This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by T from NY 1 month, 1 week ago.
March 4, 2021 at 11:23 pm #847469
I need help here. My brother (38 M) is seeing a woman who I believe is a problem. I’m hoping for responses with honest input, because I’m worried that my love for my brother is clouding my judgement. I’ve always been protective of him because he is a shy person with a lot of feelings. I have spent countless hours with him giving advice and he is so upset no matter what I say. I am worried because he is in a dark space over this. I want to make sure I am giving him the best advice possible. I was worried he was going to hurt himself the other day over this.
They started dating three years ago after he realized his marriage was ending. She has also been married previously. She is a therapist too. She was pretty much rushing him to divorce his wife so she didn’t feel guilty about being with him. It sounded like she love bombed him in the beginning. They moved in together. About a year later she broke up with him and he moved out. She helped him find a new place. She said she was overwhelmed with her PhD program and work and depression. She said she thinks her romantic feelings will come back later when she’s not depressed. She then got back together with him and then broke it off a few months later. She invited him over this past Christmas, but reminded him that they were not dating. And he called me crying. When he went over there, he noticed that she turned a picture down of the two of them together. He thinks it’s because she can’t bear the thought that she broke his heart. I do not think that is why she turned it down, but maybe I’m a pessimist.
However, she texts him all the time for emotional support. She is always complaining about her back pain or depression. He said he is tired of being caught in her drama. He suspects that she just wants to know somebody is thinking of her. I think so too. And she says she is so busy with work and her PhD program, but yet she travels three hours on weekends sometimes to drive one way to her female friend’s house (they are both bisexual) to “relax” and work on PhD stuff. She also has now decided to move to California with this friend as they work on their online PhD together. My brother asked her if there is something going on with this friend and she says no multiple times. Her dad who she loves dearly was just diagnosed with aggressive cancer and she’s still okay with moving across the country far away from him while he’s sick. When she made the decision to move to California last month, my brother told her he was having a panic attack over it all. She said “I thought we already talked about this hun.” But they’re not dating. Not sure why she called him hun. It bothers me.
The whole thing bothers me. He has lost 15 pounds. And there is another girl he is sort of interested in that I think would be a much better fit for him, but he can’t seem to get out of his own quick sand with his ex. Am I right to think she is leading him on? My parents think she might be a bit narcissistic. She posts so many photos of herself on her social media too. And I’ve never really liked her personality as it felt a little fake/animated to me. Any insights are appreciated. I have no idea what advice to give him at this point. I am at a loss and am hurting for him.March 5, 2021 at 2:24 am #847505
Sounds like he’s stuck because she’s used intermittent reinforcement on him (people who gamble have similar responses, there’s more info if you search online). It also sounds like she’s not emotionally stable… whether that’s narcissism, borderline personality disorder, or fearful avoidant insecure attachment, I have no idea. She sounds like she requires constant external validation in her life, which could very well mean she’s leading him on. But in summary, yes, she’s toxic af for him and will always be a terrible partner for him. Yet, he’s the only one who can decide he’s in enough pain to break out of the cycle and block her.
Is it possible at all that he’d be open to starting therapy with a therapist who specializes in people recovering from emotionally abusive partners? That would help him not blame himself and maybe get out of the “fog” enough to see how she’s actually treating him instead of seeing hope of her coming back in her inconsistency.
He probably has some issues too, after a divorce and then being in this situation. But if he’s always been sensitive, he may also have insecure attachment issues as well which may be leading to his attraction to bad partners. So if he’d be open to therapy in general, that’s probably his best next step– after blocking this ex and detoxing from her– towards sorting this out.
I hope he doesn’t hurt himself. Doing that over this flighty woman who has yo-yoed at him until he twisted into a knot wouldn’t be worth it. His 15 pound weight loss is a big red flag though about how he’s coping with the stress, so I think you’re right to be worried.March 5, 2021 at 7:44 am #847565
i think your brother needs to take a call and end this relation if its so toxic and uncertain and taking a toll on his mental health. he needs to go for counselling sessions. if hes having suicidal thoughts over this, you must insist as a sister to seek professional help. ofcrse ideally he should cut of from this woman but thats a call he needs to make after thinking hard over this.March 5, 2021 at 11:05 am #847602
Unfortunately there is no amount of advice that is going to help him through this.
This is actually a GIFT for him, in that, she will be moving across the country and no longer be in his presence which will help him to start slowly weaning himself from his drug—her.
They have a dysfunctional addiction; both are addicted in different ways but they have formed an attachment in a way that you won’t understand if you’ve never been ‘highly addicted’ to something such as alcohol, drugs, etc. She and your brother understand each other because of their own demons, which is why its so hard for either of them to fully let go, even though, they know they should but cannot.
I would tell him: “You are an adult and have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make. This is the bed you made and bed you have to lie in. My hope for you is that this distance will do you both good, will start the process of detaching yourself from her so you can find some light and happiness again. I love you and truly want to see you happy and smile again.” THE ENDMarch 5, 2021 at 12:28 pm #847610
T from NY
Other than offering to support him by going to counseling there is very little you can do when a loved one is involved in a toxic or abusive situation. Somehow, some way they have to realize their own worth to take the needed steps to extricate themselves. What Lane advised all day long.
Additionally and really important — when speaking to him concentrating on HIM, not the woman. Reminding him you want him to be happy, that he deserves someone consistent, that you can see/hear he is stressed, that he deserves to feel cared about. Ask him if you can you drive him to a therapy appt, or send him articles about self love, etc. Instead of making it about you against the other person, which never works and only makes the abused person dig in and defend the abuser, make it about him.
But you also have to let go in a lot of ways. He’s an adult and making his choices. People choose lots of avenues of self destruction. It’s so hard to watch. But enabling doesn’t assist them. Believing in them, reminding them of their strength and what they deserve are better tactics. The rest is out of your control.