Taking back an abusive ex?

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
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Belcano
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Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:23 am

Hello.
I've posted another thread that I'm still keeping up to date on, but I didnt know whether to post this there, or start a new thread.
Basically, I'm fairly fresh out of an abusive relationship. I'm doing what I can to recover from it. It's been hard but I think I'm making progress. But the thing that's been on my mind, is the possibility of trying again. We do kind of have a history of separating and coming back together again. This most recent tome would be our 4th time together. I guess my question is, should I not try again? Dont get me wrong as it currently stands I wouldn't. But in the future, if she were able to acknowledge where things went wrong and how she hurt me, I feel like I'd give it another shot. She meant a lot to me, and still does. I've always been willing to do anything for her, and maybe she just needs time to grow. I don't know, this is something I've been really conflicted on. I dont want to put myself in the same position I was in, bit if there's a chance it won't be the same, I want to take it. I do still love her. What are your thoughts?
If this is the wrong place to post this or not a topic I'm allowed to post please let me know and I'll take it down.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:26 am

Hi Belcano,

This is totally an okay section for this post!

I wouldn't recommend coming back together in the future for a few reasons. One major one is that we know that it takes a lot of concerted time and effort for people who are abusive to truly change. A person may say they've changed, and they may even regret their actions to some degree. But unless they've done the work, with the help of a professional, to unlearn the things that lead them to be abusive in the first place, their behavior is not at all likely to change.

And even in relationships where abuse wasn't a factor, that pattern of breaking up and getting back together is usually a sign that there's just something about the relationship that means it doesn't have a very long shelf life. And when that's the case, it's kindest to everyone involved to let the relationship end and focus their time and energy on other connections.

Belcano
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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:49 am

I guess I just cant imagine not giving her a second chance. I'd feel like I was blaming her, but I dont. She has a a messed up past, she's been abused by several people, and she has a lot of mental things she's trying to work through. I've always told myself things would get better if she got the help she needs, she doesn't doesn't think she's worth the help, so I've always had to be the one to push her to do what she needs to do. I guess my hope is that if she took it to heart maybe she can resolve some of her issues and that if she did, we might be able to make a fresh start. She's gone through so much, and I have seen her grow, and I just dont want to hold anything against her.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:06 pm

I understand how you feel. I'm sorry, I know it's hard. But how you feel -- and even more so, getting back with her -- isn't likely to make her stop being abusive.

In fact, one of the first things counselors who are helping people who have been abusive to change their behavior often do, before they even get started, is tell those people that they can't learn to change while still in any relationships where they have been abusive. It's harder to change our patterns when we stay in things where we have already deeply established those patterns. Getting back together with her makes it more likely she'll keep being abusive or will escalate, not that she'll change her behaviour.

Too, protecting yourself from abusive from someone isn't punishing them. A relationship isn't supposed to be a reward for "good" behaviour, for one, you know? But more to the point, we don't help people who have done us harm by continuing to enable them: it's very much the opposite. Refusing to set or hold limits with someone isn't healthy or loving: it's emotionally unhealthy -- for us and for them -- and it's enabling.

You also already know from four tries now that you're not the fix for her in this. That's not surprising in a host of ways, very much including that you're an intimate partner she has done harm to, not a qualified therapist in a radically different position. And, of course, trying to fix someone is not a healthy intimate relationship dynamic, either: not for you, not for her.

Not being in an unhealthy relationship with someone isn't abandoning them. Heck, not being in any kind of relationship with someone, even a healthy one, still isn't abandoning them. We can have limits and boundaries, and we can make the kind of space we need to be safe -- and not to enable -- and still stand by someone. In fact, in situations like this, you're much more likely to earnestly help your ex, as well as yourself, by NOT just repeating this pattern over and over and by letting HER be the one to seek out help and help herself. After all, that's really the only way she's likely to be able to change in this way, as well as to work on healing whatever she needs to from her own trauma and whatever abuse she's experienced herself.

It also sounds, based on what you have said, like she's not in any kind of headspace for an intimate relationship anyway: you say she has a lot of mental issues she needs to work on. Getting back into a relationship with you sounds much more likely to keep her from doing that work than to help her start it, I'm afraid. It also sounds like it might be keeping you from your own work and growth, too: how able to you feel to exist outside of this relationship? Given the history, it sounds like you probably have some codependency you're struggling with, and that certainly makes it much more difficult to break up with someone, especially someone troubled, and stay broken up.

