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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Ex's calls

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Author Topic: Ex's calls
Roxie102
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Hi everyone, I just need an outside opinion on this. I broke up with my ex several months ago and have been ignoring his calls and texts for about two months, however, I never told him outright that I wanted no contact. I told him not to call me with his problems, but he keeps calling, I don't know what about. Sometimes he leaves voicemails saying things like "I'm never going to call you again. It looks like I'm out of your life now" and stuff and yet, he still calls back. I have no feelings toward him except for brief feelings of nostalgia for the good times in our relationship, yet, lately I've been feeling guilty for ignoring his calls. He's graduated, had a birthday, had a car wreck, his dog died, and he's gone to college, and I've ignored it all (I only know these things from voicemails he's left), and I almost feel like I shouldn't have. My new partner is very understanding and encourages me to ignore the calls, not out of jealousy but simply because he knows my ex was/is abusive. He asked me to promise him that I wouldn't talk to my ex because he doesn't want him to upset me again, so I did and it's been fine for the most part, but I can't seem to shake this feeling of guilt, and it's even worse because I didn't do anything wrong - my ex did, even though he denies it all. So, any advice?
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Redskies
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Hi, Roxie.

I hear that some significant things have happened in your ex's life. With those kinds of things, the people who are appropriate supports may be family, friends, mentors, counsellors, therapists. An ex just doesn't have that role any more. It's ok to move on and have no part in the things that happen in an ex's life.

From what you described him saying, it sounds like your ex is guilt-tripping you. What he said is clearly attention-seeking and a passive-aggressive attempt to either get you to contact him or to keep you thinking about him. I'm very conscious that you said he was abusive. Often, abusive people try very hard not to let go of someone they were abusing; they try their hardest not to let that person move on, and they try to go on abusing them in whatever way they can.

It's absolutely fine that you haven't taken his calls. Given that he's abusive, not taking the calls is a very good idea.

He's obviously bothering you, and he needs to stop what he's doing. As you say you haven't yet made it clear that you want no contact, it's probably time to do that. As he's abusive, I'd suggest not interacting with him, as that might lead him to believe that calling you is getting him what he wants, and it's best to keep as far away from abusive people as possible. I'd think that sending a brief and clear written message would be the way to communicate, and keep a copy.

If you'd like a hand with figuring out what to say and exactly how to go about this, there are staff/volunteers who I know have a lot of experience with dealing with abusive people who don't go away, and I'm sure they'd be very happy to help - just let us know.

I'm glad that your current partner sounds supportive.

How are you feeling about this now?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Roxie102
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Thanks, Redskies. [Smile] He was mostly verbally/emotionally abusive, and a little coercive as far as sex was concerned. The hardest part for me was realizing that he was indeed abusive. It wasn't until I heard those words come out of my current partner's mouth that I really came to believe it. Having my ex deny everything I told him he'd done hurt very much too. When I started this new relationship, the amount of love and respect my partner had for me was so surprising. I could not believe that I had been dealing with an abusive partner for so long when there were others out there who are so genuinely sweet and loving. The difference has been like day and night. I feel better now than I have in months, I just wish my ex would leave me alone completely. I was fine until I listened to a voicemail or two, and that's when the guilt started. I can see that he's just being manipulative, but it seems to be working, sadly.

I had been thinking about telling him in some way that I did not want any contact, but I was afraid of opening up the lines of communication again for fear of him feeling like he'd finally gotten me to talk to him, like you said. Yet, this can't go on. I'd be grateful for some help as to what to say to him.

[ 07-14-2013, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Roxie102 ]

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Redskies
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It's often hard to figure out that a partner or someone else close is abusive. Sadly, it's part of the picture. Abusers mostly - consciously or subconsciously - try not to appear abusive and create a situation where we don't believe they're abusive so that people stick around so that they can continue to be abusive. Even when we're no longer around them, we're used to thinking of the situation in the way the abuser led us to think, so it's not surprising when it's still hard to figure out.

I'm glad that you've come to believe it. Not believing, or not being able to believe, our own experiences is usually very rough. Sometimes, hearing someone else say it can be what makes it sink in.

Abusive people nearly always deny it. Denying actual things they did is a form of abuse, too, known as "gas-lighting". It's abusive because it makes the person they're doing it to question and doubt their own feelings, memories, and reality. I'm truly sorry that he denied everything, but I also wouldn't expect anything else from an abusive person. His denial is about him and what he's like, not about you. When we're finally realising and breaking free of abusive people, part of the process is not granting their interpretation of reality any value whatsoever, and re-learning how to value and trust our own feelings and experiences.

I guess you've seen Scarleteen's articles about abuse and abusive relationships? Is there any support or help you'd like from us regarding your ex and that relationship?

Seems like your feelings were on the ball about this. I'll drop a line to the other staff - I think I'd give you decent advice about the letter, but I know there are folk who'll give you truly excellent advice, and why have decent when you can have the best? [Smile]

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Redskies
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Just seen your edit.

I'm so very glad that you've had such a positive experience with your current partner. Sometimes, it is a massive contrast like that where we're finally experiencing real respect, affection and care that makes us realise how not-ok what we experienced before was.

It's great that you're able to see that your ex is being manipulative. Recovering from abuse is a process, and we need some time and sometimes some guidance to unlearn the responses they taught us. Just some distance from your ex would help with that. How long has it been since you were in that relationship?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Roxie102
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I broke up with him at the beginning of March. It wasn't until the latter part of May that I stopped talking to him. Just breaking up was a huge step for me, so after that, I've had to really try to take good care of myself.

