Leave him alone or be vulnerable and risk?

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    M T

    I don’t know what to do… I ask the Universe, please, please, give me a sign to let me know what to do with my life…

    I broke up with my ex three months ago and it was messy. It is my first break up and I felt myself unraveling with nothing to hold on to. I started reading countless self-help books, reading all the articles on tiny buddha, trying very hard to practice self-love and keep my head up and meanwhile my entire self was drowning.

    Reading through Brene Brown’s book titled ‘Daring Greatly’ on vulnerability and shame, I understand his actions on a deeper level, understanding why he did the things he did.

    Halfway through our relationship, I sensed that there was something bothering him and when I asked him about it, he said nothing was wrong but his actions showed otherwise. He was depressed, sleeping too much, indifferent to things and had no energy to be a loving boyfriend. As I kept probing and poking, it ultimately escalated into him saying that he did not know how he felt about our relationship. I grew angry, frustrated, emotionally exhausted and finally snapped, saying and doing things that I never meant to do. Mutual cycles of shutting down and refusal to talk about our emotions culminated into him telling me a straight no when I asked him if he wanted to continue working at the relationship.

    After the breakup, I felt… shame, rage, hopelessness and overwhelming grief. I had not the least idea of HOW to go about practicing self-love but I tried anyways. My mother told me to buck up and move on. Everyone told me he doesn’t deserve me and that I am better off without him. Every time I reached out to him, despite everyone’s disapproval, he shot me down, telling me he can’t and out of my frustration, I would lash back at him and he would shut down even further. I don’t know if my actions have hurt him so much that it has caused irreparable damage. As the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

    I felt like I was one of those girls, who goes crazy after a breakup and begs him to return and I hated it, I hated myself for being that kind of girl. I was berating myself for doing those things to him, I felt anger for the things he did to me, I felt fear when I considered him because of the potential for hurt, I felt hostile towards others for I saw the potential for hurt they carried inside. How can I begin to contemplate loving others when they have the ability to hurt me through their own negative mindsets?

    Brene Brown defined love as;

    “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

    Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each on of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

    Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare”

    It might seem crazy, but during the breakup, he showed his anger, and shared with me that he might be suffering from depression and needed time alone to figure stuff out. Seeing that raw, vulnerable part of him, I loved him even more because he was an imperfect, beautiful human being and I wanted to be there for him, support him and love him.

    I love him; I want to open myself and be vulnerable with him, be patient and supporting and cultivate a loving relationship together. But I know that it takes two hands to clap, and I am not sure if he wants to open himself up to me again, because he might be afraid that I will hurt him again. I also know that I will not accept him, even though I love him and want to support him, if he still has unresolved anger issues with his ex gf.

    I do not want to disturb him because I respect that he wants time alone to figure out his own issues.

    I feel like a mess. I suffered from Depression for 6 years and if I don’t deal with this situation head on, it will fester and my depression will creep up on me again and that is a place I never want to revisit. I don’t know what to do about this situation. Leave him alone or risk getting hurt or disrupting the peace by emailing him again? When I contemplate seeing him again, I feel anger, regret, shame, guilt but also, compassion, empathy and I just want to give him a big hug even though my Ego doesn’t think he deserves it.

    What do you think I should do? At this point, I am open to anything… Blowing bubbles and running around the house naked, or flinging my cat around in mimicry of the lion king… ANYTHING.


    Hi MT, this sounds familiar to a situation I just recently went through. I understand your pain. Its very painful.

    I was with a man for a year and a half in an absolutely wonderful relationship, right up until I brought up living together and taking the relationship to the next level…it completely unraveled….because “he wasn’t ready”. .I broke up . A few weeks later I called him (same as you) thinking I had not been supportive, I had made a mistake in breaking up with him initially instead of being understanding, how could I be so selfish… bla bla bla…scared him hurt him broken trust…bla bla bla

    We went back for a month and it was HELL. I had NOT made a mistake initially breaking up with him! I had been right! Now he was withdrawn..acting different…I too was recovering from the blow so I gave it some time…but…. I could not tolerate it.

    4 weeks was ALL I was able to stand before my self esteem and intuition said “GET OUT!!!! This is KILLING YOU!!”

    I am the most important person in my life! This is about ME not feeling good…not about how he feels about me and validating myself with how he feels about me.

