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Emotionally Exhausted (sorry, this is very long :(

(26 Posts)
moonmanic Sat 18-May-13 20:50:16

I've posted quite recently about both my toxic mum and also difficulties I've been having with my ex partner.

Basically, this week it came to a bit of head as I literally felt overwhelmed with the stress that both relationships were giving me. After about 4 months of counselling and the stuff that has been unearthed I felt like I could hardly contain the pressure any more. Actually felt for the last few weeks like I was a pressure cooker about to go off.

Issues with my mum include her constant invalidating, criticism etc. With ex P it was the constant undermining and again the invalidation.

Anyway it all came to a head this week. I confronted my mum after she asked me why I don't "talk" to her anymore. She said that I always used to tell her my problems but that she feels I have shut down since about December. I told her this was because I felt like she was always invalidating me and that I never felt any better when I did tell her stuff, that I would be better off not talking to her. I told her that she does things that I feel are betrayals, like always siding with my abusive dad and asking my ex to family do's without asking me first. That I don't appreciate her "advice" as to me it feels like criticism. I used a lot of "I" statements, which I have learnt from counselling so as not to blame her. It sort of worked in that it did not lead to an argument or anything. She was very defensive, I kept saying that the things she did made me feel a certain way. Anyway, she got quite upset, saying she did not realise the effect it was having on me, that she loves me.

It was quite a heavy conversation. I told her a lot of stuff that has weighed heavily on me for a long time and it was a real relief to get it off my chest and also that I did'nt go into a rage which is what I have been worried about doing. I was very calm and it was a very civilised if not emotionally charged conversation.

Later on the same day (ffs!) I ended up having another heavy conversation with my ex. I told him how undermined I feel by him berating me about the housework, that I find his manner patronising and that I never feel like he listens or respects my opinions. He was also quite receptive to what I was saying and again I did'nt fly off the handle or anything, it was all very text book assertiveness as I could manage with lots of "when you do this...it makes me feel..." etc. Again that ended reasonably well.

However, today I saw ex again as he was taking DD out so that I could study. He told me that he gets so frustrated with me because he wants the 3 of us to do stuff like go camping together either just us or with his friends too. I tell him I feel like such a spare part when I'm with his friends as I am not in a relationship with him and just don't feel that comfortable. He said that it is all in my head, that I should just "relax" more and that our lives would be so much better if I just agreed to go on trips with him more. I told him I just don't think its that normal for us to go on trips like that together because we are not in a relationship etc. He just did not know where I'm coming from. I don't even know if IABU. I just have a feeling in my gut that I don't really want to go camping or other activities with him. He seems so headstrong and always lays the blame at my door, always saying things are my fault.

Anyway, its been a heavy week for me. On the one hand I sort of feel like in some way I am making progress by expressing clearly my feelings and needs to people but I also just feel utterly emotionally exhausted.

Another thing that has caused me to feel emotionally zapped is seeing one of my best friends for the first time in absolutely ages this week. its the first time I've seen her since she was diagnosed with MS, which has also caused me a lot of heartbreak because she is so lovely and of course it is a horrible thing for someone you love to be told. It was fabulous to see her, she is so positive and great company, but it reminded me how much she means to me and how much I have missed her.

I also have a massive essay to complete by the end of next week for my OU degree. I have shit loads of work to do on it. I won't be able to do any more tonight because I am so tired.

I've just bought a packet of cigerettes today (I quit a while back) as I feel like I needed some sort of comfort. The guys in the corner shop know I quit ages ago and were like going "oh no, I thought you quit!". I told them I've had a bad day and was lucky not to burst into tears there and then like a big blubbering mess. I now also feel shitty and guilty because I've smoked a fag even though I was so proud of myself for quitting.

Sorry this is so long. From a purely selfish point of view, writing it all down has been a little bit cathartic. I suppose I would like a bit of hand holding and/or a bit of advice. xxx

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 18-May-13 20:53:20

Sounds like a tough day. Have you ever thought of just detaching from all these people? Not sharing your feelings? Not exposing how bad they make you feel? IME bullies love nothing more than to know they've got to you and made you suffer. Don't give them the satisfaction, perhaps? Talk to your lovely friend but blank the rest....

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 18-May-13 20:54:34

BTW.... of course YANBU for not wanting to on jolly camping trips with your ex! Exes are exes for a reason. They are not pals. I'm sure you've got far better things to do with your time.

moonmanic Sat 18-May-13 21:14:35

It was a very tough day! And a very tough week. I feel like I could kill for a cuddle from someone right now. I have massive knots of tension in my back and just want to curl up in a little ball....