What do you think about perhaps focusing on the work YOU have to do for a while, for yourself, and letting her do hers on her own? How do you feel about that? Do you feel like you have the ability to do that, or do you feel like part of this issue here is a dependency you are finding it very difficult to shake?
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

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm

I do also want to remind you of this post: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9670&p=48913#p48913

Can you read it again? I'm asking you to because I want you to look at it and recognize that what you're actually asking us to support you in is knowingly going back to something and someone who/that has done you very real harm.

We're not only absolutely not going to support anyone in that, because we want to help you avoid harm, not walk right into it, but I also hope that you can recognize that you being in anything like that again and again doesn't benefit anyone: not her, and most certainly not you.

You deserve to be safe. You deserve to feel loved and valued. You deserve to be cared for. You deserve only healthy intimate relationships where everyone involved is well enough on their own to be able to be well with each other. <3
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

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:45 pm

You both are right. Sometimes I just feel desperate to have the life I used to have. Sure it didn't leave me in the best situation, but it was comfortable, and I thought I was happy at the time. Which sometimes feels like it would be better than knowing I'm not happy now. I wouldn't expect you to support me going back to her, I just feel weak sometimes. But deep down I know I'd be putting myself in a hole. A deeper one than I was in already. An old friend recently reached out to me. We talked about what was going on and she really laid everything out to me. She was harsher than most, but she was real about it. I cant hold onto the 25% good, and ignore the 75% bad. I thank you for talking to me too. I really had no where else to go, and you've given me a lot to think about and showed me what I can work on.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Siân » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:09 am

I get that. When things are hard it's easy to look back to any other time and imagine it as being somehow better than where you are now and wishing you were still there. The thing about going backwards though, is you lose the opportunity to go forwards. Based on everything you've said about this past relationship, going forwards things can only get better. Unfortunately that may mean a pretty crappy few months as you're slowly finding ways to let go, learning to reconnect with the things in your life that are important and feel all the feelings through therapy. How does it feel thinking about it that way?

deep down I know I'd be putting myself in a hole. A deeper one than I was in already.


You're right, you know. And I don't think it's weak of you to want comfort and reconciliation. I think it's strong of you to want it, but move ahead without it because you recognise that the brief moment of relief will only make things worse in the long run.

You've got this <3

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:18 am

I just hope therapy will be able to help. I cant get her out of my head. I've never remembered my dreams, and now I dream about her every night. I miss her so much. We were inseparable when we were together, and I'm afraid I wont find that again. And even if I do, I still just want it to be with her. It's an endless tug of war inside my head. And no matter what I'm always losing. I dont want to be one of those people waiting around for nothing, but a part of me just wants to hold out and wait, even if it means waiting years, for the chance to be with her again. She was undoubtedly the love of my life. I was so close to marrying her and having a family. I cant imagine doing that with anyone else anymore. She's the one that always gets away. But some how she always comes back, and that's really the only thing keeping me going right now. That hope that I'll have another chance, and I can do better. I can do more for her. Despite the bad, there isn't anyone else like her. I'm just so torn.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:48 am

I'm so sorry that you're struggling so much with this, Belcano.

If it's alright for me to say so, I think *not* marrying -- and even more, making a family -- with someone abusive isn't you missing out. It's you and anyone else who would be part of that family dodging a bullet, honestly. It's very terrible for kids to be brought into abusive/unhealthy/obsessive relationships between their parents, not something good for them.

Too, it also sounds like -- like so many of us when we've been in unhealthy relationships -- some of what has you hooked here is the intensity of those kinds of relationships: healthy things, even the idea of healthy things, might not feel so intense, and in part that's because healthy things usually aren't the same kind of intense, which is part of *why* they're healthy. Dysfunctional/abusive relationships often create and keep a kind of desperate dependency it sounds like you're feeling. The good news is that you can unlearn that, and that healthy relationships can also offer you big feelings without the desperation, the push-me-pull-me, the tug of war, the tunnel vision. Know what I mean?

I think that it's important you keep trying to think about this differently, and that you try very hard to let go of the idea of waiting for this person forever, or them changing into a healthy person later on. We can't let go of things if we keep saying things -- like that someone was the love of our life, like that we can't imagine anyone else -- to keep ourselves holding on. You say you can't imagine other things, but that isn't surprising to me because I see you still working hard to hang unto this, you know?

