September 28, 2012 - submitted by Grace, United States of America
Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #89
I've got a problem. I have an amazing boyfriend whom I love to the ends of the Earth, but he was this awful habit of pushing his bitterness upon me. He is easily angered, and blames it upon huge fact that he "has no life". He'll often become angry at me for things beyond my control, and when I try to soothe him it only makes him more angry. It drives me crazy with worry, anger, and sadness. I want him to be happy but I forgive him again and again and he apologizes again and again but he just doesn't change. How can I help him become happy and fulfilled without him pulling me down as well?
The Oracle replies:
I'm afraid I honestly doubt you can, Grace. I apologize that this week I may seem uncaring or intolerant to your boyfriend's situation; it's because I was in the exact same position for years and it was truly draining and exhausting especially since I was happy other than the strain of trying to fix someone.
I did everything and anything. I drew up a list of things to try. I suggested routes out of the situation. Everything I thought of looked like a winner but would have meant I was going to suffer. I was willing to sacrifice such a lot to make them as happy and fulfilled as I was.
I was told that I was the only good thing in their life and rather than get wrapped up in the romanticism of that statement, I felt nothing but pressure. It was one heck of a burden to carry in fact.
We can't always fix the people we love. For me, it was a little like sticking a plaster over something that really needed surgery!
It's unfair of your boyfriend to put that pressure on you too but the more you do for him and the more you forgive him, the more he will do it. Tough love may work but you need to be strong and realise that you come first - by looking after yourself you may actually be helping him to look after himself.
Only he can do it so please offer support by all means but do not attempt to be his solution. I can tell you from experience it doesn't work.
Don't take it personally but you are enabling him and it might be making the situation worse for you both. There are many things he can do and whether you decide to suggest them and help is up to you but as you say, you are being dragged down with him and that isn't good for you.
I know relationships are about commitment and compromise but it doesn't sound like there's any pay off for you at all. Perhaps some time apart will help because he really needs to sort himself out.
I wish you luck.
Over to you...
You mention that he's "amazing", and it seems to me your relationship is healthy. Why don't you talk to him about his anger issues? Be a little strategic about it: ask him when he's in a good mood, and in the kindest possible manner. It's very likely he doesn't grasp the extent to which it makes you "crazy with worry, anger, and sadness". It's probably not the case that he's angry with you, but frustrated with his current situation (job, boss, money, social life) that has nothing to do with you, and just needs some place to vent. That, by itself is a huge indication that he trusts you with his innermost feelings, and has nobody else to confide in.
Perhaps you also have a bad habit that he dislikes, and hides from you. Talk it over. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Everyone has his/her own irreparable faults, and compromise and acceptance go a long way towards sustaining relationships. Hope this helps. Hasan.
Do something to make him happy, something that he likes to do. It will make him feel comfortable and as though you really love him. Or when ever he seems sad hug him and talk to him, tell him his life means more to you than what he thinks, the problem could be much bigger or much smaller than what you think. If he just wants space leave him alone for a bit, he will sort thing out for himself eventually. Remember if your really in love with him don't be afraid to tell him how you fell, he might not realise that he is hurting you that much. If he doesn't stop up setting both himself and you, find someone else, you shouldn't have to put up with someone that's going to upset you that much!!! What ever happens I hope you guys work it out and make a better life for both of you guys. Grace.
I'm sorry to hear about the issues you and your boyfriend are having. I know it can be difficult for many people to face what's really making them angry and they can project their anger onto the people they are closest to. It seems that the two of you have been going in a circle of blame and anger then forgiveness,then back to anger and nothing is being resolved. I'm sure there are many positive traits about your guy and you obviously care for and love him. I'm sure it would be difficult for both of you but perhaps the best thing is for you to take a break from the relationship and insist that he get some professional help to look inside himself and really see why he is feeling so unhappy and dissatisfied. I'm sure you have his best interest at heart but there's only so much you can do for him and you need to take care of yourself too. Good Luck, Eleanor.
I know exactly what you are going through, sometimes people just can't seem to be wanting happiness in there life, no matter what you do to make him happy. You need to remind him that you love him but his behaviour makes you miserable, that he needs to old still and not dive into his bitterness if he wants to happily be with you. Try to understand why he feels so frustrated and angry, there's gotta be a real reason that troubles him. Try to avoid every arguments by being joyfull and wicked, that fighting is a waste of time, that you don't need to fight to prove your love to each other. Show him how simple life can be if he just stops being frustrated and angry, simply enjoy life and love, the best way to love and to be loved is to be yourself and to enjoy every moments.
He may need to be reassured, be soft and understanding, imagine the torture he is doing to himself every time he pushes his bitterness upon you, I'm sure he means well, he is just lost into his anger.
