Feeling used and unsupported by partner, his family and mine(15 Posts)
I need some help with how to handle this. I am feeling very upset and know that this has a lot to do with past issues of mine and not dealing with them very well. I'd like to behave differently but having a hard time not panicking and just withdrawing. Do I stand up for my needs or let things go?
My partner is difficult to live with, we have been together 8 years, not married. I grew up with no family, have had a previous long term relationship where I was part of partners family but it never came easy to me. I appreciate that I have my own issues.
My partner has been all over the place for years, never quite pinpointing what is 'wrong', just stressed, unsure of himself, not happy. Up and down. It started when he lost his mother suddenly. It hasn't stopped him being very supportive in words and ideas for me and us, but they never happen - basically there is a lot of talk, no action and not much real closeness and mostly negative talk and a sense of stuckness for me. I have never really known exactly what the problem IS and end up getting frustrated and we argue. He then starts the blame game.
A year or so ago, I managed to detach from all the trying to solve our problems with him, or at least not listen so much or put energy into solutions - so we have fairly separate lives now, but he still has no sense of boundaries as to what problems are his, mine and both of ours and I feel hurt and disrespected over Christmas arrangements, which I categorically see as something we BOTH need to be happy with.
A little more background, a year or so ago I told him he needed to go and get support because whatever was 'wrong' was affecting me and his behaviour was causing problems. He has previously had a vague diagnosis for Adult ADHD and had often mentioned this, I know that this can cause stress, inability to handle emotions and follow through with plans without help - basically what you might call immaturity. I said that I couldnt understand things anymore and outside help or explanation was needed.
Long story short, he did begin anxiety medication some months ago, he seemed more together, but really I still wasn't receiving any attention, all the energy centres around him. His yes then no plans, can cope, can't cope - it's chaos.
His sister lives in Australia and his brother in the UK - he makes no effort to see them but they are 'close' and I have always thought they blamed me that he 'lost' himself when he met me, it does seem that way, dependant yet controlling - I can't put my finger on it ,but I kep thinking he would find his way. It's clear to me now that he lacks responsibility.Anyway the family seem very closed off to me, they have never really got to know me and add me as a casual add on when they extend invitations. I have tried to get to know them but stopped a few years ago, I used to buy all the gifts and remember dates etc, I don't now. His sister has visited the UK 4 times since we have met and each time he practically ignores me and I fit in. It feels very much like I am in their home, his sister takes over, he is quite happy. I just don't feel like a mature woman in the situation and when I involve myself they say, don't worry, and we do things their way.
Upshot is, she is coming over for Christmas and a group email between all the siblings and partners was started in August to make arrangements, I was not on this email. My partner got stressed about it all and never even managed to express why or explain what he and they were planning - so I suggested he just follow suggestions from his sister and meet up with them as per her plans. I wanted to avoid grief of him not deciding and somehow being blamed again and also the sense of exclusion.
It's December and I have still not been properly communicated with and we had a massive row last week because I said how hurt I was that this issue has drifted and nothing is clear. She is due to visit our house and stay for a week with her husband and children. My partner has not planned this with me and rather than plan it myself as I have done before, only to be hurt by the exclusion upon her arrival I encouraged discussion as a couple - it hasn't worked and I then made the suggestion he go away to his brothers and meet them there instead, if not, I might go to a friends. I realise this is totally weird but I can't stand the hurt I feel and I explained this to him. I want to be part of a family AND a couple, these situations feel so devisive and I don't find it easy but without a welcome it's almost impossible for me.
I am writing this feeling like the only answer is to say this is not worth the effort and I should just do my own thing but I feel really angry and almost controlled by other peoples wishes stamping all over mine. This is where I need perspective - do you just walk away and take the higher ground or do you confront family? I feel really slighted by them, my partner is the one who should stand up for me, but he doesn't get it. His sister is coming to my house or will somehow see him outside of any communication with me - I really feel like a scapegoat and quite 'mad' - I can't see what I have done wrong. The whole set up is weird and not the kind of family I have ever met - closed and like an in-crowd where you are the outsider and wrong, whatever you do. They are not acknowledging his mental health issues or offering me and him any sort of understanding. It feels so awkward.
My partner had an assessment for Adult ADHD last week and it turns out that it's unlikely he has that, but extreme anxiety that has led to controlling behaviour at times. This is great, as it's how I 'see' and feel the situation to be - however it doesn't help me because now I really feel I've had enough. It's been a real emotional roller coaster, I stood by him thinking he was 'ill' - well he is, but when I can't see him or his family owning this and making better moves and stress continuing and me being in the middle of it all, supportive but cast aside is more than I can take. I feel like the diagnosis and the negative stuff over Christmas is enough - I feel positive and happy with my own things but somehow I feel so squashed by this drama my partner is causing and his family aren't seeing it and almost enabling it. It's not mature is it? Now I feel immature - that's my distress, I've lost my rational self!
I know this is a muddling mess and can tell by the long post - I do have a counsellor that I have for my own issues that also include this relationship. I want to know what mindset to use for the best, just let it go and make sure Christmas is OK for me or tell this family how much I have been hurt (not thinking this is worth it as my partner would rather not have the boat rocked and they seem the same - denial) I need to grab my mature head and run with that and stay together - it's proving difficult
Ok -that's the vent and the ramble over with.
Thanks for reading
I don't know what to say except that I hope you find a way through this.
To be honest I read your post and thought why are you putting yourself through this crap?
You have issues of your own which are not being helped or maybe even exacerbated by this relationship. You don't sound happy, he doesn't make you happy and it sounds like he doesn't even try or express an interest in that concept.
You both live separate lives, and it seems the only time you communicate is when the house has to be shared by outsiders.
