Mixed Signals Make Ending Relationships Difficult pt1

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Mixed Signals Make Ending Relationships Difficult pt1

April 22, 2009 Dealing with Difficult People Life Skills 2

broken-heart-shatteredtear1Occasionally, I hear from someone who is in a difficult relationship situation and asks for help.  With only the written word to go on, I have to fill in the blanks with intuition and experience.  Obviously, giving a one page answer is no substitute for counseling, where I’d have the ability to gather more information and design an intervention or direction based on a real understanding of the dynamic involved.  Still, there is value in asking for help, and there is some help to be found if you are able to take initiative on your own.  

Today’s post is from a comment that I received on this blog in an earlier post about mixed messages,  and my response to it. 

Here’s what the commenter wrote:

I’m at my wits end, can you help or give me advice? Me and my partner have split up recently, we’ve had contact since, but he is confusing me with mixed messages.

Examples…if i don’t contact him he contacts me, but will very nice to me, but if i should contact him his attitude becomes sharpe and cocky.  He will make comments to me about treating me bad and how I don’t deserve it, then say to other people that he ‘can’t live like that’ as though he’s putting blame on me!

The reason we broke up was because he hit me.  I know its wrong but i slapped him back. Now he changes his comments all the time about the situation. One minute he was in the wrong, the next he’s a victim.  His comments and behavoiur just aren’t consistant.

He says he doesn’t like the person he is, but i haven’t seen any change in him at all.  He tells people he’s worried about me, and has feelings for me, its not me its him. Then after a few days, he makes comments like” i’ve seen a different side to her lately that i don’t like,”  when we haven’t even seen or spoken to each other!  

Another example:  There are still some of his things at my house.  He says he wants them back, then doesn’t come for them.  There have been many times he’s rang but hasn’t even mentioned it. I’ve tried to make arrangements with him but nothing comes of it.

Can you help?  What are your veiws because this is really messing with my head.  What does he want,  or does he not know himself, or is it game playing?   Thank You

Here’s my reply:

Thanks for your questions, I’ll do what I can to give you a useful answer here, but I think what would do you the most good is finding a good counselor to work through this. It seems to me that you are also sending mixed messages. You broke up with him, and yet you call him. I find myself wondering why. Is it about him getting his stuff? If it is, you could box it up and put it somewhere else so he can get it at his leisure without you having to deal with him, and be done with it.

The fact that he hit you tells me he has serious impulse control problems, because there’s just no excuse for that. It also means that there are parts of himself he does not know, maybe unresolved anger towards his own mother or some other female authority figure in his life. Instead of working through them inside himself where the problem really exists, he tried to work them out through you. Hitting him back makes sense, and is a better response than allowing yourself to be beaten by him.  But the best response is the one you chose.  End it and get away from him for your own safety.

Back in two days with the rest what I told her.  Meanwhile, your comments are welcome!

be well,
Rick

 

2 Responses

  1. Joanne says:

    This lady is describing the typical cycle of abuse (hitting, guilt, apologies, sweetness, and then return to the old disrespect, which would eventually lead back to more violence if she stayed). Until he gets help, this cycle will not change, and his messages will always be mixed. Nice response in both sections Dr. K. – her challenge is to work on her own beliefs until she knows she deserves better treatment. It took me a while to learn that it’s OK to say certain behaviour is not OK, but once I learned the skill , my business as well as personal relationships all improved.

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