Donate Now
  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » How to deal with a really bad breakup and everything that comes with (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: How to deal with a really bad breakup and everything that comes with
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 4 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
((I hope I'm posting this in the right place--if this isn't an appropriate topic for this message board please let me know))
Also this is literally the longest ever, I am so sorry.


....

Note: trigger warning for self harm, suicide, and abuse (just to be safe)

Hi scarleteen!
Okay, so I'm going through some nasty stuff right now. I've been getting more and more depressed since this school year began, and a few months ago, my now-exboyfriend (who I'd been officially dating for a year, but we'd basically been going out for half a year before that) broke up with me completely out of the blue. A lot of stuff happened and I'm just feeling really awful and confused, and I wanted your help.
Just to start off to keep things from getting too confusing, basically what I want is: to know whether or not I was in an emotionally abusive relationship; to figure out a way to deal with having to see him every day; and to find out if it's possible or even a good idea for me to try and rekindle a friendship (just a friendship) with him.
I'm really sorry this is incredibly long.

To make things simple:
T -- my ex
W -- his ex
K -- our mutual friend, who is no longer actually my friend


To start from the beginning, T and I began dating around winter of last year. I was 15 (almost 16) and he was 16 (almost 17), we're now 17 and 18 respectively. Now, I had met T the year before and we'd been good friends for a year, and definitely had crushes on each other the whole time. By the start of the school year before this one, we basically behaved like we were a couple, to the point that it was a surprise to no one that we were dating. We even went on a couple of "dates" that weren't officially dates, but might as well have been.
Unbeknownst to me until a couple of months ago, T had actually started dating a girl two summers ago (so the first summer I knew him) who we'll call W, and broke up with her a little over a month after we'd officially been together. They were never at all physical (he met her at camp but didn't start "dating" her until after they both went home, and they live very far away so they never saw each other--they never even kissed) but still, he didn't tell me or her until after he broke up with me, that's definitely cheating. To be honest, it still makes me feel a bit sick thinking about it, even though it's not "serious" cheating. He also sexted W twice after he broke up with her (but was still dating me), and the second time it was only a month or so before he broke up with me, and he told her that it was okay because he was "probably going to break up with (me) anyway." (When everything is finally out in the open and we talk about this, he says that that was a lie; he only told her that because he was afraid she'd tell me).
At the time, he told her he loved her and made promises about them living together in the future and staying together, etc etc (I'm not 100% on the details, but W did tell me they were promises like that, so I wouldn't be surprised if he promised never to leave her). Now, he told me that he thought he loved her but realized he didn't, and that nothing really ever felt "real" with her (probably because she was so far away and their relationship was only ever by phonecall/text). He said he broke up with her because he wanted to only be with me, but then asked for her back the day after because he was "scared of being alone." It didn't happen, but they continued to keep in touch. (Sidenote: I only know all this because she contacted me and told me she had something to tell me, and I had to bug him over and over to tell me because it would be better coming from him then her, and only THEN did he admit to any of it. But he only told me about the overlap, nothing else, and I talked to her and she explained the rest. He tried to play it off/deny some of it at first, but eventually admitted to it and we talked about it)
I was always made a bit uncomfortable by them keeping in touch, but I knew exes could be friends and he assured me nothing was going on, so I let it go because I trusted him. I knew that they had dated, but he said that was in the summer before sophomore year, before we even met, and that he never loved her (which I believe is true) and that he never told her he loved her/made her any promises (not true) and that they only dated for a little while and it was never serious (not true--though I think he thought it was serious at the time, but obviously since it didn't even feel real it wasn't. None of his friends, minus maybe the ones at the camp where they met, knew they were dating)
I asked him to explain why he did this but he either couldn't or wouldn't. The best explanation he came up with was that he was able to sort of justify it in his head because he had these sort of separate lives, one being his home/school life and the other being his life with his theater friends (he's very into theater and wants to be an actor, so he does lots of camps and shows outside of school). It was actually something I was sort of concerned with, that it seemed like I was completely separate and removed from that part of his life, and it made me sort of uncomfortable (not that people can't have their own spaces or anything, just that it felt like a whole part of him and his life I didn't even know)
What confuses me most is that he said he was never really that attracted to W (also, she's 3 years younger than him--they started dating the summer before her freshman year and his junior year--I think that's a little gross tbh)
He said he never even, uh, masturbated to her, and realizes if he had it probably would've felt weird. He said he really did/had care(d) about her and definitely had a crush on her, but didn't even know why he sexted her while we were dating considering he wasn't attracted to her (especially the second time) and couldn't really come up with an explanation. But it was clear the intention was definitely sexting (with words, not pictures) and not something else, though he did try to deny it and say it wasn't like that when I first brought it up.
He said he believed if he told me he'd really cared about her that I would feel bad, even though I told him (while we were together) I wouldn't have cared if he had loved someone/slept with someone/etc in the past. And he also said he didn't tell me because he was afraid I'd hurt myself (I have a history of self harm) and that's why he told his ex not to tell me, which I don't believe, but I'll get to that later.
That's pretty much it about the cheating (though as a sidenote, W is kind of a bit of a stalker. She found my tumblr by googling his name and stalked me for a year without me knowing, and finally reached out to me by way of tumblr when she wanted to tell me what happened. I had long since deleted the post that mentioned his name, since T's name is very distinctive and pretty easy to find. He says he doesn't talk to her anymore because she creeps him out (he's also really angry that she told me, but won't say that to me), and that his parents also made him not talk to her anymore because he told them everything. I don't talk to her anymore either, because I realized it just made me upset, but he was also really angry when I talked to her which pisses me off. Probably because she was telling me stuff about him that I didn't know, and if I'd bring it up to him he would get angry and be like "I don't want to talk about my past" even though I only mentioned it and never pushed it. He also apparently said to her that I was "less cool and less intimidating" which wow, thanks. And he cried on the phone when he told her and said he loved her and that she was beautiful, and meant he loved her in a non-romantic sense but I'm not sure she knew that. And she DEFINITELY still has feelings for him, and says she loves him. So I feel awful for her too, even if she is a bit creepy.)
Anyway, that still makes me feel a bit sick and I feel shitty because he lied to me, but all in all I'm just trying to get over it. It's not the biggest deal and I know he cared more for me than he did for her, though this whole experience does make me not trust him at all. And certainly makes me not want to date him ever again, at least as long as he's like this.
I'm really just pissed I didn't find out until a MONTH after we broke up AND it had to be from his ex. Like really, he couldn't have just told me when he dumped me? He had to break my heart twice?
He always went on and on about how important FAITHFULNESS was and MONOGAMY (to both me AND her) and about how we'd never have an open relationship in college or 3-ways or anything that suggested us being with anyone but each other. And he always talked about how wrong cheating was. I guess he just never thought about himself.

I should also probably mention that I'm bisexual. Well, sort of. The point is I'm attracted to both boys and girls. T was very jealous of my (very very close) relationship with my best friend (who is female). He accused me of having romantic feelings for her, which I denied, saying that if I was going to be in love with her gender wouldn't matter. He asked me straight up what my sexual orientation was, I didn't want to answer, he asked again, I came out. He then went on about how statistically I'd turn out to be gay which means eventually id leave him, and throughout our relationship was always saying that he was worried a girl would be a better partner for me and that i'd leave him for a girl. He blamed it all on "W cheated on me with a girl" (she's also bi), which I later found out never happened! He's the only one who cheated. She never did.
He made me feel like shit about my sexual orientation, and I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever wished I was straight. I'm only really out to about 4 people.

Unrelated to that, I wanted to talk about the actual break up part. So T and I had been fighting more than usual lately, which we'd attributed to his being stressed and busy with college applications and me being "upset all the time" (ie depressed). We didn't have much time to see each other outside of school (we did, however, see each other at school every day) and that kind of made things a bit stressful too, because he was always busy and it felt like he didn't want to see me--even though I knew he was just really busy, I couldn't help feeling a bit neglected. This was made worse by the fact that he didn't seem very attracted to me anymore and he didn't really seem to be paying attention to me other than when it was convenient for him. I felt pretty shitty about it, but whenever I tried to bring it up, he'd say it wasn't true and that he was just busy and tell me to stop guilt tripping him. The week before he dumped me, I thought we'd finally come to an understanding--I felt crappy because he didn't seem to be putting any effort into our relationship, and he felt crappy because me being upset all the time made him feel like he wasn't enough to keep me happy. So we talked about it, both agreed to try harder, and I thought this was a great fresh start and chance to make things better. Apparently I was wrong, because a week later he broke up with me (right before winter break). It was totally out of the blue. Yes, we'd been fighting more over the past couple of months, but we hadn't the past couple of weeks--things were getting better. And while I had in the past suggested "taking a break" he vehemently disagreed, saying that was "giving up" and we shouldn't give up, we should keep trying, and very clearly expressed he had no desire to break up with me. The day he broke up with me everything was completely fine. Actually, things were really good, and I was happy and he was happy too, telling me he loved me and all that. He still insists he never lied to me that day. This was our last exam day. So everything is great and perfectly normal, we go and take our last exam, and immediately after that he dumps me. No serious conversation, just "I think we should break up" and "I just don't think we can give each other what we need right now." He didn't plan on breaking up with me, no, he decided on the spot. And didn't even sleep on it. He just ended things. He asked me to please still be his friend, that he needed me, that I was his best friend and that we promised to remain friends if we ever broke up but to please please please still be his friend. And when I asked him the next day if he still loved me, he paused for a second and then said "I'll always love you." But when I asked if he was still IN love with me, he said "I don't know. Which probably means no." And yet he was saying he loved me the day before. He says he didn't lie to me, and if he did lie to anyone, it was only to himself. I don't know. And when I asked him why he broke up with me, why he didn't love me, why ANY of this... All he could say was "I don't know." So basically he just told me "I don't love you. I don't know why. And I don't care."

