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Author Topic: Advice?
mysticgal12
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So I have just gotten out of a bad, and abusive realtionship and ive been getting a little overwhelmed.

so ive been trying to talk to more of my friends and get closer to my culinary arts family. And I was asked out on a date. I dont like the guy that way and I told him this.

Well i DO like the guy who has been my best friend since kindergarten, and i have liked him since the 2nd grade. he was jsut always dating other people.

well now we are both single. and we are hanging out and getting to know each other on a closer level and i feel great. he is such a great guy!

but the thing is, a few months ago (around febuaray) i had admitted how i felt about him and he told me he didnt feel the same way. (granted this was bad timing to tell him this as he was kinda chasing another girl he liked)

we never really talked about it. all he has said since then is that he doesnt wanna ruin our friendship and he is afraid that he would mess up a relationship with me. which i dont think he could. he is just a great guy and has always stuck for me and been there for me, simply because he didnt want me to be alone ( i was anti social as a kid) and becasue he has a huge respect for all girls.

well latey he has been coming over to my house, which he never did before, and he was here for 2 nights, skipping work and staying with me to talk and hang out till 8 or later in the morning, we stayed up all night and talked by the fire in my yard. and he has also been inviting me to hang out with him at the mall and with his friends from work and such. He even asked my mother if he could kidnap me in August so i can go to his birthday party and camp out with everyone at a lake house. and he is trying to get me to go to a bon fire at a friends house here in a few days.

i dont know what to make of this. before all we ever did was walk uptown maybe hang out in my yard for a hour or so then text every few weeks. we never really did anything together, let alone go to parties and hang out all night long. i like where this may be going but im afraid that i may be wrong, that maybe he jsut wants to be better friends and hang out more, when i want more than a friendship. but i dont wanna say anything because he knows how i feel and i dont wanna push him, even if i am curious. I just feel SO mixed up!!!!

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Alice
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Hey there.

I understand why you might feel mixed up. It sounds to me like some of the activities you're doing (such as staying up all night talking) may feel sort of intimate to you, and I see why that'd trigger feelings of wondering how he feels about you in romantic sense.

Here's the thing (the obvious thing)...we're not mind readers. I'd imagine you're not a mind reader either. It was only a few months ago that you two discussed how he's not interested in a romantic relationship right now. It seems reasonable to me to assume nothing has changed unless he's said it changed, know what I mean?

So I'd suggest bringing this up again, in whichever way you feel comfortable, if you feel like that's something you'd do. Just initiate a check-in about what he's looking for, asking if anything has changed since you think you might be feeling a change. You don't have to make it super intense, just a casual check-in on how it's going and how he's feeling.

Because here's the other thing: regardless of whether you have a close friendship or are developing a romantic relationship, open honest communication is the foundation of either. Practicing that now is a huge plus for you.

Also, it's entirely possible that he does "only" want to be friends and that you aren't okay with that long-term. Cutting this friendship off due to that, or just giving yourself some distance and space for awhile, is a 100% valid and healthy decision to make.

What do you think about all that?

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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mysticgal12
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it makes sense. but he wont talk about it. he walks around it all the time. we just dont disscuss things like that, and if i ask i get round about replies till he distracts me and we get off topic.

so im not sure how i would even bring it up.

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Alice
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Okay, I understand. I would assume (and to be clear, I'm talking about me personally, not telling you how to feel here) that the combination of him telling you he isn't interested in having more than a platonic friendship + his avoidance of the issue means he's not willing or ready to even discuss this as a possibility - and so, therefore, it isn't a possibility right now.

Now, in the meantime you decide what to do with this knowledge. Like I said before, setting boundaries/limits for yourself in this friendship to protect your feelings would be totally valid. And by setting limits, I mean, if you're not comfortable doing things that feel intimate with him, then don't. Being clear about why you're distancing yourself in any way would be a fair thing to do, too. Make sense?