I'd encourage you, when you have those kinds of thoughts, to try interrupting them, stopping them and correcting them rather than validating them. For instance, when you're here and thinking that way, don't write it down and post it. Instead, have that thought, then counter it with something else like, "There's more than one big love I'll have in my life," or "I'm so young, there's no way this was the only big love relationship I'll know," or "There will be other people I will want these things with," or "I have other reasons to live besides an unhealthy relationship, here are some of those things..." If you keep validating these ways of thinking, you're not going to be able to change them.

I also want to add that it really really ins't the basis of a healthy relationship to think we can fix someone or help them fix themselves. (It also often isn't healthy to be inseparable, for that matter: for intimate relationships to be healthy, we absolutely need to feel whole without the other person and to have a life outside of that relationship.) That way of thinking is part of what you are doing -- separate from what she is -- that has probably made this relationship so unhealthy. In healthy relationships, we support one another's growth: we don't try and do it *for* each other. This isn't about you not "doing better." It's about what sounds very much to me like both of you have some very unhealthy behaviours and ways of thinking that you both will need to gain awareness of, process and then learn to change before either of you is likely to have a healthy intimate relationship with anyone else, including with yourselves. <3

When are you starting therapy, if you don't mind my asking?

Btw, if you want to talk about how to let go of the idea one person was the love of your life who SO felt like it, I'd be happy to talk with you more about that. Not only do I not believe any of us only will ever have one love of our life (and I certainly hope not, we all deserve so much more love than that!), I've also been through a pretty rough way of losing someone I thought was my singular love of my life when I was young, and I'm way on the other side of that. But I certainly had to do some work around it -- and a lot of letting go -- to get there.
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Belcano
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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:52 pm

Next week hopefully. I've had to put it off because I didnt have the money. But next week I should be starting. If you have any advice on not thinking that way anymore, I'd love to hear it. My biggest fear is not finding someone who let's me be myself and loves me for who I am. That was one of the positives in our relationship. I think that's what I'm stuck on. I'm afraid I wont find someone who accepts me for who I am, because I know I'm a little off, and I dont want to be in a relationship that's about money or material objects. I guess what I'm saying, is that she was everything I was looking for.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:40 pm

I guess what I'm saying, is that she was everything I was looking for.


But... she wasn't. You said so yourself here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9670#p48913

I was consistently cornered into doing things I was uncomfortable with just to get her to stay.


and

I got nothing in return, and all I asked for was emotional support. The relationship ended because I was in a really dark time and I really needed her there for me. All I got was 'im sorry' as she would turn away towards her phone, which she was on always. And I do mean always. When I confronted her and told her that I really needed her support, she made me feel guilty for it and then left for someone else.


Not to mention this that you just said:

I dont want to be in a relationship that's about money or material objects.


But earlier, you admitted:

I completely financially supported her while she would spend what money she had on tattoos, piercings, food for her, and clothes she wouldn't wear.


Your two statements here are in direct conflict with each other.

So:

You're looking for someone who respects you.

You're looking for someone who respects your boundaries.

You're looking for someone who can provide emotional support/intimacy.

You're looking for someone who can equally be there for you like you'll be there for them.

You're looking for someone who will actually hear you when you speak and respect what you say.

You're looking for someone who can and will be there for you.

Your ex made it abundantly clear she cannot be and is not this person and will not provide any of these reasonable requests for you.

I fully second this recommendation of Heather's:

I'd encourage you, when you have those kinds of thoughts, to try interrupting them, stopping them and correcting them rather than validating them. For instance, when you're here and thinking that way, don't write it down and post it. Instead, have that thought, then counter it with something else like, "There's more than one big love I'll have in my life," or "I'm so young, there's no way this was the only big love relationship I'll know," or "There will be other people I will want these things with," or "I have other reasons to live besides an unhealthy relationship, here are some of those things..." If you keep validating these ways of thinking, you're not going to be able to change them.


I hear you romanticizing your relationship with your ex and compartmentalizing the bad things she did as "temporary" and things that YOU (for some reason not her???) just need to be patient with and work on fixing.

And I get it. You spent a lot of time being told this (even if it wasn't out loud, everything in the relationship worked towards getting you both to believe this lie that it was her job to be helpless when it suited her and your job to completely, totally, 100% support her in every way for nothing in return). I know that's a hard mindset to break out of. It won't happen overnight. But it can't happen if you don't start putting into practice the work of breaking out of this mindset.

