Breakdown of a 7 year relationship, severe anxiety, loneliness

I’ve always had severe social anxieties and problems interacting with people since childhood, in person or online. Among other things I’ve also suffered from gender dysphoria, rejection fears, poor and possibly abusive, very controlling but simultaneously absent parenting. Looking into it, I may have dependent personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder.

I’ve struggled with gender identity since I was a child but being from a… very conservative family I never really accepted it until I was 16, even then I couldn’t act on it.

I struggle to talk to anybody, family or acquaintances, under pressure I can only remain silent, no matter how much I wish I could talk.

I only managed to make my first friends - online - after I’d turned 18.

After struggling through a toxic community for a few years, I met another person I’ll call “V” and we got along really well, they were the first person I could really open up about absolutely everything to and they were always kind enough to listen.

At this same time I’m going through university and struggling severely with the social aspect. I manage to make friends but in terms of staff, I kept interactions to below what was required.

I managed to make two close friends in the first year, “P”, a friend of a friend who I’d later live with, and “A”, someone I met online.

Around the next couple of years, my friendships with “A” and “V” would turn into serious relationships.

Inevitably I hit a hard blocker with university in the final year where I couldn’t avoid talking to anyone anymore and I forced myself through it repeatedly, making no progress until I’d burned all my willpower and stopped showing up.

After failing university I leaned very hard on my two online friends, “A” and “V” for moral support. My family were unsurprisingly not very interested in hearing me out on my social anxiety, being of the mind that I was fine as a 4 year old so I should be fine now.

They sent me back for a second try at finishing University but unsurprisingly the exact same result happened and another year wasted.

At this point my dad figures maybe there’s some merit to mental health and he takes me to a couple of doctors to no avail as they tell me “you’ll be fine, chin up” and that I’m not autistic (questionable). In each of these appointments I’d try to overcome my strong fears of talking about and would break down crying trying to explain my social anxiety.

My mother in particular is very unsupportive at this point and becomes very verbally abusive, but I can never speak to defend myself. As the next academic year rolls around and they force me into another year of the inevitable same, I decide to leave and stay with a friend I didn’t know so well, knew was quite unreliable but was my only choice, “B”.

I stayed with him for a few months but because of visa waiver limits I inevitably have to return home.

My parents were unsurprisingly not impressed with me bringing home a guy, at the time I figured they might be fine but it was ultimately a mistake.

Nothing much happens over the next year, I isolate myself at home much like before, I don’t interact with anyone besides “A”, “V” and some other online friends. My family became constantly verbally abusive and to a minor extent physical. I start DIY HRT.

The next year comes around, I go through the same routine, university without any changes, I don’t even show up or try.

I fail, my mother ramps up her verbal abuse, every time I see her, and every night. I end up hiding in my room and skipping meals to avoid them. They eventually get fixated on the idea that I’m taking drugs and after accusations and harassment around it. I just sit and listen to the shouting and eventually after a few weeks they decide to search all of my stuff. They find my HRT drugs and whatever femenine clothes I had. Surprisingly they don’t discard them, but it’s more fuel for their abuse later on.

A few years pass, things are basically the same, the only people I feel safe with are “A” and “V”, both an ocean away. I don’t really make any new online friends either and my social group shrinks.

June 2021 comes around and my parents are finally sick of me. It was ultimately inevitable, but my parents became seriously physically abusive, tore up my room and… afterwards I just lay in bed and accepted fate. I starve myself, accept the abuse and just lie down until something changes. After a couple of weeks, I realise there may be a way out but it’s very unlikely. I ask my old flatmate “P” if he’s looking for a room mate and he’s surprisingly receptive. With help from a vague mutual friend I moved out in a day and I’ve never looked back.

I’m burning savings living like this but it’s maybe the first chance I’ve ever had to fix myself without judgement. But I’m literally living on “P’s” sofa, I’m too scared to come out to him so it’s difficult to find a comfortable way to address my own problems. It’ll be almost a year until I can get my own privacy as the tenancy agreement ends. For stupid reasons, I end up spending a disproportionate amount of time with “A” and neglect “V”.

Starting in about September, I begin to hang out with a friend of a friend in my university social group, “E”, she’s confident and I look up to her a lot in terms of both her self confidence and her transition. I came out to her after several months as we spent more time with each other and I felt confident she wouldn’t judge me (yes, a very low bar but these things are hard for me) however we weren’t supposed to be romantic.

