I was in a 2+ year long relationship which I finally broke off 3 months ago. A lot of the items on the abuse checklist I've seen in these forums described him to a T, minus any physical abuse.
It probably would've ended sooner as I recognized some of the abusive signs earlier on, but because I talked to him about everything straight-up (figuring it doesn't hurt to try to work things out) and believed he actually loved me, as well as having two separate STI's showing themselves during the relationship, I was never ready to leave. Every time I tried to build my confidence up to leave him, in the beginning I'd rationalize that relationships take work, in the end I'd panic because of the STI's. I DID talk to one of my friends about the worst of the two STI's but didn't tell her what it was, yet even with that support I couldn't leave him. I felt (at the time) that no one but him would want me because of it. It's hard to convince yourself otherwise when you feel like some scrap heap because you're 'tainted' with an STI (I don't feel 'tainted' so much anymore, but I'm still coping).
My ex recently sent me a 'vent email' stating where he was coming from and why he had said certain hurtful things during our break-up process. Most of it didn't bother me, since I could see he was just grasping for mean things to say since I'M the one that left HIM. Still, there's a part that really stood out and I will quote it here:
"Two months later (I can only assume after not finding anyone "better") you decided that maybe I wasn't so bad after all (safe?) and came back to start a proper relationship. Try living with that... knowing that you were someone's fall-back plan because they couldn't find anyone else."
When we dated, I had told him from the first date not to expect anything because I wasn't ready for commitment. He fell faster for me than I did him, so I told him we were going way too fast and stopped it then and there. It took me two months to realize that as scared as I was of commitment, I was more scared of missing out on a really great guy (I told him this too) and asked him if there was still a chance. Apparantly he had assumed that when I asked him to be my boyfriend that I only asked because I couldn't 'find anyone better,' that I 'settled' for him. In turn he convinced himself this was true and that it was hard for him to cope with that 'knowledge' & 'lived with it' for our entire relationship.
He also admitted in his email that he already had the perfect girl for him who wasn't super attractive but had everything else he wanted, but dumped her the moment I asked if 'we' had a chance not because he liked me for me, but because I was a hottie. I met that girl too, he told me he had had a one-night stand with her a ways back and she hated him for it, but I couldn't help noticing she would always glare at ME...
Not only did we start 'us' with his assuming such a confidence-bashing thing, but he followed his penis instead of his heart and has resented me for it since. (I know it's his own damn fault for choosing that way, that doesn't mean I don't feel like an empty shell right now)
His telling me these things (in writing, which can't be twisted or denied, and was obviously thought out before it was said) explains EVERYTHING that happened with 'us'.
I'm disgusted that I was with such a bad man for so long. I feel more tainted now than I did when I found out about the STI's...
How can I cope with something like this? Knowing that I spent OVER TWO YEARS with someone who has never looked at me as more than just some do-able possession? A THING... He even proudly tells me that he has NEVER trusted or respected me since the day we became a duo, and the painful thing is that I believe him...
I feel like such a shmuck.
Posts: 6 | Registered: Nov 2000
| IP: Logged |
You made a choice to have a relationship with someone you cared about. You also chose to end that relationship when you realized you weren't being treated right.
NEITHER of those choices reflect poorly on you in the least. In fact, they reflect quite well on you. (based on what you wrote, one can't say the same for him).
I'd also be skeptical of the things he's saying to you though, especially if he's been emotionally abusive before. It sounds to me like he's trying to hurt you by saying he never cared. That doesn't necessarily mean that what he said was true.
As for being upset at yourself for staying in the relationship, abusers are often good at manipulating the other person into sticking around. What's important is that you ended things-- that takes plenty of strength, so don't sell yourself short there.
Seeing as your ex was abusive, a good counselor might also help you work through things. have you thought about that?
Posts: 14 | From: MD | Registered: Mar 2007
| IP: Logged |
I know the other day at a house party (we have mutual friends) he kept trying to irk me enough to cause me to 'flip out' on him (I was ready to hit him, he was being SO disrespectful) but I was the better person, took control of the situation and didn't submit to that feeling. I got the impression he was trying to exert some control over me that night and was really angry that it didn't work...
I think one really hard part will be seeing him out at social functions since we know a lot of the same people... I'm a-ok with ignoring him, I've already told him to leave me alone repeatedly but it seems he doesn't want to ignore me yet. Luckily emails and online things have stopped at least but the in-person functions have not. :| Any suggestions on that?
After everything that's happened I'm skeptical of the idea that he even cared. :/ Maybe he did a little, but for the wrong reasons I'm sure. Why would he tell me he hates me, that I made his life hell and drove him nuts, and then ask me to marry him? That was his actual "will you marry me" speech. What a confusing guy...
As for counselling, I've thought about it before but I'm in a bit of a financial state at this time so I can't afford it... In turn my friends have been there to listen and offer advice, luckily.
Actually, I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in three years today (ironically he does some counselling now, lol), and he summarized it to a fact-full "we all make mistakes, don't beat yourself over it, at least you learned something."
I guess time will heal all wounds. I just want to speed up the process and get over it already.
You know, if people care for us is generally demonstrated in action, not by words.
Sure, what we say absolutely matters, and can express love or lack of love, but when words and actions aren't aligned, it's a really clear sign that things just aren't good. In healthy relationships, the words match the actions and the actions the words.
The thing about abuse is that it's really intended to confuse: the confusion it causes is one of the reasons we'll often stick around, trying to figure out what the what is, rather than just getting the heck out of dodge.
No matter what, just because one can never hear enough" not your fault. None of it.
In terms of the social stuff, you know, it's not uncommon to need to expand your social circle -- or even change it -- after you get out of something abusive and/or unhealthy. Not only are the folks who hang with someone abusive often not people you'd want to be around, you need that space and that freshness. So, now is a good time to cultivate those long-lost friendships or forge some new ones. It's good for the soul, anyway.
In terms of the counseling, often, support groups for relationship abusive surivivors are low-cost or free. If you have a local YWCA or women's advocacy group, you can usually find free support services.
-------------------- 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: 63242 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
| IP: Logged |
Copyright 1998, 2013 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.