And it's just been a constant steam of ridiculousness. Down to things like paychecks that are not credited to his bank account when they are supposed to be, obviously exacerbating the money issue.
We are currently in an LDR for a few months to give him a chance to resolve some of the money stuff (he's away for a better job).
I happen to make a decent living. I've had no issue being generous because I can be.
But sometimes when his troubles overwhelm him, this guy ... partly it's he shuts down. Partly it's that he's snippy with me (as you would be dealing with what he's dealing with). Partly it's that he goes to the dark twisty place in his head. That place that exists in my head & is a constant threat to my own emotional well being so his having it too frightens me.
I'm sort of at a loss on how to handle this. I say supportive things. I don't take his upsetness personally. I tell him I'm here for him and so on. There's not much I can do given that we're apart right now.
What I don't do is offer to fix. I probably would help if he asked, but I not going to be a KISA. Plus there is part of me that wants to see how he handles all of this. is he going to do what he said he would.
And I can't even do casual nice things like make him dinner bc of the LDR aspect.
I guess what I'm unsure about is how to react. I'm sort of dumbfounded bc of course I only know what I would need were I in his shoes (ie lots of loving words, care, messages of concern). But this seems to aggravate him. Or I get the dark twisty responses of someone fed up & in emotional pain. He's not ugly to me, he says nothing nasty to me ... But codependent me feels all of this, fears that backing off & just not contacting him unless he reaches out will destroy our friendship, that fear of doing the wrong thing.... Or not doing the right one ... & on & on.
So how exactly do I handle this? I've just let him be this evening. He knows I care, I told him so. But me saying that doesn't really solve anything for him or relieve the immediate crapstorm circling his head literally & figuratively. Nor is it particularly helpful.
Idk, I guess I just wanted to get all of this out partly to reassure myself that's it's going to be ok regardless & that I'm handling this the best way.
my SO was in a similar way when we first started dating. He comes built with a lot of dark and twisty. His has not been an easy life. I find a lot of his ability to rise above it to be very attractive.
However, particularly early on, I found it best to step back and let him deal with his own shit. I don't want to be his emotional bellhop. He needed to deal with his own baggage. I wouldn't disappear or anything like that but I waited for him to reach out to me. If he didn't address it with me, I didn't bring it up. I was available but I wasn't going to drag it out of him. He needed to be a grown up and deal with his own emotions as well as his problems. Not my job.
TG did all of those things you mentioned. Shut down, got snippy and got dark and twisty. He even ran away. I let him do all those things by himself. I will be supportive as can be but not if you're treating me badly. Snippy doesn't cut it, hiding, running and living in the dark don't cut it.
“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler
He is responsible to do deal with his own shit, and he should NOT slop any of that shit onto you.....emotionally, mentally, or financially.
Hey, you have been through hell and yet......you have your act together. He needs to get his ducks in a row. Until he does, keep him and his issues at arms length. He'll either "man up" and deal with it, or he won't.
If he won't/can't/or doesn't.....he's not the right guy to have the privilege of being in your life.
If you did it, so can he. Do NOT, under any circumstances, rescue him from his own choices. And make no mistake, he probably has a huge part in creating whatever mess he finds himself in. It's not your job to clean it up for him.
God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to
change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me.
What I don't understand is what I should do, where's my lane in the road feeling-wise, given it's an LDR at this point. I can't casually be there. So all I'm left with are words e.g. "I'm sorry ... I care ..." and not much else.
To me, since I've been where he is three times in my life, those word are magical. I never had even one person who cared that I was sleeping rough with no home. Or whatever the tragedy was at the time. But I can tell that for him, he's focused on himself. Which I guess he should be ha ha, but it leaves me not knowing what to do.
One reason I like this guy so much is that when I confide in him my self doubts, he's supportive. Most men just confirm that I should have no self-esteem, that they need to step in and do everything for me, and that who the fuck am I to think I know anything. They are threatened by my education, my income, my career success and generally look for anyway to knock me down that they can.