It sounds very much to me like you would much rather be on your own, you have a counsellor maybe if not already you could explore a life outside of your current situation.
It all sounds stunted and adrift, if you have friends you can stay with who would welcome your company, I don't see how his family effectively treat you like a casual observer in your own home.
Unless that's the impression he gives or they have of you, none of this sounds equal or well suited.
Thank you for the support
Guiltypleasures I do ask myself that and am exploring this with my counsellor, it's a fundamental question and your straightforward reply has really helped my head get 'back on track'. I have often thought things that are complicated and full of crap, need to be sorted or worked through sometimes, but am beginning to see that isn't always true. That I can actually just say no thanks and walk away.
I have had a lot of loss and beareavement in my past and it has something to do with that. I do feel better alone, we do communicate but really I just feel drained these days, it actually is just a lot of waffle (like my long winded post ha).
Yes, a casual observer in my home, that's how it is - yes it's crap.
Thanks again for the straightforward reply, it's helpful when you get muddled by stress.
You know relationships shouldn't be this hard.
I am struggling to see how your partner is enhancing your life in any way, and his family stuff is just a red herring.
If he had the best family inn the world, and you had the best relationship with them, the relationship with your partner would still be rubbish.
Does he make you happy?
Does he make you feel safe?
Is he your best friend?
Is he the person you can tell anything to, and the one you trust, love and respect most in the world?
From your OP I don't think he is.
Why are you with him?
I hope this isn't coming across as patronising, but the "voice" of your post is such a sad one, I just want you to loo at what you're really getting out of thus relationship (if anything) rather than worrying about Xmas plans.
I think your relationship is one issue and you have plenty to think about whether this is really enhancing your life.
The SIL and family arriving is a separate thing. If I were you, I'd email SIL directly and say "I hear from DP that you are staying with us, please let me know details of arrival/departure etc so Ican be prepared for you." Make it quite clear that she and her family are staying in your house - not just your dp's and she needs to treat you like a host and be grateful for your hospitality.
My first reaction is - why? This all sounds so very tedious and dull.
The relationship i mean, the christmas thing is a red herring. And it stinks.
Shedwood - it's not patronising to be direct when the person asking is clouded in her thinking. The Christmas plans have just tipped me over the edge with regards to 'working' on the relationship or myself to improve it. It's made me see that I am putting far more investment and positive energy into things.
Canyouforgiveher - yes they are separate, thanks for the suggestion to contact SIL directly, that might help me feel clearer.
FunkyBoldRibena - yes it does seem crazy. Might be my past coming into play where I myself have been through difficult times and also had people I love become ill and recovered with mental health issues. I guess I have a hard time recognising when someone actually might not want to be positive, improve things etc. I think that's where I am at with my partner - he is very negative. Hasn't always been and isn't always - but its dominating now.
You say his life is chaos. He lacks responsibility. He displays controlling behaviour. Yet..he is quite happy when his sister is around. Sorry - he sounds like a thorough nuisance and I don't see how ultimately you can be happy in this relationship. Confronting his sister as you mentioned, is pointless. She's not in a relationship with you - your DP is.. Your post sounds sad and tiring. His negativity is dominating your life and Im really struggling to understand why you are with this man. Perhaps you love him. Well then if you do..you've a long hard road to travel in life and its to be be hoped in years to come he hasn't broken down your emotional health and strength to the point you have no life quality at all.
MistressDee I must be missing something about life because the answers here make everything sound so simple.
My emotional health hasn't been the best regardless of my partner, that's probably why I have stuck with it as long as I have - empathy or at least some sort of misguided loyalty to those struggling with mental health issues as well as recovering myself from a few difficult things. I genuinely believed he had untreated ADHD and that made it harder in my eyes, which doesn't at all mean I have to stay in the relationship. He has just been given more medication to try and a follow up for more behavioural treatment and possible investigations.
My post was about Christmas, about managing things for now - well aware that the future doesn't look bright in the slightest - I can see how the relationship really is the issue but I need to find ways and strength to support and keep myself out of the drama in the next few weeks.
Anyway, thanks for your thoughts
It's a bit late to change Christmas arrangements so I would just go with the flow. Be nice, then leave.
Just let him go, you sound stuck, he sounds stuck, maybe this will shake you both up and let you live your lives separately but successfully.
Yes WillkommenBienvenue - that's about how I think things will pan out - it's frustrating, that will pass - the higher ground is always best, I was just so upset earlier, felt really hurt. Still am, but better equipped to do what's best for me and that is to step back over this Christmas stuff and move forward.
I think at some point one has to recognise that one's flogging a dead horse.
People can have all kinds of mental health issues and still be fundamentally loving and committed.
The issue with his family is simply a projection of the issues in the relationship. If he communicated in any normal way, and was in your corner, then you would be insulated from the vagaries of his odd relations.
You don't owe him or them anything. If they can't be bothered to let you know what's going on this Christmas, then leave them to it, don't get involved. If you have any good friends, I'd go and spend Christmas with them.
I think sometimes we can go so far down the road of being supportive and empathic for others, that we forget that we have a personal responsibility for ourselves.
I wonder if you are at this juncture? Selfishness in a natural emotion, most of us know how far to take it without impacting in an unkind way on others. It seems you've got quite a way down the rd of support for others, but have neglected yourself. Your partner has a responsibility to get his own help so as not to be a burden on you long term, but he isn't and he is or so it seems.
He isn't your child, this would be the only scenario where self sacrifice would come in to play for me. You've sacrificed enough it's time to be firm and to loom at what you want for a change.
I'm sorry for yours losses grief is and can be a crippling time in ones life, but your still here and you cannot change the past, so what are you going to do in your future?
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