You've got to start confronting this mindset in your head so that it'll help you come to terms with the fact that it does not matter why she treated you the way she did. She is still fully, completely responsible for her actions, and those actions include neglecting you and outright turning away from you even in the moments where you were directly, clearly asking for her support.

People are complicated, and sometimes it is true that hurt people hurt people. But people's pasts cannot and does not excuse how they treat you. Whatever apologies she deserves for what she's gone through, it doesn't lessen or excuse how she treated you or make it in any way okay.

So how do you feel about doing what Heather suggested? Can you start trying it even if you don't feel ready to? You've got to start at some point, so why not now?
For example, you posted this thought: "My biggest fear is not finding someone who let's me be myself and loves me for who I am. That was one of the positives in our relationship." but this thought would be a great place to start practicing, by correcting and reminding yourself something like: "There are so many people in the world and so many people I have yet to meet - and still have so much time to meet them. I am not unloveable and plenty of other people are 'weird'. I will meet great people, and I will find people who like me for me. My fear is understandable, though not realistic, and I cannot let it control me or it will limit me and become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

.

Also, since you've mentioned feeling so stuck and hung up thinking about this relationship, can I ask if (re)connected with any friends and/or have been able to get out and do things for yourself/try new things, like was suggested in your other thread?

Sometimes it really does help to distract ourselves. If you're just sitting around home with not much else to do, it'll be really hard not to dwell on these thoughts. Getting out and doing things/hanging out with friends/talking with friends will help give you other things to focus on as well give you fun and positive experiences and remind you that there is a good life for you away from your ex.

Speaking of, one of the volunteers/staff, Siân, posted this in another thread. I think it might be worth a read for you: Question #91: Moving vs. Staying. Instructions for finding Your People and Your Place. on advice for how to meet and connect with people.

I know a lot of people fear being 'alone' and not finding great love, and I don't want to be dismissive of this, but I do want to gently remind you that first and foremost, your life? It's about you. It's not about finding a partner and settling down. Even with in a great, loving, supportive, and healthy relationship, you've still got to have things that are fulfilling for you. Hobbies and passions and goals and dreams and aspirations. In fact, this is often an important part of being able to have a healthy relationship - having your own sense of self that doesn't depend on other people with your own sense of what you want to get out of life. Without some idea of who you are or what you want or being able to pursue your own things, it seems that it's all too easy to fall into codependency.

So working on figuring these things out about yourself will not only be personally fulfilling and help you and help you heal, it will also better prepare you for the relationships that you will have in your future. Maybe thinking about it this way will help encourage and motivate you to start finding ways to do and explore things for yourself?
Last edited by Gone.Sorry. on Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:50 pm

I hope you can hear this in the spirit in which it's intended, but we can't actually be ourselves in abusive relationships, because in them we are constantly having to behave in very specific ways, ways that are ultimately decided most by the person abusing us.

I believe your feelings. In other words, I believe you that right now this relationship has felt like one where you have been fully accepted and able to be yourself, especially now that you are out of it and feeling that dependency that tells you you should be back in it, and so then also revises history for you and tells you it was wonderful. But again, I want to direct you back to your first post here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9670 . I'd like to highlight some things you said there, just so you can be reminded of them.

I was neglected, used, taken for granted, and if I ever brought up feeling of neglect, I was made to feel guilt and she would threaten to leave.

I was consistently cornered into doing things I was uncomfortable with just to get her to stay. I couldn't even hang out with my friends without always bringing her along without her making me feel guilty like I was neglecting her, even though all my time was given to her.

The entire relationship was centered around her and my needs were never met, in fact I was guilted just for having needs. I completely lived for her and did everything for her with almost nothing in return.

If she didnt threaten to leave she would say whatever she thought would get me to back down and shut up and it always worked, but nothing ever changed. I completely financially supported her while she would spend what money she had on tattoos, piercings, food for her, and clothes she wouldn't wear. I got nothing in return, and all I asked for was emotional support.

She has a history of leaving and then trying to come back, and I always let her come back. I know I'd take her back again, even despite how she made me feel. This whole ordeal has sapped me of my self worth and my depression and anxiety are spiraling out of control. I tried so hard to be good to her and I supported her through all of her health and financial issues, but it's like it wasnt good enough.


Can you see how much of that is the literal opposite of someone letting you be yourself? You're very clear in that post at how much she did NOT let you be yourself, but instead, had you be all about her, not you. You're very clear she didn't love you for who you were, but instead, that her love and attention was very conditional and about what you did for her, not who you were.