And from that I realize that I have this perception of men as being angry mean "things". So part of what's niggling at me with this current situation is that the negativity is frightening to me. I only know how to interpret it as anger. And so on.
Maybe this childhood anecdote will help explain my utter confusion. I grew up finding smiling people threatening. If you smiled at me, I assumed you were out to get me. I literally had to have a therapist in my 20s sit me down and tell me that no, smiling was usually an indication of friendliness and openness.
So, when I say I don't know how to react. That's what I'm getting at. I wasn't socialized "normally" as a child. I still mis-interpret and get it wrong so often. Witness my knee-jerk reaction to any emotion expressed by men = anger. Come on. Even I know that's not true, is not reality. But how I feel? So I think this is one of those situations where I need to be told "this is what this usually means, this is what people usually feel, this is what people usually do" so that I know what normal is and can gauge myself off of that.
sometimes bad behaviour is bad behaviour.
what do you do? you have contact like normal. if brings the subject up you listen and make supportive comments. You do not take action to solve his problems. If he retreats you wait until he comes back via whatever your normal communication is.
Send a small value care package if you are needed to DO something. His favorite treats or something. Not a big expensive gift.
I am a rescuer. Its been very hard to let TG rescue himself sometimes. Not participating in his drama is what has made our relationship work well. Not running in offering solutions has saved both of us in many ways.
Just listen. Don't solve.
I think what cayc is saying is that this^ is what she's already doing. It's what the traditional advice would be (is) and she's already doing it.
Cayc, have you asked him directly how you can support him when he's stressed about finances?
So I think this is one of those situations where I need to be told "this is what this usually means, this is what people usually feel, this is what people usually do" so that I know what normal is and can gauge myself off of that.
This is what this usually means: When people get mean and snippy it is often because they are worried about something and need to figure it out. When they withdraw it is often because they know they aren't "good company" and need to take care of something so they can be again. Even when they go to their "dark and twisty" place, they need to figure out how to get out of it on their own without being rescued. Helped, maybe, rescued, no. And sometimes their SO is not the person who can or should be the helper--professionals are available if the dark twisty place is very dark and twisty...
This is what people usually feel: When one's SO is grumpy and snarly and isolating most people feel scared and worried and confused (sounds like you are normal to me )
This is what people usually do: Ah, this is the tricky one. We know doing what is "usual" and comfortable and feels "right" may not be what is best. And doing something helpful like letting him deal with it himself, may not feel normal or comfortable but may feel exactly the opposite of that. When my body screams "DO THIS" and I know in my heart and my head that it isn't the right thing or most helpful thing to do, I get busy with my own life. I take care of my own situation, do the things I've been avoiding, nurture myself, face my own demons, whatever...putting my hands in my own pockets and not the other persons! It doesn't feel "right" or "natural" and it certainly isn't easy letting someone suffer and find their own way, but it is often the "right" thing.
I think for me, in this relationship, I'm trying to balance the person I was before I met xWH versus the "don't touch me" person I became while with him, versus the person I am today: i.e. better, friendlier, but still super super twitchy. My instincts are to give when I can. Give when it doesn't overly penalize me. That was my normal before xWH. But now I have all these concerns about boundaries, being run over, helping too much, being co-dependent, am I helping or am I rescuing etc. I love SI for helping me learn some backbone, but I don't want to backbone myself right out of a relationship because I didnt' understand how to actually be in one. If that makes sense.
This guy and I, we're muddling through. I told him to start treating me like a guy, i.e. be direct, b/c if you make me guess, I'll guess wrongly ha ha. That seemed to help both me and him.
My fSO was like this too...really, really crappy childhood and former marriage, and he is definitely dark and twisty. I stayed as long as I did because I can seem him fighting the dark and twisty, but he is still running from it. Now he is buried in superficial relationships. It sucks to watch, but I refuse to "help". He has to figure it out on his own.
You sound like a great girlfriend, very kind, considerate and supportive. :)
"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me, it's always ourselves we find in the sea" ee cummings