April 29, 2017

He seemed too afraid to let me know him

He seemed too afraid  to let me know him

Dear Julie,

My guy and I have dated for over a year and a half and from the beginning, I was very attracted to him and had deep feelings for him. Lack of emotional intimacy and communication seemed to be the major problem. I was open, honest and patient with him, but no matter what I did to try to understand him and build the friendship, he always seemed too afraid to let me really know him. He lied repeatedly about everything it seemed and everything in his life was secretive. It seemed the slightest thing would be taken the wrong way and create anger in him. He would be kind and loving and then cold and distant over nothing. He did not seem to be able to keep his word and said no repeatedly when I made the smallest request. I felt something was seriously wrong with him from the beginning and felt a deep fear inside me. It was always “I want you, no I don’t.” When things got good, he would then make distance and be cold, repeatedly. This created constant confusion. I felt I was being destroyed emotionally .

Irene, Abuja

Dear Irene,

What made you attracted to him and have deep feelings for him from the beginning? And the importance of this question is clear when you write: “I felt something was seriously wrong with him from the beginning and felt a deep fear inside me.

I find people who have been subjected to abusive or abandoning relations often only know dysfunction. They tend to seek out partners who are ambivalent and hostile. These individuals fear and reject closeness despite their dependent longings. Only a distant or detached partner provides enough challenge to prove her worthiness as a desirable woman who can capture the elusive love object. A more emotionally healthy and open person would want to get close. There must be something really wrong with him. And finally, I want to place the focus on you. If you have been struggling with depression, recognized or not, psychological or biochemical, then you’re even more vulnerable when it comes to standing up for yourself and setting healthy boundaries.

As for your partner, he fits quite nicely the profile of a battering spouse! Out of control of his rage, a fear of his own hurt and humiliation, likely past abuse, a rigid need for control, especially of you, apologizing or being nice after a round of abuse, a deep sense of inferiority behind a macho swagger, that is often projected onto inferior others.