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Depressed after leaving toxic relationship

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  • #408260
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    Even though I intended to re-read our communication tomorrow morning, I read some of it tonight, and I don’t quite understand what you mean by “If I offended in any way or made you feel uncomfortable“- can you clearly and specifically tell me how you think that you may have offended me?

    I am asking because it will be easier for me to read your explanation than it would be to re-read all of our communication and  try and figure it out on my own. I hope that you can help me understand, and if you do, I will be glad to reply further when I am back to the computer.

    anita

    #408270
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I took a long time this morning reading through our communication and therefore I can answer you better today than I did yesterday:  first, welcome back to your thread 3 months and 6 days since you last posted!

    “<b>I don’t know if you would be interested or okay with continuing/ restarting this conversation, but I would appreciate your input</b>”- yes I am very interested and I am okay with restarting and continuing our conversation. I would like to read more from you and give you more of my input.

    I am also unsure about the way my desperate tries at compliments made you feel… my people-pleasing-behaviour got very bad“- do you mean that your compliments and expressed appreciation for my input were insincere?

    * If they were insincere, it’s okay: I would still want to continue our conversation, but would ask you to express yourself sincerely this time around. I need your sincerity/ honesty as I extend the same to you.

    If I offended in any way or made you feel uncomfortable, I would like to apologise“- I see nothing for you to apologize for.. except perhaps insincere compliments and expressed appreciation, if this was the case.

    I want to point to a few things that you shared during our long and elaborate 6-page communication: (1) Growing up, your parents’ behaviors toward you were these:  “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“,

    (2) “I have been suffering from diagnosed dissociations and depersonalisation for years as part of the ptsd complex of symptoms“,

    (3) “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“.

    anita

    #408273
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for welcoming me back.

    My compliments and appreciation for you were in no way insincere. I was just worried that i might have been too ,,clingy” or that by frequently giving compliments, i might have appeared insincere about the things i wrote to you.

    This topic is in no way related to how you responded to me or treated me, its just something i worry about a lot. My experiences with how other people perceived me in the past just makes it difficult for me to perceive myself.

    And to make it clear: i have been and will continue to be honest and sincere with you.

    I would also like to give a short update on my situation: i managed to get therapy with a therapist i like by now. I started eating more healthy food, started doing workouts and am working on quitting smoking.

    I have also been thinking a lot about what input you gave me about the situation i approached you with, my ex-girlfriend. While i was honestly confused by how different you saw the situation compared to me, i am now able to see things more neutral and less angry and so im able to understand your perspective. I also came to understand your input on abuse and abusive relationships, especially with ones parents to a deeper degree.

    These would also be the 2 topics i would like to talk about.

    How are you doing? Are you still doing your daily walks?

    Ed

    #408274
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    Good to read back from you so quickly! You are welcome and yes, I still walk daily although recently I’ve been substituting some of my walks with the activity of picking apples in an apple orchard (so many apples to pick!).

    I have been and will continue to be honest and sincere with you“- and so will I. Good to read that you were sincere with me. This means that you don’t owe me any apology whatsoever! Also good to read that you attend therapy with a therapist whom you like, that you eat better,  exercise and that you are in the process of quitting smoking.

    I was just worried that I might have been too.. ‘clingy’“- interesting, I don’t remember it ever crossing my mind that you were clingy with me.

    I am now able to see things more neutral and less angry and so I’m able to understand your perspective. I also came to understand your input on abuse and abusive relationships, especially with one’s parents to a deeper degree. These would also be the 2 topics I would like to talk about“- please do!

    anita

    #408329
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I took my time posting so i could sort my thoughts into a (i hope) coherent form.

    During our first discussion i talked about my confusion about my last relationship and about me feeling gaslit, which you strongly (and rightfully so) opposed. As i myself had nothing more than diffuse impressions of a supposed gaslighting happening and a lot of intense feelings to work through, i was wrong to make any sort of claim of that kind then. I also dont want to claim that now.

