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Author Topic: Anxiety dragging on
tbelle
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I need some advice, because for almost three months I've been extremely anxious over this relationship I've had. I posted back in January about the same relationship, and how we'd broken up. Well, we'd continued talking to eachother again in February almost as if nothing had happened, but we weren't seeing each other (he lives an hour away). Then one night he blew up at me because I blocked him on AIM and read one of my close friend's blog somehow. He found one that we once dated (we only dated very briefly) and got really angry because I never told him that. Anyway...this fight in February, over the phone and on IM, is one of the worst things I've ever gone through. He called me the worst kinds of names, and just completely tried to verbally destroy me in every way. Then he actually said he would "mail transcripts" from AIM from conversations I'd had with him to my parents to show them how "not so innocent" I was. I can't believe he would turn on me like that, when I thought we'd always shared something intimate and mutual together. He's 10 years older than me, and he also said I was childish and "needed to grow up" (and many other things that were FAR worse).

You have to believe me when I say that the most I'd ever been guilty of was talking to other people online, not even in person. So...I didn't talk to him for a few weeks after that. Then, he started sending me e-mails saying he was sorry and that he didn't know how to handle his feelings. He's always told me how very much in love with me he is, and how he wants us to be together. The thing is, I'm still very much in love with him too. We'd both cry together on the phone because we missed each other so much. Is it normal for me to miss someone, and love someone, who has treated me so badly? He's even treated my parents badly. Once my mother was talking to him on the phone and he started yelling and then hung up on her. And when I tell him about what he's done he just denies it or tries to "forget" what happened.

So we started to talking to each other again in March, and I told him we could give it another go. But I didn't really tell him that my parents *absolutely* didn't want us to ever see each other again. My father, especially, doesn't even want to hear his name. My parents are concerned that he'll physically abuse me eventually since he's blown up at me so many times. We talked on the phone every night, and one night I didn't call him because I was watching a movie. The next night I told him I couldn't talk because I had a lot of homework and had to go to bed. Late that night I signed on AIM for a second, and he called me 4 times. He left a nasty voicemail saying "you need to call me back RIGHT NOW". I was already freaking out/almost shaking. I panicked and then my father saw what was happening and he told him never to call again.
But he kept saying "she's 20 years old! Put her on the phone!".

He doesn't seem to have any respect for my parents whatsoever. I told him that I live with them and that they provide for me. My parents and I are also very close. He asked me recently "why does your father's decision matter?". I've been hoping that he'd try to talk to my parents in a civilized way, and ask them to let us see each other. But he never does, instead he just wants to avoid them completely. I refuse to see him secretly, because frankly, I'm also afraid of what he might do. But he continues to tell me that he loves me very much, and that he can't stop thinking about me. He even missed work because he was crying. And yet, I continue to exchange e-mails with him and I miss him terribly. I told him that I couldn't talk to him on the phone anymore.

I don't know what to do. I feel like I should break all contact with him and try to move on. But for *three months* I've tried and I can't. I miss him and I'm very much in love with him. Every time I think about us, I become physically ill to my stomach. I've developed tension and anxiety that I can't seem to get to go away. I dream about us being together, but I know that he's unstable and I don't want to get hurt. I also know that it's almost impossible for us to be able to see each other again anyway. I feel awful when I think that I have to let go of someone who loves me, and someone who I love. I don't know when or how I will find something like that again.

What is your opinion on this? I would appreciate it...

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Ecofem
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Honey, I just started reading this and I have to say how painfully difficult this all sounds. Continuing this in any way or form is not healthy for you; it's just making it even harder on yourself. Because you deserve better.

(OK, longer response in a bit.)

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Ecofem
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That tension and anxiety in your stomach that doesn't seem to go away? Please listen to it. I know how unbearable that anxiety feels when you're in a relationship (of whatever sort) that you realize is bad for you. And the behavior he's shown here IS abusive, something that takes awhile to process. (That's some scary stuff there!) But I know I felt such a huge wave of relief when I finally ended that relationship-- I still had unresolved feelings, but I felt "free" of the tension and anxiety as I had known it for awhile.

