9th June 2021 at 9:15 am #126904
I am new to the forum and not really sure how to start this off, so I guess the only thing I can do is tell my story.
The whole relationship took place when I was (detail removed by moderator). It had always been a dream of mine to study (detail removed by moderator), now I can’t even imagine why I would want to go in the first place. I guess it started out like a lot of these relationships do: the constant love bombing, putting me on a pedestal, being extremely affectionate very quickly, etc. But it was only (detail removed by moderator) that things completely turned: the constant public humiliation, the gaslighting, objectifying me in front of my peers, the telling me he loved me and hated me in the same breath, getting angry with me if I didn’t do what he wanted, constantly pushing me to be someone I was not, being anxious all the time because I didn’t know if that day he would be “nice” or “bad”, getting with other girls in front of me but turning supper jealous if another man even talked to me. I could go on with this list. The worst part? He eventually broke up with me, not the other way around (something that still makes me feel so ashamed of myself). However, we were still in the same friend group (in which everyone turned a blind eye and told (detail removed by moderator) so all of these behaviours continued.
It wasn’t until my friends and family back home noticed my change in character that I managed to put some distance: they blocked him from all my social media, I tried to talk to him as little as possible in person, talked a lot more to my old friends, and, eventually, I moved back home. I came back depressed, with PTSD and like a piece of myself had been completely shattered. I started seeing a therapist (who has absolutely changed my life for the better) and have slowly picked myself up again.
It has been (detail removed by moderator) since then.
The reason why I decided to join this forum is that I had a panic attack (detail removed by moderator) (the first in a while). I was at a friend’s house, having a very chill and nice time, when I got a bit too drunk (it has been happening a lot more than usual lately), went to the bathroom, saw myself in the mirror, and just completely broke down. I’m not sure what happened, maybe I just saw myself in the mirror and felt really bad for her, for everything I knew had happened. It was so sudden, it caught me by surprise. I also hate it when I break down and cry. During the relationship, I cried pretty much every night, especially at parties. That’s who I had become, and I couldn’t stand it. I went from a lively and fun person to a sad and insecure mess.
The next night I had another nightmare. They are just constant, always around the same themes (like him trying to get back together with me) or replaying old memories. I think a lot of them stem from the fact I am still afraid of him. Even though there is an ocean between us and I will probably never see him again, I am still so afraid of him. I constantly feel like at any point I will be put on trial and be told: no, you’re making things up, this didn’t happen, you’re just crazy, you’re just being dramatic.
(Detail removed by moderator) is not a long time at all and that these things take time and processing. But sometimes I just wish it could just get fully better, to not have this dark cloud in the back of my mind that makes me feel so small.
There’s still a big part of me that blames myself for everything that happened, when it comes to meeting new people now, I constantly think that I can’t allow myself to make “the wrong choice” again.
I apologise for the long text, but I thank and really appreciate whoever might read it.
9th June 2021 at 9:37 am #126906HunkyDoryParticipant
Hi Heather Flower- I’m in a very similar situation to you. My ex is also an ocean away and our timeline is also the same as yours. I had EMDR last year to help me with hyper vigilance and panic attacks & PTSD. It kind of worked and I felt less stressed. But even now I have nightmares- that we’re back together and I’m trapped. I’ve even had those double waking dreams where you “wake up” and realise your nightmare is true.. then I wake up properly and the relief is immense.
I’m not sure I can be much help to you, but what has been good for me is self care, reconnecting with friends and immersing myself in work. I still feel very sad about the whole thing, and sometimes a twinge of guilt. But I tell myself – it was his choice to do those things to me, I have nothing to feel guilty for.
(Detail removed by moderator) isn’t a long time (it’s recommended I believe not to have a new serious relationship before two years if you’ve suffered abuse). I’m not at all interested in finding someone new, but I do see red flags everywhere now.
Take care of yourself, you will get there xx
10th June 2021 at 3:26 pm #126969
Hi Hunky Dory, thank you for your kind reply. It helps to know I’m not the only one who has gone through something like that, sometimes I feel like I’m going insane trying to figure out if I’m even in the right to feel this way.
I actually had one of those double waking dreams recently, and it was a pretty horrible experience.
I agree with seeing red flags everywhere. I’m not really interested in finding someone new either, I still feel like I won’t be able to love again.
I find that writing has been a good way of self-care and therapeutic for me. The best advice I last got is: “if it’s hard to talk about, it’s important”, so I try and process it by writing it down and re-claiming how I feel and what I think.
Wishing you the best xx
28th June 2021 at 7:32 pm #127872ZleaParticipant
Heather Flower, I feel similar too. My partner left me and I have always felt a shame to that, yet hearing your story I see no shame in you. It is their shame, not ours – and not ours to carry.
I also tried EMDR through Mind which did help significantly with nightmares and flashbacks to certain memories (mostly the confusion). I still have nightmares where I suddenly realise that I am cheating on him and I need to go back because he is sorry.
I broke down on my own at work. I thought I was coping fine with many years passing and in a healthy relationship. I got to a crossroad in the car and just panicked. I couldn’t breathe and i just cried. I dont know where it came from. It was as of my body just said help me now. I find it hard to talk about, so I have tried writing (just to myself), then I listened into group therapy to shy to participate, then here writing and have 1 to 1 soon. The EMDR at the time, I couldn’t talk about it, I didnt have the words and that was also okay. Some people do and others dont.
Sitting with you.
8th July 2021 at 4:08 pm #128475
Dear Zlea, thank you so much for your kind words. I understand the feeling of shame towards oneself, but would never think of it about someone else. I would hope that shame is an emotion you never feel towards a situation like that.
I can’t stop thinking about the sentence “It was as if my body just said help me now” you wrote. It is truly so impactful and something I haven’t been able to put into words before. It does really feel like that sometimes.
Sitting with you too and wishing you the best.
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