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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fair warning, I'm absolutely rubbish with emotions, so forgive any blundering around here. I'll include a TL;DR near the bottom...

I'm about halfway through year seven of a long term relationship with my partner. We met in high school. I was just shy of 15, he was almost 18. We were really close for a few years. The sex was great, the conversations were deep, but...there were just a couple of things that were off. I have changed so much about myself just to make him happy, but not once has he changed for me or even offered to return the favor.


  • I used to have an entire pack of friends. They were geeks/otaku/"alternative lifestyle" kind of people. I abandoned them for him because he didn't like them. I still regret losing them.
  • I used to wear clothes that I enjoyed. I would wear baggy jeans, jackets in summer, even phats (think raver pants, occasionally with belts/straps/chains). They were quirky, but they were ME… I abandoned them because he didn't like them.
  • I used to be fun and random, but he criticized it, so I stopped. Now I double-check everything I do with him.
  • I used to enjoy metal, techno, electronic/dance, rock, and alternative music, but he hated it, so I stopped and learned to enjoy "his" music.
  • I loved karate, but he didn’t approve, so I stopped.
  • I used to not give a damn about what others thought, but he disapproved, so now I’m insecure.

He has high expectations of me in things that I'm just not capable of.


  • He expects the house to be as clean as his severely genuinely-OCD mother keeps her (practically a sterile environment). I clean house decently enough, always smells nice and looks nice, no dishes in the sink after dinner, laundry run and folded and put away, floors swept/mopped and carpets vacuumed daily, but if it isn't just perfect, it's as if I didn't do anything at all.
  • He expects his food cooked and prepared a specific way, and won't eat it if it isn't right. I pick the veggies out of his peppersteak for fuck's sake...
  • He expects me to make sure he doesn't walk out of the house with his shirt on inside-out or messy hair, then gets mad at me if I didn't pay enough attention to notice something wrong.
  • He expects me to primp and, essentially, look like arm candy. I dress up nicely and do full make-up for going out and family events, but I'm not going to put on make-up just to go to the grocery store, that's ridiculous. I never leave the house looking like a slob, but if I don't look the way he wants me to look, I may as well stay home.
  • He berates my intelligence at times and jokes that he needs a dumber girlfriend so he doesn't look so bad. This hurts especially because my intelligence is who I am. He even shuts me up in the middle of a conversation by changing topics or calling me a nerd if I start sounding too smart or go into a discussion about a topic he's not well-versed in.
  • I have a level 87 Worgen Priest because he needed a healer for his tank so he could get through dungeon queues quicker. To this day, I cannot get that annoying dungeon-finder chime out of my head.

I have finally realized that I consider him and our relationship more important than myself and my happiness, and this isn't healthy. My self-esteem is shit, I sacrifice my happiness for his, I am an obsessive compulsive people pleaser, I obsess over making him happy, I have this annoying need to fix everything and make it better, I seek his approval for everything, I panic if I upset him, I can't say no to him, and if I do, he'll argue around me or guilt me into doing it anyway, I'm practically attached to his hip, I am utterly incapable of being assertive for myself...I feel kind of trapped but I'm afraid to leave.

It wouldn't be so bad, except...he's a narcissist, a pathological liar, egotistical, holier-than-thou, disregards my interests, manipulative, plays annoying head games that fuck around with my emotions (as if I don't have a hard enough time with those!), and any time I mention something on the lines of "Hey, could you maybe not do that?" or "I'd like it if you did this or that," I end up on the receiving end of a rant and the topic gets changed and my opinions disregarded.

I do my best to put him first, as I feel every member or a relationship should do, but he just demands more and more of me and never reciprocates. It feels incredibly one-sided, like I'm the only one that does anything for the other. After doing a little digging, I've finally figured out that I'm in a codependent relationship.

I should have seen this sooner...my family has been going on and on about it, about how he isn't healthy for me, about how my needs aren't being met, about how I'm a completely different, deflated version of myself now...and I've been denying it for some time, but there just comes a point where it's too much and I think I'm just about there... I mean, I can go down the list of codependency symptoms and check off on most of them...it's almost ridiculous...and I have a family history that could facilitate the development of this, so it all kind of makes a lot of sense...

