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Triggered and angry

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Recently, I got an email from an ex boyfriend. It was fairly long and contained things like "I don’t hate you, I just don’t really want to be anywhere near you" and went into some detail about how he will be trying to have zero contact with me. He says the email was sent so as to avoid upsetting me. (We go to the same uni and I'm just back from a year of medical leave.) He added a few details such as that he is happy now and has a girlfriend and that I am not to understand and think he is admitting he did anything wrong.

I think the dude might have been feeling bad for me and was trying to be thoughtful. But. We broke up while I was recovering from a serious, life threatening illness (like weeks after I got out from hospital and still far from well again). I had to dump him because he had started being verbally abusive to me at night time after he got drunk and he kept pressuring me to have sex when I was too exhausted and in pain to want to. He had a new girlfriend within days of us breaking up, so I suspect he may have been cheating.

We're students and lived in a shared house, having signed the lease before we got together. Later, he found out that I had been on a date (months after the break up). After that he always blanked me, even if other people were around, knocked my stuff on to the floor and wouldn't pick it up, sent abusive texts and facebook messages. He would also do things like turn up the volume of music if I asked for it to be turned down. (I had chronic headaches so the pain from the noise meant I would have to leave.)


After a few weeks he let a woman he brought home from a club sleep in my bed (my door didn't have a proper lock), stole a gift he had given me and left a torn up photo of us scattered on the floor of my room. I came back to this after a weekend away. At this point I got the university involved and he backed off.

I have occasionally been angry at him before but the email, combined with a recent therapy session has me suddenly overwhelmed with anger after months of not really thinking about it.

I keep crying from anger, at him and also at myself for letting him do things to me and for not being over it. I also hate that he still paints me as the crazy one who did horrible things to me and doesn't acknowledge that he did anything wrong at all.


As trauma goes, this is hardly the worst and it all happened more than a year ago. I had thought I had moved on but the past few days I keep getting upset over it again. I'm used to feeling sad and hurt and despairing but I don't usually feel angry at all and now I want to punch and scream and tell everyone what he did and I don't know what to do.

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I don't have PTSD so correct me if I'm out of line, I just read it and I couldn't just leave without saying something to you. Delete the email.  Do not keep it for you to read again, set it so that all of his emails from that address are sent directly to junk where you do not need to see it. I assume you didn't respond? and I think it would be wise not to, you shouldn't have to deal with this. I do not see any reason for him to send that email in a way that demonstrates care to you, I think he wanted a reaction and he is a horrible vindictive person. You deserve so much better and I hope that if you want, that one day that will come to you.


I'm sorry that you're hurting so bad, can you get an emergency therapy appointment? I hope you can feel better soon. I'm sorry I don't have any concrete solutions.

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Thanks Laboo. I have deleted it but not before replying. (Ugh, stupid thing to do.) I had a tdoc appointment earlier today but it just seems to have opened the floodgates wider. I don't have ptsd (afaik) either but I figured this was a trauma thing and no one would mind if I put it here.


Titania, we don't live in the same house, not for almost a year and a half. But we do live near each other now and I keep seeing him during the day. He ignores me, which is probably the best thing but I keep getting upset and anxious. 


The chaplain of my college had a talk with him and I don't exactly know what he said but I think he made it clear that my ex would not be allowed live in college accommodation if he kept harassing me. I know my ex got really freaked out and scared of having something like this on his record.


Thank you, you're so kind. I'm trying to hang on.

Thanks for the sympathy, MrT. 

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No, it's really helpful to hear your thoughts, Titania.  


At the time I didn't think this guy's behaviour was abuse, but now, I think maybe it was. It was mostly subtle and psychological though. I blamed myself at the time because it seemed impossible that my lovely boyfriend could be doing that so I must have been doing something wrong.


I think you are right and I'll have to accept that he'll never apologize or take responsibility and that many people I know are still friends with him. I didn't reveal what was happening to anyone at the time and tried to minimize it so I'm struggling with validation. I don't know how much to trust my memories and perceptions but I do have some concrete pieces of evidence, like texts and things so I know I didn't imagine it all. I kind of want to talk to a friend who was around when it happened but I don't know. This is kind of heavy stuff.

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Subtle and psychological can be just as crazymaking as physical violence. In some ways its even harder to cope with. I can point to scars and say "he did this to me" so I have proof that I got hurt. But the psychological stuff I cannot prove. It's just a nagging feeling that something was wrong. Have you heard of 'gaslighting' before? Does that seem to fit with your experience(s)?


I agree with you that it is very heavy stuff. It's also possible that your friend won't be able to validate what you're saying. After all, your friend sees his public face which is different from the one that he showed you. It's really hard to know that you can't have anyone corroborate the story. All you have to go on is what is in your head and in your feelings. Which, ultimately, is all you have to go on anyway. But it can be very hard to trust them. Especially if they've proven unreliable in the past.


I'm sorry that I don't really have anything helpful to say. But I do hear what you're going through. You'll get through it. I know it hurts. But it won't last. 

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WR: I hadn't heard of gaslighting but I looked it up. Yes, yes, yes, I think this is what he has been doing. I don't know why, maybe he just doesn't like the idea that anything could be his fault. I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm still not sure of what was really happening, I can't remember a lot of time very well.  But there are some things I remember - like I would apologize for the way I was to stop him being angry or upset and doing things like punching the wall or saying I made him want to kill himself. Then he would tell other people, mutual friends of ours, about how I apologized and said myself that I was hard to put up with. So then that became the reality, that I was doing bad things to him.


The details are fuzzy but I know this happened and that similar things happened and I wasn't doing anything wrong, I was just ill.


I haven't spoken to the friend and I'm not sure if I will now. He was living in the same house when this happened and "chose" me at the time - he isn't friends with my ex now. 


But still, he was around when a lot of this was happening and didn't do or say anything then. So he might not want to think about that.


Anyhow, I am safe now and he can't do anything to me again. It's funny how I'm only starting to make sense of it now. I really did think it was because of me when it was happening. At least I know that isn't true now.

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Hi there, sorry to hear you had to put up with such an asshole! BTW, in case I missed it and it has been said before, can you block his emails? Can you block any access to you on your phone/computer? You won't have to delete his shit then.  Otherwise, mark it is spam and it will end up in your spam folder before you have to look at it in your inbox, depending on how smart your email account/email software is.  Sorry to hear you or anyone else here has had to put up with this sort of shit.  I feel for you!

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