I have tried to detach from both of them. But I also feel like I had so much pent up resentment that I needed to off load a bit. They both seem so oblivious to how I feel. If I detach they won't stop how they are treating me. I guess I wanted to start establishing boundaries.

With my ex, with all this talk of camping and how I just don't want to go - he just does'nt get where I am coming from. He totally thinks it is my problem. He does think I think that he has got me, like you say Cogito. He seems to be talking to me now like it is some sort of psychological issue I have in social situations generally as opposed to it being specifically when I am around him and his friends. I told him that I don't feel comfortable with it because we are not in a relationship and that I don't feel like I want to pretend that I am happy to be there when I am not. He just kept saying that I just need to think of him as being my friend and that me feeling uncomfortable is all in my head and that I should'nt care what his friends think (although I did'nt say that i did). He said that I am pigeon holing myself and that I am losing out on great times. I find him so difficult to get to empathize with where I am coming from. Its just so frustrating. It feels like I am talking to a brick wall.

wendybird77 Sat 18-May-13 23:45:27

I think it is insane to go camping with your ex and his friends. YANBU. Well done on the heavy conversations. Exhausting, but a fabulous step forward. Stop entertaining your ex's weird thing about wanting you all to go camping. Tell him you have other plans and then make them! It isn't fun for you, you don't have to explain this to him or go into any of it - a simple 'no thank you' repeated over and over again should eventually sink in. Weirdo. (him, not you)

ElectricSheep Sat 18-May-13 23:59:46

Bloody hell MM way to go! All that assertiveness in one week. Well done. I really admire the way you've handled this, particularly as you were feeling fit to burst beforehand yet you've still managed to hold it together and express yourself calmly with dignity.

Wrt to your DM perhaps she will take away what you said and think it over. It sounds like she at least listened so it's up to her now whether she choose to respond positively.

Wrt to your ex, can't you just say no I don't want to? Afterall if you wanted to spend time with him he wouldn't be ex. How arrogant and entitled exactly is this man? You're 'missing out on some great times with him and his friends'?? WTAF? Tell him you'd have more fun staying in and washing your hair followed by completing a 20k word essay grin

If I were you I'd say no once more then just keep repeating in a very flat and bored voice 'I don't want to discuss it anymore' until he gets the message. On absolutely no account should you consider going. That would be very bad for your self-esteem (and his humongous arrogance).

Exercise will get rid of those knots of tension in your back and then you should be patting yourself repeatedly on it for being so assertive and grown-up [jealous]

Mantella Sun 19-May-13 01:59:02

Moonmaniac, I agree with everyone above. Don't try to justify yourself to your ex. I don't think he wants to understand. Just say "no thanks" and keep repeating. You are right. There is no need for you to go camping with your ex. He's an ex! No wonder you're exhausted flowers

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 19-May-13 06:59:09

"I find him so difficult to get to empathize with where I am coming from. Its just so frustrating. It feels like I am talking to a brick wall."

So stop talking. He is a brick wall where you're concerned. Worse than that... he's actively trying to convince you you're nuts! He doesn't care about how you feel and it shouldn't bother you that he doesn't. So stop talking. He's history, he's irrelevant, you have better things to do with your time and all you need to talk about ever are the bare-bones relating to your child.

moonmanic Sun 19-May-13 15:06:17

What I am thinking of doing now, seeing as it is clear that he is completely not on the same page as me on so many levels is to tell him he can only come round for two evenings a week to look after DD while I am at my evening (which is the situation at the moment except that he usually pops round more times during the week as well). So I will cut this down to just the two nights. Then he can have her for the day on either the Saturday or Sunday. He really will not like it if he is not allowed into my house though. I am worried of doing this as I know this will cause an almighty rift between us. But perhaps if I am more firm this might help send the message to him.

He came round this morning to pick up DD to take her out again so that I can get work done on my essay. He had been out on a work piss up on Friday and his colleague had taken his bag with wallet in etc and Ex has had difficulties all weekend to get hold of him so he can get his stuff back. Anyway, he was in my house, DD was already to go etc, ex gets call from this colleague and ex then proceeds to give this guy my home address. I was still in my pjamas and dressing gown at this point, I sort of know this guy because we all worked in the same office at some point but felt totally uncomfortable about him popping round. I told Ex this and he went apeshit saying that he will pick up bag outside the house and that colleague won't come in. He was saying that he would'nt have a problem with colleague coming in and didnt understand why I was so annoyed. He then took another rip at my house being messy (I have a toddler ffs, yes there are toys on the living room floor, but thats to be expected, right?). This to me is another example of him crossing boundaries IMO. He has no right inviting people round to my house. It just further makes me feel undermined by him and that he does not respect my boundaries that I put down.