To put this breakup in perspective, and also so I can figure out whether or not the relationship was manipulative/abusive, I should probably talk about our relationship while we were dating (and now).
So we started dating and things were pretty great, at least I thought they were. T was my first kiss and my first relationship, so I haven't had much experience in this regard. He'd hooked up with many people in the past, and had a couple of relationships, but they were in middle school and not really serious (minus the girl he cheated on me with/cheated on her with me, he dated her in high school--but again, it didn't feel "real", so I guess I was really his first real girlfriend/relationship). I always knew this put me at a bit of a disadvantage, though. I never had a problem with him having had been with people before me, but of course thinking of him being with other people always made me feel a bit jealous/a bit sick (I mean, who likes thinking of their significant other being with other people? It's not a pleasant thought). I knew that him having been with others but me not having been with anyone but him did put us at a bit of an imbalance though. He had all the "experience" where I had none, so I knew he had the power in this situation. Hardly a deal breaker, but I think it's important to recognize that... He never did, though. He said he regretted the way he acted during that time in his life, especially hooking up with a bunch of people, so he never really wanted to talk about it much, but would if I asked.
So he already sort of held power in a couple of regards; he was a year older than me and he had more "experience" so I didn't really know what was "normal" or "expected" in a relationship, but he at least acted like he did. I heard things like that a lot from him, like "it's normal for people in a relationship to do ___" or "when you're in a relationship you ____." While we were dating the PDA was a little... Much, I guess (actually before we were dating too) but people started to complain a bit because we were at school and it was a little gross. Which is totally fair. So our friends bring it up and get kinda angry because we're spending more time together than with them ("it's normal for people in relationships to do that!" He'd say) and the PDA grosses them out. But they're our friends and we always joke around and they're not all that serious. But then a girl from the school musical (which we were both in) comes and tells us to cool it down a little bit because it makes her uncomfortable. Now we weren't doing very much, especially in light of how touchy-feely EVERYONE in the musical is, but it made her uncomfortable so I told my ex we should stop. I didn't hold his hand when I sat down next to him or let him pick me up off the stage and set me down, which he liked to do. He got really pouty really quickly, saying things all like how I didn't like him, how I shouldn't listen to other people because what did they know, clearly I cared more about not offending people than his feelings etc etc. This was pretty early in our relationship and I was like crap, I don't want to screw things up. And it's not like /I/ wanted to stop holding his hand in public and stuff, I did it because other people didn't like it. But it was clearly making him upset so I just ended up ignoring the girl who complained and we continued to do what we normally did.
Another time, we're at rehearsal (this is only about a month-ish into our relationship. T is either still "dating" W or he has recently broken up with her, I'm not sure). So we're all hanging out, and this one senior boy used to do this thing where he'd (jokingly) be all creepy and hang around on me all the time and not let go. I never made a big deal out of it because I didn't want him to think I was actually upset by it or that he was assaulting me or something (it didn't make me uncomfortable, it was just a bit annoying) but I did tell him to stop, and I tried to escape when he wrapped his arms around me but I couldn't. Eventually he'd just go away. I found out later he and some other kids had set him up to do this since the fall play (before me and my old boyfriend got together) in an effort to make T jealous. Well, it worked very well apparently. At first he'd just leave the room whenever it happened (my knight in shining armor, right?) and not say anything. But this one rehearsal, that senior boy was hanging on me, and this other senior boy came and put his arm around me, and this junior girl slapped my butt I think too. All of this was 100% in jest, and also 100% on their side (I think the only other person i hugged at rehearsal other than T was my good friend N, who I could not be more platonic with). I didn't yell and push these people away because that's rude and a huge overreaction, though I did tell that one senior boy to stop hanging all over me (he didn't listen). I didn't yell at the boy who put his arm around me because it just seemed friendly? It's not like he was making a move on me, I was very publicly dating T. And I hardly had time to react when the girl slapped my butt, and she's straight anyway. But T got so mad, saying how he had a horrible day because he had to spend rehearsal watching other people "hanging all over me" and how it was kind of mean for me to do that, even though I didn't initiate anything, and how I should've pushed them away (to which I responded: I physically COULDNT have pushed that senior boy away, and I didn't want to cause a scene) and basically going on and on about how jealous he was. I ended up having to promise that I wouldn't do anything like that again, even though everybody is always hugging each other and stuff in the musical (because we're a very physical/touchy-feely group) regardless of their relationship status. But I figured it wasn't worth upsetting him, so I tried to avoid getting glimpses by other people and just stuck with occasionally hugging my friend N. Meanwhile, he has a friend (let's call him J) who he was always hanging on and hugging and pretending he was in love with etc etc (mostly on J's side, but T certainly contributed) and of course, that "wasn't the same" because he wasn't attracted to J... But I wasn't attracted to any of those people either. And yeah, I was slightly jealous when J was all over T, but I let it go because I knew it wasn't a big deal. (And this isn't even bringing up the hypocrisy of, you know, the fact that he had two girlfriends at the time).
So the musical is over and it's time for the spring play. T decides to be one of the directors (who is involved in the casting process) and I decide to audition. It's a small show with only 4 female roles, so a lot of people got cut. I tell T that if I get cut, I'll tech for the show. So I audition, and before the cast list officially comes out, T asks me if I want to know if I got in and I say yes and it turns out I got cut. Okay. So he asks me if I'm going to do tech... And I say I'm not sure, I have to think about it. And I felt bad for saying that, but I also realized I wasn't sure if I could come back and do tech after getting cut. I wasn't sure if I'd be too jealous. So I said I wasn't sure. So then it turns out they aren't 100% on the cast list yet so they have call backs, I get called back, I get cut again (and T tells me before the list is out again). I feel kinda crappy--I know it wouldn't have been professional of him to cast me because I was his girlfriend, but I still felt bad nonetheless. And like I wasn't talented (he assured me I was, I just "wasn't right for the role"). So I'm feeling like crap, my grades aren't very good in school anyway, my mom is angry that I didn't get cast and doesn't want me devoting a lot of time to doing tech and making my grades even worse, and so she doesn't let me do tech and I don't really want to either so I decide not to. T gets really angry (this is our first real "fight") and goes on about how I promised I would tech if I got cut (I felt bad for not doing it after I said I would. And I know I was in the wrong here) and how it was better this way because as actor and director we'd barely see each other, but if I teched and he directed we'd be around each other all the time... I said I wasn't even sure if I'd do any more of the shows anyway, since I felt I wasn't good enough. And then he said he didn't really care if I did the shows. He just wanted me to do them so he could see me. So I could stop doing the shows when he left, but he wanted me to do them while he was there so he could spend time with me. Which... Honestly made me feel kind of awful. Like yeah he wants to see me, but he doesn't actually care if I'm doing something because I enjoy it. He just wants me to do it because he's doing it and he wants me around. And I do love doing theater, I just felt so insecure... So instead of trying to push me to succeed and do the things I love and be confident, he just basically told me to do it so I'd be there at his convenience. And again, since he was directing, he'd still have that position of power over me...
I didn't do it, though, and that caused a bit of strain. Things ended up being okay though.
Everything changed he told me he loved me. I had been thinking for while that I might be in love with him. And then he told me, and I was... Just so happy. And I told him I loved him too (or at least, I thought I did. I always overthought that. I think I did love him then, just not as deeply as I did later on) and he literally cried tears of joy he was so happy, and he hadn't been able to cry in years. And it just... It just felt amazing.
That was on a Saturday. When we got back to school, afterschool we were together and he told me "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." He went on to say he wasn't just saying that so he could get into my pants or anything like that, and that I didn't have to say anything if I didn't feel the same way, but he just wanted me to know that. And he kept saying it and saying it and saying how much he loved me. I didn't know what to say. I guess I felt like I had to say "I want to spend the rest of my life with you, too" back, that I didn't have a choice, but I think part of me also felt that a little bit. That at least in that moment, I really did want to. So I did say it back, but it just seemed like so much, that's not something you say so early, and it's certainly not something you say if you don't mean it. And soon after he promised he'd stay with me forever, that he'd never leave me, stuff like that. And then eventually that he wanted to marry me, and he asked me to marry him. I told him I didn't believe him, that he couldn't know that right now, that he couldn't be sure. He said he did know, and he wouldn't have said it if he hadn't meant it and knew he'd mean it forever. I told him, I begged him not to say something like that because that's the most important promise you can ever make a person. You can't back out on a promise like that, it isn't fair. I begged him not to make us into a cliche teenage relationship that think they'll be together forever but never last, I begged him not to say something that important and special if he didn't mean it because I couldn't take it if he broke his promise. But he got so upset when I didn't believe him, saying that hearing me say I didn't believe him "absolutely murdered [him]" and he never would have said it if he didn't know he would mean it forever. And he spent a year convincing me it was true. And I tried so hard not to believe him, I tried to keep myself protected. I'm not stupid. I knew that making promises like that this early was ridiculous, that's why I begged him not to. I always figured we'd break up, and later when we became more serious i figured it'd be when he left for college and the long distance was too much to handle. But at least we'd have tried, and at least things would've ended... Better, I guess. And so I promised the same things, knowing that I may not be able to keep them, but that I would always, always try. I wouldn't give up until i'd tried everything, I'd do my absolute best to make it work. Because that's what love is about, and I loved him. And a promise is a promise. It's important, especially that kind of promise, and you don't break them.
I didn't want to believe him. I tried so hard not to. And I never did, not fully. But he spent a year convincing me, a year planning our life and talking about how we were going to get married and have kids and live together and be so, so happy. We talked about it all the time, it seemed... Real. He says to this day it felt real, that it didn't feel real with W, but it felt real with me. And that he meant those promises when he made them.
But a promise isn't "I mean it right now" or "I think I mean it forever" it's "I mean it FOREVER" and if you don't mean it you at least try to. It's a promise, it's important, and he made so many and he broke them all. And talking about it hurts so much, even after almost 4 months. And when he broke up with me I didn't just lose a boyfriend, I lost an entire future.
I didn't believe it entirely. But there's only so many times you can hear something before you start to believe it's true. So I let myself believe it, just a little, because I wanted it so badly to be true. I wanted so badly to be with him. I wanted it to work, I wanted to be happy with him. And all of that just got ripped away.

T never pressured me into having sex with him. He'd get grumpy sometimes if we hadn't made out in awhile, especially if I didn't want to sneak off to make out with him. But that's about it. He crossed a sort-of boundary once, because I wasn't sure if I wanted something but I never made any move to stop it, but when I told him I wasn't sure he felt so horrible and went on about how he should have stopped and I'll never hold that against him because I know that it wasn't his fault and I'm not scarred. When I told him I didn't want to have any kind of sex until after high school, he said that was completely okay. Later we were arguing, I mentioned something about listening to my parents... I don't remember what the fight was, I just remember what he said. (As background, my parents are strict Catholics). I said I wanted to listen to my parents or something and he got really angry said "great, now we won't have sex until we're /married/." I don't know why it bothered me. It just... He always said it was okay no matter how long I wanted to wait. He always seemed so great about that, and then when I mention taking my parents' advice about something TOTALLY UNRELATED, he gets really pissed about how that means we're not going to have sex until we're married? Despite saying we could wait as long as I wanted, about how we never even had to have penetrative sex (or any sad) ever if it made me uncomfortable, and that it was okay and we'd always be together no matter what? It was just a shock to me I guess.
I always kind of had issues when it came to sex. I'm not totally sure why. It might just be I wasn't ready, or maybe I have actual issues. We were talking about that once over this past summer/early fall, because I was considering seeing a therapist and issues with sex was one of things I wanted to talk with her about. I asked him if he thought I should bring it up, like, did I REALLY have issues? And he said that yeah I did, because we'd been dating for a long time and hadn't even had manual sex and that wasn't "normal." He went on to say that that was okay that we didn't, he wasn't upset, but it wasn't normal and I definitely had issues with sex because I wasn't ready yet and it had been so long.

