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Help me articulate what I think!(21 Posts)
Something my exP has just said has really, really hurt me more than anything else, but I can't work out why that is. It's nagging away at me though, so any help working it out would be hugely appreciated.
Quick background: he has anger issues, and terrible childhood issues. Mostly confined to shouting, swearing, snapping at unpredictable things, but when it turned to shoving I couldn't take it anymore and ended it. He has history for having affairs, in fact the first five months we were together he was texting an ex with all sorts of loving messages (I didn't know any of this at the time).
Throughout our relationship he's accused me on a number of occasions of having an affair - which I found deeply upsetting because I couldn't believe he would think so little of me. We only split up two months ago and there's been some communication between us - he's getting counselling and therapy to try and sort out his anger and behaviour. I've crumbled pretty badly and am struggling to cope. Then yesterday he asks me to tell him if I'm seeing someone else now.
So why does that hurt so much? The closest I can get is along the lines of his not believing that I loved him - that I went through all that shit trying to help him and made myself miserable - but that he doesn't think I meant it? It feels like it was all worthless, if he doesn't actually believe in the love and the pain I went through?
Argh. I can't work it out. Any insights at all?
I think he wants permission to own up to having an affair and his relationship still going on. You having a new relationship, which he seems to accept would be new since your split, would make him feel better about his.
Sending you some and a to help you feel a smidgen stronger.
I'm not sure it's that, Home. I don't think he's in any state to be wooing someone else. It seems to be more that he thinks I am capable of it. As though he's devastated, but I'll have moved on - he's hurt, but I'm heartless?
He isn't capable of love, therefore he cannot understand your love.
I think him asking you to tell him if you're seeing someone is all about him and nothing to do with you, actually. It may be all about his own lack of self-worth (can't believe anyone really loves him and is there for him) and jealousy. Or maybe he's half hoping you are having an affair, then he's off the hook. Easier said than done, I know, but don't take it personally. It's a reflection of his own state of mind.
I hope you're right NoMore. Just wondering why, with history, it shouldn't be the case now?
Why are you still engaging with him?
He's just projecting his issues onto you. You aren't his nurse and saviour.
Block his number and move on.
In the nicest possible way, it's not your problem what he believes. You know you loved him and you tried to help him.
You say you've been miserable so surely it's time to move on? Some counselling might be helpful to get some perspective - talk to your GP and explain what's been going on.
He is deeply insecure and cannot love or be loved because he feels unworthy of love. So anyone who does love him is rejected until they withdraw their love. Possibly?
I can recommend a book for you called How To Get The Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix. It's an excellent book, he gets to the nitty gritty.
About your ex, I would advise playing it completely straight:
No I am not seeing anyone. I am hoping we can salvage our relationship (if that's true?) and have no plans to date. I am still committed to you.
? sorry if that's not what you are wanting.
It hurts so much because he is trying to control you with guilt. You have been the epitome of fidelity and loyalty, helping him and tolerating him, way beyond the call of duty, even to your own detriment. He constantly accused you of disloyalty during your relationship and for him now to try to put up barriers to you making a new life with someone else is essentially the same thing. As the break-up is only recent, that hits a nerve.
Agree with everyone who says stop communicating with him. The less time you let him in your head and the more distance you put between you, the better.
There's a little thing psychologists call projection (google it!). He is accusing you of the things he is doing. Looking at someone else it is like looking in a mirror; he sees himself, his own faults. He cannot value your qualities, such as faithfulness, because he doesn't recognise you as a separate human being who can behave differently to himself. And this is going to hurt because it shows he never thought of you as a real person, kind of. I think there's at least an element of that as well as what the other posters say, especially Flimflammery.
Anyway, the bottom line is, it's about him rather than you, so try not to take it personally. You have nothing to prove to him any more. It's over.
If you have no plans to re-establish a relationship, then don't engage with him in this discussion.
If you think you will be getting back together at some point, a simple "No" will suffice.
Given his paranoia about affairs I would read the question as a lead-on to another paranoid view that you were perhaps seeing someone before you split. I had this once, an ex's friend saw my new bf knocking on my front door; ex phoned me and asked if I'd been having an affair with this guy while he and I were still together (I hadn't, and the very suggestion was ludicrous).
If on the other hand your ex had control issues as well as anger issues (they often do), asking you questions such as this might be a manifestation of that: knowing what is going on in your personal life (and judging you for it, or emotionally abusing you about it) is a form of control. I have an ex of ten years (DC's father, hence why we're still in touch) who still has a funny turn every time he knows or even suspects I am dating. He was an angry and controlling man with paranoid tendencies as well.
Thanks everyone; good points, some I'd not considered.
Dysfunctional, that is true, yes. I am hoping some time apart while he has therapy will let us try again later.
The problem is that reassurance has never worked before. He keeps coming back to it. So maybe it is a self-esteem thing? But then the frame of mind I'm in now revolts from the idea of giving yet more support, encouragement, understanding, love, until I get a little trust and respect first. I say he needs to prove he can control his anger and sort out his issues. He says he doesn't know how to prove it. Neither do I.
Cogito, yes it does hit a nerve, because it seems more of the same old, same old. Brought all the misery back.
Annie, it does seem as though I don't really exist. After years together he still doesn't know that I'm not a cheat? He still doesn't know how I behave or think or feel? That's just... awful.
So major trust issues.
Stick to simple, truthful answers such as "No I am not seeing anyone else, I'm still committed to you," and "I find it hurtful that you keep questioning my commitment to you."
His questioning is not cool and the insecurity is his problem. Full marks to him for seeking professional help and possibly he can make progress on this ie. quit projecting onto you.
I agree that it's time to stop reassuring him, it's almost as if you are feeding an addiction. The fear, the insecurity, the paranoia - these are his problems and you shouldn't need to take them on board.
I'm sorry I don't know how else you might manage this except use your time alone to reflect on what you really want from this relationship, what you are and are not prepared to put up with, and to see how the therapy goes.
He is accusing you of something to divert any blame from himself. He seems to be in denial that he has done anything wrong.
It does seem like that sometimes. That if he could point the finger and say, ah, but you have seen someone else/moved on, then all this would be my fault for not caring enough, rather than his fault for behaving so badly. Because deep down he'd have known something was going on, which is why he behaved as he did...
God, I'm going round in circles.
" giving yet more support, encouragement, understanding, love, until I get a little trust and respect first."
Be honest. Has he ever, in all the time you've known him, shown you trust and respect? From the description you gave at the start he was unfaithful from Day 1 and his behaviour since has only been sporadically acceptable. So what if he had 'childhood issues'? What has that got to do with his decisions as a grown man?
It sounds like you've gone through your entire relationship believing (wrongly) that your love could fix everything. He has gone through the entire relationship thinking you're easily fooled. Sorry but I think you're wasting your time.
It does seem like that sometimes. That if he could point the finger and say, ah, but you have seen someone else/moved on, then all this would be my fault for not caring enough, rather than his fault for behaving so badly. exactly as I saw it.
Oh. I'm stuck. Honestly stuck. I'm off to my parents for a few days to try and think about nothing at all, I hope.
Thank you so much for your replies.
maybe it's the slap of 'god that's still all that matters to you' - whether or not you are shagging someone, whether you are HIS. that it's all about HIM still and his jealousy and imagined stuff. that it's still not are you ok? how are you holding up? i'm so sorry for everything i did to you - it's just him and worrying if you've let another man touch you.
think that's what it would be for me anyway
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