What kind of girlfriend am I??

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
What kind of girlfriend am I??
3
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 10:53pm
I'm 24 years old, my boyfriend is 20 (we've been dating for over a year), and I had a really difficult past year (I watched my younger sister go into cardiac arrest, while at the hospital for kidney failure--she has scleroderma--and watched my whole family deal with this event, and watched her suffer and recover). We had started dating only a couple months before that happened. At that time, I just quit my job, and was no longer attending school (I graduated from college 2 years ago). I think I depended on him for my happiness during a time when I really had nothing going on for me.

I had my rock-bottom breakdown a couple months ago, and started seeing a counselor. It has helped tremendously, and I am no longer as depressed as I was. She's made me see that I have exhausted my coping skills, which affects my relationship with my boyfriend--it's horrible, I get angry over the most trivial things, but especially when he changes plans on me. My counselor has said that this "change of plans" is a sort of loss, and at this time, I am particularly vulnerable in those situations, and I don't know how to cope with loss well. Now I'm noticing that I'm hitting the roof (I'll drive full-on road rage style, I'll yell and cry with no shame in front of anyone) over the most trivial things, and I don't know why. I used to get sad and feel suicidal, but now I'm angry. I don't know if it's because now I have a great job, and just bought a new house, or maybe I'm still having coping issues, maybe I'm just a bad girlfriend. I don't know. I don't like the fact that I'm this way, and I am going to be taking a Coping with Life class next month. I really don't know what to do, because I love my boyfriend, but my behavior is affecting our relationship, and it has scared my sister (who's health is, by the way, doing FABULOUS, thank God). I don't want to be this person, I feel that I am so much more than what I am seen as by his friends and brother (I think his brother really despises me for being so tempermental), I have accomplished so much in my life and have always succeeded...why are the little things in this relationship getting my panties when there's obviously more to care about?? Please help me, I appreciate it..

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 4:36am
I'm no doctor or psychiatrist, but this sounds like a bio-chemical issue to me - have you ever been on anti-depressants?

Depression manifests itself in many different ways - uncontrollable anger is definitely one of them. Has your counsellor suggested meds? Have you tried them? If so, have you found the right one?

I know that there are unpleasant side-effects to taking anti-depressants and nobody except you can decide if it's the right thing for you. It sounds as though you are in quite a bit of distress over this problem, and understandably so, it's awful to feel out of control with your emotions and I know that meds can help with that, but it's a personal choice. Some people would rather live with and manage these feelings without the help of medication, for others, meds are life-saving and a gift from god.

Whatever you decide, perhaps it would help others affected by your behavior if you were as honest as you can be with them and tell them that this a problem that you are having and that you are working on resolving it. If people know that you aware and also concerned about your behavior they might be more understanding.

I wish you the best.

Peace & Love, Pebbles xox

Avatar for lurkinglassie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 6:59am
My BF has behaved a lot like you - it's rather like going out with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He is now on antidepressant meds and they are helping a great deal. To be honest at times I have wondered why I stick with him, and I think it is because he has assured me time and again that he doesn't want to be the type of person he is when he gets angry, and because he has actively sought help and is making efforts of his own to overcome his difficulties.

So I think you need to speak to your BF and tell him what you've written here. I have coped, too, by reading books for the close families of depressed people, and he might find that helpful (try searching Amazon). Meds may not be right for you (BF had to try different sorts to find one that suits him) and there is a big pro/anti split on their use but I think the bottom line is they work for some people and not for others. Discuss this with your therapist or doctor.

Good luck

LL

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 10:27am
It sounds like you have a lot going on. What sticks out to me is the fact that you are really searching for some boundaries and some stability in your life. When you met your boyfriend, it sounds like you counted on him to provide you with the boundaries - meaning that instead of you deciding what you could and couldn't get angry about, or what you would or wouldn't do with your time, you counted on him to do it. One of the things you figure out as you go through life is that you have to be a disciplinarian to yourself, and tell yourself that it's not OK to act in certain ways or act out your anger. You also have to be a mom to yourself and find ways to comfort your own soul when things get hard.

One of the things that might make you feel a lot better is having more routines in your life. That way you always know that if something happens (your bf changes plans, etc), you still have the routine to keep you busy. Make a few small routines every day - some of mine are watering and looking at my plants, cleaning up the kitchen, going to the gym... those are things I do every day to keep some stability in my life. That way, if plans change, you can just start doing one of your routine activities right away. It's something that is familiar, something you do on your own, and something that makes you feel productive and good about yourself. And while you're doing your activity, you can take the time to think about how you are feeling angry or hurt, etc... and you can think about it slowly while you finish your activity. If you do that, you won't be acting out, you'll be nurturing yourself.

The flip side of this is that you might be used to the attention you get from acting angry and you won't be used to nurturing yourself. It won't feel comfortable at first but it's definitely a better path to travel. Just take some time to love yourself and be good to yourself. It's not fair to the people around you when you treat them badly. You're a better person than that, and you know it.