Personality Cafe banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you struggle with moving on from certain events, or from certain toxic relationships? I've been driving myself crazy over a particular relationship that I can't seem to get over and would love advice.

---

(Disclaimer: I generally don't hold grudges and tend to forgive others very easily. For some reason, though, my mind is completely stuck with this person.)

Before starting university (almost a decade ago), I came to the realization that I was in love with my INFP best friend (F) of many years and had been for a few years already. Accepting my sexuality was difficult, but accepting my feelings for her was the most painful. I was terrified of losing her. She was the only person who seemed to “get” me at a deeper level, who shared my dreams and passions, and who I could be my unapologetic self with. To this day, she is still the closest friend I have ever had. And so, for months I kept this realization to myself and tried to determine if I had a chance in hell with her before saying anything. I eventually concluded that I didn't, and accepted it. It hurt, but preserving our friendship was my priority and I figured that those feelings would pass eventually.

To make a very long story short: she figured it out, made me confess by making it sound like she shared my feelings, outed me to her friends after we had promised to keep all this a secret (I wasn't ready to come out yet), never apologized sincerely for this, rejected me after admitting she had only wanted to confirm her doubts and only saw me as a friend, treated me like a predator when I tried to stay friends afterward. For years I tried to make it work, but it was really hard and I only ended up enabling some really bad behaviour. For example, she eventually got used to my making her a priority, and so denying her anything or choosing to spend time with my boyfriend instead of her (once I had entered the dating scene) was treated as a form of betrayal. Things took a turn when I started showing interest in other people. One day she would confess she had honestly shared my feelings, and the next day she would deny them and say she had only enjoyed the attention. Some days I was the nicest, most authentic person in the world, and some days I was the absolute worst and she couldn't stand being around me. At some point she started making moves on me—whether that was because she was horny and knew I would be willing or because she actually felt something for me, I'll never know. It doesn't matter. I never initiated these encounters because I didn’t know how she truly felt, and I've never been interested in casual relationships. Yet somehow, every time, she managed to make the encounter feel genuine and made me feel wanted... only to reject me afterward, every time. Fun.

(It goes without saying that I was a fool.)

Nothing came out of this, of course. A year and a half ago I gathered enough self-respect to finally put an end to this charade and burnt bridges with her. It was very satisfying for the first few months, and I felt so free. But with time, I've come to realize that this relationship's impact on me was much worse than I thought.

Ever since acknowledging my feelings for her, I haven't been able to have intimate relationships without thinking about her. There isn't a single day when I don't think about her in some way—whether it's to reminisce about the good times or internally scream about everything I should have said instead, everything I could have done better. She is literally haunting me, and it’s driving me insane. To be honest, my ENTP ex-boyfriend probably sensed that I wasn't 100% invested in our relationship despite my best efforts, and that might have contributed to his self-esteem issues (and the absolute disaster that relationship became).

And this terrifies me. I have finally found a partner in crime (ESTP, M), someone who believes in me fully and makes me strive to be the best version of myself. I'm scared that I'll sabotage this relationship as well because I can't get over her. I'm already starting to see the signs.

Does anyone have advice on how to deal with this? I feel silly for even talking about this since it predates my university days, but my mind just won't let it go and it's affecting my daily life.

---

tl;dr: I fell in love with my best friend (F) when I was young and naive, held on to the notion that I could save our friendship if I just tried hard enough, ended up enabling some really bad behaviour, endured a toxic friendship with her for many years because I was too stubborn, and had my heart played with in the process. I eventually gave up a year and a half ago, but she has been haunting me since Day 1. I just never managed to get her out of my head. My romantic relationships have all suffered because of this, and I'm scared I'll repeat the same mistake and ruin my current relationship as well. I'm generally good at forgiving and moving on when people hurt me, but I just can't seem to let this go and it's holding me back. Any advice? :(
 

·
Registered
INFP 4w5, 5w6, 1w9 Sx/Sp
Joined
·
371 Posts
Coming here to address all of this is a great start. I find that writing things down and really expressing them to others makes them more official and valid, per se, than when I let them stew confusedly inside of me.

Anyway, I'm really sorry to read all of this. I think you did the right thing by burning bridges with her, and I hope that you'll gradually feel more at ease about that decision, too. It's easy to forget the more recent bad times when everything gets easier and more fond with time. I think that's because memories fade with time. We only remember the highlights of our time somewhere or with someone, but those things we choose to remember are far from encapsulating the entire, complex and painful experience as when you were actually going through it.

