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When to end a relationship because of pain?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by thecomputer, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Sorry I've not been on the forums for a while and now I return in need of advice. I've been having an rough time recently. I did post a while back about relationship difficulties but now things are more critical...

    As some know I've had a chronic voice/throat problem for coming up to two years. I was barely able to speak to start with, and now it's just very painful to use my voice, progressively more so the more I use it. The pain means I don't sleep well, wake up in a bad state and the cycle continues. Rarely I'll get a few days alone and if I don't speak I feel no pain, and feel fairly at ease, sometimes feel very good! So it really is about voice use.

    I've been in a relationship with a woman for a year and a half now, but we've also spent many months apart as we're from different countries and it's complicated! She has a 6 year old daughter who I also love very much.

    My issues started soon after we got together, and it was a very stressful time as she was splitting up with her husband. I often feel that it was the intensity of our getting together that triggered my pain.

    She's infinitely giving and caring, almost to a fault. The nature of my problem is that I often feel desperate for space and quiet, and I need a lot of time alone, not just in silence, truly alone or I don't recover. She says she can deal with it, but its never long before we end up in conflict because I'm shut down and distant and she's upset we aren't closer.

    I'm currently working abroad and she's just arrived to work here too. It's a community, and I'm working long hours, using my voice much more than I'd like, and mostly in a sorry state and in lots of pain. At the end of the work day I just want to lie down and rest. Before she was here it felt much easier. Now she is here I just can't get the rest and alone time I need, and feel constantly pressured and guilty as I know she'd like to spend most of our time together and to be close and physical. Her daughter will be here soon and then it's a mother pressure.

    I've been really honest with her today saying I just don't know what to do anymore. That I feel I have so little to give as I barely have the energy and resources to keep myself afloat. When I'm in pain I don't feel connected or like I want to be physical or sexual and I know she's desperate for affection and deserves it. It all goes out the window for me when I've been talking. It's like if you have a migraine, I don't find physical affection comforting, it feels intrusive as I just want to be alone. To not have to give anything or interact at all.

    It's horrible as Im a naturally social and talkative person. I feel like a shell of my former self and it's very depressing.

    Before she was here I had some glimpses of recovery, some hope that I could get there with the right space and re training. It was because I could push myself and retreat as I had my own space, nobody to answer to, to talk with. It was lonely but I saw process. But now it feels impossible again.

    I always read about people wanting support from a loved one, needing affection and closeness. I feel a bit like a freak to desire so much aloneness and freedom. But my problem is a little different in that it's about talking.

    After our conversation tonight she said she might go back to France, she doesn't want to cause me more pain. She always makes it about my suffering, and never her own. I wish she would speak for herself and not try and make it all about me.

    I don't know what to do. I love her but I can't deny that it's been easier before she was here, but it has only been a few days. I don't feel I can satisfy her when I'm in a foul mood most of the time and struggling to defend my space. I'm so scared to let it go as we love eachother a lot, but the last 7 or 8 months have been so hard and more conflict and pain than good times. It's very sad.

    Part of me would love to just pause everything and have a year to go off on my own and find a way to deal with my TMS/pain issue in a way that felt proactive not frustrating as it is now.

    Can anyone else speak to any of this? How to make such decisions when you feel you are trapped in an impossible conundrum. If I had no pain I don't see us breaking up, but that's not reality and hasn't been for a long time

    Thanks for listening, and for the support of this forum
  2. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    This is a very personal choice for you and only you can decide what you really feel is right. I'll try to give you some advice and I hope many more people do as well.
    A quote that helped me from this forum went something like this: " you don't wait to heal and then start living, you start living and then you heal."
    If you lock yourself up and distance yourself from love and fun the pain wins. The pain is trying to control your life. It's really about finding a balance and changing the way you deal with stress and problems/pressure.

    You are very clear in that you need A LOT of alone time. Is that only because you need to heal your throat or is that how you decompress and clear your mind from stress? If it's only to heal your throat, then the pain is winning.

