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DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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The past week or so has been a mental struggle. i keep

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the past week or so has been a mental struggle. i keep getting pulled back and forth between letting go or to keep trying.Cliff notes relationship history:- dated for about 3 months; very intense, close connections
- she broke up with me for reasons i still do not know
- she tried to reconcile shortly after breakup; i responded to texts with no or very short responses. she was acting very hostile and attacking my character and saying hurtful things. no way was I going to try to try to talk to her in that state
- ended contact with open ends (had to. we did love each other, "i love yous" exchanged", had to stand my ground as much it hurt me and how hard it was.
- been in "no contact" for about 45 days (broken up for about 2 months)recent text messages to re-connect:[9/14]: “hey i saw a vase full of black eye susans last night. they reminded me of you and it made me smile. hope you are doing great.” her and her moms favorite flowers…Her: “where was it?”Me: “walking by a restaurant downtown. nice hearing from you. have a great night.”Her: “nice. i am getting that tattoo soon. good to hear from you too! maybe i will see you around.” (when we were together, she always told me she wanted a tattoo of it. that was it from me for the day and wkd.)[9/17] me: "hey. i was making eggs and toast this morning and it reminded me of when i used to make breakfast for you and [her roommate/bff]. and i know how much she means to you. hope you are not too sad and had a great weekend." (saw she was leaving (saw it on facebook, i am friends with her – she is leaving the country for work abroad and i sent her a message on Saturday wishing her the best – and she responded very positivity)no response from her.[9/20] me – “hey. im taking a risk here, sticking my neck out…i had to cut off contact. i didnt know what else to do when the second girl i’ve ever fell in love with didnt want anything to do with me anymore. i truly wanted to provide you with what you never had. i just want you to know that. hope you are having a great night.[9/21] her – (next morning) “sorry, generally when people cut me out of their lives i dont just let them change their minds randomly.”[9/21] me – (few hours later) “like i said, i took a risk reaching out to you not knowing how you feel or what your situation is. my mind never changed. have a good weekend.”[9/21] so i was out with friends and saw my ex last night when walking around downtown where all the bars/clubs are. She was with a girlfriend and a dude. We were walking in opposite directions, same sidewalk. saw her from a distance and I made eye contact when we got closer and same with her. she covered her face as we passed each other. I just resumed talking to my friend. btw i was looking good, per usual :)she tweeted these also:[9/23] “Being able to look forward to snuggling with a guy is so refreshing. Though I would prefer it be a puppy waiting to snuggle…”[9/24]: “my current is so much more attractive than my ex, which is a marker of a job well done.” (she deleted this one probably within an hour from posting)i just at my wits here and don't know why she is trying to hurt me. why is she so mad? why lash out now? i did nothing to instigate this...what are your thoughts? does she still care about me? why the games? any insight or advice would be great..
Hello and Welcome to Pearl. I'd like to help you make some sense of your ex-girlfriend's behavior.
Lashing out and doing hurtful things (like her tweet, her behavior when she saw you on the street)sounds to me like she is feeling hurt in some way, but instead of admitting it is trying to "hurt you back." It's much more of a risk for us to own our pain than it is to turn it outward onto others. For example, if you do something to hurt me it's harder to say, "I was hurt by what you did," than it is to say, "Why did you do that?"
What I cannot answer specifically is why she is hurt (although I can give you some possibilities regarding her relationsal style--further down). First, here's two possiblities of what could have happened:
1. She told you what hurt her in the relationship and you did not comprehend it or hear it
2. She did NOT tell you what was wrong, just got hurt, left, and the lashing out started.
Given how you sound in your message and what you posted about what she has said/done, I'm going to assume that #2 is true for now.
Which leaves us to the reason why she is hurt. While I can't (and you probably can't either) pinpoint exactly what you did/didn't do, there's always a problem when someone suddenly, without warning breaks off a relationship so suddenly (given where you were at in it --I'm not talking about after a date or two). In other words, it's extreme behavior, which is a sign of a problem within that person.
