This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Camel 2 days, 20 hours ago.

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  • #107968
     Dededaisy 
    Participant

    Hello,

    Does anyone else find themselves struggling to know what normal is after a emotional abusive relationship? I was in an extremely toxic and controlling relationship which is now over and I’m seeking counselling for, but I’m struggling with setting boundaries. I keep apologising constantly for how I feel. I’ve stopped self harming but I still am struggling with my self esteem. Has anyone else had this problem? It’s like your reality has been warped- I don’t know what is expected or what I should tolerate in a normal relationship ? I am struggling to grasp what an equal partnership is. My father left our house when I was (detail removed by Moderator) after having an affair and I haven’t seen him since so possibly this could have affected me? I’m trying so hard but I just feel that my idea of love is not normal- I think control is normal and that’s how I should be treated. I’m scared about moving on- I don’t want my future partners to either take advantage or think I’m insecure. Thank you. X keep safe x

  • #107980
     Wants To Help 
    Participant

    Hi Dededaisy,

    I guess you can only move on in your own time when you are ready. This will vary for each and every one of us based on our individual experiences. It’s good that you are seeking counselling, this may help you understand and explore many of your concerns.

    For me, I still bear the mental scars from my abuse and I have a very strict criteria when it comes to men now. The abuse has changed me for ever. When it comes to boundaries, mine are very small, as soon as someone lets me down for something that has definitely been arranged then I’m out! I’m aware of the red flag signs to look out for, and if I’m on a date and a ‘red flag’ gets the slightest hint of being waved – I’m out. My standards are very high – in fact on a very well known dating site I set my parameters to search for exactly what I want and the results came back that there was no one fitting my criteria within 200 miles of my post code lol.

    We will all have our own boundaries. I know I never want to live with someone as I like my own space too much, and to be honest, I’d be hard to live with now. My preference is we’d both have our own homes and share time between them both. I will never combine finances with a man again, or take on a shared commitment as I am financially secure and will not compromise that. Having been left with nothing but a huge amount of debt due to an abusive relationship I have built back up my own independency and no one is going to have an opportunity to destroy that for me again. I am comfortable with my own company and happily single at the moment. If someone comes along that I like and get on with I’ll go with it, but I’m not actively looking to meet anyone, I’ll date for the fun of it for a night out 🙂

    Instead of looking for a ‘normal’ relationship you need to look for a ‘healthy’ relationship and look in to what this consists of. So it’s knowing what the ‘red flag’ signs are to look out for when you meet someone new. It’s meeting someone who accepts you for who you are and does not want to try and change you in any way to be the person they want you to be, and you accepting them and not wanting to try and change them. So for instance, I would not want to date someone who smokes, so it’s no good me meeting someone who ticks all my boxes except the ‘non smoker’ box, thinking that I’ll date him and then nag him in to giving up smoking. If I was to do this then I’d be dating someone who I do not accept and I would be seeking to change them.

    I was fortunate that the refuge I lived in had some great group counselling sessions that discussed boundaries and moving on to new relationships in some detail, and this set me up with knowing what to accept and what not to accept. Check out the DA support services in your area and see if they have anything like this.

  • #108047
     Soulsearcher18 
    Participant

    Hi Dededaisy
    I don’t have any advice as I’m in recovery too but just to say I can relate to reality being warped, being unsure of what is normal and being scared of moving on relationship wise and repeating same mistakes.

    You know, I found the book Normal People really interesting – I read it early on in recovery – a bit before Connor’s necklace got it’s own insta page after the book was made into a tv show!
    I found their relationship interesting, how it grew and developed and I think it covered quite a few points on what’s healthy and what isn’t in a relationship and about boundaries etc.

    Not much else to say really, I’m still a long way off all that and some days I wonder if I ever will want to anyway.

  • #108305
     Whodat 
    Participant

    Hi dededaisy. I’m the exact same. I posted about it a few weeks ago. I feel like a total w****o, like how could I get to nearly (detail removed by moderator) and not know. I also feel weird looking back and recognising what I clearly didn’t know then. So I ask on here when I’m not sure. I talk, a lot, to friends who seem to be in normal relationships. I read constantly, to understand myself, co dependency, red flags, trauma bonds. I now understand I had a pre disposition to abuse stemming from child trauma, I understand why I think and do certain things. I am slowly learning about boundaries and I’m not kidding see when I enforce one i feel like the ultimate woman. I’m not remotely sad when it doesn’t work out with someone I’m dating I feel empowered because in the past I would have stuck it out and ignored red flags, now I’m like boy bye!!Just keep reading, talking to good friends and family, self respect but from an angle of learning and growing, don’t be judging yourself negatively, you don’t know what you don’t know. I have days I still feel down and negative, feel ashamed, what’s wrong with me etc, well hours not days . However I now feel so empowered and stronger than I have ever been
    Fine.i might never be normal but that’s cool I’m.alright with that, I’ve always been a bit weird but people seem to like it, I’m just looking through a different lens than the “normal folk” . I do totally empathise with you though, it’s like your detached almost, looking in at the normal folk but you don’t understand the rules. I also have extremely rigid boundaries now but I’m working on that to. Honestly just read and read, you’ll feel eventually like you never knew yourself before this, like you never knew how Amazing you already were. Boundaries, with all people including family and friends has helped my self esteem grow as has doing hobbies and exercise, achieving things for just me has been good for me. I have some bad hours now and again but jeezo compared to a yr ago it’s like night and day, I was on my knees then, no self esteem or confidence or understanding at all. Look at Melanie tonia, she is in Instagram as well as the general internet, brilliant information,focused on you thriving after abuse. You will get there, this will pass

  • #108334
     Camel 
    Participant

    Hi Dedaisy

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. I can only say that there’s no easy answer or quick fix. Without doubt it will take years to reprogram how your brain works. In the meantime be kind to yourself. Don’t believe for a second that everyone else is ‘normal’ and that you don’t measure up and are a failure. Also perhaps rethink the idea that being in a relationship is the only or best way to live. Single women report being happier than single men. And men in relationships report being happier than women in relationships. Just a thought..

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