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I just got out of an abusive relationship


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I don't know if this belongs under PTSD or not. Maybe both. I was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship for two years. I knew the person was unstable when I first met them but I was young and much more innocent than I am now. The abuse escalated then died down and then escalated again...and the relationship ended when said abuser went into rehab for heroin addiction. I had been living in fear and stress for so long that I had actually started to block it out. But a month and a half without seeing him, and I started to process things. And it's hard. I feel so angry and upset and am snapping at my family for no reason. I can't take the slightest criticism, even when it's not even that insulting. I feel angry at my mom for not knowing even though I didn't tell her so how could she? I have shame and guilt and I don't feel like therapy is helping me. I don't know why I'm posting this (or if it's the right board) but I just needed to say it. The person is gone from my life but everything he did still lingers.

Edited by koali777
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I don't know what advice to give, but I am sorry to hear about the fact that you were in such a traumatic abusive relationship. I am glad that you are out of that toxic relationship now. 

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What one person may consider to be just bad, another person may consider it to be highly traumatizing. For example, my car crash was highly traumatizing to me, but my friends have gotten in car crashes and they said it was no big deal. I imagine that this relationship was very traumatizing to you. I hope that your therapist can find a way to help you cope. 

Edited by CynicalReality
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Getting out of an abusive relationship is more than just physically leaving the abuser. You are going to have to process your "part" in it for a while. I say "part" because it isn't your fault.

 

First, of course, seek treatment for PTSD. It really helped me a lot, it is part of the reason I feel free from him today.

 

Just as a human being, going back over the history of what he did, then what you did, etc., just emotionally, it is not going to be fun. But it is part of getting to the point where you can forgive yourself and move on. Which sounds very flip, but that was my experience. So anyway, my point is you need to talk to a therapist. I am very grateful to mine, who worked at a battered women's shelter. My treatment was free, I don't know if that is common.

 

I used to think about him every minute. He was all I *could* think about, and I *really* wanted to stop thinking about him. Now every month or so, my ex will cross my mind, and I will think how glad he is not in my life anymore, and that is that.

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Yeah it's very hard to stay gone from him. He keeps texting me apologies and then getting mad when I refuse to see him. But what's sick is I want to see him so much. I haven't. But it feels horrible to say no when he's like "I need you, I love you" and it's all I've ever wanted to hear. Then he'll get manipulative and verbally abusive again and it'll seem easy again to leave. Then he's sweet again. It's like how he treats me makes me either love or fear him, switching between extremes. He stole so much from me and swindled me out of my money and lied to me and even tried to sell a locket my mom gave me. He says he only got sober for me and if I'm not in the picture it's not worth it. It's such a mindfuck, cause as bad as that is, I feel "special" when he says it.

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Block his messages.  Change your phone number if you have to.  Do whatever you have to do to avoid contact with him.

 

He stole money from you, he lied, he's an addict (albeit in recovery right now) and abusers almost NEVER change.  If you don't believe me, get in touch with a local group for abused women, or a counselor at a shelter for women escaping their abusers.  They will tell you that he is going to say whatever he needs to say to pluck your heartstrings.  If you go back to him, the lying, stealing and abuse will start all over again. 

 

If you truly want to move on with your life, block his number.  Block his account on Facebook.  Do whatever you can to cut yourself off from him because you will never meet a loving, kind man as long as you keep interacting with this man.  How much more do you have to lose before you see how damaging he is to you?

 

olga

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This guy is full of crap. Its all an act. Abusers know if they are always nasty you would ditch him like a hot potato. They would do all these "nice" things so you would feel guilty if you cut him off.

Abusers won't stop at just one person. When the victim leaves he will hook up with someone else and the abuse starts all over again...

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Thank you all for your advice and kind words. But yes coraline, that sounds so familiar...he would break things or throw food or drinks at me and then be mad about the mess I supposedly made. I did keep going back. For 2 years. I'd promise to leave then he'd be sweet so I'd come back only for him to hurt me again that same day. Wouldn't let me sleep, gave me concussions, the works. I have done my best not to talk to him this week but I don't know how long it'll last.

And one thing I'm so scared about...i feel like I've become evil. I used to be sweet, loving, social, sacrificial. Now I'm cold, selfish, easily angered and offended, seem unable to forgive anyone, don't value others,say horrid and hurtful things to people. That was not who I was. I'm 24 now and for 22 of those years I was a kind, not verbally abusive person, and not a person without empathy. I hate who I am now but I just can't feel the kindness like before. I'm very upset about it.

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To feel the kindness come out of yourself again, it has helped me to surround myself with people who did just that. I needed to re-learn what it felt like, but it is possible. Granted, it was slow-going at first, but that's okay.

