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Sending a letter to an ex.

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  • #368435
    honey
    Participant

    Hello,

    Let me explain the situation.

    The breakup was 7 months ago and we broke up because my mental health was affecting the relationship and my ex boyfriend could not handle me anymore.

    We remained friends for 4 months (he stated that he liked me but quickly lost feelings for me).

    During that time, I would constantly talk to him about the breakup and how upsetting it was for me. I admit that I did not give him space and constantly talked to him about my feelings about the breakup. That resulted in him resenting me as a person and not replying or having a rude tone.

    After I realized what I had done I gave him space.

    We did not talk for 2/3 months. He messaged me a few days ago, asking me to delete all our past messages.

    It seems that he has been deleting past messages between us and removing me from his contacts recently.

     

    The thing is, this heartbreak has affected me a lot. I have learned a lot from this breakup and I wrote all my feelings down into a letter that is dedicated to my ex.

    The letter contains personal information about my experience with the breakup, the unconditional love I have for him as a person, the lessons I learned from our relationship, and sad poetry that I wrote myself to get the feelings out.

    I did not write it expecting to send it to him, I simply wrote everything from my heart.

    I want him to know my true feelings for him (my unconditional love for him), and my experience with the breakup but I’m not sure if sending the letter is a good idea.

     

    He does not care about me anymore and he has no feelings for me. By sending this letter I am not expecting to “win him back” or anything, I’m simply sending this letter because I think it would be beneficial for him to know about my true feelings for him. I don’t know why but I don’t like hiding my feelings, I am always honest with everyone and tell them what I am thinking or feeling.

     

    Before I send the letter I am going to make sure if he is okay with reading it. I will also state that I am not expecting a response I just want him to read it. If he’s not comfortable with it then I am not sending it.

     

    I’m not sure if I should send it though. It’s a very personal letter and I wrote everything from my heart, I also think it is a bit weird and he might feel awkward if I send it. But I want him to know my feelings for him. But at the same time I know he doesn’t care…

     

    I’m not sure what to do, please give me advice 🙁

     

    #368451
    anita
    Participant

    Dear honey:

    You are currently 17 or 18, a senior in high school, living with your parents. In your threads since January this year, you mentioned having suffered from overthinking, disassociation, identity issues, self-hate, self-destructive behaviours, suicidal thoughts, “social anxiety and anxiety in general”, depression, “a lot of pain and misery”; “severe mental illnesses”. You shared that you suffered from depression since the 7th grade, 5 years at this point, a depression that “has only gotten worse throughout the years”.

    You shared that your parents have had high expectations of you, expecting you to do well in your studies, and that you failed a few classes. “in our culture we were only taught to be kind to others and focus on studies to get a good job in the future. We were never taught anything else… I think the love my parents showed me was in a different way, not through words but through actions. I think my father has a difficult time expressing his love for his children, so I think that may have caused the hole in my heart… As for my father, I love him so much.. But he would always expect so much from me, all he wanted was for me to excel in my studies and unfortunately, I could not. I disappointed him. I tried so hard to make him proud but I feel like I never can… that left a hole in my heart.. My depression stemmed from the high expectations of my father”.

    You shared that back in middle school you got bullied, “anxiety rose from the bullying”, that you are a people pleaser who “did not care about myself instead, I would try my best to help others”, and “I always assume people hate me, and I am not worthy of love”.

    You shared about your boyfriend: “he taught me to love myself, he taught me to be bold”, but this teaching didn’t last, “in December, everything went downhill. My negative thoughts came back and I was hurting myself and very suicidal.. had to go to the ER.. There was a lot going on in  my life”, “In my relationship, I experienced a lot of anxiety thinking that my partner did not love me”.

    Six months later, October 30, you shared that after the breakup from your boyfriend in April, the two of you remained friends for 4 months, April- August. During that friendship phase, you talked to him “about the breakup and how upsetting it was for me… constantly talked about my feelings about the breakup”, not giving him space. As a result, he resented you, no longer replied to you, or replied in “a rude tone”. The two of you did not talk since some time in August. A few days ago, he messaged you, asking you “to delete all our past messages”, “It seems that he has been deleting past messages between us and removing me from his contacts recently”.

    My input at this point: seems like your ex-boyfriend wants to delete his past with you, a past that became painful for him, a past that you talked about so often to him, after the breakup.

    When we experience enough pain, we want to erase that past and the pain that goes with it. In April, you wanted to do something similar, to be done with your own past: “After all these years of being hurt and hurting others, including myself, I’m done. I have two options, either I don’t try and things are the same, or I try and things could be different. I want to cultivate good habits and have a healthy mindset. I want to be the best person I can be, because the truth is, I’m sick of my mental illnesses taking away every good thing in my life and hurting me. I’m sick! I need treatment and recovery.. even though I love him so much.. I need to focus on myself first so I can find peace within myself”.

    You wanted to heal and recover without addressing your past. When a person experiences a significantly painful childhood for years, that past and the pain that goes with it cannot be erased. The painful past will maintain itself unless we thoroughly address it and go through the long process of emotional healing.

    From what you have shared, you did not receive adequate love as a child, and therefore you did not thrive, instead- you got sick. You looked for love from your father but what he gave you instead was a condition: if you succeed academically then he will love you. You tried very hard academically, but did not satisfy your father’s condition (“I tried so hard to make him proud but I feel like I never can.. that left a hole in my heart”).

    Feeling like you can never could earn his love- you felt hopeless and unworthy of his love, or of anyone’s love (“I always assume people hate me, and I am not worthy of love”). When you are actually loved, you can’t experience being loved for long, you can’t trust that indeed you are loved (“In my relationship, I experienced a lot of anxiety thinking that my partner did not love me”).

