Where we are now is that I think she does act out at me and pick fights. Once the fight progresses to the point where I get angry, she turns the blame on me for becoming angry. (We both have crappy communication skills, but we've started reading The Power of Two to work on that at least.)
When one partner is not secure and acting out because they are afraid to lose their "validate me" source? And not willing to own their own behavior and think about changing it? To learn the skills to be the best dating partner they could be who is able to self-validate?
Somewhere deep in there she knows
she's acting out. But to keep the perceived reality of "I'm really a nice person! It's it not my fault
! There is nothing I could do! " then someone else HAS to be at fault. Who is handiest? You.
(Because facing her own fears is a behavior she COULD do. Being willing
to do it is another story.)
If she can trigger you into acting out BACK and being angry, then she can tell herself "I'm a nice person! I'm
acting out only because my dating partner was being mean/angry/yucky to me!" That supports the perceived reality and puts the spotlight on you for YOUR poor conduct and neatly gets her out of the spotlight and her behavior goes unexamined by her.
The actuality is more like "I expect unreasonable things of my partner. I expect my partner to always be around to be my "validate me" source. Because I am unwilling to learn the skills and face my fears to allow myself to become my own validator... I want my partner to always validate me whenever I want to be validated and always to be willing to be doing it."
The shortish version is that she's not in a good place in her life (doesn't want to stay in this city, hates her job, has been depressed since before we met...) so even though we realized things weren't going to work out a long time ago we agreed to stay together a little longer while she got her life in order.
That is on the couple then. Rather than accept the assessment of "This is not a runner" just prolonging it. And if the agreement is "My partner will stick around until I get my stuff together..." exactly how is this motivating her to get her stuff together?
Because at the end she loses her "validate me" source?
Part of the problem for me is that if I do break up with her I feel like I'm abandoning her and leaving her in a bad place.
Listen to you what you appear to be saying:
"Part of the problem for me is that if I do break up with her and end the romance and return to being her friend? I feel like I am abandoning her and leaving her in a bad place. "
You are saying you could not be willing to be supportive and encouraging as her friend? You have to be romancing
her in order for you to be willing to be supportive and encouraging of her?
Let go of the rope.
- Could break up to free yourself romantically to date other people who want the same relationship shape you do.
- Could be her friend, and be supportive and encourage her to do the work required to bolster herself and move her life forward.
- Could let her hold her own baggage.
Every time she leaves it hurts, because we don't really separate so we don't get to a place of healing. I just end up feeling like she's breaking up with me every night all over again.
Let go of your own rope. MOVE OUT so you can be in a healthier healing space for your own best health.
Everyone has to own their own baggage.
Everyone could put THEIR OWN oxygen mask on first. If everyone could be willing to do that, then everyone could have a better shot at being able to breathe and be ok.
Yes. There will be some short term discomfort. Nobody LOVES a break up. But do what you have to do, to get to your long term best healths.
Staying in a thing you KNOW is not the right shape, you know does not meet your needs, and you know causes you yucky feelings... is you taking good care of YOU and your long term well being, how?
Perhaps you could be a role model in that sense as her friend -- so she can find the will and the means to take better care of herself too.
The couple choosing to stay in suffering non-compatible-romanceship together because the couple is afraid to break up and risk un-suffering and getting well together in friendship makes no sense to me.
Could choose to straighten yourselves out.