Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This is why... (In His Own Words) UPDATED

This is why everything is all stabby, hurty anger all over again. This is why I will not shut up and go away and pretend I'm coping.. because I'M NOT. I'm not coping, I'm not okay, and I'm tired of shouting into the ether. It's buried at the end of my last long post, so I'm reposting it here.

This is why I'm broken:

Speaking of Tumblr, I also saw this (bottom bit is my contribution):
emotional abuse is when someone does something to hurt you, and when you express your feelings, that you’re upset, they turn it around to be something you did to hurt them and they force you to apologize for it, and your feelings, like always, are rendered invalid and silenced, forever damaging the ability to trust others with your feelings because they always are used against you.
this is important because so many people don’t know this
Purposeful or not, having your feelings invalidated is really damaging. When I realised this was happening recently with a friend was when I knew I needed to GET OUT. Others aren’t always so fortunate to recognise it for what it is. Emotional abuse slides under the radar so easily.
This is basically why I’m having so much trouble ‘getting over it’ and ‘moving on’. Least helpful advice ever, btw. I’m hurting, just let me be hurt for a while. And if you really care, sit with me a bit so I don’t feel so alone in it. Otherwise, I’ll get there in my own time. <3
I wanted to elaborate a bit, because it sums up so well why this has been such a traumatic experience for me and what exactly about it was so damaging. I know I have brought all this up before, but I don't think I've put it into words nearly as well as above. This will be the last time I mention the entire mess (I hope) cause I am done done done done done. Basically the cycle was:
  1. I express hurt and anger.
  2. He tells me I'm being unreasonable, irrational, and emotional.
  3. He says he feels no guilt over his actions, and I'm being manipulative by saying things that imply he should feel responsible.
  4. He'd shut me down and refuse to talk until I found 'perspective' (i.e. agree with his point of view).
  5. AND if I argued something I previously admitted guilt for, he'd use my previous admission as proof it was my fault.
  6. I'd feel bad and convince myself it WAS my fault because of my emotions and I WAS being unreasonable since I did express my hurt and anger in a 'poor' way.
  7. Things would go well briefly until he hurt me once again in some way. Go back to 1.
After reading that description of emotional abuse, I went back through some of our old chats and emails and realised that was exactly it. Everything I ever tried to blame him for got turned around back onto me and was my fault in some way. Everything. And the fact he refused to talk anything through until I 'came around' just seals the deal, because no alternative view was acceptable other than his own.

Here are some of the last emails we exchanged before we stopped talking. His:
Look. You are going to calm down at some point, maybe vent your shit at someone or whatever. Then you are going to freak out because you will think you've just destroyed our friendship. It's a pattern. And I like to think I have a pretty damn high tolerance for that kind of thing. But you are walking on very thin ice, tracing the circumference of my no drama policy. 
So, in the event that you do at some point realise that you are being completely unreasonable and the above scenario transpires, I will say this: 
You are very dear to me and I value our friendship. However, I'm /not/ willing to deal with this amount of drama, from anyone. So if you do in fact want to maintain our friendship, this has to stop. 
No more expectations of how I should or shouldn't act, no more trying (intentionally or otherwise) to guilt trip me over how /you/ are feeling or into me spending time with you (I say trying because I /don't/ feel guilty in any way). No more emotional venty outbursts at me for what you perceive I've done wrong but inevitably, and usually after talking to someone like [REDACTED], realise that you were, in fact, being unreasonable. No more drama, period. 
If any of this continues after this particular incident, I intend on cutting communication with you for as long as it takes for you to fix your shit so we can go back to being friends without the drama. Hint: this will be measured in months, maybe even years, not days/weeks, to give you some perspective. 
I don't want to talk about this with you, it is not open for discussion. I want our friendship to work, but if time apart is needed then so be it. This is the last time I will deal with it. At a minimum, I don't want to talk to you at all until you've calmed down and got some perspective. Whether you can accept these terms will determine whether I will maintain non-communication beyond that. And if the scenario I've predicted here never comes to pass then feel free to ignore everything I've said because it will be irrelevant anyhow as we will no longer be speaking. 
I don't think I can be any clearer than that.
 My reply:
Don't worry. The cycle is broken. What failed me before was the strength to say that I don't need to put up with how you treat me, and the emotional strength to not let you twist your words into me guilting myself about my behaviour. I am not upset that you won't spend time with me. I neither expect it nor feel that you are obligated to see me. I'm not upset that you'd rather hang out with people other than me. And I have zero expectations from you except for those I have inferred from our conversations and your behaviour at any given time.

