Disclaimer: My intent is to try to help, but still feeling tired from New Year celebrating. Apologies in advance if it's rambly.
I don't want her to feel like she's secondary, I don't want her to feel like a joke. But, I also don't want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying too help her feel like an equal only to have her feel this way again.
You cannot control how she feels. Emotion is emotion. Rain is rain. Sun is sun. Emotion is emotion -- internal weather blowing on thru.
You can only control how you choose to behave in the situation. In this one? Could stop focusing on what you do not want and focus on what IS.
I see that you don't want her to feel yucky. But she DOES feel yucky and needs aid to solve it.
She cannot solve it alone. She turns to her partner(s) for aid at the event and says she feels uncomfortable and all eyes are on her.
When she first brought up discomfort, did anyone offer her opportunity to bail? It doesn't sounds like it. (What if she said she felt pukey from eating something. Would you guys have given her opportunity to bail then?)
When she tried again
to tell you she felt yucky... how did you respond?
I told her that b and i are married.. That's nothing we can do to change it and I would not want to. She has to decide whether she can handle being a part of the relationship. I don't want her to feel like she's secondary, I don't want her to feel like a joke. But, I also don't want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying too help her feel like an equal only to have her feel this way again.
That could be interpreted by a hurting person like you are telling her what
to feel and when
to feel it. Deer in the headlights time.
So she felt yucky, tried to get your attention for help (points for trying to flag you down even if not transmitting clearly enough), gets no aid from you, sees you are frustrated in dealing with it and not having fun when you want to be having fun, and that adds to her insecure bucket because she's not producing what you want (her to not feel what she feels) when you want it (now). AND if she ever dares to feel that way again, she can expect similar treatment because you don't want to deal in her.
Could you see how words like that could lead to spiraling feelings of yucky in her shoes when she's wearing "ugh" glasses? Like she's not enough or inadequate somehow?
Listen to your own words flipped backwards. Sometimes that helps me to see how what I'm saying to someone could come across even if I did not mean it that way. I see that you are frustrated with GF in your forum question. Let's make it be that then in the example.
What if I said to you...
I told you that this forum and i are married. That's nothing we can do to change it and I would not want to. You have to decide whether you can handle being a part of the forum. I don't want you to feel like you are secondary forum user, I don't want you to feel like a joke.
But, I also don't want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying too help you feel like an equal forum user only to have you feel this way again and start posting about feeling frustrated with your GF again.
Would that be kind treatment of an internet stranger? No.
Did that tone respect / validate that you have feelings of your own? No.
Did it give instruction for how to cope to teach her how to get out of the yucky? No.
Did it give compassion? No.
Did it close doors off or open doors to other solutions? Closed.
If you ever felt frustration with your GF again, would you feel emotionally safe writing a post about it here? Wondering if I'd reply like that again? Probably not. So where would you go for aid? You could go elsewhere of course, since this is only forums and that's only about posting questions on forums. There's lots of internet strangers and forums out there.
But if SHE has problems again with anxiety/fear/emotional flooding or whatever that was... and needs partner aid and support again? Where can she go but the partners? Those are the 2 she's got. Not endless ones.
When you tell her you love her, and then when she needs aid you cut her off from your aid and support? That's a mixed message. How is she supposed to digest this mixed message? With secure feelings in your company? Or insecure ones in your company?
How could you demonstrate kind treatment to your partner? Some ideas:
- Wasn't she brave in going there at all? Does she not get points for trying? Even though it cause yucky feelings to well up later? You could tell her so to help reassure and feed her secure bucket.
- You could focus on HER need to be free of yucky and ask her -- "Honey, I see you are upset. How can I best help you? Do you need to go home? " Rather than on your WANT to have a good time. Need trumps want.
- You could apologize for allowing your own disappointment cloud you to the fact that she needed support. You could feed her secure bucket by telling you KNOW this was hard, and you appreciate she held out that long and nect time you could all agree on a time limit. Or a secret signal safeword that she's full and needs to bail.
Bit by bit with more practice outings she could get more comfortable and stop feeling like all eyes are on her. But not if every outing leads to kerfuffle with you when she shares her Vulnerable. That just adds to "Ack!"
You have a baby polyship there. If you took the baby to church and baby started to cry in upset, would you tell baby to get over it because you want to have a good time or would to take baby to pace in the hall or home entirely? Then next time try sitting in a different place, or only stay for 10 min, and next time try for 15 min to help baby acclimate? Maybe viewing the polyship that way could help you remember to be kinder to your partner?
Your partner is an adult, but the polyship
is baby age. Could be kinder to "the baby." Maybe thinking of like that could lessen your frustration with her?
I told her that I'm doing my best that I can't make her feel secure.
You could examine your behaviors to be sure you create a climate of trust and security in the polyship. While you cannot MAKE her be secure, your behavior could help meet her emotional safety needs so she could get there faster.
I love her and she loves me, but I'm not sure she wants to be in a triad. I feel that she has feelings for b, but if she were being totally honest she wants it to be just me and her.
This is another issue about willingness to be in the polyship. Ask her what she really wants there.
When s and i communicate, it feels any thing but productive. the conversation goes in destructive circles ending in me being frustrated and her being depressed and in a self punishment type of place.
I think you guys could work on your communication style more. Perhaps look up "non violent communication?" Ask her how she wants you to respond when she is in this emotional place. What does she need to hear from you?
You cannot be a mind reader, but if she's not strong in broadcasting her needs quite yet and just witters "ack! ack!" type stuff at you and this makes you frustrated, you could try to help her with prompts:
I love you and am concerned for your well being -- so option 1 or 2 or I pick it?
- WHO? (Her)
- WHAT? (Feel yucky)
- WHEN? (Now)
- WHERE? (In my stomach, here in this crowded room.)
- WHY? (Anxiety, nerves, all eyes on me.)
- HOW? (I am here, there, there. I love you. How can I best aid you?
- 1) Do you need to leave entirely?
- 2) Just get fresh air for a bit?
If she's super paralyzed -- make the call and just get her out to a safer space so she can breathe.
Could choose to behave in ways to feed trust bucket and take away from insecure bucket -- like apply immediate tender loving care type stuff -- get her drink, get her out of there, etc. Not in ways that feed the insecure bucket and take away from trust bucket -- she felt all eyes were on her, and then you put her under the microscope with "serious relationship talk stuff" at an event she already felt weird at. Could work on that a bit and see if you get better results with her.
I don't think either of you is bad people -- but... baby polyship! It's gonna have teething trouble sometimes. Be kind to "the baby" and try to take it as it comes.
Take heart, and hang in there! You can do this. It will be ok. Breathe, breathe. Try again.