Saturday, May 23, 2009

Phonecall Limbo

Last week, I spent a few days trying to call her. At the start, I was leaving just one message a day, saying something like, "hey, I hope to talk to soon -- hope everything is going well." At the end, Saturday, I called her five times trying to get in touch with her. I know that sounds like way too much, a crazy and obsessive number, but there were extenuating circumstances. I would have stopped after three, which seems like a reasonable limit to me, but she called me back after my third call and left me a message. (My cellphone does not always ring through, so this telephone tag can sometimes be a frustrating inevitability.) She had also called me back that Friday night just before eleven o'clock and left a brief message, but it was too late to call her back then.

When I finally got through Saturday afternoon, I was pretty happy to finally be talking to her. Soon, it was clear to me that she did not share the same enthusiasm. She has previously said that she hates talking to me either on the phone or online because it cannot substitute for real face-to-face communication. I don't disagree with that, but her position is a bit more black and white than mine. While I feel like phone calls or online chats can be a second-best alternative, she does not. For her, it's either face-to-face or it isn't worth it. I pulled over into a parking of some nondescript tavern so I would not be on the cellphone while I was driving, but also, I wanted to give her my complete attention.

Let's back up a bit. Being brutally honest with myself, my desire to talk to her was largely based in my fear that she was moving on from me, emotionally and physically. I had a dream that she had found someone else, someone more handsome than me and way more confident, someone who made her happy in a way I never could. And it really scared me. Scared me primarily because it wasn't me. I believe dreams can be a way for your subconscious to tell you something that your consciousness refuses to see. So maybe, I thought, I was unconsciously picking up on the fact that she had a new boyfriend based on evidence that my consciousness wasn't picking up on. Now, I know this sounds less than rational, but it is also not out of the realm of possibility either. I think I know her well enough to know that if she ever did find someone else, she would not be likely to tell me unless they were getting married, or maybe not even then.

And continuing with this honesty to myself, I had to admit that all I ever seemed to have brought her is unhappiness. And the fact that there might be someone else that could bring her the happiness I couldn't inspired some intense and unfamiliar feelings of jealousy in me. When I think of her, which is often, I am mentally telling myself to "let go," rationalizing how our relationship is technically over, and that she has already given up hope of our being together. I tell myself that it is her right to choose whomever she wants to be with, and if that person isn't me, for whatever reason, I just have to accept it. Arguing with the facts as they stand is pointless.

At the same time these thoughts are going through my head, I am also thinking "Why couldn't I make her happy?" The fact remains that, in spite of all of the reasons I have to be mad at her for her unfairness in our previous relationship, for the unreasonable limits she places on our communication together, her seeming lack of empathy for me and my problems, I am still incredibly in love with her. A small part of me doesn't want to be, but a larger part of me doesn't want to ever give her up.

Back to that tavern parking lot and my telephone conversation with her, things weren't going as well as I hoped. In a weird way, our gender roles are reversed in that I am practically begging her to talk to me, and she is being uncommunicative in just about every way she can be. Sometimes, I can get her to open up to me by talking about her work and the problems she has been having there. This time, that wasn't working. She seemed pretty frustrated, and later, when I thought about our phone conversation, it seemed that she was barely disguising some of her hostility toward me. I am pretty sure she blames me almost entirely for our bad relationship. I am certain if she could ever give that blame up, our relationship would flourish in a way that she never could expect. I know I would be much happier being with her without feeling her laser beams of anger focused on me. After an unsatisfying conversation, and the phone disconnecting on us once or twice, she curtly said she had to go. Reluctantly, I said goodbye in the most upbeat way I could without sounding too desperate, and I promised that I would call her back soon. When I clicked the phone off, I was feeling more depressed than ever because I realized that she was more emotionally distant from me than ever and, without destroying my opportunities to create a stable life for myself and my future, there wasn't any way for me to fix it.