Just be patient and loving, Charlene from Paris.
That is a really tough situation to be in. I think you shouldn't take too real seriously when he pushes his bitterness upon you. Try to make him think about things 'lightly' and focus on spending time together a living a healthy life. And not about things that cause anger. Natalie.
I am sure you have heard the phrase "life is what you make it " and it is perhaps interesting this phrase is never "life is what someone else does for you " . We are all inherently responsible for our own happiness and our own fulfillment in life. No one can or should be allowed to drag us down with them, it's all well and good to do all we can to help someone depressed. But there comes a time when ultimately they will determine their own course . It may sound selfish but you need to ask yourself what this persons bitterness is doing to you . I would recommend you get out and enjoy life and you need to remember that if someone has no life or they say those words. It's no fault of yours . Don't accept blame for someone else's lack of motivation to change, you need to speak frankly to this person about how he is making you feel and how it affects you. Do what you can to help but understand they may need something much more than you can provide. Suggest a professional counsellor who may get to the root of the bitterness. In the meantime, enjoy your life and good things will happen. Take care, Laurie.
Both of you should write a list of all the strengths in your relationship, and another list of everything that needs attention. Compare each other's lists and talk to him about what concerns you and what you want. It is also important that you understand that he is the only person who can change himself. You can help him along but he will not change until he is ready. In the mean time, plan a fun trip with him and see if that helps him escape and lighten his mood. If he still continues to drain your happiness and well-being, it might be time to reconsider where you stand in his life and in yours. Remember, your fulfillment and happiness is just as important as his! Best of luck, Blake.
I'm sorry to break it to you, but it is possible that your boyfriend may have a touch of Narcissism that has bloomed a tad bit beyond the healthy flower that all of us possess. Becoming angry about things beyond another's control is one hint, and not being soothable is another. You could wait until he hits his later years when he may mellow out naturally, but he's your boyfriend not your husband so I think that's ill advised. You can chose to accept the barking sometimes biting dog that you know and love and find, with some help, where his behavior is completely not about you. That IS truly a bunch of work, and you have to be seriously into diving into a journey to find peace no matter what storm swirls around you. Or, you can see that today's behavior is a strong predictor for the future, and decide that a life of "worry, anger, and sadness" just isn't your best played hand for this life. Bitter pill, bitter life. He's not going to change without some intervention - if he's willing, and often Narcissists are not. Best to you Grace. J.
This 'amazing' guy of yours doesn't sound very amazing to me.
At least he doesn't seem to know how to behave in an amazing way, so much is clear.
You ask of the Oracle what to do, and yet, you have already done a wise thing.
That is sharing your thoughts with other people.
Which is a good and smart thing to do.
To be quite honest with you, I don't like your amazing boyfriend for a second. Greetings from Rames.
It seems like your boyfriend may be struggling with things beyond your control. If you love him so much, all you really can do is just be patient and continue to be there for him. Give him some time to cool off, maybe he will find his own way back. But if that doesn’t work after a while, let him know where you stand. Let him know that you want to help in any way you can, but that he needs to be more considerate and not take his frustration out on you. A relationship is a two-way street - both sides need to be invested for it to work, and maybe he needs to be reminded of that. Finally, I just want to say that I find it admirable how you’re still by his side, supporting him. He’s very lucky to have you. Hope everything works out! I wish you all the best. Medina.
It seems like love is blinding you, and his desire to not take responsibility is blinding him. If you really want to be happy, you should let him know that the way he treats you is not okay, nor is it healthy for your relationship. I know it's painful, but if he can't love you the way you should be and change for you, you should let him go. This is a destructive relationship that will hold you back if nothing changes. Best wishes.
I think, from what you have said, you are handling your situation really well, but does your boyfriend think so? Does he know the trauma that he is putting you through? Remember though, you have not done anything wrong, he just loves you and knows that you will forgive him! I would definitely try speaking to him about the problem! He should be able to understand, and maybe eventually you can resolve this issue.
All the best, Lynsey.
Truth be told, one can only be happy if one wants to be happy. In this case, no matter how much you try to make your boyfriend happy, if he himself does not want to be happy - all your efforts are put to waste. Instead, you’re like his punching bag. While it would be hard to make the best decision, you’ll have to think about what makes you happy. If being in this relationship only makes you even more angry, sad and bitter despite trying so hard, something (or someone) needs to make the change. And for the better too. In everything we do, always make sure to take care of ourselves first. Then only we can make others happy. It won’t be easy but in long run, whatever you decide from here on will make the difference in the future. Good luck!- Dian, Malaysia.
Thanks to all our responders. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's, and send us your answer.