My parents told me he was "dominating", that he wanted to control me, that he wanted to have power over me. I assumed that was them being too over protective. My advisor, Ms J, told (after he broke up with me) that he seemed "verbally abusive." K, who used to be my friend, told me after we broke up that he seemed controlling and treating me terribly and how weak and pathetic I was and how we were "unhealthily dependent" I was on him and how she and all my friends "always knew this would happen" when we broke up (ie he'd be 100% fine and I'd be a wreck). She told me he seemed emotionally abusive. I don't know if I can believe her considering all the awful things she's said to me (I've since cut her out of my life; she said really nasty things to me and claimed I was still in love with T and how pathetic that was and how I wasn't allowed to be friends with him and that I was desperate and pitiful and pathetic. Everyone always thought she had a crush on T, which I never really believed, but I'm sort of starting to, considering she was horribly nasty to me when I tried to stay friends with T and hung out with everyone but now acts completely normal and almost friendly towards me now that T and I don't speak to each other. I like to think I wouldn't care if they ever got together (I hope I wouldn't), but it's not something I actually have to be worried about, because there's no possible way he feels that way about her.)
I don't know if I can believe her when she says he seems emotionally abusive after all the horrible stuff she said to me, but it made me worried. And it made me wonder if maybe it was true. He never raised his voice at me, or maybe he did but it was very rare, and he never physically hurt me. He never threatened me in any way, he never called me bad names except as a joke.
He did belittle me sometimes though. A lot of the time I'd have to tell him to stop treating me like a child, and he'd apologize but he'd always do it again. When I'd have an opinion he disagreed with he'd immediately shut me down and tell me my opinion was just wrong or stupid or whatever and I'd feel like an idiot. That's probably a lot of why I felt like the age difference was something to be concerned about even though it was only a year, because he made me feel like a child sometimes... And I guess he ordered me around a lot. I never really noticed it. But he clearly did. And he definitely expected me to abide by rules that he never set for himself--like he got jealous and didn't want me touching cast members at rehearsal but it was fine when he did something similar (not to mention the whole "two girlfriends" thing). One time I got in touch (or tried to) with a friend I hadn't seen since 6th grade. I sort of had a crush on her then (I wasn't totally sure) and I told him that, he got REALLY upset and told me he couldn't control who I talked to, but he really didn't like it that I was talking to her because I liked her once. He made a big deal of it, being like "you wanted to be with her once" (like dude, calm down, it was 6th grade) so I didn't talk to her anymore because I figured it wasn't worth making him upset over someone I wasn't even friends with anymore. And yet he was still friends with W, who I did know was his ex. But he always made excuses for that.
He also got pissed when I decided to do an internship at a professional theater company outside of school. How it would be a waste of time and I could've been doing the spring play with him, all this stuff. He didn't really want me to do it. I mean he let it go (mostly because I barely ever went) and it wasn't a huge deal but he was kinda a jerk about it.
I haven't said everything, but that really is what it seems like... Like he's just been "kinda a jerk." Not abusive. Just kind of a dick. I don't know. But everything everyone's been saying about him being dominating and controlling and how he was always pushing me down has got me a bit worried...

Summer comes and he goes off to a 5 week, elite theater camp very far away (which he told me about as an after thought after he'd already gotten in--months in advance, so it wasn't a big deal, but I would've liked to know when he was applying and stuff since he'd be gone most of the summer). He's so busy and barely has time to talk to me; we go from texting every day all day (I thought that was a bit weird when we first started dating, but he's the one who pushed talking 24/7, so) to texting maybe 5/10 minutes at night, and sometimes I can't even do that because I decided to go to a camp too to keep myself busy and had to wake up early, so I sometimes I couldn't stay up to talk to him. We fight a lot because there's a lot of stress and we miss each other, and I feel like he's not making any effort to talk to me, and I'm worried this is what it will be like when he's away at college. (Like maybe once a week he could call me during his lunch break? I know it's important for him to talk to his friends at camp during that time. But it's 5 weeks long, he sees them all day, one call once a week couldn't possibly be a big deal, right...? But he never did that. I got maybe 1 FaceTime call at random because his roommate happened to be out and everyone was busy). He's upset because he's tired and I'm upset because I miss him and can never talk to him, and it's not miserable 100% of the time, but it's not great either.
He comes back and I don't see him the moment he comes back, he sees his good friend first (his choice). I see him a couple days later and I feel like I'm only there for his convenience. We plan to go to a movie and hang out the rest of the time but it turns out he has to appear in court to get his drivers license, which is fine and we go, but he didn't even tell me beforehand even though he definitely knew in advance. Something feels off. I don't feel like a girlfriend, I feel like a possession. It seems like he wants me physically, but not really like he loves me. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something was off ever since he came back from camp. Something that made me feel unwanted. And I'd never felt like that before. I told him, and he felt bad, and tried to fix it. For most of the summer we were very happy. (Minus the part before he went to camp where he sexted W. Of course, I didn't know that at the time, and she knew he had a girlfriend and called him out on it and he vehemently declared he loved me and they stopped.)
School starts up again and things look great so far. I'm doing really well in school and I'm working hard. T and I are happy. I lost a friend, D, over the summer because she didn't like us anymore (I never really understood why) and that kind of split our friend group a bit, but things were okay. Then things start to get stressful again. I'd been getting gradually more depressed since middle/end of sophomore year, mostly due to my bad grades and the stress my parents were putting on me, and I had wanted to get a therapist. Well, things only got worse come junior year and I began to get really miserable. I didn't realize until later that T was making that worse. It started to get really bad when I relapsed and cut again. He'd forced me to promise 6 months before that that I would never cut again. I did, and immediately regretted that promise. I begged him so many times to take the promise back, but he wouldn't ever do it. And he told me that he believed in me and that I wouldn't break it. And I managed to quit cold turkey for 6 months, but I fucked up and cut again. It was after this school event. Things had been stressful and T and I hadn't been alone together in about a month and I just found out I failed a test. It was the day of this big school event we have before homecoming the next day. My friend K had a panic attack and ran into the woods before it started, we had to run and calm her down and then T got a call from his parents because he hadn't turned in a college app/something like that in time and he had to rush to get it done that day. It was also gross and we had to wade through water a bit so we were all cold and wet and very miserable, especially T, who was pissy and in a terrible mood because he was stressed out about the college thing. He ran back ahead of us after he got the call. K and I finally get back to the school and I sit next to him; he doesn't even acknowledge me. I ask him if he's okay and I'm pretty sure he just brushed me off. (Sorry I'm switching a lot between present/past tense because I'm telling this like a story. Just know this all happened in the past). He finally finishes and has to go to the nurse because he accidentally got a cut when he was running back I think? So he walks there and I ask him if he wants me to go with him, he says no (he later says this is because he was so pissed off he was afraid he'd snap and yell at me and he didn't want to make me upset) so he goes by himself and I'm a bit upset but I get it. My mom makes me go home because of my terrible grade so I can't even say goodbye or tell him that I'm leaving unexpectedly, I just have to tell a friend to tell T that I was forced to go home (I think I texted him too, but I'm not sure). I'm really freaked and stressed and I end up cutting when I get home because I'm so overwhelmed. My mom (she didn't know I cut) offers me a ride back to the school event since it's almost over and she feels bad that I couldn't go. I call T up, it turns out he went home right after he found out I left. I feel horrible. I broke my promise and I was so afraid and scared and I knew I had to tell him immediately but I didn't know what to do. So I called him and I asked him to please go back to the school because I was going and I needed him, I really needed him, and this was important. He said he didn't want to go back because it would take him a half hour and it would be over by then (it wouldn't have been, and he lives 10 minutes away) and told me to stop "guilt tripping (him)." I begged him to please come back, I needed to see him, but he wouldn't because he didn't want to sit in traffic (there was no traffic, it was 8pm) and he didn't want to drive all the way back. So I had to tell him over phone that I relapsed.
When I told him he said he wouldn't break up with me over it, and he didn't. And I promised again not to cut again. But he told me that those 6 months where I struggled, where I worked so hard not to relapse even though it was so difficult and I wanted to cut so badly... He told me that those were all meaningless. That they now meant nothing because I messed up, that those 6 months were down the drain, that they were useless and a waste of time because now I had to start over and everything I'd worked for meant absolutely nothing.

He stopped really putting any effort into our relationship. He's always busy and we never see each other; the last time we hook up/see each other outside of school is a month before we break up and he has to leave early. The day after I relapsed was homecoming, and he yells at me for (when we're all, as friends, dancing together in a circle) turning to a friend and jokingly dancing with them a bit--he yells at me for being social with friends because apparently I'm not paying enough attention to him. He still sees J and still jokes about them being an item, which is fine, but apparently I'm not allowed to dance with my friends. Another friend, A, grabs my hand and pulls me away to dance with her. I wait until she lets go of my hand and I politely decline her offer to dance and I go find T. I have to search for him and he's fuming about how I went off with A, despite the fact that SHE pulled ME away, and he told me I should've yanked my hand away immediately. Which I thought was rude, so I didn't do it. He told me I should remember that he was my date.
The rest of the night is fine, but when the dance is over my dad hasn't come yet to pick me up (my dad won't allow T to drive me home). T says he doesn't want to get caught in traffic (again, no traffic. He just wanted to get home sooner) and he leaves me there by myself. I wanted him to stay, and I wanted to ask him to stay, but when I tried he said I was guilt tripping him again ("well I'm not going to leave if you're just going to guilt trip me about it"), and I was so afraid of making him angry or upset or making him feel like I was "guilt tripping" him that I just let him leave.
Later, he doesn't try at all during our relationship. We're fighting/arguing/getting upset more and more because we ever see each other because he's always busy, it's been months since we've had a real date. He doesn't ever wait with me afterschool after rehearsal ends, even though I only get picked up like 10 minutes later, and he didn't have to do it every day (but every now and then would've been nice). I walked him to his car every single day but he never even offered to drive me back up to the theater--he literally drives right past it and that's where I wait, but I always walked up by myself and he just drive away. The one time he does drive me up, it's because it's so cold that I ask him if he'll please give me a ride up. (That's also the last time I kiss him--he says goodbye to me and turns away, I get his attention again to plant a really sloppy kiss on him before I leave. We hadn't had a chance to see each other or kiss of anything like that in awhile. I didn't know why he didn't turn and kiss me.) He never looked for ways to spend time with me, in or outside of school, even though I bent over backwards trying to see him. I felt neglected and like he didn't care because he wasnt putting any effort in (I don't know why, but he still says he never did that on purpose and it wasn't that he didn't care). He also started to be less interested in me sexually. He denied it, but I could see his sex drive was going down. I didn't know why. I thought it might be me.

(In the present time: Turns out he can't get it up at all anymore (just in the morning because that always happens) and isn't attracted to/turned on by anyone or anything. He doesn't think about sex anymore or want to have it. He doesn't think he's asexual. I don't really understand it because it was such a total drastic shift from how extremely sexual he used to be (and he definitely had a big sex drive before, and now he has none). But I told him it was okay even if he was asexual, that that's fine and it's normal and I would never judge him for that and that I'd always be here for support (I get it, I'm queer too). But I also told him I was worried because being ace isn't the only thing that can cause a lack of a sex drive (and it doesn't always cause a lack of a sex drive at all) so he should see a doctor just in case. One who was educated on asexuality and could tell the difference between being asexual and something actually being wrong.)

