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Crushed. Battered. Exhausted. Confused.

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #347886

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Last year, my boyfriend of 8 years, let’s call him A, dumped me out of the blue. He became distant and left a month later, saying he had no feelings for me whatsoever, that he did not love me anymore. I was devastated. I lost a fair amount of weight. I cut off from our common friends too. I was sucked into this whirlpool of self-blame and self-guilt, convinced that had I been a better girlfriend (believe me when I say I wasn’t a good one; I was needy, clingy, nagging, and probably toxic), he wouldn’t have left. The month before the breakup had been pure torture for me: he had become very distant and cold, wouldn’t touch me at all (would withdraw if I tried to hold his hand), did not even look at me, and the such. So yeah… I was crushed. He returned all my stuff and told all our friends and some of mine too that we had broken up and that there’s no chance of a reconciliation. A month after the breakup, my grandmother passed away, followed by my best friend moving out of town. I’d been having constant stomach ache and digestive problems, and I got myself checked, to be diagnosed with IBS-C. I was in constant physical pain.

    Almost 2 months after the breakup, a good friend of mine, let’s call him B, someone very close to my heart, who’d moved to another country the year before, told me he’d been having feelings for me since a few months. He’d missed me after moving there and realized he has feelings for me. I don’t know why but I was delighted to hear that. But initially, I refused a relationship, as I simply wasn’t ready, and I did not want to rebound with him. He’s somebody I care about a lot. But we did continue talking, and I realized I had started developing feelings for him too. I told him weeks later, but we did not start dating, just continued talking, connecting and bonding well. I’d have these bouts of thinking about my ex, and I would then feel like I was betraying B somehow. I would get extremely anxious, even though he was very understanding, and would need a break from him. We’d stop talking for a couple of days till I calmed down, but we’d always get back. He made me really really happy. He was going to visit out home country for the Christmas break. We decided we’d spend the month together, and if all went well, we’d start dating. The month went by, and it was beyond beautiful. He asked me out, and I said yes. This was 7 months after the breakup. I was happy, genuinely so, and felt that life wouldn’t be so bad after all.

    Nine months after the breakup, my ex got in touch with me, after absolute silence for 9 months, except to wish me on my birthday, saying he wanted to get back. I met him, more because I wanted answers. But everything about my ex made me extremely anxious (I have generalized anxiety disorder and have panic attacks, took therapy for a year a couple of years ago), anxious enough to tremble and have trouble breathing. I met him regardless. He said he’d been having an extremely tough time since the breakup. He’d been studying and had been extremely worried about getting a decent job. His mother had been unwell and undergoing treatment. There were financial issues at home. He cried. A lot. I couldn’t understand what I had done. This was after the breakup yes? He said me suggesting he take therapy scared him (backstory: he had been showing some signs of depression, and I had suggested we go to my therapist, with whom I’d spent a year), and he added that suggesting we take help is not the kind of support he needed. He just needed me to be there for him. I still couldn’t understand, so I tried to ask more questions, but whenever I tried that, he’d start crying and trembling. So I avoided it. He got dizzy in the middle of it and asked me to buy him some food, which I did. He had come to me after he’d secured a job and so was in a better position to look at other things in his life. I said I was wasn’t sure and did not tell him about B yet. After that we got to talking about our friends and catching up. We laughed together, and it was quite pleasant.

    Two days later, we met again. I told him I still did not understand why he broke up with me. Just because I suggested we see a doctor? As someone who has struggled with mental health since years now? He said that at the time, he did feel he had no feelings for me and felt that there is no point in dragging this relationship. So he ended it. Pathetic as it may sound, I broke down in front of him, remembering all the hurt and the pain. I then told him about B, and he said that if these 8 years and him meant anything, give us a thought. He said he’s understood himself a lot better in the time we’ve been apart, and he now has matured. He didn’t value me earlier, and he messed up. He missed me (he cried while saying that). My anxiety was through the roof, as I wasn’t sure what I wanted. Here was my ex, somebody I had spent most of my adult life with, someone I had been madly in love with, someone who knew me inside out; add all that to the comfort and familiarity associated with him. He had been home to me. And on the other hand I had B, someone who loves me dearly, is willing to work it out as much as possible with me, despite my baggage, someone I care about deeply. I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting him. I was crying hysterically because of the anxiety because of this dilemma, and my ex calmed me down. With that came the sense of warmth, comfort and familiarity associated with him.

    Both A and B told me to take all the time I needed to decide. So I began thinking. I’d been with A for 8 years and had looked forward to getting married to him. I had been so into him I’d forgotten myself. He has supprted me throughout my mental health issues. And it would be a lie if I said I was over him. I was not. But since Day 1 of the relationship, he had taken me for granted. It was very evident in his behaviour. I had always had to beg for attention and his time. We’d spend time together only if I got really mad or at his convenience. It made me feel he didn’t really love me or need me as much. In the last year of our relationship, a gap had formed between us, as I had gotten busy with my own life and did not badger him for time or attention anymore. I’d made new friends and worked out everyday. He’d always been a very reserved and shy person, and he had communication issues, adding to the gap. This is something I did not want to go back to. I cannot beg for attention and love anymore. I just can’t. But what if he has changed like he said? Will things be better now? On the other hand, B loves me dearly, showers me with attention even from miles away, puts me first, and is really very compatible with me. If I go back to my ex, and it does not work out, I will have blown something really good with B. He will not take me back. Also, I will have hurt him terribly. What if going back would be a huge mistake?

