Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seeing an ugly side of myself I've never witnessed before

So.. the break up finally happened. It was like I planted a landmine for the bf to step on. I gave a suggestion that I didn't want him to take (and didn't expect him to agree to), but surprisingly he did, although not without making some derogatory comment first. That became the straw that broke the camel's back. So I blew up and it was all over.

Never in my life have I ever expected myself to perform this kind of unacceptable manipulative behavior. If anyone ever pulled one of these stunts on me, I would totally break up the relationship or friendship and stay as far away from that crazy asshole as possible. Now I know that crazy bitch secretly lives inside of me and so there's NO escaping ever for me.

They say that one of the red signs that a relationship is not good for you is that it brings out your worst behaviors, that you don't like how you act around that person. I always took it to mean that I can't express myself fully, that I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around that person, that I lower myself by acting like I'm always trying to please that person, which was what was happening during the relationship. I was NOT expecting to become manipulative and put someone in a lose-lose situation. I didn't even know I pull such a move until after the whole situation blew up. I never thought I was capable of that, but I proved myself wrong!

The final act was a truly terrible one. Unacceptable and totally surprising. I really didn't mean for that to happen. I realize I so desperately wanted him to behave a certain way that conforms to my ideal of a good boyfriend (say he misses me and that he wants to see me very soon) that I kept dangling carrots, candies and toys at him, even ones that I didn't actually mean to show him. When he refused to behave like I wished he would, I became frustrated, humiliated,  rejected, depressed, angry, furious, I went insane, I threw it all out at him, showing him the ugliest and craziest side of me. Somehow, insanely, I still secretly wished he would ask me not to end the relationship!

He's been very uncommunicative for a long time, and finally he told me what his deal-breaker was. It totally came out of the blue and made me scratch my head in total confusion. Like... this trait is the deal breaker? Not my manipulation, my bossyness, my insecurity, my clinging, my craziness, my indecisiveness, my unpredictability, ie. the long list of weaknesses I really hate about myself? I mean, obviously he doesn't like any of those traits either, but those somehow were not the deal breakers? It really showed how little I understood him, how utterly incompatible we actually are, but also explained why we stayed together for so long. Basically, his complaint was something that I really didn't think was important. I mean, I tried to work on it a little bit, but now I hear it, seems like I could not nearly achieve the level he wants me to be at. Basically I'm fundamentally not the kind of girl friend he wishes to have. But then again if he had communicated it better earlier I would have tried a lot harder. Don't know if it would have made a difference though. In my head I felt like my requests were totally legit (spend more time together, for him to express more that he loves me and misses me), but to him these demands are probably just as foreign. He does not have any friends who act like that and never in his life has he ever wished to become that kind of guy.

It's been a crazy ride. I don't for one minute regret this relationship, but the ending was so weird (we actually both agreed we still want to remain as friends). If I hadn't ended it, I don't think he would ever initiate the break up. In my head, the relationship should keep on progressing, or it should be cut off. Either you like me and you agree to work with me to make our relation function nicely, or let me go. It wasn't until the final talk where I finally began to understand his logic.  He would have been okay with all my craziness as long he kept our meetings relatively short, with enough alone time spaced in between the meetings. It totally made no sense to me this entire time we were together, because he never communicated what he's been thinking. I guess it wasn't necessary, since he had full control of how often we met. He had the upper hand in the power struggle. I was in the dark and put up with it because I was completely being controlled by my oxytocin (the desire to attach myself to him, spatially/physically and emotionally). But of course he also hasn't been happy either, and was relieved about the break up.

Very luckily, I have a group of girl friends who behaved exactly as I wish my ideal best friends would behave - completely supportive, non-judgemental of me, not asking any harsh questions (eg. "Did you do anything wrong on your part"), and totally on my side, saying all the kind words I wish to hear. I love these ladies to death. I don't know what I did to deserve these friends, and not sure how I could have survived the traumatic emotional roller coaster ride without them.

On the other hand, it also makes me wonder: am I just a total control freak, subconsciously aiming to build a social network of friends, family, lover and work colleagues who would behave as close as possible to a certain ideal I wish them to be? Is this what everybody else does as well, only accepting new people who think and behave the way they expect into their social circles, and try to keep out the ones who behave too far from expectations?

I'd like to think I'm more open minded than that, but I guess when it comes to really close partners/friendship, we would all like them to share some common fundamental values with us, along with some superficial expected behaviors. That's an important lesson I learned from this experience.


  1. I've acted totally ridiculous in poorly matched relationships before. Certainly, there were lessons that I learned from reflecting on what happened, and places where I clearly understood that I needed some "improvement" if I wanted the next relationship to have a better chance.

    At the same time, the dramatic stuff - in many cases - was coming from the mismatched conditions. It's difficult to come from your best self when the dynamics are way off. Which was definitely the case from everything you have written about your relationship.

    In some cases, the ship can be righted. In others, it was always a poor match, and no matter what you did, it wouldn't ever "work" well. I get the sense this was the latter for you.

    1. Thanks for the helpful clarifying comment here. We happen to really like each other, but unfortunately we are coming from different backgrounds with drastically different expectations. For this to work we have to both be willing to spend a lot of time understanding the other person and to make a lot of changes. I think he just wants things to be easygoing and fun, without putting in that much effort (which I agree can be quite tedious), so yah, the two ships are sailing in different directions now.