When it comes down to it, you decide what you're comfortable with in any relationship, no one else can tell you how to feel about or respond to anything that happens to you.

We can, however, help you through the process of setting limits for yourself so you don't feel like you're getting hurt.

Does that make sense? (and as a note, I'm going to bed now, but I'll be here again tomorrow, so feel free to respond as you wish and I'll get back to you. [Smile] )

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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Alice
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Oh! But one more thing before I go. You started your post by stating you've recently gotten out of an abusive relationship and you feel overwhelmed by this. So, so understandable. I'd be happy to talk to you about relationship dynamics between getting out of a bad one and potentially getting into a good one, if you'd like. This also makes it all the more important that you set up all friendships/possible relationships with extra care and being extra empowered to have those boundaries as I said above.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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mysticgal12
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yeah. and this new guy accually helped me alot with the abuse. he has helped me to deal with it.

and he has never talked about how he feels. thats nothing new. he doenst talk about feelings at all really, says that actions speak louder and he chooses to express himself that way. so its confusing that i dont know how to read his actions lately

and talking about therealationship dynamics may help. sometimes it feels like things are going so fast and im TERRIFIED of getting into another bad relationship.

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Alice
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Okay, I hear what you're saying. I'll just tell you, though, that while it's true actions speak quite loudly so do words. Actions, body language, etc...all silent communication is still communication, but nothing beats the clarity that an actual discussion provides (which is probably why you're feeling so confused and mixed up about what he wants!).

I totally understand about the fear of getting into another bad relationship. This is something I can personally relate to (I wrote the story of my abusive relationship here if you're curious about that.

And it's a justifiable fear to have, to be sure. Unhealthy relationships can produce patterns, ways of thinking that may lead to more of same (just like anything else in life, we gravitate toward what is most comfortable and familiar to us...even if it means bad unhealthy things we really don't like).

We have a plethora of information on relationships on the site. I'm going to direct you to some links and ask you to read them and come back with what you've learned or noticed about yourself after reading them, so we can discuss the actual issues which pertain to you personally...if you're up to that!

To start off with, here's something on what abuse is:

Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault

Here's a biggie, on how the heck to even have a healthy relationship:

Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship

So go ahead and look at those two things (and anything else you stumble upon on the site) and come back if you want, and we can talk about how it all applies to you. [Smile]

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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mysticgal12
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i read your story, and the first article. but i think im gonna try and process that before i read the next one.

reading the article made me cry and i am not all to sure why. somethings in it made me think of everything i went through with my ex and sometimes brought a definition to somet things i didnt like in the relationship. and made me know that it wasnt my fault

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Alice
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Oh definitely, take as much time as you need. Getting some sleep in-between processing stuff can be really helpful, just FYI.

What you're describing here sounds like what we call being "triggered." Triggers can happen from places we don't always expect -- it's okay, it happens. That just means that something you read (or saw, or heard, etc) tripped off a part of your brain that is still freaked out about what happened to you in the past.

Basically you just want to take care of yourself when you get upset like that. Take a step back if you need to, sit and cry or be angry if you need to.

I'm glad you're realizing it wasn't your fault. It's easy sometimes to assume responsibility for the actions of others when in reality, their abusive behavior has nothing to do with us. Abusive people tend to be all about power and control, and there's nothing you personally can do to either bring it on nor make it get better.