    After i now managed to get through the anger i had then, i could find the things that led me to this conclusion. This post is not asking you to decide whether or not some sort of gaslighting happened, instead i am asking for your opinion on the matter again. I am sorry if this post is getting too long, if you want to answer take all the time you need.

     

    My impression of being gaslit started generally during october of last year, when first my ex and later some friends we both knew started telling me that the state of my mental health would be getting worse and that i should at least find a new therapist, while my ex tried to persuade me to get an ect-treatment (Electro convulsion therapy).

    But:

    – the idea of getting an ect i had myself some months prior, but my therapist at the time was strongly against this, as she called this step “completely unnecessary”. I then decided against the treatment.

    – The friends spent around 90% of their time with my ex, i saw them seldom. 3 months after the breakup one these friends told me that my ex used to talk very harshly about how i managed my mental health state, he called it “frequent complaining” he himself was not comfortable listening to.

    – my therapy ended just at the end of september. Not even two weeks later first my ex, then the friends started pressuring me to find a new therapist or to get ect-treatment.

    My ex started to get overly concerned about my mental state shortly after an argument we had, during which i made it clear that i wasnt going to continue the relationship much longer due to the issues i had with her behaviour towards me (distanced, desinterested, dismissive of my feelings, telling me that my issues with the relationship were not real, etc). She then also started saying things like that “nobody would be there for me/ i would be all alone if we would break up”.

    Thing is, that i was actually feeling quite well and proud of myself during and after finishing the therapy. I got a lot of positive feedback from my therapist concerning my coping behaviour and techniques and a lot of suggestions for further improvement which i wanted to take my time with understanding.

    By the end of october the constant pressure from these people pushing me to do things i did not want or need to do started to make me feel suffocated and unstable, which in turn made me withdraw from the group of friends and i spent less time with my ex because i needed room to understand what was even happening around me. I also started to severly doubt my self-perception regarding the state of my mental health.

    Around the mid of november two friends (at that point solely) of hers approached me after meeting under some pretext to tell me that in each of their own opinions i should break up with my ex. None of these two had asked me about my mental wellbeing since i finished the therapy or about my perspective regarding the relationship they were intervening in. At this point i had lost all orientation regarding the situation. My self-doubts were growing more intense after i asked my ex then if she had any idea why her friends would tell me to break up with her, to which she replied that she would not know.

    By now i understood that something was going horribly wrong, even though i could not determine why or what. My last-ditch attempt to clear things up was a talk with my ex around mid december during which i asked her to explain her hurtful behaviour towards me during the last year and to explain what was even happening during the last 3 months. She then gave me her handwritten list i already vented so much about and told me that “these were the reasons why she had acted that way towards me.” The contents of the list mostly being about problematic behaviour on my part, made me feel like everything that happened so far was my fault, because of me not being able to see how things really were, even if my ex and her friends were telling me the truth about me the whole time.

    I knew at that point that things were broken beyond repair for me. Before finally breaking up one week later i tried one last time to raise the topic of my supposedly concerning mental state (which was true at that point), but was immediatly shut down by her angrily demanding that i undergo ect-treatment.

    Around two weeks ago i decided to finally make moving on from this mess the priority for the next months and decided to try and ask one of the former friends to ask my ex if she would be interested in talking one last time with me, to maybe clear things up, say a last few important things etc. The friend replied calling me “insolent for even writing him after the things i had done” and that “the things i would want to talk about were only important in my own little world”. At this point i decided to withdraw my request and wished him well.

    I am struggling to this day to understand what i did to these people. If you have any idea of what happened, please tell me.

     

    Thank you very much for reading all of this.

    Ed

    #408330
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Picking apples sounds fun! I hope the temperatures where you live are not too chilly at this time of the year.