    I asked about a similar question that was work related about a year ago. I had a lot of work stress and wanted to give up and quit but the majority of the responses urged me to find a way to deal with stress and I'm so glad that I listened because things got so much better.

    Your question is hard to answer because I'm not sure if you just want to be alone because you are nurturing yourself, your TMS is controlling you (with pain and depression), or if it's more psychological when you're around this person. By psychological I mean does this relationship bring you guilt (you said you guys got together in an intense way)? Are you judging yourself? Do you feel you don't deserve to be in a loving relationship? The pressure is higher when you're around her because she wants things from you, so do you just need to find a way to deal with pressure? Stress and pressures in life never go away and finding tools to deal with them can help over time.

    I could be way off, but when you said you wish you could have a year off to deal with the pain you would be happy. That says to me that the pain is controlling you and maybe that quote I mentioned above can help you too. Please let me know what you think.
    plum, Ellen and tgirl like this.
  3. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks for the reply and advice.

    It's very confusing for me too.... I have always needed my alone time, but it was for different reasons than now. When I talk too much my throat tightens up and just doesn't release until I sleep well or have ample time alone. If someone else is in the room I feel engaged with them somehow and can't fully relax. I think everyone knows the difference in feeling when truly alone.

    I've spent a lot of time with my partner in the last year, a lot in silence, and it's very difficult for me. I know the silence is imposed by my problem, and so it's not s peaceful silence for me. And even though friends, partner and family say we can spend time together and be silent it doesn't happen, we end up talking a bit and the cycle continues. Also because I've got so much stuff I'd like to say. I love to talk. I've also tried pushing it to the limit, talking until my voice is rough and my throat is raw. Then I just wake up all night feeling my throat closing up.

    The reltionship does bring me a lot of guilt. Not because I feel I don't deserve it, but because I can't give her what I know she wants. She will say she can deal with the distance and lack of connection, but they are only words...I can see her suffering and it always turns into conflict quickly. She always says 'i hate that my presence makes it all worse for you'. It's hard constantly explaining that it's not her presence, it's talking and having to give more than I've got when I'm suffering. If I was to spend every day with a friend it would cause me the same issues. Even when I have no pain after some rest and go walking alone, I talk to myself for 10 minutes to practise and I end up in pain. But she takes everything very personally, and struggles with many of her own difficulties too, depression, anxiety etc. She is much more insecure than me in many ways and that imbalance leads to difficulties.

    Your quote about 'start living and then you heal' is a difficult one for my experience. As it seems you are saying that living would be being in the reltionship and finding a way through. My doubt comes because in the many months we've spent apart I've made much more progress with my voice, felt much less pain and just managed it all better. Because when alone I can push myself as hard as I want and then retreat, I feel like I'm doing an experiment every day. But with the reltionship it fills every spare moment, and there is a huge backlog of disconnection and dissatisfaction on her behalf which feels hard to quench. When we are apart she always says how much she misses me, and I feel bad for not feeling the same, because I feel I can rest and progress.

    I guess when I talk about a year off, I just feel somehow that time alone may be my best bet at recovery, as for a year it's only got worse the more reltionships I try and maintain. And when I'm alone I'm not just hiding and avoiding pain, as I said I find time to do my vocal exercises because I haven't already made my voice raw, I get many more moments of peace and ease which help to re enforce that I could be ok. I think there are huge elements of TMS in my problem, but the tension is also mechanical and habitual as it only occurs when using my voice....so I do need to retrain myself, breathing, placement etc. I've made a lot of progress in singing lessons.

    It's such a difficult time. If I had pain in my leg or back I'm certain I would not be thinking about ending it, and would appreciate the support. We can't really sort out issues, we can't really have fun most of the time, I struggle with looking after her daughter. I just feel very ashamed and powerless somehow. Then as I said we have all the usual reltionship woes to deal with but they have to get put aside too.