    I spoke to a lot of friends, and all of them told me not to go back. My mom said so too (she loves B, so there might be a bias there). I thought and thought and thought and drove myself crazy. One thing that really hurt me was that my ex had not apologized once. Not once. Not for breaking up. He had all the right to do that. But for doing it as harshly as he did (it was a really ugly breakup; another pathetic thing: when he was leaving, I had fallen at his feet, begging him not to go, every ounce of self-respect out of the window). He did not ask what I had been up to these 9 months until I told him about my grandma and IBS (which is extremely painful for me). I felt numb, felt I had nothing more to give him. All these things made me think that it was probably not wise to go back when something really good is there with me. And so, I messaged A, saying I don’t really think it will work out. He asked me to meet him, but I refused, and that was that.

    But it wasn’t. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my ex, wondering if I’m making a mistake. It causes me a great great deal of anxiety. I can’t understand why this is happening, when I was so so happy with B just a month ago. This is affecting my relationship with B as well, which I had really wanted to work. All these thoughts are making me severely anxious and depressed. I haven’t slept properly in weeks. I am always nervous and on edge and full of guilt. I am questioning everything I have done. I am wondering if getting together with B so soon was a bad idea. If I hadn’t gotten him involved in me, I could have saved him from all this mess. I don’t know if it is my anxiety playing tricks on me, but I feel all my feelings so far have been a lie. I am a horrible and a weak person. I cannot get these thoughts and my ex out of my head. I don’t know why. I don’t know what to do anymore. Should I go back to my ex? I even have this crazy idea that my IBS troubles will vanish if I go back to my ex.

    I am extremely depressed, and B knows this. I am not interested in anything anymore, and it is affecting our relationship. I don’t even want to live anymore (don’t worry, I won’t do anything to harm myself). This quarantine is not helping. I don’t know which thoughts are mine and which are anxiety’s. Oh God… I’m such a horrible person…

    Sorry for such a long post. If you read it all, thank you.

    #347984

    anita
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    in about April 2019, your boyfriend of eight years, A,  became “very distant and cold, wouldn’t touch me at all.. would withdraw if I tried to hold his hand.. did not even look at me”, and a month later, about May 2019, he broke up with you, saying “he had no feelings.. whatsoever”, for you, and telling friends that “there’s no chance of a reconciliation”.

    When that happened, followed by you losing some of the common friends, your best friend moving out of town, and your grandmother passing, you’ve been having “constant stomachache and digestive problems.. diagnosed with IBS-C.. in constant physical pain”, lost a fair amount of weight, and were “sucked into this whirlpool of self-blame and self-guilt”, believing that he withdrew from you and broke up with you because you were a “needy, clingy, nagging, and probably toxic” girlfriend.

    Two months after the breakup, B, a friend living in another country, told you that he has feelings for you. You were delighted to hear that and developed feelings for him. The two of you decided that during Christmas 2019, he will visit you in your (and his) home country, spend a month together, “and if all  went well, we’d start dating”. That Christmas month spent together was “bey0nd beautiful” and you were “happy, genuinely so”. February 2020, nine months after A broke up  with you, A contacted you for the first time, saying he wanted to get back together with you.

    And so, like the song says: you’ve been … torn between two  lovers: A, with whom you “always had to beg for attention”, with whom you spent time together “only if I got really mad or  at his convenience”, a man who told you recently, that he didn’t value you earlier (“he didn’t value me earlier”), and B, a man who “loves me dearly, showers me with attention even from miles away, puts me first, and is really very compatible with me”.

    You chose B, but you “haven’t been able to stop thinking about (A), wondering if I’m making a mistake.. severely anxious and depressed.. haven’t slept properly in weeks.. nervous and on edge and full of guilt.. I feel all my feelings so far have been a lie.. Should  I go back to my ex? I even have this crazy idea that my IBS troubles will vanish if I go back to my ex.. I don’t even want to live anymore.. This quarantine is not helping.. I’m such a horrible person”.

    My input to you: you have to  find a way to relax. No one can think clearly and effectively when under intense anxiety and distress, and you are no exception. Find a way to calm down every day. If a daily walk outside is possible and safe, under the quarantine regulations where you live, do  so. Take hot showers or baths to relax, listen to music, do guided meditations, watch movies, post here.. express and relax, best you can.

    You wrote that A feels like home  to you, but often a home is not a good place to live in, even if it sometimes feels good, familiar and comfortable. A doesn’t read  to me like a  good  home. B on the other hand, reads like a good home for you. A didn’t pay attention to you, B does. You begged A for his attention, you don’t beg B. When you saw A recently, he told you that he didn’t value you earlier. Not being valued or being paid attention to- is not a good  home.

    If the distress from the breakup with A led to your IBS, I don’t think that reuniting with him will fix  your IBS. It is not that the relationship with A was wonderful before he broke up with you, so the distress in you built up over time, as you begged for his attention again and again.