TL;DR: I'm in a codependent relationship and am in need of a bit of advice.

What are my options? Everyone keeps telling me to leave him, but I am genuinely afraid to do so. I've tried leaving him once, and he spent the next two days in such a horrible depression that I ended up coming back to him just to see him happy again...I felt like such an asshole, even though it had been on good terms...

Is it really impossible to fix? Is there really no hope for salvaging this relationship? I keep hoping that maybe one day he'll open his eyes and see what's going on and how much I do for him, but I'm steadily losing hope in that ever happening...

Is this really abuse? I once confided in a good friend of mine, who then tried to convince me that my partner's behavior was abusive. I mean, sure, he's hit me a few times, but I usually deserved it, and I have no experience in emotional abuse so I wouldn't really be able to tell you anything about that. He berates and demeans more often than he praises, but then again, I don't really do anything worthy of praise. This can't seriously be considered abuse...can it?

Where do I go from here? I realize that my relationship isn't healthy. I understand that I'm probably going to have to detach myself from this. What would you suggest I do?
 

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The biggest problem is that you think there is ANY reason that justifies beating. There isn't. End of. If you think you deserve domestic violence, I would seriously recommend to get help, and I mean this in the nicest sense possible. The natural instinct is: "You do that once, and I'm gone,", not "I deserved it, you're right."

The sanest thing would be to leave him now. If you think you can't, get professional help. Same applies if you really want to save the relationship, then BOTH of you need professional help and agree to put in the work.

You are in too deep in my opinion to go through this on your own.
 

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Leave now. Leave at once. Don't look back.

Cease contact.

Walk away from your living situation. Have a friend or sibling pick up your things.

Cease any form of contact with him.

Remove yourself from him physically. That is the first step and subsequently, through that physical distance, you will eventually acheive emotional detachment and a whole lot of clarity and perspective.

Starting this thread is either an overt or subconscious cry for help.

Listen to your gut. Listen to your head. All voices of light and reason will lead you to extricating yourself from him and this relationship.
 

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What are my options? Everyone keeps telling me to leave him, but I am genuinely afraid to do so. I've tried leaving him once, and he spent the next two days in such a horrible depression that I ended up coming back to him just to see him happy again...I felt like such an asshole, even though it had been on good terms...
How he feels is his choice. If you leave for your own health (which I recommend, if you are ready and it sounds like you are), then he has to fend for himself. Codependency is never an easy pull-out. After all, if you start functioning as someone's liver the disentanglement is going to leave them with unclean blood. That's how intimate a codependency is. Healthy relationships do not involve much in the way of dependency. People should be an exponent to their partner's lives, not necessarily a compliment.

What happens is immaturity on both sides makes each party attracted to the other to fill the void, to compliment the missing pieces in their own health. But that is artificial health and easily upset (as you have discovered). It actually PREVENTS each of you from recognizing and coming to grips with your own faults and maturing. It is a destructive scenario.


Is it really impossible to fix? Is there really no hope for salvaging this relationship? I keep hoping that maybe one day he'll open his eyes and see what's going on and how much I do for him, but I'm steadily losing hope in that ever happening...

In the short term the only meaningful option is separation. I know it sounds harsh. But, you two are like drugs that the other one is addicted to. If you pull way any support he freaks out and spirals down and then your bleeding heart crashes as well. No! Like any addiction, you have to remove yourself from the substance you are abusing. That is each other.

That being said, if AND I DO MEAN ONLY IF, you both separate cleanly as-if there is no coming back there is some hope for reconciliation in the distant future. When I say reconcile realize that there are two sides to every coin. If he was a sadist then you were his tempting masochist. I am not saying he is blameless, just that you were involved and a big girl to and made your choices. Drop the blame game and you will heal faster. Own your part in it. Down the road if you meet again, and you are BOTH more mature, you might be surprised to discover that there is a good set of reasons for the initial attraction. But don't focus on that as a hope. Throw the ring into Mt Doom. Destroy it first. If a white tree grows from the ashes .... well ... ok then.