One thing about hanging on to a bad relationship or staying in it is that it usually closes off the possibility of us finding GOOD relationships. I think one of the biggest things that will actually get you closer to what you want and did *not* have there -- to being loved for who you are, not for who you are to someone or what you do for them, and for being truly accepted as yourself, not for who someone wants you to be -- will be letting go of this, and letting go to the fictions you have learned to believe about this relationship, probably in part due to a lot of gaslighting that emotionally abusive people engage in. I want this for you, too, and I think once you actually find it, it'll be a lot more obvious this SO was not that. <3

I also would like it if we could maybe talk soon about what you are looking for in an intimate relationship. I think it'd probably be really helpful in a few ways if you could start writing that down: maybe start journaling that for yourself in the next couple weeks?

I'll say more about the love of your life thing in a minute, but I'm going to do that as a second post so it doesn't get buried in all I just said here.
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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:51 pm

(Btw, I also saw that horriblegoose and I posted at the same time saying similar things, so since that might all be a lot to take in between the two of us, I'm going to hold off to say more on the other bit until you get a chance to process all that first. I don't want you to feel overwhelmed!)
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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:57 am

Hello,
It's been a while since I've been on here. I'm currently undergoing therapy. A appreciate all of you. For both your time and your advice. I'm trying to get out more, and distract myself with the things I used to love doing. It's still really hard right now. I know I'm just remembering the relationship for only the good, but I'm still trying to recollect everything as it actually was.

In response to Heather, I'm just looking for someone whom isn't just a girlfriend, but my best friend. When I'm in a relationship, I just want to be around them every chance I get. I want to do everything together. Not to say that we cant spend time apart doing our own thing, but I hope you know what I mean. I think that's one of the reasons I'm so caught up on hailey. We hung out every day. And I loved it. That's what I want in a relationship. I hope I can find that again.

You are all really good people. You've helped me a lot. Thank you all. I'll be back when I can.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:29 am

I'm so glad that you've got some therapeutic support now, Belcano.

You know, per your second paragraph, it sounds like something you just need to work out for yourself is how to be close to someone without being codependent and with some healthy space. Ultimately, even when we want to be around someone a lot (I get it, I feel that way about a couple people in my life, too!), to keep our relationship and our own sense of self in a healthy place, we need more than just one central person and we also need our own things that we have and do separately. That also helps protect us from emotionally abusive people, because codependence and other things like it are dynamics that are pretty great for abusive people, alas.

I'm so glad to hear you've been able to get out more and get engaged with things you love doing. I know it's hard to come out of all of this and make those changes: I salute you!
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

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:14 pm

I'm so glad you're staying the course, Belcano! I know it's still tough, but it sounds like you're doing some really good work. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to bring up what you said here about wanting someone you want to spend all your time with in therapy so you can break down and process what you want in a relationship, what it means, and how to achieve it in a healthy manner.

I'm glad you found your talks here helpful. Always happy/relieved to hear from folk again around here whether an update or more questions. =)

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:29 pm

Update..
I have been in counseling for a few weeks now. I'm also seeing a psychiatrist who is reevaluating my medications. Counseling has been hard. The counselor makes comments quite often about how she thinks I will hear from hailey again. It gives me a lot of mixed feelings. I still feel vulnerable, like I'd talk to her again if she reached out. It makes me kind of scared because I dont think I'd be able to make the right decision. I'm trying. It's super hard right now. Were trying to work on coping skills but none of them seem to work. My eating has gotten worse, as in I just dont eat much anymore. This whole thing has really messed me up. It's been several months now. I cant shake this. I'm trying to get help, but it seems futile. I do t k ow what to do.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby al » Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:54 pm

Hi Belcano,

Oof. I'm sorry to hear that things are feeling so rough right now.
Why do you think that your counselor brings up that possibility this frequently? Have you talked to her about the complicated things that it makes you feel, and the doubt you're having about your ability to "make the right decision"?

I'm glad to hear that you're working on those coping skills, even though it's tough. When it comes to moving on from relationships (healthy ones too, but it's especially hard with abusive ones), every day counts, because that's what makes an incremental difference. Sometimes it helps to think back on your progress to provide encouragement to keep going.. do you feel like it's gotten easier at all, thinking back to how you felt when this first went down?

I also wanted to suggest checking out Self Care: A La Carte in case you haven't read through it yet. You might find some of the suggestions about self care helpful - I know I do when I'm struggling.