    The second time i broke it off KNOWING that I would have to live with my decision (self-confidence vs. self-pity), but that I had control of my life and was responsible for my happiness (emotional maturity) and was opening up myself to the UNKNOWN (faith) ! How wonderful! (vs..the suffering I was enduring in this “uncertainty”).

    Sister. This is DEAD. Let it go. This is NOT about you, or what you could’ve done different, or said, or waited, or acted this way or that way. NOPE. This is about HIM. HE has issues, HE is DAMAGED! HE is unemotionally available…DO NOT think this is about you hon! This is alllllll him.

    I too went through all those feelings…(its my fault…me me me…I should’ve…etc). If only I would’ve…..Again. No.

    You did NOT do anything wrong. Woman. If any man tells you he is “unsure” and “doesn’t want to work on relationship” LEAVE.

    Forget that depression 6 years ago. you never go backwards in your brain…. YOU control your brain. Change your life. YOU have control. A minute at a time. Depression is all too common in our society (you are not alone) and Lots of people let life beat them down…there is no drug, no pill, nothing that will pull you out of it except…walking through new behavior and REALLY trying to pull yourself out. Believe me, been there…it can be done.

    Take care of your body and do a 30 day yoga challenge. This will pull you out (stay away from pills, drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc..)

    You are feeling “hurt” because you feel rejected. Let me remind you…. YOU rejected him, as you should have! Any man who has doubts about being with you…give him lots of time and space to figure it out. No amount of understanding, loving, waiting, on your part is going to make him come close to you…in fact, it will do the complete opposite (at your expense by the way).

    Your EGO is not the one telling you he doesn’t deserve a hug. its your intuition and your gut (and they are right!). Saying its your ego is you again blaming yourself and looking for ways that you may be able to “fix” this.

    You have no idea what suprises life has in store for you. Wake up ever morning knowing that great things are coming your way…and when you just look away for a minute one day…bang..there it is…. That’s the way life works.

    My opinion? Absolutely NO CONTACT AT ALL (for at least 3 months – make it a challenge) with this unavailable guy who is basically making you doubt yourself and controlling your happiness and joy.

    The opposite of Self Pity is Self Esteem. How do you go from Self Pity to Self Esteem? Trust your intuition, trust yourself, stand by your decisions (even if you self doubt its normal), know what you want (and go after it), don’t accept less than what you know is right, put yourself first, don’t be a doormat…etc…etc…etc..

    Don’t forget who you are. The best is yet to come. get your self confidence and self respect back…and stop putting this guy on a pedestal…he is not those things you think he was. you will see all that during your No Contact Period – TIME is an amazing healer and teacher…

    This was all practice for you. The best is yet to come.

    Look. Break ups are HARD. But you will get over this! Guaranteed! Every day it will get easier even if some days you feel like you are going backwards…(you are not…).

    Big “Hug” to you. It takes great courage to really look at yourself and what is not working and discarding it. Remember, you cannot “fix” this because this is not your problem…its his. You will get lots of more insight to what is really going on when you go no contact for a long period of time (3 months recommended do it!).


    M T,

    I’m sorry for your suffering, dear sister, and know how confusing and painful the path can become. Sometimes when we get to a difficult hurdle, we throw our hands in the air and give up, “just tell me what to do!!”. And, of course, its never that easy… because part of your beauty is your uniqueness, and each path of joy is similarly unique. Said differently, what to do next is between you and your heart. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    Consider that your relationship with him has some difficult challenges. That anger, shame and confusion stands between you and feeling safe with him, and sounds like it would take a long time to settle. Plus, the goal at the end of that path is a boyfriend that may or may not heal, be interested in you at all, or ever learn to give back. Even as you describe your warmth for him, empathy, a hug, it doesn’t sound like the awe and wonder of a romantic love.

    Perhaps then, a lot of your desire to reconnect with him has to do with something else. Often its loneliness, such as an aching agitation for connection, which is a very normal part of grief. The solution is perhaps not what you want to hear, but its time, patience, and self nurturing. Lots of self nurturing. Perhaps take a bath with candles, go for a walk in nature, listen to soft music… surround yourself with the space to cry, heal, scream and let go. (Consider searching youtube for “sharon salzburg guided metta meditation” for a great nurturing activity.) Over time, your heart will heal, and what to do next will be more obvious. For instance, if you are very thirsty, a depressed dude holding a glass of mud might look like a prince with the best water ever. Self nurturing is how we refill our own cup, quench our thirst, so when/if we do end up talking to our ex again, we do so from strength and clarity.