The dreams I have been having are more than upsetting. Usually, she is happy. She gushes to me about how awesome "he" is, that other guy, her boyfriend, gushing about how happy he makes her. She tries to convince me how great he is. Emotionally, she is more effusive than she ever was with me. The emotions she kept walled up behind her unrelenting guardedness is finally spilling out. And she and her new boyfriend go off together on a trip together to some beautiful and naturalistic postcard scene, like an ancient grove of paradise like trees. I feel so abandoned by her, so inordinately sad. In some, I ask her if she has a new boyfriend, and despite my pleading, she doesn't answer me. She evades answering me, and actively hides him from me. A frank and honest admission from her about her having a new boyfriend would give me a path to heal, be the one avenue out from underneathe the pain of her rejection of me. And yet, I am caught in limbo.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two Years Later

Last Thursday was the final session with my third (or fourth) counselor. Towards the end of our last session, he promised me that he "would work on finding" me a new counselor so I could continue "treatment." Yet, I must admit that I am not sure another counselor would be any more helpful than all the previous ones.

Overall, I feel disappointed by this counselor. Another part of me feels that my lack of progress is not really his fault. For starters, he is inexperienced. He was on his student internship, a fact I had only found out when he revealed that his leaving was due to his graduation from his student program. Our last conversation seemed like it was filled with his subtle promptings to declare my progress. I felt a little pushed by it. It felt like his agenda to make himself the "good doctor" was conflicting with my reality as the depressed patient. Secondly, I have only had five or six sessions with him, and I am fairly certain he never really came to know me or my struggles in any way that was not automatically superficial. To use the cliche, we were only beginning to scratch the surface.

I am not sure I am finding these counseling sessions very helpful. It feels like I go into someone's non-descript office and pour out my litany of bi-weekly sorrow, reflecting on its roots in the failure of my romantic relationship (as partially documented in this blog), only to begin to reach a deeper level of depression than before I had started talking. I usually leave the sessions feeling worse than when I came in.

Okay. That's the background. You also need to know that, although I am no longer living with my (ex?)-girlfriend, I have been seeing her off and on since she moved out of the apartment we shared at the time. My visits to see her occur no more often than usually once a month. Sometimes, the intervals between our visits have been as long as three months. Usually on these visits I spend a day with her, and maybe, I might even stay the night. And these visits are nice because I can share with her the same emotional intimacy we had when we were together without the unreasonable expectations that she sometimes placed on me and the relationship. There is room for me to be myself. Of course, the reason she has released her unreasonable expectations is because she has given up hope of us ever being together in a committed relationship, a fact for which I am nearly positive she blames me for. She has constructed a narrative of our relationship primarily based on her misreading of my actions and motives. In her eyes, I am a inadvertent villian of self-centeredness. And this is where, for me, all of the sadness creeps back in.

And, yet. Despite the fact that she consciously and/or unconsciously blames me for our bad relationship, I cannot stop having deep feelings for her. I think about her just about every day. I want to be with her again and move back in with her. Intellectually, I know that nothing has substantially changed on the issue of her expectations, and the worst part of my depression could come roaring back the moment she expresses her frustration over things I cannot help. I can not be in that place ever again. But, I still want to be with her! How crazy is that? I objectively see this person filled with anger and blame towards me, and emotionally I want to be with her again. Is this love? It certainly feels like love to me. I love her in spite of her faults.

But then, during this last session with the counselor, I spoke about my position and how I came to be here, and it all seems to center on the disaster of our previous relationship. I lost so much personally because of it, and I am also left with serious emotional scars. Yes, I have had a tendency to depression my whole life. This is true. I saw one or two counselors even before my bad relationship began. But, I think the main reason I am still seeing counselors now is that I am trying to piece back together my life from the pain and catastrophe of that relationship.

It feels very unfair. She has a steady job and a house now. I lost my job and my graduate school career because I couldn't function under constant personal (physical, verbal, and emotional) attack. I had to move back in with my parents. I haven't found a steady job yet and am trying to get some "retraining" in a new academic field. I have spent so much time in school, my prospects for finding a well paying job capable of paying off my debts is constantly diminishing. I feel broken. It will take a few more years for me to "get back on my feet," but it will take even longer for me to get over what happened to me. Maybe the scars will never fade.