First, you must come to terms that that deep friendship, where you could share your whole self without fear and be understood, is gone for good. It's unfortunate, but that's just the nature of social interaction--everything is temporary and always changing. It doesn't matter how well or long you know some people for, some people are unable to grow and mature with time, and it's not your fault whatsoever that that's what happened with you and her. The connection you both shared together was entirely conditional on implications that neither of you would guess would change, and conditional friendships of any kind are not worth keeping.

I also see that you feel troubled by what you feel you did wrong in the friendship. That's not an unreasonable feeling, as we all make mistakes, but the important thing to know is that you do not need to redeem yourself or correct that behavior you're sorry for by reconciling anything with her. That will only make things worse. If you are sorry for what you might have done, the only person who needs to know that is you.

If you feel uncomfortable with how things ended, or maybe felt like you were too harsh with her, just know that you were in a confused and vulnerable place, not in a calm state of mind. It's one hell of a challenge to make a completely sound decision when your emotions are holding you ransom, and you were fighting for a broken friendship/romance to survive. You can't be your whole, integrated self in that kind of situation, and you should not expect yourself to have been. Having been in a romantic situation recently myself, I'm convinced that it's not much different than making yourself feel emotionally insane, at least for that time.

So, don't focus on things that made you feel negative like that; go back and focus on that freedom after you burned your bridges and how good and strong being without her made you feel. That's where you know you can be your best, most clear-headed self. You won't be able to reconcile your mistakes if you insist on looking to the past, to someone who is not meant to be in your life anymore. Instead, apply that newfound clarity (that need to do better) to your new relationship and from the future on.
If you dedicate yourself to accepting what happened and that it's not your fault, it can be a positive exercise for you. You can forgive yourself (and her) for the mistakes you both have made. It will help you to move on, so you can truly devote yourself to being the better person you want to be, and being that better person for your boyfriend, too.

Regarding your boyfriend, if you haven't already, be honest and upfront with him about what you're going through now. He deserves to know what you're feeling, and you deserve to be listened to. Getting over the intense feelings of a relationship isn't easy, and trying to quietly force yourself to feel differently out of obligation is likely going to backfire. (just in case you've done that in the past)
Ask him to be patient with you while you work through this, and ask him to help you through it. In the meantime, you both can get to know and let one other in as deeply and sincerely as you and your friend once did. Who knows? Maybe he's been through something similar, and you might find memories of her start to fade. I hope you find this possibility exciting, because there's so much more potential in what the future holds than what in what the past is holding back.

Anyway, I hope that I could help with this. I know that it may seem like you'll never get over her, but you will. Just in case you haven't already, sever any ties you might have with her (social media connections, get rid of personal items, ask mutual friends to stop mentioning her, etc...), and keep yourself busy and connected with other people who will help take your mind off of her. It is as they always say, time heals all wounds--sometimes it just takes longer than other things. I wish you good luck in your new relationship and finding the confidence in yourself to realize what you're worth without her. :)
 

·
Registered
ISTP 9w8
Joined
·
955 Posts
She sounds like a total psycho. You probably have some form of psychological trauma that you should see a professional about. I don't think this is a simple forgive-and-move-on type of situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,248 Posts
I think it would help a lot to confide in your boyfriend about this. Our past relationships permanently shape us, and you don't have to forget about this past experience or have completely moved beyond what you cherished with her to move positively into the future with your new partner. It does sound, however, like you've never really gotten the chance to process everything emotionally. You put an external end to the painful, destructive relationship (kudos!) but never really got internal closure for yourself. It sounds like you are still mourning the "ideal" love lost... which I imagine is because the relationship never moved out of limerence. It's hard to finish something that never really began.

I'm already starting to see the signs.
Can you elaborate?

It wasn't something special about that relationship that unlocked your ability to share yourself fully and unapologetically. You did that of your own accord out of your own courage, and you can decide to do it again, this time with a partner who will faithfully and consistently support you as you do...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for taking the time to offer such thoughtful responses. It means more than you know.

Coming here to address all of this is a great start. I find that writing things down and really expressing them to others makes them more official and valid, per se, than when I let them stew confusedly inside of me.

Anyway, I'm really sorry to read all of this. I think you did the right thing by burning bridges with her, and I hope that you'll gradually feel more at ease about that decision, too. It's easy to forget the more recent bad times when everything gets easier and more fond with time. I think that's because memories fade with time. We only remember the highlights of our time somewhere or with someone, but those things we choose to remember are far from encapsulating the entire, complex and painful experience as when you were actually going through it.

First, you must come to terms that that deep friendship, where you could share your whole self without fear and be understood, is gone for good. It's unfortunate, but that's just the nature of social interaction--everything is temporary and always changing. It doesn't matter how well or long you know some people for, some people are unable to grow and mature with time, and it's not your fault whatsoever that that's what happened with you and her. The connection you both shared together was entirely conditional on implications that neither of you would guess would change, and conditional friendships of any kind are not worth keeping.