    Your guilt  may be the biggest contributor to your anxiety and distress. You started your long original  post with your guilt (third line: “self-blame and self-guilt”), and you ended your post with: “I’m such a horrible person”. You felt guilty about being a bad girlfriend to A, and you feel guilty about being a  bad girlfriend to B.

    When did your “self-blame and self-guilt” start, do you remember,(as a child, way before A or B  entered your life)?

    anita

    #349180

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for patiently reading my post, understanding and analyzing it, and reaching out. I’m immensely grateful.

    I have so many thoughts in my head that I don’t even know where to start.

    I met and started dating my ex when I was 16. He was understanding, patient and caring. I’m not really an easy person to be with. I really was insecure and jealous and quite quite clingy. But he never really made a fuss about it. We had our ups and downs, including my mental health issues, and he was supportive throughout. I am a short-tempered person, and he’s quite calm, so we complimented each other perfectly, or so I felt. I admired how he could be calm in stressful situations, when I could be a mess.

    I have this weird thing. I dated 2 guys before him, nothing serious, just teen relationships. But I was always uncomfortable in those relationships, having a knot in my chest. But with him, I never had that discomfort or knot. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t. I found him to be a wonderful person, and I fell deeper in love with him. It would not be exaggerating if I said my world revolved around him. The only major issue I really had with him was that I had to beg for his attention and time, like I mentioned earlier. Multiple times throughout the relationship I felt I was not as important as his family and other friends were. I felt I was being taken for granted, and I wondered if I actually mattered or was loved at all. I even felt that maybe I was too needy.

    In the last year of our relationship though, things had changed. I had been taking therapy. I had developed this obsessive thought process, where I concentrated only on his perceived flaws. These thoughts disturbed me immensely, and I spoke to my therapist about it. She said these were intrusive thoughts, thanks to my anxiety, and taught me how to work around them. But something was still amiss. I can’t place a finger on it, but something was just… off. I talked about this with my therapist as well, and she said many times couples grow at a different rate, and that I probably was growing wider and faster than he was, leading to this gap between us. She suggested I take a break from him. But the thought of leaving him made me weep. I knew I wanted to be with him, and so I felt we will work this out, whatever it was. We suddenly didn’t have much to talk about. He was a quiet person anyway, but here he became quieter. He was preparing for his entrance exams, and he said staying home all day and just studying, he didn’t have much to talk about. I let him be, thinking he does make sense, and things will be okay once he gets into college. But nothing changed. I knew how much pressure he was under, long days and all. I thought once his course is over and he gets a job, things will be alright. I had stopped badgering him for attention and time, mostly because I knew how busy he was, but also because I was exhausted. I felt I was the only one giving any sort of effort in the relationship. I was the only one who needed the other one. I was lonely, and felt he just wasn’t there in the relationship anymore. I felt neglected and avoided. He simply wasn’t “there”. But again, I thought everything will be fine once he gets a job.

    In April 2019, after a fight, he said he needed a break from us. He said he didn’t feel what he used to feel for me. Needless to say, I was utterly baffled, scared, and confused. I tried to understand, but couldn’t. He said he doesn’t feel like talking to anyone or doing anything and just wanted to be left alone. And so, I did just that. But he went out with friends, hung out, went for a movie, and the such, making me feel the problem was only me. And so, I messaged saying that if that was the case, he should leave. But he maintained that he wanted me in his life. I asked him multiple times, if he wanted me in his life, he said yes. He said he had been feeling guilty about being with me, and did not think he was worthy of me. This guilt, added to feeling that he doesn’t feel for me and the feelings of not wanting to do anything, made me feel he was probably depressed. I suggested we see my therapist, but that scared him. His behaviour towards me changed. He kind of became cold and distant; he was trying, but it was pretty evident he didn’t want me around. He’d withdraw from my touch. We spoke less and less. It was extremely hurtful, and I cried everyday. And a month later, we had a harsh painful breakup. He told my mother he didn’t wanna be with me as well.

    The pain I was in was excruciating. Which I still get in waves. All the dreams, things I thought I was gonna have with him, gone. Along with it had come the guilt. Had I been a more supportive girlfriend, he would have opened up to me. Had I been more loving and accepting rather than critical, he would have let me in. Had I given him the space he asked for when he asked for a break, he probably wouldn’t have left.

    When I experienced these waves of pain, I felt extremely guilty, because I felt I was betraying B.

    I am experiencing such a pain wave right now, after refusing A. It hits me like a rock in my chest when I think we won’t get married, making me anxious. That he might meet somebody else. I just go, “How the hell is all this happening? How did we get here?” Two of our common friends got married, something I thought I was gonna have with him. And it is killing me, all this pain. The reason I didn’t choose A was that I felt I don’t have it in me to carry the relationship on  my shoulders again. I don’t wanna feel neglected and taken for granted. I simply felt numb, after all this pain. But then, now, I think, what if things have changed? He says he has realized his mistakes, breaking up with me was a huge one. He says he knows I gave my all to the relationship, that he didn’t value me earlier. What if all that has changed? What if I will be happy with him? All this pain and all these thoughts make me feel I wanna go back to him.

