I got a message today from my ex (the one I've talked about here before) and I don't know what to make of it.
He apoligized for being a jerk in the relationship and for treating me so badly, and then said he was sending it because he wanted me to know how much I'd helped him. How I'd made him a better person, how he had graduated now, and finally moved out and was finally going somewhere in his life. Apparently because of me.
And I don't know what to make of it. It's nice I guess, and I thought I was over being angry at him, but for some reason this, this makes me hate him. I hate him how he got something positive out of this relationship, that somehow I helped him, and all I was left with was a bunch of emotional turmoil and fucked up crap to deal with. I don't know if I want to reply to it, I don't know if I can. For some reason reading it just makes me feel so very, very unsafe. Part of me really really wants to reply and say something awful, another part wants to just say thanks and let it go, and another part want to ignore it and never look at it again.
I know I could go in and talk to a councillor about this, and I might, but I just felt like I needed some more immediate response. To be fair though, I don't have a straight forward question. I just feel like I needed to say something about it. I guess, if anything, how should I respond? Or should I respond at all?
I feel I can relate to your feeling of anger at getting this message. If, say, I helped someone find an apartment and helped tutor them in algebra, and then they thanked me for helping them find a place to live and get into college, that would be quite reasonable and would be a nice thing to say.
If an ex that I had a bad relationship with "thanked" me in the way that yours did, I would feel like they were emotionally dependent on me in a way that was unhealthy. I am particularly suspicious of when people say that someone made them "a better person", since I believe that becoming a better person is the responsibility of the individual and not something someone else can do for them.
I am not aware of the details of your relationship with your ex, but I do want to say that I think your reaction seems normal to me.
Posts: 143 | From: USA | Registered: Aug 2009
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Skiesofgreen: I would say simply that you need not respond at all. When we finally get away from something or someone unhealthy for us, whether they tend to still be around or do something to be near us in some way - it's always sage to just let it go and walk away. Whether you keep it,shred it, what-have-you is up to you, but having come so far to get away I'd say it's a much better idea to let the sleeping dog lie.
-------------------- "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon Posts: 3429 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2008
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Thank you for your replies, I definitely needed them when I posted this. =)
I ended up writing a response to him, for catharsis, that I don't actually plan on sending. I just needed to let it out. I'm posting it here, down below, because although I never plan on sending it I feel like I need someone to see it. For the response to at least be real to someone besides myself.
[names of course changed]
Darren it's good you're doing well, good for yourself and, I'm sure, good for the people around you. I'm sure your mother appreciates you moving out and I'm sure your lungs appreciate you no longer smoking. I have to ask you though, to please, with my utmost sincerity, to please not thank me.
Don't thank me for making a difference in your life. Don't thank me for making you a better person.
Other people don't make you who you are, you make yourself. Circumstances, people, these influence us, but if I had a pie chart that'd be the sliver I gave to Nicole and the rest of it would be made up of how you react. So I don't deserve your praise and, more importantly, I don't want it. I refuse any responsibility for how you turn out, or how you end up. I don't want it and I won't take it. I'm not saying this to start a fight, I'm saying it because it's true.
I have wounds that are still healing, I have scars that are still bright and red, and refuse to let my struggle, my issues, be responsible for your success. If you succeed, so be it, good for you. I don't hate you. But Darren, I can't let people touch me sometimes because you forced me to let you touch my body however you wanted. I have trouble being intimate with people that I REALLY want to be intimate with because you wouldn't let me chose when we got it on. I have no boundaries because you ran over mine. I have no objections because you silenced them. It's nice of you to recognise you were a childish jerkoff for the last 10 months that we talked, but the last 10 months were nothing compared to being harassed into letting you take off my pants and do what you wanted, nothing compared to being ignored when I said it hurt, or when I cried, or when I lay there silent because I no longer knew how to respond. It was nothing compared to how you stole my voice.
But my point here isn't to lecture you, or to make you feel bad. I'm not saying this to scold you, I'm saying this so you understand. Understand that those things don't make me because, goddammit, I make myself. If those are the circumstances you left me with than I have, and I will continue to, react. Because it's my reaction that defines me, not you.
So please, don't thank me. It's good that you're doing well, it's good that you're moving on. But that, that isn't, and never will be, my responsibility.
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