Is this really abuse? I once confided in a good friend of mine, who then tried to convince me that my partner's behavior was abusive. I mean, sure, he's hit me a few times, but I usually deserved it, and I have no experience in emotional abuse so I wouldn't really be able to tell you anything about that. He berates and demeans more often than he praises, but then again, I don't really do anything worthy of praise. This can't seriously be considered abuse...can it?
It IS abuse but you are probably a masochist of sorts or you would not still be in this. Still, even if you are a masochist there is a proper and healthy way to pursue being a submissive partner in a relationship. His belittling dialogue with you sounds way too serious and destructive to be in any way enjoyable in a healthy sense.

But you need to get a grip on who you are. I cannot stress this enough. You need to learn your own strengths and especially and obviously your weaknesses. I suggest that if you do not know it, you at least look up the enneagram and read about the helper type, Type 2. A lot of what you say suggests that personality in you and to some extent in your boyfriend as well, although he might very well be Type 8 ish.

You clearly express to your detriment, the NEED TO BE NEEDED. Your level of intensity and intimacy with that is alarming. You will go to any lengths, sacrificing all that nurtures you in your life for that one slice of identity. The need to be feel needed. Stop it! You are worthy all by yourself. Nothing can remove that worth from you. You belong. Anyone that tries to distract you from your worthiness or your connection to others is a dark influence. Type 2s express what I call a reverse narcissism. They count themselves on some level as the focus of worthlessness. Worthlessness extends outward from themselves first to subordinate members of their own family and then on out to 'better' people in the outer world. So they make up for their worthlessness by being good and helpful and sacrifice. They are perfect little martyrs like you. Easily taken. They also often get caught up in religious groups that use them for their helpful spirits. So watch out for that form of codependency also.

If you are type 2 then also watch out for a startling sense of entitlement. Once you do all this sacrifice the mirror emotion to that is a sense of entitlement. This manifests in a lot of ways, and this is off topic, but I will mention it in passing, they reward themselves by eating sugar. Specifically sugar although bread is a close second. Don't fall for that trap either. You are NOT entitled. 2s need to understand that love should always be love in 'spite-of' never love 'because-of'. 'Because-of' love makes of love a monetary transaction and makes it cheap, meaningless.

Where do I go from here? I realize that my relationship isn't healthy. I understand that I'm probably going to have to detach myself from this. What would you suggest I do?

Already covered so you offer me the opportunity to summarize:

1) Get out of the codependent relationship.
2) Heal yourself by learning yourself and express hope that he will to.
3) Realize that what he does in response is his choice and not your responsibility.
4) Give yourself some time to recover from loss before you backslide or slip into another similar codependency.
 
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That sounds eerily like my ex-husband. He was abusive to me, and there is not a smidgen of doubt, your boyfriend is abusive to you. So please believe, everything you have said, I have been there. And it's with that experience, I'm telling you the smartest thing you can do is leave. Do not tell him you're going to. Just do it when you know he's going to be out of the house long enough for you to get everything of yours out. And cease all contact. That is the most important thing, because he will convince you to come back. And it's not worth it, no matter what he promises. He will never change.

About a year after my husband I divorced, one of the girls he cheated on me with, his current girlfriend, called me up because she finally came to the realization that you just have. Our stories matched except his physical abuse seemed to have escalated with her. I told her to get out, but like me when I was her age, she had all these excuses why she couldn't. None of them matter. There is no good reason to remain in an abusive relationship. You CAN get your life back. Don't allow yourself to be a tragic tale or another anecdote about "that girl".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
This isn't what I wanted to hear...but it's what I needed to hear. Thank you all for your inputs.