Back in the past again. So he's neglecting me a lot. During this time I bring up the idea of "taking a break" ie don't see each other for awhile/break up but get back together later. I thought I might help us if we took a breather. He said he thought it was a horrible idea, that it was giving up, and then he told me not to give up. Not to break the promises we made, to keep trying because the good stuff was worth the bad. So I didn't give up and we stayed together. He never indicated any desire to break up whatsoever.
As this goes on my depression gets worse. I feel shitty because I feel he's neglecting me, and he gets really frustrated and angry with me whenever I get upset because I'm upset so often. I'm upset for a lot of reasons (unrelated to T), but I didn't realize he made it worse. I say I don't know why I'm upset, but a lot of the time it's something he said that upset me, but I'm either not entirely sure why it upset me/don't want to make a big deal out of what I thought was nothing, so I don't bring it up and just say I don't know why I'm upset. Mostly I'm just afraid of upsetting him. I don't want to fight anymore. I lived in fear of doing something to upset him. I begin to try and act "docile" and "submissive" in the hopes that if I just let myself get walked on even more he won't get angry with me. I was wrong.
But eventually the fighting gets to be less and we have that conversation where I think we have an understanding (he'll be more attentive to me and work harder and I'll try to be upset less often). I feel really good about our relationship. So good that I planned on bringing up how good I felt about T and I seconds before he dumped me.
A few days before that conversation, though, things were really bad. I'd just been so upset and feeling so awful that I admitted to T over the phone that i had been looking at my mom's pills and looking up how many I would have to take to kill myself. I knew I never could, because my mom would never get over that. And i'd be hurting the people who loved me. And I felt I was overreacting because there was so much good in my life, what did I have to be upset over? But I still really really wanted to. And I told him that, that I wanted to but knew it wasn't ever a real option but I really, really wanted to. Nothing made me happy anymore. He said he didn't realize that he didn't make me happy enough. I told him no no no, it wasn't like that... And I hadn't told him about considering suicide for awhile, and I felt bad for keeping that secret, and we promised (and reaffirmed that promise not too long before this) that we'd be honest which each other. So I told him that wasn't true, he was the ONLY thing that made me happy, that my future with him was the only reason I was even still here. And I felt horrible for telling him that, because was that the same thing as saying "if you leave me, I'll kill myself"? But I needed to be honest, and it was afraid he'd think he wasn't making me happy, but he was and he needed to know that... And he really was making me happy. I just didn't realize how miserable he was making me feel, too. By neglecting me and constantly pushing me down.
A week later, he broke up with me. And I think this was the part that hurt the most. What hurt the most wasn't the actual act of breaking up, or breaking up with me out of the blue. It wasn't breaking every promise he'd ever made to me, it wasn't breaking the most important promise you can ever make a person. It wasn't even that he broke his promise to protect me, to marry me, to stand by me. It wasn't that he cheated. It wasn't that he treated me horribly throughout my relationship. It wasn't that he promised we'd stay friends, best friends, and promised that he still cared deeply about me, and yet completely ignored me after he dumped me and continues to make zero effort to be my friend. It wasn't any of that that hurt the most. It wasn't even that I realized he never truly loved me (maybe he loved me as much as he was capable, and maybe he believes he loved me. But he didn't. You can't treat someone you love like this. You especially don't treat someone you love like they're there at your convenience. Love isn't loving someone when it's easy. Love isn't you wanting them there because they make you feel good. Love is putting that person first, wanting that person to be happy, spending every waking moment thinking about them and loving them for what YOU can do for THEM, not for what you can get out of them).
But no. What hurt the most was that he left me after he knew he was the only thing keeping me alive. He basically said "I don't care if you live or die." That's what made me feel the most worthless, the most unloved, the most deserving to die. And that's why I don't believe he didn't tell me about the cheating because he was worried I'd hurt myself. Because really, which did he think would hurt more--him admitting he cheated, or him leaving me? He left me when I needed him most.
And that was after he made sure he was the only person I relied on. When I wanted to tell my mom things, he told me I shouldn't and that it wasn't a good idea, that she'd react badly. When I talked to my best friend about an issue instead of him, he'd get upset and tell me I should be talking to him instead (though he did say he couldn't FORCE me, that I had the right to talk to whoever I wanted, he still got upset). He got upset at first when I wanted a therapist, wondering why he wasn't "enough" to help me, but eventually started pushing for me to get a therapist and helping me find one. He made me tell him when I was upset even when I didn't want to. He made sure he was the biggest part of my support system, when he knew things weren't great with family at the time and my best friend was thousands of miles away, and then he ripped it away.
And although he still says he "doesn't know" why he didn't want to be with me anymore, that it just "felt right" to end things (and that the bad things outnumbered the good--but when I asked him "well what were the bad things?" All he could say was "I don't know) I'm pretty sure I've figured it out--I mean he claims he can (probably) have a romantic relationship without sexual attraction, but I don't think that's true. The less attracted to me he became, he less attention he payed to me, until his sex drive was gone completely and he broke up with me. So I kind of feel like a thrown away toy or possession, like a cheap whore, not an ex-girlfriend he promised to marry, but whatever. The point is I can understand him wanting to end things. And I'd never force him to be in a relationship he didn't want to be in. And I was upset of course that he ended things and angry because of the lying and the broken promises, and him ending things without a conversation (which made me feel like I wasn't even treated like a human being who deserved that kind of respect. No real conversation of what to do next, just "whoops, sorry, not feeling it right now.") But what was worse than that was that he promised to be my friend but then never was. He wasn't there for me when I needed him most, and if he couldn't have been there for me as a boyfriend he should've been there as a friend. I could've died. I wanted to. I still do.

My depression only got worse. I almost dropped out of school. Nothing makes me happy, I have no motivation to do anything. I don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. I tried to reach out to him after we broke up. I yelled at him a lot, I pleaded with him a lot, I tried to have multiple level-headed conversations, all in the hopes that we could fix things and move on and just be friends (I never asked him to get back together. I don't want to get back together). All to no avail. Every conversation I have with him is useless, he has no answers and he says he'll think about it but I don't think he ever did/will. He says he's sorry, but sorry doesn't mean anything if you don't actually try to fix things. And things are so messed up between us that things really do need to get fixed if we ever want to be friends.
He says he wants to be friends with me, but makes no effort to reach out (though I'm not even sure he makes an effort to reach out to anyone). He used to be great about responding to texts but is now terrible (with everyone). I texted him "happy birthday" on his birthday, got no response, and 3 days later on my own birthday I didn't hear from him either. That was during spring break, and I haven't talked to or acknowledged him since. I have rehearsal with him every day and I don't even look at him. I don't know if he's too ashamed to talk to me or too cowardly or if he just doesn't want to or if he hates me or I don't even know, but he didn't even offer me the common courtesy of texting back "thanks." I can't hang out with him or any of my friend group during school anymore, because after K and I had our huge falling out I don't hang out with our friend group anymore (I talk to some people individually, but not a lot). So now it's been over a month without a word between us. If he talks to me during rehearsal (not privately, but in a group conversation after I've said something) I don't respond or even look at him.
He seemed to do a 180 in personality when he broke up with me, and I'm not the only one who noticed. Our director knows him very well, and noticed and is worried about him too... It's not that he wasn't always a bit self centered and arrogant and selfish (and unfaithful, but I didn't know that). He was. Those were his worst qualities, but he had plenty of great ones too. And it's not that he wasn't getting worse since he came back from camp: he was. But... There was some drastic shift when we broke up, and it was a change for the worse. That's not just me saying that, that's me and a several people who know him well and whose opinions are to be trusted. He seems... Empty. When he broke up with me, he didn't care. He's honestly 100% fine with the fact that we broke up. He really, really doesn't care. When I asked him how he felt about ending things, sadness, happiness, relief, etc., he just said he felt... Numb. That's it. And he used to be such a passionate person. Really overdramatic to be honest, but at least he FELT something. Now he seems completely lacking passion for anything, even acting. He seems perfectly happy and fine, but not like he actually CARES about anything. It's worrying and scary.
I'm miserable. I liked it when we were friends, even after we broke up. We were friendly only for a little while and it was a bit awkward, but pleasant enough. I miss having him as a friend and I think we really were better as friends. I mean, I loved him. I really did. And I wanted so badly for us to work out. But the way he is now... It's not going to work. I'm not perfect. I kind of think I'm horrible actually. But I also know he's too selfish and self-focused to have a good and healthy relationship, and one with me is no exception. So as much as I wanted things to work, and as much as I loved the good times (because there were so many, and they really were amazing), I realize that we, at least right now, work better as friends.
But right now everything is poisoned. It's painful to come to school because of T and K and rehearsal is supposed to be my one safe place where I have fun but that gets poisoned too. I cant think of any of the good times I had with T without getting sick to my stomach because of how he treated me. I can't even look back on the good stuff anymore. And I hate that. I don't want everything to be poisoned. But I know I'll never get over it and things will never get better--for me personally or between us--if I can't have an honest, open discussion with him. About... Well basically all the stuff I just said. I want him to realize how badly he hurt me. I want him to try and fix it. And above all else, I want him to care. I can't make him do any of that. But I want to try. I just don't know how.
And I know I'll get better even if I don't get any resolution with T. But I'd really really like one. Because right now everything is awful and I don't know if I can take 2 more months of this. And then he'll be gone, but that's scary too, because what if we never resolve this? What if there's never a chance to fix things, to make them right? Do I have to live with this forever?
I know it's not a big deal. I know it certainly won't be in a few years. But it matters right now.
I want to say "I miss you, I'd like to be friends" but... I don't know. I'm just so confused about what to do. I'm a mess. I wish it didn't hurt so much and I wish I didn't feel like I hate him sometimes. I also wish I didn't feel like I love him sometimes. It's horrible.

I've read the article on breakups, I've read the article on abuse, I've read everything I can think of but I'm still so confused. I'm so sorry this is so long, and I understand if you don't want to read it.

Basically, tl;dr: How do I make a real, honest connection with my ex after everything we've been through?

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi, Emily. That really was a very long post, and I am going to focus on the things that stick out to me, but if you feel like I missed something that is important to you, please feel free to let me know.

First of all, I am really glad that you came here, and we'll do what we can to help you out. However - and it sounds like you already know this - we can only be a first step on the way. In your post, you talk about feeling depressed, self-harming and considering suicide, and in the long run these are things you can only truly work on with a professional therapist. So I think that your first priority should be to find a therapist that you can talk to about the things you've brought up here. Do you know how to go about that? Would you like some help from us with that?

Secondly, I am wondering what kind of a support system you have in all of this. How is your relationship with your parents? Do you have any friends that you can confide in? You mention that T tried to isolate you from your friends - how do you feel about taking steps to rekindle some of those friendships?

Now, you were wondering whether your relationship was abusive and the sort answer to that is, yes, I think it was. In your post, you describe a lot of unhealthy dynamics, and you mention a lot of things that T said or did that we would call abusive. It seems that he was possessive and jealous of you, but demanded understanding from you when the situation was reversed. He was manipulative, especially in the way he turned you against your friends and your family. He amped up the pressure and emotional intensity early on, talking about forever and marriage and pressuring you to do the same. And lastly, you describe feeling scared to upset him, and taking care to behave in specific ways. All of those are clear signs of an abusive, unhealthy relationship.

Even if you've been wondering about this before, it might be tough to see it all spelled out like this. So, please, if there is anything we can do to help you process this, please let us know.