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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mysticgal12
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it sucks. one min i think im past it and that im okay and the next im bawling. and then i feel so stupid. like i got bored and went through my ex's facebook page, and realized that everything he has done to me, he has done to dozens of other girls. it makes me sad for them, but made me hurt worse. Why couldnt i have noticed this before we got together?

he would seem so sweet. and be like the perfect boyfriend...and it would be like that for months. we would go on dates and be all cute and everything. then it would change. he would start to get angry with me and start listing things that i did wrong. and it could be anything. it could be as simple as me not wanting to kiss during school hours. but he would act like i was the worst person in the world. he would get distant and then we would fight. and after that he would ALWAYS cheat on me. and then he would somehow make it my fault. he told me once that he cheated because the girl was a party girl and i wasnt.

and you would think id leave then, and i did. but he would come back being sweet and saying sorry and making promises and i would believe him. then everything would beokay for a few more months. but it was like a horrible cycle.

and that was bad. the first time he cheated was exactly a week after i lost my virginity to him.

and after that things changed. yes i was happy with him, but only when he was in his sweet mode. and it only ever lasted for 3 months at the most.

he never listened to me. i told him i didnt like showing affection during school, at least not outside of hugs and hand holding. i personally think that anything else should be private. but he never listened. he would pin me to the lockers and kiss me, and not little kisses either.

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mysticgal12
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and thats not even all. if i didnt wanna do somthing sexual he would say that it was okay, yet he would get angry and turn away from me and pretend i wasnt even there. he would wear me down and make me feel so bad and so guilty i would do it, and anything else he asked just to make up for it. i was constantly trying to make him happy, out of fear that he would leave me cheat on me or hurt me with words. i was convinced I wasnt good enough and that i deserved it.

when i became depressed to the point of being suicial he wouldnt let me tell anyone. he told me that he should be enough. but when i broke down in febuary and told him i couldnt take it anymore, he borke up with me. i begged and begged him to just plz tell me one nice thing....to say something sweet. and he told me he was too busy to talk to me. that he didnt feel anything for me at all and couldnt find it in him to tell me anything nice.

honestly if my mom and sister hadnt been home that day, i cant even say id still be alive.

and yet that STILL wasnt a good enough reason for me to walk away. i still lsitened to him say sorry and blame me. i still went back to him. i even stayed and listened to him tell me how he hated thaqt i was on pills and going to aa councelor. he even flat out told me that he wanted me dependant on him and him alone. and when i wasnt he got angry.

the last fight we had was simple. i walked 6 miles to see him and i was hot. he wanted me to have sex at a park in his car and i wouldnt. he tried to guilt trip me and i wouldnt still. then he told me that sex was the only way to express love, and i walked away.

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Alice
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You are straight up describing the pattern of abuse here. Many people, too many people (myself included) experience this pattern or cycle. It starts off great - because why would you stick with someone who treated you like that on the first date? - and it cycles to the weird controlling behavior, to the abuse...then often back to being sorry or really nice all of a sudden (the "honeymoon phase") and back around again.

And sometimes again and again and again. The length of the cycle (hours, days, weeks, months) varies with everyone...but with intimate partner abuse it's pretty much always the same. Does that makes sense?

I tell you this because I recognized that cycle in the description of your relationship you just gave me. I want you to know that he wasn't doing anything unique, that he was being the same basic brand of abusive controlling jerk just about everyone is. It has nothing to do with anything you ever did or said.

To wrap around here, you expressed that you are worried about continuing this pattern in new relationships and, from what you've shared about your friendship with this other guy, this newer one isn't off to a great start.

And you know what? I can feel the anger and sadness and hurt radiating off your last two posts...and I think that's 100% valid. What else? I want you to sort of ride on that anger for a bit. Because seriously, how dare he? Trying to have ultimate power and control over you is about the lowest thing someone can do...because you are a human being with feelings just like everyone else, and you deserve so much better than that.

Anyway, back to the pattern issue. I hear that you want help with correcting this. One of the most important factors is to have the ability to step outside of and separate yourself from the pattern so you can see it clearly and be aware of how to steer away from it. To do that, taking a break from dating guys for, say, 6 months would be a very sound idea. That will give you the chance to get that distance and clarity you so desperately need and to learn how to be by yourself, and okay with you. And it will give you a chance to heal.