I'll work on leaving him. It'll take a lot, but my family is highly supportive. My mother and step-father will be here Monday to help me pack my things and move out while he's at work. I avoided disclosing any "sensitive" details, as my step-father is a very protective 6'8" towering mass of bulk and muscle and I really don't want things to escalate... I feel really bad for just vanishing on him...would it be okay to leave a letter? Maybe as a form of explanation and closure?

As far as abuse is concerned, I think I may not have provided enough information. It's not like it occurs every day. It's only every now and then, but at least once a month, and like I said, it's always been after I've done something wrong. Just an occasional strike when I've angered him, or a hard grab if I've stepped out of line. No where near as bad as what I hear about on tv. The denigration occurs at least twice a week though, but those are just words.
And I mean...we have fun, have a great time, laugh, do fun things together,go on dates....its just...sometimes it's like a switch is flicked and he makes a complete 180°.

I wouldn't really consider myself a masochist; I have tactile defensiveness. I have excellent pain tolerance for things like cuts or bruises, but a soft touch feels like a jolt of electricity, being hugged or held is very uncomfortable, and I have to grit my teeth just to make it through a massage. Really confusing to me...

I'm a type 5, which I'm told is prone to fear and anxiety. It explains a lot on its own, but I haven't gotten as far into Enneagrams as I have with MBTI.
 

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Advice for a codependent relationship? Leave.

"It's not like it occurs every day. It's only every now and then, but at least once a month, and like I said, it's always been after I've done something wrong. Just an occasional strike when I've angered him, or a hard grab if I've stepped out of line. No where near as bad as what I hear about on tv."

Exactly what a codependent person would say. You're defending his physical abuse of you. You're very messed up at this point and you need to leave so that you can have distance and safety to find yourself and regain your perception of what is right and wrong.
 

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Well spend 7 years, albeit ironic perhaps, you have my respect for putting up with such stuff for 7 years flat :mellow:

He won't change. Not if there's no reason to anyway, as no one else changes if they don't have a reason to, however trivial it may be. A possible depression on his part should you leave him is his issue and no longer yours. You're smith of your own luck/fortune and no one elses. Ideally your own fortune alone will collide with someone and provide him with happiness in the process but everything else isn't worth the effort, really.
 

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Yup, he's a textbook abuser. And nobody ever "deserves" to be hit. Don't worry about him, he'll be fine. He just acted depressed the last time you left him to get you to come back. Unfortunately, he will probably find someone else to be his slave once you're gone. I'm glad you have a supportive family (and a large and imposing stepfather) to help you escape.
 

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Sounds a lot like my last relationship, minus the physical abuse. I was torn down with emotional and verbal abuse, though, and it landed me in the psych ward. Nothing was ever his fault; it was always my fault, no matter what. I was told that my depression was offensive to him.

Leave. He's not worth your time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Alrighty then...we've established that his behavior is indeed abusive. I'm getting out of the relationship as quickly as I can. That being said, I have a few more questions...

Is it really best to just go cold turkey on him?
I really hate to make it sound like an addiction...anyway, it's been suggested that I just up and leave. I feel really bad for just vanishing on him...would it be okay to leave a letter? Maybe as a form of explanation and closure? Or should all contact be forbidden? He knows where my parents live, and that would be the first place he'd go to get a hold of me... Would it be impossible to retain contact? Try to be friends? He's a neat guy, even if he can be an asshole sometimes, and I'd really hate to lose him...

Is therapy really necessary? My mother is insisting on it now, but she has a tendency to exaggerate. I know she's a licensed grief and crisis counselor, but this really shouldn't be such a big ordeal. It's just a bad relationship. I've dealt with worse emotional trauma as a kid (divorce, shit-ton of close family deaths, etc.). This is a ridiculous thing to get therapy over.

Is codependency really such a big deal? It seems kind of silly. My mother burst into tears when I told her that I thought I was in a codependent relationship and she wanted to come pick me up as soon as she got off the phone with me. I don't understand the fuss, but maybe that's my INTJ showing...

...what next? This guy has literally occupied a majority of my life for the past 7 years. It's all been about him and what makes him happy, and I've been happy to provide for him. I'm not sure I would even know what to do with myself once I've been separated from him.

