Unrequited Love and Family Politics

There is no pain like it, loving someone you can’t have. I’ve lost family, I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost pets; but nothing compares to the pain and heartache of unrequited love…

This week has been a bad one. It has been diabolical for my mental health and- event wise- very unlucky.

I should start by saying that I have been particularly down for quite a while now. About life in general, my weight gain and my circumstances which never seem to improve (such as my current living situation). I am experiencing one of those periods in life where things seem to continuously go wrong for me. Every day I think to myself ‘nothing else can possibly go wrong now,’ but then it does, again, and again. I will explain to you the events and circumstances which led to my total nervous breakdown last night.

To start with: My love life.

There are two men to speak of in my life at present. Firstly there is my boyfriend, Jules, and then there is my ex-boyfriend  who I shall not name (I have spoken of them both before in this blog). Although I seem to be hanging onto him for some reason, Jules is a pretty useless boyfriend. I have recently moved out of his house, after we lived together for just over a year, because I felt his behaviour towards me was making my illness (anorexia) a lot worse. In the very beginning of our relationship, he became my carer as I was very unwell with a physical problem which, for some time, I was told was bowel cancer (this turned out to be a false diagnosis, thankfully). I was bed-bound for months (again, spoken about in several blog entries). For a lot of this time, Jules was wonderful: He took good care of me by cooking for me, helping me shower and spending his nights in with me to keep me company. This condition of mine only improved when I became ill with something else- Anorexia, in May. Obviously I stopped eating, so my bowels had nothing to cope with.

I functioned relatively normally for some time when I first stopped eating. But I eventually deteriorated and I was going weeks without anything at all to eat, not just days. Soon, I was back in bed, day and night. By this point Jules had obviously had enough of looking after me, and of me being a boring, lifeless girlfriend who was only concerned with one single thing in the world: Weight loss. I was very depressed which I guess just added to my unattractiveness in his eyes.

I don’t know why I am defending him, because- at this time, at least- he claimed to love me, and I’m pretty sure that people stick by one another if they really love each other.

Alas, companionship turned to resentment and Jules started treating me badly. He would say things like ‘you’re in my way’ and ‘you’ve ruined my year.’ He also at one point told me he found me disgusting, based on my low weight, and that he was ashamed to walk down the street with me. Yes, anorexics often like to hear the words ‘you look terrible,’ because it indicates that their weight loss is noticeable, but when your own boyfriend calls you disgusting and says he is no longer sexually attracted to you, well that is a little different, and it hurts.

The temper tantrums on his side fed into the disorder. If you make someone feel like a terrible person enough times (with an eating disorder) they’re eventually going to start believing it and then use this as another excuse to punish themselves with more and more extreme starvation. And so that’s exactly what I did- I punished myself with food. This is only something I’ve realized in hindsight, I might add.

I landed myself in hospital twice with the severe effects of anorexia and, eventually, on an eating disorders unit. I got no sympathy or support for any of this from him, only more anger and resentment. In the end, Jules never saw my pain and how terribly the disorder affected me; he only saw the effects it was having on his own life and his apparent missed opportunities. I found this incredibly selfish- it was all about him, all the time.

I told him on many occasions he ought to just leave me if I was that terrible of a girlfriend, and I threatened hundreds of times that I would leave him if he carried on acting in that way.

And yet somehow, months on, I’m still putting up with it.

Around eight weeks ago, I left the house we shared and moved back in with my parents, where I am now. There has been- dare I say- quite a vast improvement in my eating patterns, but at the same time, I still have plans to ‘go back’ to it. Away from the anger and criticism, I have fewer reasons to punish myself, so most days I give myself permission to eat. Unfortunately though, when I let go of my addiction to starvation, the bipolar kicked off again.

There’s always something.

As for Jules and I, we still carry the label of a relationship, but there is very little now that defines us as a couple. We have spoken on the phone a few times over the past couple of days, but this is only really because the circumstances are extreme and I am more willing to put up with him while I feel I have no one else to talk to about my current issues.

