How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Mark Your Own Question

Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5157
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
50444359
Type Your Relationship Question Here...
Dr. Mark is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi. My boyfriend of 6 months just broke up with me. It was

Resolved Question:

Hi. My boyfriend of 6 months just broke up with me. It was long distance and I'd just returned from visiting him overseas. He can be warm, funny and loving and he is smart and handsome. But he can be difficult and spark fights over the most trivial things and has given me the silent treatment a few times. Examples: telling me off because the shower water leaked on the floor and then again for using a fresh towel to mop it up because "everybody in the world" knows you don't do that; giving me the silent treatment and walking ahead of me because I missed a destination on a map while he was driving, him blaming my playing with my mobile phone; him giving me the silent treatment for not asking if he wanted me to buy him a drink when I bought mine, implying I didn't think of him when that morning I made him pancakes for the second day in a row; asking me to "please say something in German" to his neighbours even though I don't speak a word; telling me "Good German, huh?" when I misread a train ticket and we ended up on the wrong platform; telling me I shouldn't drink coke, etc. He broke up with me because I was unable to Skype with him because I was going out with a friend. The next few days I heard nothing from him - silence again. During this time I was getting angry and deciding whether to keep the relation with someone who can't communicate. Then he rings and breaks up with me over the Skype issue, accusing me of not putting him as my priority. Despite me just having spent thousands travelling to the other side of the world to see him. I'm heartbroken by his coldness and feel like he doesn't love me or even care. What do you think?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.


First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating, confusing, and hurtful this situation must be for you. Why do I say frustrating?

Because you know deep in your heart that you did not do anything that deserved any of this type of treatment. Why confusing?

Because that is not how it's supposed to work, right? You make pancakes in the morning and then are accused of not caring about him at all. Something doesn't quite make sense in all of his behavior. But he seems so certain that he's right.

And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. That he's so certain that his needs, no matter how small, should be at the top of your mind (like getting him a drink when you get one for you), is indeed a warning bell. I can't tell you whether he is truly narcissistic, meaning clinically narcissistic, or whether he is just extremely self centered. But your description tries SO hard to justify him. I can tell you this is indeed not normal, nor is it the way love is supposed to work.

You are correct. And you need to get back to trusting your own self. This is my concern here. Narcissists get the other person so wrapped up in their needs, self, etc. that you begin to lose the sense of yourself as an equal with equal needs and equal right to receive attention and caring from the other person. He may not be a narcissist, but he has this type of behavior pattern. And therefore, I'm so glad that you are not in his sphere of influence. This is not a healthy way for you to proceed in your life. Love needs to be a sharing of caring each for the other; love is thinking the best of the other person. Love isn't like how he was behaving.

 

Now, really this is where my answer would end practically. You know what I think: I would be concerned for your future if you would live together. But emotionally we need to help you move on in your life.

The first thing is you will need to recognize that you will also now be grieving. You'll be grieving this relationship. And that is real grief. Something that was very real and precious to you will have died: love is real and precious.To you. That's because you are a giving person. And so you gave of yourself.

But even as you grieve you will soon need to switch focus from exclusively grieving (looking back at what was lost) to where you wish to head toward. And that will be to look for Mr. Right. Part of your grief will be that you thought he was Mr. Right and now you see he was someone on the way toward finding Mr. Right. So let's have this in hand for when you might need it:

Now for your life. Why do I say your life? Because you are not going to find Mr. Right by just looking for "a guy". You've got to treat finding Mr. Right as part of living YOUR life. You are clearly a woman with values. You are not looking simply for sexual gratification. You are looking for a human being who wants to share his life with you and who values who you are.

That's why we're going to focus on goals, strategies, and plans. I want you to take a sheet of paper or on the computer if you prefer and on that paper write your Healthy Relationship Goals. Examples: make 3 close friends in the next 3 months; or go on dates with interesting men at least 4 times in the next 3 months, etc. So you see they don't need to even be goals for just relationships with men, but can be social relationships. Because the more social you are, the more you build your ability to express yourself socially instead of just career wise, the more you will feel comfortable expressing yourself to Mr. Right on a date. You need to feel comfortable sharing your inner self with other people on lots of different levels: acquaintances, friends, confidantes, and dates.

Next, I need you to take another sheet or underneath the goals in the same sheet write Strategies for my Healthy Relationship Goals. For each of the Goals, I want you to write strategies. For example, if your goal is to go out 4 times in 3 months, strategies might be: I want to identify the type of interests men you'd be interested in would have. Then I want to ask yourself where would they go to fulfill those interests. For example, if an interesting man needs to be someone who is into fitness, then he would be a member of a fitness club. If he needs to like art, then he would be a member of the Art Museum and go to gallery openings. If he needs to be spiritually oriented, then he might need to be attending church or a meditation class.