Thank you for your time.
 

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Is this really abuse? I once confided in a good friend of mine, who then tried to convince me that my partner's behavior was abusive. I mean, sure, he's hit me a few times, but I usually deserved it, and I have no experience in emotional abuse so I wouldn't really be able to tell you anything about that. He berates and demeans more often than he praises, but then again, I don't really do anything worthy of praise. This can't seriously be considered abuse...can it?
Yes this is abuse. The fact that you consider it ok that he's hit you a few times but then turn around and say that you deserved it says that you've gone a long way toward losing your own self esteem. You need to find yourself again.

I'm going to go against the grain a little bit here and say that there is some hope, but only if you haven't tried counseling before. Tell your partner that you are not happy, but that you would like to try and work through it, and that you would like to go to counseling with him. If he refuses, dump him and go to counseling for yourself. He may relent and come with you if he truly realizes that you are serious.

Even if the relationship doesn't survive, you should get a good dose of information on how to properly communicate so that your next relationship doesn't slide back into this same mess. These types of things happen gradually, it is easy to drift over the years and not realize how far things have gotten off track. It is not easy to put back on track, but I believe it can be done with enough effort, but only if both people are willing. Counseling will either make the relationship better than it ever was, or it'll break the relationship, either way I don't see that you have anything to lose at this point.
 
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I ended up in an abusive marriage when I was a teenager. I ended that marriage a year and a half later and I never got any kind of help. I thought somehow it was my fault that I was treated that way. And I ended up in another abusive relationship. I wish I would have known that it was DV at the time. I wasted too many years living with DV. I did eventually get help but I regret that it came so late for me. So much damage was done. And I have to live everyday with an emotional wound that has been difficult to heal.


I blame myself for the poor choices I made, but I will not blame myself ever again for someone who made a choice to hurt me. As for counseling, I would recommend it, but I would see someone who understands abusive relationships and I would not include the person who abused you.
 

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Is this really abuse? I once confided in a good friend of mine, who then tried to convince me that my partner's behavior was abusive. I mean, sure, he's hit me a few times, but I usually deserved it, and I have no experience in emotional abuse so I wouldn't really be able to tell you anything about that. He berates and demeans more often than he praises, but then again, I don't really do anything worthy of praise. This can't seriously be considered abuse...can it?
?
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FUCK THAT. NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE HIT. men or women.

bullshit. you are well written. you are smart. you are a real person. you deserve better than this Piece of shit.

say the word, and I'll help you move.
 

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so many quality women are messed up by piece of crap men like this. God this crap pisses me off.

tall tree.
short rope.
deep hole.

Seriously. if you are in the western US, I can be there in 2 days and will help you move to a shelter or in wiht a friend you trust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I really appreciate the concern over the abuse...i get it now...he's not good for me. Actions have been taken and I'll be in a better environment by Monday.

Thank you all for your advice and support <3 it's really encouraging, and I no longer feel quite as guilty about my feelings on this matter, and I feel a bit more confident about my decisions. (There is a lot of feeling in that sentence. Yikes.)

I hate to be a bother, and I really hate to repeat, but I have a few other questions and it seems the group focus is on the abuse aspects when I really need advice on other aspects as well...

Is it really best to just go cold turkey on him?
I really hate to make it sound like an addiction...anyway, it's been suggested that I just up and leave. I feel really bad for just vanishing on him...would it be okay to leave a letter? Maybe as a form of explanation and closure? Or should all contact be forbidden? He knows where my parents live, and that would be the first place he'd go to get a hold of me... Would it be impossible to retain contact? Try to be friends? He's a neat guy, even if he can be an asshole sometimes, and I'd really hate to lose him...

Is codependency really such a big deal? It seems kind of silly. My mother burst into tears when I told her that I thought I was in a codependent relationship and she wanted to come pick me up as soon as she got off the phone with me, but she has a tendency to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. I know she's a licensed grief and crisis counselor, but this really shouldn't be such a big ordeal. I don't understand the fuss, but maybe that's my INTJ showing...

