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    Who's the bad guy in your relationship?
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    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
    When relationships get in real trouble, partners find that they then need to protect themselves from their greatest confidante; the person whom they've allowed themselves to be most open with. Because this person knows their vulnerabilities well, they feel especially unsafe. And, they begin to see their partner as the bad guy. If only he (or she) would change, we'd be happy again. They often hide behind emotional walls. And, they are also likely to take to heart the adage: The best defense is a good offense.

    Can you relate to this? How does it play out in your relationship?

    For this and more of Dr. Becker-Phels Blogs and info on relationships, please visit The Art of Relationships.
    Reply
     
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    rohvannyn responded:
    When we have bad times, I usually blame my spouse instinctively, but that's internal. She seems to blame herself too. Of course, what that should do is make me wonder if I'm really the bad guy after all?

    She's had a lot of abusive relationships and a lot of manipulative people have taken advantage of her, which has left her with some serious emotional scars. At times I get resentful that I'm left suffering for what others have done, but at the same time I can't leave out the possibility that I'm behaving inappropriately as well.
     
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    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
    Love can be a wonderful salve for such hurts; especially if it is applied with healthy communication. I hope the two of you can talk openly when you struggle. While you cannot talk her out of her self-criticism, you can let her know that you love her just as she is. If there are things that she does that upset you, communicate that to her at the appropriate times (not in the middle of her self-beatings) -- but make sure you let her know that you love her even though there are some things that you very much want her to change. Meanwhile, it would be important for her to give you the same message. Admittedly, this can be a tricky balance. If your personal or relationship struggles go deep (which it sounds like they may), you might want professional help in working this through.
     
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    An_267183 responded:
    I can relate to that as I am dating someone who has been hurt and abused both physically and mentally in previous relationships, I find myself always not only trying to instill confidence and security but also protecting myself against any collateral side effects that those previous experiences have left behind in my girlfriend's psychic. I for example find clues in her house as new beer that supposedly is to entertain when I don't drink that kind of beer or new condoms that I knew she never like to buy but supposedly is to make changes for the better. There are also instances that she is in the surface loving but goes to sleep....more than twice before we actually go into intimacy, this is after being away for 10'days from each other so I have confronted the issues but I get the I am not doing anything and would never hurt you. I am an adult man with several years on her but with enough physical stamina, looks and financial stability to go and pursue anyone but I like her. She is not even in the greates shape but I love the girl I remember from years ago but I feel that I am being played and don't know how to prove it wthout infringing on her personal freedom. Need your comments because so far when I walk away and have done it more than once, I am told that nothing is going on and kind of want to believe it but in my heart I feel that there is a lot more going on.
     
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    dfromspencer replied to An_267183's response:
    Hi,

    I know exactly what you are saying! I myself went through this with a woman I fell in love with, and she was abused by her ex husband. For about six months, she wouldn't even let me stand, or sit close to her. I finally convinced her that I was a good guy, and the last thing I would ever do was hurt her. Yep, I too found evidence of betrayal scattered about the place. She didn't have many friends, but the ones I did know told me not to worry, she was not seeing anyone else. She was a really shy person because of the past abuse. Once she let me in, I proved too her what a great guy I was, and how much in love with her I was.

    Eventually, she turned into a tigress. She showed me a love I had never known, till I met her. She was an amazing woman, and an amazing mother to her 8 year old son! We loved each other enough to want to spend our lives together. Unfortunately, her ex decided she didn't need to see her son anymore since he had full custody. He was one mean, nasty person, and woman beater also. I was there with her when he came with his lawyer, and two policemen. They took her child away from her for good, if, she didn't agree to come back to him. I told her do not fall for this b.s., but she eventually went back to him anyway. I could see it was killing her to not be with her son. I told her we could fight this, but she said no. She gave up on our lives together, but I told her I understood why she was doing it.

    She told me she loved me more when I told her I understood why she felt she had to do it. I gave her up without a fight. I couldn't convince her to stay with me with words alone, so I told her if she felt like she had to do this, then go, be with your son. I had never seen a woman cry so hard, she didn't want to leave me. But I told her I would be right here if she ever needed me! She never came back.

    Trust her! When she sees that you love her enough to trust her, she will start thinking you really do want her. Then she will start trusting you. Just remember this; CONVERSATION is the KEY to a long, and healthy relationship. In other words, keep talking to her, let her know you want to love her, and take care of her for better or worse. (If you want to take it that far)? Show her how gentle and caring you are. Do you like her friends? If yes, then talk to them, get to know them even better. They will see what a great guy you are, and secretly (yeah, riiight) they will tell her this, also.

    Sorry for the long windedness!!! I do that at sometimes. LOL!!! Go for it! If you want her, go get her.

    I wish you all the luck in the world!!! (Somehow, I don't think you will need it)?

    Dennis
    LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
     
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    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to An_267183's response:
    When there is this kind of issue in a relationship, there is also a strain -- whether or not one person is playing the other person. Often the best that you can do is communicate openly. Talk about what's going on and see if the other person can be responsive to your concerns, and not just dismiss you. When they are open, relationships generally weather the difficulties and do well. When they are not open, then this is big problem in itself.


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