(As an aside, I've been in a similar boat as you, and I totally jumped from one bad relationship to one good one, and it totally went to hell. I've had to take that time off from dating and while it hasn't been easy, it has been extremely valuable in identifying what I need to do differently in the future.)

So what do you think about that? I know I gave you a whole lot to think about digest, so take your time. And check this out: To Be... AWESOME or Just Be –– Tips on Making the Most of Your Life Right Now!

[ 06-22-2012, 11:50 AM: Message edited by: Alice ]

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The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

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mysticgal12
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i get what your saying, dont jump in with the new guy expecting to forget my ex and everything that happened, because i will fail. so i can agree to that, ill let things be and just focus on me and what i want. what makes me feel good.

lately ive been looking to what i wanna do in the future. i picked out a college and looked into it. i still have a year of high school left, but its gonna be a year of hard work because school is expensive (and i picked the top 3rd culinary school in america to attend lol) since it is in a different state, and i am unwilling to leave my cat behind, i decided it might be fun to look at studio appartments, and i found out that i can accually do it!! it made me so happy!!

my ex was against me going to school. he HATED that i wanted to move out of state and do all the things you think of when you dream of college. so it made me feel good to start looking at it and day dreaming a bit. and it felt WONDERFUL to realize that it was a feasible dream.

i wanna go to school in Kentucky, and then graduate with a bakers degree to go with my culinary degree im earning now in high school. with those im going to get a job on a cruise ship and move to north carolina with my best friend and get an appartment with her, that way she can go to school and my precious cat will be watched while im away on the ship.

my mom doesnt agree with my descions, but ultimatly it is my life. if i wanna go to college out of state and live all over america i feel i have that right. and it DOES feel fantastic to know that i can do any of it. I just have to work to get the money for school and be smart about it.

but if i had another boyfriend, id have to work him into my plans and currently im not willing to change them or even compromise. why should i? i can be single and do it all my way and worry bout dating again later on. [Razz]

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WesLuck
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Yes, it will be ready when you are ready. [Smile] And that's the best way to have it be, too!
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mysticgal12
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sometimes its hard not to think about what happened tho. i try to ignore what happened with me and my ex...but eventually it comes back and hurts way worse.

sometimes its easy to think that I caused it because i kept going back to him. we broke up 3 times and yet i still went back to him. Even after he nearly broke my arm, and even after i had a no contact order on him...i found ways around it and would get back with him. but i dont truly understand why. i mean i knew that i didnt like the way i was treated when things got bad. but i still chose to go back.

and now i sit and think about it in little chunks and i start wondering of somethings that happened werent more than just mental abuse. Like there would be plenty of days where id be eating lunch and he would be putting his hand where i didnt want it. and if id push his hand away or say stop he wouldnt, or if he did he would get mad and wuit talking to me.

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mysticgal12
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and if i said no to sex he would say something like this "thats okay, i promised not to do anything you dont want to, even if i have been stressed all week and was looking forward to this, and now im disapointed. but thats okay cuz you dont want to" but while saying that he would quit cuddling with me or quit looking at me and basicly act like i wasnt there anymore.

and that was in private. but he could get mad at me at school too and that was almost worse. he would drag everyone into our argument and paint the picture to where i looked bad and he didnt. or he would tell everyone what we did sexually. and he would keep doing this no matter how many times i would explain that info like that is private and i dont want it said to anyone else. he never listened.

once we had an argument at lunch, i get free lunches and alot of times what i eat during lunch at school and in my culinary arts class, is all i eat at home. anyway he got mad at me because i shared my lunch with him, but not "enough" of it. he quit talking to me and wouldnt walk by me to the lockers, so i walked on and left him to pout. but he got super mad and started yelling at me in the hall and slamming his locker door by my face and throwing his books down on the floor. then he went calm and started saying srry and that it was okay. at this point a classmate came by to tell us Chef wanted us to have an extra book, and as i was getting it out of my locker, my ex's history book "fell" out. it hit my arm super hard, (my locker is below his at school), i tried going to class and acting like nothing happened, but during knife skills chef realized it brought me to tears to flex or bend my arm or wrist. he made me go to the nurse who later suggested i go to the ER. it turns out that the book "Falling" on my arm bruised it down the bone, it could have broken it. i was in a sling and wrap for 2 and a half weeks.

