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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Is hurting like this after a breakup normal?

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Author Topic: Is hurting like this after a breakup normal?
beingaleaf
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Member # 96142

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It's just been so long since I've gone through this. The last time I had a relationship that I really thought was "true love" end was when I was 16. Now I'm 23, and probably too old to be posting here, but I had really good memories of this place so I came back for some reassurance (hope that's ok.)

The relationship was only six months long (not counting the rough patch in the middle- about a month where we were separated), and it ended very, very messily- like, realizing that his behavior qualified as emotional abuse, trying to have a mediated conversation, kicking him out of my apartment during that mediated conversation because he got so angry I was afraid levels of bad.

Since then (about a month and a half ago) I've been avoiding him. I've gotten a bit of feedback from friends on how he's doing, etc., but I've stayed as far away from him as possible. I've only set eyes on him once, on the same evening of the day I broke up with him, because our mutual friends didn't know yet and invited us to the same movie event (which I subsequently left asap because I couldn't be near him without being a fear/anger/heartbreak mess). I've had a great support system through all of this.

But sitting in my apartment alone this morning, I decided it was time to stop avoiding him, and pulled up his YouTube channel to see what he'd posted since the breakup.

He seemed so normal. I was more capable of seeing his flaws than I had been when we started dating, but he also seemed so much more like the gentle, happy, intelligent man that I fell in love with- not the half-crazed, bitter, controlling, manipulative, angry shell of a person I forbade from crossing my threshold again. A large part of me, in that moment, just wanted to queue up all his videos, wrap myself in a blanket, and listen to his voice because I just missed it so much.

And then the doubts set in. If he's so normal and well-balanced, am I the crazy one? Is he right when he refers to me as "the Bitch Witch" to mutual friends? Was it all of my crazy that ended the relationship? I do have my own abundant supply of depression and anxiety issues that caused relationship stress. I know that I did a lot of things wrong.

I take a deep breath and try to remind myself that I was not the only one with depression in this relationship- I was just the only one that wasn't in denial about it. I try to remind myself that he had repressed anger issues too. I try to remind myself of how seriously my social worker friend told me that our two-hour-long phone conversation, where he berated me about not needing mediation in this relationship, sounded like classic bullying and abuse tactics from just hearing my side of the conversation. I try to remember the terrifying rage and then, worse, the deeply disturbing laughter that was his reaction to me finally telling him out loud that he was in denial about his anger issues.

And then I really start feeling panicked and awful because if someone that I had once known to be a safe and loving person, someone who was teaching me what could be good about Christianity, someone who was "my sword-toting Arthurian knight" could turn so ugly on me, how can I trust anyone? Seriously, is anyone good in this world? I wanted what he offered so badly and then he tore it away and tore me up and then there's the crying helplessly and eating all the ice cream (very cliche of me, I know) and-

Promise I'll stop feeling like this before too terribly long?

--------------------
"It is well to think well; it is divine to act well."

Horace Mann (Unitarian, educator, reformer)

Posts: 2 | From: midwest but wandering | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
copper86
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Hi beingaleaf (I really like your username, by the way!),

I'm not an expert in giving advice, but having been through heartaches that really hurt me, I first want to tell you that I am very sorry that you are going through this tough time. Break-ups are never easy; and even when things are left on good terms with both partners, even those break-ups can feel lousy. So, I don't think it is at all abnormal for you to be feeling doubt and distress over this. It's completely natural to doubt yourself and think if you could have done one thing or the other differently - that is actually how I operate during these times, as well - but that does not mean that anything is wrong with how you're feeling. Your feelings are your own; and if you need to feel upset or anything like that for a while, then that is absolutely okay. Getting out your emotions instead of keeping them inside is a very healthy practice. I actually hate letting out my feelings by crying and stuff; but it does relieve tension and I think it helps you get through the grieving process.

I do not think you are crazy at all; or that you were "the crazy one," as you put it. Just as you stated that you yourself have flaws (as we all do!), your partner has flaws of his own; and it is inevitable that when we are with someone in some kind of relationship for a while - be it a romantic one, friendship, sexual relationships, or familial relationships - arguments and messy fights can easily come up. When we're close to others, those kinds of things can happen.

Him "being normal" on YouTube can be how he is portraying himself to the online community. I can't speak for how he is feeling since I do not know him; but perhaps he is also thinking about the break-up and is just "hiding it from view," so to speak. When I'm out in public and hurting, I try and hide it to look like I have everything together. Perhaps that is the case for him.

Calling someone a "bitch witch" is very rude and degrading; and I do not think saying that - especially to mutual friends - is appropriate at all. Iy should not be said towards anyone. Words are often said in the heat of the moment or when someone is angry - words they might not mean - so perhaps he was angry and lashing out when he said that. But, regardless, any kind of abuse - emotional, verbal, or physical - is not okay and if you felt threatened or in danger, then I think you have every right to keep your distance if you so choose. You say that he has anger issues; so if he does indeed have them, then him bullying you and making you feel bad is not your fault. Him needing help with his anger is not your fault; and it is his responsibility to try and get better.