What support do you have now to help you not only not go back, but also to learn to heal and recover and move on? Can you latch on to that kindness, and try to pass it along to someone else, even if it means starting small like picking a flower for someone? Kindness is one of those things (like being cold, or unable to forgive - which likely helped to keep you safer in that relationship, incidentally - or being horrid and hurtful) that come out depending on the environment around you. You've already come a very long way. You'll get there. You can also practice kindness and empathy by showing it to yourself. Are you able to be kind and understanding and accepting of the hurt and loss toward yourself? Are you able to mourn that your compassion went away for a while? Those are skills that a tdoc can help you with, if you don't already have one.

Try to take gentle care of yourself. You'll get there.

Also, did you still want this thread moved?

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Hmm...yes, I want it moved, I'm getting good replies here but maybe it belongs more in the other category. And that's good advive; it won't be easy I know, but I want my old self back. Like, it's not like I've become sadistic or anything (I don't laugh at terrible accidents or crimes on TV) but if I hear about others' misfortunes I think angrily, "Well if they hadn't been so weak it wouldn't have happened!" But what in the world am I talking about? Maybe cause I felt weak. Logically I know how I feel is messed up. Thankfully, I do have a loving family, and a lot of friends that kind of went under the radar when I was with him, have resurfaced now that they know I'm not being kept from them. I don't resent them for leaving...he was my world, and even when I didn't want him to be anymore, I was latched on so tightly. Everyone hated him, but at the time, I felt like they were "unfairly judging him." No one wanted to be around him because he was inappropriate, and even though I told almost no one about the abuse, most people assumed it was there and I denied it. I wanted to protect him and pitied him because he "couldn't control his anger and wanted to kill himself because of it" or his drug past... When we got together I knew he was an addict but he'd been sober for 3 years (now, I wonder). There were so many signs to run, and I ignored them. The thing is I had no self esteem back then. So I took whatever love I could get. I just hope that being around these kind people will help me by kind in return. I don't want to think that I'll never feel badly for a person again without trying to blame them for it. Who the hell does that? I don't recognize myself.

Edited by koali777
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I can totally relate to what you're going through. Maybe you will be able to relate to my story and it might help you. I got out of the worst abusive relationship of my life about 2 months ago. Not only was it physically abusive (ruptured eardrum, black eyes, concussions, ears nearly torn off of my head, almost choked to death) but the emotional abuse hurt even more. For four years he refused to tell me he loved me; that was a prize dangled in front of my nose to manipulate me into doing more and more and more in an endless but futile attempt to "earn" his love or commitment. Cheated on me non-stop from day one of our relationship. I went from a heavy weekend drinker to being drunk all the time, having to stop working, an emotional wreck. I quit drinking "for him" and that wasn't good enough. I spent a year joining his church that was so important to him: not enough either. I was diagnosed as bipolar and PTSD among others. In and out of the emergency room. Had to take pills and go thru ECT, both of which caused major side effects including weight gain and memory loss. I completely sunk my emotional and physical being into this man, and all I got in return besides cheated on was criticized for gaining weight, the memory loss and every thing I did to deal with my mental illness "why can't you stop taking all those pills?"

 

Since getting out, I've gone through stages of how I felt. First all I could feel was how worthless I was for "losing" my ex, and guilt for leaving him even though he didn't seem all that broken up about it. I had no idea of how I even felt, what I really wanted, or what would make me happy. I was already in therapy. I couldn't stop obsessing over him or what he was doing, or with whom, throughout those first days. I missed him like crazy: living with him, then the daily hour long phone sessions, which became less and less frequent because I promised myself to let him do the calling. Everything I did, I went over "what he'd say about it" in my head. I fantasized about getting back together with him, scenarios where he'd see how important I was to him now that I was gone, and magically become a new person just to get me back. 

 

Then I got used to talking to him less often, and when we did talk, I started seeing reasons why leaving was such a good decision. Things like him not remembering "heartfelt" convos we'd had in the past, or personal stuff about me that he should have remembered after 4 years together. Or realizing that he'd only call me when he wanted to vent rage about something in his life, but when it was my turn to talk he'd get impatient and hang up in short order. I noticed that after our talks I always felt unsettled and upset. In the meantime I started looking up things about our relationship on the internet, and finding some really good stuff that put things in perspective for me. Baggagereclaim is an awesome site for this! I started coming to terms with the FACT that he never loved me, never even gave a rat's arse about me, but was fine with me being around as long as I was of some use to him. The biggest part was realizing that his not giving a rat's about me WAS NOT because I was a bad person - it was his own problem and not mine!