I think I need to put my foot down, as you lovely mumsnetters advise and stop talking to him and just be really firm about letting him round. I'm just a dog chasing my own tail as I keep telling him how I feel but he won't listen so why am I wasting my time?It just drives me crazy as I will never be able to win.

moonmanic Sun 19-May-13 15:06:47

*while I am at my evening class

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 19-May-13 16:15:53

The only way you're going to win this one is to make different arrangements for babysitting (even though it inconveniences you), introduce doorstep handovers for legally agreed contact and otherwise don't let him over the threshold, don't chit-chat, don't give him any more contact than is strictly necessary. He's currently invading your privacy, your space, abusing your good nature and fundamentally taking the piss on all levels.

If you've been wasting your time it's probably because you wanted it all to be amicable for your DD's sake. You think explaining your feelings means others will sympathise.... when bullies simply use the information to identify your weak points and then use that knowledge to their advantage. i.e they know where to stick the knife in next time.

So detach fully from him. You'll feel 100% better when you do

ElectricSheep Sun 19-May-13 20:13:11

Of course a messy house is inevitable with small DC.

You will have to be brave on this one and expect him to really kick off and up the ante as he realises you are standing firm and withdrawing your contact with him. But if you are consistent and don't budge you will get there eventually and he will accept that his relationship is with his DD not you anymore, other than as your DD's mother.

Don't doubt yourself OP. YOu are doing the right thing.

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 21:51:45

A little bit of an update of how I'm feeling (rather than any particular developments). This week ex has still coming round to put DD to bed. As I am in the middle of essay writing I did'nt fancy the added burden of having a massive fallout with him so I have decided to announce that we are going to put in place the 2 evenings a week (while I am at college) after half term in term weeks time. Getting other child care arrangements is not possible at the moment so this will have to better than nothing.

This week has continued to be difficult. He is constantly stroppy. Rolling his eyes at every thing I say. Last night when he was leaving I asked him not to slam the front door on his way out which he has done loads before and he glared at me like he was going to eat me alive. He just has no respect at all.

He is also throwing in my face the fact that I told him last week during our big chat that I have been going to counselling. I have been going for ages and had'nt told him because I knew he would use it against me but during our chat a lot of stuff was coming out and I was quite emotional so it came out. At first he was quite positive about it, he has since said things like my problems being so severe that I will need to go for years before me and my counseller even get to him (implying that I have huge problems). He also said on Sunday after the colleague/bag incident that I was not well in the head for getting annoyed about the idea of someone I don't really know coming into my house. It makes me so angry that he can say these things. Actually since I started counselling, I have started to see that actually I am doing quite well, I'm not mad nor have serious mental health problems, but I do have baggage to deal with frin the past and the way I have dealt with them (i.e. to be very passive ) was understandable at the time and it is also understandable that this weighs heavily on me now. He is obviously really not liking the new, assertive me.

Another issue that I am worried about right now is that we are going to visit his family on friday and staying there for a few days. THey live quite far away and I just feel scared that its going to be a case of them against me. I sort of considered not going, but think that it would not be fair on DD and them not see each other just because I don't get on with my ex. To be fair to them, they have never been unpleasant or anything to me. I'm more worried of him being a twat and/or if we have an argument or disagreement that they will all side with him and I will be on my own.

RandomMess Wed 22-May-13 21:59:37

How old is your DD?

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:00:11

Sorry, just read through that again and it is riddled with typos and missing words.....

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:01:29

RandomMess She is 20 months

RandomMess Wed 22-May-13 22:03:13

I really think you should let your ex take your dd to his parents without you. Your DD appears to have a close relationship with her dad and sees him regularly she will be fine without you.

Imagine you had a new partner - there is no way surely you would consider going away with your ex if you did - it's a bit bonkers???

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:10:37

Well they actually live in a different country, a plane ride away and I just get queasy thinking about being so far away from my baby. We are going for five days. I have never been apart from DD for such a long time. I don't think either of us would like it. I just don't feel ready to let him take her on his own yet, I just feel she is too small.

RandomMess Wed 22-May-13 22:14:54

Could you go for the first 3 days and return home earlier to give them some time together without you there? It's just a thought that it asserts that you are no longer a couple, that your ex will have to do this stuff without you in the future that sort of thing?

