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Depressed after leaving toxic relationship

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  • #403208
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    What you wrote above, middle paragraph is powerful. I want to re-read our communication so far and get back to you, but I was wondering (on my walk yesterday) about the list that last ex made, about all the things she hated about you, what was on her list??? I place three question marks because having communicated with you this far, I can’t think of a single thing that would be on such a list. Of course, it’s perfectly fine with me if you don’t answer this, as it may cause you pain to do so. But if you felt comfortable enough sharing about it, maybe it will help us both understanding something that is not understood now.

    Will be back in an hour or so.

    anita

    #403209
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I would like to give you the whole list, but after burning it (a recommendation of a crisis therapist) i can only remember some points, maybe the most important ones.

    – my ex was dissatisfied with my sleeping habits. While i was struggling with the correct doses of my medication and struggling with life choices, i had a hard time sleeping. She told me that on weekends, i shouldnt sleep longer than until 11 am, mostly i slept until 12, because she would wake up at around 9-10.

    – my ex was unhappy about how often i texted her. She wanted me to text her about almost everything i would do during my days, when i would do it and with whom i would be with.

    – my ex felt pressured about me asking her how she was doing, especially her mental health. She refused to tell me anything about her feelings and called me her ,,therapist”, even though i made it clear multiple times that i wasnt interested in the specifics of her problems, i was intetested in her wellbeing and didnt want to discuss anything, just wanting to know how she felt.

    – my ex pressured me extremely to get more therapy, most importantly to her i should go into a psychiatric clinic. I still dont know why the clinic was so important to her, because she didnt care which clinic. She told me that my problems with suicidal thoughts would make her anxious when i would need a few days (1-2) alone to cope with them. This argument hurts the most. Not only because my therapist at the time gave me praise when i explained how and why i did my coping the way i did; but also because around half a year before i got the list i followed my therapists advice about not suppressing my suicidal thoughts which would lead to my knock-out days. I had no more knock-out days for 6 months when i received this complaint.

    Ed

    #403210
    Ed
    Participant

    *to make my wording clearer: after 6 months without knock-out days i was critised for having them.

    #403212
    Ed
    Participant

    * i can remember one more:

    My ex was dissatisfied with how often we would go out on dates etc. This started during the pandemic and got steadily worse. I dont know what to think about this complaint, because almost each week i would ask her if she wanted to go out and do something bigger than meeting friends or family. She always replied that ,,no, she would be glad to stay home because was tired and exhausted and would enjoy time with just me”. When i told her this while reafing her list she said that i shouldnt ask her if she wanted to go out, but i should prepare plans in secret to surprise her with it. I never did that to not put pressure on her and her depression.

    #403213
    Ed
    Participant

    * sorry for my bad grammar and spelling these posts. Writing about this is freeing but stressful.

    Thank you for asking about this.

    I hope youre doing better after i triggered you.

    Ed

    #403214
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I was wrong when I estimated that I’ll be back to you in about an hour. I’ve been re-reading and studying your posts in this thread for more than 2 hours and I am not done. Will read your recent posts and integrate them into the post I will submit for you in… don’t know how long.

    anita

    #403220
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    June 29: “I am desperate for a judgement about my past, in the sense that I am desperate to know if I did wrong and deserved what I experienced or if I am allowed to free myself and move on“-

    – this sentence motivated me to re-read your posts looking for (1) the core belief that you did wrong and deserve what you experienced, and (2) your desperate need for a judgment about your past: a Guilty or Not guilty verdict. A non-guilty verdict would mean freedom to move on.

    Original post, June 18: “After the first year everything that was great turned bad, like her being empathetic, honest and understanding turning into anger, lies and emotional distance” –  you are in between two verdicts: guilty for causing her anger, lies and emotional distance, or not-guilty.

    I’m blaming myself for everything wrong in my life, especially my weakness in my relationship”- blaming yourself especially for your weakness in a relationship.

    June 22: “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” – not knowing whether you are guilty or not guilty, feels worse than if you knew that you were indeed guilty.

    June 23: “I am not really struggling with low self worth/ self-esteem (I don’t hate myself), it’s more like a constant state of confusion” – … this kind of confusion feels worse than if you knew one way or the other.

    my childhood was physically and emotionally abusive, just like the relationship before this last one”.

    June 24: “Was I wrong to want to be with her? should I have broken up when these issues became clear?” – the prosecutor in the ongoing mental trial says or screams: Ed is guilty, it’s his fault!

