I'm so sorry you're going through this, Belcano. I've also escaped an emotionally abusive relationship, so I understand what you're going through.
It's so hard to explain to others, though, isn't it? As much as your friends and family care for you, if they haven't been through the same, all they see and hear is a bunch of little things that maybe don't sound so bad. What they can't understand or know or feel is how those "little" things are not really so little. They were constant. One drop of water at a time can still lead to water torture. They don't understand how these things burrow into your skin and stick there, like poisoned barbs. They don't understand how these things can change our very self
and our perception of ourself. They don't understand what it's like to constantly be judging and calculating what we do and how loudly we do it and just how much time and energy and effort trying to conform to our abuser's impossible standards can contort and exhaust us. It's so hard to conceptualize how these "little" things add up to one big, huge, ginormous Thing(TM) and impact how we think and feel about ourselves, about others, about life in general, and impact what sorts of decisions we make regarding life. And so, as supportive as they may be, it can be hard to talk to them about this stuff and feel understood and heard, as you have experienced. It's really great that you're going to counseling soon so that you can
get support from someone who may be better informed and even experienced in what you've gone through. Keep that appointment and keep looking forward to it.
It's okay that you still have positive and conflicting feelings regarding your ex. That's a part of what makes it so hard to leave relationships like these. And, so, I'm so, so, so, so
proud of you for recognizing what was happening and getting out. <3 How you're feeling now doesn't negate how brave and amazing of you it was to be able to end the relationship.
I think there is one thing your friends and family have really gotten right, though. You need to delete and block her number. If you feel unable to do this yourself, ask whatever friend or family member you feel most comfortable asking for help with this. Have them block and delete her number from your phone. Remove that temptation from yourself. I can tell you from personal experience that going back to an abuser is not a good idea, especially when it's been so little time and they've shown no remorse or commitment to change. You know how much you are hurting now. Your mental health is not in a good place. You know everything she used to put you through. So get someone from your support system to help you through blocking and deleting her number. It will probably hurt to do this. Your anxiety will probably spike in doing this. But it will be good for you in the short and long-term to do this. Giving into the temptation to just go back will be so much easier if you don't do this. You need to do whatever it is you have to in order to protect yourself. Taking the steps to start really removing your ex from your life is definitely one of the things you need to do in order to protect yourself.
As for what to do while you're waiting for counseling, I have some book recommendations. I know financial abuse was a part of what you've gone through, so I would suggest checking your local library and utilizing their ILL (inter-library loan) program for help getting these books if you need.
One I personally read a couple months ago is Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse
by Shannon Thomas. The book was a little more 101 than I was looking for, but only two months out from my emotionally abusive relationship, it would have been a really
good resource. This book covers emotional abuse and its components, as well as breaking down why we love abusers and why leaving them is so hard, in an easily digestible manner that completely avoids shaming us for our very natural feelings. It also outlines the various stages of recovery that you can expect to go through. Hearing about this may help you better understand how you're feeling and how to keep moving forward. As I recall, the book was also good about being very inclusive about the genders of us survivors and of abusers, as well.
The below books are ones that I've looked into either because someone I trust highly recommended them or they had excellent reviews. I have not personally read them, but any one of them may catch your eye as something that sounds helpful to you.Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
by Pete Walker (I know this focuses on childhood trauma, but this is one of those that was a personal recommendation that I've heard it's good for recovering in general from emotional abuse even if it didn't occur in childhood)Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse
by Jackson MacKenzieNarcissistic Abuse: Recovering from a toxic relationship and becoming the Narcissist's nightmare. Healing from Emotional Abuse and averting the narcissistic ... personality disorder to get your power back
by Dr. Theresa J. CovertRecovering From Narcissistic Abuse: How to Heal from Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse
by Priscilla PoseyA Clinician's Journey from Complex Trauma to Thriving: Reflections on Abuse, C-PTSD and Reclamation
by Rev. Sherri Heller
Looking at those books, I know, you're probably a little defensive or even dismissive. They tend to focus on survivors with CPTSD (these are the recs I have since I do have CPTSD) and narcissistic abusers. I just want to clarify that you do not have to diagnose your ex with NPD or yourself with CPTSD, nor consider either of you to have either of those disorders for these resources to be helpful! I think regardless of diagnoses, you will find yourself relating to the experiences
and descriptions, which is why I suggest them. I think they could just help give you some tools to better process what you've been through, as well as the resources and advice for how to feel your feelings and
move forward in a healthier manner. At the very least, they are something more than what you currently have.
