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#59259 - 12/23/05 05:18 AM Re: Tough love v compassion
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA

I identify with so much of what you're saying in this and the other thread.

It's been over two years since my boyfriend disclosed to me, and since I learned about his acting out and lies over the course of our relationship.

I think I spent the first 20 months of that time scared out of my mind. Every time he took a deep breath before he spoke, I went into panic mode-- Oh my god, there's something else.

And I said the same stuff I hear you saying to him-- "Just don't lie to me anymore. I can handle anything you have to say to me as long as you say it NOW, don't make me find out again, don't make me feel betrayed and untrustworthy again."

I had to say that TWICE in the first year. \:\(

But when he's feeling low I realise that when I've talked about my needs sometimes he doesn't hear "I need you not to lie to me" He hears "You are an untrustworthy, lying piece of cr*p and you'd better change your ways entirely (or something equally vague) or I will leave you, attack you, etc etc ....."
This is just my opinion, but to answer your original question, I think that support becomes enabling when you stop communicating your needs, or sticking to your boundaries, because of what he may hear.

He needs to know what is going on with you. He needs to recognize that there is always a gap between what a speaker means and what a listener hears, and not make you responsible for the things that you're not saying.

My boyfriend needed to know that I wasn't calling him a lying anything-- I was telling him that I was insecure--and I'm sure he felt some guilt/shame/etc. about that-- but not telling him at all just makes us both victims.

There is a difference between fault and responsibility. At my boyfriend's job, if a delivery doesn't come in on time-- that's not his fault-- however, it's his responsibility to deal with the consequences-- is he just going to sit back and tell his boss, Oh, well, the delivery didn't come so I couldn't do anything-- or is he going to make some phone calls, try to find what he needs somewhere else, talk to customers about the problem?

Our relationship was very messed up for a while. It didn't have to be his fault, or mine-- but now we were the ones who needed to fix it-- and honestly I wouldn't have stuck around with someone who couldn't be responsible for doing his share of the repairs. I don't think that makes me less compassionate.


#59260 - 12/23/05 07:29 PM Re: Tough love v compassion

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 178

Thats hard that your BF doesn't think what happened to him was that bad. I'm not sure how I'd deal with that. I think it would make me really angry because it validates abuse. At least you know that he's in denial as a self protection mechanism. Thinking of you. You'll get there.


I got a bit of a tear of relief reading your reply. I realise its still such early days for us and I think I'm guilty of wanting too much to fast and sometimes seeing it as if we are a hopeless case.

You say;
"Doing his share of repairs" Thats it! This is where he is at, learning about his share of repairs. I really think this ties in with lack of awareness of his personal power. He is discovering this, slowly but surely and I think its this step that needs to happen in parallel to him realising that yes things are sticky at home but wow! he can chnage them and have an impact/make a difference. He's felt insignificant for so long its a slow process of building that self esteem and sense of personal power. He's hidden behind bluster for years when actually he felt powerless. Thanka for sharing about your situation with these two things. I feel a bit renewed in stepping back and leaving him to it. I need to concentrate on what my needs are and articulating clearly them without fear. I'm working at it.

Thanks again and merry xmas.

ps. For you Americans, Is it true that in NewYork the break is called Happy holidays not happy christmas so as to be politically correct?


#59261 - 12/23/05 07:45 PM Re: Tough love v compassion
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey

So much in this thread that I haven't felt able to respond to - it all hits so close to home and I can't deal with alot of it right now. I read what you and SAR have gone through and are going through and hang onto that. Thanks.

As for Happy Holidays. Yes, it's true. I say Merry Christmas to those who I know celebrate it and Happy Chanukah to my jewish friends. This seems normal to me.

Some people get downright offended if you wish them happiness for the wrong holiday so strangers get happy holidays. But really, can you imagine being offended by someone wishing you happiness for ANY reason?! Being PC has been taken way too far for the sake of dummies who can't or won't recognize that a good thought is a good thought and should be accepted as such. Just my opinion.

ROCK ON.........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#59262 - 12/23/05 10:20 PM Re: Tough love v compassion
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
OH, "holidays." I live in an area which is very religiously diverse and I grew up in an interfaith family. Our public schools call it "Winter Break"-- they also close on Jewish holidays. In five Decembers of working in restaurants, I have never had anyone get offended because I said "Merry Christmas" to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas. I HAVE had Christians get nasty with me for saying something other than "Merry Christmas."

I don't say "Have a happy holiday" or anything like because I'm scared of offending-- it is just a way to recognize and respect that my tradition might not be everyone's tradition... the same way that I would greet someone in their native language, even if it was the only thing I knew how to say. This can be a lonely time not to celebrate Christmas, especially for kids.

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