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I am a wreck, and I'm taking everyone down with me

(41 Posts)
countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 12:27:02

I've been wanting to share this for a while, but it's so hard knowing how to explain and what to say.

I am well aware one of my huge problems is the disparity between the image I want to present to others and the reality of my life. For the most part, people respond very positively to me. I appear friendly, well presented, kind, thoughtful and calm. "Lovely" is an adjective I've often been described with, "steady" is another.

It's an absolute mystery to me how I can be one thing to people who don't know me well yet the reality is so vastly different.

The truth is, I'm a wreck. I actually had some time earlier today and I tried to write things out - a sort of timeline of my relationship - and I realised how many times in my late teens and early twenties I was actually presenting with severe mental health problems: eating disorders and being unable to get out of my bed. I went to university but I completely disengaged and self taught - I didn't attend any lectures apart from a handful in the first semester and only attended seminars after being told in the second year I had to. Even then, my attendance was patchy.

Somehow, I came out with a 2:1, which is a strange side to my personality: when I really focus on something and decide I'm going to do it, I have absolute steely determination and incredible strength of character, but I have to want it so much and for something to click into place (unfortunately, this tendency has also meant I've been battling eating disorders for most of my life.)

My relationship is so problematic because my husband tries to "save" me from myself by tightening up the control. I think, possibly, it stemmed from a good place, many years ago. but now it's become a habit and a bad habit.

Part of me wants to break free. I want to live my own life, be my own person, as at the moment I am not.

Part of me doesn't. Part of me doesn't want to be my own person because I am afraid that person isn't particularly nice or pleasant. And I suppose in the back of my mind is that we get the love we think we deserve and I deserve - what? Nothing.

I'm sorry - if anyone can get to grips with that disaster of a post, I'd be incredibly grateful!

yellowblackgrey Wed 01-Nov-17 12:46:17

thanks stars people respond well to you because they sense that you ARE lovely.

What is it that you think is not particularly nice or pleasant? I wonder if you were raised in a family where expressing your views and anger was unacceptable to your parents.

I am sorry to hear about the eating disorders, I don't know much about it but wonder if a lot of that is related to being in control over yourself and over your body. Did you parents allow you to be in control of yourself when you were goring up?

I'd recommend fining a private counsellor to talk things through, it doesn't have to cost the world and is worth it. Also you need to talk to your dh and request he lets you be who you are.

Do you have any hobbies or a job were you have sufficient autonomy ?

countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 13:01:25

Thank you yellow!

The bizarre truth is that I am lovely - as long as you don't know me well! As soon as people get too close, they start to sense that not all is right.

I tell lies, generally to try and make myself appear more interesting or to try and convey a personality with a history that is fun and normal, and then of course I have to continue lying hmm

Money - God, I am utterly hopeless and useless. I spend money like a drunk sailor. I buy clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, accessories for the house. The problem isn't that we can't afford things, it's that I am so badly organised with everything that I forget to pay things (and there is a strong element of "forgetting" there) and then of course the bills go up and I can't pay them, when initially, I could. It's like a self destructive cycle.

To address your (excellent) questions - no, I am very conscious I have a lot of problems linked to my upbringing which was pretty repressed and peculiar in many ways. My parents were extremely old fashioned and very out of sync in many ways with the world I grew up in. I could bore on all day about this. We had a house in mid Wales, around an hour and a half from where we lived, and my parents would often drive there on a Friday evening and come back on a Sunday and those drives would generally be lecturing me on what a bad child I was and how "Lucy" was so hard working, "Harriet" was so well behaved, and so on. They were very involved in a church and used to compare me a lot to other children there and find me lacking.

Unfortunately, I have no real access to money of my own. I can't get counselling for this reason.

yellowblackgrey Wed 01-Nov-17 13:09:45

countingthestars I have to dash out in a moment but would like to say two things.

Many, many people have things in their lives or about themselves that are not 'quite right', we are all human and fallible so I'd kindly say don't be too hard on yourself if and when you can help it. by kind i mean accept your feelings, good and bad, they don't define you.

The shopping thing I know all too well, new stuff makes you feel good and more polished / complete. It is an illusion and I wonder if CBT would be helpful, perhaps you could get it through your GP, they do online versions of that too.

And those drives with your parents sound dire and utterly unhelpful sad thanks.

Sorry I have to go now but hope other posters will come along soon.

countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 13:13:30

You've been very kind, and I do know what you mean about that sense of not being "normal" but just the same, I sense something beyond that with me.

I just don't feel I can ask for help from anybody because I would struggle to be honest.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 01-Nov-17 13:35:22

Get to your GP.
You can access NHS counselling that way.
What worries me most though is the fact you can't just ask your DH for money for counselling.
Surely he would love that for you and support you through it???
If not then get out and get out fast.

