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    • #119413
      Wateringcan
      Participant

      Not been on in a while as i gave social media and the internet a break to try focus on my mental health as ive been feeling low again.
      Quite a while since been free and im in a much better place, i have understood and accepted i have a trauma bond with my ex abuser. I still feel those needing feelings and the desperation for his love which is taking a lot longer to get rid of than i thought. I am more positive and i was building my confidence slowly back up. I have people who tell me things about my ex when i dont want to know. I do remind them i dont want to know but they say they tell me because they think i need to know these things ..
      So ive been told that my ex is now with another woman but this woman is the woman he compared me to our whole relationship. The woman he cheated on me with and the woman he praised whilst crumbling all my confidence and self esteem.
      So i was feeling pretty ok in myself and now i feel like its knocked me again and i now hate how i am or how i look and talk and walk, eat, breathe everything. So im wondering what everyone has done to build their confidence again, to actually like themselves again? I want to feel me and feel happulpy being me and looking like me without comparing myself to these women.
      Any classes, anything online, specific feel good activities?? I’ll try anything i was doing well and would like to continue that path.
      X

    • #119427
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      Hi there, I think there are a few things to address about perhaps why you don’t feel yourself. Firstly, for me in the earlier days of my recovery I used to get really frustrated with why wasn’t I over it yet and why can’t I just feel exactly as I used to and why is it taking so long and on it went. Essentially I was beating myself up and wasn’t being very kind to myself. Then I realised it will take as long as it takes and as long as I keep no contact and progress in my every day life with being kind to myself, that I would get there one day. This is acceptance of what is and it’s this acceptance which relieves much of, if not all of the frustration.

      Secondly, when I left – I’ve been free for a longish period now – I also left my entire life around him. This has helped me to move on perhaps more easily as there isn’t much to remind me of him or the relationship other than my own memories. In your situation though, people around you are reminding you of him by telling you what he is doing, who he is seeing and how he is. If you’ve told them implicitly not to talk of him to you and they have or continue to ignore your boundaries, then this is an issue. If it were me, I would tell them one last time that you do not wish to hear anything further about him. This is you reinstating your boundary with them. If they continue to ignore your boundary, it is worth seriously considering distancing yourself from them as it’s not a healthy dynamic to allow the same person to continually disrespect your feelings and let them get away with it. This is how abuse starts. Watch these red flags.

      Finally, when we compare ourselves to anyone regardless of who they are to us, we will always find things that we feel the other person is better at or is just better than us. Then this makes us feel really bad. This other woman is not better than you in any which way, sure he may have sold it like that and sure the fact he cheated on you with her and is now with her makes you think she is some sort of goddess. She is not. Don’t be fooled. She is a victim as much as you have been. He will have lied to her as much as he lied to you. Like you, she will have believed all the lies he has fed her. She will have taken pity and offered her bed and shoulder to him. He has used her and he continues to use her. The difference between you is that you are on the road to freedom and are recovering. She is still in the thick of the abuse. She has a very long way to go and there will be much suffering. There is nothing to feel jealous or envious about when you see it for what it really is.

      Assertiveness training/tuition would be good for you I think. Reading up on what healthy boundaries are and how to assert and maintain them would be invaluable. Take a look at Natalie Lue and her site Baggage Reclaim. If you’ve not read books on domestic abuse by Patricia Evans, Lundy Bancroft, Pat Craven etc then please do.

      I’m sure other ladies will suggest other things x

    • #119434
      Wateringcan
      Participant

      Thank you very much for your advice. It has really helped! I havent read any books regarding domestic abuse as I dont like to remind myself about experiences I’ve been through but maybe it is time to read one! Thank you xx

      • #119435
        GreenSapphire
        Participant

        You’re welcome x If we miss the education part of recovery we are 9 times out of 10 more likely to return to our abuser or find ourselves in a new relationship with a new abuser. It’s worth it, truly it is x

    • #119446
      gettingtired
      Participant

      GreenSapphire has put it perfectly!
      I definitely agree with telling these people one last time that you don’t want to hear anymore about him and if they continue then it’s time to cut them out too. They are only hindering your recovery.
      I’m not out yet but I spent years of the relationship when I was younger continously comparing myself to all the other women my partner was always looking at on social media. I used to obsessively read his online history and see how he had been through their photos etc and I’d drive myself crazy! Especially as one who he was previously linked to was now some sort of (detail removed by Moderator)!!
      I’m not sure if they still run these kind of courses but a few years ago I was feeling very low and my GP signed me up for a course to go to with other people about self-esteem. I didn’t go in the end as I got a job so decided to cancel. It might be worth looking into things like that. Sorry I’m not sure if I’ve been much help! Take care xx

      • #119451
        GreenSapphire
        Participant

        Abusers see their intimate partners as possessions and human sticking plasters for their damaged sense of self.

