Express or Repress ?

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    Hello Everyone! I recently joined the Tiny Buddha community after reading a few post that helped me overcome depression. The insights and experiences I came across in several pieces of writings were truly amazing and motivated me to reach out now.

    I recently came out of an emotionally abusive relationship that lasted a couple of years and still trying to overcome my daily feelings of anger, anxiety and occasional grief. My self esteem was really damaged throughout the relationship and I couldn’t even recognize the abusive pattern or step out until recently. Over the years, he broke up with me several times and we got back together, somehow I always and only saw the good in our relationship often ignoring the bad. I neglected my own instincts because I was so hell pressed trying to make things work and changing anything and everything about me that displeased him – be it my external or internal attributes. I just couldn’t accept that he does not love or respect me the same way I do. We got back several times because he said “he wants to work at it too”. So I can’t really know if it was him just saying that to keep me around, since his actions said otherwise. Long story short, this final time that he left me, I could not get up and went into depression. After my recent visit to the hospital, he felt really sorry for me and called me to say that ” he might consider me again after some time ( perhaps in few years ). This was a light bulb moment for me. All of a sudden, everything sort of fell into place in my mind. I could see exactly why this relationship was unhealthy for me. This guy could see right through my insecurities/ vulnerabilities over the years and got so used to having me around to exploit that. Hence the statement, ” I don’t want you now but stick around maybe I will consider you “.

    After this light bulb moment, I told him goodnight and slowly walked away. I decided to not respond or confront him , plead him to take me back ( as I used to do ), be angry or anything. I just did not want to say a word, I had nothing to say in return. I chose to walk away with overlying feeling of numbness. I guess I reached my limit of tolerance that day, you know the time when you want to say so much but instead you look at the other person, turn around and walk away because don’t know where to even begin to explain to someone that you don’t think is capable of any understanding.

    Fast forward few months, I slowly started working on myself, get that self confidence in my abilities back, I stopped feeling sorry for myself for not being with him . In fact for the first time, I created space in my mind – for myself, where I was free of judgment. I accepted me as I was ..right there and then. I guess having that free space in my mind, gave me the courage to walk away and not respond to his follow ups later. I did a lot of introspection, still in the process of getting to the roots of why I stayed in a relationship that I knew from early on had potential to be damaging. I read somewhere that we should not suppress our emotions. Suppression means control and anything we try to control always bounces back in some form. I did not try to force his thoughts out of my mind but instead I focused on myself for sometime.

    Now the problem is after countless nights of just ” accepting my feelings and emotions”, balling my eyes out to bed, then waking up and feeling better. Which did work by the way. I am getting hounded by the feelings of anger and resentment again. As much as I looked inside, I also looked outside of me in my environment to create a balance. And when I looked outwardly, I realized how messed up that relationship was for me and how wrongfully I was abused both physically and emotionally.

    The thing that is now taking the better of me, and I know it is, is being occupied with his thoughts all over again. I want to tell him, not in a confrontational way but present my collected thoughts. I want to let him know, the damage his actions and words have done to me and how much time it will take for me to overcome this. I cannot even consider being with another man, because I am so afraid of being exploited again. My belief is using my discretion to know who is good for me, is utterly shaky. After all, I thought he was good for me, four years fast forward, and BAM – I was wrong. I don’t even know if I can trust myself again in picking another partner. Sorry I guess I am distressing here. The point is, his thoughts are taking up that free space in my mind that I somehow initially created for myself after gathering the courage from every cell in my body. I feel the that I should not suppress my emotions and just let him know how he hurt me. On the contrary, I also feel that by expressing myself, my efforts to keep no contact with him for few months would go in vain ( which I was never able do before, it’s a huge achievement). It’s just long overdue, it makes me so angry that he did cause me so much damage and he is going about his life not knowing a thing. I don’t want him back in my life. Not at all, but it’s time that someone give him a reality check and I am well entitled to do that given what I have been through. ( or it could be by broken ego saying this, I do recognize it also )