But most of the time I am lucky if I receive one text a day from him, and that is usually one line, and usually that line is some sort of excuse for not getting in touch until 11pm.

I am really suffering with my mental health at the moment, but all I seem to get out of him is ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I can tell that, most of the time, he’s not even properly listening to what I’m saying, even if I’m telling him I want to drink and/or kill myself. He says he feels sad whenever I raise the possibility of breaking up but seems incapable of acting like my boyfriend, in any way.

And so I feel like I’m a single woman, and lately I have behaved like it, too.

Eighteen months ago, my last boyfriend broke up with me suddenly. I thought he was the love of my life and our relationship was like something out of a dream. I thought. This was the only man I’d ever considered marrying and having children with. I was painfully in love with him. But one day, just days after I finished my degree and went straight from university to London to see him, he broke up with me. This was genuinely a total shock for me as I thought we were wonderful together. But he spent one evening listing off my character defects and said he no longer saw a future with me. My heart broke completely for the first time. I lost my dignity and pride and would not leave London- I continued to be there with him, going to bed with him, for several days after he had ended the relationship. He would go to work in the morning and I would spend the entire day crying into his pillow, seriously considering drinking all the alcohol in the kitchen and chucking myself off his sixth floor balcony. It was just too much, I was in pieces.

I eventually left, wondering if I’d ever even see him again. But we carried on that way for almost four months. Every few weeks I’d travel up to London to stay with him. We still behaved practically like a couple. But I literally begged him over and over to take me back, ‘fully,’ as his girlfriend, but he would not.

On September 21st 2014, I ran away from my life. I went to a festival and slept with another man (Jules). I was still in love with my ex, but it hurt too much, being second best and feeling at that time he was only using me for sex. The following day, after getting with Jules, I sort of moved in with him by accident. And there I stayed for over a year.

Four days after I moved back to Canterbury with Jules, my ex called me. He said he’d realised he wanted to be with me, as a couple, and he had seen the error of his ways and that he had made a mistake breaking up with me. But I thought he was only saying this out of jealousy and I was too proud to go back to him. Things in my new life were somewhat surreal and dream-like and I was successfully ignoring all of my problems in this way. I did what I thought was the right thing and took a large step back from my ex.

He would text me and email me, but more often than not I did not even reply. Not only was I still angry with him, but I was trying to do the right thing- I thought it would be inappropriate to talk to him now that I had chosen to be with someone else, I certainly wouldn’t want that done to me.

For the majority of the rest of my relationship with Jules, I did not talk to my ex at all. I started to finally get over him and move on with my life. In the end he moved back to Greece, and the texts stopped. We may have spoken on Skype (just typing) once or twice but for the most part he was out of my life completely.

But suddenly one day he entered my head. I realised I was missing him. I do not know if that was because things were not going so well with Jules, but I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about him.

A few months ago I wrote him a long letter. I’m not even sure what my motives were, but I declared openly that I still had very strong feelings for him. But he never actually replied to that letter. Still, we exchanged a couple of emails and started to speak on Skype every so often. Gradually he crept back into my every day thoughts and I wondered if we’d end up together again. He has never been the easiest to read, so I was glad when he, too, began to express his feelings.

At this point I didn’t feel guilty for my contact with him, as it was nothing serious and I felt so neglected by my actual boyfriend that it was almost like Jules had pushed me back towards another man. I did tell Jules that I was back in contact with him, but never said why exactly.

If Jules reads this, I guess he knows now.

It has been eight weeks since I moved back in with my parents and my contact with my ex has gradually increased to the point where- now -we speak every day. When our contact first increased it was nice for me, but he wasn’t dominating my every thought. On a couple of occasions he was very flirtatious, and even said he loved me a couple of times. His father sadly passed away a little while ago, and so when he started behaving a little strangely I gave him the room to do so. He would be playing hot and cold; up in my face and full of compliments one day, and we’d talk into the early hours, and then he would suddenly ignore me completely for long periods of time. This is when things in my head started to get a little messy as I would constantly wonder if I’d upset him, and on top of that I would really miss him and our chats.