      • #119475
        Wateringcan
        Participant

        You’ve both been a great help thank you 🙂 xx

    • #119489
      Hetty
      Participant

      My ex was busy grooming me (unbeknown to me) while his then partner was in the process of moving out. She had no doubt endured what I went onto endure. I often used to think about how she was so lucky and brave to get out. It took me years to get away. These men don’t change. She will be subjected to the same as you. Often these men look for the thrill of the chase, they idealise their new partner and when they don’t measure up to the insane standards (that they never expect from themselves – double standards and hypocritical) they turn off the love bombing and move to the next phase. And we all know how the story goes.
      I don’t have any book recommendations but I’ve watched a lot on YouTube about recovery and I’ve watched domestic abuse talks on tedtalks.
      Focus on you, set small goals that you can achieve and will make you feel good. I’ve been upcycling furniture. Be your own best friend. You are worthy and enough as you are. I’ve been hearing a lot about looking inward for validation and I’m figuring out what that means for me, but I guess it boils down to self love. Eat good food, get moving (walks or whatever), pamper yourself. It takes as long as it takes but know you are not alone on this journey ❤️

      • #119504
        Wateringcan
        Participant

        Thank you. I want to learn to love myself again. Just a very long process.x*x

      • #119510
        Hetty
        Participant

        Start with positive affirmations every day. We have to rewrire our brains to get over all of the emotional abuse. It’s not an easy journey. I had the worst days over Christmas- cried and cried, didn’t want to do anything but I got through. One day at a time, small goals and quick wins. I buy myself a bunch of flowers every week with my food shop (nothing more than £3) but they lift my spirit. Xx

    • #119515
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      It is a long process yes, it’s also a bit of a messy process too. Recovery is not linear either as I’m sure you have and are finding out. Being kind to and patient with ourselves by accepting it takes time and we will not rocket launch ourselves to victory in a few weeks or few months or even a year or more is wisdom and not foolishness or failure on our part. Educating ourselves and understanding why we got into the abusive relationship helps us to know ourselves better than perhaps we ever have, it also helps us to steer away from similar toxic experiences with toxic people in the future and guide us to those who see and feel the world in healthy ways x

    • #119518
      Wateringcan
      Participant

      I have done no contact the whole time and haven’t gave in even on many occasions ive wanted to. But we do have children together which means i am somehwhat attached to this man for the rest of my life. This makes it really hard for me as i know one day hes gonna turn up for the children and that in itself is just torture. Its a constant thought in the back of my mind. Along with everything else i am battling because of him.
      I have looked in to how i ended up in a relationship like this and i do understand to an extent and hopefully will prevent me from entering another relationship the same.
      The pain feels so raw still some days i feel the same woman i was in that relationship and i cant train my brain to snap out of it. Ive tried a loy of mindfulness, meditation, therapy and ive learnt techniques but just one simple thing happening can switch me as a person.. my whole mindset changes within seconds and im this numb little girl oblivious to what is going on around me. I hate on my self. I dont want to have those moments i want to feel normal whatever that is. X

    • #119519
      GreenSapphire
      Participant

      Ok I get you. What you are describing is trauma and trauma bonding. It’s when the brain has physically changed it’s neurological pathways as a result of the abuse. So you’re not dreaming it. Talking therapy and normal therapy approaches are not going to touch the surface here, it requires a different approach with different tactics. The brain is a muscle and can be reconfigured with the right help and the right understanding. What you need is a practioner who knows about this. Not your bog standard therapist. Do you like dancing? It’s one of the out of the box ways that change the trauma. There are others. I love dancing and do so around my kitchen like a prat! It feels so good!!!

      A lady on here recommended an amazing one of a kind book, it’s called The Body Keeps The Score. I recommend you read this then do as the book says.