    June 25: “In some way I wish that I would be the one who f**** things up, so that I could recognize what I did wrong and be better and start again” –

    – the confusion (the judge or jury not returning a Guilty or a Not-guilty verdict) is the problem. You want a verdict, one way or another. If the verdict is Not-guilty, you will be set <i>FREE FROM GUILT</i>. If the verdict is Guilty- you will be set FREE FROM CONFUSION. No longer confused, you’ll be able to start again: you will know how to start again.

    “I still feel like I did everything wrong, like if I had been kinder or stronger” – again, blaming yourself for weakness in a relationship (“I’m blaming myself for… especially my weakness in my relationship”, June 18).

    “In my life I have been and still am needed a lot by different people, my mother included”- your mother needed you, or so you believe.

    June 26: “I guess one could see that as a push-pull dynamic? Which I guess made it even harder for you to think and feel straight. I’ve experienced some similar situations” – you experienced a person or persons in your life showing warmth/ interest in you and then showing coldness/ disinterest, and it caused you confusion: it became harder to think and feel straight.

    Criticism used to make me feel like trash, but later I discovered that if I would better myself, I could feel proud of myself for growing. After my recent experiences in the relationship I kind of lost connection with those values, them feeling burnt out in all the confusion about myself”-

    -this fits with a Guilty verdict feeling better than the confusion of No verdict. At first, the Guilty verdict (criticism) felt terrible, but later, you discovered that it was an opportunity to better yourself.  The recent relationship took away that bit of  clarity, and you sunk deeper into confusion.

    No verdict= no opportunity to better yourself= being stuck, not moving on.

    June 28: “Your experience about being seen, used and treated in this isolated and ‘fragmented’ kind of way by your mother made me feel sick. I can also see correlations a lot of experiences of mine in that. I guess this process is what makes abuse what it is”- your abuser/s treated you as a fragment, a part-person.

    “From the perspective of the abuser there have to be parts of a victim that make the abuse ‘worth it'” – I figure that this means that you think that your abuser thought that you deserve the abuse, and part of you believes that you indeed deserved it.

    “I just see similarities to my life: my father screaming at me for hours for not being ‘good enough‘, my mother supporting this by not intervening and making me feel like he was right“- you wrote earlier that it was especially your mother who needed you, and yet, she supported the one who screamed at you for hours at a time.

    “I have been diagnosed with ptsd and I have been suffering from diagnosed dissociations and depersonalisation for years as part of the ptsd complex of symptoms…  diagnosed with the icd”-

    pub med, org: “The World Health Organization (WHO) has included complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) in the final draft of the 11th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11), which was published in June, 2018.. Complex PTSD, or developmental PTSD as it is also called, refers to the constellation of symptoms that may result from prolonged, chronic exposure to traumatic experiences, especially in childhood”.

    Wikipedia on C-PTSD: “The diagnosis of PTSD was originally developed for adults who had suffered from a single-event trauma, such as rape, or a traumatic experience during a war. <sup id=”cite_ref-traumacenter_8-0″ class=”reference”></sup>However, the situation for many children is quite different. Children can suffer chronic trauma such as maltreatment, family violence, dysfunction, or a disruption in attachment to their primary caregiver.<sup id=”cite_ref-Ford_9-0″ class=”reference”></sup> In many cases, it is the child’s caregiver who causes the trauma”.

    Back to your words, June 29: “The situation I had with my last ex just woke up this life-long conflict in me and made my desperation real again after I thought that I had grown out of it“-

    -your life-long confusion/conflict, and your desperation for clarity (for a Guilty or Not-guilty verdict), originated in your childhood in the context of your relationships with your parents. As an adult, this lifelong confusion awakens in the context relationships with women. There were times during the good parts of these relationships and in between relationships that you didn’t feel this confusion, at least not intensely, but clearly you had not grown out of it because is it impossible to …  just grow out of it.

    * I read your recent posts about the ex-girlfriend’s hate list/ complaints. To me they indicate that she was indeed a-girlfriend-from-hell. The content of her complaints indicate no wrongdoings on your part.

    * I’ve been familiar with C-PTSD for many years, read about it a lot and even though I was not diagnosed with it (I live in the U.S., where this proposed diagnosis was rejected by the American DSM, which is parallel to the European ICD), I have no doubt whatsoever that I fit this diagnosis.

