“I have come to have harassing behavior”

“It’s complicated” is a kind of modern letter from the heart, where you tell your stories – in all their complexity – and where a columnist answers you. This columnist is Lucile Bellan. She is a journalist: neither shrink, doctor nor guru. She just wanted to talk about your problems. If you want to send him your stories, you can write to this address: [email protected]

You can also leave your message on our answering machine by calling 07 61 76 74 01 or via Whatsapp on the same number. Lucile will soon answer you in “It’s Complicated, the Podcast”, the episode of which you can find here.

And to find the previous chronicles, it’s here.

Dear Lucile,

I am a 30 year old man who no longer understands himself.

I met a woman a little over three years ago. It was an incredible meeting because I had never had such a good time with anyone, never had a woman ticked all my criteria for a romantic partner.

After six months, it was a complicated, checkered relationship because she told me she was afraid of the couple for what it represented to her, after going through difficult relationships where she had disappeared, not felt listened to or respected. I insisted on giving her confidence in herself and us. Insisted enough that this behavior was blamed on me, and justified his decision to break up and take some distance.

However, she came back to me from time to time. The pattern was therefore the same in these three years. I insisted on seeing her and trying to discuss her blockages. If she accepted, we spent beautiful moments, full of promises and mutual feelings, then she did not respond anymore, took off. I insisted on understanding and it was blamed on me. I felt guilty. So on until you can no longer see or talk to each other.

A true addiction was born little by little. I have come to have harassing behavior that I deeply despise anyway. Faced with her silence, the fact that she makes herself inaccessible, her words that contradict her actions and our still unclear relationship, I lost my footing, but I always kept hoping that this story could be cleared up and that it was worth living. That you should fight for her and understand.

I saw this woman again recently. She admitted to me that she had been in a relationship since we met. This admission was meant to finally be honest, and to be able to try to live something with me. I accepted. A week later, she withdraws, becomes unavailable again and makes me carry the guilt, which justifies that it is unhealthy to know what she has done and still want a relationship with her. That I should have set boundaries. Let her feel guilty.

Since then, I have been stuck in the same harassing behavior towards her. Addiction has become an obsession. My self-esteem is at its lowest and I do not understand why I insist on writing to him what I am thinking of, to tell him about my mood, my pain. Eventually, to apologize, to end up starting over.

However, I am aware that this behavior is actually extremely toxic and pathetic. That my attachment and my desire to live this story over three years is certainly dictated by fear, lack of self-confidence, a need for others to flourish. I feel guilty about this behavior, which I have already had in the past in case of fractures, but never on this scale.

I do not understand its origin. I tell myself that it is not with me that one wants to make an effort so that one story works, but with another. That I am once again criticized for not setting boundaries, but that the person opposite does not himself respect any of them.

I have the feeling of having to go through all my beliefs, my behaviors, my vision of relationships and the feeling of love. This story hurt me deeply, but I do not understand myself in my reactions, these impulses to write to the other when it would be sufficient to disconnect, heal all his wounds and move on.


Dear Pierre,

It is your merit to be aware of the limits of such a relationship and the negative behaviors that you may have had. However, you say that in the past you have had trouble respecting the boundaries of your ex-partners and just digesting your pain on your side. If it’s a repetitive pattern, even if the situations are different, it’s probably important to work on it before you face it again. What I mean is that you can never cure your trust issues or other issues through a relationship. You could not have healed and saved this woman with your belief in your relationship, and you will never even have the opportunity to learn to control your boundaries if you do not work on them outside of a relationship. Therefore, I think therapy is in order.

You need to find yourself, be more confident in your feelings and your needs, respect your and others’ boundaries. If the person you have known for the last few years in your writings does not seem to be very sure of himself and his choices, you have also played abundantly with this great vagueness and suffered as a result of a toxic addiction.

Nothing prevents you from writing down your feelings, writing down your discomfort and your doubts. But nothing obliges you to share all that with someone who does not agree to read you. This is where I think therapy is a solution that you can consider. As part of your reconstruction, you need the codified relationship between therapist and patient, which is also a relationship where you are welcome to share your feelings. Not so with the woman who has been recording your thoughts for three years. And that would not be the case with a new wife.

You are already aware that your behavior is toxic, but I would like you to be aware of its potential danger. What if the woman you traded with for three years felt pressured to give you what you asked for? If she had forced herself to share sex with you, for fear of pushing you away and that you would fall back on your ways? It’s also possible that his behavior was erratic just in response to your reactions – I can not vouch for such a thing, but it is possible. You would then have had a sense of confusion when it would only have been a defensive position, combined with the attraction that might be to be loved. Multiple readings are possible, this is always the case in relationships. This is the famous Rashomon effect (so-called because of Akira Kurosawa’s film, in which four witnesses have four different versions of the same murder story).

The only thing you have control over today is your own view of history and how you react to it. You will no longer change the perception this woman has of you or the past actions. You probably will not understand what made her react in such a way, or to make such a statement to you. It is her truth, and it belongs to her. What you are left with is a painful story where you have lost a little more of yourself and the feeling of not having been a perfectly good human being. It is always a good start to initiate change. Go to someone, Pierre, and tell your story … So in the future, it will not happen again with even more devastating consequences.

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