Your last question is how you can rekindle a friendshp with T, and given everything I've just said, I am sure it does not come as a surprise when I tell you that I don't think it's the best idea right now to try and rekindle that friendship. I think that the person you'll want to focus on right now is YOU. Focus on dealing with this break-up, on getting help with your depression, on rebuilding your life outside of that relationship.

And that's all I've got, for now. How are you feeling with all of that? What do you feel you need right now?

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
.

Thank you so much for the response! And don't worry, you covered most of everything I wanted to talk about, so thank you again.

I had a therapist for a little bit. I'd wanted one since the end of last year, and I got one literally the day before T and I broke up (I think he was able to sort of justify leaving me because I'd just gotten a therapist, and figured I'd be fine--which is pretty stupid, but whatever)
But I wasn't really able to see her regularly and wasn't sure if I ever would be; eventually I was able to get regular meetings with her but I stopped seeing her. I stopped feeling comfortable talking to her and didn't really know how to open up to her anymore. It's been a few months and I want to get another therapist but haven't yet. My mom knows I need one and she says she'll get me one. I also mentioned how I was feeling to my school guidance counsellor and she called my mom and told her getting a therapist wasn't a choice anymore, that I really had to get one. And I want to get one, so hopefully that'll happen soon.

My relationship with my family is good, I have my parents and my 3 siblings. I've gotten better at confiding in my mom (though I still haven't come out to anyone in my family) but I don't really feel comfortable talking about stuff with my dad. I've been talking to my mom about this, though, but she doesn't know everything. My siblings are all much older than me (14, 11, and 7 years older actually, so they're adults) and i can sort of talk to all of them, but haven't very much really. I'm not sure why.
I can always confide in my best friend and she's the absolute best person on the planet, and she helps me a lot, but she's also very far away because she goes to boarding school. I'm also afraid of complaining too much to her and pushing her away...
I have another friend (outside of school) who lives in the area who I can talk to sometimes, but that's really it. I have a few friends at school because I do theater and everyone is very close there, but no one I'd really feel safe confiding in. I lost my friend group and currently don't have one because K basically kicked me out of it (though I chose to stay away because she makes me feel awful and I didn't want to be around T anymore anyway--too painful) and I still talk to some of them because we have classes together, but I'm afraid to try and really rekindle those friendships. I mean I try, but I also feel like I've been a terrible friend and don't want to bother them or make them hate me. I don't really know what to do, though I would like to be friends with some of them again if possible.

I wished it hadn't been abusive but I guess it's not all that surprising. I expected to feel sick when I read this, but I didn't actually. I guess maybe it's just nice to know for sure? So I'm not always wondering and second guessing myself. Though it doesn't feel good that every good memory I have of T and I together is poisoned. And to realize he never really loved me. It's not pleasant. It's a whole year of my life that I can't look back on without getting angry or sad or hurt, or at least remembering the bad stuff anyway.

Yeah, I figured. To be honest I don't really know if I even want to be friends with him now. I just don't really know how to deal with seeing him every single day and having to work with him when I can't even look at him. And I know he'll be gone soon, but that's scary too, because once he's gone we'll probably never see each other again and I'll be left without a resolution. But I really want that closure, or at least some acknowledgment of how messed up things got, which is why I really wanted to have that conversation with him. It just feels impossible to connect with him and I don't know how to fix that.
If I was ever to even have a friendship with him again, I think it would need to be outside of school. And it would need to be a complete fresh start, and one where we both put effort in. Not a lot, but you know, as much as any friendship needs. Just one that's even this time.
But I don't want any friendship with him if he continues to treat me like shit, and I know if I ever get to a point where I'm able to have that tentative sort of friendship with him again, I need some sort of closure first. Both from him and from myself. I'm just not sure how to get either.

For a long time I felt really lost and awful and I didn't know what to do. I still feel horrible, but not quite as lost or hopeless anymore. I mean I know I'll end up being fine even if I feel horrible now. And although I can't deny that I miss him, I don't feel like I NEED him to be there. It's painful at school because he's there but it's better when I'm home.
I feel like I shouldn't miss him at all because he was so horrible to me. And when I think about that I get so angry. But I can't help that I really loved him, and I think I still do love him in some way. Not that I'm in love anymore, but I feel like once you love someone you never really stop loving them. You might love them in a different way, but I don't think--if you really did love them--you ever stop caring. I don't know. Maybe that's stupid.
So I feel caught between hating him and caring for him and it's really awful. Topped off with I don't want to see him at all but I'm forced to and I want to be his friend and yet I don't feel I can/not even sure i want to. It just feels kinda horrible.

I guess I just feel I need a way to deal with all this, especially the whole part where I see him every day and have to interact with him. It's a very group-heavy and physical show, and I can't even say a word to him. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when we have to interact one-on-one.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh god I'm so sorry that was so long too. I don't know how to write concisely I am so sorry
Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am glad to hear that you have such a supportive family, and that getting some more therapy is an option for you. It sounds like you have people around you who got your back.

Finding a good therapist can sometimes take some trial and error. After all, usually when we seek out therapy, it is to talk about things that are troubling to us, so it is all the more important that we feel comfortable with the therapist and trust them. So just because you did not click with that first therapist, does not mean that this will be the same with every therapist. Maybe your school counselor can suggest someone to you?

Do you want to talk about why you feel you've been an awful friend to the people in your old friend group at school?

But if you don't want to spend too much time with people who are also friends with T, and if you find that spending so much time with your theater group and T is difficult for you, maybe you can look into finding another after-school activity? Maybe there are other groups at school you can join, or maybe there is a community theatre in your town that you can join instead? That way, you would get to meet some new people and be able to build a social circle that is separate from T.

In terms of recognizing that this relationship was abusive, I do want to say that this doesn't mean that every moment of it has to be poisoned now. I know that it can feel that way initially, as you are coming to terms with it. But the thing about abusive relationships is that no one would stay in them if they did not also have genuine good, happy moments. If abusive relationships were all horrible all the time, it would likely be easier to recognize them for what they are, and leave.

It's okay to feel confused, and bitter, and sad right now. You've been through a whole lot. Which is also why I think that the best you can do at the moment is to focus on getting help for yourself, on getting some space for yourself to process everything. The tricky thing about closure is that, even though it tends to feel like something that only another person can give us, it is really something that we need to reach ourselves. You are looking to hear very specific things from him - you want thim to acknowledge how bad things got, and his part in that - but the chances of him owning up to that are very slim. So, even if you did talk to him about that, if he did not give you what you need, you'd still be in the same place you are now. The only thing that's really within your power here is YOUR side of it, how you deal with this situation. You can achieve closure for yourself by working through what happened and moving on.

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
.

Thank you. And yeah, I feel good about my family right now. At least about this stuff right now. Not so much about coming out.

My counsellor has suggested therapists, but she keeps suggesting people without a PhD and my mom won't let me get a therapist who doesn't have one. Which I think is probably fair, it just limits my options a lot. My mom has gone through therapy/seen a psychiatrist/etc so she wants to find one for me that she trusts. But once she picks one I don't think I can switch, I just have to go with whoever I have.

I've been told I've been a horrible friend. At least by K (multiple times). When I started dating T I started spending more time with him than my friends, though that wasn't really hard because my friends and I rarely hung out outside of school anyway... Not because we didn't want to, just because most of us are introverts (T isn't, pretty much everyone else is) so there wasn't a huge push to be hanging out every weekend. When T and I got together we basically hung out every weekend, and we'd usually spend all of our freetime at school with our friends but sometimes we'd go off by ourselves. They didn't like that very much, and weren't happy that it seemed like we were spending more time together than with them. Which I guess makes sense because we were dating (T would always tell me to ignore them when they said stuff like this because it was "normal" for people in a relationship to do this) but still. It wasn't so much that I was enamored with ~having a boyfriend~, just that I'm the kind of person that really only needs one close/best friend to be happy, and T was that friend for me. (Obviously I still had my best friend, but again, she lives so far away) So I wasn't putting as much effort into being friends with them anymore, and I really messed up.

What bugs me is that they're all still friends with T. Not that some of them aren't sort of friends with/friendly with me, but they never called him out on any of it despite the fact that he did all the same things I did. When we got called out on the PDA, I was the one who wanted to cool it down and he was the one who said we shouldn't; when we had opportunities over the weekend to all hang out together, I was the one who pushed for our whole friend group to hang out and he was the one who always just wanted to hang out just the two of us (he got mad at me once when I didn't ask him before I suggested the group hanging out for a weekend, because then we wouldn't be able to hang out that day). But they always blamed everything on me. Not that I'm not at fault, because I know I am. I just don't understand why they're always all over him even after they know everything he's done. they've said after T dumped me that he was emotionally abusive (actually, though this was mostly K, they kind of rubbed it in my face, all like "we knew this would happen" and "we warned you" and "you two were always too dependent on each other ESPECIALLY you on him" despite never actually saying anything except that we spent too much time together/were too dependent on each other--nothing about abuse or him being a bad boyfriend or me needing him more than he needed me) and they know that he cheated on me, or at least most of them do, but they don't seem to care at all.
I get K probably has a huge crush on T, but I don't understand how she could after i told her so much.

K also yelled at me because she said that whenever I talk to her about my problems, she "basically turns into a therapist" but whenever she talks to me, I just say "I'm sorry." K says she has a very difficult home life, and she doesn't have a good relationship with her mom. She's said her mom is abusive. Two of my other friends got the school involved and they called CPS, but K never admitted anything to them so nothing ever came of it. She's said things have since calmed down at home, which I'm glad for. A lot of the time she'd text me about how her dream was to travel the world, but how she'd never have enough money because she wanted to be a writer/actress, and how she'd never get into college and how she'd be forced to take care of her family forever because it was her job but she wished she didn't love her family so much so she wouldn't have to? And how it's so horrible to hear all the rich kids at our school (we go to a very rich school, K's dad works here so she goes pretty much free) talk about all the amazing travels they've had and she doesn't get to. Whenever she talked about that I'd try to give advice best I can, even though I'm just as much a kid as her, because I figured that was the only thing I could do to help. But whenever I did that she either got more upset/got mad at me/didn't listen, so I figured that wasn't working. So then when she talked to me I just started telling her how sorry I was that she had to go through this really shitty situation and that she deserved better, and then she got even angrier at me because "all (i) did was say (I'm) sorry." So she said I was a horrible friend. I guess I am. I just didn't know what to do or how to help her.
And other than that I know I can be annoying or say the wrong thing and I understand why people don't want to be around me, I don't much want to be around me either.

