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heldon 06-15-2016 08:16 AM

Past Emotional Abuse Affecting Current Relationship
Hi all,
So, to make a long story short, I was in a torrid, on-again off-again relationship for a year, during which I was cheated on, then strung along as a second choice. Every time it seemed that he had made up his mind, and said that he loved me, and sleep with me for a week or so, he would tell me a week later that nothing had changed and go back to sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. He would make me feel crazy for saying that we were romantically involved, even though he admitted it himself and told me he loved me romantically all the time. I never knew what version of him I was going to wake up to. It left me feeling very insecure, anxious, depressed, and not worthy of being someone's first choice, all the time. I was very depressed, yet he would beg me not to leave, despite humiliating me constantly with his infidelity, mental games, and messed-up behavior.

Finally, in January, I told him that I couldn't do it anymore, and that I couldn't wait for him anymore and that I would move on if I had to. Honestly, I was planning on being single for a while, but I had a friend with whom I had been hanging out who I knew was interested in me. He was the total opposite of my ex- patient, kind, stable. He asked me out on a date, and I said yes- trying to move on. Things started to go really well- he's fantastic. For about two months I was blissfully happy- for the first time in a year.

Then, my ex decided to come back and tell me that I was the only one he ever loved and that he made a mistake and that he saw me as his future wife and that he didn't think he'd ever get over me. It took all my strength, but I told him no. I would never be able to trust him and I was not going to subject myself to his whims again, and my new boyfriend was and and still is amazing and kind, and I wanted someone who wanted me as his first choice. My ex tried every manipulation tactic in the book to get me back, but I stood firm.

Despite logically not wanting to be with him, and knowing that it would be a disaster, turning him down was devastating to me- he was all that I wanted for a year of my life. It triggered a huge wave of anxiety (i'm diagnosed with GAD and OCD) because I felt guilty about being sad about turning him down while being with my new boyfriend.

I still feel attached to him in some way- both in the emotional scars he left and, sometimes, I do miss him- he was my best friend before we dated. This is causing me tremendous guilt, which is affecting how I act in my current relationship, which is super healthy and I love my boyfriend. I don't want this tie to the past to ruin it.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

yayagirl 06-16-2017 09:32 AM

Re: Past Emotional Abuse Affecting Current Relationship
Dear heldon,

I have to say yes, I have experienced similar things. I think few could say they have not experienced manipulation. It can be so confusing how strong those emotions are. Mostly probably we like to avoid thinking about it.

Years of thinking about it and analyzing myself led me to finally conclude that why I held on emotionally to some past relationships was that none of those relationships were really about love at all. And I really wanted those people to love me. I held on out of feeling the sting of rejection and disappointment, and hoped they could or would change how I felt. I wanted those people to have wanted me as much as I wanted them. Maybe some people of my past even did want me but it could not work out because they were not ever capable of consistently acting like it. They were simply not capable of being there for me, whether they meant to or not. It's the same if it was a friend or lover that was not really there for me.

It doesn't matter at all why it did not work out, the fact is that it never did.
I think you probably are trying to emotionally resolve the unresolveable and it is holding you back.

It helped me to take some time in private to say good bye to the past. I typed it out and then when ready I clicked delete as the final good bye to the past. I had to do this a few times to get it all out and let go. Now it's all just a bitter-sweet memory of the past and none of it any longer haunts me. This is work you have to do yourself...face and let go of the past. It isn't a real ghost or a real good relationship. It's just memory of pain, and you can face it and say good-bye to it.

This is work only you can do for yourself. I am evidence that it can be done, and I thought I never could live without a certain person of the past. There was so much negativity in that relationship, whether it was anyone's fault or not, that's what it was. Regrets are only resolved by accepting that we are all just human with many frailties and by deciding to choose to hold on to the people that aid us in treating ourselves with self-respect, by respecting us.

The ex may even want to change the past, but he and no one has the capacity of doing that. The past is over. It cannot be re-visited no matter how much we wish it could.

You have a person in your life now that is capable of showing his love. In private, take a realistic look at why you tend to reject it (feeling unworthy in some way?).

Embrace the one who shows love and acceptance and let go of the ghost from the past. Understand that it is a 'ghost', just a memory. [I]In your heart[/I] forgive the guy from the past and yourself for the inappropriate relationship and you will be able to move on.

You deserve real love, not manipulation. You are a real person, not a manikin to be twisted this way and that. Maybe that feels normal because you had some of that when you were a child, but that is not love. Don't allow familiarity to confuse you. Familiarity is not love.


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