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Urgent Relationship Matter

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Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby Elizabennet » Tue May 23, 2017 1:42 pm

Hi, so this is going to be a desperate question.
So I have been dating with a person for more than two and a half years. During this time our relationship has not moved forward due to my inability to bond to him. He has been saying he wants to talk about our relationship and I am at a total loss as to what to do. I suspect I have shame based mutism as well as a serious problem in deciding things for myself, so I can do nothing but just sitting still and be dumb. Is it right to break it to him that intimacy bothers me? I know that I will find myself in the same situations in the future. Have you ever had to sit down and talk about intimacy issues with your significant other? Have you ever found someone that you work with as a couple? If so, how did it happen?
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby mark1958 » Wed May 24, 2017 4:21 pm

Hi Elizabennet,

Elizabennet wrote:and be dumb. Is it right to break it to him that intimacy bothers me? I know that I will find myself in the same situations in the future. Have you ever had to sit down and talk about intimacy issues with your significant other?


I think emotional honesty regarding who you are, what you feel and what your emotional needs are is very important in a relationship and/or potential relationship. In my view, much heartache would be spared because of this.

It is a fact that people have different intimacy models/maps. Some require a lot, and some do not. Some are very comfortable with it and others may not be as comfortable with it. In basic terms, there is no right or wrong here. Only if this causes you some serious distress in life would I think it needed to be changed. However, you alluding to your inability to bond would certainly qualify as an impediment to your well being.

Now, it is not often easy to be honest. Many people have insecurities that they do not like to divulge and/or share. But if someone means something to you, I think it is only fair to tell people any issues you may have. There is risk of course, that someone may not understand. And the relationship will end. But in the end, much emotional hurt will be spared if you do.If you do not tell people about yourself, they will be prone to guess and/or mind read your intentions. More than likely, they will guess wrong and something very good can become impaired.

Plus you may be surprised by someone's reactions to this. You may get someone who is more than willing to work with you. Some may not, but often someone will. Intimacy issues can be overcome. Sometimes one needs help here though. This brings me to this...

.
Elizabennet wrote: Have you ever found someone that you work with as a couple? If so, how did it happen?


Are you asking about relationship therapists? There are many who do work with couples if that is what you are asking. I do not know the best way to find one in your area, or to screen for a particular one. I think taking a step in this direction will be major positive though.
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Resistance leads to suffering, acceptance leads to peace
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby Elizabennet » Wed May 24, 2017 5:11 pm

I originally meant this one to be posted on the NPD forum, but was directed here instead. I believe NPD is the reason I have issues with bonding. As for the last part of my question where I asked if any of you guys have found a partner with which you can work around the intimacy issues, and it was meant for other pwNPDs. Of course, anyone who have problems with empathy, bonding etc. is welcome to give feedback :)
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby mark1958 » Thu May 25, 2017 11:53 am

No worries....

My comments to you still stand. Can you be emotionally honest with someone? That is how you work around intimacy issues. Because if you can not, it is best to let them go before they get so attached they will suffer.

I understand that NPD will be a obstacle to what I wrote above. But you appear to have self-awareness, so that is a positive step.
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby Elizabennet » Sun May 28, 2017 12:21 pm

I can't be emotionally honest. That's because I don't even know what my emotions are. When I am away from him it feels like I can sometimes love him. When I am near him, however, even him saying"I love you" or him directing his full attention on me throws me into a panic mode. I cannot answer back with "I love you." It feels like there is no way I can say that.
Also, if I disclose the fact that I cannot love, the anxiety that has been building up in me will drop to my stomach and shatter into a million shards. A huge part of the anxiety also stems from the fear of after effects if we break up. He is the type to never move on from anything, so I greatly fear the consequences of my actions and, if I must reveal the ugliness of NPD, I worry about everyone hating me if I heartlessly move on after breaking their friend's heart.
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby mark1958 » Sun May 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Hi Elizabennet,

I understand your predicament. NPD prevents those feelings of being vulnerable, the defenses kick in to prevent such feelings, aka the grandiose self. This is what intimacy really is, the risk of allowing yourself to be seen and known by another, for who you are, both good and bad qualities. And then allowing others to make a decision of either stay with you or perhaps go their separate ways. I know that type of risk can be very discomforting for you, the "identity"" that you formed based on your Narcissism.

Of course, many people who are NPD have stated that in order to be vulnerable, one has to know who they really are. It gets to the heart of that "true self-false self" paradigm.

Being disconnected from the emotional self is/will be a struggle. We can not just shut off one emotion. In order to mask "pain", people look to numb themselves emotionally. This can take many forms, Personality Disorders, addictions, and defenses which prevent those experiences. Problem is, shut off pain and you also shut off joy. No easy answers I am afraid.

You appear to care how you are perceived by this, which would explain your struggle. If you do not "love" him or can't "love" him, then why do you want this? Is he someone who will enhance your image?

If you think telling or divulging too much about yourself (the NPD) is too much risk, perhaps you can frame it in a better way. I think people will perceive you as doing the right thing if you are upfront with him to the best you can be.I do not think that makes you "heartless." It simply can not work for you. I think if you try to mask it with role playing or pretense, and he discovers that, then I think your reputation will take a hit. He will suffer a lot in that regard.