I also see that you feel troubled by what you feel you did wrong in the friendship. That's not an unreasonable feeling, as we all make mistakes, but the important thing to know is that you do not need to redeem yourself or correct that behavior you're sorry for by reconciling anything with her. That will only make things worse. If you are sorry for what you might have done, the only person who needs to know that is you.

If you feel uncomfortable with how things ended, or maybe felt like you were too harsh with her, just know that you were in a confused and vulnerable place, not in a calm state of mind. It's one hell of a challenge to make a completely sound decision when your emotions are holding you ransom, and you were fighting for a broken friendship/romance to survive. You can't be your whole, integrated self in that kind of situation, and you should not expect yourself to have been. Having been in a romantic situation recently myself, I'm convinced that it's not much different than making yourself feel emotionally insane, at least for that time.

So, don't focus on things that made you feel negative like that; go back and focus on that freedom after you burned your bridges and how good and strong being without her made you feel. That's where you know you can be your best, most clear-headed self. You won't be able to reconcile your mistakes if you insist on looking to the past, to someone who is not meant to be in your life anymore. Instead, apply that newfound clarity (that need to do better) to your new relationship and from the future on.
If you dedicate yourself to accepting what happened and that it's not your fault, it can be a positive exercise for you. You can forgive yourself (and her) for the mistakes you both have made. It will help you to move on, so you can truly devote yourself to being the better person you want to be, and being that better person for your boyfriend, too.

Regarding your boyfriend, if you haven't already, be honest and upfront with him about what you're going through now. He deserves to know what you're feeling, and you deserve to be listened to. Getting over the intense feelings of a relationship isn't easy, and trying to quietly force yourself to feel differently out of obligation is likely going to backfire. (just in case you've done that in the past)
Ask him to be patient with you while you work through this, and ask him to help you through it. In the meantime, you both can get to know and let one other in as deeply and sincerely as you and your friend once did. Who knows? Maybe he's been through something similar, and you might find memories of her start to fade. I hope you find this possibility exciting, because there's so much more potential in what the future holds than what in what the past is holding back.

Anyway, I hope that I could help with this. I know that it may seem like you'll never get over her, but you will. Just in case you haven't already, sever any ties you might have with her (social media connections, get rid of personal items, ask mutual friends to stop mentioning her, etc...), and keep yourself busy and connected with other people who will help take your mind off of her. It is as they always say, time heals all wounds--sometimes it just takes longer than other things. I wish you good luck in your new relationship and finding the confidence in yourself to realize what you're worth without her. :)
Thank you for the advice; I will try applying it. Writing things down did help make those feelings seem more "real" and "valid", as you said. I'm happy I chose to open up about this.

I think the first step will be to openly talk about this with my boyfriend, as you suggested. He knows some of the story since he was there when I cut ties with her (I was able to do it partly thanks to his support, actually), but he is unaware of how bad it really was, and still is. As for the healing part... Hopefully time will work its magic sooner rather than later. :)

She sounds like a total psycho. You probably have some form of psychological trauma that you should see a professional about. I don't think this is a simple forgive-and-move-on type of situation.
I have actually tried consulting a few therapists over the years to address the issue, but failed to talk about it every time. Opening up about it terrified me, so I always ended up skirting around the issue and talking about other worries instead. I'd justify my not bringing it up by downplaying her impact, with things like "it's all in the past, it's OK now". I would love to try therapy again and force myself not to evade the issue this time, but my financial situation isn't great right now. Therapy will unfortunately have to wait a bit...

I think it would help a lot to confide in your boyfriend about this. Our past relationships permanently shape us, and you don't have to forget about this past experience or have completely moved beyond what you cherished with her to move positively into the future with your new partner. It does sound, however, like you've never really gotten the chance to process everything emotionally. You put an external end to the painful, destructive relationship (kudos!) but never really got internal closure for yourself. It sounds like you are still mourning the "ideal" love lost... which I imagine is because the relationship never moved out of limerence. It's hard to finish something that never really began.

Can you elaborate?

It wasn't something special about that relationship that unlocked your ability to share yourself fully and unapologetically. You did that of your own accord out of your own courage, and you can decide to do it again, this time with a partner who will faithfully and consistently support you as you do...
Thank you for your valuable advice, and for the link. I had never heard of "limerence" before, but it does seem to fit.

To answer your question, I feel like, now that the high of having put an end to that relationship has worn off, I've started pushing my boyfriend away in the same way I did with previous partners when things got too "real".

