To hope that maybe I can change my behaviour(24 Posts)
Name changed as this is extremely outing.
I can't seem to stop getting cross with my partner for very little reason. We moved in together 2 months ago, but even before then I would get very upset if I perceived that he didn't want to see me (he usually did), and now that we're living together things have ranged from him coming in at 11pm from work and not wanting to eat something I've cooked, him saying "this washing is quite wet, did you spin it?" to all sorts of other banal things.
This is particularly bad after social occasions. We have to go to a lot of social occasions for his job and at those he has to be professional and therefore spend time with his young people and not introduce me as his girlfriend (he is a youth worker in a particular area of equalities). This then leaves me on my own a lot of the time, and I am really socially anxious and find it near impossible to speak to people. On Sunday we were at an event relevant to my interests all afternoon, but since I had nobody to "hang out" with the whole event I found myself at an absolute loss for most of it, and then afterwards I felt really resentful and ended up being pretty vile to my partner on the way home as my anxiety had built up so much.
How it works is that he'll do something that will give me the impression he doesn't care or that I'm being told off, I'll react in a completely over the top way (eg "well I'm never doing the washing again then"), then he'll be cross with me, I'll get upset and really hate myself to the point of wanting to hurt myself, and he'll still be cross with me because he says he can't deal with this behaviour on top of everything he has going on at work.
My partner works really, really hard, he is currently single handedly running a well attended project and has lots of different things going on with that. He says he works hard because he wants us to have a nice life together, but I worry that his working will mean we are limited in our time together. He often jokes that he'll have a heart attack at 50 and I just can't bear it.
I'm currently having CBT for quite severe social anxiety and depression, and really trying to work on myself and in particular these behaviours where it feels like I'm pushing my partner away despite the fact I love him very much. I hate it when I've made him upset with me, and yet it is me who's making him upset. I'm currently on a waiting list to be assessed for autism, which would make a lot of sense, but again, even if I am completely overwhelmed it does not mean I can take it out on my poor partner. And yet I can't seem to stop myself, and I don't know why I do it (well I slightly do, it's to do with my core beliefs that I'm going to be rejected, apparently I have very anxious attachment to people), and yet when I try to explain this he says I am not taking responsibility for my actions. I just never know how to fix things once they've started.
AIBU to think I can change? Because genuinely I think I am the worst person ever for this behaviour, and I just want the world to stop so I can be not so... me.
Hang on, he can't introduce you as his girlfriend? Why not?
Why can he not introduce you as his girlfriend? How does he introduce you? I would be angry left on my own at social functions - perhaps he needs to change his behaviour?
Hang on, he can't introduce you as his girlfriend? Why not?
Because he works with young people and likes to keep his personal life quite separate from his professional life. Tbf the young people are little stalkers (and a couple of them know me anyway) so they do know I'm his girlfriend. But he won't show any signs of affection towards me when his young people are around.
Why do you have to go to these work events with him? They sound utterly grim. Anyone would hate to be in that situation.
I should clarify he introduces me as his girlfriend to other adults! I say social occasions but he is working them, on Sunday for example he was facilitating a conversation and then doing a speech.
If he has to attend social events and spend most of the time with other people then in your boat I'd find somewhere else to be. If you don't enjoy social events unless you're with him then you can probably avoid that part of the stress. Maybe that would mean you're not so close to the edge of the banal stuff. Good luck, you can do it.
I am not a youth worker but I work alongside a lot of youth workers- I don't understand why you have to go to these work related events with him. If he feels it's inappropriate to introduce you as his partner why take you at all? It seems like it's creating unnecessary stress for you both.
It seems as though the relationship doesn't make you happy, OP. You've only lived with him a while - perhaps time to call it a day?
I agree that there doesn’t seem to be any value in you going to these events with him. Do you go because he wants you to, or because you want to be there?
Well I think you can change your behaviour, and I would suggest starting off by stopping attending his work functions. The situation you describe would be stressful for most people, let alone someone suffering from anxiety.
Just stop going to the functions, sounds like it's really boring for you tbh.
If you are at an event where he can't introduce you as his partner, I don't really think you should have to be there. I would stay at home on these occasions.
I think you can change your behaviour and recognising there is a problem and wanting to change are fundamental (and it's clear you have these).
From my experience I find a lot of behaviour we view as undesirable in ourselves stems from subconscious beliefs we have which we've picked up from somewhere (eg childhood). For me once I've identified the belief and the belief has no evidence/is irrationalI find out quite easy to change (I'm very logically driven so you might find something else more persuasive.
I think with some anxiety talking therapies you're advised not to avoid doing things because they make you anxious. I'm not clear why you feel obliged to attend your partner's work functions (perhaps a misplaced sense of duty?). You could spend the time instead doing something for yourself that you would enjoy.
...and be kind to yourself.
Have you ever been assessed for BPD? One of the main symptoms is attachment and abandonment issues, which seems to be the behaviour that's worrying you.
I are that the functions won't be helping your social anxiety.
Sounds like you need some therapy to try to change your behaviour and stop reacting like this.
Are you going to these work functions because you want to be around him all the time?
It sounds like you feel like he is an anchor for you?
I have to say reading this I did wonder if you might have ASD but I’m not an expert - one things for sure you are suffering considerably with anxiety.
Have you thought about taking medication? Sometimes this can really help you access CBT fully.
Why are you going to these work events with him?
Stop attending the work stuff if he is unable to even speak to you. Sounds miserable.
Regarding flying off the handle over small incidents, the old one about taking a deep breath and counting to ten before responding really does help. Also come up with a few stock responses you can use if he's upset you that are more neutral and less personal.
So yes, you can change the way you react. However, he doesn't sound perfect tbh. Most of us are pissed off if we've cooked and then do comes in very late and leaves the meal. Why can't he let you know? Good communication makes such a difference.
Lastly, it's early days so you are both finding your feet. Going out together and having a proper chat about what's working well and what's not might be constructive.
So if you are going to a work event with him and he won't be able to be with you, and you can't talk to semi-strangers, why not take a friend with you?
Find some interests so you are less dependent on your partner. Try to communicate about whether you will be able to eat together instead of assuming and then getting angry.
Try not to react to everything as if it's criticism, it may not be. For instance, if I found a machine full of soggy washing, I'd be asking 'did you spin it' but thinking 'is the washing machine pump blocked up again?
Stop making your partner responsible for your happiness in every situation, just because you now share a home.
learning to live together is hard though, and an apology goes a long way
I agree with not going to the events. Just stop.
I'm not an expert on this, but usually people overreact when they are still hurt/upset about something that happened previously, by someone else or many many years ago. This causes anger to erupt and it may seem like an overreaction but in fact you are still hurt over the original event, and are punishing the person now for it.
Does that make any sense to you? Please ignore my post if it doesn't because like I mentioned i am not an expert but hopefully your counsellor is and will be able to get to the bottom of it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.