    All these thoughts also make me extremely guilty, thinking about B. I think I am a horrible person. I know I am not lying when I say I have feelings for him. But still, I must be a terrible person. I should have said no when he came. I shouldn’t have let him get involved in me. And I am really unhappy right now.

    So yeah… I feel guilty about almost everything… Something as simple as sleeping in the daytime and then feeling guilty and regretting it for not doing something productive… And you are right too… It comes since childhood… I feel guilty for being a bad daughter to my mother… I multiple times have felt everything is my fault…

    I again apologize for the long post…

    Thanks…

    #349216

    anita
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    You are welcome. I am glad you returned to your thread. I re-read your original post, and read your current post (and reply on another thread):

    “In the last year of our relationship.. I had developed this obsessive thought process, where I concentrate only on his perceived flaws.. there were intrusive thoughts”- I am familiar with this, having suffered from OCD for many years. It seems to me that these intrusive thoughts were fueled by a part- desire in you to end the relationship with him, focusing on his faults so to motivate you to leave him.

    Regarding your guilt, a heavy guilt- it is something that you and I have in common, more precisely, had in common. I suffered from a devastatingly heavy guilt for decades, regarding my mother, believing that I made her miserable. Back to you- I believe that no matter what you choose next, or if you don’t choose and let A and/or B choose for you,  you will be feeling guilty.

    This means, that you better accept this unfortunate reality, and give up on thinking (if you do) that there is a way for you to do one thing or another that will free you from guilt.

    You will need to make a rational choice, or a series of choices, without letting the guilt confuse you.

    A never apologized for either breaking up with you, or for breaking up with you the way he did. He refused your idea of therapy at the time, and didn’t attend therapy since, I imagine. Last time you saw him, he was in a bad emotional state-

    – not a good idea to go back to him.

    I will pause here and will continue after I read from you next.

    anita

    #349228

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Oh dear, the flashbacks!

    Listen, I’ve been through the exact same thing back in 2018. The EXACT same thing. And then the guilt tripping, the anxiety, the constant mental torture being called OCD. I hope your therapist adresses it, it’s not mere anxiety or intrusive thoughts – it’s OCD. Believe me when I tell you that since December of 2018 when I broke up with my ex till March of this year, I was being extremely tortured mentally. But what helped me get back my life was that I met an incredible therapist earlier in January. Long story short, I was diagnosed with OCD and through CBT I have seen an amazing difference. Please, I can’t stress this enough, you need to tell this to your therapist and work specifically on this.

    Now as for A, I think you realize that he is crying about his own ass. About his own feelings, about his own discomfort, about his own convince. He’s not breaking down in  front of you because of how much he misses you, or how much he loves you or because he realized how incredible you are. Nine months is too damn long to realize true love, especially if you were together with someone for eight years. So I’ll break it down for you: he saw the grass ain’t greener and came back out of convince and narcissism. End of story. He wanted some time alone and GOES OUT WITH FRIENDS PARTYING??!?!? Ok, yeah… No.

    I also think he engraved deeply in you that you are the problem. People have mastery over gaslighting and manipulating innocent and sensitive people. He made you BEG for his attention and so you perceived YOU are needy when in fact, someone is needy of something when indeed the don’t have that something! You are hungry when you are deprived of food. The same goes with love. It was done to me and since you too like me had no real experience before, you blamed yourself. Sister, I want to hug you right now.

    I’m actually tearing up. I’m sorry if I sound cheesy and all that, but I know your pain. Please fight for B, he sounds like a true, decent guy. A had eight years to make you feel special. Eight whole years. If you relationship was a child, he whould be in primary school! Thing about that! Most marriages don’t last that long even, yet he had the chance and he threw it away.

    I know I am a stranger on the web, but take it from me… Yes you have your psychological struggles, yes you need to work on them, yes you need to always check you self worth and never beg BUT you are a normal human being and not everything is your fault. Your relationship with A was toxic because of him being an douche and you being inexperienced. Simple as that.

    I hope you get to feel better. You have B and a promise of a better now. Discard the ex. Hope you find peace!

    #349814

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks for your help again. It is heart-warming that someone who doesn’t even know me is so willing to help.

    About the OCD, in the session with my therapist, we didn’t discuss much about this part, probably because we had more pressing issues to talk about. I used to have these thoughts, some about things as silly as the way he sat or how his hair looked, and used to feel extremely guilty for having them. Because these thoughts were obsessive, and I was constantly analyzing everything, as a compulsion, I used to tell him stuff like, “Sit straight” and then feel guilty about that too. My mother does the same to me, my therapist said my mother is emotionally abusive, and I had started feeling I was emotionally abusing my boyfriend just like that. Once my therapist told me these were due to anxiety, I started giving a lot less importance to them and became much more conscious of myself. After the breakup, I looked it up and came across the term “Relationship OCD”, and my symptoms matched. Towards the end of our relationship though, I had become frustrated, feeling that this isn’t going further. I felt we were stagnating. But after he broke up, I was filled with so much pain I felt I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t understand why, if I really wanted it to end, did it hurt so much. I still don’t.

