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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5450
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I was involved in a relationship which became long distance

Customer Question

I was involved in a relationship which became long distance after a year of seeing each other at weekends but always involving lots of activity and other people around so wasnt really tested one to one enough.
I began to suffer from headaches especially after talking on the phone with him ,memory got very bad, exhausted,,then sleeplessness and panic attacks started .I was supposed to be moving over to join him but got more and more nervous and anxious with nightmares of falling off a cliff and terrified when i thought i was pregnant.He used to sometimes say he was really concerned about what kind of a mother Id be and why didnt do more to make him happy etc.
When I closely examined the interaction between us there was no fighting on my part but he would be highly critical sometimes ,getting angry often about stupid things and making comments about my way of talking, cleaning, relating to people, dressing and what I ate sometimes. I began to feel very tired and ill after being with him which is really sad as i loved him a alot .But trying to please him became absolutely exhausting.Everything had to be thought about before...etcI always seemed to cry every weekend I spent with him at some point after he gave out to me or lost his temper and then he would hug me and give me much more affection calling me his little flower.
Since Ive broken up with him I dont cry that much but am really depressed a lot of the time. I feel really lonely and even though Ive dated I dont seem to be able to find anyone that suits me.Lately he sometimes talks to me on the phone and I enjoy it but dont feel so good afterwards a bit agitated or stirred up.We definately have a very close emotional bond. He still doesnt understand that his harsh critical behaviour and words really affected me.I tryed to explain to him that he is too controlling,critical andc demanding but he doesnt even remember the things he says or does and then says Im making it up.!!I feel so sorry for him cos I would go back with him if he tryed to change or modify his behaviour .On the other side he made huge efforts organising lovely presents or activities for us to do like hiking, travelling.Another thing he is very difficult with money always watching it and calling me careless and spoilt cos my backround is very different. He grew up in East Germany and had a tough time financially i guess.His childhood was very harsh and I think he must have witnessed a very abusive verbally realationship while growing up.How can he try and sort him self out..I would love to be with him but I fear getting ill if I went back him. And my personality has come back again and I am funny again.My friends and family said I was like a Zoombie...completely changed .High pitched voice and very anxious.I suspect he has a very dominating personality that is verbally very abusive and cruel at times whether accidentally or not.Perhaps he has a borderline personality disorder.How can i tell him this even if he is begging me to know what he is doing wrong...cos his date told him he made her anxious..just like me .Hed would love a partner and a family but cant seem to give a woman a safe,protective feeling so they all seem to run.I am very fond of him but this illness I seem to feel around him is horrible.sometimes its like a pain in my head or an aching in my lower stomach...very strange...
Id love an opinion if anyone out there.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

From what you said, you sound very clear about what was going on in your relationship. You were able to see your boyfriend's behavior for what it was- very controlling and hurtful. Although his abuse as a child would explain his acting out towards you, it does not excuse how he treated you.

 

It was wise for you to remove yourself from the relationship and protect yourself. However, I suspect that your subsequent depression was caused not only by your breakup, but the loss of a potentially good relationship and the expectations you had for you and your boyfriend. Any loss like yours is going to cause a period of mourning. This is normal and expected. However, the fact you continue to talk with him is of some concern. Not so much that you speak with him, but the potential for him to hurt you again. The fact that his last girlfriend is saying the same things about her relationship with him that you said only backs up the chance he may hurt you again.

 

He must realize he has a problem before he can take any steps to fix it. He must also realize this on his own. No one will be able to do it for him. It may take several failed relationships, a friend or family member talking with him, or some other possibly traumatic event for him to realize the issue. Or he may never realize it at all.

 

My concern in this is that you care for yourself. If you chose to maintain contact with him, be sure to set clear rules for behavior that is allowed and not allowed. For example, if the conversation starts to become abusive, you will hang up immediately. This will protect you from becoming emotionally abused by him again.

 

Also, you may want to start dating other people. He has moved on and you may need to as well. If you have other healthier relationships to compare this one to, it will be easier for you to move forward.

 

There is a book you may want to read called The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond by XXXXX XXXXX. It is found on Amazon.com or your local library may have a copy. It will help you gain insight into your relationship with your ex and help you find ways to cope.

 

Remember, let yourself mourn this relationship but also seek out healthier relationships and find ways to care for yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect.

 

I hope this has helped you,

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5450
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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