Either it was an offense that was not intended and she reacted extremely to it, or it was an offense that was hurtful but she didn't have the ability to come to you honestly and tell you about it.
If number #2 is indeed true, she got hurt, left you, then started lashing out hurtfully, it is possible that she suddenly felt abandoned or rejected by something you said or did and then suddenly started looking at you as "all bad." Look back to the beginning of the relationship. Did she ever "idealize" you? If the answer is yes --people who idealize also tend to de-value those same people at a later time.
Other clues that there are significant issues here: Her comment about you cutting off contact. She turned the situation around and blamed you --if you noticed. That's a problem --she didn't own that she broke up with you, she didn't own that she was mean/rude etc. to you after the breakup.
The last two tweets/posts by her are passive/aggressive --meant to look like a general comment (puppy comment) and then removing the tweet (last comment). Passive-aggressive behavior is indicative of someone who has difficulty communicating honestly and directly.
So the "games," are to help her cope and maybe a sign of her ambivalence (i.e. if she really hates you that much, why did she answer any of your texts).
Of course keep in mind that I only have to go on the little bit of information that you gave me, but if it's honest and accurate, then I would say that the dynamics I pointed out are probably in play.
Please feel free to follow up with me. It sounds like it has been quite painful for you.
Dr. Fee
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.I've had better days...I really don't understand why she is acting like she is. I mean, it could be a possibility that the tweets could be directed to somewhere else and it may be my ego stroking my conscience but I am pretty sure that those tweets were directed towards me. I just don't understand, why now? Why not a few weeks ago? Like I said, i have stayed quiet on all fronts, never boasted about going on dates, meeting new girls, no social media posts, etc. Didn't do a thing to instigate her behavior...and now she is all about posting pictures of herself, updating on things she is doing, etc, etc. Again, this may be my ego speaking, but I think she is trying to rub it in my face.Did I really hit a sore subject with her when I reached out? I mean, she broke up with me, what did she expect? Me to come begging her back? I didn't do that because 1. that makes me look all so desperate and 2. gives her power/control. I am going to assume all the guys she had broken up with chased her hard afterwards, so maybe she is mad because the outcome was different this time? Like I said, she played the victim throughout the whole break up. It was all "poor me" and "i dont deserve to be treated like this".I forgot to mention, during labor day weekend, I was out with a group of friends at a club and saw her there with another guy. I saw her as I was looking for my friends however I avoided her. Later that night, she obviously saw me, she texted me saying "save me? no?". I didn't answer. And then around 4:30 am, she called me and didn't leave me a message. I didn't pick up or return her call.I never did anything wrong, other than normal disputes couples have. I treated her like a gentleman and only wanted the best for her.The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. I am assuming that she wants a reaction from me but as much as I want to, I cannot show her that her behavior is affecting me, even though it hurts that someone who loved me is trying to hurt me. But like you said, she probably still cares about what happened.The reason I cut of contact is not to hurt her or teach her a lesson, it was because rejection is always tough and I needed to get myself together and keeping my self in that abusive verbal situation was not going to help. I just needed to remove myself from the situation. Now that I am thinking a lot more clearly, I do miss her and still care for her however it's tough to figure out either to move on or try to reconcile. I just don't want to start this whole cycle over again. It's just been a hard two months. there are good stretches where i feel just fine and then i miss her and then her posting things like that, it just is tough. I just don't know what she wants from me or wants me to do.I think she is mad about me cutting off contact - I do remember her mentioning a lack of communication and not being able to talk about our problems, both parties, being a reason she gave for breaking up.i have been thinking of writing her an long email or calling her and leaving a short message but i dont know what that would accomplish. I dont want to beg her back nor reflect on the bad issues that have happened but maybe forgive her. i really dont know...
Hello again,
I think that you have some good, productive questions about the situation and it seems like the important question right now is, "What should I do?"
In order to answer that question, I think you first need to answer, "What do I want to accomplish?" Here are some possibilities of what you might want to accomplish:
1. Closure
2. Forgiveness (related to closure, I think)
3. Explanation from her
4. Reconciliation
5. Other (? you need to identify these)
Once you decide what you are trying to accomplish, then you can decide how to go about it --asking to meet with her, phone call, email, etc.