It’s February and I realise how much I’d been neglecting “V”, “A” is fine, but I start seriously trying to mend things with “V”. A week later, “E” confessed to me, she’d broken up with her boyfriend and… I’ve no idea what to think. I’m extremely scared of saying no and losing her as a friend, but I’m wary as hell of accepting and causing more problems. I tell her I’m poly and I’d have to ask my partners.

I talk to both “A” and “V” about it and although “A” is a little hesitant, they’re both supportive.

I talk to “E” about it and I guess we’re “dating”, she quickly pushes for a hookup and I’m very wary and… it seems like a bad idea but I don’t want to lose a good friend so I agree to stay with her for a few days. “A” and “V” seemed fine with it and the date went awkwardly. Afterwards, things were fine for a while and I introduced her to my other partners. Things are okay for a few days but it becomes apparent that she and “A” would not get along.

This raises red flags and I think about breaking up with her, but “E” and “V” on the other hand get along very well. With how much I’d neglected “V” I realise maybe this is the best outcome, them with a better partner than me is ultimately a good thing right?

But I couldn’t let “V” go, they were my first close friend and I still loved them. So I stuck with the relationship at “A’s” expense.

I tried hard to mend things with “V” but they were more upset with me than they let on. The previous year they talked to me about visiting in May but I didn’t know how it’d work out, so I gave a “maybe” at the time. May came around and they visited “E” for a week instead. I was distraught. On paper we were a polycule but… only on paper. “E” had started to lose interest in me. Until then it was probably the hardest week of my life as of course “V” was entirely unavailable to talk to and the first time I’d ever cut myself. And I cut myself a lot.

I don’t remember if I told “A” or not but I spent most of that week on my own.

Afterwards, things with “V” got a lot better and we were spending more time together again. Around this point, “A” gave me an ultimatum, “them or me” effectively. It was an impossible choice and I struggled for a week before asking for more time to figure it out but… ultimately I picked “V” and “E”. rationally the worse choice but… in my mind “V” meant more to me, I could be more open and share more things with “V” than “A”…

“A” was distraught but we somehow remained friends.

The next few months, my relationship with “V” improved, however with “E” it was ambiguous.

“V” and I planned to meet, “P” and I were moving house soon and would get my own privacy, so it would be ideal, and of course “E” could come too.

August came and two weeks before “V” was planning on coming, I asked “E” if she had any plans for the meetup but she chose then to break up with me. Not unexpected but… I was worried about how things would turn out with “V”, and “V” seemed perfectly fine maintaining our relationship. A week before the meetup, I found out that “E” had been planning to visit the UK anyway for some reason, the same city I was in but she had other friends there, so I asked her about her plans, basically just to meet other friends and no other plans. I asked “V” and they gave me a different answer, they’d planned to meet up for 2 days. Fine I figured, it sucks that they didn’t actually tell me until I asked but… it’s fine.

The day comes and I await “V’s” arrival. Honestly the happiest I’d ever been, finally meeting, my best friend and the person I’d loved for so long in person. We had a fun day and a half and “E” invited me to join them to hang out, the day comes and… we’re about to leave to meet “E”, but it turned out “V” planned to stay with her for 4 days of a 9 day trip, losing time to jet lag and travel prep, effectively 7 usable days. I was distraught and “V” would only try to somehow convince me that 4 days is actually… 2? It hurt really bad and ultimately… they left… They lied about “E” being upset and lonely too and… I gave them the keys and they left as soon as possible.

I laid in bed for 24h crying. It was the first time I’d ever attempted suicide and I really tried, but the bracket failed. I decided to confront “E”, eventually convincing her to tell “V” to honour their original plan, because it turned out “E” really did only plan to spend a couple of days with “V” and the rest doing her own thing.

Meeting up with “V” again was… awkward. We had a depressing walk and talk, I don’t know if “V” really cared about me but… whatever they said I ultimately forgave them and… we had a pretty good day, we went to places I’d be otherwise terrified to go (basically any shop) and did a bunch of fun stuff.

At the end of the day, we met “E” by accident. I was happy to let “V” spend the next couple of days with her as we’d planned to meet up on Friday anyway, so I left after half an hour, but “E” texted me and asked me to come back.

We ended up going drinking, getting very drunk and crashing at “E’s” hotel. Extremely awkward waking up, and more questions than answers.

The rest of the visit was really fun, and the time spent with “V” was unforgettable. For the first time in my life actually spending significant time with someone I loved.

After the trip ended, we hung out a lot, but gradually they spent more than with “E”, which would be fine but they would reply to me less and less frequently, until some days they wouldn’t say a word.