Walkacrossthesand Wed 22-May-13 22:24:00

I hope there will be a time, not too far off, when you do not find yourself manoeuvred into this kind of corner by your own niceness. If DD is too young to be apart from you for 5 days, then what the hell is ex doing booking a 5 day trip on the assumption that you'll go too? Agree with others - on this occasion, travel separately, stay for the minimum number of days that make the mummy-free days manageable in your eyes, and come away. In future, agree only to things you are happy with. And if your ex makes out you are being ridiculous, remind him that (a) he is your ex; (b) the word he needs is 'boundaries' . I haven't read your previous posts, but I presume he was a controller when you were with him?

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:27:25

Well the tickets are all booked and I can't afford to buy separate ones for me. I'll just have to put up with being there for the 5 days. This won't be always the case though. I fully intend in letting them go together without me in the future when DD is a bit older. I just feel at the moment that she is too little, that's just my gut, mother instinct in me and I can't help it.
Also with regard to whether I get another partner, yes it will be inappropriate to go with my ex, whether to visit his family or on one of these camping trips he was talking about. At the moment I don't have a boyfriend so it is not an issue. But I have been thinking increasingly that I would like to start looking for a relationship and that's a reason why I want to start putting boundaries in place. Also at the moment, because ex seems to be around all the time, I don't get any opportunities to meet anyone new so I'm hoping that if I start cutting the amount of time he comes round that it might give me such an opportunity.

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:36:52

Yeah, I am definitely being manoeuvred into unwanted corners. The reason we are going on this trip is because his family are having a big get together to celebrate a big birthday. He told me about it ages ago but was very vague about dates etc and when he finally told me when it was I realised it was really inconvenient for me college wise. I told him that I will not be able to go - he went mental saying that I was a disgrace and laying on the guilt saying his mum and sister will be devastated if DD was'nt there. I did'nt fancy either him hating me or his family thinking I'm this horrible selfish person so I changed my mind and agreed to go. It makes me feel powerless though, that I feel like I have to do these things when I don't want to. But I also feel that I have a responsibility to my DD to allow her to be part of her dad's side of the family. It could be a lot easier though if he was'nt so horrible to me though.
He does'nt seem to understand the concept of "ex" or "boundaries". I have repeatedly reminded him of the importance to remember both but he just does'nt get it. I actually feel quite pathetic with this post. I just feel like such a wimp and not the assertive person I want to be.

RandomMess Wed 22-May-13 22:37:16

I wonder if you ex is hoping for reconciliation or just wants to prevent you from getting on with your life? What does your instinct say?

Just say no to future trips. Where does your ex live, at what point is he going to start having DD overnight at his as that would naturally stop him coming into your home etc.

moonmanic Wed 22-May-13 22:52:44

I really don't think that he wants a reconciliation. Whatever there was between us when we were together has gone as far as I am concerned. I don't get the impression that he wants us to be a couple. We don't get on that well, he does'nt have any respect for me. Sometimes I get the distinct impression he does'nt like me.
I think he probably does'nt want me to get on with my life. I guess he is exerting a lot of control over me by being over all the time. He wants to live his old, pre-DD life but also wants to keep me under his thumb.

With regard to DD staying overnight with him, she has never stayed with him because he says that his house is not appropriate for her to stay. He is 34 and still lives in a shared house with a mix old uni friends and people found on gumtree. None of them have children. When I ask him maybe he should move out and find somewhere where DD could stay, he gets very angry saying he can't possibly afford to move somewhere with space for DD because he "gives" all his money to me every month for maintenance (he does'nt - he gives me £250 and still manages to buy expensive Buffalo jackets and Ray Bans and go out on the piss with his friends). Next month he is going to a wedding overseas and is going to Glastonbury Festival with his mates. . The only times he has looked after her for a night in the past (and this has not been recently) has been when I've got to a point of such exhaustion that he has stayed at my home with DD while I have either had to go and sleep on a friend's sofa or stay in a cheap B&B.

Walkacrossthesand Wed 22-May-13 23:12:42

I feel for you. The bit that jumped out at me was 'I don't want ex to hate me or his family to think I'm selfish'. So you're sacrificing your college commitment, along with your own boundaries, to those feelings. Lets face it, DD is too young to care if she's at the birthday celebration or not - this is a territorial act by your ex. You may not have the stomach to put your foot down now and say you're not going, and because you weren't (effectively) consulted and DD isn't old enough to be separated from you so she's not going either although you could - but resolve that you're not ever going to let this happen again. Let him hate you, let them think you're selfish - you know that this is about you and your DD, and that takes priority .

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