ScarleTeen is great, and I'm so glad you found it! <3 I want to also suggest 7 cups
to you. They have online therapy options for a fee and also a free chatline and self-help guides. This would just be another option for you to explore, particularly while you wait to begin counseling, and help get you in touch with people who might be able to emapthize with things you've gone through. As well, their self-help/advice
is all centered around mental health and recovery resources, so their articles would be really good to look through for help on how to handle how you've been feeling.
I would also suggest that you think about starting to journal. I also struggle with this because journaling just isn't something I'm interested in; however
it can be a really useful tool sometimes. I would probably set aside a little bit of time either in the middle of the day or at the end of the day where you can write for a bit just to help yourself get into the habit. Plus, anytime you're having really strong feelings or a moment you're really struggling to get past, take a break and also
write during this time. It doesn't have to be anything special. Just write down how you felt through the day, if anything happened that was really hard to cope with and/or triggered you, and if anything helped distract you and/or helped you better cope with your feelings. If you want to vent or be sad or be angry or whatever
, journaling could be a place right now for you to focus those feelings and begin trying to process them.
This is good because 1) it could be a good start to mindfulness (which I'll get into more in a moment), and 2) it could be a useful tool for you in counseling. You might decide to bring your journal to your sessions and read through some entries with your counselor to help give a grasp of how you're doing on the day-to-day or to share some bigger feelings in a way that feels more manageable in the moment. In general, journaling could also be a good tool to help show you how you have
progressed in moments where you're feeling down about the progress you've made.
So: mindfulness. Mindfulness is an old concept that has recently been gaining popularity over here in the Western world. It's pretty much what it sounds like. It's a practice of learning to become aware of how you feel, recognizing how you feel, and accepting
how you feel without judging. In this way, we can start finding peace with ourselves and, instead of fighting ourselves all the time, learn to accept our feelings while also reasonably assessing our available choices. Something that mindfulness could help you with is managing the temptation to reconnect with your ex. For example, when you start going down the path of thinking that you'd get back together with her when given a chance, you could stop, take five deep breaths, confirm your feelings ("I'm missing my ex. She was a big part of my life for a good chunk of time. It is natural to miss her"), confirm a healthy choice ("Just because I'm missing her, though, doesn't mean I need to or should contact her. I broke it off for a reason, and I should respect my own good judgement in ending it"), and then re-direct your thoughts to something else ("I've been feeling sad. Nailed It on Netflix has been a good distraction for me in the past. I think I'll go watch a couple episodes").
A simple mindfulness type of exercise you can also start with that you may find easier is HALT: hungry, angry, lonely, tired. When you're getting caught up in negative feelings or spirals, stop and ask yourself: am I feeling hungry right now? Am I feeling angry right now? Am I feeling lonely right now? Am I feeling tired right now? Hungry and tired have fairly simple solutions: go eat/nap. If you're angry, take some calming breaths and do something that relaxes you and/or cheers you up. If you're lonely, call or text a friend (or hop on and talk to a chatline volunteer). A lot of times, when we're feeling any of the HALT components, it can compound our other feelings and make emotions harder to deal with. Stopping to deal with these underlying causes (even when they are not the entire cause of our distress) can help us re-focus and be better equipped to deal with our other emotions and upsets.
But most of all, right now, it's important that you be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Rest. Reconnect with things you enjoy doing. Try new, fun things. Let yourself be sad when you're sad. Be extremely patient with yourself because you've been through a lot and you deserve and need patience and understanding and kindness. And know that I'm rooting for you. <3