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Ask Rev.Dr. August Abbott Your Own Question
Rev.Dr. August Abbott
Rev.Dr. August Abbott, Clergy
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7613
Experience:  Ordained minister: Counselor (spiritual/life)
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Relationship problem/mood swings etc

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Hi - I've been seeing a guy on and off for the last 6.5 years. He's 38, I'm 43. He has terrible health problems which I am sure affect his reaction to things. We got back together in July after a 2.5 year break. He suffers with fybromyalgia, spinal stenosis, arthritis of the neck and sciatica so is in considerable pain all the time. He ended it with me on boxing day as i told him i felt invisible - had gone to a lot of effort to make sure him and his son got what they wanted for christmas. Since he stopped working 4 years ago I've been helping them both with food and anything that they needed out of necessity. I earn good money and am able to do this and didnt begrudge it. Because I told him how I felt he ended it and now wont even speak to me. I feel kind of used but feel there is more to this than him just wanting to end the relationship. He's a complicated person at the best of times - even his own family dont really bother with him. We live 75 miles apart and its me that does the travelling as he's no longer able to travel long distances. I've always supported him - have tried not to get annoyed with his mood swings. Any advice would be useful!!


I'd also like to add that he told me i made him feel worthless because I'd told him I was not happy - I can only imagine that this is because he feels worthless in himself due to what he is no longer able to do and not because of what i said.

From what you've just posted, both of you feel worthless in the presence of each other and have clearly told each so, is that right?

And now that you've both said some unkind and hurtful things you want to know how to make him see things your way, which is the way that makes "sense".

Let me ask you this: What if I told you that he is asking how to make you see things HIS way, which is the way that makes "sense". He feels just as strongly and as sure as you do, that his way is the right way, that you don't get it.

The health conditions you've mentioned that this man has are known to produce some high levels of pain that, despite buckets of pain meds, are never really gone. Healthy people can't begin to imagine what it's like to have some level of pain 24 hours a day, every day, with no cure and thus, no end in sight.

As a natural reaction and one that can't be avoided, the person suffers from some degree of depression. Depression is also highly misunderstood by people not in the midst of it. It's not what you might imagine - moping around, heavy sighs, crying easily, never smiling, never laughing, never getting out of bed and so on.

Not to say that these things don't happen, but a person with chronic depression can often look perfectly normal. Humans can be very good at "masking" - putting on a false face and going through normal behaviors to fit in and look like nothing is wrong. Now and then it catches up with them and they can't fake it very well - and during these periods you'll see something like what you've just described happened in your relationship.

So, "rock, meet hard place". He's right in how he feels and what he thinks. You're right in how you feel and what you think. Because he is living inside a handicapped/disabled broken body with challenges you can't imagine and you are living in a relatively healthy, vibrant body with the only challenge being how to begin to perceive what it must be like to be suffering all the time.

The solution is to join a couples counseling program where the two of you attend and learn new communication skills and that includes how to listen, not just 'hear'. How to be empathetic and step outside of ourselves and look at things from two other points of view: One being the other person's and the other being a stranger observing.

--- There is always THREE sides to every story: Yours, Theirs & the Reality.

The next thing that would be very important is to join a support group for people with FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome), chronic pain or other immune-system diseases that cause pain and thus depression.

It's helpful to know that he's not the only one who has the symptoms he has and the thoughts he has as a result and to perhaps learn what others use to help.

I used to run support groups like this and it wasn't unusual to find many of the participants who were motivated to do nothing else, finding the drive to get up and come out to join these sessions. There is a camaraderie and a sense of belonging. Everyone can cry, complain and "let it all out" without anyone judging or thinking they're just 'cry babies' - which is what a lot of chronic pain sufferers fear.

If you set up these appointments and calmly tell him that this relationship means enough to you to want to try everything possible to save and revive it, he'll have a hard time pushing you away.

And even if he does - give him some time - and go to a counselor by yourself. No matter what, you count too.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you but if he won't even speak to me I can't suggest anything to him. He spent 3 weeks in hospital in november when he had spine compression. I was the only person who visited him daily despite that his own parents and brother live down the road, not 75 miles like me. I'm all he has so why end it? That's what I don't underst
-- That's the depression. It's also the reason I suggested that just in case he isn't cooperative, that you go to a counselor by yourself. If nothing else it will help you understand more about what he's going through and most importantly, how to accept that there is only so much you can do. Saving yourself is essential - never losing yourself in any relationship is also essential. We are healthy when strong and clear mindedly together rather than needy and manipulated into being part of another's life, right?

Chalk your generous actions and gifts up to doing what you believed was right - not for notice, not for 'thanks' and not for anything except the good Karma you're now vested in

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