    • #119526
      Hetty
      Participant

      I had those feelings with my son’s dad when my son was very young (years ago) in terms of them turning up for contact and dreading it. They do pass. I’d say it took me at least a year to feel anything like myself again and longer still in terms of settling into being on my own. I was initially hurt when I found out he was dating again but after a day or so I thought good luck to her! They didn’t last long.
      One night over the Christmas holidays I had the most horrific experience (recently split from my second husband). My mind was racing like I’ve never experienced, images in my mind, crying and crying, paralysed with fear so I wrote it all down. What came out in the words was a lot about my childhood and how I feel about myself. It was shocking, like I was staring into my darkest parts of my soul. I tore it up and put it into the bin as I thought to keep it would be holding onto the trauma. Another woman on here suggested I got rid of it and she was right. Since then I have started to feel better but I know I am very fragile xx

    • #119527
      Hetty
      Participant

      Also, and I know it’s hard, don’t overthink. When the time comes for contact you may decide someone else can deal with it or you may feel stronger at that point. Each minute, hour, day you are gaining strength out of the abuse. What do you need to do today to support you in your recovery? One small thing. Take a walk, order a book, watch a YouTube video, watch a film with the kids, moisturise your skin. You choose but mark your accomplishment. Xx

    • #119529
      Wateringcan
      Participant

      Im curently on my 4th lot of therapy but this time the therapist specialises in domestic abuse. Shes brilliant but i feel when ive had a session i feel quite low and im not sure if its doing me good or if that is normal to feel like that.
      I do appreciate all your messages… its nice to hear what outside people think! Xx

    • #119531
      Hetty
      Participant

      It’s normal to feel this way. Talk to your therapist so they know how you’re feeling and what your experiences are. They can then adapt the therapy plan to suit. I’ve dipped in and out of therapy for years. Sometimes it’s been my lifeline and other times it’s felt like I’m drudging up the past with no recovery in sight. At those times I’ve focused on other areas of self care. I’ve also been off and on medication over the years when I’ve felt the need. I did try meds over Christmas but they made me feel so sick I decided to go cold turkey.
      When feeling low it’s important to keep going with activities as best you can. A balance of activities including contact with others, something that feels like an accomplishment, something for pleasure, light exercise. I know that can be so so hard when feeling low, it sucks our energy. It doesn’t have to be massive things. It could be enjoying a nice coffee, texting a friend. Small steps. Think about one thing you can do today on your journey to recovery; it might be something you’ve been putting off, cooking a nice meal for yourself, painting your nails, whatever, no matter how small. Be your own best friend. What would you do for a friend who is suffering or a child? Do that for yourself. I hope that helps. Everyone’s journey is different and what works for one person might not for another. Know that with every passing minute you are out of the abuse you are growing stronger, it might not feel like it right now. Think about the changing seasons, little by little the days grow longer and the trees start to bloom. It happens so naturally and gradually then one day we notice the daffodils of spring. It’s the same for us. Little by little we will bloom but it’s going to take time. I wish more than anything for a magic wand for us all. You’re not alone xx

    • #119534
      Hawthorn
      Participant

      Hi Wateringcan,

      You’re had lots of great advice already, I wanted to reassure you about feeling low after your counselling sessions. I was the same, sometimes so low and upset, sometimes numb, sometimes so exhausted I had to sleep for a couple of hours afterwards. My counsellor reassured me that was a positive sign, it shows that you are processing the abuse and on the road to healing the trauma you have suffered.

      It does get easier. A daily yoga practice has made a huge difference to me too, the trauma is stored in the very cells of our bodies. Moving with attention; whether its dancing, yoga, drumming, mindful walking etc all helps to release the trauma so we can heal from it. When your energy levels improve they might be some things to think about. For now be very gentle with yourself, you’re on the right track xx

    • #119542
      Wateringcan
      Participant

      I know im not alone. You amazing ladies have all been through so much yourselves so im very grateful for your messages and advice! I guess i need to do a bit of self care and love and the rest will hopefully come with. Xx

      • #119565
        Hetty
        Participant

        It will. Trust the process. If you can get this far you can do anything. Xx

      • #119601
        Wateringcan
        Participant

        Thank you ❤ xx

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