Having read your impressive psychic advice to others I am writing to you with an appeal for help as I am the end of my rope and am struggling to keep it together.
My (ex-)partner and I, after living together for over 4 years and having recently (Aug. 2006) moved into a new house, are in an awful place… We definitely still care for each other, but seem to be driving each other into madness and misery.
We were the victims of a crime last Easter which has deeply traumatized both of us and things have been so profoundly hard since then that we are just destroying each other… no matter how good each of our intentions are.
Please help as this situation is so unbearable! He has had a very difficult past where his life was drastically altered through the deeds of others and I don’t want to hurt him anymore than he has already been hurt. He has nobody else close to him, but I think that by being together we are really damaging each other and I am so torn as to what to do best for us both.
Your situation seems to be quite complicated. The dynamic and history between the two of you is much more complex than you have outlined. Throw in that each of you still cares very much for the other, and what you have is a very challenging situation, indeed.
You present as a very warm, kind and compassionate woman. He presents as a kind and charming man, even though he does have somewhat of a “victim” complex. The real struggle is that through time and circumstance, the nature of your relationship has changed – but the responsibilities of maintaining the relationship have not. There seems to be varying levels of co-dependency between the two of you that you may want to examine.
It is very difficult to watch someone you care for hurt. It is even more difficult to care for ourselves, when that simple act is likely to cause someone we care about more pain. However, you can’t keep hurting yourself to keep from hurting someone else. Eventually, no matter how well-intentioned, that plan will blow up. In the end, it causes more harm than good for both parties involved.
Because I don’t see any immediate changes with living arrangements, the best thing you can do for yourself and him, is work out a plan for peaceful coexistence. Each of you need to disengage somewhat from the other, and from the other’s emotional scars and baggage. I’m in no way making light of the trauma that each of you have experienced in your lives, both separately and together; but the drama is what is causing the madness and misery.
As with any relationship, communication is the key. The two of you seem to have a very strong foundation in this relationship. It is strong enough to survive some very necessary changes to achieve peaceful coexistence until the time comes when other living arrangements take effect. One of the hardest things you will have to face, in the mean time, is that each of you is only responsible for yourself. It seems the two of you are caught in a cycle of not letting the hurts from the past heal. It is time to separate lives, even though you are still together.
You need to stop being his emotional barometer; that tactic hasn’t been working for quite some time, anyway. Equally, you need to stop hoping that he will step up and be more of what you would like him to be. Even though it may sound harsh coming from your lips to his ears, tell him what you need and what you expect. Be clear that you will do what you can for his well-being, but no longer at the cost of yours.
The two of you need to change the way you interact, communicate, and respond to each other. If you keep going on as you have been, you really will destroy one another, and the relationship that remains will keep growing darker.
You have a bit of a struggle ahead of you. You two have been through a lot, and the adjustments have been hard. There are some more difficult adjustments ahead, but if you take a strong approach, there will be much more harmony in your home by late February or early March.