Keep in mind that you might not get what you want. You have to decide if it's worth the risk or if you're better off letting it go. I could make arguments for both sides of that.
I'm guessing that she has interpreted some of your behavior much differently than what you intended. You may or may not be able to clear that up with her.
Dr. Fee
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks again.Just a few more questions -Do you think that she may be in the "anger" stage of breakups even though she is the one that initiated it?Do you feel that there is a chance for reconciliation?What kind of arguments can you make for both sides?I don't want to look weak...if anything, I want show her I have changed without saying it, I just want to show it, which would put me in the best position for any type of reconciliation.
1. Yes, a person who initiates a breakup is generally going to go through the stages of grief just like the one who didn't. And, anger is a stage of grief. The stages do not occur in a particular order, so she could be "back" in the anger stage even though weeks have gone by and she didn't seem angry at one point before.
2. It's difficult for me to tell if there's a chance for reconciliation based on the information I have, but I think that a sit-down, honest discussion would give you a HUGE clue as to whether that was possible. If she was reasonable, honest during the discussion (even if she's still angry and hurt), then I would say yes. However, her behavior, (assuming those comments were indeed about you) were immature and mean-spirited. If these words describe her in general, then a successful reconciliation is probably less of a possibility.
3. Both sides: Taking the risk --the payoff could be big. Getting closure generally is appealing to us (our human nature, many of us like closure), forgiveness can really help us to move on (even without reconciliation) and reconciliation of course can be wonderful.
On the downside, you're taking a risk, and the conversation might not go well and you end up with more to grieve and heal from. Like I've said before, she's been immature and mean-spirited, which could speak to where she's at in life, and therefore not likely to change soon.
But, overall, I tend to be an optimist --that even if you don't reconcile, that something positive would come out of that conversation.
What do you mean by "weak," and why wouldn't you want to look weak? And changed? How? We're all weak, when it comes to relationships, where we are the most vulnerable and show our true needs (ideally).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Weak as "power" in the relationship. I feel I have given up some power already by reaching out. Honestly, I do not want to give in and give her the validation of her actions. I think that is what she wants...she just wants validation that her actions were right and I was in the wrong. Do you understand where I am coming from? It's just this power struggle between us I feel.To be honest, I am a different person since we have been broken up. I change feel the change in my self. I am more confident and I am able to stand my ground and set boundaries, which I could not do before because I was afraid to lose her but looking back, I lost her because I didn't set any.If I decide to email/call her, what should the conversation revole around? I don't want to play the blame game, which probably make her even more mad and feel very resentful but I don't want to beg her back. What do you think?Let me help you, tell me what you want to know to make a final assessment.
OK, I understand what you are saying. And you're right, you give up "power" by reaching out, but that doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do. Even if she believes she is "right," and her actions were justified, she's not right. In my opinion, what she (or anyone) thinks does not matter, but doing what is on our heart as the right thing (make peace, forgiveness, etc) is what does matter.
OK --I just need to know one thing, I think. What do you want to accomplish by talking to her (see my list of possibilities above).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I think it's a mixture of all the goals you list.Closure - just a lot of what if's and may/can be done to fix the situation
Forgiveness - i would like her to come around and forgive me but I don't think that is likely. I would like to be the bigger person and forgive her. I just cannot move on with so much resentment towards her.
Explanation from her - this would be nice but again, probably won't happen
Reconciliation - this would be the holy grail but I don't know if this is something that is feasible. Either in a platonic or relationship reconciliation.
OK --I think you just need to be honest and vulnerable and if she cannot respond well to that, well, then I'd say she's not the woman for you anyway. Here's some more specific tips about how to talk to her:
1. Use a lot of Empathy and Validation:
Empathy is where name the feelings you see that her feeling during the course of the conversation, validation is where you give support to him for those feelings: "It sounds like you were confused when I cut off contact," or "It was frustrating for you when I didn't answer your text that night," Validation: "I can understand how that would be frustrating." or "I can see why you might be confused and hurt by my behavior."
