I found your post really interesting and you seem to have a lot in common with people on here including me. I have just broken up with my husband of 20+ years or should I say he has broken up with me. I have been with him since we were 17, I lived with him 10,000 miles away from any family and he suffers from Bipolar Disorder Type I. Our life has been amazing in many ways and we really love each other, however it has also been a rollercoaster for me and at times has been very bad as well. I won't go into details here but he has been very physically and emotionally cruel at times. I have stayed without him through everything and of course I have made some big mistakes on the way as well.
However, due to my anxiety and panic which he now thinks have made him worse in his life I cannot 'detach' myself from him. I know if I could I would probably feel better but he still has a 'hold' on me emotionally even though I moved away (3 hour flight) and he is currently with someone else. We have been separated for 4 months and yet still he can upset me and influence me with one conversation. You are probably thinking then why am I still in touch with him but again it is hard to cut someone out of your life totally when you have spent this long with them. I am a grown woman but feel pathetic that this is the case. I know that in many ways he is toxic now, he can be an amazing person but can also be very cruel and knows just what to say to hurt me yet still I love this man and cannot separate myself from him. Towards the end he had spent a year in very deep depression due to the bipolar and I had to care for him and make sure he did not do anything silly. He now says that I smothered him and would not give him any independence. Like you I panicked when he went out and did this to a degree but also when he was ill I was trying to protect him but went to the other extreme. I have always been worried about
being abandoned and in the end this is what has happened. I had the instant panic if I thought he was leaving for any length of time apart and thought that I would not get through a night alone on my own so understand how strong the feelings can be.
It is incredibly difficult, and I would say impossible even to try and explain to someone how you feel in this mode if they have never suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, they just don't go how out of control you feel, the fear and how hard it is to reign these feelings in. My husband had some small insight as he did have a small element of anxiety with his illness but nothing compared to what I have lived with for most of my life.
I know that this relationship was toxic in some ways but would have stayed through anything and have done which feels very shameful sometimes. If someone came to me and told me that they were going through the things that I have I would say they were mad and why were they staying but when you do not have much self confidence and I do believe in separation anxiety it is very hard to break away and leave.
So in answer to your question, I do believe that some relationships are too toxic for people like us, but also that in some strange way we are also drawn to people like this as well. You sound like you are doing better than you think, You have tried to change your behaviour
, I have as well over many years, but it is very difficult when the fear hits you. You managed the three days on your own which is pretty great to me. I also understand the fact that he says you are manipulating him. I don't believe that we intentionally manipulate people but that when the panic hits your instincts kick in and you will do anything to be in a place where you do not have to feel this way. Of course saying a hug is manipulative is totally ridiculous.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts and experience I think you have a lot more insight and are a lot stronger than you are giving yourself credit for.
Post Edited (Honey Bee) : 6/13/2008 4:31:44 AM (GMT-6)