He made a couple of surprising confessions to me (which I’m not going to repeat because of their nature) which he said explained why he’d sometimes completely stop talking to me. But things didn’t add up, instinct kicked in and I realised he probably had a girlfriend. But I never asked, because I knew that if and when he confirmed it I would hurt terribly.

I have allowed him back into my head and my heart and now we have reached a dangerous ground where I cannot go half an hour without thinking about him. A part of me wants to fly out to Greece and see what happens, but if I am hurting this much already, how will I feel if I don’t get what I want? It is more than likely that things won’t go my way.

He eventually told me this week that he has a girlfriend. I actually gave him a bit of a hard time, when perhaps I shouldn’t have. Although I, too, am technically in a relationship, I really don’t feel like I am, and Jules does not treat me like his girlfriend. I feel guilt for having these feelings for another man, but not to the extent I would if I was in a happy, stable relationship with someone who treated me with love and respect. According to my ex, things are ‘complicated’ with this woman, and she lives in another country. Still, he confused me a couple of weeks ago when he requested that I ‘give him a chance’ and has certainly expressed enough times that he wants to see me, wants to sleep with me and loves me. There must be something special with this other woman for him to want to maintain a relationship with her while they live in different countries. He and I live in different countries, and yet it seems- at least now I think the novelty has worn off for him- I don’t have a chance in hell anymore. I come second, obviously. The reason I told him off was because he is evidently in a ‘real’ relationship, and yet behaves this way with me.

I’m not saying I want our contact to end, or for him to stop flirting with me, but I don’t understand him. Then again, I never have.

Going through this terrible time, I wish it was still his job to comfort me and look after me. It really bothers me that it is not.

I’m a little angry with him, in all honesty. It is my responsibility, too, to have allowed him to become my obsession all over again, but it is his own behaviour that’s made that happen. False hope enters into it, too.

And so I hurt. I hurt a lot. I can’t have what I want. I’m chasing after an man who is taken and is not as interested in me as I am in him, and on top of that my own boyfriend doesn’t even behave like my friend, let alone my lover.

I went to bed the other night and I listened to a song that reminds me of good times with my ex, and there were too many to count. Lying there in the dark, I thought not only about happy memories with him, but I tried to channel the actual feelings I had on certain occasions. And then I realised how blissfully ignorant I was during those times. How really and truly happy I was, and how I could never have known how terribly things would turn out, or that I’d ever be lying in my bed, alone, not with him holding me, but feeling physical pain, knowing I may never have him or feel that way again.

I actually told him about this, and I ended the paragraph by saying ‘But that is just life. You can’t ever know what’s coming next.’

Another thing bringing me down is having to live here, with my parents, on a tiny island with no one to see and nothing to do. And with no support network, as the mental health team here are complete idiots and I refuse to deal with them.

It has, at times, been like going from bad to worse, moving back here. I literally fled that house in Canterbury, leaving Jules behind, because I knew I could never recover there and that I would only continue to go on crying on my own every single day. The grass is always greener, right? I thought things would be better here, having my dogs around me, having people around all the time, having my own room, not being bullied all the time… Indeed, things seemed much better for a few weeks, maybe a month. I started eating, there were fewer arguments around me and less shouting, I could play with Mia (who was 4 months old when I moved in) all the time, I could walk the dogs and not have to deal with a bad atmosphere between Jules and I. I actually felt comfortable and happy here for a while.

But then I guess the novelty began to wear off and I started rapidly cycling. For a couple of hours I’d be insanely hyper, charging about the house, and then I’d suddenly get very depressed. The cycle went on and on. My medication is now in the process of being changed for that reason. But lately my moods have become progressively depressive and the hyperactivity seems rare.

I love my dogs. I love having them around me constantly; my cuddles with Ellie on the sofa every night and Mia wanting to play all the time. But that’s about all that’s keeping me going. Both of my parents bring me down with their constant negativity. I can’t talk to them about anything. I have to isolate in my feelings. It is quite amazing that I came from them, because I am absolutely nothing like either of them, in character. I love them, and I always forgive them for whatever atrocities they bestow upon me, because that’s just the kind of person I am, but their selfishness runs so deep without them even knowing it. I on the other hand have the hugest heart and I’m constantly wanting to help others, especially those worse off than myself. Who knows how I ended up being such a compassionate vegan and advocate of animal rights because they don’t care what they eat so long as you can’t domesticate it.

