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Depressed after leaving toxic relationship

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  • #402587
    Ed
    Participant

    Hello,

    First of all, english isnt my first language, so i apologize if my text isnt grammatically correct.

    Half a year ago i ended my relationship of 2 1/2 years with a girl i met at my last job.

    Things were fantastic in the first year and i honestly dreamt about marrying her one day. After the first year everything that was great turned bad, like her being empathetic, honest and understanding turning into anger, lies and emotional distance.

    I ended things when she wrote me a top 10 list of things she hated about me and her telling me that these things are the reasons why shes treating me bad.

    During this relationship i was in therapy because of my chronic depression and ptsd. My therapist told me that im doing great regarding my problems and that i shouldnt let anyone tell me otherwise.

    Still im having intense moments of self-hatred, during which im blaming myself for everything wrong in my life, especially my weakness in my relationship and that being treated the way my ex did was understandable when looking at the person i am.

    If anyone reading this has advice or wants to share own experiences, please do tell me.

    #402602
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I will read and reply in about 8 hours from now.

    anita

    #402633
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I will quote from your original post and follow with my comments:

    “I ended things when she wrote me a top 10 list of things she hated about me” – congratulations for ending a relationship with a person who hated you! You did the right thing for yourself.

    “I was in therapy because of my chronic depression and ptsd” – again, you did the right thing for yourself by attending therapy. I hope that you can return to therapy if/ when needed: if not for the long-term then for a.. reminder session or two.

    “Things were fantastic in the first year and I honestly dreamt about marrying her one day” – it is possible that during the first year … dreaming, you focused only on the fantastic and turned a blind eye to problematic expressions and behaviors on her part.

    “she wrote me a top 10 list of things she hated about me and her telling me that these things are the reasons why she’s treating me bad… I’m having intense moments of self-hatred, during which I’m blaming myself for everything wrong in my life” – (1) she expressed hate for you=> you feel hate for yourself., (2) she blamed you for her behavior=> you blame yourself.

    “My therapist told me that I’m doing great regarding my problems and that I shouldn’t let anyone tell me otherwise. Still I’m having intense moments of self-hatred” – it is difficult to not take to heart what a person says about you when you trusted that person before, for a long time. For a whole year-  you (dreamingly) trusted her.

    “If anyone reading this has advice or wants to share own experiences, please do tell me” – I loved and trusted my mother as a child and after she repeatedly expressed hate for me and blamed me, I hated myself and blamed myself for many, many years. I had to see my mother as she truly was so to understand that her hate was not about me, that it was… who she was.

    Do you see your ex-girlfriend as who she truly is and has been all along in the relationship with you?

    anita

    #402723
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for answering and your kind words. And thank you for telling me about your own experiences and im happy to hear that you overcame your own challenges.

    I know that you are right about me dreamingly ignoring ,,problematic expressions and behaviours”. Im just struggling to not blame myself for that too.

    Im still working on seeing my ex as who she was, sometimes i get the feeling that i can see things as they really were, and sometimes the hate-spiral you described catches up to me.

    Thank you for telling me that i did the right thing by breaking up, this really means a lot to me.

    If its okay for you, may i ask how you managed to see the things in your life for how they are?

    #402726
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    You are most welcome. I want to answer your question and will do so after I return from my 1-hour walk. For now, in regard to “I’m still working on seeing my ex as who she was” – think about what you needed her to be vs who she was: who you needed her to be likely overtook your vision of who she was.

    anita

    #402736
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I know that you are right about me dreamingly ignoring ..problematic expressions and behaviours’. I’m just struggling to not blame myself for that too” – replace blame with empathy: you dreamed of true love because didn’t have true love in your life. Feel empathy for yourself for not having true love in your life and therefore, for needing to (subconsciously) warm this cold reality with a warm dreamy-fluffy blanket.

    Thank you for telling me that i did the right thing by breaking up, this really means a lot to me” – it is the right thing for you to have done. Many people take much longer to do what’s right for them.

    I’m still working on seeing my ex as who she was…If its okay for you, may I ask how you managed to see the things in your life for how they are?” – I mentioned a warm dreamy-fluffy blanket right above, so to feel warm in a cold reality: the cold reality I was born into (as hard as it’s been for me to believe it),  was that my mother didn’t like me or love me. I didn’t want to believe it, so I imagined that when she smiled at me, when she fed me with tasty food, when she paid me a compliment, when she measured my temperature when I was sick… I believed- partly- that she loved me.

    … As I was trying to develop my thinking further, I got stuck, maybe because I am so tired this afternoon. Can you tell me if you can relate to what I wrote above in regard to your ex-girlfriend to any extent?

    anita

     

    #402739
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I rested and I think that I got unstuck. Continuing: I think that the subconscious belief of an unloved young child (a belief the child is not aware of in the form of words), is that the parent used to love the child but then stopped, and the reason: the parent found out that his/ her child is bad or faulty, inadequate, unworthy… and therefore stopped loving the child.