 

Now I think about him far less often. I hear from him maybe once a week if that, and don't really care if I don't hear from him at all. I'm still going to the tdoc and learning ways to "ground myself in the now" and realize how much happier and calmer, now, than I was walking on eggshells worrying about "what he might think" about me or my actions. My life isn't perfect, nor am I, but I'm learning to realize that it's a helluva lot better than it was when I was with him, and that I'm the one who has the power to keep on making it better. I'm more in touch with my feelings and learning that it's OK to feel them: anger at him and myself, shame towards myself for putting up with all his crap for so long, relief from having to deal with him, happiness at formerly guilty pleasures such as taking naps, or ice cream or spending hours in front of the computer or TV - and many other things. 

 

At my tdoc's suggestion I'm starting to take steps to get out and meet others. This weekend I'm planning on going to a "small dogs" meetup group I found on meetup.com. I've also updated my profile on a couple of dating websites. I'm not really looking for anyone right now, and my "BBW" size means I won't be swamped with replies anyway... but I found that writing an "ad" honestly displaying my virtues and talking about what I want, and picking out favourite pics of myself, was a great boost to my self-esteem! (You can always keep the ad invisible on many sites if you don't really want any replies). 

 

Anyway, there's nothing wrong with going over what happened and looking at blame, why people did what they did, etc. To me that's just a step in getting through things. If you're anything like me, time will help you detach emotionally until you get to the point where you say "it was what it was, time to put it in the past and use it to learn how NOT to get into similar crap in the future." That's where therapy can help.

 

I wish you all the best in getting through this - and you will. If you were strong enough to survive with him, you're strong enough to survive without him. 

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Cattitude, thank you for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry you had to suffer like that. I can relate to much of that. When I lived with him, he was so awful to me that I started drinking all the time. Not to feel good but to escape. I started mixing weed with the alcohol because not only did it cause a euphoria, it made me so stupid, and I liked that. Too dumb to care, too numb/feel-good to feel the pain. I also was ridiculued for my need of medications when he was the one who stressed me out so much. What's sad about you wanting to be a new person for him (I feel that too) is that you weren't even the one with an issue. These people make us feel like we are worthless and like it's all us. It's sickening. :( I'm so glad you realized it was him. Thank you for the site suggestion too; I'll have to check it out. Thank you for the encouragement, I mean it.

 

Here's a sad update though: I found out from a reliable source that he is saying I "beat him up." Yes, really. He's not super tall or anything but I'm so small and I never had tendencies! It drives me up the wall to hear this. That I'm supposedly "messing with his recovery so he wants to get fucked up to forget the pain I've caused him." I don't even know why he's doing this. I wasn't rude to him when I stopped talking to him (which is so hard). I didn't sabotage him or wreck his stuf. But he's spreading things about me. It's revolting. I can't stop being angry about it. Of course he's saying this to a pretty girl, so maybe it's not a surprise. Comfort and sympathy from a pretty, nuturing woman.

Edited by koali777
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Thank you. :) I usually love nighttime but that's when I feel sad too. I guess it just sucks he's dissing me behind my back about a really sensitive issue. I hate the emotional pain that feels like a knife. The good thing is I feel okay about it most of the time (relatively). Do any of you have tips about what I should do when the pain hits? I don't want to go back to drinking.

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Do you know of any things that feel nice? For some people it's a bath, or taking time to engage in a hobby like knitting. For others it's getting rid of energy, like going for a run.

Do you like to read, or make art, or cook? That would be a good time for those. I also like video games when I'm distressed.

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"Here's a sad update though: I found out from a reliable source that he is saying I "beat him up." Yes, really. He's not super tall or anything but I'm so small and I never had tendencies! It drives me up the wall to hear this. That I'm supposedly "messing with his recovery so he wants to get fucked up to forget the pain I've caused him." I don't even know why he's doing this. I wasn't rude to him when I stopped talking to him (which is so hard). I didn't sabotage him or wreck his stuf. But he's spreading things about me. It's revolting. I can't stop being angry about it. Of course he's saying this to a pretty girl, so maybe it's not a surprise. Comfort and sympathy from a pretty, nuturing woman."

 

Yes, this is a common abuser tactic when you cut them loose. Abusers need some way to get back at you because their fragile ego has been bruised by the breakup. They've lost the control of you which they so prize. The favourite tactic is to smear your name to others, both strangers and mutual acquaintances. This way they can keep you playing their game, when you react by trying to set the story straight or deny the accusations. Despite the temptation, DON'T PLAY HIS GAME! You can't stop him from lying about you. You CAN ignore him and go about your business, and cut off all contact with him and anyone who believes his crap. Those who are worthy of your time won't believe it anyway!

 

You're not the one with the problem here! He's now using YOU as an excuse to relapse in his drug use? Ignore that tactic, too. Let him use drugs until his head explodes - it will NEVER be your fault! He's the only one responsible, and able, to stop using. As a recovering addict myself, I know this very well. I used to blame others for my relapses as well. If he's making excuses it means HE has made the choice to keep using. It has nothing to do with you. Just ignore him and his excuses. 