So my parents do and say some hurtful things, but today was another level altogether. I could have been physically sick at the time out of sheer shock and utter disgust at the way my own father reacted to me. I have come to expect and accept a certain level of neglect from them, but this I could never have anticipated. After having had a total nervous breakdown last night, I got up today (in the afternoon, as usual) and thought maybe- just maybe- I could talk to my dad about my feelings. I mean, he is my dad, after all, right?

I started off by asking if mum had told him what happened the night before, with my breakdown, and he said yes in a very fed up sort of way. So I made an attempt at discussing it with him, saying I was feeling very alone, and he said ‘don’t talk to me about it, you’ll make me miserable.’ I got a little angry and said that I was feeling suicidal and scared that I would go through with it (having done so countless times already), to which he said ‘if you talk to me about that then I will want to kill myself, so just don’t talk to me,’ all in an angry tone.

I was already feeling desperately alone and like no one cared before I opened my mouth this afternoon, but way to go dad, you successfully confirmed my worst fears that I was hoping would turn out not to be true.

Nothing more has been said on the subject since then, but I remain hurt and angry.

My neighbour came over later on this afternoon and she is lovely. I wish I had been able to sit with her alone because she would have been a good person to confide in, but my mum was there the entire time. She was describing to me her relationship with her son, who is a few years younger than me. I was so jealous, wishing I had parents that cared for me in that way. But this is the real reason I have grown up with so many emotional problems; because I wasn’t treated right when I was growing up. I’m not saying they ever beat me with a broom or locked me in a cupboard, but there are various forms of neglect, and I lacked the love and attention I needed to flourish. Instead I turned into a very insecure young woman and then developed an eating disorder, followed by serious issues with alcohol and drugs and then I developed the bipolar. My parents will never see their part in this, because most of the time they only ever think of themselves and their own, personal problems in life.

As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time already, and as if enough other smaller things hadn’t already gone wrong (including when a spider bit me in the middle of my nose while I was asleep, which turned into a nasty skin infection needing antibiotics and which has now left me with a large scar)- I had a massive fallout with my brother a couple of days ago.

My brother and I have had a fragile relationship for a long time. I have tried and tried with him, giving him so many chances he didn’t deserve. I don’t tend to give up on people or things, so no matter how little effort he’s always put into maintaining a relationship with me, I’ve still tried to contact him regularly. As I say, it’s been many years since we had a ‘normal’ relationship where we communicated regularly, but this year has been the worst yet: Despite my trying to contact him multiple times, he has consistently ignored me. In the beginning I didn’t take this too personally because he was also ignoring everyone else. He has  been ignoring my auntie, who is in charge of my grandma’s will, and who is therefore the one who has to talk to the four beneficiaries about making important decisions, such as whether or not to drop the price of the house which is up for sale and split between the four of us (her grandchildren). My brother has been ignoring her calls, emails and texts for months and so has not been taking part in the voting which is not what we want. So between my auntie and my mother, they tried to blackmail him. A solicitor’s letter was sent out to him which stated that- if he did not respond within a certain time-frame- his inheritance would go to my mum.

As annoying as I find my brother, and as much as he might not even deserve that money, I found this deal appalling and unfair. My grandma left him his share, this is what she wanted, and it is only fair that he gets it, like everyone else.

And so I sent him a message on Facebook immediately, warning him about the letter and his reaction said it all; after ignoring me for almost an entire year, as soon as I mentioned money he responded immediately, unsurprisingly.

I swallowed my pride and I ended up going to see him.

