DESPERATE. I'm (28F) feeling broken after a messed up relationship with a man (44M) from work. I'm so confused by myself that I don't even know if I'm a good person anymore

  1. Thank you for the honest & resourceful words. I totally agree... I need to cut him off. The rough part is that we work together professionally. And it's not just remote work where we never see each other - we actually have to attend 1-1 meetings F2F (literally just us together) and design things so there's a lot of communication. The good news is we work very well together naturally, but then because of that natural bond the flirting is easy to slip into. Writing this I'm realizing I should probably start looking for a new job, since I know the healthiest thing is to totally remove him from my life.

  2. The dynamic you describe has a lot of parallels between my wife and I. The age gap is narrower (8 years), and I'd like to believe that I'm less of an asshole than your description of him, and I've been in therapy for 3 years, CODA meetings, therapy support groups, etc...

  3. Good grief, this response describes my ex-wife and my relationship with amazing clarity. Easy triggers, I shut down and she pursued (I can’t tell you how many times it felt like she just…kept…pounding…away), both feeling abused by the other, the crazy wonderful highs that even today we remember fondly and wonder if we could ever go back, which honestly is both intensely attractive and insanely scary. (Ironically the same 8 year age gap, too.)

  4. Sorry I know this is an old post but I was in a similar situation to OP and I wanted to ask some things reading this reply.

  5. He sounds like a narcissist. This is a classic dismissive avoidant and anxiously attached relationship. I think you should get the book “Attached” and you will realize there is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your needs, and that a certain type of person brings out the “crazy” in you. You are definitely not a bad person. You’re blaming yourself entirely too much. Anyone would go insane in a relationship with someone so dismissive and confusing. I’ve been exactly where you are so trust me when I say this: you may have issues but you are evidently extremely self aware and totally not the problem. He is.

  6. He is what he is- what you have control over is how YOU feel. I’ve heard there is a healthy “level of disgust” in yourself that brings you to recovery. It’s not your fault that you are sick- but it is your responsibility to get better. Once we take accountability for our mistakes we can take accountability for our good choices and feel good about them. He’s old news and no longer relevant- what’s the next best step for YOU?

  7. This is such a healthy and helpful response/perspective. The "healthy level of disgust" concept resonates with me greatly - I know I have work to do on myself, and I know I'm not right in my destructive behaviors, and I take full responsibility for this. The hard part, however, is that when I'm triggered I feel I can't control it, and then I almost always end up doing something I am totally ashamed of and later regret (not to mention, I look crazy to the other person), and the cycle of hurt repeats and deepens.

  8. The whole "healthy level of disgust" thing is completely new to me. I even tried googling it, to no avail. It sounds like something that makes a lot of sense, though. I'm finally breaking from someone after more than a decade, and for the first time in my life I'm actually disgusted by him and all my culpability in allowing him to disrespect me so much and in so many ways. I've never heard of that term before today, though, so thanks.

  9. Thanks for your share! I used to get involved with men for a variety of reasons, and no matter what the circumstances I would see things through a distorted lens. Sometimes I would argue and try to fix guys, other times I would just try to seduce them so I could get attention, and I’d do just about anything so I didn’t have to be alone. Then I flipped to the other extreme and swore off romantic relationships. But then I would just obsess about what I did wrong or he did wrong and get stuck wondering if we would end up back together like so many movies show happening. I thought I was really romantic but I found out I’m a codependent. After trying all sorts of therapy, relationship resolutions, self help, etc, I found out about the option of working a 12 step program for recovery. (I have parents who were alcoholics too and thought I had “daddy issues”). Getting connected with a recovered sponsor and getting active in recovery has truly changed my life. Today I no longer obsess over guys and I am okay by myself. I’m also in healthy friendships and relationships with family...and learning how to be open to romance without trying to force it or seek it out. I’d be happy to talk anytime if that would be helpful. Feel free to reach out anytime. Glad you’re here!

  10. His actions have nothing to do with you. From what I have read as an outsider, they are the flailing and floundering of a broken individual. He has not truly seen you--he doesn't know you. He simply knows a few buttons that most people don't like pushed, and he's tried to push them until he found one that hurt you. He's like a toddler. He has no authority here.

  11. So what he does to you when he doesn’t talk for days is called silent treatment. It’s abusive and manipulative.

  12. I agree on the silent treatment and it being abusive. If I told him that, he'd say he just needed space. Well yeah, space is absolutely healthy, but what I never understood is why can't he at least say "I need some space" instead of just flat out ignoring me.