People who have NPD can be in relationships, if the partner knows there are limitations in what you can do and you yourself are willing to compromise. Perhaps the relationship may not be warm and fuzzy, but it can work for the both of you. Just because you have NPD does not mean you do not value companionship.

However, in all that I have read about functional NPD relationships is that there is a tacit acknowledgment that only so much can be expected. And the other partner willingly accepts those conditions.
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Resistance leads to suffering, acceptance leads to peace
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby Elizabennet » Sun May 28, 2017 1:56 pm

Thank you! I must say, you really know how not to wound the fragile ego of a pwNPD whilst giving advice.
Being with him is not really about enhancing my image, actually. I'm just trying to figure out whether there is a way to be in a relationship without wanting to die.
On one hand, I reminisce about the times when I was just free to wander around and chase 'supply'. I also keep thinking that maybe I would be more willing to work on a relationship where my partner has different charcteristics. Exactly what those characteristics are, I can't really say. "What if there is someone better out there?" sort of thing.
On the other hand, I know I probably won't be able to find the 'right person' and the defenses will keep kicking in. I will always feel as if I'm buried alive in an airtight coffin whenever I am alone in the same room with my partner, who is expecting intimacy to boot. Or will I? Idk. That's why for the past couple of months I prayed and wished for the right answer to be zapped into my brain by God or something.
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby mark1958 » Mon May 29, 2017 11:15 am

Hi Elizabennet,

That anxiety you feel can be attributed to your "avoidant" attachment style. Just a guess here. But NPD and avoidant/dismissive attachment are linked.

One forms a working model of relationships when very young. It is the attachment significance between a primary care giver and a young child and how that care giver responds to the child's signaling. If the care giving was basically indifferent or smothering( too much proximity), the child leans that to attach to another leads to enmeshment, disappointment or harm or most importantly, a loss of control. And to lose control creates intense anxiety. So the individual learns to "deactivate" attachment for significant others. NPD can also be formed along with these dynamics.

I mention this because a common characteristic of avoidance in attachment is the feelings of being smothered, engulfed, suffocated, lack of control, etc. It may be what you are feeling for this man. Problem is, unless you get a lot of space when "triggered", or have the ability to distance yourself, you will not feel comfortable in the situation and more than likely risk devaluing him.

A question for you, Is he the type that can understand some of your difficulties here?
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby Elizabennet » Tue May 30, 2017 8:28 pm

I do have an avoidant attachment style, however I don't think the formation of it is linked to the behaviors of my parents. They provided a happy and calm environment and my mother, especially, was a normal woman who took adequate care of me. My father was also there for me and I don't remember them ever abusing me or anything like that. However, I believe me and my father have a mysterious condition that is similar to Asperger's meshed with an inability to bond and some NPD components. My mom says that her marriage was hellish, (due to my father's NPD traits that are way too identical to mine for it to be environmental alone) but I never felt it. This was likely due to me always being in my own little world for as long as I can remember, but still. The point is, I never felt like I couldn't count on my parents and I always felt safe at home.
The times that I had to mix with other children and the hell they call school, however, largely formed the cowardly beast that I am today. I was bullied and told that I was a freak Most importantly, I felt like every little mistake that I made would mercilessly be documented and countered back in manifolds, with taunts, leers, even physical violence. During my school years I learned to be a people pleaser, to be ever vigilant and fearful. This is prob the reason for the avoidant attachment.
Now about my boyfriend. He is the type of person that requires care, attention and warm fuzzy loving. I did try to provide attention and I had to force myself quite a bit, however, I could not always be true to myself and felt like I was roleplaying. I tend to not even be aware of other people's presence as the only person that really exists is myself, so it was hard work even retaining communication and at least returning calls and text messages. However, I feel like this cannot go on forever.
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Re: Urgent Relationship Matter

Postby mark1958 » Wed May 31, 2017 11:42 am

You seem to know yourself quite well. Attachment issues can sound much, more sinister than they really are. A distant or pre-occupied parent for instance. It is not abusive, simply distracted parenting. Generally a care giver dealing with their own issues. But, you appear to have a good handle on all of this.

The relationship between your parents may have some merit here. I am not suggesting you were harmed in any way.

In addition, considering what you went through I can see why "trusting" others, especially significant others can be a challenge for you. I think it would be for most.

Now about my boyfriend. He is the type of person that requires care, attention and warm fuzzy loving. I did try to provide attention and I had to force myself quite a bit, however, I could not always be true to myself and felt like I was roleplaying. I tend to not even be aware of other people's presence as the only person that really exists is myself, so it was hard work even retaining communication and at least returning calls and text messages. However, I feel like this cannot go on forever.


This appears to be a big mismatch between you. He needs something you just can not give and quite frankly, you have the right to get what you need as well. If someone needs so much "care", it is not fair to you to be expected to provide it, if you are unwilling or unable. This is why I suggested talking it out. I know that is a challenge, to share your self or go in this direction.

But relationships can work between avoidant people and "other" (whether they are anxious or secure), if they both understand what is and is not possible. And then choices made based on those issues. I can not see what else you can do here. As you said, you care enough to not want to role play.

In the end , a partner who also likes autonomy and not necessarily too much intimacy may be a better fit.
There are no failures, only lessons!
Resistance leads to suffering, acceptance leads to peace
mark1958
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