My life is dominated by mental illness (mine and others), and I hate it. I could say more about all of this here, but I think I have said enough, and frankly, it is just making me want to crawl into bed and try to go sleep as a way of forgetting (albeit very temporarily) this whole thing.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A year later

It has been well over a year since I have posted here, and many things have changed. I have been in counseling for several months working on getting better personally. I am starting to realize that I am automatically programmed to sacrafice my own needs, wants and desires for other people, especially if the other person is angry and unhappy. Of course, the angry or unhappy person is not always right to be angry and unhappy, nor is it always necessary for me to give up something to "fix it." Intellectually, I suppose I knew this all along, but the emotional reaction to the situation was the problem all along. It always just felt right to avoid the hassle of someone else's anger by giving up a piece of myself. Oh, and duh, the prozac I am now on is helping too. I hve future goals of regular exercise and improving my diet so that I continue to feel better, but those things are down the road. Right now, I am still pulling myself out of the emotional well I had fallen into for the past couple of years. I feel I am nearly out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

No Audience for the Last Act

Okay, well, it finally happened. She left me about a couple of weeks ago. As one could tell from all of the previous posts, it had been something that we had both been building on for a long time. After the fights came the despair, which built up into even more pain, which led to the ultimate breakup, which, ironically, we both did not want, but then again, could not prevent.

A couple of things have helped me out a little. The first is which is a counselor which has been helping me see my need to please people and prove to others that I am a good enough person to be liked. My childhood experience had been such that I did not get much encouragement or support from my parents. Therefore, I developed a cloying need for it, something which I transferred to my girlfriend. Most of our arguments went along the lines of her accusing me of something untrue or irrational, and then me hotly protesting either I did not intend to do "A," or if I did "A," I did it with the best intentions. This kind of discourse all led to my feeling like there was two of me. One, which I experienced, was a basically nice guys who had a few problems, and two, the "me" she experienced, was the devil incarnate who made demand after demand.

I know that she has her own issues, and I knew that I had mine, but I never suspected that we would not be able to figure out some way to meet in the middle. I always thought that if both people were sincere and wanted things to work out, they could work out their problems enough to be happy with each other.

The weird part of the breakup is that we can still find time to talk with each other on the Internet through instant chatting. And she has spent most of our chat time together blaming me for her unhappiness at her choice to leave me, which, it should be pointed out, was her choice. At the time, I begged her to stay and protested I still love her. She persisted in leaving, claiming that she had to. Now, I am just beginning to feel that maybe I can start-over with my job and sort out my life with a lot less drama. At least, I hope so.

Friday, October 01, 2004


I have not posted on here for quite some time, but I figure this is as good as time as any. My girlfriend went to Hawaii for two weeks, and then spent another week with her family, so I have been by myself for about three weeks. And during that time, I have been doing a lot of thinking about our relationship.

I have painted an extremely negative picture of how things have been in the past because I usually posted an entry only when I was emotionally hurt or upset about something. When things were going good between us, I wouldn't post anything--mostly because I didn't think of it, partially because I didn't have time. I wonder if having this blog is a dishonest thing to do and hurts the relationship more than it helps me. My girlfriend says that it is not healthy for us to have secrets from each other, and this something that the counselor echoed. The three weeks apart have helped me see that in some ways, my girlfriend has been healthy and good for me (and to me). This is not a portrait that I have painted here.

For the past couple of months, things have really been better between us. I think that my girlfriend has been trusting me more and has been less likely to accuse me of something that I haven't done, or be upset with me for minor things. I credit the counselor that we saw over the summer. The counselor helped shaped some of the issues for me so that I am more clear about what I am responsible for and what I am not, for what I need to feel bad about and for what I don't. We also talked about her issues. I got some perspective about where she was coming from, so I could see some things as not attacks, but as insecurities and pains she has. For awhile, whenever my girlfriend had a minor frustration or even be in slightly bad mood, I would immediately get upset and begin assailing her with my own issues that were bigger than life.