  13. This sounds like a horrible dynamic where you have both rather dysfunctionally reduced one another to your most destructive urges. You shame him for his various addictive behaviours, he in turn shames you for how you act when you're dysregulated - but I feel the worst on both counts is you both do it in such a way that it sounds like you're shaming each other for who you are, when any criticism or discontent rather should be focused on what you do. In short, you're both cornering one another into the labels you both detest and fear the most. This is toxic relationship 101. Considering the issues you are describing above, this guy is the worst match for you - a relationship should not trigger you in these ways if you would like it to be peaceful, constructive or longterm.

  14. what I mean to say is that dealing with impulsivity is the ability to be alone with your own negative emotions rather than communicating them instantly, or asking someone else to deal with them. This is a very important skill

  15. He sounds manipulative & toxic AF! I'm so sorry. Please do whatever you can to maintain no contact. There online Al-Anon & CODA meetings available. SLAA may also be a helpful fellowship for right now. There are also great podcasts & Youtube videos related to codependency. Anything to help you remember you are NOT alone & that it's possible to break free from this unhealthy relationship!

  16. Yo I know how you feel but this to me sounds like hes gaslighting; trying to control you. I think you dogged a bullet and shouldn't allow another person to make you feel crazy ... this happened to me and I has to cut them off

  17. Whenever I face such situations and feelings, I first try to calm down my nervous system. Usually I try to slow things down by taking a bath, reading, listening to a calming podcast or video. If I feel like my nervous system is too shot, I try to do some physical activity that will get my mind off whatever's bothering me, and get my body to move and expend energy. Usually that will get me to a state where I can try and calm it down even more with the first steps I described. Then I try to get in touch with that part of me that is hurting (for me it's usually a heaviness in my chest) and I try to hold it with love and compassion. All of us are deserving of love. You are deserving of love.

  18. I really love this advice and I agree, it's so important to get into a calmed state of mind during these tough, hurting moments. For some reason though my natural instinct is, "I need to tell them off" or really, "I feel so misunderstood and I need to stand up for myself right now" and then it just spirals. I have gotten better, like I made myself a cheat sheet with phrases to help calm me down, such as "is this really worth my time & energy? will this help me achieve my goals?" and that helps a lot. But I will definitely make an effort to incorporate calming, physical activities in the future.

  19. I'm sorry you feel this way, but do know that you're not alone. Consider attending a Coda meeting online: there are many available, it's easy to jump onboard last minute, and they truly are helpful. This is what I perceive from what you write: manipulation (silent treatment), belittling (he's always right, you're not this or that), gaslighting. All signs of a toxic, dysfunctional relationship, similar to an extent to what I have been (and still am) dealing with. My recommendation is to let him go: it doesn't have to be forever, if it mentally helps you to think this way. Still, I would definitely detach / emotionally distance yourself in whatever possible way (block texts, unfollow, etc.) at least for a while. If you can't block/unfollow/not see him, do what you can: make it more difficult than easier to do those things (maybe turn off notifications, work / have lunch in a different place, you get the idea).

  20. I love that you mentioned Coda meetings because I've been really wanting to attend one. I thought it would be awkward to do one online, so I was trying to find one locally but there doesn't seem to be anything right now. When you go to a Coda meeting online, do you have to go on camera, or can you just stay quiet in the background and listen? I would feel more comfortable just listening in my first one, not having to go on camera.

  21. What you described with him is the classic abuse cycle and it’s easy to get sucked into. When I finally broke my abuse cycle with my 16 year relationship I bought the book Co-dependent no more on Audible and binged the whole thing over two days. Then I began working through the workbook. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and made me realize how I contributed to my situation and how I can fix it in the future.

  22. I’m so happy you were able to break your abuse cycle and thank you so much for the recommendation - my local book store has that one and I’m going to pick it up tonight after work. I am so eager to get on the correct path toward healing. Thank you again.

  23. Read about trauma bonding and catching fleas. I might have missed it in the OP but if you are still working with him is there a way that you can find a new job and choose to stay single for a few months to concentrate on therapy ?

  24. There are already some great responses in this thread but I'd recommend an audio book called facing love addiction. It really helped me make sense of the situation I was in and I believe it could be very helpful to you as well.

  25. Oh my god, what a human red flag. When a person with two failed marriage tells you that you have issues because of staying single for 5+ years. Well, at least OP never made a poor decision for marriage, unlike someone.

  26. What an asshole. Don’t sucked into believing his bullshit just because he’s older. That doesn’t make him smarter. Sorry you’re dealing with this shit.

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