    I appreciate your reply and I will reflect on it today. It just feels like such an impossible decision. I think I have to say that recovery is my number one priority, not the relationship. I feel bad for saying that, but I could not live like this forever. So I am trying to make a choice based on my best shot and recovery. I feel then I'd actually have more to give.

    Thanks again
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  4. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    Wow, it sounds like you know what to do. Maybe she deserves someone who will give her more attention and the timing just isn't right for you guys right now. I hope it all works out and you get better which is most important. Good luck.
    plum likes this.
  5. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks, but i really have no idea what to do! The saddest part is that before the pain started I was very attentive and romantic, and able to give. Which in a way makes it worse as she is always reminiscing about those times which to me feel like another life time.

    Thanks again for your help
  6. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with Ines. The "retreat" has you trapped. It may feel like safe relaxation, but if you set that pattern the pain will continue.
    I would take the relationship out of the equation, temporarily, and look at your "beliefs" about all the systems and patterns you feel you need to heal.
    Once you can let go of the thought: "if I do this or that, in this specific order, then I'm okay," you will have more clarity about the relationship.

    best wishes to you.
    plum, Ines and Ellen like this.
  7. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks for the advice. I just can't help but take into account the progress I've made when I've had more time alone, less time in pain which helped to see more clearly and change in many ways.

    And I'm very aware of my need to relearn how to use my voice, as I am certainly tensing muscles which most people don't during voice use.

    I'm not trying to make excuses, just so confused about what I need in my life to get better.

    I appreciate the support
  8. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks for the reply

    I agree with much of what you're saying although of course there are so many nuances that can't be explained on a forum.

    I do believe my throat problem very much a learned behaviour from years of anxiety. The anxiety is much less now, but new habits need to be learned. I don't think it's quite as simple as being psychological. As when I'm quiet for some time I feel fine, and things feel manageable. So I believe it's a mix.

    You're right, it does feel very complicated with the different countries, neither of us knowing where to live or what to do, and having a child to care for. Before my throat issue began I felt up for the challenge, but that was then and that was falling in love.

    I love her and I loved her daughter. But it is easier when I'm alone, I can't lie about that. So it's just tearing me apart as I don't really want to be alone, but there's a point where giving yourself the peace you need feels most important.

    It sounds like you already gave me a piece of your mind! What would you say that I would not like?
  9. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    I came here looking for support, which is usually the nature of this forum. You tell me that what I am going through is nothing? You could say that to every single person on this forum who is suffering, that if they experienced what some of worst off people in the world had they would realise their suffering was negligible. But it's all relative, and regardless we all are in pain and have out problems. You know nothing about me, and have no idea what I've been through and how difficult it's been, pain and otherwise. It sounds like you think I'm being pathetic and just need to stop caring, you'd put me through some bootcamp, you have to be PC here?

    This is the kind of talk that forums are infamous for, and I always thought this forum was different.

    I acknowledged that TMS is surely part of the problem, but there is the 20 years of bad habits that need to be dealt with too.

    Anyway I don't have the energy to try and explain myself when you have no idea about my life yet seem to be an expert on it.

    Thanks to others who chimed in. I think I need another break from the forum! :)
  10. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Well thanks for explaining and saying sorry. I'm sorry if I seemed reactive, but if you read back your first sentences in your reply it could easily been taken wrong as maybe I did.

    I understood all you said about t being psychosomatic/TMS. I've read all of sarnos books too.

    Im just in a tricky situation and wondering what the best thing to do is when I'm so conflicted. That's the difficulty with pain and TMS, it feels like you want one thing and your body is telling you something else...although obviously it's your Mindbody!

    Ines likes this.
  11. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ok. So I drafted a response to you earlier but have had a dog of a tension headache and didn't post. I thought it best to read back with a clear head because you are in a quandary and the last thing you want is more befuddlement.

    And then @JoeHealingTms replied and things got a bit wiggy which is a shame because I thought his comment had a lot of merit.

