Hey everyone I am reigniting this post because I would like some help with my ISFP relationship. I wish this forum had chat messenger where we could talk live, but this will have to work.
Anyway, so I am not sure where to start except that I need some major advice for how to deal with my ISFP girlfriend. Ever since I found my father dead of a massive heart-attack 10 years ago I have had a pattern of codependence. So, for the last 10 years I have had unhealthy, codependent relationships. If you don't know anything about codependence, it's basically when you have relationships with less developed, destructive, often addicted, ie gambling, porn, sex, alcohol, drugs, people - where you are 1. always having to guess/predict (hypervigiliance) what "mood" they were in and act according, and 2. help them/be responsible for their happiness and/or failure. The reason I subconsciously "chose" this lifestyle was to avoid myself and my own painful feelings resulting from my father's death and being unable to save him.
Anyway, now I am in this new (6 month old) relationship with my ISFP girlfriend, who aside from her current grief/baggage from a 3-month old 25-year divorce, is NOT unhealthy like my ex's and happens to be much older than me, and we each have our own baggage, however, keeping the focus on myself (healthy decision), I am sadly and painfully realizing that I am pushing her away with my old codependent and smothering behavior. I will for instance always ask her:
"How are you feeling?"
"What are you thinking?"
"Are you mad at me?"
"Did I do something to bother you?"
"You seem to be in a 'mood'"
"Are you grieving?" (She just divorced her husband of 25 years 3 months ago)
"You're not holding my hand"
"You've barely touched me all day"
These things drive her NUTS and frustrate the hell out of her, but I don't always realize I'm doing it in the moment, and though certainly not the extent of it. I get scared (I can't pinpoint the fear, although it seems to go back to my early relationship with my mother never being able to please/make her happy - note, she was self-centered, codependent, and narcissistic for all intensive purposes), and feel the need to fix the situation. It's a compulsion. As I said, and not to blame things on my past, only to simply identify when this pattern begun, ever since I found my father dead, I have found myself in codependent, destructive relationships where I try and fix ("help") partners, like really damaged people, and where I've had to be in "tune" with what they're thinking and feelings, etc. in order to know how to act, sometimes (often) at the extent of my own true feelings. A lot of them have also cheated on me, been compulsive liars, stealers, verbally and emotionally abusive, etc., so I've been in a pattern of not feeling good enough and trying to be "perfect" by being the perfect little fixer.
Well, Tracy (my partner) is not mental/unstable like these other partners, and I am bringing old patterns - "baggage," if you will, into the relationship, without meaning to, and I feel terrible and abd about it. Like, awful. We talked about it tonight, and she said that I am "pushing her away" (quote). This is not the first time she has said this. She has told me this several times in the past, that I have "suffocated" (quote) her, and she feels like I am a "cat with my claws in her" (quote). She will say we have really "good" days, but also really "bad" days and that the bad days she can't stand me - that I am insecure, needy, clingy, etc. (again, the codependence).
With that being said, HELP ISFP's! I need your help!
I know your advice will probably be to just give her some space, and while I will certainly do my best to do this, I know that these are some major ingrained patterns that I have going on, and it's going to take some time. Unfortunately we have a lot going on in our lives right now with moving all over the place (As a result of the divorce); we've been moving every 6 weeks and just bought a house, which we move into in 2 weeks, and patience is running VERY thin. She keeps pushing me away by getting cold, distant, and "bitchy" (quote, -T). Today, for instance she was "aloof," and of course, said I am "reading into things" (quote, -T) (Her favorite thing to say to me), and in my mind it's like, "But you seemed off, but I noticed you were 'acting' different, but I noticed you seemed distance, but I noticed you wouldn't hold my hand, but I noticed you seemed out of character with yourself, ie you drink a beer and that's not like 'you.'" She says I need to let her "be her own person," etc.
How do I explain to her that these patterns of mine, ie, this obnoxious and undermining? behavior is NOT about her. I have tried explaining it to her, and I don't think she can fully separate, ie not take it personally. She maybe out of hurt, will then state that we're "too different" (pushing me away), or harshly state she's going to "buy me a plane ticket" and "drive me to the airport" (quote) back to where I originally came from, that I'm "too 'immature'," etc. I've heard it all - ie, "Emily, you're too 'clingy,' too 'insecure,' too 'immature,'" etc. And yes, I have been in these kinds of relationships - with immature partners for 10 years now! ...of course I am as a result of being in these relationships and heck, probably from having never grieved honestly from my father's death and still feeling on some subconscious level responsible for his death (PTSD - Survivor guilt), but I am truly wanting and trying to change these patterns, but it takes time - to become aware and make the necessary changes.
My/the/our disadvantage: As I said, we have a LOT of pressure on us right now with all the moving around and change, ie moving into this new house in 2 weeks, in the air, and I know ISFP's don't do well with change/conflict, etc., at least that's been my understanding?
She said to me tonight that I'm "walking a 'tight' rope," (quote) and I want to know how/what I can do, specific steps and actions, as well as things to say and NOT to say to keep this relationship "afloat" as another member put it? Please help me ISFP's and anyone else who has special knowledge into this type. I am truly trying my best, and I am sorry it's been so rough and feel incredibly bad for hurting her and making her "resentful" (quote) by/when I'm acting out of these subconscious patterns, but I am learning as best as I can, as fast as I can, and with what I have. I need her continued support, love, and patience, and/but she says I'm wearing out my welcome and she's fed up.
We prayed to God/Higher Power tonight and she agreed to give me another chance, but I am now left with that same nagging feeling of not feeling good enough (more or less, fearing rejection and failure - codependency issue) even though I am truly trying my best. I can only be so aware, and unfortunately, I am learning through this relationship; however, I don't want to lose it. I also know that if you argue for your limitations you get to keep them, so I am going to change my thinking into more positive thinking and think, "I want to keep this relationship afloat and build and develop it so that it grows strong and true."
In order for me to do this, I need to be true to myself, however, and there's only so much that I can do. I am truly trying my best. She keeps saying she just wants us to "go with the flow" (quote), and that I can come along for the "ride" (quote) if I want, but gets impatient with me when I act this way, which I can understand, but I am truly trying my best, and every time I don't live up to one of her expectations, I feel a great sense of failure.
I just pray, ie continue to pray to God/Higher Power that God/HP will continue to give my Tracy the patience and strength to hold on during this tumultuous and transitional time while I continue to learn and grow. I have always helped others continue to learn and grow, and now I feel it's my turn. Her problem is she says she doesn't want it on "her 'time'" (quote) - that this was more than she "bargained for" (quote). As you can tell, there is much resentment and things are truly one day/step at a time.
I want (desire) to have a healthy, equal relationship with her. My willingness is enormous, which is healthy, excellent, and as far as I am concerned, truly rare, and a gift.
So I ask that you guys pray/meditate for us tonight that God/HP will help Tracy & I see our own faults and be able to love and forgive ourselves enough to love and accept each other in a very real way that will allow us to grow and thrive together and be our best selves, fully and truly supporting the other - allies, not enemies. It is no coincidence we have come together during this tumultuous time, and I am not giving up the fight yet; however, I would like to give up my past and for God/HP to clear me of it so that I can move forward with out destroying my current/present relationship.
"God please allow me to see what it is that I am doing wrong/my part, and to make the necessary changes required of me to fulfill my own obligation to this relationship and to my beautiful/loving friend/partner and exceed its expectations with respect, dignity, and honor."