 

The ideal thing would be to cut off ALL contact with him, including blocking his email, social networking sites, etc. and telling those who are spreading his lies back to you that it hurts you, and to either cut it out or get out of your life.

 

However, I know how hard this is. I broke up 2 months ago and I'm still taking phone calls from the ex (though those are getting less and less frequent) and I'm still friends with him on Facebook. I was afraid to be totally isolated when I broke up because I have no other human contacts besides docs, therapists and the internet. Now I'm starting to realize that I'm doing fine without him, and have decided to cut him off in stages, starting with letting him make the phone calls and refusing to call him on my own. Another example: Yesterday I spent much of the afternoon blocking him from most of my Facebook pics and albums, so he can't use any pics I've taken of him or that were taken during our relationship, to go trolling for other women. I also blocked his posts from my news feed so I'm not reminded of him so much. I admit I still sometimes check his profile to see if he's found someone else, and yesterday I found a bunch of lovey-dovey posts from some bimbo he was cheating with while he and I were still together. I don't need that hurt, so I think I'm almost ready to block him altogether. 

 

I went through worrying about what my ex was telling people about me, too. I'm sure he has slagged me off to everyone in his family, for instance. I actually liked his family for the most part, so it mattered what they thought of me. And I'm sure my ex has been telling his new conquests that I'm some sort of freaky psycho who abused him six ways from Sunday. I felt ashamed about that, too, not to mention jealous! Even while we were together and I was finding emails and IM's to "secret friends" on his computer, he was telling them all that I was a bipolar drunk. Chances are your ex was doing the same while cheating. They seem to like to tell their conquests that they have a girlfriend, for some reason, at least mine always did.

 

Don't worry - he'll eventually find a new target, and guess what he'll do to her when they break up? What did he tell you about his ex-girlfriends when you first got together?  

 

Once again - don't play his game. Who cares what he says or what other people think? It doesn't change the truth. It takes time, but you'll gradually lose the desire to worry about it. Learn to concentrate on nice things you can do for yourself, instead of worrying about that idiot. You deserve it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

An abuser knows the buttons to push, the head games and all. For me it was an addiction all by itself. I no longer knew who I was, what I liked and I looked to him (I know this is sick) to find my identity.

 

They rip you apart without you knowing it and then boom, you feel trapped.

 

I left him 5 times and would go back. Before this, I never understood how women would get themselves involved in this type of relationship but now I know. It's insideous.

 

The last straw was when he cheated on me and for some reason I just said to him "I no longer love you". I could tell he was in love with her and I was releaved. I got my own place and thought that things would instantly be better but all the abuse was still there. The psysical abuse was over but the mind games were left in my head.

 

I was stil in survival mode and began harming myself through drugs and not eating. I finally went back to my old therapist and it helped immesely.

 

Try to find a professional to talk to, it helps so much.

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Koali, you got some really awesome responses here!! Cattitude's post was phenomenal!!

I've been down this road myself with my exH and I ditto everything everyone has said. Definitely 'no contact' with the abuser...Changing your number or blocking him...That way you don't have to see anything he says/does. Document any threats however they are received--email/text/talking to others....And do not be afraid to use the police and courts! Although it seems embarassing and daunting at first, the best thing I've found is to let the power of the legal system take care of him. Abusers are so used to making people feel powerless, and we're so accustomed to being powerless, when there's a larger more-powerful thing involved, the abuser has no choice but to stop his usual tactics. Check your area for domestic violence resources--Most of the associated counselors can get you hooked up with other support systems so you won't feel alone.

 

And most importantly, take care of yourself first and foremost. Talk to a counselor and don't be afraid or ashamed of whatever feelings you have. I too was angry and would be angry at "weak people" --like how could they be so dumb or pathetic to allow/do whatever.... But it's ok to feel that way--it's part of the healing. As you work through the feelings you get to the point where you realize 'weak' is a relative term and that people do things for their own reasons--Letting go of judgement is a good part of the process--Instead of judging everything/everyone, just letting it be as it is, acknowledging that it is this way... Books on "mindfulness" help alot in that aspect of healing.

 

Now that I'm on husband #2 and in the process of leaving him, I still find I can feel those old familar feelings I had with exH#1 who was abusive. I tend to snap, get nasty with everyone or just numb out totally....and then I'll have a complete and utter emotional meltdown from all the pent-up unacknowledged feelings that go through me on any given day. Again, acknowleging the changing feelings has been the best way to free myself from them.

 

And just as a final thought...You can improve--You can work on yourself, feel better and move into a better place emotionally....This guy will be forever stuck as he is...Whoever he's crying the blues to now will get the same treatment you did and that you can count on! It used to sound stupid "a leopard doesn't change his spots" but it's true! He will continue this pattern with the next woman and the next and the next....They don't change. But, *we* can.

 

Sending you positive energy!! :)

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