Well I don't have a choice with the theater part. I'm part of the show and I made an obligation, I can't drop out (and if I did I'd never get another role again). Besides, I really do love theater. And hanging out with those people is a positive experience for me. I just hate that T is there (and K, she's teching, and D, another friend who is also teching). And I know we'll have to interact more and more the closer we get to the show. We have a lot of group stuff/focus stuff we do before our shows, one thing is a very emotional tradition we do where there's lots of singing and crying and everyone goes around and hugs everyone else. The last show I did there was tons of people but I still ended up having to hug him (he came up to me, but I think by accident) and in this show there's 10 so I'm going to be forced to hug him at least once. And right now that just feels painful and awful, especially because hugging him feels so good--just because it's such a familiar feeling that I used to associate so much with safeness.
I don't have time for much else outside of school right now and I'm in a couple other things at school (like GSA, but K is there) but again, not much time. It's junior spring so I have so much schoolwork to do and it's stressing me out. Hopefully this summer I'll get to go to sleep away camp and just get my mind off of him. (I wish I could hook up with someone just to forget about him and so he wouldn't be the only one I've ever been with, but since I'm not very social I don't really know anyone to hook up with)

I know there were good happy moments, but I don't know how I can feel good about those after knowing all this. Because either that good moment happened while he was cheating on me, or while he was being abusive, or while he said he was in love with me but actually wasn't. And in so many happy moments he'd promise to stay with me forever, so every time I think of a good time I'm reminded of all the bad stuff too.

I know closure is something I have to find for myself. And I know the chances of him giving me any are very, very slim. But I do feel I have to try. Maybe not this very moment, but I do have to. I have to at least give it one more chance to try and put all of this behind me /with/ him, so that I don't spend the rest of my life hating him and not even being able to think about him without bad feelings.
He's a senior so he'll be gone in a couple weeks anyway, and come back for graduation and then it's the summer and then he's in college, and I won't have to see him anymore and it should get much easier from there. But that doesn't change the fact that I don't want to burn that bridge with him. And maybe I have to, but I want to at least try having an open conversation. And if it doesn't change anything it'll just confirm that he's still an ******* and he hasn't changed. If it does actually help, then i see where I go from there, whether I talk to him again or never do. I don't know.
But yeah, even though I know I have to get closure on my own, at some point in my life I'd like to actually have a real conversation with him. I just don't know how to do that or how to actually make an honest connection. It's felt like he's just completely looking right through me whenever I've tried.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sam W
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 108189

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sam W     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Emily, I hope you don't mind my jumping in

While I think it's great that your mom is trying to help you find a counselor you like, it might be worth reminding her is that most important trait you need in a counselor right now is someone who you feel comfortable with and who is supportive of you and your moving on from what happened. So the decision about which therapist to see (or to switch if the one you end up with is not working) needs to be yours, not hers.

I'm sorry that your friend group is not being supportive of you. The "we told you so's" are the opposite of good friend behavior in this instance, as is the continuing to like/hang out with T while blaming you for what he did (which it sounds like they're doing. Which is a false assumption, BTW, since T actively chose to be abusive and actively chose to cheat).

So, even though your busy, it might be worth it to try and shift your friendship energies away from them and towards some new people. Are there folks in the GSA (or in theater, or your other activities ), or your classes, who seem cool but you've never talked to? Maybe try striking up a conversation with them and see how that goes. And, do you have any friends who knew you before T entered the picture in any big way?

I also want to ask, how is your relationship with your director? Because, if you feel they may be supportive, it might be worth letting them know that, while you'll continue to be professional, you'd rather not have to have any touchy feely contact with T.

Like September said, you get to process your feelings about what happened as you see fit. So, if right now, all the good times feel poisoned, that's a legitimate feeling to have, and you will work through it in your own time. This hurts right now, and it makes sense that said hurt will dominate your memories. But try not to let the fact that it all feels so obviously bad in retrospect make you feel like you were oblivious or foolish for staying with him as long as you did. The way awful people continue to have people to be awful towards is because they don't suck all the time, and we often fight to believe that the good parts of them we see outweigh the bad. But, unfortunately, sometimes the bad, or the controlling, or the mean outweighs the positive parts of their personality.

In the end, the decision about whether or not to talk to T about this is yours. But, I think the main reason we are, right now, hesitant to say that you should try for closure from T is that he is very unlikely to apologize (and is liable to make you feel really awful). And, even if he does apologize, or say everything you want to hear in that moment, there's a good chance he's being manipulative and that, if you decide to continue being friends with him, the old, unpleasant behaviors will come back. And it sounds like you may have already tried to talk about what happened and he hasn't been receptive. So, it might ultimately be best to put that energy that you'd otherwise put into that conversation into other things that will help you move on and feel better.

Posts: 1292 | Registered: Aug 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks so much for the response!

I know that. And she knows that too, but she also knows I have a tendency to not like sticking with things. So she's said she's going to make me see whoever she picks even if I don't like them... I'm not sure what to do if I don't? I mean on the one hand, I can't talk to someone I don't feel comfortable with. But on the other, I'm not sure I'll find someone I do feel 100% comfortable talking with. which I'm worried mighty kind of defeat the purpose.

They're not so much blaming me as they are just not caring that he messed up? Especially in K's case (well, she does think he didn't do anything wrong except the cheating part). It's more like they just don't care that he was abusive/cheated/etc because "well he's still my friend"... So they're blaming me for being a bad friend (but not him), but they're not saying it's my fault for getting cheated on. I think they might think it's my fault that he was such a bad boyfriend though, or my fault for staying--certainly that it's my own fault for getting hurt. Which I guess it was.

I've been trying that a bit, especially since I haven't been hanging out with them in a group at all so I've sitting by myself most days at school for about a month now... I'm really awful at making friends, I don't know if it's just because I'm shy but I never know what to say. I try when I can, it just seems extra difficult for me.
But yeah, there's plenty of people (especially in the play) that I like for me to talk to. Hopefully I can try that with GSA too.
My whole friend group (minus one person) knew me waaaay before T showed up (one person I knew since elementary school, the others since middle school, and T became part of our friend group only a year and a half ago). Most of the people in theater knew T first.

I like my director a lot, and I think he'd be understanding. At the moment that isn't really an issue, though. The touchy-feely stuff is what happens during focus exercises/group work that is mostly student lead, which happens during tech week. I can't really get out of that (nor do I want to) because of how important it is to making sure the cast really works as a team. The thing I was talking about earlier, with all the hugging and crying and singing, that's a tradition that I not only can't skip but also don't want to... the only problem is that last show, when that happened, T and I had already broken up and it was really kind of awful? Like the experience with everyone else was great, but I felt so much anxiety wondering if he was going to come up to me and hug me or not that it just wasn't pleasant. I don't want that to happen again but there's not really anyone I can talks to about that?

He has apologized to me before. It's just an empty apology, though. I mean after everything he did and how much he lied to me, just saying "I'm sorry" isn't really enough. It's kind of hard to trust his words after he spent a year lying to me.
I think I do still want to have that conversation, but I also think you're right, I don't think I should try for it right now. I don't really know when a good time for it would be, but there's so much else going on with the school year anyway that it would probably be a bad call, and I need a bit more distance too (which is also a big part of why I haven't been talking to him).
I do feel like I have to tell him that he was abusive, though. I honestly don't think he even fully realized it (that's not an excuse, it's still just as bad) and so I think he should know before he gets into another relationship. I'm just not sure when/how to tell him that.

He also (when we broke up and a few times later) told me he wanted my help in finding a therapist. I've offered help a couple times, but he's never really taken it. I don't think he's gotten one on his own or even told his parents.
It's not my job to take care of him, but like I said, the way he's been acting and what he's told me is very worrying.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
silvergirl_sailing_on
Activist
Member # 110025

Icon 1 posted      Profile for silvergirl_sailing_on     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey, so I'm not a volunteer or staff here or anything but I am someone who's been through some similar stuff. Some of it slightly scarily similar! I'm also someone who's probably had a bit more of a chance to heal from it (cuz it finished 10 months ago) and I just wanted to tell you- it does get better. Especially when you're taking all the steps you're taking to make it better. Seriously, good going, that takes a lot of courage.

I totally hear you about the empty apology thing. You can't necessarily trust it and even if you can it's not going to feel like enough. I saw a good analogy somewhere (probably tumblr, maybe here) which says: "Drop a plate. Did it break? It did. Now say sorry to the plate. Is the plate still broken? Yes. Saying sorry doesn't fix things." Obviously I'm not saying you're broken (far from it, you seem to be taking steps to deal with this really well) but you are hurting, and a simple sorry won't really change that. Sorrys are nice to have and all, but it would be much nicer if they weren't needed.

I'd also say good call on waiting with that conversation. You might find that by the time you feel that you'd be ok having it, you won't even want it anymore. You may well have closure by then just by time. Time heals. Not all wounds, and not necessarily completely, but it does heal.

I wanted to pick out another thing you said: "It's not my job to take care of him." So true. You owe him nothing. Sometimes when something like this happens, we feel like we have some kind of duty to the other person. We don't. The most important thing for you to do right now is work on your own healing, and doing things that make you feel good. Also, obviously you know him better than me so maybe you'll know this isn't the case, but be aware that sometimes this "cry-for-help" behaviour that he's exhibiting that's worrying you, and the things he's telling you that are worrying you, can be another form of manipulation. I'm not saying it definitely is that, but often it's the case that someone who is abusive and manipulative will use your residual feelings for them to try to make you feel sorry for them. If anything, it's his parents' job to take care of him (although at 18 it's also kinda his own job) and they've known him his whole life, they'll pick up on a lot. So the best thing you can do is leave the worrying and looking-after of him to them. Because if he does need help, that's what parents are for, and if he doesn't and is trying to manipulate you, if he sees it isn't working, he's more likely to stop.

The other thing I wanted to say, just from reading your whole thread- it's not your fault. It's really, really not. It's never anyone's fault that someone else has *chosen* to be abusive towards them. Ever. You got stuck in a horrible situation and a guy manipulated you and it's not at all your fault. You didn't ask for it. You didn't deserve it. It's not your fault that he behaved the way he did, it's his, and only his. It's not your fault that you fell away from your group of friends- it seems to me that he skilfully manipulated that situation too. It's not your fault that K called you a horrible friend. You're not. You sound like someone who's interested in a lot of cool stuff (I love theatre too) and who's fun and kind and just a bit shy (which there's nothing wrong with.) You just didn't know the best way to help her with her problems. And that's ok. None of us are experts on living life and probably no-one ever will be. There's just too much stuff in this world to know it all. And if K is one of these people who just knows the right thing to say when people have problems then great, that's awesome for her, but she also clearly knows how to hit someone where it hurts, and that's not awesome at all.

I'm not for one minute saying that you should just stop feeling like it's your fault. It's way more complicated than that and I totally get that (like, really really get that) but it's really not your fault at all. So what I'm saying is that I totally understand why you feel like that, but that doesn't make it true. It's not your fault. It never was your fault, and it never will be. I just hope that if you hear that enough- be it from your parents, some friends who actually make the effort to be understanding, your family, a therapist, or the folks here on Scarleteen- that you'll start to believe it soon yourself.

I really hope you can get this all sorted out. Just know that it is totally possible. I've been in a similar place to where you are, and it sucks. Like boy does it suck. But ten months later, I'm in a really good place. And if ten months seems a long time, know that I was in a pretty good place in just a few months. It's possible. You'll get there. This will get better.

--------------------
~Ciara

"Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way."

Posts: 40 | From: Scotland | Registered: Apr 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
silvergirl_sailing_on
Activist
Member # 110025

Icon 1 posted      Profile for silvergirl_sailing_on     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh- I'm really sorry, I just noticed this was in the Scarleteen staff answer only section, but I don't know how to delete my post. Really sorry everyone, my bad!