    My current understanding and possibilities: you (and I) suffer from C-PTSD, the T stands for multiple incidents of Trauma/ abuse for many years: a chronic trauma (chronic: recurring over the long-term, persisting). This chronic trauma/ abuse was inflicted on you by your father (screaming at you for hours, and more), and by your mother who supported his abuse of you by omission (saying/ doing nothing about it), if not by commission.

    At one point on, a state of confusion-conflict occurred in your mind, stated simply: do I deserve it or not? If you deserve it, it is not abuse, but a natural or reasonable consequence for who or what you are. If you don’t deserve it, it is abuse. You got stuck in this state of confusion, a state that intensified during the bad parts of your relationships with women, and which kept you in those abusive relationships.

    Being screamed at for hours (and being physically and emotionally abused otherwise) undoubtedly scared you and at times, made you feel very angry. I am guessing that you hated being the weak party to the interactions, being on the receiving end of abuse. I am guessing that the combination of your mother supporting you in some ways and expressing that she needs you and  then repeatedly withdrawing all support when you needed it most- not only added to your confusion, but for you, it was “a disruption in attachment to (your) primary caregiver”, Wikipedia.

    Resolving this confusion is not possible- says I- if you are still in a relationship with any one of your parents while he/ she did not adequately acknowledge what they did to you, sincerely and clearly expressed great regret and did whatever possible to help you (ex., pay for your therapy, attend individual/couple therapy themselves, attend family therapy with you).

    The confusion originated in your young brain as a child, in the context of your relationships with your father and mother. This triangle Father-Mother-Ed cannot possibly dissolve because you reach a certain age (you can’t grow out of it), or because you live on your own, or because you have a job, etc. Every interaction with them maintains the confusion because if you have not yet cut contact with them, you did not yet extricate yourself from this confusing triangle.

    If your parents are invested in being Right as parents, then they are also  invested in keeping you away from the clarity you are desperate for, because your clarity=  they are Wrong.

    You wrote today: “am allowed to free myself and move on“?- I wonder if you are waiting for your parents to give you clarity and allow you to move on (whether you are aware of it or not).

    If you are in contact with them, I am guessing that if you have considered ending contact with them, you felt too guilty to do so. Maybe you feel that all the damage they’ve done to you was done in the past and is no longer occurring at the present time, because you feel okay in their presence, and at times you feel better when in their presence. But (without them adequately acknowledging what they did to you, etc.), you feel okay/ better, I figure, because you emotionally adjusted to them: you don’t feel the harm, while harm is still occurring, or while it is still being maintained.

    Personally, I ended all contact with my mother 9 years ago. By ending contact with her, I finally stood up for myself (someone had to). I felt guilty before I ended contact with her and long after, but I persisted because it became more important, in my mind, to be on my side, than to be on her side. Over time, the confusion I had since early childhood in regard to who-harmed-whom was dispelled as I realized that in the context of my mother-myself, my guilt was 0%, and hers was 100%. In other words, the verdict in regard to my original, decades-long guilt and confusion was in: anita: Not Guilty!

    anita

    #403232
    Ed
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear anita,</p>
    I am speechless.

    You used words to give my struggle and pain a form that finally makes sense.

    ,,anita: Not Guilty” is so fucking powerful. I am truly happy for you to be able to live these words.

    Ed

    #403233
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I am glad to read that you were speechless 23 minutes ago, I was hoping for nothing less…! I want to throw a Not Guilty back at you!

    anita

    #403235
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I still dont know what to say.

    But i want to express my deepest gratitude for your undoubtedly hard work (i never thought you would invest hours of your time to make a post) and kind words.

    Thank you so much.

    I will take some time to try to really understand things, my head is spinning (in a weirdly good way).

    With gratitude,

    Ed

    #403237
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    You are very welcome. I can’t think of anyone who is more worth of my time and work than you. You are genuinely kind, honest, insightful and a pleasure to communicate with. Thank you for being who you are!

    Whenever you feel like posting about anything, please do, I’ll be glad to read from you.

    anita

    #403324
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for your kind words and making learning about myself possible. I am lucky to have found you.

    I have been thinking hard about your words and will continue to do so.

    I understand that i held myself accountable for how others treated me, feeling like i was the cause for being treated bad. Like you suggested, this being my core conflict with myself since my childhood.

    I have also understood that i am indeed doing almost everything right regarding the syptoms of my mental illness, but because my core issue is not my chronic depression but ptsd, i will change my priority to working on that front.