[ 07-14-2013, 10:29 PM: Message edited by: Roxie102 ]

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Robin Lee
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Hi Roxie,

I certainly understand your reluctance to engage with this person again. I can also understand how it would feel icky for him to continue tactics that seem to be intended to draw you in. However, he is not a mind-reader, and cannot know that you don't wish for him to contact you unless you tell him so.

Making contact to tell him that you don't want him to contact you, isn't, in my opinion, capitulating to his will.


if you tell him that you don't want to hear from him, and then he continues to call you, leave you voice mails, and so on, we can know he's being manipulative, or disrespectful, or expressing any number of invasive or uncaring behaviours.


I'm thinking that in terms of what to say to him, simple is probably going to serve you best.

So, just something like: "I don't wish to talk with you anymore. please stop calling."

It doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to include reasons or explanations.

Does this make sense?

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Robin

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Roxie102
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Thanks Robin. I figured that he would get the picture since I had been ignoring him for so long; that's why I never said anything. But, I sent him a short message this morning just telling him not to call me, so I'll see what, if anything, he says.
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Robin Lee
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You're welcome.

Generally, it's not sound to presume that anyone will get the picture of anything unless we tell them specifically, so as awkward as it is, making one's needs and wishes clear really does need to be the first step.

Here's hoping he responds by simply not contacting you any longer. Keeping my fingers crossed. [Razz]

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Robin

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Roxie102
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He just replied and said that he would like to talk just once more. I don't know if I should.
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Robin Lee
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You don't have to just because he asked. You're allowed to say no.

The decision is yours. [Smile]

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Robin

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Roxie102
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I asked him to give me a good reason as to why we should talk, and he said he doesn't need a reason, that he just wants to talk. We went back and forth a little bit, and then I told him that I can't move on unless he stops calling me, but he didn't pay any attention to that and instead, changed the subject. I don't know if I got through to him or not. [Frown]

[ 07-15-2013, 03:13 PM: Message edited by: Roxie102 ]

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Redskies
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Ugh. Sorry to hear.

His response here does sound disrespectful and overstepping your expressed boundaries, and like an attempt to keep you engaged. It sounds like you were more than fair in your response to him, and you don't have to explain or justify your wishes to him.

If he contacts you again, I'd suggest sending one exact repeat of the short, clear message you sent saying that you want no contact - to reinforce that and make it clear that you will be holding your boundaries - and nothing else.

--------------------
The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Molias
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Roxie, I'm really sad to hear that your boyfriend keeps pushing for contact when you've been clear that you don't want any.
One thing you could do, if you haven't already, is block him on any social media sites you're both on and block his number on your phone, if you can. That way if he does keep calling you, you won't have to deal with it or even be aware of it.

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katierose
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Hey Roxie,
Your ex sounds really similar to my ex in the ways that he is/was abusive. I can relate to how surprisingly difficult it is to realize that a partner was abusive. I don't have any expert advice to give, but I thought it might help to hear that you're not alone. I'm sorry you're dealing with this!

I had a really hard time actually ending things with my ex. When I ignored his texts, emails, facebook messages, calls, and voicemails, he tried to contact me through my friends and family. I stopped some ways of him contacting me, but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a way to block the calls he made through Google voice. It took a few answered phone calls followed by a week or two of feeling like we had just broken up again to convince me that I really shouldn't give him the chance to talk to me anymore. He didn't deserve it. The last time he called, he said "hello" and I immediately answered "good bye" and hung up the phone. That seems to have been effective because I haven't heard from him since. In my experience, if I gave him any tiny bit of hope that we could have a conversation, he would guilt me in to talking more and more.

I just thought I'd chime in that two years after we broke up, it's so much better for me. I hope it works that way for you, too! It sounds like your current boyfriend cares about and respects you, which is great! It's shocking how drastically different two people (an ex and a new guy) can be.

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katierose
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Hey Roxie,
Your ex sounds really similar to my ex in the ways that he is/was abusive. I can relate to how surprisingly difficult it is to realize that a partner was abusive. I don't have any expert advice to give, but I thought it might help to hear that you're not alone. I'm sorry you're dealing with this!

I had a really hard time actually ending things with my ex. When I ignored his texts, emails, facebook messages, calls, and voicemails, he tried to contact me through my friends and family. I stopped some ways of him contacting me, but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a way to block the calls he made through Google voice. It took a few answered phone calls followed by a week or two of feeling like we had just broken up again to convince me that I really shouldn't give him the chance to talk to me anymore. He didn't deserve it. The last time he called, he said "hello" and I immediately answered "good bye" and hung up the phone. That seems to have been effective because I haven't heard from him since. In my experience, if I gave him any tiny bit of hope that we could have a conversation, he would guilt me in to talking more and more.

I just thought I'd chime in that two years after we broke up, it's so much better for me. I hope it works that way for you, too! It sounds like your current boyfriend cares about and respects you, which is great! It's shocking how drastically different two people (an ex and a new guy) can be.

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Roxie102
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Thanks for the support Redskies, Molias, and katierose. [Smile] So far so good, he hasn't contacted me again. If he does, I will tell him that this is a firm boundary I am not going to cross and will not answer any phone calls no matter what, and if that doesn't work, I will block him.

And katierose, that's exactly how my ex is - the few times he got me to talk to him, he just made me feel terrible for everything, and I know if I end up talking to him again, he will just do the same thing. But I'm still very happy I broke up with him and things are much better for the most part.

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