The relationship is already over; it'd be the time to cut off all contact with him. Stopping phone contact was a good step; can you try to extend it to internet, etc. too? Please enlist your parents, because they seem to want to support you in breaking free of him. (I got unsolicted support from mine that I'm now really grateful for.)

A guy who truly loves you will not make you cry like this. A guy who truly loves you will not pressure you to choose between your family and him. He does not use past conversations against you like he did here. (That is SO inexcusable in my book.)

He needs to step up and act like the mature adult he is. Age differences often equal power differences, and I definitely see that here. It's pretty pitiful of him to use that against you; you've still got of space for learning, but he doesn't.

I think your feelings are ok, but acting on them woudln't be. It certainly sounds like he COULD get physically violent (he's already emotionally violent), so I definitely would not see him ever again. Please do what it takes to stay away from him-- we want you to be happy again, and the longer this goes on, the harder it'll be.

Also: Have you considered counseling yet?

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-Jill
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I have little to add to Ecofem's excellent advice but I just want to chime in as another voice saying this guy needs to go, the sooner the better.

Check out The Abusive Partner Checklist. I think you'll find waaay too much of it applies to your relationship.

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tbelle
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Thanks so much for your advice. I really needed some direction because I was so confused. It's true though...the longer I continue this the worse it will probably get. When I read this I realize that he must really be abusive, even if I try to deny it at times. I don't know how I'm going to get over this, but I guess I have to try.
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Rex
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That absolutely scares me, as it seems the man in mention acts a lot like my step-father. And yes, he is abusive.

While I haven't been here long, and I'm no expert relationship wise... reading that gave me anxiety.

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tbelle
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It's funny that the fact that he's mistreating me seems to be obvious...but although I told him that for the first time not too long ago, he says "you act like I'm a monster" and "how have I been verbally abusive?". He even tells other people "I love too easily, too much, and for longer than is deserved". It makes me angry to think that he might convey to others that he's sweet and that everyone's done *him* wrong. I'm not saying I haven't done anything at all, but it's absolutely nothing compared to what he has...now I know that my thoughts about his behavior are not exaggerated.
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Ecofem
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Yes, this guy has exhibited horrible behavior again and again. You know that frog-in-boiling-water thing? You throw a frog into boiling water, and it'll leap out right away; you throw a frog into lukewarm water and gradually increase the temperature till it dies, since it never saw it coming. That's basically what this guy has done: He turned it on slowly over time and you didn't realize it. But to "every"one else it's like "omg!!" But I know where you're coming from, as I was in an abusive relationship myself once before.

There are times when I think back to his behavior and I'm almost flabbergasted... I know what he did is wrong (now) but somehow it's all sort of blurry, like right and wrong don't seem to clear, and I wonder if I'm making a bigger thing out of something that was just not so good. But I'm not, that was part of the strategy. And you certainly aren't here either; HE is the "bad person" here, not you. I know it's hard to process this stuff, and that's not really the most important thing right now. The most important thing is to stay away from him, cut off all contact, and then to go from there. Seriously, please go enlist your parents help, too, even if it's just talking to them when you get an urge to call.

[ 03-23-2007, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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Just a little snippet here.

quote:
I feel awful when I think that I have to let go of someone who loves me, and someone who I love. I don't know when or how I will find something like that again.
Here's hoping you DON'T. Instead, imagine you find someone who loves you and treats you with love.

It's of little to no value to have someone around who says they loves you, but who doesn't act in a loving way towards you (and those you care about), who doesn't enact love.

And when the time comes that you do find someone -- heck, sounds like your family does that, so this isn't a foreign experience to you -- who does both, I can guarantee you that you'll wonder how you ever confused this with what it really is to have someone love you, sweetheart, in word AND in action.

