I am new to the forum. I have been desperate to talk to someone about my problems with my boyfriend, but haven't found the right people to ask. Maybe this is the place..
My relationship with my boyfriend has lasted just over three years. The last year has been very rocky, after he shattered my trust in him last fall. I have been reflecting a lot on the relationship and talked with some friends about it, and I came to the realisation that more than anything I felt guilt towards my boyfriend. I hadn't realised what it was I was feeling, I just knew I felt really bad and down about us, but suddenly I realised it was guilt. I found this a bit strange and did some research into guilt in relationships, and came across a lot of information on emotional abuse. I don't really feel like I have been abused as such because he's never put me down or been mean or nasty to me, but there were still some bells ringing at the back of my head. Then I came across this list "Eight ways to spot an emotional manipulator", and with the exeption of the 5th point,I could relate to all of them completely.
Read it yourselves here: http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/em ... lation.htm
This really upsets me, I had no idea that he was pulling my strings like this all this time... But then I started wondering how legit this list really is..? Because the website seems a bit over-the-top.. But I don't know. I have also been wondering whether he was aware that this was what he was doing. It might be me still not completely seeing things clearly, but to me it seems unlikely that he has been manipulating me in a cool and calculating manner... So I looked around some more, and I came across this article, on a BPD website, where they link manipulation with desperation, and say that people "who appear to be manipulative usually act impulsively out of fear, loneliness, desperation, and hopelessness- not maliciousness. "
This is the link for that website: http://www.bpdcentral.com/resources/abu ... tion.shtml
That sounds a million times more plaucible to me, but my boyfriend doesn't have a BPD diagnosis nor any other mental illness diagnosis. However he does have asberger traits (only according to the online tests he's taken, mind) and he has been told by others that he seems to have bipolar tendencies (again very vague, but he does have family members with the diagnosis). Also he suffers a lot from depression. So now I am wondering whether maybe his mental condition is what caused him to manipulate me emotionally...?
I guess the biggest hook he has had on me all this time is that he's expressed, without using that many words, that he would kill himself if he lost me. He has never threatened me with it, not even said it out loud, but he has told me little things along the way like how he's had several suicide attempts, and that he didn't know whether he'd be alive right now if he hadn't met me, and that I am the only thing he lives for, and later, that I shouldn't let my worries about what he might do if I leave stop me from leaving if that is what I want - without saying anything to actually make me less worried. Doesn't this sound like mind-twisting to you? There has been a lot of things like this, he's basically done anything to cover up for things he knew he'd be in trouble for, done whatever he can for me to feel bad for him, and he has all along the way told me he's scared I will "give up on him" one day, because he constantly gets things wrong, does the wrong thing, puts his foot in it. Told me things like I deserve better than him, making me feel really guilty to think that maybe I do... It has made me feel like I can not possibly ever "give up on him", I don't want to prove him right... Even if it might be time for me to put myself first. But is this me being manipulated?
I am so confused. I have always thought of him as a really sweet, caring, kind, loving guy who've just had a really rough life and a troubled childhood, and he has always taken care of me and when I was really really ill he looked after me for months. Could this guy still be an emotional manipulator? Or has these websites actually manipulated me into thinking he is?
Right now he is pretty heavily in depression again. I have finally started telling him how I feel about our situation, after many months of walking on eggshells to avoid making him more depressed, but I haven't talked to him about the manipulation thing. I have told him that he needs to start caring about himself, that he can't keep running himself down into a dump, he's gotta look after himself, care about his health, his body, his life. For us to have a chance to get better, I need him to care about SOMETHING other than me, and that caring about himself is where to start. By saying this I have just placed him deeper into his depression, of course... And now that I have realised this emotional manipulation has been going on, I don't know if there's any point in giving it another go.. According to various sites I've been on, manipulators don't stop, they don't get better. And anyway I am so tired of trying to help him "get better". I am actually worried that I am getting depressed myself from this whole situation...
He owes me a whole lot of money too. Was I manipulated into lending him all that money? Am I really that gullible? Does he realise what he's been doing all this time? I feel so sorry for him, and so angry at him at the same time because I don't know whether to trust my feelings anymore because of him.