You could have any number of things and an internet diagnosis is not what you need right now.
Ask you GP about Bipolar (BPD) and get tests for that.
You have to tackle what is fundamentally 'wrong' before you can even begin to correct it.

Do you have DC?
Do you love your DH? Properly love him?

countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 13:39:59

Hellsbells - I have wondered about bipolar and it terrifies me.

The mental health services around here are practically non existent. Counselling on the NHS would probably be a wait of around eight to ten months, and a very limited number of sessions. Realistically, I probably wouldn't engage with it very well. I have tried in the past but I found that natural inclination of wanting to be Ms Lovely took over, so I presented as someone a bit down and confused but coping. (I didn't plan to present like this, but I did and of course it meant the sessions weren't hugely helpful.)

I can get very irritable and really quite belligerent when pushed on some matters.

I suppose I am scared of what my G.P. might say sad

Re DH and money - he would not support me in private counselling, partly for the reasons I've given above and also because I think he has a tendency to want to be God, in my world. He's certainly written out a narrative where he effectively saved me from me. It's only when I write it down I realise that he didn't.

junebirthdaygirl Wed 01-Nov-17 13:53:05

I was going to mention bipolar too. My dh eas diagnosed in his 40s and a lot of bells are ringing. My friends all say dh is the nicest person they know but when he was having episodes he wasn't too nice. Get help.

countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 13:57:12

How - just by saying to the G.P. I might have bipolar?sad

I can't imagine doing that. I've looked on the MIND website and I don't think it fits. It refers to very distinct episodes, which I don't have.

PhoenixMama Wed 01-Nov-17 14:08:56

You’ve clearly labelled some episodes above. You’re not a dr - go and speak to one. No one likes being told they have mental health issues but coming out the other side is so worth it. If you keep going the way you are the outcome will probably be incredibly difficult. Get help now, deal with your childhood stuff (what you’ve said works with bpd diagnosis) and start taking control of your life. You can do it. You deserve the help. A good therapist with see through the “nice” shit very quickly. Meds will help you see clearly. There is another option. Good luck!

hellsbellsmelons Wed 01-Nov-17 14:43:07

Bipolar is very manageable with medication now so don't rule out just blurting that out to your GP.
If it's not that then you can investigate other things.

Initially, I think getting far away from your controlling 'D'H might be a good thing for your sanity and self esteem.
If he behaves like your god a saviour then you are probably being stifled and suffocated.
Get away - Womens Aid can help you if you need it.
Hopefully you have some real life support around you though???

RandomMess Wed 01-Nov-17 15:39:05

Look at other conditions- borderline or emotional variant personality disorder gives you lots of ups and downs too.

Thingsdogetbetter Wed 01-Nov-17 16:08:58

To be honest you sound more borderline than bipolar. Stereotypical bipolar means long manic highs and long deep drepressions. Borderline is stereotypically shorter bursts of both with low impulse control. I'm the latter. Can be euphoric one minute, angry the next amd totally low an hour latter. I impulsively shop with little organisation of payments, tend to tell white lies to make myself seem more interesting, uber focused when i find something interesting etc.
Being with someone who tries to save you will do nothing for your self esteem but make you feel like you need saving and therefore in someway broken to start with. You might need help, but 'saving'? The fact he would not support you in helping yourself by having counselling is very worrying. Is he controlling in other ways? Does he have a messiah complex? Is he afraid that you helping yourself will mean he loses control?

Thingsdogetbetter Wed 01-Nov-17 16:12:00

By the way, since i had my diagnosis 5 years ago at 44, i now have a fantastic relationship, a fantastic professional career AND a fantastic home. I never realised i could have all 3 at once! Was too busy buggering up one or two of them all through my life.

Guiltypleasures001 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:25:18

Hi op

From what your describing with the control your parents had and their continuous put down of you
As a child, coupled with ,much the same from your dh

It seems to me you have not been allowed to develop naturally as an individual, you seem to struggling to find who you really are. The bit about you wanting to be on your own, points to an inner voice telling you that maybe that could be a start to you doing this.

Your dh with the little you have said about him, sounds controlling effectively you've swapped your parents for another gate keeper which is him.

He's financially abusing you if you have no access to funds, and his tightening control might be because he senses your struggling and pulling away.


countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 18:34:14

I feel a bit cold at everyone thinking I have a serious personality disorder to be honest.

I really don’t think I do. No suicide attempts or anything like that.

I’ve tried 4 therapists and none of them have ‘seen through me.’

I have my husband for support, don’t really ha e anyone else.