What I AM upset about: because I react emotionally, you disregard my feelings entirely as being valid and ignore them. You make assumptions and decisions about my capabilities to understand and cope with things if I express strong emotions, which are always incorrect. You refuse to openly and honestly admit to me just exactly where I stand with you and how you see our friendship functioning even though I've repeatedly asked for that honesty and check in to see where you're at with things, because your behaviour does not match your words. And, while I accept you make decisions based on your own health and well being, you refuse to accept or admit any consequences of these decisions.

I don't want the drama, EITHER. This is not at all how I want things to be with us. I am an extremely reasonable and emotionally mature person, but the other side has to believe that to be true of me TOO for it to happen. If I am hurt or upset, there is a reason and I am always happy to discuss whether or not those feelings are reasonable IF the person I'm discussing them with acknowledges that I am having them and shows some sort of sympathy that they exist and some sort of interest in understanding WHY, in addition to explaining their position as to why they feel that I shouldn't be reacting a certain way. Disregarding that my emotions exist entirely and invalidating them based on their existence is both painful and makes me (as you saw last night) even more angry. I in no way at all regret expressing my anger to you. In fact, I take back any previous regret about expressing how I feel at you, too. RationalMe agrees, you are a dick.

So here's the bottom line: it doesn't matter how emotional I act or over-react, my feelings are both valid and real and deserve to be addressed by someone who claims to care about me. Here is a hint for future dealings with someone who is upset: instead of nitpicking their words and ignoring that they have emotions (reasonable or unreasonable as they may be), acknowledge they are angry or upset, regret that they feel that way (whether you feel guilt or not), and then explain your position and why you have made your decision. After that point, a calmer discussion will proceed, not one in which the hurt person feels even worse.

So yes, I've done my venting. I've found my perspective. They all say I need you out of my life, at least for now. Possibly forever. Even [REDACTED]. You are right about her feelings about obligations but what I knew and you didn't was that she ALSO really hates people who back out of commitments and who mislead you about their priorities and where you stand with them overall.

Yeah, I let myself get into a cycle with you, because I'm a fucking idiot who tries to salvage broken things, even when they are bad for her. You'd think I'd have learned from [REDACTED], but no.

If and when you are ready to apologise and accept that you have made mistakes and would like to talk about them and how to resolve this, I will be here. Until then, our friendship is through.
Yes, the reply was after I'd calmed down some, but I don't read it with the 'augh, why did I do that' regret I get sometimes when I've been angry. But no wonder his behaviour was ringing all sorts of alarm bells at me once we got to that point. Anyway, you know his response? Two sentences: "Don't hold your breath. See ya."

This from someone I trusted implicitly and considered one of my closest friends ever. AND from someone who was very judgemental about the way the husband treated me in our marriage, and I'm STILL FRIENDS with the husband. He's lovely. He made mistakes, yeah, but he's also not a complete asshole?

Okay, I may have made myself angry all over again.. but ugh. Really, I'm tired of being walked all over again and again. No, I won't be so quick to trust ever again, but I also will be quicker to recognise toxic people who do not deserve a place in my life.

P.S. - This one's also great, from an earlier email of his. Note no specifics of my wrong behaviour and talk of my being in 'denial' so we couldn't discuss things properly before, either. Plus his twisting it so perfectly around to being my fault and not taking it 'personally'. Ugh. Asshole.

There really isn't much to say from my part that I haven't already communicated to you. The only problem I had that personally affected /me/ was the stress (in the context of already being stressed) that I was feeling because I felt like all my options regarding you, you're health, and our friendship, were in some way massively deficient. 

There really isn't anything deeper than that that I've left unsaid. 
You do have a problem with self-regulation, because you (self-admittedly) react in ways when anxiety/emotional brained that when you calm down you understand were not helpful/in your best interest, etc. And you do have a problem with dependence, which, other than being observable, you've said as much yourself when you've calmed down. This is not something that just came out on the night after Mardi Gras, though that was the point at which I realised it had reached a problematic level. These are not imaginary hurdles, regardless of how you are feeling right this moment.