--------------------
~Ciara

"Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way."

Posts: 40 | From: Scotland | Registered: Apr 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know this is just a scarleteen staff answer only section, but I still really appreciate what you said. It's really nice to hear from someone else who has had similar experiences, and I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond, so thank you [Smile]
Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Is it really okay for me to call this abuse? Or is it just that he's a jerk? I still sort of feel like I'm over reacting by saying the relationship was abusive. I mean I know it was bad, but it still seems like it's simplifying things too much, or blowing things out of proportion...
Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(Silvergirl, your reponse was fantastic! We do like to make sure that only staff and volunteers reply in this section, but everyone gets mixed up sometimes, it's not a big deal.)

Emily, yes, you can absolutely call this abuse. For one, it is absolutely up to you to name the feelings that you have around something that you experienced. They are YOUR feelings, after all, and no one can tell you that your feelings are "wrong". If you feel that you've been abused, then those feelings are valid.

But beyond that, what you have told us about T very clearly is in line with the things we know abusers to do, and the ways that we define an abusive relationship. There is no ambiguity here.

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Okay, thank you. I'm just always afraid of making things a bigger deal than they are, or over analyzing something too much...

Beyond that, should I tell someone about this? Should I tell my mom? Should I tell him? And if i should, how do I do that? I feel like I should tell someone about this but I don't know how.

I also want to be able to talk to someone at school about all of this, preferably an adult. I don't know, I guess I just feel that there's some sort of comfort in having someone who understands and knows how awful he's been. My guidance counsellor is out, though, I don't think I really feel comfortable telling her anything. Or if I did I'm not sure I'd know how.
Also, a senior girl who Ive never talked to approached me the other day and said she knew what I was going through because she went through a bad breakup a year ago and she said if I ever wanted to talk about it she was there. That really meant a lot to me and I thanked her but I do want to tell her again how nice that was... I kind of want to talk to her, but at the same time I don't really know her at all? I have no idea if I can trust her.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think talking to soemone about this is a really good idea. When working through abuse, talking about it is one of the best things you can do to help you process. And talking to friends and family who can support you, and help distract you when that's what you need, is also a good idea.

If you don't want to talk to your school counselor, maybe there is another teacher at your school that you can approach? Maybe even your drama teacher?

I also think that it's worth taking that senior girl up on her offer and sitting down to talk with her. You don't have to tell her everything all at once - you can take it slow and decide as you go along how much you want to disclose to her. But it is quite common to want to reach out to people and help them when you see someone going through something you've grappled with yourself, so I'd say chances are good that she's somone you can trust.

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I want to talk to my mom, but I'm not really sure how to bring it up? I also don't want to worry her too much. I know my being depressed puts a lot of strain on her and she deals with a lot of anxiety and depression. I feel bad for even telling her anything at all.

I think I will talk to my drama teacher about it. I've been wanting to for awhile but haven't really figured out how to bring it up. (He's also the head of the GSA, so I've been wanting to come out to him for awhile, but I don't know how--it always seems so awkward?)

I think I'm going to take that girl up on her offer, too. She seems really nice and she didn't have to go out of her way to talk to me, but she did, which was just really kind of her. Hopefully I'll be able to find her at school soon.

Again, should I tell T about this? Not have a conversation with him or anything--that I still want to wait on--but letting him know that yes, the relationship really was abusive?
I feel like I should but I haven't been talking to him at all.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Please do not feel bad for approaching your mother with this. Being there for you, and putting her own feelings aside to support you are part of the job of a parent. So don't worry about her, okay? You're the one in need of help here.

If you are not sure how to start that conversation, something that can help is to write a letter, and ask her to approach you once she's read it. That way you can take all the time you need to write exactly what you want to say.

The same goes for talking to your drama teacher: having an open ear for students is part of their job. And though it may be awkward for you to approach him, chances are pretty good that he's had a few similar conversations with other students, and it will be far less awkward for him. And here, too, you can start with a letter if that makes it easier for you to start the conversation.

As for talking to T, I think the important part is that you figure out first what you want to get out of that conversation, and which outcomes you are okay with. Do you just want him to know how you feel about the relationship? Or is there a specific reaction from him that you are hoping for? Why do you feel lilke you "should" talk to him about this?

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm having trouble shaking the feeling that I'm making things worse by talking to her, but I'll try.

Thank you! I think that's a good idea. Or at least writing the letter should help me figure out what I want to say, so even if I decide to approach her directly, it should help to write it.

I'll try to approach him about it too. I mostly want tell him just so I have someone who knows/someone I can talk to about it, though I am afraid he'll take it as me not wanting to be part of the show or not feeling comfortable being part of the show. Which is partly true, but I don't want him to think that I need to get pulled from the show or can't handle it. I also don't know if he'll try to sit me and T down to talk it out and deal with everything, which might not be the worst idea, but I don't really want to do that. Especially because T will probably get pissed.

I feel like I should talk to him because it's something he should be aware of? No one should ever be abusive. And hopefully if he realizes he was, he'll try not to be in the future. Maybe he won't try, but I think its important to tell him not just for his sake, but for the sake of any people he might date/have any sort of relationship with in the future. So my primary goal here is to inform.
Of course there's also part of me which just wants him to realize how badly he messed up and how much he hurt me, and of course I want him to be sorry for that and for him to treat me better and make up for what he did/fix things between us. But I know I have no guarantee that that will happen (it's actually probably very unlikely) so I'll try not to get my hopes up. Still, I still think he should know about the abuse/how I feel about the relationship just so he's aware. If he doesn't even know what he was doing was abusive, he's more likely to hurt more people in the future. And while I can't control what he does, I can do this, and hopefully it'll make the chances that he'll hurt someone again slightly smaller.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One thing I'd simply say about confronting someone who abused you with the idea that they didn't know is that that is unlikely.

In other words, the notion abusive people just do not know what they are doing tends to be way more often wishful thinking than reality. In reality, people being abusive to other people know they are being so.

So, I'd simply think about this with the understanding that most likely, this person already knows and knew, probably will not behave differently with others no matter what you say (people who abuse partners rarely only abuse one, even with intervention and information), and is more likely not to take responsibility than to do so.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you so much for the response Heather!

I know rationally that he probably won't accept responsibility for this, especially since he's refused to take responsibility for... pretty much everything (which should be fairly evident if you look at the events that happened before and after the break up--a lot of me asking him to take responsibility and be a decent human being, a lot of him saying "okay I'll try MAYBE" and a lot of him... not doing that)

I also know I'm not the only person he's abused, or at least I don't think I am. I don't know much about his relationship with W, but from what she's told me, it seems like he was abusive to her as well (definitely more of an all-around jerk--like he'd say to her stuff like "oh yeah I might break up with you in a few weeks" clearly not as a means of saying "this is a problem, let's talk about it" but rather just his way of trying to stir up drama/being manipulative/generally being an ***)

With all that said, I still feel like it's worth a shot to bring it up? On the off chance that he actually has any desire to be a good person. Even if he doesn't "realize" he's being abusive, he might still refuse to believe that he is, but I think it would be worse for me to never say anything to him. That doesn't mean I necessarily expect things to change, though... I'm pretty pessimistic about the whole situation to be honest.

How do I deal with having to see him all the time though? It's painful, and it's gotten to the point where I'm so overwhelmed with hurt and anger towards him that I want to snap at every little thing he says. I keep that in check by deliberately ignoring him (I never talk to him and I don't even respond or look at him if he talks to me--which is only ever in a group setting/group conversation sort of situation, he never approaches me one-on-one) but I know I'll probably eventually be forced to interact with him. I know I definitely will at least when we start doing focus exercises for the play, and since it's so important that the cast works together, I really want to avoid causing any drama because I'm not comfortable around him/don't want to interact with him.

I also can't help but be bothered by the way everyone else perceives him. Which is a really weird thing to be bothered by? But it's like, I know he's done all these horrible things and treated me (and other people) really badly. I've also heard him say terrible things about other people that they don't know about (like once my friend K had a huge panic attack, he and I calmed her down, and then as soon as she was gone he started talking about how ridiculous and unreasonable she was and how we needed to coddle her because she was a child--and she views this action as one of the nicest things he's ever done for her). So I'm at this point where I just wish everybody knew that he's been such a jerk (though I doubt people would even care) and I'm not even 100% sure why. I think that's probably a terrible thing to think...

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know, I'd say that last bit you brought up there is a very, very common frustration. People who abuse are often charming in a lot of ways, and also often do a very good job masking their abusive self from those they are not abusing.

I hear you: we will wish everyone saw them the way we do and could get that they are not awesome, but abusive. But really, the only way to get that is to tell people about what was done to us when that feels like the right thing to do, and accept, unfortunately, that likely lots of people will simply only see that other "face" of someone abusive.

I don't think wanting other people to see what you see and know is terrible: I think it is highly understandable. However, it also just isn't something we can usually rectify all that much. I mean, you can see, even with powerful, visible people whose abuse is reported all over the media? Plenty of people still dismiss, deny or just refuse to see or accept the reality of that person. [Frown]

In terms of having to see him all the time, what can you do so you do NOT? In other words, are you already limiting your contact with him? If not, how about starting? If you are already, what can you do to further limit it?

Personally, my best advice even in thinking about confronting him is to first give yourself as much time and space away from him as possible. That's a pretty big decision, and it is one I think is best made when you are not still marinating in that person, if you get me, and have your own space away to figure out what is best for YOU, in the long and short term, and what you really want and need.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm glad I'm not alone in that feeling!

Yeah, he's pretty charismatic, and very aggressive, so people tend to flock towards him. Also, our friend group (well, no longer my friend group) is entirely girls except him... Which is fine, I guess, I mean it's not like guys and girls can't be friends, but it seems odd to have 5 or 6 girls and one guy.

But what seems odd to me is he doesn't act all that much better when interacting with other people? He's not outright abusive, obviously, but he's very self-centered and egotistical. I mean I know he's entertaining, but it seems so obvious that it's all about him whenever he talks to someone else, and that he enjoys having people fawn over him (I mean who doesn't love attention, but this is more like he likes having lots of people--namely my old friendgroup--acting like subordinates to him). Or at least it seems obvious to me now. I know the teachers/adults don't seem to really like him at all, but I'm not sure how he's generally viewed by the students here. If they don't like him, they at least find him entertaining.

I hope I'll be able to talk to a few people. Not that I expect their minds to change about him/to stop being friends with him, but... I don't know. I talked to a good friend of mine who's also friends with him (friends with him first, but they don't know each other personally that well) and told her that he cheated, and that helped a lot. It just made me feel better to tell someone I guess. She didn't care much because she's not close with him, and she's still his friend and stuff, but I think she's a good enough person to still recognize that what he did was wrong and not okay. Which is mostly what I care about anyway. It's not that I'm on a mission to make sure he has no friends or something.

