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Author Topic: How to deal with a really bad breakup and everything that comes with
September
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What Redskies said: you are not doing anything to your mother. There is stuff that's been done TO YOU, and that you are having an understandably difficult time dealing with. And supporting your child when they are struggling is part of the job you sign on for when you become a parent, and it is not the child's job to try and protect their parents from that. Your mother is an adult: if she is earnestly struggling, she can seek out the support she needs herself. She manages her emotions, and you manage yours.

A lot of what you are describing here - feeling overwhelmed and sad, not enjoying things you used to like - sound like symptoms of general depression. I really think that the way you are feeling right now is about more than just the break-up, and that you'd greatly benefit from some help. I don't think that you need to go to a "mental institution" - but I do think some therapy would be great for you. Have you had the chance to talk to your school counselor yet? They might be able to refer you to a therapist.

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

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Emily9997
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Yeah, my mom is looking for a therapist for me. She doesn't trust my counsellor's judgment, not because my counsellor is crap or something, but because my mom has dealt with stuff like this a lot and had therapists/psychiatrists so she wants to find one for me herself. She's called a place but they haven't gotten back to her.
I don't know if I should talk to my counsellor? And if so, what should I say?

Also, how do I deal with going to rehearsal? I love the play and the people but having T there just makes the whole experience miserable. He won't even talk to me. Which I get because I've been deliberately ignoring him, but I have a feeling it's mostly because he doesn't actually care. I have to be physically close to him every single day (not touching, but still close) and listen to him talk and have fun with other people and it's just like adding insult to injury I guess
The play will be over in two weeks and he'll be gone and I won't have to see him until graduation (and prom, dear god) but in the mean time I'll have to hug him and get emotional with the whole cast, including him, and I just don't know if I can do that
And having stress over whether or not he hugs me during that particular focus exercise (everyone hugs everyone, and in a small cast, usually multiple times. On the one hand I want him to, because after all he's put me through it would just be so cruel not to, I never did anything to him. On the other, I want him to stay the **** away from me) having that stress just makes the whole experience, which is honestly usually the best part, absolutely MISERABLE. It happened during the last show (he did hug me, maybe by accident, but then hugged me a couple more times at the cast party--long hugs, too, though everyone did that)
And I hate that I still miss him so much. I mean not him, the way he is now (or I guess always was) but the person I thought he was? Or maybe he really has changed, I don't know.
I want him to care about me. I want him to love me (not necessarily IN love) and care about me like I care about him, and make an effort to be my friend and really TRY because he owes me at least that much after the shit he's put me through. And if he tries, and he cares, and he really wants to make things better, than I want to be his friend again. I miss being his friend, I miss being close to him.
But I know I can't change people and I know that probably won't ever happen. And even if he doesn't care or try, I still want to have that conversation with him so he knows he was abusive, so he knows how much he's fucked up and how much he's hurt me, so he knows that I can't think back on a single good moment in our relationship without feeling angry and sick and like nothing good ever came of it. I still want him to know all that, I think it's important (for me and him) but I so desperately wish he would just care. I wish he wouldn't be so selfish all the time, even if he didn't care, I wish he would just be kind.
And I know I shouldn't but I feel so totally pathetic for having all of these feelings

What do I do?

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September
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I think it's pretty clear that the top priority right now is for you to just get through these next two weeks, until T leaves school and you no longer have to spend so much time with him. It seems pretty obvious that this is putting the most stress on you, and likely making everything so difficult.

So what you just want to do, in the meantime, is focus on short-term coping strategies to get you through this. Your school counselor might actually be an excellent person to talk to about that, and we also have an article here that might give you some pointers: Self-Care a La Carte

In the long-term, a good therapist is probably going to be what will serve you best. But it'll likely take a few weeks until you can start therapy, and a bit longer than that until it starts to work. That is the place to then work out all of the complicated and conflicted feelings you are having. But for now, again: the priority is to get you through the next couple of weeks and help you deal with being around T so much.

[ 04-25-2014, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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

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Redskies
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Also, Emily, you're not pathetic for feeling like this. I promise!

First, it's usually longer and harder to deal with a break-up from someone who was abusive than from someone who wasn't. There's more to deal With, you know? People often have conflicting feelings after a break-up anyway, but from someone who was abusive, even more so. It's very natural that you want him to care about you: when someone we're close to hasn't treated us with proper care, it can make us crave that care even more. These feelings will ease up and fade, with time, and with support for you.

Second, as Joey said, you're describing some symptoms of depression. Depression makes the brain physically less able to deal quickly and well with big emotions. Again, you're not pathetic: you have a health thing going on that's not your fault, but which can be helped by the right support.