Now, whilst I accept my part in not being vigilant enough in trying to help you, to not let it become a dependence thing, the communication was /impossible/ until after you spoke to [REDACTED] on Wednesday. Because you were both in denial about the problem and quite defensive/hostile about it. Evidenced by times since the day [REDACTED] came over last week or the week before when I /have/ talked to you about it.

So whilst I accept that non-communication might be triggering for you, I do not feel responsible for being the trigger. Nor, given the context, do I think it's fair of you to try to tell me I'm responsible for.

Now, if after calming down and maybe talking to [REDACTED] or [REDACTED] you realise that much of what you've just said was in no small way disturbing, I'm happy to ignore it. Either way I haven't taken it personally, or let it impact how I feel about you. 
So, I would still like to hang out tomorrow as planned, if that is something you are still interested in. However, until you get perspective on the situation from a third party I'm not going to discuss this further with you.  
Call me crazy, call me irrational, call me a bitch... maybe I'm all of these things and more. But I never deserved any of this. Lastly is the email he sent ages after we stopped talking as I was trying to move on and forget any of this happened. Context: I mentioned to a friend who invited us both to a potentially super small thing when it'd be the first time we'd see one another that I didn't want to make anything awkward for anyone and declined to go. I got this super hostile BS afterwards (mostly reasonable till the end.. which I'm pretty sure contains a veiled threat):
This will be short and functional. It is not an invitation to reopen dialogue.

Don't feel you need/want/whatever to not come to social things that I am at (e.g. seeing [REDACTED] on Sat [she mentioned it]). I certainly am not going to limit myself because of your presence. And I wouldn't want a situation arising in which people felt the need to invite one or the other but not both of us to something.

Regarding social environments, I have no intention of creating drama around other people (or at all). I would appreciate the same. I have no intention of initiating ongoing communication. However, in social situations, avoiding drama and not making things awkward for others is a much higher priority.

So you can expect zero to minimal communication from me. I will not talk to you or respond to you one on one. I will engage in group discussions which may involve addressing or responding to you within the confines of that discussion. I don't particularly care how you choose to respond in any of these scenarios, suffice to say that should your choices result in drama, I've made myself abundantly clear on my desire to avoid it.

Finally, I would appreciate you not breadcrumbing this whole situation to otherwise uninformed mutual 3rd parties. Should you choose to do so anyway, I will fill in the blanks for them. The catalyst for this point was saying to [REDACTED] "I don't think [JERKFACE] wants to see me" (her phrasing of your communication). If you choose not to come to a social event that's your business, but don't involve me in the expression of your decision.

Don't respond to this email. I won't read it.
That's basically his solution to everything. I don't get to have a say or an opinion or any sort of civil discussion about things. I have to behave the way he decides, and that's it. I have melted down a few times in public, I get that it isn't helpful or anything. But I WILL make him hear me. I will make him understand I'm a person, not a thing he gets to abuse then pretend doesn't exist anymore.

Or, at the very least, I want someone to care that I feel so destroyed inside because someone else was so cruel to me. :(