PhoenixMama Wed 01-Nov-17 18:46:26

Counting - I never said they’d see through you, I said they’d see through the “nice” thing. Up until recently I have come across exactly as you described, everyone thinking I was so lovely, successful, in control, capable, etc all the while feeling like I was none of those things. I ended up having a breakdown. Even then people said they were shocked, I was so happy all the time. My therapist saw right through my “nice” mask (and it is a mask of you don’t believe it) and with meds, therapy & support I’m doing so much better. Don’t let it go on as long as I did. I really wish I’d gotten help sooner but I was worried about labels and other shit. I know it’s hard. You don’t have to listen to any of us, but is what you’re doing now working for you?

RandomMess Wed 01-Nov-17 18:57:05

Borderline personality disorder is actually just a horrible name, it’s not like a true personality disorder such as being a narcissist or sociopath!!! You don’t have to tick all the boxes or have them to extremes to have it BUT exploring it as a possibility may help you find a better way of coping with life.

It usually comes with high anxiety levels, desperately trying to contain yourself so people see your “nice” side rather than the more disastrous side, self sabotage is common as is getting utterly overwhelmed with things at time. You struggle with knowing who you are/sense of self. Yes to feeling good and low more intensely than the average person.


countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 18:59:22

No, sorry phoenix, I phrased that badly. Still, four therapists (to date) haven’t got past the ‘niceness.’ I actually asked the last one if he felt I had something wrong with me and he said I seemed to be groping around to find things to attack myself with.

I just don’t see how I could present as normally as I have and have such a huge PD. I really don’t.

Anyway - I don’t know, but I can’t possibly explore it as suppose I do want to leave dh, and that’s in my records???

RandomMess Wed 01-Nov-17 19:04:42

If you had something like BPD it wouldn’t go against you!

How open have you been exploring how critical you are of yourself and where it comes from?

Haffiana Wed 01-Nov-17 19:07:02

OP you are in an abusive relationship. You have moved from an abusive home life into an abusive marriage, and you have no idea at all what normal is. You are blaming yourself for the way you behave when in fact you are simply struggling to survive in appalling conditions.

You are NOT being supported by your husband. You are being kept exactly where he thinks you should be. You need help to see this for what it is - it isn't something about him that you need to understand, but you need to register deeply and then get angry about how this makes YOU feel.

You are being complicit in the way he controls you and this is what makes you think you are bad or mad. You are not bad and you are not mad. You are not to blame - you are reacting in a perfectly understandable way. Any of us would be the same and do the same in your position with your background. It is OK, OP. It is OK to feel the way you do.

I would suggest that you ring Womens Aid and have a talk to someone there.

countingthestars Wed 01-Nov-17 19:24:30

Random, it’s strange but I don’t really think of myself as being particularly critical. I think I just have such low self esteem it feels natural and normal. Mostly I think little about it but then (especially when I think of leaving dh) I feel paralysed by indecision and panic.

haffiana I appreciate you saying that as sometimes I feel he is abusive and then other times I feel he’s a great person who has been out through too much by me.

RandomMess Wed 01-Nov-17 19:31:50

I’ve been out and about.

Please read up on co-dependency, also imposter syndrome.

You may not think you are self critical but I suspect you are very much so. I am the same and I find it mind boggling that other people actually think nice things about themselves! It is that ingrained as my normal!!

Leaving someone when you have had a chaotic life is huge and paralysis is common, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing though.

Thingsdogetbetter Wed 01-Nov-17 19:37:28

I do not consider bpd as having a 'Huge' personality disorder. I'm quite low level. Websites and doctors do tend to only focus on high level. To me it it just meant realising i was 'different' and let me work out how to accept and deal/cope with that. I am normal, but differently normal. I realised that to get to a certain place in my life i had to take a slightly different route than some other people. There is nothing 'wrong' with me or other bpd people.
Realising why i did things enabled me to avoid repeating them.
Whether you are bpd (obviously low level) or not, Haffiana is totally making sense amd i wish he/she had been my friend in the past! The issue here is not yours, it is how you are being treated.

tinymeteor Wed 01-Nov-17 20:16:49

You are being incredibly hard on yourself. Your posts sound heartbreakingly insecure, constantly looking for evidence that you're not a good person and that even when you're being lovely it's somehow a lie. Being convinced that the real you is secretly a bad person is an awful way to live, and if your close relationships are feeding that self image that's very troubling. Your husband should be telling you you're wonderful and helping you work through things, not positioning himself as your eternal 'better half'.

Nobody on the internet can diagnose you with anything, and it might be your circumstances and your behaviour patterns that are dysfunctional, not you. Either way counselling and the GP are the place to start. Really think about what you stand to gain from seeking support. It's not about getting someone to officially confirm your flaws. It's about making yourself as happy and well as you surely deserve to be.

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