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

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Emily9997
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Thank you so much for the article! And yeah, I know. It's just hard to work on coping strategies when I'm so busy. Relaxing and doing something like, like playing a game or watching TV, is really helpful because it's distracting but I don't have time for that right now.
It's also prom time, and everyone's talking about who's going with who, and it honestly makes me not want to go. Not just because I'd be going alone (though I definitely would be) but just because I wouldn't have any friends to hang out with while I'm there and I don't want to be by myself. I also can't help but get a little bit jealous over whoever T is going with (I don't know if he's asked anyone or who he's going to ask, but it doesn't really matter

Right now I do everything in my power to avoid talking to him or seeing him. I keep thinking maybe things would be better if he would approach me, but I don't even know if that's true.
The only time I see him is rehearsal and in that case I don't really know what I can do about it. I don't know it I should talk to a good friend who's also in the show or not... She knows about the cheating. She's nice and I like her a lot but I'm afraid I'll annoy her or push her away by talking about something like this.
(If I can get up the courage to do it, I'm going to talk to my guidance counsellor in a few minutes)

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Emily9997
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Redskies, thank you so much.

If I do end up having to confront him (as in I'm forced into it, or he comes up to me) what should I do?

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September
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I hope you get to talk to your counselor, and all goes well! Fingers crossed!

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

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Emily9997
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I did talk to her, and I think it helped actually. I guess I just sort of feel validated which helps a lot. She suggested I tell T/someone else to tell T that I don't want him to hug me when everyone is doing that, and I might do that. I'm not sure yet though, I'm probably going to talk to a friend about it.
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September
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I am glad talking to your counselor was helpful! That is great. Maybe your counselor - or your drama teacher! - can mediate a conversation between you and T, if that would make you feel more comfortable.

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

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Emily9997
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.

Hi, it's me again.
I know I haven't responded in a very long time, and I apologize for that. A lot was going on in my life, and I was really busy both with school and the play, and so I'm sorry for not coming here sooner.

I feel... Not happy, I guess, but far less depressed. I think I'm alright. I feel okay, at least, if not really happy, I feel like I'm going to be alright. Things don't look quite as bleak anymore, for various reasons.

I spoke to T for the first time in 2 months on Friday, which was the second day of our show (as in the actual performances). We ended up accidentally being alone together so we talked, and it was fine and friendly, and we ended up having to go buy something for the cast at the store (just us) and it was fun and pretty friendly, if a little tense. When we were on our way back he noticed I seemed more frustrated than I had before and asked what was wrong/what did he do and I just told him that things hadn't exactly ended on a good note and he went "that's true."
We were perfectly friendly to each other that day and the next day (Saturday, our last show) and we talked about stuff and had conversations and to be honest, it was kind of nice.
He didn't hug me the first 3 shows but he did the last time (he later said he wasn't sure if it was appropriate for him to hug me or not, but the last time it seemed like it was okay and he wanted to) and he was shaking a bit when he did. And he hugged me again at the cast party before he left (everyone hugs everyone) but they both felt a bit stiff and awkward.