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tbelle
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thanks ecofem and Heather...I guess I'm starting to realize that it's better to be alone or lonely than dealing with all this. The strange thing is that I always thought I had pretty good judgment when it came to how someone treated me. But in this case it became all blurry because my emotions got thrown into it almost involuntarily, because I fell for him. We seemed to get along great at the beginning and had many common interests. We "connected" somehow. He'd be really caring and sweet too at times, but that was like a different side of him. I thought he had so much potential but he's obviously never going to change his behavior. I've just always thought that...someone who loves you and is affectionate too must be pretty hard to find.
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Heather
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Hey, tbelle.

All the stuff you're describing is pretty typical cycle-of-abuse stuff, and really not about your poor judgment.

I think you may find some things at this site that explain all of this really well, and should provide some comfort for you: http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php?q=understand

(I really can't say enough good things about what those young women have done there: it's an awesome organization.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LadyLuck77
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tbelle:

I read your posts and they took me completely by surprise. I felt myself slipping back to about four years ago, when I endured and finally ended a similar abusive relationship that has had a profound and lasting effect on me.

What I can tell you, with complete sincerity, is that you MUST leave this behind you. The longer you delay this, the more problems and issues will gather. And the abuse will become stronger and possibly become physical. I PROMISE YOU. The temporary gratification of someone who (half of the time, anyway) treats you with utmost "love" and affection is not enough to quell the awful anxiety and depression that inevitably follows a burst of violent temper.

I was 24, and struggling to see the best in myself. I met a man who was 12 years older than I was. We met at work. He was very charismatic and popular, and was very giving. He had been twice divorced, but said that both of the wives had cheated on him, so I thought, "Poor fellow." ANYWAY, on to that later. He started spoiling me immediately with little presents and made me feel like I was the center of the universe. I started dating him, almost immediately started sleeping with him, and the trouble began almost immediately. This man abused me in every sense of the word. I could not go anywhere or do anything without him following me around and becoming VIOLENTLY angry. I changed jobs and he would check in on me regularly, under the guise of doing something sweet, like delivering flowers or bringing me lunch. If a male so much as looked my way the entire time, I would be screamed at on the phone later. He also would look me up and down and comment on my clothing, and would often say, "Are you trying to dress like a slut to get another man?" (Bear in mind, I dress extremely conservatively.) He broke into my e-mail accounts constantly and checked my cell phone when I was asleep. If I was away from him (at home) for the evening, if I didn't answer his call immediately, he would call and call and call and then show up, FURIOUS, and yelling at me. He would not let me go out with my friends and if I rebelled and did it anyway, he would blow up my cell phone about 20x a night (seriously) and then be at my apartment when I got home. Serious fights would ensue, with TERRIBLE name-calling on his part, and then he would start apologizing and be as sweet as pie. Doing ANYTHING under the sun I wanted, in order to be forgiven. I must have broken up with him 10x during the course of our relationship, but somehow I was so weak under his attacks, that I let him back into my life. Another reason I did is because he threatened me (similar to your situation) by telling me that he would tell my parents and church members that I was sexually active with him, and would also notify my work of a time when I called in sick when I wasn't -- I was just extremely tired. It was SICK behavior on his part, and I wasn't strong enough to stand up to it. Finally, tbelle (and there are SO, SO, SO many other things that he did that were terrible), his anger turned more physical. One time, after showing up at my apt. and demanding to know where I had been the evening before (we had broken up and I had been out dancing and flirting), he took my home phone and started going through the caller ID. I tried to take the phone away, and he scuffled with me and then started beating me over the head with the phone and kicking me. It left cuts and bruises. He also threw a rock through my window when he saw myself and a new guy kissing about two months later. The rock broke the window and hit me squarely in the jaw. He also saw me on the road with my new boyfriend and pulled up in front of us and slammed on the brakes in the middle of the street to get us to stop, and then he got out, screaming that I was a whore and would hurt the guy just like I hurt him. I called the police and he totally lied. I almost got a restraining order against him, and should have, but he cried and cried about his emotional state and how much he missed and loved me and was so sorry..."please don't put that order on me, I'll lose custody of my son and lose my job." It was a living nightmare. I finally moved away, back to my hometown, just to be free. It finally ceased somewhat, but sometimes he still tries to figure out what I'm up to, and it drives me crazy.

