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    • #61464

      I’ve gone and done it again. Quite some time back now I left an abusive relationship. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been in another unhealthy relationship. He was lower down the spectrum of abusive men, but he was emotionally distant. He never stopped me going out or told me what to wear or anything like that, but he wanted to do his own thing and as long as I left him alone to do his own thing, he was ok with me doing mine. Yet he expected me to be there for him when he needed me, and at times he was verbally abusive. I have now ended this relationship, but coping with the aftermath is hard.

      I’m currently having psychotherapy, and have come to realise that not only do I have a pattern of being attracted to abusive men, but I have also been drawn to abusive women as female friends. I had two friends who were fun to begin with but then became abusive and I ended those friendships.

      In therapy, I’ve also come to realise that I am a caretaker, a fixer and a rescuer who is drawn to people who need rescuing, a pattern which stems from my childhood in a dysfunctional family. I had another friend who was not abusive, but whose life was so beset by drama and crises that she needed a massive amount of emotional support, so much so that I started to feel very drained. Yet when I going through my recent distressing breakup, she told me she couldn’t support me as she had too much to deal with herself. On my therapist’s advice, I have now ended this friendship because it was an unhealthy and one way relationship with me giving all the support.

      I’m signed off on sick leave at the moment as all this has left me feeling very alone, depressed and isolated. My ex had lots of other interests and I was only ever a convenience to him so he’s indifferent to our break up. However I feel the loss of my friends very acutely even though I knew these friendships weren’t healthy.

      There are lots of things I would like to do but I’m feeling so down and depressed that it’s hard to motivate myself. I went to a DV support group a while back and am shortly having another assessment with them and am hoping I can go back. I would like to start my own business but am struggling to summon up the energy

      My problem is that I find it hard to take care of myself emotionally because I find it hard to put myself first. My therapist says this stems from a lack of self-worth, but if I keep telling myself I am worthy, I will come to believe it.

      Sorry for the long post and thanks for listening.
      Coppeflame x

    • #61467

      Hello Copperflame,
      Do you know what? In the sorts of situations we have been through, I have got a feeling that we will need to work hard on this one for a long, time, possibly life long time.

      I know I have some days, minutes and hours when I feel great and other times when I can’t convince myself that I am a worthwhile person at all..

      So I’m using various things to practice. (Detail removed by moderator).

      I have recently had something with a neighbour that they tried to tell me no one in the block liked me because I complained about something. It was justified and right but I could see the abusive dynamic in their words. Trying to make me feel bad about myself, that is what abusers do because it is the most effective way of destroying us. If we go along that road we basically attack ourselves.

      So it is important to keep practising. Today maybe because I am under pressure with assignment I can’t think of a single thing I am doing right…

      But I will carry on until this changes.


    • #61477

      Hello Freedomtochoose,

      I agree with you one hundred percent, I think we will need to keep working on ourselves for a very long time. Recovery from abuse is a work in progress I think. It isn’t only the abusive relationships but all the stuff surrounding it such as dysfunctional families and unhealthy friendships. Abusers always try to make you feel “less than” and not good enough, that you fall short and don’t measure up, which leads to you feeling inadequate inside. I’m glad you recognised this dynamic with the issue with your neighbours and them saying things to make you feel bad. If they can make you feel bad about yourself, it gives them a sense of power.

      We talk all the time about abusive men having a sense of entitlement and it has just dawned on me that I (and probably many abused women) have a sense of non-entitlement! As a child in my dysfunctional family I was called selfish for wanting even my basic needs met, and was given strong messages that I was never to ask for help or support. Consequently I’ve grown up with a lack of self-worth and find it hard to ask for things. I’ve been drawn to men and women who were self-centred and who set up a dynamic where I was expected to take care of their needs, which until recently I did willingly without even thinking about it. Because of the way I was brought up, I find it hard to ask for support for myself but this has resulted in all my relationships being one way. Obviously this is something I’m now starting to work on in therapy.

      I think anything you can practice to facilitate healing can help with recovery and moving forward, and I’m glad you are doing the meditation. As well as therapy, I’m doing a mindfulness course and hopefully going back to my DV support group. I’ve read that Reiki can help so am looking into this.

      Good luck with your assignment.
      Copperflame xx

    • #61480

      Thanks Copperflame,
      today I have battled bouts of fear regarding the neighbour and negative thoughts.
      I know that it has partly been because of the hot weather and not sleeping. Also Sunday
      is not an easy day for me as I get tired and it is the last week of term so we both run out of steam
      I know anyway then, as it is a busy school year. So I am trying to put it all in persepective, the roof hasn’t fallen in or anything…

      Nevertheless I have had breaks and tried meditations in between. I was determined to reach the word count of my assignment by the end of the day, and I have. So thanks for wishing me well with that.

      I am now trying not to be over-critical as I spell check and finalise it. This is kind of a trait I have

      and I sometimes find it difficult to accept that it is ‘good enough’ and let it go. I need to do this as I have two big ones to fit in in a very limited time and I know that I will feel differently if I hand it in and have only one left to do.

      Try not to blame yourself for getting into another unhealthy relationship. I did the same, just glad that I stopped it going too far and at least had done enough work on my boundaries previously that they kind of kept going up automatically, almost. It was painful and tiring though. We shouldn’t have to do that work.

      Hope your evening goes alright
      all best

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