    Coming to guilt, like I mentioned before, I feel guilty about any and everything. Before A and B, it was about my mother. We have a rocky and rough relationship, and I felt guilty I wasn’t able to be a good daughter. I’d feel guilty for going out with friends. I’d feel guilty when we’d fight, thinking that I’m a bad daughter for talking back, after all that she has done for me. I kinda have this thing where I believe everything that goes wrong is my fault. I have a list of things that make me guilty and regretful right now as well. I’d love to expand because boy is it mounting.

    One of those things from the list is that I felt I had been badmouthing A till now, when I spoke to friends about him, about the breakup, things that bothered me about the relationship, even though I didn’t actively abuse him or anything. I should not have done that. I never meant to portray him as a bad guy or anything like that, and I never want anyone to think poorly of him. I felt horrible; he’s not a bad person at all. He just did what he had to do at that point, and I had no right to badmouth him. This made my guilt so bad that I actually messaged and apologized to him for it two days ago. He said I didn’t need to apologize at all and “it’s me with the apology”. He said letting me go was the biggest mistake he ever made. Boy.

    He had refused therapy at the time I had suggested it; I’m guessing it was because of some sort of stigma or denial. He definitely hadn’t seen a therapist after the breakup. When I met him the first time, he was a mess of sorts. He was crying, saying he’s been through some real tough times. Talking about the breakup made him physically uncomfortable. Looking at all this, like I mentioned, I felt nothing much has changed. He’s no way even ready to talk about what happened. But when we met the second time, he told me he’d started reading (something he never ever did, and i am an ardent reader), and we discussed some of the common books we’d read. He told me hoe he’d read some self-help books, and learnt a lot. All this made me think… Is he a new person now? Will things be better and different this time around?

    Waiting to read from you…

     

     

     

    #349834

    anita
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    “I feel guilty about any and everything. Before A and B, it was about my mother.. I felt guilty I wasn’t able to be a good daughter.. for going out with friends.. when we’d fight, thinking that I’m a bad daughter for talking back, after all that she  has done for me”-

    – by “all that she has done for me”, I assume you mean that she fed you, clothed you, bought you school supplies and toys, cleaned after you (?)

    If so, then she produced a well fed, well clothed, educated young woman who suffers tremendously from guilt.

    Wouldn’t you have preferred to have had inexpensive food(yet adequately nutritious), fewer clothes, second hand school supplies and toys and not suffer the guilt?

    “all that she has done for me” then includes guilt: that’s what she did for you. See the bigger picture  then: she fed you, clothed you.. and added guilt to your life, an experience that you suffer from tremendously.

    The guilt you feel regarding your mother is like a wildfire that expands, as is its nature. That guilt/ fire that burned you in its original context (your relationship with your mother) expanded and now burns you in a later context (your relationship with A).

    Your guilt started with the belief that you are a bad daughter and it expanded to you being a bad girlfriend, and overall, a bad person. You are suffering because you are not a bad person who believes that she is a bad person. What to do next:

    1. To believe that you are not a bad person, and to learn to trust that you are not a bad person, you will need to be as calm as possible and behave in such ways that you agree with. Don’t yell at people, don’t verbally abuse people (calling people names and insulting them), act respectfully toward people.

    2. Resolve your troubled relationship with your mother so that this early life relationship doesn’t hurt you anymore. Put out that original fire, so it stops spreading.

    3. Prepare for this guilt torture to continue as you work on 1 and 2, but over time it will lessen and eventually, it will not be there anymore.

    – let me know if you want to work with me on 1 and 2, and which one you want to start with.

    anita

     

    #350488

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Sofioula,

    Thank you so very much for reaching out to me. I’m in a really bad place mentally and emotionally, and I so appreciate your words.

    Yes I went through the whole self-blame period for a long long time. Still  do actually. When I was with my ex, I had obsessive thoughts too. If you read my other replies, you will know some of my thoughts. I am currently not in therapy, and might not be able to go soon due to the lockdown thanks to COVID-19. If you are comfortable, could you tell me a little about your experience?

    About my ex, well, yeah I have to admit that I did get the feeling that it was all about him in that meeting. I’d have felt nice if I had been asked about my time away from him. Or how the breakup had affected me. To me, it seemed that for him this had been some sort of break. Not a breakup. It felt like he had expected me to be standing right where he left me. And then when he was ready for it, he could just open the door and let me in again. It felt like he’d not had the fear of losing me at all. I’d have liked it if he’d said he missed me. That he loved me. He’s never been good with words and expressing himself. But I’m kinda exhausted of giving him that benefit of doubt. In his defense though, he did cry in the second meeting, saying he missed me. He even asked if we could stay in touch. God, there is so much pain associated with him… I can’t even… It had been a painful time, for the month before the breakup. And it had been a harsh breakup. I feel he could have been gentler with me. I now realise that it took me months of getting over just the pain that harshness had inflicted on me. The pain of the loss of the relationship and the life I thought I was going to have seems to have just set in… I’m gonna stop… I’m getting all teary…

    He isn’t a bad person. So I don’t know if he counts as manipulative or not.

    I’m in such a bad frame of mind I could use a hug. Even if it’s from a stranger from the Web. That doesn’t matter as long as it’s genuine.