    Then the question is much easier to answer. Is it a cup of mud? Was it your mud the whole time? Do you want to share your clear water, in hopes he will grow? Want to say no thanks and find different person to share your time with? Its your canvas, my dear sister, its OK to paint it the way you want it. Just remember that people grow in their own time, and its not fair to demand they grow for us. That just leads to many complications and judgments on both sides. Its better to partner with someone that wants to grow with us, because then needs don’t have to become demands, because they’re met freely and often.

    With warmth,


    MT. Wow, reading your story really resonates with me and a lot of the things you talk about such as feeling ashamed and lashing out and begging, is exactly what I went through. My ex also has unresolved issues with his ex gf too. Which made me feel better that it wasn’t just me! You are not alone in this. When depression comes into play I think it makes it that more complicated and confusing. Sometimes the best thing to “do” is to do nothing. That was something that is very hard for me. I had to push him to get him to talk. Find a reason. Help him with his depression. Do something! But in the end, I learned that everything I was so called “doing”just made it worse. I decided to go the no contact route. I did not want to get him back but I needed it for me so I could get back to the person I was before the breakup. I am almost at 60 days no contact and each day I am stronger and realize that the people I have in my life are the ones I should be focusing on. Hang in there =)

    ~Never settle for good enough


    MT + LovingGirl, what you both expressed resonated with me too – I went through a similar thing where we took the relationship to the next level but I could tell he didn’t really/couldn’t really do it, so it ended within 4 months of moving in with him, after 4 years of on/off, I knew I had to put myself in that vulnerable position to get myself back – I’m now on the path of recovery but it’s hard and bumpy. I do keep getting glimpses of how I used to be before I met him and they are keeping me going 😀

    Hang in there and as Bri says, Never Settle For Good Enough x

    M T

    Thank you for your advice… After you posted your reply, a friend linked me to the wiki page on Fight or Flight response and I realized that I had all the physiological symptoms of a person experiencing intense stress during the relationship…

    I was feeling so lost because I kept looking inwards and sensing ’emptyness’. Now, I realize that my body had been telling me to GET OUT of the relationship ever since he started acting weird. Now I can trust in myself.

    Your words remind me to persevere and get my Self Esteem back! No man has the right to ever take it away, only I can let it be taken away. Thank you for your empowering words. 🙂

    It is also comforting to know that I am not the only one who has ever experienced self-doubt.

    Sending you love and light, MT

    M T

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your kind words and advice… After the break up, I set out to figure out what ‘loving yourself’ really means because everyone espouses how important it is but do not really offer specific ways to practice self-love.

    Could you elaborate on how or what you do when you self-nurture? My email is bumsy_tay92@hotmail.com and I would appreciate hearing more on what you have to say!

    Sending love and light, MT

    M T

    Hi Bri,

    GOOD FOR YOU! I am happy for your happiness… Yes, after taking that time out for yourself, there is great clarity in stillness and you come upon many revelations after self-reflection and meditation.

    I had the same thing! I wanted to do something, anything. But actually, not doing anything is also considered an action in itself! So that shift in looking at things helped alot.

    Thank you for your kinds words… And you are absolutely right, never settle for good enough.

    Sending you love and light, MT

    M T

    Hi Nicola,

    Thank you for your kind words… I was walking down the sidewalk today and glimpsed a part of me that was happy and fulfilled, exactly how I was feeling before he entered my life. I know what you mean, it’s like instant relief! You know that deep down, everything will be okay even when you thought it would never be the same.

    A friend observed today that I tend to be very hard on myself and I think most of my frustration was because I wanted to be ‘better’ quickly and when the hurt, anger, shame did not dissipate, I felt even angrier and tried to push them away, which never works. I know what you mean when you say the word ‘vulnerable’; being open and gentle with yourself is really hard…

    Thank you for sharing your experience with me. We will all be okay in the end. It will pass as we pull through. We are much stronger than we realize and I believe in you as you believe in me.

    Sending you love and light, MT


    http://www.onbeing.org/blog/lovingkindness-metta-meditation-sylvia-boorstein/2599 When I am feeling lost as I too am dealing with the decision to treat myself better. I take a long shower then listen to this meditation. I hope it will do for you what it offers me. 21 constant days will give you power/strength as you take care of yourself. 21 days. Each Day I try to NOT email or text to ‘his’ location, I know I am more true to myself.

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