    Ed

     

    #408334
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    Fun at times but overwhelming because there are so many apples to pick and not enough people to do the job! I read your longer recent post and at this point, I am clueless as to what happened. I am not focused to try to understand this evening but I will give it my best shot in the morning, when I am focused. I will be back to your thread in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #408335
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    Before I invest my time and energy trying to understand what happened between you and your ex, I need to understand the following thing you wrote in your recent post: “During our first discussion, I talked about my confusion about my last relationship  and about me feeling gaslit which you strongly (and rightfully so) opposed”-

    – what about my opposition was right/ true?

    anita

    #408347
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for reading and for your answer.

    You were right to oppose my view at that time because i myself was too unstable to understand my own emotions. Whatever happened hurt me deeply, but with the state of “acute” confusion i was in the only thing i felt was anger.

    Your opposition -although somewhat hurtful at the time- gave me the motivation to collect my thoughts and recollections of the events to find out why i felt the way i did.

    I also did not want to hurl around big words like “gaslighting” without having “proof”, although i originally was not the first person to use that term regarding my experiences.

    Ed

    #408373
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    With the state of ‘acute’ confusion I was in the only thing I felt was anger“- we all do some of our worst thinking when we are angry, or as I like to say it, when we are under the influence of anger (and other intense feelings and states of mind). Calm is essential for productive thinking that is balanced and true to reality.

    After I now managed to get through the anger I had then, I could find the things that led me to this conclusion. This post is not asking you to decide whether or not some sort of gaslighting happened. Instead, I am asking for your opinion on the matter again“- okay.

    In your yesterday’s 1st post, you shared that by the end of Sept 2021 (when you stopped attending therapy), you were “actually feeling quite well and proud of myself during and after finishing the therapy. I got a lot of positive feedback from my therapist concerning my coping behaviour and techniques and a lot of suggestions for further improvement which I wanted to take my time with understanding“.

    As part of your mental health progress, you were assertive with your now-ex, making it clear to her that you weren’t “going to continue the relationship much longer due to the issues I had with her behaviour towards me (distanced, disinterested, dismissive of my feelings, telling me that my issues with the relationship were not real, etc.). She then also started saying things like that ‘nobody would be there for me/ I would be all alone if we would break up“.

    It was at that point, following your healthy assertion with your now ex, that she (and mutual friends who spent 90% of their time with her, not with you) started telling you that your mental health was going to get worse, that you should find a new therapist, and it was then that your now-ex pressured you to get ect (electroconvulsive therapy), which is used for extreme cases of poor mental health. Your mutual friends told you later on that your ex “used to talk very harshly… ‘frequently complaining’”  about how your mental health.

    By the end of October the constant pressure from these people pushing me to do things I did not want or need to do started to make me feel suffocated and unstable…  I also started to severely doubt my self-perception regarding the state of my mental health…  My self-doubts were growing more intense… My last-ditch attempt to clear things up was a talk with my ex around mid-December during which.. She then gave me her handwritten list… (of)  problematic behaviour on my part

    Around two weeks ago (end of Sept 2022), I… decided to try and ask one of the former friends to ask my ex if she would be interested in talking one last time with me, to maybe clear things up… The friend replied calling me “insolent for even writing him after the things I had done” and that “the things I would want to talk about were only important in my own little world

    You shared back in June- July 2022: “During this relationship I was in therapy because of my chronic depression and ptsd. My therapist told me that I’m doing great regarding my problems and that I shouldn’t let anyone tell me otherwise…she was diagnosed with bpd in a clinic“-

    – I re-read much of your writings in this thread and it is consistent with what you shared yesterday. I believe that you were honest and consistent all the way through your thread. You were also kind and gracious in your interactions with me. I believe that honest, kind and gracious is how you treated your now-ex all along.

