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Thread: Trying to get past a defense mechanism

  1. #1
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    Default Trying to get past a defense mechanism

    I'm 29, and my gf of 3 months dumped me 7 days ago.
    We'd been amazing together, had a real connection and everything was very intense despite the short time period.

    She's from a highly traumatic background and is scared of jealousy and anger etc, particularly in men. Her mother was murdered by her jealous husband and she fears repeating this. She has only had one long term relationship, of 4 years, and he beat her up and messed with her head.

    Since then, she has a past habit of dropping guys at the very first sign of personality issues, as she has really strong defense mechanisms which she has used to get through her life. But at the same time, she craves a stronger, protective male figure.

    She thought she saw jealousy in me, which was actually misguided protectiveness. It wasn't anything dramatic - her psycho ex was trying to contact her and I got protective and she took it as jealousy. While I wish I had thought more clearly about my reaction, I know I didn't do anything wrong.
    This sabotaged our relationship before it even got a chance as she said it made her worry for the future. Things continued after this for a couple of weeks but I could tell her mood had changed a bit and she was over-thinking everything.

    Anyway, the breakup was totally out of the blue and done in a way that I had no chance to discuss it with her. When she did it, she had worked herself up for it and had really cold eyes and such. But as we said goodbye and I told her I still loved her and wouldn't give up on us, she melted and gave me 3 really warm kisses and her eyes returned to normal. Then she rushed off and didn't look back.

    This is one incredibly affectionate, loving girl who constantly told me I was perfect (though I am obviously not!) and I know her love didn't just vanish. Long story short, I know I did nothing wrong, and I've obviously accidentally triggered a defense mechanism and she's put up a wall which was much stronger than I expected.

    Needless to say, I want her back. I am crazy about her, and want to help her through her issues, even though it will be hard.

    I made mistake number one and emailed her the next morning. It wasn't very intense and all it really said was I thought it was a mistake, and that I would be sending her a letter with my thoughts etc. The next night I sent her 1 facebook message just saying I missed her and hoped she would reconsider. Another mistake, I know.

    I haven't contacted her again since then. She's deleted me as her bf on facebook, but made it private first so noone could see. She didn't defriend me, which I assume is a good thing.

    We don't have any close mutual friends so we are unlikely to bump into each other.

    So what do I do?

    I've written her a detailed letter, avoiding sounding needy or manipulative. But I figure her defenses will be up right now, so anything I say or do will make me look bad.

    Is there a rule for how long to wait before sending it? Or anything in particular to do to get back someone who probably knows the break up was not deserved, and who probably misses me like crazy?

    I'm a "gift buyer", so was going to send her something simple with the letter like the sequels to a book of mine she is reading. Is that a bad idea?

    Any suggestions would be great!!!

  2. #2

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    Hello Red,
    First things first : take a break from the thoughts running in your head, then take a deep breath and re-read your post, this time sticking only to "actions" and ditching all the words said and most importantly, all your rationalizations behind her actions. To be blunt, i don't buy your whole "strong defense mechanism" story and consider it to be, in a quite sarcastic manner, your own defense mechanism in attempting to cope with this break-up.
    It's inconsistent Red...while indeed, all individuals are driven by fears and desires, some of them amped up by certain past factors, defense mechanisms adopted by a certain fear of external event/behavior, act "uno ictu" (spontaneously) taking over the individual's power of acting based on reasoning, in favor of a more primal, survival instinct based reaction. If you have a fear of dogs, because as a child you've been bitten by one, and you:

    a) suddenly encounter one, your defense mechanism prompts you to back away immediately, not after 3 days of reasoning
    b) are faced with the a future possibility of being in the presence of a dog, again, your first reaction is to try to avoid that scenario from the start, not go head on only to realize later it's a dog you're talking about

    To return to your thesis, my prime red flags sit here :
    a) inconsistency in her : rarely have i seen somebody to have a fear of this....jealousy is a mean to an end so i'm pretty sure if such a fear exists, it's triggered by the violent outcome. If this would be true in her case, sorry Red, 4 years with an abuser is as inconsistent as you can get. It's more than possible that in reality, it's quite the opposite: she developed a "aggressor affection" (near Stockholm syndrome) and this would explain both, her attraction to strong, protective males, and also her 4 years relationship with an abuser. You can't add them both just because it offers a plausible explanation to your situation Red : she either fears and avoids strong dominant males based on her fear of getting hurt/murdered by those type of males (fear amplified by the physical disadvantage she saw at work), or she feels attraction to that type of individuals as she craves/likes being dominated and kept in a submissive state.

    b) coincidences and inconsistencies : to prove your theory wrong again : you acted protective towards her in repelling an fear/anxiety/discomfort factor that has already proved it's nocive influence -> by your theory alone, this would mean she chose to sever ties with the lesser evil of unknown extent pointed away from her (you reacting to protect her) and freely put herself out in the open to a greater evil she already knows as being pointed at her. How does this add up Red? To me it's as clear as day, it's not about "Fear" as you thought, it's about "Desire" as i pointed out. You weren't removed because you interfered with her fears Red, i strongly belive you were removed because you interfered with her desires.

    My advice is to get your facts in check and do a reboot: drop the "she's a poor victim" attitude, ditch the "i'm facing abnormal forces, defensive mechanism" theory and stick to real facts: been together for 3 months, ex boyfriend from a 4 years relationship tries to re-initiate contact, you react, she reacts -> you are's as simple as that, although it's human nature to try to find a more easy to accept explanation. After getting dumped, the main rule is to focus on yourself and don't sit around the bushes waiting for are a total "NO NO" but so are any other forms of seeking contacts. The choice is yours here Red, you can still follow your own defensive mechanism and belive the fairy-tale, or get back to earth, accept the fact that you can't influence the outcome now, focus on yourself and go NC.

    Cheers, Mike

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    I agree with Slick on this one. Do yourself a favor. Think about this:

    If you run head first into a wall over and over again; what is injured more...the wall or your head?

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." -Aristotle

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