I started looking into counselling. I was in a location where it’d be accessible, I had privacy to explore gender stuff comfortably and I had a decent support group.

But I got jealous. “V’s” comforting and affection didn’t help much when they only had a few hours to spend with me a week, vs almost non stop with “E”.

I figured I was losing “V” for real and… one day I really pressured them and… they broke up with me… told me it was healthier for both of us, they would always love me, I had a bright future and that I would one day shine bright enough that they’d be proud of me.

I didn’t know how to interpret any of that. Healthier… probably… but the rest…

They cut me off entirely. the following two days were a spiral leading to suicide until I asked “A” for help again. They were effectively 24/7 suicide watch. I didn’t want to ask them because I knew it’d hurt them, but without any other option I did. At this point I realised that my friend group is basically non existent. I wasn’t very close to any of my friends and it was too much to ask them for this kind of thing.

All my life I had two people I could talk to about shared interests and daily stuff, “A” and “V”, what I couldn’t talk about with one, I talked about with the other, but with “V” gone, the loneliness was crushing. Even small tiny things would trigger thoughts about them.

I told my housemate “P” about what was going on and he’s been sympathetic but there’s not much he or anyone else could do.

For the next week, “A” pushed me hard to find a counsellor and “E” was as supportive as she could be.

After a few days, “V” started talking normally with my irl friend group and it became too much pressure. it was extremely stressful not being able to talk to them so I had to leave.

I found possibly suitable counsellors but it was overwhelming. The thought of contacting any of them and getting burned… the anxiety and stress of all of this just… as time went on I became less hopeful “V” would talk to me again and… it didn’t seem worth it with “V” as even a friend.

I became truly suicidal. I didn’t tell anyone. I’d planned it all out and I was seriously going to do it. I tried to keep it out of my mind but after a week… I couldn’t handle it anymore and it became the only comforting thought for me. Even as “A” was visibly in pain from seeing me in a poor state over “V”, because they still loved me. I couldn’t help it.

At some point I ordered the stuff I needed to go through with it and… told “E” and “V”.

The following day “E” responded and I vented everything to her… but it didn’t change anything.

The day after that, “V” responded and… I guess it threw me hard. more than 3 weeks and they actually talked to me.

I didn’t take it as everything being okay and… was cautious.

I cried to them about how tough things had been, how I’m trying to seek counselling but it’s a struggle, etc, and we talked about the normal stuff we’d talk about. It took a lot of pressure off of me.

But they have continued to be unresponsive and it’s really gotten to me.

Yesterday with their help and a lot of alcohol, I just about managed to send an email to a counsellor.

Unfortunately, I’m extremely clingy with “V” and… I don’t know whether this has been a good or bad thing. I needed them to clarify what they meant when they broke up with me and… they told me to give up with them.

I know I should have long ago but the tiny false sliver of hope was impossible to put to rest.

Suicide feels like a comfortable option to avoid the stress and anxiety, and how empty life feels.

I am happy that “V” and “E” are happy together, but had I had myself more together and year ago, it wouldn’t have been at my expense.

Leading to today. I may have burned things with “E”, “A” is feeling suicidal, I don’t have any friends. I’m not sure if I should keep trying to be friends with “V”.

I’m awaiting a response from a counsellor I emailed but none of this struggle feels worth it.

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Welcome, Nia! Thanks for sharing with us. Wow you’ve been through a lot of things and emotions haven’t you?

Relationships can be hard, long distant relationships can be harder, but I imagine having a few people and Distances involved makes it even harder.
There’s everybody’s feelings and thoughts to consider, everyone’s dynamics. I can imagine it’s stressful when you want to feel close to them all. I can’t personally give advice on that matter because I haven’t been in a poly relationship, but it does remind me of even friendship dynamics. All I can really say is learning how to communicate has been a bit part of my relationship growths. Not just talking and opening up, but reminding myself to actively listen and pick up cues.

I do hope that you hear back from the counsellor soon, it would probably feel a bit less of a burden than carrying all these feelings to yourself. I’m sure the way your family treated you has had impact on how you perceive the relationships around you.
I also would get to a place where if I lost relationships and friendships I would find myself distraught and in a place of feeling like I wanted to die, but at some point we have to find our value beyond how others label us or we feel others hold to us.
You deserve the chance to talk about how you are feeling in a safe space and learn to heal and grow.
I do hope that things will settle down and you’ll find more meaningful connections. Even when relationships move on or end, they still hold a meaning. It isn’t reflective of our personal value.

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