Yet, even though things have been much better since the counselor, the time apart has been good in that it has given me some space to really think about what I want in this relationship. I believe that the time has come for me to make a decision about the relationship in one way or another because progress is desperately needed for us both to be healthy. Although I haven't decided what to do yet, I think I must either ask her to marry me or move on. Some of it depends on how we get along during the rest of the year. If this progress we have made is permanent, then I think there is hope for this relationship, and it is time for me to start thinking about beginning a family with my girlfriend. However, if things devolve into the way they were, I have to face the sad facts.

And while this may be the most difficult and inconvenient time for me to do this, I have to do it. I had to take a pay cut for the problems at work. (It is a miracle that they did not fire me.) Therefore, I have nearly no money to pay bills. My parents are loaning me some money for food. My car has been having intermittent breakdowns for which I have no money to make repairs. I am purposely not paying some bills that I need to, and I may have to take a second part-time job to get to the end of the year. It is the worst time to make a decision about the relationship. However, I have realized that I can't put it off anymore. These types of decisions must be made whether one is ready for them or not.

My opinions and thoughts about the matter constantly change, and I think that part of this is the human condition. The stream-of-consciousness novels that I read in college are a testament to the fact that the brain is always working and making choices. But, while my mind my change tomorrow on any or all of these issues, I do feel that I am drifting to a committed choice.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The End or Not

It has been so long since I last posted, I am not sure if should even bother continuing this blog. To be brief, I am still with my girlfriend, and yes things have continued to be up and down, but not as wildly down as in the past. Part of me wants to delete this blog and forget it even happened, but another part of me thinks I should keep it as a testament to the things I was struggling with during this period. I don't dare print it out for fear it might be discovered. Having it on the net is bad enough, but, if for some reason, you are a regular visitor to this weblog (which according to the statistics, you're probably not, as hardly anyone has ever read this), do not be surprised if it disappeared. I am giving myself some more time to think about it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Another Fight

We had gotten along with each other for the entire day. There were no fights, and I was beginning to feel like that we had turned a corner on our relationship. I knew that things were still not perfect, but our really serious fights had disappeared. I figured that we had the counselor to thank for that. He helped us see how we can care about each other, and how we can argue about things in a healthy, positive way.

But, tonight, even after a day that I felt pretty good about, we fought again--and this was one of the old fights, a serious one. It had started when she accused me of not wanting to answer the phone. I was trying to tell her that I was, in fact, going to answer but I had not reached it in time. I was in the middle of explaining when she cut me off, essentially saying that I was lying, and then she made a return phonecall. I was little shocked and very hurt. What had I done all day, if not try to make her feel good about herself and us?

Of course, I was upset and wanted to talk about it, but it devolved into a full blown argument when she refused to talk about any of it, and then claimed that I was trying to cover up for my own bad behavior. She is stubborn to the Nth degree, and so, if she does not want to talk about anything, she will not. There is nothing I can say, no amount of pleading with her that I can do, that will make her want to talk to me. I persisted though, and when I got really angry and started yelling out my frustration, she leaped in with how I was a yeller and that I should apologize for yelling. At one point, she tried to initiate an audio conversation with someone to "get a witness" to the fact that I did yell, as she feels that no one believes her that I can get angry. Let me just say that I have never denied to anyone--her, the counselor, her family, my family--that I yelled and got frustrated. I am more than willing to talk about my yelling problem with anyone who will listen. I am also willing to accept responsibility for it when I have to.

However, since I had yelled, that was what she wanted to talk about. Not anything of her bad behavior, since that was now off the table because of my own. And it is my understanding from the counselor, that when things are wrong, you need to talk about them to make it any better. At the very end of the night, she claimed that I needed to back off right now because she was so upset. I knew that, even though she had quit about a year ago, she was going to buy some cigarettes. I tried to plead with her not to buy them, but she would not listen to me. She strongly implied that if I really cared about her, I would leave her alone. I told her, in no uncertain terms, that I would back down completely, not talk about anything anymore, and give her space, but only as a sign that I cared.

Her last request before she left to buy cigarettes was that I walk downstairs to clear her path of spiderwebs so she could get in the car and drive away. As she has a phobia with spiders, I complied, but I tried, in a rather feeble way I admit, to tell her that, despite my anger, I still loved and supported her. I'm not sure if it made any difference.