    Thank you… I’d love to hear from you again…

     

    #350494

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for replying again…

    About my mother, well, I lost my dad when I was a teenager, and it’s just been me and mom since. So she’s raised me single-handedly since then. It hasn’t been easy. We, well, we’re different people. So I wasn’t really an easy kid for her. And it has been a relationship with a fair amount of friction.

    I’d love to start with Step 1. The thing about Step 2, I’ve tried things with her. She just… Isn’t very receptive to things I have to say… And talking to her about these things just does more damage than good to be honest.

    Waiting to hear from you…

     

    #350498

    anita
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    You are welcome. From your first post today, I read that you are presently “in a really bad place mentally and emotionally”. I don’t know of you feel like discussing your relationship with your mother, at this point.. or ever. But reads to me that it will be very beneficial to you, when you are ready. You probably focus on your the men in your life, A and B, but the most powerful person in your life has been and still is your mother.

    Will you update me on the current situation with A and B, and are you currently living with your mother? If you do, what is the daily interaction with her like?

    anita

    #350704

    anita
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    I am re-reading what you shared in this thread, so look more closely at your guilt. The following is only part of your many guilt expressions:

    “my boyfriend of 8 years.. A, dumped me.. I was sucked into this whirlpool of self-blame and self-guilt, convinced that had I been a better girlfriend (.. I wasn’t a good  one; I was needy, clingy, nagging, and probably toxic), he wouldn’t have  left… (A) cried. A lot. I couldn’t understand what I had done… I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting (B)… I am always nervous and on edge and full of guilt... If I hadn’t gotten (B) involved in me, I could have saved him from all  this mess.. I am a horrible and a weak person.. I even have this crazy idea that my IBS troubles will vanish if I go back to my ex.. I’m such a horrible person… I’m not really an easy person to be with… I am a short- tempered person.. Had I been a more supportive girlfriend, (A) would have opened up to me. Had I been more loving and accepting rather than critical, he would have let me in… I felt extremely guilty, because I felt I was betraying B.. All these thoughts also make me extremely guilty.. I think I am a horrible person… I must be a terrible person… I feel guilty about almost everything… I feel guilty for being a bad daughter to my mother.. I multiple times have felt everything is my fault.. I used to have these thoughts.. the way he sat or how his hair looked, and used to feel extremely guilty for having them… my therapist said my mother is emotionally abusive, and I started feeling I was emotionally abusing my boyfriend just like that… Coming to guilt, like I mentioned before, I feel guilty about any and everything.

    Before A and B, it was about my mother. WE have a rocky and rough relationship, and I felt guilty I wasn’t able to be a good daughter. I feel guilty for going out with friends. I’d feel guilty when we’d fight, thinking that I’m a bad daughter for talking back, after all that she has done for me… I believe everything that goes wrong is my fault. I have a list of things that make me guilty… I shouldn’t have done that.. I  never meant to.. I had no right to.. This made my guilt so bad.. it’s just been me and mom.. she’s raised me single-handedly. I wasn’t really an easy kid to her.. I’ve tried things with her. She just… isn’t very receptive to things I have to say.. talking to her about these things just does more damage”.

    I counted the word guilt and guilty 14 times. The words blame and fault are there as well. Clearly, you have been carrying an extreme sense of guilt from  your early and ongoing relationship with your mother. She has hurt you in significant ways, and as a result of being hurt by her,  you felt angry at her. Next, you felt guilty for feeling angry at her. (Not realizing that any person automatically feels anger at the person who hurts them).

    You feel guilty for feeling angry, for expressing anger in any way, for feeling clingy and needy, and for anything at all that goes wrong. If someone is unhappy-  it must be that you did something wrong!

    No one can possibly have a peace of mind for long when feeling guilty for everything that goes wrong. Because lots of things do go  wrong.

    I imagine that your mother hurt you a lot, and that like your therapist said, she’s been emotionally abusive to you, criticizing you, rejecting all your efforts to reach out to her, all your efforts to make her understand.. that you love her, and that you never want to hurt her. She is unreachable; you can’t reach her.

    She listed to you all the wrong things that you do; she never listed anything that she did wrong, so you believed her: it must be you who is responsible for anything and everything that goes wrong. She took zero responsibility for what went wrong in her relationship with you, so you took 100% of that responsibility.

    The guilt with her expanded to your guilt regarding A, so much so, that you may think (?) that the IBS you suffer from is a punishment for not being back with A, and that if you do go back to him, your IBS/punishment will vanish.

    I hope to read from you soon.

    anita

     

     

    #350774

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear anonymous03:

    I’m sending a big, warm hug to you from Greece. Know that you are not alone. We are sisters – in – pain. Not only you and me, but oh so many women and men with nothing but a blackened heart. I’m really sorry to have replied to you so late, I’m just not good with reading my emails soon…

    I don’t know if you can read my topics and get a glimpse of my experience as you asked,but I’m also gonna give you the gist of it. I was in a one year relationship. It was my first one although I was 23 at the time. I was insecure as every inexperienced girl is so I bought all of his manipulation, of him lying, using me, ignoring me, belittling me in shuttle ways even gaslighting, which was detrimental to my mental health. I was a yes girl, a 1950’s wife to a man that would even pluck a flower from his garden to offer me, or even drive me safely home when I was sick with bronchitis in the middle of the cold winter… People around me started noticing his “abuse” and cold heart. What I was left with was an out of control non stop self blaming  guilt tripping, wanting to go back to him, back to the past and fix everything OCD day and night, excruciatingly for more than a year. I was living on auto pilot, I actually have huge memory gaps because of it and I’m still fighting it, though be it, I’m soooooo much more improved mentally. He basically made me out to be a crazy-for-no-reason- jealous girlfriend and I bought it.