ADDENDUM: This is long but related, as I don't want you to feel I'm skewing things too much unfairly. Here is the email I sent that garnered his reply (the P.S. bit above):
Ok, so I can't sleep and I have been processing and thinking and soul searching and trying to understand what's been bothering me so much still and why I can't let myself rest and simply move forward from here. I've been feeling miserable and hurt and freaked out and regretful, and blaming myself over and over for breaking things between us because of my illness. I was writing out a lot of my thoughts and feels and I came to a very important realisation. At the risk of breaking things further, there is some shit I need to say. 
I don't even know how much you read or take in these emails, but this one is very important for you to understand. 
I am STILL pissed off. At you. I've spent a lot of time since that first night you avoided me being angry and hurt and in a lot of pain. We talked about it. I made myself very clear, and while I understand you didn't have the information beforehand, I hoped we could move on from there, never to worry about these things again. And yet it kept happening and kept getting worse as you felt the need to close yourself off from me and continually push me away (with good reason, of course). And I made a huge amount of mistakes and caused the problems to continue getting worse, but we are ignoring the most important point about all that. And that is that *I* was reacting to the amount of information *I* had at the time, which was PRETTY MUCH NONE about how you were feeling and being affected. You explained certain problematic behaviours and boundries and various things but it was all in the context of ME and what was good for ME and why these things needed to happen for MY HEALTH. All of which means very little without the other important half of context, which is how all these things affect YOU and YOUR HEALTH and why it's important for both of us and our entire friendship that I need to accept certain things. 
So, as the triggering behaviours continued from you, I could feel you pulling further and further away to shield yourself, but I never could understand WHY. In some ways, I still don't entirely. I just felt you shutting me out more and more and getting further and further away, because you continued to do all the things I told you were hard line boundaries for me (and why they are, too). I told you an easy way to avoid falling down that rabbit hole was simply to be open, upfront and honest about your thoughts and feelings. I tried to be very clear and assertive in ways I'm generally not, because I knew how dangerous it would be for me. You don't do shit to someone with BDD that triggers their worst impulses and self-destructive behaviour. Maybe I didn't explain it even as clearly as I hoped to, but I tried to make it obvious that down that path is a lot of self-destruction for me. I suppose I hoped that you'd ask if you were worried about things causing further problems. 
So anyway, as my mental health disintegrated, you continued to pull away because I continued reacting poorly and thus a violently unhealthy cycle spun out of control very quickly. I am not avoiding the blame for my part in this whole mess. I readily accept it, but I've beaten myself up enough over the past few days and even the past couple weeks as it all happened. I am tired of glossing over the things I really should be holding you accountable for, even if your intentions were in both our best interests and you weren't *trying* to continually cause me pain. Perhaps you are holding yourself accountable in some way, but not in ways communicated to me. And still I wonder if you have gotten the message that I *can* be reasonable and understanding and respect any and all boundaries you have.. so long as you tell me why, what you're thinking, how you're feeling in regards to us and everything else and properly communicate to me what is going on inside your head so I don't fall down the trap of letting my broken mind run away with my emotions and causing you unnecessary hurt and stress from my behaviours. I realised tonight that I cannot make my brain stop going into that horrible place entirely now that it's there, and certainly not for some time and without professional help. But that doesn't mean I have to shut all the terrible shit down inside me, either, when it takes very little on your part to avoid those specific triggers. 
I feel that I've certainly made myself clear by NOW. Perhaps the damage is done anyway, and it's too late to entirely fix everything between us. I don't know. I know the friendship is too important to both of us to let it go entirely. But despite your words, it's still broken. It's broken because I pushed you way too far once my brain got past the point of rational thinking. It's broken because you caused me more hurt and pain in the past couple weeks than even [THEHUSBAND] has in some time. It's broken because I still feel like you don't trust me enough to communicate openly so that I can understand where your head has been and still is at. It's broken because the trust I had in you is broken, and has been for a little while now. 
I feel that the night you stayed away after I called you for help was really the breaking point and everything's fallen into terrible chaos since then. I still feel hurt and betrayed from that night, and I still feel hurt and betrayed by a lot of stuff since then. I'm sure you still feel whatever it is you feel from all the stress I've caused you in return. 
We can be friends and hang out and have fun and laugh, and probably that will be mostly okay for a while... but it can't hide the cracks beneath the surface. I don't see us truly salvaging things until we rebuild the sort of trust and communication that existed long before this whole mess. It'll take time and a lot of hard work, but for me, it's worthwhile. I hope it is for you too. 
P.S. You have seen me at my absolute worst. If you can accept that that is as bad as it gets, and often it's much, much better when I'm not specifically triggered by stuff, then maybe we can get somewhere with all this after all. But until you are ready to let me in and afford me the same trust that I have been affording you, I'd rather we cancelled all our plans for later today. As always, I am continually learning I let myself put up with a lot more bullshit than I need to. Perhaps we could have avoided a lot of hurt if I realised it much sooner, so I'm sorry that I didn't. 
P.P.S. - you know what? I'm also still pissed you think I was replacing [THEHUSBAND] with you and can't self-regulate shit. What I said about wanting to be free from dependency is absolutely true. Except when all my panic instincts triggered that I'd lose you from my life entirely, I reacted stupidly and kept holding on tighter, which of course pushed you away. Everything you worried about stemmed pretty much entirely from the night you stayed away.
Yeah, actually that whole thing sums up the problems I had with his behaviour the entire time and he threw all of it back in my face and disregarded my feelings entirely. And said everything I wrote was 'disturbing'. Woo.

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