You know, when I get hurt like this, I often think exactly the way you are. Sometimes I also wonder if there are any good people in the world - if there are actually people out there who care about me. When you feel so depressed and upset, you need to focus on yourself first. Think about the people in your life who care about you - your family, your friends, your co-workers. All those people represent your support system. And even if you only have a few close friends, that often equals a very strong and supportive help system, too.

Grieving the way you are is entirely normal; and I want to tell you that you will feel better soon, but there is really no timeframe for these kinds of situations. Try not to feel like you have to get over this fast; or that you need to get over it very soon. Take your time to heal. Do things for you - whatever they may be - to make yourself feel better. I wish I could say more things to make you feel better... I know this must be a very hard time for you, so try to take care of yourself first; and do what you need to do in order to get through the day. Take each day minute by minute if need be, and don't beat yourself up about anything.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
beingaleaf
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Thanks so much, copper86! I like the name too :-) It's from some of my favorite poetry.

I really needed to hear someone say that feeling like this is normal, I think. More than that, I needed to hear this:
quote:
Originally posted by copper86:

I do not think you are crazy at all; or that you were "the crazy one," as you put it.

He attacked me a lot for not dealing well with my depression- which, in retrospect, is laughable- and so I think that I came to generally feel like I was genuinely crazy. Which, you know, is part of the whole abusive thing- he was gaslighting, or grooming me, even if not consciously.

quote:
Originally posted by copper86:

Him "being normal" on YouTube can be how he is portraying himself to the online community. I can't speak for how he is feeling since I do not know him; but perhaps he is also thinking about the break-up and is just "hiding it from view," so to speak.

I think what threw me so much about this is that towards the end of the relationship, I only saw him being, at best, incredibly difficult and bullying, and I've described the worst above. Seeing him be a well-seeming person was just... surreal. I'd forgotten he could be like that. It was very off-putting in ways I can't quite figure out yet.

quote:
Originally posted by copper86:

Calling someone a "bitch witch" is very rude and degrading; and I do not think saying that - especially to mutual friends - is appropriate at all.

This is one of those things I'm of several minds on. First, I do agree with you, and it's really good to hear you say that it wasn't appropriate. Then again, it makes me glad to hear things that indicate that he's not all okay- that he's still mad (partially because it makes me feel better in a very schadenfreude way, partially because it makes me more confident that he won't come back and I won't take him back, because I don't want to fall into that again.)

quote:
But, regardless, any kind of abuse - emotional, verbal, or physical - is not okay and if you felt threatened or in danger, then I think you have every right to keep your distance if you so choose. You say that he has anger issues; so if he does indeed have them, then him bullying you and making you feel bad is not your fault. Him needing help with his anger is not your fault; and it is his responsibility to try and get better.
Just... thank you.
You have no idea how much he tried to make out that I was the only one with problems, I was the only one causing problems, etc.

quote:
When you feel so depressed and upset, you need to focus on yourself first. Think about the people in your life who care about you - your family, your friends, your co-workers. All those people represent your support system. And even if you only have a few close friends, that often equals a very strong and supportive help system, too.
I do have a pretty good support system here. A lot of it, however, was either 1) waaay too privy to the details of the breakup (he went through a phase in the last week or so of talking about our problems in an extremely exaggerated and biased way with everyone but me) and have therefore been uncomfortably judge-y, or 2) were really distant from my relationship with him (like my church people, because he didn't like my church.) I really appreciate this place because it lets me get a completely outside perspective on the whole thing.

quote:
I wish I could say more things to make you feel better... I know this must be a very hard time for you, so try to take care of yourself first; and do what you need to do in order to get through the day. Take each day minute by minute if need be, and don't beat yourself up about anything.
You said lots of things that helped. Thank you, again. :-)

--------------------
"It is well to think well; it is divine to act well."

Horace Mann (Unitarian, educator, reformer)

Posts: 2 | From: midwest but wandering | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WesLuck
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-hugs for beingaleaf- [Smile]
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Onionpie
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hi, beingaleaf. If you don't mind me saying, I think you are a very intelligent and level-headed person [Smile] You're definitely not the "crazy" one in this situation; as you said, that was part of his abusive behaviour, gaslighting you.

I also want to remind you that abusive people tend to be very charismatic with the people they're not abusing. I know you probably already know this, but I also know how validating it can feel to be reminded of that by a third party. So he seems "normal" and like the man you fell in love with on youtube, and he is able to manipulate your friends and/or family into siding with him, because that is all part of his abusive personality.

Abusers come across as lovely and kind and charming because that way they can slip under people's radar, and when someone says they're abusing them, people will go "no, no way, he's a lovely guy! He'd never hurt a fly, I've never seen him angry, not even once!" So always remember that -- you know the truth about him, never doubt that, no matter how wonderful he may come across when he's around other people. Trust your experiences [Smile]

Posts: 1298 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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