now i cant really sort out if he did that on purpose, or if it truly was an accident. whenever he got mad he would slam things and throw things and hit things around me, but never me. unless it was during sex. then he would throw me on the bed and such, and pin me, but even then he didnt hurt me. just scared me.

i just dont understand how i could have gone from being independant and happy, to stuck in that kinda situation where i was mean to everyone around me at home and completly dependant on someone who hurt me so much. i mean its easy to see now what was bad, but why couldnt i see it then? even when i had my chef, mother, sisters, friends and everyone else telling me that it was bad and that i needed to leave? why couldnt i have listened and saved myself 11 months worth of hurt?

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WesLuck
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Everybody can eventually be conditioned to go from healthy to unhealthy, if the process happens slowly. It's a bit like the frog in the pan - if you slowly heat it up, they don't jump out, whereas if you turn up the heat quickly they do. It's kinda like that analogy.

Life happens the way it happens. It's unfortunate that sometimes we go through great pain before we realise something, but the past can't be changed.

But the way that we relate to our past CAN be changed, step by step, starting with recognising the problem and removing ourselves from the unhealthy environment, then finding what makes us, uniquely, tick. [Smile]

And just for you:

-hugs for mysticgal- [Smile]

[ 06-22-2012, 11:38 PM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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mysticgal12
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thanks for the hugs.

its hard to talk to anyone. mom and family doesnt like to listen to it. or if they do i get a "i told you so" type of response.

and i get almost harrased daily by my one friend. they tell my that ive changed, that they dont like it, they liked me better before, that they want things to go back...and just on and on.

the thing is, is in some ways i like some of the changes that happened. By going to Culinary Arts i became more sure of myself and gained alot of new confidence. ( i mean if im supposed to be able to handle GIANT and very SHARP knives, i better be sure of myself!!) i even got to put to use some leadership skills i didnt even realize i had. so i like those type of changes.

and i dont always like to hear over and over how bad my ex was. yes what he did was bad, but i dislike the thought of labeling him a horrible person. i think he needs help, and that he is unwilling to get it right now. but i also know that he has been abused by his dad. and sometimes i wonder if he is just copying what his father does to his mother.

but then i feel like im making excuses for him and that its not ok.

UGH its so dang confusing!!!

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WesLuck
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Focus on you for the moment. Do what's best for you. It's not a good idea to get involved with your ex again. Since it's not even possible to provide professional help within a relationship that's generally working, it's just not possible to help someone who you've had to break up with after they have not been treating you right for a long time. Hopefully he'll get helped out, but for you, "you" is the most important thing. So it's good that you are finding new and exciting things to do. [Smile]

It's no wonder it's confusing - life is so complicated that there can often be good and bad things about the same thing. But the thing to remember is that you can't help an abusive ex, and he would probably think you want to get back with him if you did, so you just have to hope that he eventually gets the help he needs. But he needs to get that from other people who 'can' help him.

You now need to focus on "you" and what makes you happy. [Smile]

-more hugs for mysticgal-

[ 06-23-2012, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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mysticgal12
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ive realised this. ill never be able to help him. i tried. and i just got hurt worse. i gave him all i could, if he wants help he has the card and number to the councelling center. so its on him now.
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WesLuck
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Yes, it's up to him now. Sometimes we have to just accept that people need to get themselves to the stage where they are able to get the help they need. It's kinda sad, but it's just the way it is. It is not possible to help everyone we meet in our lives. But we can generally learn to help ourselves, and certain other people. But we must respect our limits. [Smile]

[ 06-23-2012, 12:27 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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