Fast forward to yesterday. I asked him to stay for a bit afterschool because I wanted to tell him something. So I told him that he was emotionally abusive, how I hadn't wanted to see it but I talked to some people and I know now that it's true, etc etc. I intended to leave it like that, but as usual, every time I talk to him we get easily distracted and talk a lot and about other things. So we ended up talking/hanging out for about 3 and a half hours? It was nice, actually. He seemed receptive to the important stuff we talked about and I expected him to be an ***/pissy about it but he seemed genuinely sorry (I told him that sorry wasn't enough, though, and I think he gets that) and the conversation I thought was productive and helpful and so did he. We talked about mostly everything to be honest, even though I hadn't expected to or planned it, but it felt right. We also talked about regular fun stuff and had a good time just joking around, I really missed him. He noticed I had been actively ignoring him, but didn't really know how to approach me/if he even should.
So at one point I was shaking a lot, both because it was cold and also because I shake when I get nervous/upset/anxious etc. So I was shaking a lot and he looked worried and asked if I was okay and if I needed a hug, I told him I was fine, and later he asked again and said that he would really like a hug and I did want to hug him so I did. And it was... Really really nice. And we stayed like that for awhile (but stopped hugging when people came by for obvious reasons)
And it was kind of intense and very emotional
The rest of the time we hung out together we were very touchy. We never kissed or anything, but other than that we basically were acting like when we were dating in terms of hugging and being physically close and stuff. Like we hugged a lot and very close and I put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around me (because it was cold) and basically it was more than just friendly. (He also cupped the side of my face with his hand in a "romantic" way (not sure how else to describe that) and we were very close together a lot. His face was definitely touching my face sometimes, and sometimes he'd put his lips to my head or bury his face in my neck but again, never any kissing--a couple times it seemed like it was close to happening, though)
He's made it clear that he's still attracted to me (or is again, he wasn't before) which I know both because he told me several times and made comments about and because I could, uh, feel it when he was hugging me. (Also note that I made very clear none of what he was doing/saying was making me uncomfortable--because it wasn't. And if he says anything that does I tell him. So none of this was him taking advantage of me, or anything of the sort, I was fine with everything that was happening and he was worried he was crossing lines/boundaries until I told him that there really wasn't anything he could do that would make me uncomfortable)
I don't want to get back into a romantic relationship and neither does he (we didn't really talk about it and I didn't bring it up, but he did say he didn't think it was a good idea) and I don't know if I'd ever want a relationship like that with him again. I'm not really someone who deals in absolutes so I can't say I never will, but I know at the moment I don't want one, and I definitely definitely don't want to go back to the way things were. Right now if I'm to have any kind of relationship with him at all, I need it to be something completely different, something starting over.
I'm sort of worried that this could easily turn into a friends with benefits situation which I ALSO don't want. Maybe I'd be okay with that at some point, but at the moment I don't trust him enough for that to happen. Again, not a relationship I'd be opposed to ever having ever, but at the moment, no. Part of me wants to maybe have some sort of romantic/sexual relationship with him in the future, but all of that is just speculation and has nothing to do with what I want right now.
I would like to be friends with him, though. What happened yesterday was nice and I enjoyed it, I missed being close to him (both physically and emotionally, though not necessarily romantic/sexual). So whatever that was, I liked it, and he seemed to too (he said a lot of things like "this is nice" and "you're cool" and stuff like that).
I told him that I wanted to be his friend but I couldn't do that if I was constantly worried he'd let me down/hurt me again. And that I want to be his friend but he has to try and make up for the things he did, and that he had a responsibility to (when I asked him if he thought he did, he said yes) and I didn't know how he could do that, and he didn't either, but that he could start by trying to be my friend and treat me right and act like he actually cared about me.
I don't think he thinks I care about him at all, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
He kept saying "let's talk again sometime, okay?" (not about anything specific, just hanging out/having a conversation again) I know he'll be busy with senior projects so he won't have much time (well, my guess is he still will have time, but I don't really care so I didn't push it) but he seems to want to see me again and he seems to enjoy talking to me. I haven't gotten my hopes up too much, because my guess is he won't actually make an effort, but I guess it's possible. I won't see him at school because seniors are gone (I might see him for a couple minutes occasionally because he is AT school working on his project) and I may or may not see him next weekend at prom, and then not until a few weeks later at graduation. So I won't be forced to see him basically at all.
But I'm glad things seem friendlier and less tense and that he seems to get it. And one thing I did notice was that while he does seem different (which makes sense, people are constantly changing) it doesn't all seem to be bad like I thought it was before. A lot of good changes have happened, along with some that seem bad. He doesn't seem to understand what's really important, if that makes any sense. But that's all right. I'm glad that I'm aware of that, anyway, and I hope he grows out of it eventually...
The other thing I noticed was that before, he seemed like he lacked any... Passion I guess? For anything at all. But yesterday i felt like I glimpsed a couple moments where he did have that, where he did care, and those are moments that I haven't seen very much lately. So it seemed important.

I do recognize that all of this could just be another manipulation (I told him as much). I do know that he has the ability to hurt me again. I also know to be far more careful and cautious, because I no longer feel like I'm going into this blind. He could be lying and I know that. But it does seem like things are more honest now, like everything is on the table. I'm glad I had the conversation. I feel like, even though whatever "conversation" I wanted was far from completed, I still got a sort of resolution. And that's what I wanted in the end, so I'm glad for that. Now I feel like I can either go on and be his friend, or if he lets me down again I can just accept the fact that he's an ******* and he'll never change and I won't have to be so hurt about it anymore. It'll just be a fact. I know things are never that simple, but things do feel better.

God, I'm sorry I typed such a long one again, it's just that a lot has happened! Thank you, again, for reading this.

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Sam W
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Hi Emily,

I'm glad to hear that things are moving in the direction you were hoping they would, and that the conversation you had was (it sounds like) beneficial to you. I also think it's sound to still be cautious and keep your eyes open for the behaviors from him that were a problem before, which is what it sounds like you're doing. It might also be worth it, if you do intend to chat with him in the future, to figure out what some boundaries or limits around those interactions might be. Those boundaries can be physical, of course, but they can also be around things like "if you say x thing to me, or bring up y topic, or use z tone, I am leaving this interactions." That way, you have a kind of litmus test that will help you notice if he starts to tip into old patterns.

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