I'm scared for you, tbelle. I'm not saying your situation is completely similar, but something about your posts really frightened me. I looked at your past ones, also, concerning him, and they made me sad. This man does not know about love. He knows about jealousy, control, and selfishness. He knows how to make you feel like YOU are the perpetrator of these problems, when nothing could be further from the truth. He's jealous because in his past relationships, he has probably done wrong things and knows it's a possibility that someone else could do them back to him. He doesn't want that to happen. He doesn't want you to rely on your parents, because they might clear your mind and you might realize that he isn't what he is trying to make himself appear. He can't take that chance, so whether it is through anxiety, or giving you lots of "love" and affection, he's trying to distort your thoughts to where they focus completely on him.

Please, sweetheart, get out and don't look back. I haven't found true love in any of my relationships since that one, but I will tell you what I have found. Men that are truthful, kind, non-jealous, supportive, loving, calm, etc. I was afraid I wouldn't find anyone that lavished me with enough "attention" like he did. I was wrong. I found so much better. YOU WILL TOO. You are only 20 and there is so much ahead. Someone who will treat you exactly how you deserve and with whom your tensions and anxiety will drain away. Right now, I think you feel like you need him because you are lonely or unsure of what lies ahead, but I promise you, anything is better than this.

Sorry this is a novel, but I wanted to let you know that I've been there and things will get better. Keep taking actions to get this negative existence out of your life. I'll be glad to correspond with you if need be. Take care, sweetheart.

[ 03-24-2007, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: LadyLuck77 ]

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tbelle
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I just want to say I read your post LadyLuck, and it almost made me become emotional as I was reading it. That sounds like such a completely awful thing to go though [Frown] . I'm glad you read my previous post, because it shows how, as in your situation, these men apparently are destroying relationships as well as the people they're involved with, and then moving on to do the same to someone else. The man I've been dealing with (and as I suspect most other abusive types too) also used the "you're a slut" tactic a lot. He never actually called me that, but he did say I liked to "toy with older men's minds" and that I just wanted attention from everyone. I guess it's a way of putting someone down in order to gain control over them.

I agree with you in thinking that this sort of behavior is sick. During fights, I've told him that, but it didn't seem to phase him. One of the creepiest things is how said abuser always seems to become an "angel" after a horrible fight, saying things like "I don't want anyone else but you", "I was being stupid", "I think about you all day". I too believed it (or was just being compassionate) and took him back more than once. What didn't make sense, however, is how he'd say "I yelled and acted that way because you do things that frustrate me". Is that supposed to justify it somehow? One quote from him that made me particularly angry was, "you can hate me for being a brute, I don't care. The fact is I should have been more of that. I shouldn't have been as kind as I was". I could go on and on.

The threats also seem typical. If I were to continue my situation, things probably would get a lot worse. Before I always thought "no, that could never happen to me". I realize that's not the right way to think because it can. Just as he interfered with others in your life, LadyLuck, like your new boyfriend and your church, after an argument, the guy I've been with once wrote a bunch of things about me on a social web site we often frequented. He even sent messages to a male online friend I occasionally talked to, telling him not to bother with me, and that I would hurt him. And honestly I'll never know what else he said. The truth was that I never had any serious relations with this online person who lived on the opposite side of the country, but he imagined in his head that I was flirting with him all the time.

It's frightening to read about just how physically violent he became with you, and that he would actually stalk you and your new dates. It seems that you endured this nightmare for quite some time. I agree with you, it's wise to put an end to something before it even gets to that stage. The incident you described about him hitting you with the phone--that sounds like something the guy I've been involved with might do if provoked. The fact that he doesn't live nearby and that I always delayed actually seeing him in person probably prevented, or prevents, such things from happening.