For example, my mind is constantly going through all the past wrongs and "what ifs", which makes my mood swing wildly over the course of the day. When my boyfriend and I lived separately, this was fine—I was able to push the thoughts aside for a few hours and enjoy my time with him. But now that we're living together, this is much more challenging. If he happens to talk to me while I'm ruminating over a particularly unpleasant memory (which is increasingly frequent), I just push him away. This leaves him very confused since I'm normally quite warm, and I don't offer an explanation beyond "I need to be alone". To top it off, the thought of her haunts me even when my boyfriend and I are being intimate, and I'm left feeling incredibly frustrated and dissatisfied since I can't enjoy the moment. When it gets too much, I outright refuse any form of physical intimacy. Emotional intimacy is also getting incredibly harder to achieve/maintain because of this lingering feeling of inadequacy I've been left with. I've started second-guessing his motives and his reason for being with me—is he only attracted to me physically? Why is he choosing someone so unlikable and annoying? Is he settling? etc. etc. He has tried reassuring me, but words of affirmation do little to change my mind (I'm very stubborn, unfortunately). So I just grow more distrustful and push him further and further away, bit by bit.

Honestly, just writing this out makes me genuinely believe that he deserves better. I'm not sure I'm in the right mental state to give him (or anyone) the love he deserves, but I also believe he's a keeper and deserves to be fought for.

I agree that the first thing for me to do is to have an honest, uncensored conversation with him and take it from there... It won't help me move on from my friend, but it might help me feel less guilty until I do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
My ISFP girlfriend broke up with me 3 months ago.. We are from different countries and for a few years we stayed in the same country but her work visa was not renewed and for the past 2 years we have been living separately and she just flies to visit me 4 times per year..

Sometime in March, she was complaining about her work colleague and I was telling her basically that it couldn't be helped with our work/life situation at the moment. I must have sounded unsupportive as I was personally very frustrated with our situation and she had been complaining about work a lot. Following that conversation, I felt her slowly pulling away and I tried apologizing on several occasions in the following months that I wasn’t trying to be condescending nor unsupportive.

The more she retreated (the less she spoke), the more frustrated I became. It came down to only me talking about my day, and she only said or messaged something if she needed technical help with her phone or wanted to buy something. I tried asking her what's wrong but she would not answer, or I did not hear it..?? Every time I suggested to visit, she would say "No" or "No need". I convinced myself she was interested in someone else or cheating on me or lying or hiding things from me. Eventually, the month prior to her saying that I forced her to make the decision to "break up", we were arguing every day when she came to visit me for a few days in July. In August she went for a laparoscopy which she did not tell me about until just before being admitted.

When she broke up with me, she texted that she lets me win every argument, that she tolerated me for 8 years, that she will not let anyone tell her what to do anymore, that she does not want to live like that any longer, and that I told her she was disturbing me at the exciting moments of my mobile game.. I deleted my PubG mobile game within the week after she said that.

I was ignorant in the past. I had no idea about ISFP personality type. I was frustrated for so many years with our lack of communication, I did not understand it was just how she communicated because of our personality types. I always felt that she was hiding things from me, while I was so open with her about everything, but actually it’s just her personality type and she doesn’t like to talk about emotional stuff.. These past 3 months I really did a lot of research to understand where, what and how our problems arise. But she said if she decided something she will never change her mind, and that makes me even more anxious and panicky.

From August till now, I’ve tried visiting her twice.. The first time was within 2 weeks of breaking up, it was not unpleasant, although there was a lot of crying on my end. She seemed very determined not to be swayed. The second time I went without informing her beforehand, she said she wasn’t there. Our next meeting was our recent trip back to visit her family, which was planned before our breakup and the trip was great.. She sometimes fell back into the habit of calling me “love” and holding my hand, but when we spoke on the last day of our trip, she still insisted that she said we have broken up.. She said she doesn’t want me to go there (to her country of work) again and she will see me when she comes back to our home, but she doesn’t know when she will come home or if she will come home.. I’ve tried writing her letters, texting (she texts usually only when she wants help on something), sending her parcels, video and audio messages (which I don’t think she listens to).

There is 2000 kilometers separating us (approximately 1250 miles). I text her every morning and night (as before) and I worry that it might be too much, but I don't want her to think I don't miss her any more. I don't know how to gauge what is the right amount of space to give her, I don't know if I am stifling her, I don't know how to balance my needs and her needs anymore.. I want to meet her needs, but I don't know how to let her see our possibility of working things out if I don't act proactively? I know our separation is just fuelled by misperceptions and misunderstandings but there is so much love and I don't know how to fix everything.

I love her, how can I win her back? We love each other, I am sure.. We just had some misunderstandings for a few years plus the distance probably put too much strain on our relationship..

Please if any ISFP can help me, what can I do, how can I try to change her mind?? Any ISFP insight and advise is much appreciated!
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top