    He would never take me to parties, denied me to meet his family, hated my sister, restricted me on fb and flat out made me think I’m crazy when i was clearly seeing other girls where texting him. He fiercely denied to videochat with me during us being apart for more than a month, he wouldn’t let me stay at his place when I was in need of shelter and he would only see me twice a week. He would make me take 3 busses to get back home whilst owning a luxury car himself. When I would always be available, always cooking, doing HIS dishes, giving him full body massages every single week, buying him thoughtful gifts, comforting him, attending him when sick… He wouldn’t even see me when I was sick, or if it was raining even… And that’s just scratching the surface…

    But all this time blaming me for everything, calling me jealous, saying he loved me  that I’m his first love,  he cried when I was cowardly confronting him… Even when I finally broke up with him, he continued to say he loved me but he didn’t want a future with me.He was furious saying HE didn’t want to break up. So, I mean… Listen, they have the way to trun the tables to save their own skin and inconvenience.

    If there’s one thing I found out in  this little experience I have gained is that I DON’T WANT YOUR STUPID AFTERMATH TEARS AND LOVE. Period. Because you made me go through hell when I only gave you paradise. Know this- yes, you are not a perfect girlfriend, yes life and relationships can have bad moments and it’s not only heaven. And it’s natural, sometimes people break up because not all things can be worked out. But in your case the way he CHOSE to exit, knowing he would scar you is because he didn’t care. He doesn’t care. About you that is. Becasue the aftermath clearly states he care only for himself…

    You can’t just reconnect with someone after nine month, or even three months and mess with their emotional stability and new life. When you’re in love deeply, you either won’t let this person go, or you will let them go with respect.

    But ok, let’s say it was a bad moment he had there and he was an a$$ by accident. The next day he should have apologized or even within a month he would have reached out, either to get back together or make amends. You are no less than a big part of his life and if he treated you like an available 24/7 walmart, that’s tells yoy hoe much he values his life in general. I would advice you not to buy into anything he says. Not out of spite, but out of pure men logic. Please, if you feel comfortable tell me exactly what you say to yourself about this, as in the obssessive thoughts in your head.

    I’m sorry for the long reply. I hope you post again!

    #350782

    Sofioula
    Participant

    In addition :

    Sorry I miss one of your replies taling about the obsessive thoughts you have, regarding your mom etc before I replied.

    It’s the same with me. I happen to have both my parents and they both imprinted in me guilt tripping. My dad because he too most like suffers with OCD and also my mom for pushing us to be perfect and having too high expectations of us. Meaning unrealistic. They both did it unknowingly and I think the same is with your mom. So, I think this will help you to heal this aspect of feeling bad for “blaming” your mother.Did she often compare you to other people?

    I have Relationship OCD in the sense of being obsessed of having a relationship and blaming it all on me when it doesn’t go well or it I’m single. I also have scrupulous OCD and basically in a nutshell every spectrum of it except the symmetry and hoarding ones.

    If it’s not hurting you share some thoughts of yours. For example I always ruminate “what if he was a good man and I’ve wronged him”, “what if I lost my only chance of happiness”, “was I suffocating him”, “what if I was a better girlfriend”. Also, making assumptions bases on weird or simple coincidences. Ezample: hearing that song of your on his bday and thinking it’s “meant to be” or that “he thinks of me” when the dog breed he wanted to adopt passes you by. Does it ring any bell for you?

     

    #351396

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your response again.

    Well with my mother… Oii… It’s always been difficult. As far as my earliest memory, I remember my mother has always been this angry and anxious person. So I always got yelled at. As a child, this would fill me with this “I have done something wrong” sense. I am an only child, so I  always got the full force of her anger. I was terrified of her. As I grew older, the yelling continued. But with growing up, my tolerance for her screaming reduced, and I started arguing back. Now, when she yells, I yell too. Honestly, because I just can’t take it. Don’t get me wrong; she loves me and takes care of me in every way she can. But yeah, she screams a lot. I am very different than her in many many ways; different ideologies, different thought processes, different way of doing things. This doesn’t help at all, because I have kind of observed that she has this “if it’s not my way, it’s wrong” thing. Not all the time. But most of the time. So I sometimes get scolded because of that too. We’re just two of us in our family, so it’s difficult. When she yells, mostly it leads to a fight, because I simply can’t take it anymore. I try not to yell back, but sometimes I just can’t help it.  She scolds for the same thing again and again.

    She… kind of… has been critical of me as well. I’d score a 95/100, but she’s say “I thought you’d get a 97”. She always expected me to be in the cream of everything I did. She comments on my body, how I am too skinny, how my hair is too thin, how my makeup is too much, and the such. I hate getting ready for parties in front of her. She kind of brings me down as well, telling me things I can’t do. Even if I do something really well, she has to comment on something I did wrong with it. It is extremely annoying.