    “<b>I am struggling to this day to understand what I did to these people. If you have any idea of what happened, please tell me</b>”- it seems to me that once you asserted yourself with her back in Oct 2021, telling her that you will end the relationship with her if she continues to mistreat you, it was then that her BPD ANGER was activated big time and in her mind, you became- in her mind-  the BAD GUY.

    very well mind. com: “Many people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience anger so intense it is often referred to as  ‘borderline rage’. This anger sometimes comes in response to a perceived interpersonal slight—for example, feeling criticized by a loved one…It may occur as a result of perceived rejection… Many people with BPD engage in unhealthy behaviors when they get angry, including acts that can cause physical harm or destroy relationships”-

    –  Angry, she tried to hurt you by making you feel badly about your mental health, promoting the idea in your mind that you are so sick that you need ect. Instead of encouraging your mental health progress, she discouraged it and did you a great disservice. Angry, she complained about you to her friends, making you look like the BAD GUY, while she was allegedly your victim. (These are all her unacceptable behaviors and you were her victim, not the other way around).

    More from very well mind: “BPD splitting is characterized by a rapid, extreme change in how a person or situation is perceived. The perception may alternate back and forth between ‘good’ and ‘bador remain static once the altered perception is declared…a person with BPD may idealize a person and then devalue them and never go back. The inflexibility may serve as proof that the decision was ‘right’ or even righteous”-

    I think that once she perceived the possibility of real rejection by you, her BPD rage flared up and in her mind you became permanently (so far) BAD. She never went back on this typical black-and-white BPD type evaluation of you, and so in her mind and all badness… is yours. Seems like she convinced one or more of your friends of this untruth.

    What she did to you was bad enough, so when I say that I still disagree that she gaslighted you, I am not taking away from how badly she mistreated you. The reason I disagree with the gaslighting idea is that gaslighting and BPD rage do not go hand in hand. Gaslighting requires a certain cold hearted, unemotional, measured, persistent and long-term manipulation, while BPD rage is heated, emotional, impulsive and it present itself in intense, short-term bursts or explosions.

    Psychology today. com: “Gaslighting is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves”.

    This is my best understanding at this time, Ed.

    anita

     

    #408607
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you so much for working through my long text and using so much of your own time for your elaborate answer. I will react to it at a later time as i am currently very confused again.

    I have been thinking about the topic and i am so horribly afraid of me getting it wrong from the start.

    What if these people were right. What if i was and still am indeed living “in my own little world.” What if me trying to understand things and talking to people about it is just about me trying to justify things i did wrong but dont understand. What if me not understanding is the issue my ex-gf and former friends were trying to tell me. What if me even posting this is just some way of me keeping up my own delusions. What if i was the one “gaslighting” my ex and everything was actually alright, things just seemed bad to me and only me because of my fucked up self-perception. What if i told my other friends and family and my last therapist things that would support my version of the truth. What if i am doing the same here with you and not even knowing that i do.

    I dont even know if i should post this or if there is any use to me posting this but i am pretty desperate right now for anything as my anxiety is killing me. I just dont know how i will ever know what is true. I am sorry if this text is inappropriate.

    Ed
    <!–/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_bodytext_221017_190637_722.sdocx–>

    #408608
    Ed
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Ps: the text at the end of my post is not a link or virus, its a remnant of me pre-typing my message on my phone.</p>

    #408613
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    I read your two recent posts of less than an hour ago, I am glad you posted and I am currently working on a reply.

    anita

    #408626
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ed:

    You are welcome.

    Ed, Oct 17, 2022: “I am so horribly afraid of me getting it wrong from the start. What if these people were right. What if I was and still am indeed living ‘in my own little world.’ … What if me even posting this is just some way of me keeping up my own delusions. What if I was the one ‘gaslighting’ my ex and everything was actually alright… What if I told my other friends and family and my last therapist things that would support my version of the truth. What if I am doing the same here with you and not even knowing that I do. I don’t even know if I should post this or if there is any use to me posting this but I am pretty desperate right now for anything as my anxiety is killing me. I just don’t know how I will ever know what is true“.