    Regarding the topic i started i understand now that i was not the person my ex wanted to be with and i am fine with that, i even understand what things about me made her hate me. When things got bad for me i held myself accountable, my head being filled with all the wonderful things my ex said to me during the good first year; thinking that if i would change or do better the relationship would become great again. But i realise now that even though i was fighting the ,,wrong” side of my issues (depression instead of trauma) that that wouldnt have mattered to her. She chose to lie to me for a year und drag me along, pretending that everything was good when it wasnt and gaslighting me about everything going wrong. She chose to treat me fragmented, ,,loving” the parts of me that she liked but almost punishing me for the parts of me she didnt like, instead of ending the relationship. I understand now that this behaviour triggered my ptsd and leading me deeper into the confusion im in now and always was, because i experienced this abuse time and time again before.

    I will think about what you said regarding the contact to my parents.

    With gratitude,

    Ed

    #403332
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    You are welcome and thank you for being in my world!

    She chose to treat me fragmented, ‘loving’ the parts of me that she liked but almost punishing me for the parts of me she didn’t like” – you indicated here how fragmentation happens in an original, straightforward way: fragmentation happens when parts of a person are praised and other parts are punished. A part that’s Praised is declared Good, and a part that’s Punished is declared Bad.

    What happens next is that a person is at war with the “bad” parts within.

    I understand that I held myself accountable for how others treated me, feeling like I was the cause for being treated bad“- so you believed that the bad part or parts of you caused another person to treat you accordingly, as in: bad treatment for bad Ed, justice served. Right?

    She chose to lie to me for a year…gaslighting me about everything going wrong…   I understand now that this behaviour triggered my ptsd and leading me deeper into the confusion I’m in now and always was, because I experienced this abuse time and time again before“-

    – if you are okay with it, and only if you are, can you give me a few examples of her lies and a couple of examples of her gaslighting you, and.. an example or two of lies you were told as a child, as well as your experience with gaslighting, if any, as a child?

    anita

    #403339
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    are you okay with continuing this discussion? i just want to be sure about that, because i dont want you to feel pressured in any way to continue investing your time and thoughts if you feel like you said enough. i dont and cant pay you any more in return for your work than expressions about my honest appreciation.

    ,,so you believed that the bad part or parts of you caused another person to treat you accordingly, as in: bad treatment for bad Ed, justice served. Right?” – yes. me writing this was part of me saying what i learned, not something more for debate, because i think we did discuss this enough (?), at least for my part.

    i cant really say when my ex started gaslighting, it was more like me feeling increasingly uneasy with things she said or how she behaved. the most common moments which felt wrong were mostly when i tried to talk to her about the state of the relationship, her and my feelings. after her behaviour towards me changed, i tried to talk to her about that for a long time. in the beginning she told me that she would be sorry, that she was ,,going to do better” (i am still confused about that wording) and that she wouldnt know why she grew increasingly distanced. after half a year later and things getting worse she told me that ,,things wouldnt be so bad” as i made them out to be, that she would be doing ,,so much” for me and that i wouldnt recognize all those things and that i would be wrong about my point of view.

    she would also deny having said certain things in arguments or altering them slightly to make them sound less harsh. for example at one point, she admitted to let off steam by being mean or aggressive to me and when i later wanted to talk about that she pretended to be unsure about her having said that.

    after reading again about the definition of gaslighting, i can add her telling people we both knew at the time how irresponsible i was concerning my mental health and that i would be getting worse. up to the point when 2 former friends approached me to tell me that i should end the relationship and when i asked my ex later what she told them about me, she denied ever telling them something. later another former friend told me that she did vent to him about me.

    i have thought a lot about me having made a mistake concerning my feelings and perspective for a long time and i am afraid of me being wrong all along. then again she would behave like i used to know her when with friends or family and then suddenly change when she was with me alone.

    gaslighting was pretty common with my parents. it would start with little lies about food me or my siblings bought for ourselves; when my parents ate it and told us that it was never there. promises my parents made but then denied ever making. accusations or hurtful things they said but then also denied ever saying.

    still with gratitude,

    Ed

    #403340
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    i am sorry for venting so much again. writing about this is once again hard for me. writing about these things just makes these moments so real again and i feel so unsure about whether i understood things right or if my ex was right and i got everything wrong.

    but i am still grateful for you asking.

    Ed

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