    My dilemma – is it my job to tell him where he went wrong with us or should I let him figure it out ? Life eventually teaches us, and it’s much more effective when we learn on our own. Rather than some ex telling us. But what about my anger, the not so free space in my mind, the need for expression ? I do feel I will be repressing and being preoccupied with it until I tell him how he made me feel. But what will I gain by doing that, what if he still doesn’t understand, just like he never did in the past and what if he confronts me back? I don’t have the energy or capacity to tend to any back and forth arguments. What do I do, I feel stuck and preoccupied by his thoughts and I desperately want that free space in my mind that I had for sometime. It helped me focus on me and healed me greatly for the time being.

    Thank you for reading, I will love your feedback.

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 11 months ago by Esoteric.
    • This topic was modified 8 years, 11 months ago by Esoteric.

    Hi Esoteric

    Thanks for your post.

    Hey, what do you feel like doing ? If you read this post and had to advice your friend, what would you say ? I reckon that same advice will solve your dilemma.

    If it was me, I would express but without attachments. I wouldn’t get upset or elated with the response that I get. The expression will just be a mode to let it out with dignity and without getting affected by the outcome. Does this make sense ?

    Yes, people have their own journeys and need to learn from their own experiences and on their own but sometimes, people can learn a lot from a different perspective. A different perspective, which doesn’t judge or blame the other person. A perspective, which is laid out with honesty and respect for self and others. A perspective, which is not an emotional let out with all the negative emotions – this sort of perspective doesn’t help anyone and often makes things worse.

    Good luck and either way, it will work out beautifully for you. You are awesome as you are πŸ™‚




    In my opinion dear, this guy has been enough of a drag for you. People who abuse others generally are either trying to make themselves feel better or are just self-entitled. Chances are he will won’t accept responsibility and will just be other exhausting emotional episode for you. Move on from this guy, don’t waste your time trying to make him see it from your point, he won’t.

    As Chuck Palahniuk said it best β€œThat’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone having a good f-ing laugh.”

    Not saying you should bottle it up but find a better outlet, talk to someone you can trust like mom or maybe a close friend. I always encourage people to utilize their community, there is probably some free-to-attend group therapy and clubs. I know sometimes people feel shy about going to these groups but they are truly helpful and you meet people like yourself. Many of the these group leaders are survivors and kind hearted, they are wonderful ears! It really helps speed up the healing. πŸ™‚

    Good vibes to you!


    Greetings Escoteric —

    You basically told the story of my childhood and the relationship I once had with mom and dad. Eventually at the age of three, I would not have a home and I would be an orphan. Several life lessons fell into my life and I had to make some tough decisions on my own without any guidiance. In your current situation, YOU may also need to make some tough life changing decisions as well. 1) Relationships will continue to be a problem, simply because of how YOU see yourself. Once you have risen your own level of self value and esteem you will find a better selection of people. How you feel about YOURSELF as a lady is a strong indication of how OTHERS will see you as well. Never ever settle for SECOND best, or feel like you deserve an abusive relationship and give up on YOURSELF. 2) Be grateful for the courage and strength YOU have found to want to make a change. Keep going forward, the best is yet to come. 3) Being able to accept YOURSELF for who you are is a step in the right direction but you need to be able to FORGIVE yourself. To FORGIVE yourself will require that you bury all of your pain and suffering. For me as a child, PAIN and SUFFERING were my two best friends; so burying what I thought were GOOD friends was difficult. Once you can truly forive yourself, YOU will then be able to forgive others, even the ones who made your life miserable. 4) This is NOT the time to try and save someone else, YOU need to save YOURSELF first. This a part of that false illusion where YOU tell yourself, ‘I can make this work’. Before you know it, you are caught in the undertow of pain and suffering all over again. Next time the grip it has on you may be more than you can withstand. 5) Look for good things to happen to YOU. YOU are not a pioneer to an abusive relationship. YOU are no longer a victim, YOU are victorious and a survivor. YOUR entire being will be reborn and you will feel like living all over again. Walk in peace and be strong.

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