Empathy build connection and trust --the greater your trust, the more likely she is to be honest with you. Empathy and validation do NOT mean that you support a particularly behavior, nor does it mean you would feel the same way or engage in the same behavior. It simply means that you can look beyond your own feelings and understand what is behind her feelings.
2.Use "I feel __________, when you _________" statements. Some examples:
"I felt confused by you suddenly breaking up with me without explanation." Or another variation, "I worry that you are not interested in trying to work out our relationship when you _____(insert behavior)."
The "I" part of the statement puts the responsibility on you (and hence is less likely to make her feel defensive), but the "when you" part identifies the behavior that is confusing, hurting you, concerning you, etc.
It's much more likely to get an honest answer than a "why" question (Why do you act this way?) which makes people naturally defensive.
3. Use Open Ended Questions: They tend to start with What, When, How, and Tell me: "What is going through your mind right now?" or "Please tell me what your current thoughts are about our relationship." Or "How can I be supportive of you as you figure out if we can work things out?"
Avoid closed ended questions: "Don't you think it was mean the what you tweeted about me?" Open ended questions invite conversation, closed ended ones tend to shut it down.
So --in summary --go into the conversation as non-defensively as you can, empathize and validate, use "I" statements and ask open-ended questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hey Dr Fee - wanted to provide you with an update.I texted her over the weekend...this is what transpired:saturday night (around 2:30 am):me: i just came across a tiffanys bag. made me think about the earrings i got you. couldnt help but smile.her (around 4:00 am): smile?sunday evening (around 9:00 pm):me: yeah…smile. i knew when i picked them out they were perfect. hope you had a fun weekend.nothing from her as of now. what do you think?
It could be that she's wondering what your intentions are and doesn't know how to respond. While it sounds like you might want to get back together (from the content/time of text) I could see how she might be confused (why is he texting me this now?)
I would encourage you to contact her and ask for a sit down, honest conversation about where you are coming from and what you want.
What do you think?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dr Fee - sorry for the delayed responses...been busy at work.This is what happend last night...she texted me.Her (10pm): “can me and [her roommate's name] use your shower”Me (10:45ish): “sorry, have company over. let me know if you are still in a bind.”note: i had some friends over watching pre-season basketball games on tv.and i wake up in the morning to another text…her (1 am): “[name of former roommate whom she kicked out] left me in a bind.”haven’t responded yet…any ideas on what i should reply with? or anything?I mean, she could of asked her gf’s or her “new dude” and when I told her she can come pick her stuff up when we broke up, she moaned and complained how far my place is from hers (in reality, it’s a 10 min cab ride).what do you think?
It sounds confusing --she's sending you mixed messages (first rejection, now asking for your help).
I am confused as to how her former roommate has left her in a bind ?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I have no idea...I know her former roommate was in charge of the bills so maybe something to do with that? I think she wanted me to ask her what was wrong, a test to see how I was feeling towards her? fishing for something... what do you think?
It sure sounds that way, like she was pulling for connection from you. If that's true, then she wants some kind of contact and connection with you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
see where my confusion comes from? i dont knwo what to do at this point...i already ended that conversation so...any ideas? it may be a good sign that she may be starting to open up a bit? but i dont know what her motive is...i dont want her to reach over everytime "she needs" something...
I still suggest that you sit down somewhere without distraction and try to have an extended conversation about what's going on. If you think this would not go well with just the two of you, you could go see a therapist together just to have that person mediate (doesn't have to be an ongoing thing).
If you don't try to talk it out, I think stuff like this will keep happening and you will be playing the guessing game!
I hope our interactions have been helpful to you!
If you are satisfied, I ask for you positive rating! Or, if you're not ready, please feel free to ask a wrap up question!
Dr. Fee
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thank you for your help!
You are quite welcome! Please don't forget to rate our interaction and come back anytime!
Dr. Fee
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