    I think that the story of the Garden of Eden is based on this child-belief: at first God loved Adam and Eve and therefore life for Adam and Eve was wonderful and eternal, but then Eve and then Adam did something wrong (ate the forbidden apple), God found out, and stopped loving them, kicking them out of the Garden into the world where they were to suffer and die.

    When I understood that my mother didn’t love me from-the-beginning, I understood that I didn’t LOSE her love (it wasn’t there to begin with). No Loss of Love= no fault or worthlessness on my part that caused a loss.

    Let’s look at what you wrote: “Things were fantastic in the first year and I honestly dreamt about marrying her one day” – the first year was like the Garden of Eden experience and you thought of … eternity with her.

    “After the first year everything that was great turned bad, like her being empathetic, honest and understanding turning into anger, lies and emotional distance” – an exile from the Garden of Eden

    “I ended things when she wrote me a top 10 list of things she hated about me and her telling me that these things are the reasons why she’s treating me bad” – she told you that you did some wrong things that caused her to … kick you out of the Garden of Eden, wrong things that she found out about, supposedly, following the first year.

    But what if she didn’t really love you during the first year, what if it only appeared that way to you… in which case, No Loss of Love= no fault or worthlessness on my part that caused a loss… (?)

    anita

     

    #402763
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for your input and taking the time to write so much. Just in case, dont feel pressured in any way to reply quickly.

    I like your analogy with the garden of eden. Reading about your experiences and your perspective resonates with the things i experienced and it hurts like hell.

    I will reflect on the blanket and my tinted vision in my past. I think i see myself in your words about not wanting to believe things you already know are true or false.

    I will try following your suggestion about replacing blame with empathy. And you are right about not losing something that was never there.

    Thanks again for being here and sharing about your own experiences, it really did help me to get a new perspective.

    Hope you are doing well.

    Ed

    #402771
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I am well, thank you and you are welcome. You are gracious: thank you for that!

    it hurts like hell… I will reflect on the blanket and my tinted vision in my past… I will try following your suggestion about replacing blame with empathy” – I know that it takes work, time and rest so to feel less and less hurt. With less hurt, it is possible to understand more and more.

    Please take your time reflecting and replacing blame with empathy, and post again if and when you are ready to communicate with me again (I have more to reflect on and to  express about your topic).

    anita

    #402913
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

     

    Thank you for inviting me back to the conversation.

     

    After talking with friends and family and reading your posts again i came to understand what my blanket was. While i know what my worth is, i am unable to feel it. So when somebody gave me ,,worth”, i would use this external validation as my blanket. And even when somebody treated me badly, it was at least a statement about me and so i would prefer that to being without any indication of my worth.

     

    I dont know yet what this realization means for me, but i know that this and me feeling like i was failing my ex was the reason why i held on to the relationship, even though the ,,love” my ex gave me was gone, or as you suggested, was never really there.

     

    If i may ask, how did you feel after understanding that you had no part in ,,losing” your mothers love?

     

    Because, i feel ashamed right now about me failing myself.

     

    You mentioned that you would like to express more on the topic? Please feel free to do so when you find some time, i really do appreciate your insights.

     

    Ed

    #402915
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    You are welcome, anytime.

    While I know what my worth is, I am unable to feel it” – this means that you intellectually know that your sense of self worth, aka self-esteem, should be strong and healthy… but it is not.

    So when somebody gave me ‘worth’, I would use this external validation as my blanket” – this means, to me, that you are vulnerable when women/people treat you nicely, that you feel undeserving of it and all too willing to do whatever they want.. to overaccommodate them?

    ‘love’ my ex gave me was gone, or as you suggested, was never really there“- maybe she was .. nice to you in the first year, maybe she had reasons to be nice?

    And even when somebody treated me badly, it was at least a statement about me and so I would prefer that to being without any indication of my worth” – it reads like you grew up emotionally neglected or ignored; unattended to, unacknowledged either positively or negatively?

    If I may ask, how did you feel after understanding that you had no part in ..losing’ your mothers love?” – I took it way less personally when other people didn’t pay attention to me, when they liked other people more than they liked me.

    You mentioned that you would like to express more on the topic? Please feel free to do so when you find some time, i really do appreciate your insights” – thank you. My intent when I mentioned it was that over time, if and as we continue to communicate (I am interested!), I will be expressing much more, bit by bit, one post at a time.

    anita

    #402931
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    If I may ask, how did you feel after understanding that you had no part in ..losing’ your mothers love?” – I don’t feel love for her anymore. I feel sad that she never loved me and part of me still refuses to believe it. I feel very sad that I lived decades of life on the assumption that I was worthless and undeserving of any esteem, an assumption that was untrue all along.

    anita

    #402944
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    A third try at answering your question (after re-reading our communication this morning): “If I may ask, how did you feel after understanding that you had no part in ‘losing’ your mother’s love?” –

    – first, two words: persona and anima. Persona is a person’s external presentation, how a person presents himself or herself to other people, and Anima is a person’s true inner self. No one’s persona and anima are identical at all times, neither should they be: most people don’t physically attack others when angry, and that’s a good thing; also, being polite is a socially accepted and desired persona.

