me. It's not that I always believe I am right etc just that I go into placatory mode in the blink of an eye. Learned behaviour to protect myself.
If your GF is not receiving counseling then I urge you to get her to start. Relationships Australia, Anglicare, Lifeline, 1800 RESPECT: National Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence Counselling Service, Salvation Army are all organisations which offer counselling to women who have experienced domestic violence. These are usually free or small cost services. Your GF can also talk to her GP and get a referral to an appropriate person such as a psychologist.
Please remember her behaviour is not your fault. It is due to the horrendous experiences she has endured. Your part is to love and support her, get help for her and work together to help her recover.
Please write in again.
Thank you to everyone, all of your replies are very helpful. Apologies for the late reply it's been a busy few weeks of holidays and then getting back into routine.
It has been a difficult road since the beginning and I've never thought it would be an easy or short path. I've striven to bridge understanding whenever there is a conflict between my partner and I. I do feel that a lot of our disagreements and misunderstandings (incidents) are due to the behavioural conditioning from her prior relationship. I don't feel that she is solely at fault, or at times at any fault for incidents we experience - we're all human. I also feel that we are making progress however slowly. She still calls me by or refers me to others by his name yet this has almost completely stopped. She admits that there is still a shock that when incidents do occur between us and I am mostly calm and supportive instead 'going nuclear' as she describes her previous experiences, even for things like talking out of turn - saying things he doesn't like without any prior knowledge that it would upset him - wanting to visit friends or family - not stacking the dishes the 'right way'- not saying please or a host of other triggers that she has learned coping strategies/behaviours for during her abusive relationship.
I'll post another update later as for now I mostly wished thanks to everyone and to know I'm here, lurking, and I'll stay in touch when I can as I don't get a great deal of privacy.