...what next? This guy has literally occupied a majority of my life for the past 7 years. It's all been about him and what makes him happy, and I've been happy to provide for him. I'm not sure I would even know what to do with myself once I've been separated from him. Obviously I need to get myself back on track, but...seriously, what do I do? I've never really thought about this kind of scenario before, and the uncertainty and unplanned nature of this entire ordeal is making me incredibly anxious and a bit scared... Suggestions?

Thank you all :)
 

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On your last set of questions:

Yes, cold turkey. And this is going to be very tough; he will likely not only plead to get you back, but threaten to kill himself if you don't. Ignore it. You deserve better, and once you're mentally free you'll see that.

Yes, this is a big fucking deal. This is Not Normal. This is domestic violence, it's not okay. I work with the victim advocate locally, I see a ton of DV cases. Most of them are drunk people who give as good as they get; your case is the kind that eventually ends up in trips to the emergency room beaten senseless and refusing to talk because you are afraid of losing him.

PLEASE get the fuck out now and stay away. I'd recommend no in-person contact for a minimum of six months, maybe a year. And don't even talk to him on the phone without supervision.


I know this isn't what you want to hear, but he's got your headspace all fucked up and you're not seeing things as clearly as you should.
 

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I really appreciate the concern over the abuse...i get it now...he's not good for me. Actions have been taken and I'll be in a better environment by Monday.

Thank you all for your advice and support <3 it's really encouraging, and I no longer feel quite as guilty about my feelings on this matter, and I feel a bit more confident about my decisions. (There is a lot of feeling in that sentence. Yikes.)

I hate to be a bother, and I really hate to repeat, but I have a few other questions and it seems the group focus is on the abuse aspects when I really need advice on other aspects as well...

Is it really best to just go cold turkey on him?
I really hate to make it sound like an addiction...anyway, it's been suggested that I just up and leave. I feel really bad for just vanishing on him...would it be okay to leave a letter? Maybe as a form of explanation and closure? Or should all contact be forbidden? He knows where my parents live, and that would be the first place he'd go to get a hold of me... Would it be impossible to retain contact? Try to be friends? He's a neat guy, even if he can be an asshole sometimes, and I'd really hate to lose him...

Is codependency really such a big deal? It seems kind of silly. My mother burst into tears when I told her that I thought I was in a codependent relationship and she wanted to come pick me up as soon as she got off the phone with me, but she has a tendency to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. I know she's a licensed grief and crisis counselor, but this really shouldn't be such a big ordeal. I don't understand the fuss, but maybe that's my INTJ showing...

...what next? This guy has literally occupied a majority of my life for the past 7 years. It's all been about him and what makes him happy, and I've been happy to provide for him. I'm not sure I would even know what to do with myself once I've been separated from him. Obviously I need to get myself back on track, but...seriously, what do I do? I've never really thought about this kind of scenario before, and the uncertainty and unplanned nature of this entire ordeal is making me incredibly anxious and a bit scared... Suggestions?

Thank you all :)
I actually do think a letter clearly stating that the relationship is over, and that don't want him to contact you would be a good idea. But I don't think you owe him an explanation after how he's treated you. And please, if he starts stalking you, or even calling the house and hanging up constantly, doing drive-bys at night... any of that sort of behavior - get a restraining order. I had to do that with my ex, and the peace of mind is invaluable. I also thought, when he wasn't being abusive, that my ex was pretty cool. Despite everything, I still miss him now and then. That's normal when someone's been a part of your life for so long. But like I said, it's not worth it. If you remain in contact in these early stages, he will almost certainly continue to manipulate you. You don't need that in a friend or a boyfriend.

Yes, it's a big deal. Trust your mom. I never got therapy, but I wish I had. It probably couldn't hurt.

What happens next... is for you to decide. You can do anything you want. Just reconnect with yourself. You've had your identity tied to him for so long, of course it's scary. Conquer that fear. You'll have to learn how to be happy on your own.
 
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