    She has always been quite controlling as well. I wasn’t even allowed to wear my hair the way I wanted until I put my put down. It seems that all she wants me to do is what she wants me to do. I have different hobbies than she does. When I pursued one of them, it literally was hell. She didn’t speak to me properly for months. She’d also give me the cold treatment: not looking at me, not answering me, behaving like I don’t even exist, if she would look at me, it would only be to look at me with absolute hatred, if she would talk to me, it would be to yell at me. I didn’t even understand what I had done wrong to be honest. It took us a while to get over that.

    I also noticed that she treats me like her emotional punchbag. When she is really stressed out, she tends to start screaming at me. Say something happened at work, she’d come home and scream at me for something as silly as my bag being on the couch. After she’d scream, her mood would drastically flip onto a positive one, and then she’d tell me what happened at work, and then I’d understand why she was screaming.

    She’s breached my privacy too, reading my diaries. So I stopped writing them.

    So yeah… I’ve had a difficult relationship with her, made worse by my father passing away when I was in my early teens. She wants us to be friends, but I’m not really comfortable telling her things. I only tell her stuff when I’m extremely anxious. She is an ultra-introvert, has barely any friends, doesn’t speak to relatives much either. She tells me I am her only source of happiness, which, to be honest, is immense pressure. She never seems to be on board for anything I wanna do.

    To answer your question, yes I live with her. Currently, we’re together all day due to lockdown. She does all the chores and work, never letting me touch anything. It makes me feel like a pampered brat, and she knows I don’t like it. But I can’t help it, she wants everything done by 8 am in the morning, and I can’t wake up that early, by 6, and do it. But it just doesn’t work with her if I do it after I wake up by 8. So then, I’ve chucked it. And then she tells her friend I do nothing. Imagine my frustration.

    Hope to hear from you…

    #351398

    anonymous03
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your response again.

    Well with my mother… Oii… It’s always been difficult. As far as my earliest memory, I remember my mother has always been this angry and anxious person. So I always got yelled at. As a child, this would fill me with this “I have done something wrong” sense. I am an only child, so I  always got the full force of her anger. I was terrified of her. As I grew older, the yelling continued. But with growing up, my tolerance for her screaming reduced, and I started arguing back. Now, when she yells, I yell too. Honestly, because I just can’t take it. Don’t get me wrong; she loves me and takes care of me in every way she can. But yeah, she screams a lot. I am very different than her in many many ways; different ideologies, different thought processes, different way of doing things. This doesn’t help at all, because I have kind of observed that she has this “if it’s not my way, it’s wrong” thing. Not all the time. But most of the time. So I sometimes get scolded because of that too. We’re just two of us in our family, so it’s difficult. When she yells, mostly it leads to a fight, because I simply can’t take it anymore. I try not to yell back, but sometimes I just can’t help it.  She scolds for the same thing again and again.

    She… kind of… has been critical of me as well. I’d score a 95/100, but she’s say “I thought you’d get a 97”. She always expected me to be in the cream of everything I did. She comments on my body, how I am too skinny, how my hair is too thin, how my makeup is too much, and the such. I hate getting ready for parties in front of her. She kind of brings me down as well, telling me things I can’t do. Even if I do something really well, she has to comment on something I did wrong with it. It is extremely annoying.

    She has always been quite controlling as well. I wasn’t even allowed to wear my hair the way I wanted until I put my put down. It seems that all she wants me to do is what she wants me to do. I have different hobbies than she does. When I pursued one of them, it literally was hell. She didn’t speak to me properly for months. She’d also give me the cold treatment: not looking at me, not answering me, behaving like I don’t even exist, if she would look at me, it would only be to look at me with absolute hatred, if she would talk to me, it would be to yell at me. I didn’t even understand what I had done wrong to be honest. It took us a while to get over that.

    I also noticed that she treats me like her emotional punchbag. When she is really stressed out, she tends to start screaming at me. Say something happened at work, she’d come home and scream at me for something as silly as my bag being on the couch. After she’d scream, her mood would drastically flip onto a positive one, and then she’d tell me what happened at work, and then I’d understand why she was screaming.

    She’s breached my privacy too, reading my diaries. So I stopped writing them.

    So yeah… I’ve had a difficult relationship with her, made worse by my father passing away when I was in my early teens. She wants us to be friends, but I’m not really comfortable telling her things. I only tell her stuff when I’m extremely anxious. She is an ultra-introvert, has barely any friends, doesn’t speak to relatives much either. She tells me I am her only source of happiness, which, to be honest, is immense pressure. She never seems to be on board for anything I wanna do.

    To answer your question, yes I live with her. Currently, we’re together all day due to lockdown. She does all the chores and work, never letting me touch anything. It makes me feel like a pampered brat, and she knows I don’t like it. But I can’t help it, she wants everything done by 8 am in the morning, and I can’t wake up that early, by 6, and do it. But it just doesn’t work with her if I do it after I wake up by 8. So then, I’ve chucked it. And then she tells her friend I do nothing. Imagine my frustration.

    Hope to hear from you…

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