Well, I used to see him every day because again, we were part of the same friend group. I've since left that friend group because of my huge fight with K (she told me to leave, but I honestly left because I couldn't stand to be around her anymore because she made me feel so terrible about myself) and I tried to see T and my other friends when she wasn't around, but I gave up trying with T as soon as spring break started (mostly because I realized how he's abusive, but also because so many things piled up of him generally being inconsiderate and a jerk that I couldn't take it anymore--the final straw was when I texted him "happy birthday" on his birthday and he never responded, not even on my own birthday three days later. It's not like that was a ~terrible thing to do~ or a big deal AT ALL, it's just rude, and after everything that happened it seemed mean not to even offer me common courtesy?) So I haven't spoken a word to him since I sent that text over break, and it's been about a month since then. I still talk to my other friends when I can (usually limited to in class only, though, because they all spend time together during breaks) but I go out of my way not to see him during the day. I sometimes even take the longer route to classes to avoid him if I know he'll be in the place my old friend group always hangs out. So I usually just glimpse him a couple times during the school day. After school, though, we have rehearsal, and because we have it every day I also see him every day (sometimes we have 3 hour Saturday rehearsals too). It's a 10 person cast, so it's really small and close knit, and we're always working together a lot because that's how we're doing this show. He never makes any attempt to talk to me one-on-one (and I never do) so I never have to talk to him that way, but when the whole group is talking, and I say something, he might respond or directly ask me a question. I always ignore it and I never look at him (I make an effort not to look at him unless I'm forced to for all of rehearsal as well)
I know as we get closer and closer to opening the show that I'll be forced to interact with/talk to him more, but at the moment, I'm seeing him as little as I can manage. I'm not sure how I could further limit my contact with him.

And yeah, I'll definitely do that. I know I if I want to confront him it either has to be very soon or after the show, because I can't do it during tech week/right before the show (tensions are always high anyway because people are stressed, and the worst thing you can do during tech week is cause drama). At the moment I don't think I'll talk to him until I've told an adult at my school, like my drama teacher--I think asking my teacher for advice might be helpful (especially since rehearsal appears to be the main issue)

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This rehearsal: is there a teacher or adult or leader of some kind in charge of it?

If so, can you disclose about the abuse to them and ask for their help?

Of course, you do also have the option, I assume, of not continuing with the show. I know it really stinks if and when we can't do things we want top because of someone abusive, but sometimes we do find ourselves in the position of having to choose between still having to deal with that person and do a thing we want, or not doing that thing, but then also getting the space we need.

But too, you want to stop doing things like texting him. Not doing things like that -- where you interacting with him is totally optional, and something you are initiating, not him -- is how you do what you can to limit contact.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes! My drama teacher is in charge, he's also the director. He's the person I've been thinking about talking to. Do you think I should? And if so, why? I've been thinking about it just because it might be nice to have someone know about it, so I could talk to them if I needed to, but if there are other good reasons to talk to him about the abuse, then I definitely want to know about them.

Part of me wishes I could drop the show, but I'm not going to. A lot of people got cut and I was lucky to get in, and I'm really grateful for that opportunity. I also enjoy doing theater and right now it's one of the only (mostly) positive things in my school day, and I'd miss a lot of things I love if I quit. Also, if I were to quit this late in the game, it's possible the show would have to be changed/rescheduled/canceled, because we only have a few weeks left. I'd likely never get cast in another show, too, and I plan to do all 3 shows next year. So there's a lot of reasons to keep doing the show, though I have considered dropping it.

Don't worry, I haven't texted him since that last text I sent spring break. I don't have any desire to intitiate conversation with him.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think talking to the teacher, then, sounds like the very best next step.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I talked to my drama teacher, and I think it was a mistake.
He wasn't bad about it or anything, I just feel kind of crappy coming out of it. It took me a full 15 minutes to work up the courage to even walk into that room and talk to him, and I was terrified talking to him. He's good at diffusing situations by being funny, so it was okay, but I'm afraid I came off as a girl pining after her boyfriend rather than... I don't know. Whatever I am. Someone that just needed someone to know what happened.
It seemed like he thought I was coming to him because I was still heartbroken about the relationship ending. Which I mean, I still am a bit--it hurt a lot--but me being sad I wasn't dating him anymore wasn't the reason I came to talk to him.
I don't know, I'm not sure why it feels so awkward and uncomfortable, but it does. I'm sort of dreading showing up to rehearsal tomorrow. I know it won't change anything. I just feel like I made a fool out of myself. I guess when I talked to him it just made me feel like he didn't think the abuse was a big deal. Which maybe it isn't at all, making I'm making a huge deal over absolutely nothing. I have no idea. It doesn't feel like that big of a deal, I guess, even though I feel like it should be. It's so easy to demonize people who are abusive when you just hear about them, but knowing someone is different I guess? I just think "that can't be right."
And on the one hand it seems like a big deal, this whole breakup and relationship and abuse and everything else that happens seems like a very big deal. Logically I know it probably doesn't mean anything at all.
I don't know. I just feel very confused and I guess I was mistakenly looking for validation or something. I just know I wish I hadn't talked to him and I feels terrible in general.

(I did talk to my mom, however, by just saying "I told [my drama teacher] that T was emotionally abusive" and we talked about how that conversation went and how it upset me but I didn't know why--she never said anything about me mentioning abuse, but she used the word a couple times in our conversation, so I guess it seemed obvious to her enough that I didn't need to bring it up. Which is good, I guess)

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Now part of me wants to talk to my guidance counsellor because I'm so desperate for someone at school to talk to (to sympathize with me I guess is what I really want--or something like that. Which isn't something I'm going to get, and it's stupid anyway) and tell her what happened and how I talked to my drama teacher and he was supportive and told me to go see her but said he was there if I needed someone to vent to, but that it just didn't feel good and I want to be able to talk to him but don't know how. But considering how I felt about talking to him, I don't know if I want to try talking to another teacher.

I don't know, I just feel embarrassed and stupid and really pretty pathetic at the moment, like the stereotypical teenager who over reacts and thinks everything is SO IMPORTANT and SUCH A BIG DEAL when it isn't and I don't want to be like that

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know, during adolescence a lot of things ARE a big deal and ARE so important. [Smile]

A guidance counselor is usually someone who is there for students to have someone to talk to, so if you want to talk to them about this, or anything else, I see no reason not to go in and let them do their job for you!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am also really glad to hear that you were able to talk to your mother about this without having to explain yourself too much! That's pretty cool, and I hope that you can continue to count on her for support in that way.

As for talking to your teacher, I think the best thing is to just let that sit for a while and try not to worry about it too much. So they were not as supportive as they could have been, but at least now they know, and if you ever need some support to help you deal with T's presence in your group, at least now you can approach your teacher and they'll know what is going on. That's something, too!

I agree with Heather that it is a good idea to talk to your guidance counselor. You've already taken the huge step of opening up to someone, so now you know that you can do it, and it'll be fine! And your guidance counselor has had more training with how to talk to students about difficult situations like this, so hopefully that will be a more rewarding and validating experience for you.

[ 04-22-2014, 02:40 PM: Message edited by: September ]

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know that there are definitely things when you're a teenager/adolescent that ARE really important, but I also know there's a lot of stuff that SEEMS like a really big deal at the time but then you realize later that it isn't. I'm having trouble making the distinction right now and I'm worried I'm over reacting or that what happened wasn't a big deal at all (even though it may feel like that now) and I just feel like I've made a total fool of myself. So I feel pretty stupid for even being upset/worried/whatever in the first place.

She actually wants to talk to me anyway (I met with her last week so she wants to follow up) so it's the perfect opportunity. I'll probably see her this week , maybe today or tomorrow?

And yeah, I'm really glad I've talked to my mom about this.
I feel kind of awkward about going to rehearsal now, though

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

Icon 1 posted      Profile for September     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You know, even if you look back in 20 years and decide that what happened did not have that huge of an impact on your life, and in the grand scheme of things it really isn't a big deal? That still doesn't mean that, right now, it's not a big freakin' deal.

And very obviously, from all you are writing here, right now it is a big deal to you. And if that's how you feel, then the best thing to do is to accept those feelings, and to do what you can to find the help you need right now. No one is served by you telling yourself to just get over it. That's not how feeling works, that's not how processing break-ups or abuse works. So just give yourself the permission to make a big deal, alright?

--------------------
Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Also? No matter our age, things often seem a bigger deal at the time than they do in hindsight. [Smile]

We cannot predict that stuff, we can only figure out and know how we feel in the present. You have had some big stuff on your plate. It all sure seems like a big deal, which is probably why it feels that way!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm kind of a complete mess right now

I just started sobbing today and my mom came in because she was worried and we talked some and now she thinks she might have to pull me out of school and I'm scared and I don't know why I can't get over this or why I'm obsessive over this and I'm afraid I'm hurting my mom and that I'm ruining her life by being upset all the time over absolutely nothing and I know it's not a big deal but I feel like I'm completely broken and I'm terrified and I don't know what to do

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Redskies
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 79774

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Redskies     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi, Emily.

Your feelings matter, and they're big feelings, so you're not upset about nothing.

I know we haven't talked before, but I've read your threads. You know, what you've been talking about, it sounds like a big deal to me. It sounds like things I would be upset about, too.

You're not ruining your mom's life. If someone chooses to be a parent, they sign on for a heap of unknowns. This is part of the deal.

You're not broken! You're hurting a lot right now, and some really hurtful stuff has happened to you. It's very normal and common to get really upset and sob sometimes after something like your relationship with your ex-boyfriend. It's part of processing what happened.

What might help you feel a bit better and safer right now? Is there something that you have or do - like an activity, a kind of music, a favourite teddy [Smile] - that's good for you and gives you some comfort?

--------------------
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.

Posts: 1786 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Emily9997
Activist
Member # 108482

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Emily9997     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But my mom is dealing with so much stress right now. And it's a problem she has and I'm just making it worse. I want to be honest with her about everything and I am, to some extent, but I'm afraid to tell her everything and hurt her even more than I already have

It's been months though. He broke up with me mid-December. It's been a long time and I'm still upset about it and I still wish he cared about me and was good to me, even though I know he never will, and I still miss him. Even after everything horrible he's done I still miss him and that just makes me feel worse about myself

I've calmed down a lot. I'm not hysterical or crying anymore. I'm probably just going to go to bed right now and hopefully I'll feel better in the morning--I'm also just under a tremendous amount of stress because it's junior spring, and on top of the regular huge workload I have AP exams coming up and a very large research paper to do. I think a lot of that stress is amplifying things.I don't really have time to do relaxing things though, because I'm so behind and overwhelmed with work....
A lot of the stuff I like doesn't make me very happy anymore, but usually curling up in bed will make me feel better so long as I'm not worrying about work. That's what I'm going to go to now to help me calm down. I might try tea or chocolate or something tomorrow.

I'm not sure how to deal with stuff less immediate though. Going to rehearsal now makes me completely miserable and I can't stand to be around him when he won't even talk to me (I can't tell if that's because I'm giving him the cold shoulder or if it's because he just doesn't care--probably both) and I'm having to interact with him more and more but we're not even talking. And 2 weeks from now he'll be gone and I won't have to see him but for some reason that still makes me freaked out.
My mom is also talking about sending me away somewhere, like a mental institution or something, and I'm really scared.

Posts: 43 | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3

Google
Search Scarleteen