    Ed, June 28: “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”.

    Ed, June 29: “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 is my understanding today: you are obsessed with the topic of what is true and what is not true, whose version is true, whose version is false-  in regard to your ex/ her friends/ the past relationship with her-  because growing up, when your father was screaming at you for hours, saying terrible things about you, your mother made you feel like he was right, that is, she made you feel that the terrible things he said about you were true.

    You are currently stuck in this old childhood conflict: what is the true version; what is the false version? Who is right; who is wrong? This conflict causes you a lot of anxiety and it makes you very desperate for AN ANSWER to this very painful question: who is right, who is wrong; what is true, what is untrue?

    Ed, June 25: “I don’t want to need people… I have been hurt and disappointed so much that I realised that needing people can kill you“- when it came to your abuse, your father was primarily the aggressive one and your mother was primarily the passive one. You desperately needed her to defend you: to stop your father from saying terrible things about you, and to tell you that what he said was not true… and she failed you on both accounts. It is not only your father who “killed” you with his words, your mother did too, by figuratively stamping his words with her silent approval.

    The result: “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“, and you are obsessed with the questions in the heart of your childhood and ongoing conflict.

    Answer only if and when you feel calm and comfortable enough answering these two question: (1) What were those terrible things that your father said to you/ about you when he was screaming at you for hours? (2) What exactly did your mother say or do while he was screaming at you for hours?

    anita

    #408634
    Ed
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I am struggling to find a fitting “point of entry” into the topic and i dont know how much detail you need, so i will try to give some context while describing the “talks” with my father.

    I am also sorry if this post is somewhat messy or incoherent, this topic is difficult to write about. I think my choice of words might reflect that too.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is how he used to call me stupid, lazy and a loser. This happened most often when i failed to meet his expectations with my grades in school, doing chores or whenever he felt like it. (“You are wasting your potential”, “you will never accomplish anything in life”, “you have to put in more work”, “how can you be sometimes so smart yet sometimes so dumb and careless”, etc.)

    He criticised and mocked me for my appearance, my manners and social life. (“You will never find a girlfriend looking like this”, “you have to be more confident”, “you need more friends/ to go out more”, etc)

    Conversely, when i changed things about me concerning these topics i would be mocked and criticised for these changes as well.

    (“You have no right to be so proud of yourself”, “you are spending too much time away from home”, “you are not as good-looking as you think”, etc)

    Sometimes he would accuse me of lying, “conspiring” against him with my younger siblings or hiding some sort of act of wrong-doing from him. (“You think you are so clever, do you”, “when would you have told me about this”, “not so smart now”)

    The mentioned topics would then push him to talk himself into a rage, most often if i opposed his statements or opinions. Calling me things like “ungrateful/ insolent/ disrespectful” towards him, while explaining the many things he was doing for me, while also listing all of my shortcomings and wrongdoings towards him and all the things he wanted me to do better. This could take between 1 and 2 hours, except when he decided to fetch my younger siblings to give them hell too, while he was already at it.

    I would be glad to share more about the contents of his monologues, but at around 15 minutes of his hatred i would start dissociating, “waking up” when he was finished and starting to tell me that he was “only concerned for me” and “wanted the best for me”, often expecting some thankful and/or remorseful words. Doing as he wanted would most often end the “session”. Otherwise he would conclude with thinly veiled threats of violence.

    My mother stayed mostly “hidden” during my fathers outbursts, in the kitchen for example. She seldom entered the situation, mostly when the “session” entered its 3rd hour. She then tried to somewhat appease my father (“i think they understand your point now”) or asked/begged him to end his speech for the day (“dont you think its enough for today?”). I can only remember around 3 or 4 times in about 3 years when she stepped in to get me and my siblings out of the line of fire, making her the target of his rage. Other than that, she mostly looked away and had a guilty/ashamed expression on her face when i saw her during or after the “talks”.

    Ed

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