    In regard to my mother, the gap between her persona and anima was huge: her Persona was that of a very loving person (a loving sister, a loving aunt, a loving friend, a loving mother), but her Anima was a very angry, vengeful and punishing person. When she dropped her Persona aka her Mask, all hell broke loose.

    I now understand that my mother’s love for me- and for everyone else-  was not true love (Anima) but a presentation, a mask, a Persona. When she got angry enough, she dropped her persona and expressed her anima, then calmed down and resumed her persona. There was no substance to that loving persona, it was only a presentation.

    Did she have love within her? I am sure she did. She definitely started as a loving child who dearly loved her mother… but over time, that true love was pushed down, squeezed, and she became a Persona (in between the times she got very angry).

    Let’s look at what you wrote about your ex-girlfriend: “Things were fantastic… After the first year, everything that was great turned bad, like her being empathetic, honest and understanding turning into anger, lies and emotional distance” –

    –  What happened to her empathy, honesty and understanding? Did she lose them? Or did she drop her Persona and revealed her Anima: angry, lying, emotionally distant?

    “she wrote me a top 10 list of things she hated about me and her telling me that these things are the reasons why she’s treating me bad. During this relationship I was in therapy because of my chronic depression and ptsd” –

    – She knew that you suffered from depression and ptsd, and yet, she took the time to make a hate-list and hand it to a chronically depressed and traumatized person: this is her true face, her anima, post dropping her mask, her persona.

    “me feeling like I was failing my ex was the reason why I held on to the relationship” – she selfishly expected something from you that you didn’t deliver and she got angry and dropped her mask. What did she expect… I don’t know, but her mask was going to come off completely as it did- at one time or another, no matter how hard you would have tried to please her and how successfully you performed. It was only a matter of time. (I am sure that you had peaks at her true face way before she dropped her mask to such an extent that you noticed).

    anita

    #402956
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you again for writing so much.

    ,,you intellectually know that your sense of self worth, aka self-esteem, should be strong and healthy… but it is not.”
    yes, this is true, depending on the context. i am not really struggling with low self worth/ self-esteem (i dont hate myself), its more like a constant state of confusion, if that makes a difference.

    ,,you are vulnerable when women/people treat you nicely, that you feel undeserving of it and all too willing to do whatever they want.. to overaccommodate them?”
    yes i am vulnerable to that. while i dont really feel undeserving, i have observed myself being overly accommodating. i dont like this behaviour in me but again my confusion pushes me too often keep ,,indicators” of my worth in my life.

    ,,maybe she was .. nice to you in the first year, maybe she had reasons to be nice?”
    i have thought about that a lot and it really hurts. in the first year i managed her through an intense depression and supported her finding a psychiatric clinic, a therapist and a new job while encouraging her to find new friends after she lost all of her old ones. i dont know how to feel or think about this question.

    ,,it reads like you grew up emotionally neglected or ignored; unattended to, unacknowledged either positively or negatively?”
    yes, my childhood was physically and emotionally abusive, just like the relationship before this last one.

    ,,She knew that you suffered from depression and ptsd, and yet, she took the time to make a hate-list and hand it to a chronically depressed and traumatized person: this is her true face, her anima, post dropping her mask, her persona.”
    this hurts bad right now.

    ,,I am sure that you had peaks at her true face way before she dropped her mask to such an extent that you noticed”
    a therapist i saw recently asked me the same question. and yes i did get peeks at her anima before. it was just difficult to put these moments into perspective. for example in the first year she would talk with me about her jealousy and fear about me cheating on her, but that was fine with me because this showed that she reflected about herself and cared enough to talk about it in a respectful manner. but with the decline of the relationship these talks of reassurance slowly turned into straightup accusations when i wouldnt tell her beforehand that i was going to see friends or family on days we spent separately.

    while i cant help feeling sad for what you went through in your personal struggles, i really admire the confidence with which you can talk about it now and share your insights. ,,I took it way less personally when other people didn’t pay attention to me, when they liked other people more than they liked me.” i also really admire how proud of you sound of yourself when i read this.

    thank you for sharing the concept of persona and anima, it really helps putting impressions and experiences into perspective. this and your concept of the garden of eden are powerful metaphors i will keep in mind.

    Ed

    #402958
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I am glad you wrote back. (I thought that maybe I scared you away by how much I wrote to you!) I will be able to read and reply in a few hours.

    anita

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