Thanks so much again, I appreciate your advice and that you've shared with me. I'm starting to feel better now. I haven't spoke to him at all for a few days now, and he hasn't contacted me. I still want to be on the lookout though, just in case. I sometimes feel paranoid when I'm out by myself. And I also know that's he's going through a rough time right now...with things like financial problems and job problems. I'm doing my best to stay away from him and at the same time trying to remain positive.

And by the way, I visited the link Heather posted, and many of the things described on that site are *very* similar to what I've experienced. It's great to know that there's a good deal of information and support on the internet for these types of relationships.

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LadyLuck77
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It's no problem -- I am glad to discuss anything you need or like, and will offer any advice that I can.

I hope I didn't scare you too badly with my stories of how my ex stalked me. I definitely wasn't trying to say that it would happen to you, or that you should be on guard every minute of every day. I'm actually quite relieved that the abuser in your situation is long-distance and somewhat removed from you -- I think the odds of any physical stalking or abuse are a lot less likely in that scenario. You might want to tell your parents that you are a wee bit concerned, just so they can be on alert and be there to help you, SHOULD anything happen. I am so glad they understand the situation and want to help you. That makes me happy. [Smile]

You're right about abusers becoming "angels" after attacks. They are so afraid of losing us, and losing control over something they've been working to control, that they will go to great lengths to keep your affections. Also, like you said, no matter the situation, they will find a way to put the blame on you somehow so that you feel bad and take half of the responsibility. It messes with your mind and you somehow feel that because of all of the ruckus and pain, that you HAD to have done something to cause it, because it isn't normal behavior. I completely agree with Ecofem when she said: "but somehow it's all sort of blurry, like right and wrong don't seem to clear, and I wonder if I'm making a bigger thing out of something that was just not so good. But I'm not, that was part of the strategy." That is perfectly said. You can't fall into that trap.

I'm so glad that the two of you haven't been contacting each other. Try and keep it that way. Your peace of mind will slowly take over and you will feel stronger to deal with things as each day passes -- and when he next calls or finds you online, you won't feel so troubled or scared to stand up for yourself. You slowly will begin to not care as much.

I'm so proud of you for realizing this early and taking steps to move on! Kudos to you! [Smile] I'm here if you want to talk or share stories...anytime. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.

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Ecofem
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quote:
I'm starting to feel better now. I haven't spoke to him at all for a few days now, and he hasn't contacted me. I still want to be on the lookout though, just in case. I sometimes feel paranoid when I'm out by myself. And I also know that's he's going through a rough time right now...with things like financial problems and job problems. I'm doing my best to stay away from him and at the same time trying to remain positive.
I just wanted to let you know I was catching up with your thread here, tbelle. (What a great site, Heather, and what a horrible-but-strong story, LadyLuck.)

I'm glad that you're feeling better, and by all means, please keep avoiding any contact with him. It's good to try to stay positive, but it's also ok to be mad, confused, sad, etc. What have been your coping techniques when you're feeling bad about this? Do you write in a journal or go for a walk or do something else positive?

He'll work the financial stuff out on his own; he certainly shouldn't reply on you for this. It makes me think of this ex of a friend's who literally held her captive in her own apartment. At 30, he was apparently homeless, with no support from family or friends, etc. However, when the police came and trial was scheduled, he suddenly had some expensive, high-powered lawyer and all that jazz. But this very caring, well-meaning friend was worried he didn't have his duffelbag full of belongings, that she had to get them to him. I was like, "He has a restraining order, he can get his own stuff, and he certainly has some support if he suddenly has this lawyer...." I'm not saying that this ex of yours isn't in true tigh sport financially, but maybe that's just part of the manipulation strategy to make you feel compelled to help him...

As for being a bit paranoid, that's not entirely bad to think: You never know if/when this guy might come come, so it's good to let friends and others know that you've cut off contact with him. And try to do things with them or your family versus alone, although not to be too limiting here. (This one guy I had cut off contact with– a different story– drove six hours to surprise in me school before class at 7:20am once. I literally ran out of the classroom because NO one there was helping me– long story.)

Anyway, please enjoy the Spring weather (or is it still icy and cold in New England? [Wink] ) and keep in touch.

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