I’m trying to figure out what to do about my girlfriend. It’s not a relationship question. It’s a “how do I help someone I care about” question.
The basic issue is that she’s unhappy, and I’d like her to be happy, or at least, happier. I know that’s vague, and I know you can’t “change” people, but people can choose to change when given opportunity and awareness.
She has a preconceived notion that I don’t care about her, that I don’t love her, that, etc. etc. (I quit my job, left friends behind, moved cities, and changed significant parts of my lifestyle in order to adapt to hers.) Yet when confronted with the facts, she completely negates their relevance and then lashes out at me. In effect, it’s still all my fault, and I’m letting her down, and so on.
Once upon a time, I interpreted that as “I need to try harder”, but after running myself into the ground, I finally came to my senses. That was a long while ago.
But it’s really not about me at all.
She says some ridiculous stuff though. She wants to talk every night, 95%+ of it is her talking, and then she blames me for keeping her on the phone… followed by a diatribe blaming me for not respecting her time, not respecting anyone’s time. When challenged on the topic of “respect”, it spirals into her saying “why should I respect you when you don’t respect me?”
Nothing’s worked yet…
Observing and challenging her behavior has gotten me nowhere. Pointing out what she does and how she does it, her arguing tactics and defensiveness, hasn’t really done anything. Certainly better than actually arguing.
Once upon a time, I explained things clearly in a letter, and broke up with her. That didn’t accomplish anything either. That I then dated a girl nearly 10 years younger than her also didn’t help things much.
Really though, I don’t have a problem with the relationship. I’m actually pretty happy, and the majority of our time is positive. She’s not really dragging me down or anything like that.
But, these are latent issues that come up.
What I think is happening…
My best understanding of things right now is that she has a very low self-image (I could argue self-loathing, but that might be too extreme)… and because of that, she’s in denial that anyone would possibly care about her or love her. But in order to deal with that, she place the blame outside of herself and lashes out, and tries to compensate via control over her environment and over me.
And thus, she’s unhappy, making herself unhappy, and working really really hard to ensure she stays unhappy and has external reasons to blame for it.
So, to some extent, that makes her perfectly normal.
Anyway, I don’t really know what to do to help enact a paradigm shift. I want her to figure out how to be happy… by her realizing how she’s making herself unhappy, and changing that.
And at this point, leaving her is not an option I’m willing to consider.