It is a long bus journey to get to where he lives from here, and expensive, too. But it is always me that has to go there, without fail. When he messaged me he said he would take me to lunch but we ended up just getting chips from the chip shop, basically because he didn’t want to shell out the money for a proper lunch. Still, the initial twenty minutes with him was nice and peaceful and filled with harmless small talk. It was only when we got to his flat and sat down to eat that he launched into one of his rants. He seems to do this every single time I see him in person. He will pick something that I am very sensitive about and insult whatever it is.

He started his attack on veganism and tried to knock me for my life choices with regards to it. No one will ever change my mind about that subject, because my choices are based on fact! When he saw he could not win the argument, he moved onto mental illness, saying it is not real and I’m just attention seeking. And then finally onto alcoholism, where he said that I need to ‘grow up’ and drink like an adult.

At some point I asked him why it was he ignored me for so long, especially as I was practically on my death bed for a lot of that time. I exclaimed that I am his sister and he should have offered me his support. I would never let him down like that, I said. And so he gave me his reason…

In November of 2014, I was told I had bowel cancer. At the time my grandma was still alive, but she was terminally ill. I spoke to her most days and this day I mentioned my unofficial diagnosis to her, in passing, as I told her everything and I also wanted her advice as she had had this type of cancer. We discussed it briefly and ended our phone call on another topic. Then she ignored my calls until Christmas Day, and it’s only recently I figured out that someone brainwashed her into thinking I’d done something wrong with that conversation, because she was totally fine about it at the time.

But my brother (apparently) got it into his head that I am this terrible person for having mentioned cancer to a woman with cancer.

He yelled at me for three hours. I fought back just as hard, and I refused to admit that I was wrong to do something when I feel no guilt whatsoever. I told him he is deluded as he was saying that he was the only one there for our grandma, that he was always doing her chores when she was ill and that he visited her in the hospice every day while she was there. I know for a fact that this is all lies. I know from talking to my grandma when she was alive and through my auntie who spoke to my grandma’s friends, that my brother may have visited her a handful of times throughout her three bouts of cancer, lasting for three years until she passed away. I know for sure that he never visited her in the hospice and that he never helped around the house. But the scary thing is that I think he believes his own lies. It is obvious that he carries guilt, deep down, and so he tries to compete with me over who had the best relationship with our grandma. I am totally at peace with the way I conducted myself with her. I can hold my head up and say I never once did anything to hurt her or let her down, and when she was horrible to me I always forgave her and carried on as if nothing had happened.

The argument was not going to end, so eventually I had to walk out of his flat in tears. I have not heard from him since.

Perhaps my two crying fits last night were influenced by my brother’s behaviour before, and this was a sort of delayed reaction. All I know is that I’m struggling to hold it together and not break down again. I called the Crisis Team (an out of hours mental health service) when I’d calmed down a bit and they were even more useless than I was expecting. All I wanted was to talk to someone about how terrible the last eighteen months have been and express that I felt scared; that I feared I would make a practical use out of my stacks of pills. But the woman on the other end of the phone wouldn’t let me get a word in edgeways and then, twenty minutes in, she ended the call before I was even ready to.

My medication has also been reduced this week, so that could have some influence as well.

It is past 1am and I have not heard from my ex today. I fear I was too intense and demanding yesterday and I’ve scared him off. It’s unusual for us not to speak at all for one whole day. Last night we were supposed to discuss precisely why he doesn’t want to be with me, so I figured we would have that chat today. I don’t know if or when that will happen now. I do know that it’s going to hurt though.

Eighteen months ago I never could have imagined how much I would be suffering in this moment. I admit I was not on top of the world then either, but I was still at university, in my own (shared) house, with structure and meaning to my life and I was in a relationship I thought would last forever. I was with the love of my life.

I did not write in my diary as a little girl that I wanted to end up at 25 jobless, in a miserable relationship, chasing a man who does not love me as I love him and living with my parents.

My pain never ends and it haunts me at night time, stopping me from sleeping. I am so heartbroken I feel it within me physically. It seems to be one bad thing after another lately, in a never ending vicious cycle. I am so tired. I am tired literally from lack of sleep but I am also tired of life and what it keeps throwing at me.

It’s hardly living the dream, is it?

 

 

 

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