    Here's the thing, TMS is caused by our unconscious (whatever the hell that is) which somehow knows us better than we know ourselves because it encompasses the whole picture. This shadowy part of us is the keeper of much wisdom and we only get to derive the boons of that by biting the bullet.

    The very place we don't want to go is exactly the place we need to be.

    Psychologically speaking.

    And with you my dear, we are psychologically speaking.

    Every last one of us wants to receive our truths wrapped in cotton wool but life, bless its cotton socks, has a nary a regard for that.

    Hence my bloody headache (tedious details not to follow).
    And your voice woes.

    I've learned such a lot from the people here who get on my tits, or for whom I get on theirs :)

    It's that damn annoying shadow side. It flashes the shiny, shiny good stuff at you and then promptly scarpers. The trick is to extract the wisdom from the wound.


    And now here is the reply I originally drafted:

    "Can anyone else speak to any of this? How to make such decisions when you feel you are trapped in an impossible conundrum. If I had no pain I don't see us breaking up, but that's not reality and hasn't been for a long time."

    Do you need to leave your relationship to resolve your pain? Not necessarily. Perhaps you need to nurture a greater appreciation of ambivalence. And paradox too. So much in life is interwoven and puzzling that it does well to develop an increased tolerance...or patience for these things.

    Remember that pain distorts our perceptions and can create tunnel-thinking which can make us think we need to change our situation. Oftentimes we do, but maybe not as drastically as our mind would have us believe. I don't advise making big decisions when in a funk, when angry or in distress. We never see or think clearly at these times and we tend to act out of desperation. Everything is too black and white in those emotional states whereas our actual lives are very nuanced.

    Maybe something else in your life or about your situation needs to give a little? Maybe your relationship is on the brunt end but is not the actual problem.

    Maybe you need to find better balance in your community life. Perhaps you are giving too much there?

    As for time alone, I think you'd be surprised how common the need for solitude and silence is, and not simply for healing but as a major form of replenishment. I'm certainly of this ilk. The simple fact is if you are a giver, a carer or parent, or in a position where others are dependant on you, it is incredibly draining. I heard a woman describe it thus; "at the end of the day I feel like I need an isolation tank, no stimulation, or touching, noise or demands...just nothing."

    This is also why sexual and intimate relationships suffer when people have children. The lover gets lost in the mothering/fathering. Anyone involved in any kind of caring and supportive work experiences a similar sense of being totally tapped out.

    Remember the rage to soothe ratio. Tinker with it. Find balance and harmony. Embrace what works but as others have pointed out, you can't out run yourself. Nor can you expect this sweet girl to hold out indefinitely. She may make the choice for you.

    Falling in love is probably the best human experience. Staying in love and making a relationship work through the good times and the bad is a whole different kettle of fish. But that my darling is where the true beauty resides, the love and deep, deep knowing of another soul, shadow side and all.

    I hope within this patchwork of an answer is something helpful.

    Rooting for you kiddo.

    Plum x
    MWsunin12, Nzombro and Ines like this.
  12. thecomputer

    thecomputer Well known member

    Thanks Plum for your reply, I appreciate it. I also thought JoehealingTMS made some good points, I just didnt like the way he started, but it sounds like it was a misunderstanding.

    I have been living with the paradox, the pain and difficulties for over a year, and it only feels like its getting harder. Mostly because we cant have the long conversations a couple needs to sort things out. Even just now I tried to explain a bit to her, my throat gets raw and then its impossible to communicate freely. I just feel angry and resentful that Im having to speak. This isnt just with her, i can feel it with a complete stranger. This is where it feels impossible, as I know its hurting her so much to have me so distant and to not be able to talk. I'm not looking for some easy way out, or just a life that simple, its far from it, I just dont see how we can move forwards.

    If I was bed bound with leg or back pain I imagine I'd relish her company and support, as I would probably need it and appreciate it. But it's not the case, and thats where Im stuck

    Your feedback is helpful, and makes me think about it all more deeply. I didnt post here expecting a simple black and white answer, just some objective perspectives. Thanks

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