Then, you need to write on a separate piece of paper or underneath each Goal and Strategy: Plans for how to succeed with your strategies. So to continue the example above, you might write: my plan is to go to the 6 most popular fitness studios and check them out to see what their membership looks like and what kind of activities are there. Or for art, I plan to join the Art Museum and to go to an art opening at a gallery at least twice per month and maybe 3 times. Or if you are interested in religion, checking out 3 congregations for active ones that have social events.

These are examples of strategies and plans. I'm trying to focus you on your life interests. What do you want to do to further your having a meaningful life? Remember, Mr. Right needs to fit into what's meaningful to you, so look for him in activities that bring out what's meaningful in your life.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks very much for your prompt response.


It is all true, and love is not how he was behaving.


I didn't feel he really appreciated my value and he wouldn't hold back if he thought I didn't do something they way he believed it should be done. I'm embarrassed to say that I cannot help feeling that if I would have Skyped with him that day instead of going out with my friends, we'd still be together. Because for him, that was the deal breaker. Maybe I should have made the time, given weekends are the only time we both are really free given work and the time difference. But it is like he has disregarded everything else in the relationship, and just focused on that aspect, and used that to break up with me, telling me the relationship is not worth it if we have other priorities, but that he is not angry. Do you think he ever really loved me?


 

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
Again, I can't say whether he's truly narcissistic or very self absorbed in a more limited way. You don't describe this as a sudden change in him; so this is part of who he is.



The question of whether he ever really loved you is such a painful one, I know, and it's one I'm asked so often even in therapy with people who've finally ended such a relationship. Remember: you have a vision of love that we call "normal": two people, each sharing their pains as well as their joys, their calm as well as their irritations. He seems to have a different vision of love, one where he is the center and he is the one who is cared about and his needs are the ones that are front and center.


So, from his perspective, he might say he loves you. But that is not a healthy perspective and so I'm glad you're moving on.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks. I never considered he has narcissist traits, I thought he was just controlling - with silent treatments, telling me how I should approach things in life, eg: sit in the front seat with your mother, help care for your grandparents, those shoes don't match, say yes when someone offers you a drink, etc.


 


There was another example I forgot about and I wonder if it is an example of his self centredness or something else. He offered to help me choose a computer but I bought another one to what he had suggested.


 


When he found out it didn't have a CD feature, he got angry because it must've meant I got ripped off - something that wouldn't have happened if I had bought what he suggested. He then asked me to return it - which I didn't - and this caused major problems because I went against his advice.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
You bring up more traits of his that point to being self centered. And so while I can't tell you if he's narcissistic, we can certainly agree that his behavior has been very self oriented and indeed controlling.


Controlling is, by the way, a common feature of narcissistic people. They can be very charming and attentive and then, once the other person is in the relationship, they can become more and more demanding of attention and belittling and controlling.



I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanksm. Just one more question, if I may. In your experience, are people who show such narcissistic traits capable of changing?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
If he is narcissistic, I can only tell you that most professional literature treats the disorder as being one of the toughest to treat. First of all, it is a personality disorder and personality is part of how we see ourselves.


Most importantly, though, a person who's controlling, blames others and belittles, and feels that he is entitled to get all the attention and doesn't feel obligated to give equally does not come to therapy. They always see the problem as being in the other person, not in themselves. And when they do go to therapy, it is usually to show the other person that it is really their fault by trying to manipulate the therapy.


Again, though, I don't know if he is narcissistic. But your experience has been that you've been treated in ways that narcissistic people usually treat those they become close with: controlling, belittling, demanding, etc.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5157
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
Dr. Mark and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/deedeeham/2011-1-24_51523_408.64x64.JPG Dear Debra's Avatar

    Dear Debra

    Advice Columnist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1719
    I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy's Avatar

    Kate McCoy

    Counselor

    Satisfied Customers:

    1235
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1215
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/CoachJenK/2012-3-9_31019_Jen.64x64.jpg Coach Jen K.'s Avatar

    Coach Jen K.

    LMSW, CPC

    Satisfied Customers:

    726
    Providing the utmost care and support.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IN/intrapsyc.com/2012-2-20_161928_RGMTPicturex5002012.64x64.png Rafael M.T.Therapist's Avatar

    Rafael M.T.Therapist

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    549
    MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/HU/hungryjack20/IMG_1281_edit_2.64x64.jpg Dr. L's Avatar

    Dr. L

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    349
    Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SU/suzmsw/2011-9-2_184634_Thisone.64x64.JPG Suzanne's Avatar

    Suzanne

    Therapist, LCSW

    Satisfied Customers:

    338
    Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Counselor
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark
Counselor
5157 Satisfied Customers
Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships