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Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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Okay, so it is 945 pm and I just heard from is

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Okay, so it is 945 pm and I just heard from is what he said..."I am here in Oakland. Have been in meetings since 9 am. I'm fine. I'm tired. I am really struggling. I will eventually be ok. My life is a wreck. I am very sorry that I have been distant. I just don't know what end is up. You have been very good to me and I feel badly for upsetting you. You don't deserve that. I just am in a very bad place at this time." What do you make of this? What do I do now?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello this is Jean!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm glad that you finally heard something. He said he's in a "very bad place". One question I would ask him is if he's safe and if he's having any thoughts of self harm.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He's still not giving you much for information regarding the relationship, still keeps you wondering what's really up. How did you respond back to him?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Unless he tells you what he means by "bad place" or "don't know which end is up" it's all a guess. What do you make of it? Still a bit generic for you to figure out what's really going on. I can only imagine leaving his wife is a huge step, even if it's something he wants, it's still a big change. It's taken him four of his five years of his marriage to leave her in a sense.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

He's gone deep into his "cave" to sort things out. Women are natural multi taskers, not so much for men. Concentrating on what he's done i.e. leaving his marriage and work demands is about all he may have room for. He maybe trusts that you will be there, knowing you will stand by him. However, I think you holding off on contacting him was good. He may not want to burden you with his struggle especially if it relates to leaving his marriage.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I will be notified when you are back on line-I'm glad for you that you heard "something" from him

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey - no - he will not hurt himself - not being there with all his work people.
Now of course it is almost 130 am and I cannot sleep. Soon I will have been awake for 24 hrs. Lmk when you will be on tmrw so we can try to live chat, but I have not answered him yet. I wanted to talk to you first. Where I am right now is, "it was good to hear from you. I continue to be troubled and concerned that you are in so much pain. Yes, the distant-ness is extremely difficult for me. Hope all is going as well as possible business-wise." however, that just sounds very, very cold to me. On the other hand, you are right...I have no clue where I stand. Part of me also wants to continue waiting to respond to him until he reaches out to me again, which I would imagine he would do at some point to make sure this situation has NOT made me jump off the roof, but I don't know how smart that is.
I don't know. Will talk to you later. Have to get up at 615 to get the boys to school.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey again. Sure enough, I think I may have slept maybe three hours last night. Not sure what is wrong with me...I think my meds are off in addition to this situation and my stomach has been upset. Anyhow. On readback for the 9 millionth time, one other thing that is weird to me is the first sentence, "I am here in Oakland," when he told me he was going to Oakland on Tuesday. It is almost like he had just gotten there. But I guess I am just analyzing and overanalyzing. I have no idea anymore. It would really make much more sense for him to have gone out there yesterday than Tuesday, but I guess that is really immaterial at this point.

No...looking back on it, here's what he said to me on May 28th, after I texted him after not having heard from him in several (like four) days and I asked him, "Wow, is this over?" and he said "What?" and I said "Our relationship. I am not having a big fit, I just want to know." (was that bitchy? I had no knowledge of him having moved out) - he said "I tell you what. Why don't YOU call my office and tell them that bc they are requesting so much information and files from me on my guys before I leave for the draft tomorrow and meet my report deadline of yesterday at 9pm to complete 15 reports from the ACC tourney, that YOU are not receiving quite the level of attention that you feel is adequate at this point. I have not called my mom or dad back. They have actually called to chat. I am overwhelmed right now. I have deadlines to meet and this is not what I want to discuss right now. I think maybe I cannot give you what you need right now."

That tells you a lot, huh?

As far as him doing harm to himself, I hope you know I am not being cavalier by saying what I said...I would have or have had much more worry about him being in a hotel room in the town where he lives, by himself, had I known about it beforehand and heard how horrible he sounded, than out in the Bay Area with all of his colleagues under pressure to perform.

Anyhow, this message maybe gives you some more info to process with...

I am getting out of bed now to make bfast for kids and take them to school. I will be back here by 830 am EST or so and will check for you then. Will be here until about 1115 am then will leave again (!) to get kids back. THANK YOU for any insight you can provide. You want to talk about struggling??? *I* am struggling.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
The way you describe that conversation related to asking him if it was over, sounds like he got immediately upset-upset when you put expectations on the relationship or what he sees as "demands". I see your question as asking for what you need, gathering information. Sounds sort of like everything is perfectly perfect until you share some sort of discomfort yourself. It reminds me of how men, more than women tend to take concerns from women as something they have to find a solution to, something to fix. Women really often want to process their emotions. It almost sounds like he immediately reacted in a panic, becomes afraid that he has done something wrong and he responds so defensively. The book Men are from Mars Women are From Venus-describes some of those differences in communication between men and women. That's where th "I" statements come in handy- tend to create less defensiveness from the other person. Of course you are struggling. Work also sounds like it quickly can put him over the edge. Big demands and deadlines- someone always wanting a "piece of him".
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
you are right about him being very reactive to me having "demands." Whereas I will fix his problems for him without ever saying anything to him about it. For example, the time I have referred to a couple of times as talking to him through the night was a time a couple of years ago where a couple of his friends, both scouts for two other rival teams, did not let him in on a kid they were both following. It is kind of complicated, but these guys are both very competitive with each other AND trying to help each other trying to cover each other's behinds with the big club...and these were Neil's two best friends on the "tour." He felt COMPLETELY betrayed. Naturally, he has gone back to being best friends with them since then. But at that time he was like texting me during lunch with them saying, "What do I say now," etc etc...he was that at a loss.

I will also tell you that I have referred to him more than SEVERAL handfuls of times as a "drama queen." Normally I am very good with that kind of personality, that is where I shine as a nurturer, but it does make you want something for yourself from time to time. He is generally WONDERFUL to me in person. But we see each other much less than we did at the beginning.

It's hard to draw the line at saying you can't have "needs" when you can't really need someone in a particular relationship, you know? I knew the name of this ride when I bought the ticket. And he is really a wonderfully generous spirit...for example, one kid he signed last year was DIRT poor, he had NO money, and they were sending him out to Phoenix, and it occurred to Neil that he would not even have money to pay for his bags on the plane, so Neil FedExed him a prepaid Visa card for a couple hundred bucks out of his own pocket.

Anyhow. I still have no idea what to say or when or anything. I feel like maybe I shouldn't say anything until I know what I want to say, and I still think what I typed earlier felt too cold...but could use your input. Are you online?
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
I'm sorry I missed you I know you said you would be available specific times. The more you describe him he sounds like a sensitive person, maybe a people pleaser, reactive to conflict. This time has given you an opportunity to evaluate the relationship overall-what needs you or are not getting met. I would imagine you are hoping this will change since he left his wife. Those that are sensitive, kind hearted, can also be the ones who come across as a "jerk" when what it's really about his how personally they take things. I think putting more time into what you want to say is good-maybe write some ideas down and trust when it feels or sounds right to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
are you here now?

yes exactly, he is VERY sensitive...which is why i don't neccessarily want to wait too long to respond, and he is a;so a HUGE pleaser and conflict avoider.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.

I think it's okay to respond to him since he initiated the contact

Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
Using the "I" statements and validating him can lessen his defensiveness, increase the chance he will be more open to what you are saying.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
I will be on line throughout the day today and will be notified when you post a reply-greater chance I can respond right back to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How about this. It behooves me to keep it as short as possible, so if you can make any suggestions for length, please do:

"It was good to hear from you. Thank you for that. I have been and will continue to be concerned about you.

I am trying very hard to respect your need for space with all that is going on extraneous to the draft, and your stress and work levels right now with the draft, but yes, the distant-ness is extremely hard for me. I feel as though this has in past years been a time when you have shared a lot about your day-to-day work with me and I miss knowing what is going on. Sharing all of that throughout the year, but especially this time of year, has always made me feel very close to you, plus I find it very interesting. Also, outside of that, while I respect that there is a big chunk of your life right now that you cannot really talk about with me, I miss my best friend. It is not the worrying and the concern that is hard for me, it is that loss.

Keep your head up. I am saying my good beads that all will go well for you out there."

I kind of don't want to tell him "I love you," although obviously I do, because it just makes me feel so vulnerable??? Also not "I'm here for you..." because I kind of feel like I cannot be at his beck and call right now...I don't want to spend this time tied to my cell phone...One thing that had not occurred to me is if he goes home when he returns from the draft, for example. I am certainly not going to get my hopes up about ANYTHING. He can continue loving me until the cows come home and never make a move in my direction.

Please let me know what you think about the above. I am going to jump in the shower and then I will check back. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
I think what you wrote is good, too the point, good job on "I" statements. It's general but personal-go for it! You do need to protect yourself a bit and if leaving off "I love you" helps you do that- do it. The length is good too. Yes you have to be realistic-not knowing what will happen when he returns home. This is such an unfolding, a slow, painful wait and see.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
One final question. I said I could imagine how he felt...I CAN imagine how he must feel on everything except for how he feels about ME. Do I need to allude to that somehow? The directionlessness?

Also do you mind cutting and pasting what I wrote to you in your response? LOL. For some reason it is only giving me your responses, not what I have written. I wouldn't want to miss an iota of my fabulous wordsmithing. THANK YOU.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.

Had trouble with cut and past. Add what you think feels right for you-trust that what you write will be the best you can give. I can imagine there is a lot of the "directionlessness" for you. That's why there is no right or wrong answer. You are doing the best you can with the information you have been provided.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Okay - I sent it. God knows when he will respond. Now I am all nervous again. I keep wanting to ask you, do you think he still loves me, but of course you don't know. I do want to be best friends like we were before, but I also want to be partners.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well crap. I just had to say it.
"Oh to Hell with it. I CANNOT be passionless about you; I am incapable of it. I love you."
I hope he does not crush me.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
You will survive whatever the outcome! I'm sure you must be holding your breath waiting. Be strong!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
you think it was okay to tell him that?
Kids are home now...I love my boys but for me, they are so active sometimes is feels like being perpetual camp counselor and that adds to the stress.
Also, I think I told you that I am self-employed. Part of my business essentially stalled out at te first of the year - part of te reason for my breakdown - and one of my former clients, to whom I owe money by the end of June, just texted me to tell me he sent me an email. It will probably be threatening. So now I am back to "shot-out-of-a-cannon" again. Basically, I think women cannot compartmentalize...and so I have been on constant red alert since, like January. It is horrible. Any tips for managing anxiety and kids and all this other stuff? Currently only on cymbalta and neurontin (for my back) plus high blood pressure and birth control.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
That's stressful dealing with financial issues. You are doing the best you can with the circumstances as they are- repeat this often. Managing anxiety and kids... You may have to do that all at the same time having your boys with you. Boys are active, getting them out; hiking, to the park, anything active. For you getting active with the boys may be a good release. Any form of exercise can relieve stress, yoga is great, deep breathing. Sleep and diet is really important too. If you look at men and women as ladders, the woman's ladder has several rungs while the man's has few-as a result like you said-hard to compartmentalize- As simple as it sounds really focus on taking deep deep breaths. When we are anxious we breath really shallow- keeps the anxiety trapped and stirring. The deep breathing you can do anywhere at anytime. Deep breath through your nose, really deep, hold and release it all out your mouth. Repeat a few times-several times throughout the day. Progressive relaxation starting at one end of your body and tense and release your muscles, flex your foot, tighten, release-ankle, leg, etc-all the way up your body.. We can not be relaxed and tense at the same time.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you, ***** ***** great techniques that I often need to be reminded of. As you can imagine probably, with my medical history over the past year, I have had to detox off of a ton of stuff that I have been given, mainly for my back, before and immediately after the surgery. Therefore any medication to treat the anxiety is just about out of the question. I use a lot of yoga and meditation techniques but it is hard to do when constantly in motion. :-)
The email from my client is not as bad as I had thought. However, it is just the constant beating down stress. That is why it sometimes chaps my hide when Neil talks about his stuff. He doesn't know the half of what I am dealing with.
Anyhow, he will be in meetings all day today until about the same time as he responded last night (945 pm my time) so I don't really expect to hear back from him until then. I wish there was some way we could know if he still loves me, still has passion for me. I don't care what anyone says, I really believe that if two people love each other and have the right attitude (BOTH of them), they can surmount any obstacles they are dealt.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.

Glad to hear your e mail wasn't as bad as you thought. The days probably seem long but like I said you will get through this. It's unfortunate that in this type of relationship there are so many sacrifices -can see why it would "chap your hide"-you could have used your best friend when you were struggling the most physically and emotionally.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Sadly, my ex-husband was worse when we were married. I always tell people you have never seen lonely until you are actually with someone and STILL lonely. I would ask him to hold me and he would get pissed off and go sleep on te couch; he got mad at me for still being in daily tears a week after my dad died bc "he was old." the day of one of my biggest work days ever HE was running late to accompany me and screamed at me and threw one of his dress shoes at my bedroom wall, leaving a mark that is still there today. We are good friends now and he gave me the greatest gift one human being can ever give another, in my sons, but it was rough.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
Sounds like your marriage had some tough times. Your husband sounds like he wasn't too "available" to you when you needed him the most. Like you said you did get the gift of your sons. It's good that you can now be friends to co parent effectively.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
it is 910 pm and I am getting ready to put my 6yo to bed and I just got the following:
"A long day here. I hope you are having a good day"
I don't know if he remembers I have children and am on a three hour time delay or not, but my delay is definitely in the past tense. And I don't know if he thinks I am going to chat (I am NOT) or what.
VERY anxious.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
Sounds like you are appropriately expecting him to be more mindful of you and your life vs. it all being about "him"- when you said you don't know if he remembers you have children and a three hour delay. You can not be available at the drop of a hat when he contacts you. Yes I'm sure you are anxious but you are doing a great job- somehow getting through this- one minute at a time maybe. You need rest and I hope you get it.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am sure you are in bed at this point, but I answered him a couple of minutes after 11:
"Yes, thanks. I am pretty rode hard and put up wet at this point, but it was fine.
Hope you are able to get some rest."
Two hours had gone by bc I had fallen asleep for a little while in my 6yo's bed.
So anyhow, no response so far. I have GOT to try to get some sleep at some point or I am going to be a mess tomorrow but after I sent him that text that I put a LOT of thought into, if that is all he is going to say back, I am going to be ANGRY. And I guess that will give me my answer, that he does not give a rat's ass about me anymore for whatever reason.
I just have this picture in my head of him out at some strip club (he would say, "never going to happen, I'm too cheap," or at some bar getting loaded and flirting with girls, whoch, ladt time that happened, he got mad that no one would talk to hom and called me at 3am to tell me how much he missed me.irls
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry- no response so far- especially after you put so much thought into what you wanted to write. I think your anger is warranted with what you've been through in the past several days-a girl can only take so much-and you have been patient and strong. Tomorrow is a new day- it's tomorrow where you are now- and you start anew.Keep on truckin!! Take care, yes get some rest.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
God bless you for writing back. Do I tell him how angry I am, or just re-distance? Does this automatically mean he does not love me anymore?
I PROMISE I will not bother you after this. :-)
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
Re-distance may be the best bet for now. It does not mean he doesn't love you anymore. There's unknowns that have to be sorted out and I hope you are brought back into the loop soon.
Jean and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, it is 140 my time and I could not help myself. I had to text him again.
"You said you don't know which end is up. I am very sad about that. I will go back to just giving you space. Don't feel like you have an obligation to be in touch with me. All I want is for you to be okay. NRN."
NRN to us is "no response necessary."
It just makes me sad and angry that I put so much thought into what I said to him earlier and he can only send me 50 characters. I mean, we did not have to talk about us. He could have sent me a more chatty text about baseball.
But, it is also really hurtful that he won't reach out to me for help...I guess maybe he can't (???) bc he is so stressed out about his marriage (???), but I am sick of being out here on the periphery.
I don't know, maybe texting him again was the wrong thing to do, and I really do not mean to put any more pressure on him, but I am confused, hurt, and angry. Do you think texting him again will have irrevocably harmed things? I am so sorry if you are disappointed in me, and I don't want to have done something deleterious to my relationship, but this SUCKS.
I will try to find some more $$ tmrw and see when you are here...but in the meantime, if you could just give me your thoughts...
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Here is what I just sent to him. I feel like I am losing my mind.
Please tell me I am not ruining my chances for a good relationship by having texted him last night and then again this morning. Please tell me he could not have fallen out of love with me so quickly???
I feel so small. Like a complete loser.
I promise I will open a new question shortly.
Here is what I said:
I apologize for bothering you again. It's just that in a sea of being in a "very bad place," I wish I could be a happy, safe and peaceful place for you. Because I know that's what you are for me, and why I always turn to you when I am in the middle of anything, because even if I don't tell you about what exactly is on my mind, just talking to you usually makes me feel much better. I understand it is different for you, and this whole situation is different, and I am trying so hard to respect your need for space.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
What you wrote sounds more than appropriate-from your heart. It explains your struggle without chewing him out about it. It's natural for you to want answers -without something it drives you crazy-like you said you feel like you are losing your mind. You probably get into a panic, get really scared, feels like the end of the world. This is not the end of the world and you will get through this. I'm sure you worry about asking certain questions fearing what the answers might be. Again I think what you wrote to him sounded good, nonthreatening, very heartfelt. If he doesn't respond in the way you want him to that will be another bridge to cross-you've crossed many in the past several days.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey - I just posted to the chat area but have no idea if it will let you know or not...basically all I said is it is almost 9am his time, which is when they have been starting the meetings, and I have heard nothing. It is going to be incredibly hurtful to me if he does not care enough to say anything??? Or maybe he is just incredibly angry...My mind is whirling around at 300 mph...I hope you don't think this is bad, but I had to take some Benadryl just to try to calm down a little. I am really a basket case. We are leaving at 1 to go to the batting cages (I could shoot myself) with my ex.
Expert:  Jean replied 5 years ago.
I'm on your new question