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Is Love Really All About Timing?
June 10, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I am female and 21. My mother has paranoid schizophrenia and my father is an addicted gambler which has brought a lot of grief and problems to the family. I am the eldest of my siblings, so it is only natural for me to take the leading role of the family as both my parents were unable to. Recently I parted with my 3.5 year long term relationship, 'Charley'. I never wanted to stay in the relationship and wanted out after the first few months but he was controllingExamples of controlling behavior include within an intimate relationship include: one partner isolating the other from his/her friends or family; not letting ythe partner go out of the house, to the...(Click for full definition.), manipulative, and most destructively, abusive.
I know I am an intelligent, strong, and caring individual. But having breaking free from what seemed to be a neverending nightmare, it's struck me that my life has changed significantly while being with him and there are more things to fix and pick myself back up from than I first thought. I can't help but feel useless and lost without him. As I watched friends go to university and graduate, I watched myself succumb to his demands and needs. HE was becoming my priority, not my mother or family as it was before. As 'the break up' is starting to feel more and more in the past, I'm beginning to see clearer what my future could be like which brings me a lot of hope and confidence.
The problem isn't the abusive ex leaving a scar. I'm begining to believe that I may be a dependant person, contrary to what I've always thought to be. Due to the nature of my family and my responsbilities while growing up, I think being cared for is what I yearn for. I feel that I want to be in another relationship. Be it destructive or not, I want to be in one. My logic tells me to concentrate on myself and get back into education or work - or to at least heal the wounds of what he has done before jumping into another relationship.
I'm not sure if this person, 'Billy', has just came into my life at the wrong time. Billy is a friend of Charley's, who was in the same uni as him. At one gathering, while I was still with Charley, I began to talk to Billy and learned that he had a mother who was suffering with Alzheimers. His mother is at the stage where she cannot speak and is being looked after in a caring home. This was where I began to speak to him as support for him, as he was clearly going through a lot of traumer and it began to take a toll in his education and life. We emailed and discussed a lot of personal things, all which made me realise we were both incredibly alike. However this whole time I hadn't of considered him as I was stil with Charley. As time went by, we kept using eachother for support. Then I broke up with Charley as things got sour when I found texts and messages from another woman, and it made me question myself whether I will keep being manipulated by him to get what he wanted. It was hard leaving, but he also realised he didn't need me, so he broke it off before I could say anything. I still care for Charley but I know it's for the best to leave such a destructive relationship.
Me and Billy carried on talking and both of us still endlessly chat about our mutual emotional anecdotes about problems in our lives. At the moment, I can feel that we should be together as I haven't met anyone else who shares the same experiences and personality as me because of what we have been through.
I can see myself with him, but I don't know if it's because I've just got out of a long term relationship, because I am dependant on always having a relationship, or because Billy really is the right guy but came at the wrong time.
Should I concentrate on myself and possibly lose the guy that could be the one? If I do try a relationship would he reject me as I am his friend's long term ex? Or I am just desperate for a partner? :( I hope it's not the last one as I know i'm better than that.
I really understand your predicament. You’re wondering if Billy could be your Mr. Right. But is it correct to concentrate on healing yourself and therefore risk losing him?
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, had one rule that he expected his patients to agree to at the outset of therapy. He made them agree to not form a relationship until they completed their analysis. The reason for this is because the person you choose before and the person you choose after therapy are not the same type of person.
This means that even though you feel Billy is your Mr. Right and that you both are very compatible, he may not be compatible with you after you heal.
Keep in mind, you are basing your compatibility on the fact that you are both so similar now and that you share the same feelings now.
After you heal, you won’t feel the same as you do now, so you won’t likely be compatible down the road. But if you are meant to be together, you will be meant to be together down the road, meaning that you can do your healing, and, if you two are so compatible, he’ll be waiting for you.
The fact is you are not ready for an intimate relationship now. The fact that you said that you feel useless and lost without your ex, a man who abused, manipulated and controlled you, tells me that you are still looking to return to a relationship that is like your dysfunctional first family relationships.
This means that you will choose another guy like Charley. And, what's more, if you're so drawn to Billy, he may well be another wolf in sheep's clothing--meaning he may be abusive too.
Also the fact that you said that you, “Want to be in another relationship. Be it destructive or not, I want to be in one,” you all but have a sign printed on you: “Abusers, choose me. I’m so hungry for a relationship and not being alone that I’ll take any mistreatment.” This means that you could actually bring out latent abusive or even sadistic tendencies that might exist in Billy because he will sense that you will tolerate any kind of mistreatment.
As you said, “I’m dependent on always having a relationship.” The part of you that says this is the little girl inside yourself who never got taken care of. So you’re always looking for a relationship partner to be your parent. But because you’re so wounded, you choose partners who keep abusing you like your actual parents did.
So you need to be single for now. You need to grieve the reality of your childhood, your parents’ failings. Above all, you need to adopt yourself and be your own mommy and daddy. You need to feel filled with love and feel in your heart that you are lovable. A good place to get this nurturing is in a supportive psychotherapy group. Group is what I call your “Second Chance Family.”
When you complete your inner child healing, you will draw a man who mirrors back to you your own deep self-love.
I encourage Billy to do the same self-healing that I propose you do.
If you’re both on the healing path at the same time, and you both are truly compatible, you will both find each other at the end of your healing journeys.
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