My boyfriend is going through a divorce and he's taking his stress out on me. Help me take care of myself during this difficult time.
My boyfriend is going through a divorce and it's very difficult for him, understandably. I've been there for him throughout most of the process, but now that the paperwork is actually going to go through he is having a terrible time. He's prone to lashing out at me because he's in so much pain. Examples of this are numerous and unpleasant. I trust that he'll heal with time, and I want to be there for him during this horrible event. I have no interest in breaking up with him, so please don't advise me to DTMFA. I have good reasons for staying in the relationship: I love this guy, and I think he makes me a better person on the whole. This is just a rough patch and I have faith that it will get better with time.
I go to therapy once a week but to be honest I don't really have many issues. My therapist has said that she doesn't really think I need to be there and that he's the one that needs therapy. He refuses to go. I am not really getting that much out of therapy. My boyfriend is jealous of my "relationship" with my therapist and really wants me to quit going. I would like to stop going, too, because it doesn't really help me. I keep going mostly because I think I should stand my ground about it, even though it costs me money and doesn't really offer me anything but fights with him.
Her advice to "take care of myself" and "don't let him use you as a punching bag" is good and warranted, but I don't really know _how_ to do those things. Taking care of myself seems to involve secretly binging on food (my weight is very important to him), smoking cigarettes (I quit seven years ago, and I don't want to be a smoker), and sometimes even taking painkillers to just escape for awhile. This is bad behavior. My therapist seems to think that these things are "normal" (to be fair, I haven't told anyone about the painkillers and I'm very ashamed of this) and that I'm doing my best. She doesn't want me to beat myself up over the way I'm treating myself, but I know I could do better.
What things can I do to actually take care of myself, as opposed to "taking care of myself" in self-destructive ways? I exercise every day, but it doesn't really seem to make a difference one way or the other. I am trying to lose myself in my job, but I have little motivation to actually work. I am in a self-directed job where daily performance doesn't matter that much, so it's been easy to coast along and do a bad job for quite awhile. I can't seem to motivate myself to work well for extended periods of time.
What else could I be doing? I'm trying to cultivate friendships outside of my boyfriend, but this is proving difficult. I am trying to engage in more hobbies, but that doesn't seem to work very well either -- the lack of motivation is a problem there, too.
What can I do to be good to myself so that I can be a good, strong girlfriend during this awful period in our lives? I've read a few books about living with someone who is depressed, and this thread
was a helpful resource, but I need more concrete suggestions of things to do to be good to myself right now.