Guilt and Bitterness are Brothers

I have this lurking feeling that I am somehow a bad girlfriend. (and friend, but that is another post.) I am not sure if this is motivated by truth, guilt or a distorted self-image. While it is true I provide financial support I am starting to find that I withhold emotional support out of bitterness. I feel like if I don’t get support from him, I shouldn’t have to lend support when I can barely hold myself up. That sentence screams SELFISH at me, but it is how I feel.

My psychologist said something this week that caught my attention, “Guilt is usually motivated by unexpressed bitterness.” Now, I have to say that I am not sure if Dr. O. and I are a great fit, but the bottom line is that he is the help I have right now and while I am a bit annoyed that he keeps pushing mindfulness and visualizing what you want, he does usually make me think just a bit deeper. I think my problem with him lies in the idea he has that if I just accept everything I can be okay. I realize that acceptance will take me a long way, but I don’t think it will solve my problem. I have a depressive mindset and zero motivation. So while I read tons on visualization and meditation (even reiki and qigong) recently, I still haven’t found the motivation to practice what I am learning. I digress, back to C. and being a bad girlfriend.

So C. was accepted to his PhD recently and he is over the moon that ‘someone wants him’, as in one of the schools he applied for is willing to match funding and perks offered by other schools to have him go there. All this is awesome and in six months from now it will provide some much-needed financial relief, but he seems to have forgotten that we need to make it through six months. And I can’t do it alone anymore.

When workman’s comp threatened to kick me off my benefits in three weeks time and he found out, he turned to me and said, “What are we going to do?” In that moment I experienced rage within our relationship for the first time. I guess he has the right idea, we should do things together, but, with that logic in mind, shouldn’t we be doing it together now then?? It made me so angry that he would pass off the stress of finding a solution on to me when he hasn’t been contributing financially in over a year. It wasn’t “I will go and apply to every coffee shop in our downtown-metropolitan neighborhood.” rather, “what are you going to do about it?” Workman’s comp has since changed their position after a note from my surgeon and my family doctor and my chiropractor/physiotherapist. But the threat lingers and he still hasn’t physically gone out with resumes.

So that resentment is well founded, but badly expressed. In fact, I don’t express my anger with him directly at all, it is all indirect and passive things that I don’t realize I am doing until I reflect on what I have done. For example, C. came home all happy tonight that he went for coffee with the grad supervisor and that there are three profs fighting for him to be their TA next year, and he is so proud. I think it is great, but I can’t be excited the way he is. I kind of feel like him getting funding and having that ‘no stress’ period to look forward to is unfair after I have watched out for and provided our financial security for a couple of years. The worst part is that I don’t think he even appreciates that, while I can’t pay everything all the time and on time, I do provide what little financial security we have.

But I digress. I want to be supportive, and I want to be a good girlfriend, but don’t those both deserve support and a good boyfriend in return? Am I a horrible person? I think that most of us play the resentment game at one time or another, but what about withholding emotional support out of bitterness? I’m starting to think that we can’t be fixed. And that leaves me with the options of continuing on in the same unproductive way we have been living, or changing. I never thought I was afraid of change, but here I sit on the cusp of a major life change and I am terrified to let go of what little support I have.

He still holds me when I ask, and hugs me and loves me. And I still love him.

Love. The undefinable mistress of us all.

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3 thoughts on “Guilt and Bitterness are Brothers

  1. Caroline says:

    I’ve emailed you!!

  2. backonmyown says:

    You’re not selfish. You need his help in every way–emotional, financial, etc. Tell him what you need.

  3. I think, although he isn’t providing as such, his career (the PhD) is still a big priority to him. Men are very selfish in that way. I think it’s evolution that makes them like this. He may not be the provider (right now) but that ‘area’ of his life is still a major part. Hence why he was so excited… even though he’s celebrating something that is quite inconsequential to you.. he celebrates it none the less. Men put their shit first and everything else second… it’s only in rare circumstances that girlfriends get served first. Not many men put their girlfriends above their THING. That’s why Wallace Simpson was so famous because Edward gave up his thrown for her… it’s rare (think of all the men Madonna has gone out with and she’s still impressed by history and baffled that a man could do that!) Not many men want to even give up their sofa and remote control for their GF.
    This is a list of how men think (most important first) careers (mother) sex, ball games, sex, money, beer, sex…………………… and somewhere if they get a minute… emotions. Feelings aren’t a subject they bother much about, so it’s no surprise that he isn’t bothered by anything you do or say or have done. It just doesn’t register with him. OK, that’s him sorted out. That’s what he does. It what he does. You won’t ever change that (if it angers you now that he doesn’t care – wait around another twenty years and see how he treats you then.)
    Now on to you::: you want things he can’t give you. You love him… but it’s not really reciprocated in the way you want. Dilemma!! So what do you do?!! Do you wait for him to change his attitude? Or do you change yours? Do you sit around waiting for something to change? Or do YOU change? Supposing worst case scenario happens – money stops coming in. What do you do then? Ask him for help? No. Because he can’t help you. And at this point in time you cannot do it all on your own.

    I feel this way about it: If he’s unwilling to help and to chip in now – is he going to be around when push comes to shove? Will he be there when the stakes get higher?.. you even have to ask him to ‘hold you’. Why? (Doesn’t he have any motor reflexes of his own?)Will he chip in when you have loans together or a child? One day you’ll want these things and he’s not going to be able to help… he’ll still be chasing some silly little pipe dream of his, and you will still be angry about it. And for the record, PhD (in my opinion) just sounds like another excuse to slob about and get up late. I had a boyfriend once in my early twenties and waited three years while he did some theatrical A level type degree thing. I used to wait outside like a retard while he set up props at stages and gigs. I think he got a good grade, but he now works at a mobile phone company and I wouldn’t touch him with a twenty foot disinfected pole (and he’s gay!…hence the theatre crap)

    Back to my point: He’s served his purpose in your life. Keep him as a good friend and go into the world and find a man who can, rather than a boy who can’t! They exist. And you’ll find one, one day, who you don’t have to ask things of .. he’ll just be happy to give them to you. Trust me, they’re out there.. and maybe… just maybe.. you’ll find one who you love more! .. and this will just be a long distant memory and bad dream. Honest.

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