We're thinking about you here at Scarleteen, and rooting for you! Even though it's tough, we are so, so glad that you're taking care of yourself and standing up for yourself when it comes to the love and respect you deserve. <3
Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. -Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:16 am

@al

The first time I went into counseling, I expressed that I'd do anything to hear from Hailey again. Then we started talking about the situation, and she told me I'd probably hear from her again. We've moved forward under the assumption that I would talk to her if she were to reach out. So since then, she always asks if I have heard from her. This must recent session, she said maybe now would be a good time to reach out to her. Now this brings up a similar question to the one that started this thread. Should I reach out to her? I'm getting a lot of mixed advice. My heart wants to, but when I think about it, my stomach drops. My mind says that I shouldnt put myself in that toxic situation again, yet always thinks if her, every day. Its left me so confused.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:04 am

Hey there, Belcano. Good to see you. I hope you're doing okay when it comes to the pandemic and keeping yourself safe right now.

Can you tell me why your counselor is suggesting you reach out to Hailey? What is her aim there? And since I hear you saying you don't feel equipped to do that, and your gut says that would be very bad for you, have you said these things to your counselor, too?
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

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:20 am

@Heather

Yes, I'm keeping myself safe. My state wasn't hit too hard, but that could change at any moment. I hope you all are keeping safe as well.

One of my counselor's goals from the get go was to get le to a point where, if Hailey were to come back I to my life, I would be able to effectively set up boundries. I have also expressed on more than one occasion my desire to hear from her again and my willingness to at least get us back on a positive level. My counselor thinks a part of my anxiety is because I'm anxious to hear from her. I dont really know what I'd do, or what I'd say. But she thinks it would help my anxiety to reach out with something like "hey, times are crazy right now, just hope you're doing okay." The thought of that alone gets my mind racing. I just dont think I'm ready to do something like that

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:47 pm

Thanks for that.

And thanks for sharing your counselor's aims with this: that makes sense to me, but I also think that you're the one who will have the best sense of when the timing is right for you for that. Of course, you also get to disagree with that idea and stay no-contact if that is what you feel best about. People like us and your counselor are here to help you: but you're still in the driver's seat, and still the only real expert of you, you know?
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

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:21 am

@Heather

I have my next session coming up on Thursday. I'm going to talk to my counselor about it more. I think I might do it. Like, I feel like I have to talk to her again.

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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:18 am

Hey there, Belcano:

I'm so glad you keep checking back in with us here. <3 I hope it helps to have multiple outlets for something like this. I know it can be overwhelming.

In my own experience, when you are missing someone desperately -- especially someone who was abusive/ you are codependent with -- it can feel urgent to get back in touch with them or know how they're doing. It can be so hard to sit with your feelings that you want to find a way to fix it, ASAP! And it feels like reaching out may close that loop for you.

So I wanna take this opportunity to let you know -- this is *not* an emergency. You have time. All the time that you need.

And even though wanting to reach out can feel like the biggest itch you have to scratch, I promise that eventually, it will get easier. And you may feel something in you click when you've had some time to heal, and you'll know that if you really do want that follow-up with her, you'll be prepared for it.

I totally agree with your counselor that you should practice/be prepared to set boundaries with Hailey if she ever comes around. But initiating that contact before you feel ready sounds like unnecessarily putting your feet to the fire. Could you maybe practice these conversations in counseling? Do you want to talk here about what your boundaries would be if you ever had that conversation? I also liked Heather's idea of journaling -- can you journal a bit each day about what you think your boundaries might be, and how you'd set them? That doesn't just go for Hailey, but any relationship from here on out.
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Re: Taking back an abusive ex?

Unread postby Belcano » Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:15 pm

@Alexa

I will try to talk with my counselor about it more. I dont even know what kind of boundries I'm supposed to have. I always think of it in a sense of what I would need if we were to get back together; but I dont know if that's where I need to be. I guess the first thing would be, we'd have to repair the friendship. No dates, no sex, no talks of marriage or families or anything like we used to. I'd need to start over entirely and be able to trust her again. But I know once I reach that point I'll try to get back together with her. It's just who I am. It's been ingrained for 5 years that her and I would end up together. I imagine it's going to take that long before I finally give up. I just dont know what to think right now. Like it feels like one of those big life decisions that changes fate forever. I try to talk to people but they all say I have to do what right for me. But I dont know if I know what's right for me. I'll try journaling my thoughts and see what I can come up with. I just feel so alone right now. Like it feels like no one understands.


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