My Own Complicated Messy Story

I'm not a relationship therapist, but I've had enough experience with dysfunctional relationships to last me a lifetime. Here's my story...

Kathy and I met at work some years ago. I thought she was drop-dead beautiful - like Connie Celica the actress. At first I had a difficult time getting dates with her, I think she was still in another relationship but finally I was able to start spending a reasonable amount of time with her.

One thing that I noticed quickly in our relationship was that normally things get more comfortable over time but with Kathy even though we became increasingly physically intimate, she became more difficult to be around - constantly looking for fights, easily angered, mean spirited in her treatment of me.

Kathy had told me about some terrible abuse in her past. Her mother was stoned and drunk and beat her crazily until she ran the car into a light pole and passed out, dates had fed her booze and drugs and had taken advantage of her - one time even getting her pregnant, etc. As she told me about these horrible things, I became enraged. I couldn't believe that anyone could do such things to such a lovely young woman. I was ready to commit bloody murder on her behalf to punish the bastards that had so terribly wronged her.
relationship problems
One thing I didn't see, that I should, was the pattern of crisis after crisis. Everything in her life was a crisis of one sort or another. But even knowing all of this I was sure that my love and patience would help her work through these things and that given time she'd be able to relax and be a normal happy person. Turns out that no matter how loving and patient I was, things didn't get any better and in fact got worse.

I was ready to have children. Kathy told me that was her ambition as well; so one night after a party I asked her if she wanted me to use protection. She answered "no, I want it". In about nine months we had a beautiful baby girl. We were married about 2 months into the pregnancy, things went downhill very quickly after that. Constant power plays and control issues on her part, endless threats, endless accusations, things I just didn't believe happened to normal people were becoming the norm for me. But I held on, there was a child to think of and I didn't want her to grow up with just her mother's influence around her.

Everyone has a breaking point, I finally reached mine. Instead of being loving and patient when Kathy would go on a rampage, I started to become unpredictable. Sometimes I'd not pay attention to her, other times I'm blow up with rage, always I'd make sure that her rampage had negative consequences. When she realized that she no longer had the control over me that she once thought she'd had, she couldn't tolerate the situation and filed for divorce.

"Everyone has a breaking point, I finally reached mine."
That's been a couple of years now, I'm at peace with myself. My daughter lives with me and is turning out to be a normal and happy person; life is looking pretty good. My ex found out that the used spouse market wasn't as hot as she figured it would be and has made numerous overtures towards me to reconcile - not in this life.

What I've learned is that you can't fix someone else's problems. In children, maybe, but adults, no way. Damsels in distress continue to be in distress even after you rescue them. Their lives are an ongoing drama and nothing you can do will make it any better. I've also learned that being a man isn't anything to be ashamed of. No, you'll never be as sensitive as her friends are, you'll never figure out the perfect gift for every occasion, you'll never be just like she is but that's not a problem. Be happy with who you are.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • She was brought up in a broken home and she's been permanently ruined so I can see why she would reenact behavior s she saw as she grew up. BUT, just because people have troubled pasts, it doesn't mean they'll all become these psycho people who abuse those who are closest to them so you can't generalise. You can't remove their past but you can be supportive; that's all you can do. She was showing bad signs in the beginning though, which would've been enough for me to leave.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I refute the fact that adults "can't" change solely on the basis that I changed as an adult. Though it took a lot to break my will, I was set on my ways, after an accident in 09 I really took a hard look at my morals, values, beliefs, etc. But by becoming aware of my life and being honest, open, and willing to change I was able to do so virtually overnight. I chose who I want to be and I think that's the part that let me find true happiness. Great article, hope the daughter is well - cheers man

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What Girls Said 9

  • You did what you could. My best friend once told "No matter how much you want to , you can't change a person, only they can make that choice". And you tried but she decide not to change , even though it was tearing her apart.

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  • I come from an abusive past myself, not as severe but it is my own personal hell. And you are absolutely correct. I had to come to terms myself. Every word in your last paragraph is true in my mind. They do say then when a child is abused they seek out an abusive relationship in adulthood, and you just weren't giving it to her so she did it herself.

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  • im so sorry you went through that situation but at the end you learned a valuable lesson and god blessed you with a great daughter :)

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  • she's damaged goods but as long as she was trying to seek help, maybe the relationship with her would not be sour today. Some people just don't want to take responsibility for their feelings

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  • Wow, thanks for writing this. Very refreshing and honest. I hope things get better for you, man. And you're right, you can't fix someone else!

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  • Wow it opens my eyes in my relationship. I sometimes think I'm that woman I would love to change some more.. I went to therapy in my early teens to my late teens (in the DCS foster care) because of abuse (verbal, physical and sexual 2 different occasions with family members).. I now blame my mom for all of it.. I feel less of a woman for not doing it like a normal person.. I am trying to get better with self help books.. :)

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  • I completely agree with this. I think women can tell the man maybe once or twice at the most about a problem, but she was going overboard and living in the past. It was time for her to move on and look forward, and you made her realize that.

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  • Good post and good-luck :)

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  • I totally relate here! Was engaged 2 a "broken fellow" he was abusive in every manner to maybe conpensate for his abandment issues concerning his mom...I also reached my breaking point and got out while I stiil had sum fight left in me.

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What Guys Said 9

  • If you cannot love the other person for who they are, and for the path that they're on, don't try to change that, as they won't love you for it. You are on different paths, though you may be walking hand in hand for part of it. Your hands will get sweaty and you'll have to let go for a while.

    My story is similar to yours, so here's a handshake and a pat on the shoulder.

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  • "What I've learned is that you can't fix someone else's problems."

    Yep. I had an alcoholic girlfriend for years. I kept thinking she would change. I kept thinking I just had to be patient. But it never happened.

    It's hard enough dealing with our own problems without taking on the problems of others. If you really want to help someone I think it's best to do it from an unattached distance.

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  • I believe what's happened is that you both experienced what is often called 'role reversal' by dating experts. Men historically aren't meant to base their decisions on an emotional aspect (or be overtly emotional - that was the women's role) - but when you do the women you're with will feel they have no outlet for becoming emotional, and so will start acting logical. When that happens no one is happy. Kathy maybe felt she never ever had control over her own life, hence she acted the way she did

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  • I encountered a VERY loosely similar situation of my own towards the end of college. Here is the article I wrote about it... link

    I'm sorry all that happened to you. I'm glad you seem to be doing better though.

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  • I think good communication can solve problems, but either one or both people have to be really good at communication. Unfortunately, as good at communication as one person may be, if the other person is very illogical, then I don't know if communication is possible.

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  • Some people can be changed if you give them patience and love. Not all people can, and it depends on the person in question, and on the abilities (strength of virtue and morality) of the the person trying to do the helping.

    This girl didn't victimize. Some people do, and some people don't. The people that don't victimize are the ones that actually do have something to say. It's important to listen, but it's also important to know when someone has gone too far.

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  • Good advice. Be wary of people who victimize themselves.

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  • Thank you so much for that story. And you have your daughter... good things can come out of bad.

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  • Thanks for the advice. Sorry about your relationship turning sour in the end.

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