    Back to what you shared today: “I wrote all my feelings down into a letter that is dedicated to my ex. The letter contains personal information about my experience with the breakup, the unconditional love I have for him.. I simply wrote everything from my heart. I want him to know my true feelings for him (my unconditional love for him).. I’m simply sending this letter because I think it would be beneficial for him to know about my true feelings for him. I don’t know why but I don’t like hiding my feelings, I am always honest with everyone and tell them what I am thinking or feeling”-

    – As a young child, I imagine that you were very honest with your father, clearly expressing your love for him and your need that he loves you back. Over time, living with that hole in your heart, unloved by him, you gave up on sharing your feelings with him.

    Currently, seems to me, you are focused on sharing your feelings with your ex-boyfriend as a substitute to your father who did not and will not listen to how you feel, even if you told him again (using a more mature, educated vocabulary than what you used as a young child).

    It is your hurt in the context of your early childhood with your father (and your mother) that you need to address and heal from, a past (and ongoing present experience) that hurt you so badly. The breakup from your boyfriend was a far-off secondary hurt, one that was not separate from your earlier childhood hurt.

    You mentioned your unconditional love for your ex-boyfriend. I think that your unconditional love was always for your father. You still love your father so much even though he hasn’t loved you back, not adequately.

    Your ex-boyfriend already expressed his anger about you telling him how hurt you were about the breakup and most recently he wants you to delete your messages to him- therefore I don’t think it is a good idea to send him yet another message, be it an online message or a letter expressing yet again what he doesn’t want to hear/ read.

    “Before I send the letter I am going to make sure if he is okay with reading it.. I just want him to read it”- he already clearly expressed that he is not okay with it. And again, I think that you .. really want your father to read about how you feel. It may be a good idea for you to write a letter to your father, even if you don’t deliver the letter to him. You are welcome, if you feel comfortable doing so, to compose a letter to your father right here, on your thread.

    anita

    #368456
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi honey,

    When the information we share with another person is upsetting to that person, he/she may resent us for it and not want to be around us anymore. When that happens, it’s important to respect that person’s boundaries no matter how heartbreaking it is for us.

    Do the right thing and don’t send the letter.

    B

    #368470
    BuddhistBassist
    Participant

    Hi Honey,

    I’m afraid I agree with the others, don’t send the letters. From his point of view it’ll just make you look that much more batty.

    You’ve been offered a lot to think about here already, and I’d like to add something else. Why do you want him to read that stuff anyway? Validation. You want him to acknowledge how strongly you feel/felt, and since you love him (and likely always will to some extent), and you want him to say he felt the same way. We can’t make people feel things, or do things or understand things just because we want them to. We can only control those things in ourselves. So when where faced with brick walls, people who won’t listen, or, once in my case a person who died before I could tell them, we write the letters. Its the only way to get it out of us.

    I’ve written four letters like yours over the years, and yours are anything like mine, its a living document. A testament to our inner selves. The person you wrote it for has proven he isn’t even your friend anymore, and thats not the person I’d share my innermost thoughts and feelings with.

    In the end I write my letters for closure. To recap all that I went through, all that I felt, and in my more recent letters I always add a bit about all the positive ways my life changed and how I grew as an individual because of my relationship with them. So for me it doesn’t matter if they read the letter or not, I wrote it to them, but I wrote it for me.

    Be well, Honey, I hope the very best for you.

    BB

    #368602
    Kylee
    Participant

    Honey,

    Like Anita said, if you struggle with mental illness, you NEED to get that sorted out on your own before you bring outsiders into it. It is very important that you see a therapist that has been educated on how to properly communicate and sort through issues caused by mental illness. It is never your partner’s job to console your mental illness. Yes, they can rub your back and draw the tub for you when you’re feeling down, but they will never be able to “fix” the problem just by loving you. It’s possible you thought this and then got disappointed when he couldn’t help you get better. Then it continued to hurt you once he realized he didn’t need to be your white knight anymore, and stopped communication.

    I would not send the letter and instead see a therapist. Tell them how you’ve been feeling, and I promise you will start to feel better. I know you say you just want your side to be known, even if it goes no where, but we all know that you’d be even more crushed not to get a reply back, or for it to just not do anything. You know what your feelings are, and that’s all that matters. Take this lesson and move forward. Tackle your mental illness with full force, so you have knowledge about how it effects you and how you can help yourself. You are still so young, and I know you probably hate to hear that because you feel like you really loved him. Maybe you did. I promise you though, in 5 years from now, you will know what love is, for yourself and for your future partners. With help from a professional, focus, and love, you will start to know how to navigate any and all relationships you have.

    #368609
    honey
    Participant

    Hi Kylee,

     

    I think you have misunderstood. Of course, I am seeking help for my mental illness, and I did not expect my partner to be a therapist for me or help me with my struggles. You are making it seem as if I need to have everything sorted out and perfect before I can get into a relationship, that is simply not possible. A person can be struggling with mental illness and still be in a relationship. You do not know the entire story of our relationship, I was not asking him to fix the problem, simply reassure me when I am having a rough day. He struggled with that so it resulted in us ending the relationship even though he tried his best, it was just not enough at the time.

    As for the letter, I will not be sending it because I agree with you and the previous responses that it is not a good idea.

    “I know you probably hate to hear that because you feel like you really loved him. Maybe you did. I promise you though, in 5 years from now, you will know what love is, for yourself and future partners.”

    You are making it seem as if my feelings for my ex is not “love”, I do not like that. These are my feelings and you have no say in them and I wish you can respect what I am saying. I know I love this person and if you do not believe that then that is okay but please respect my feelings.

    I am seeking help, and I have been seeking help for the past 4/5 years but obviously, I have not been “cured”, but I can say for sure that I have learned to manage my illness better than before.

    #368650
    anita
    Participant

    Dear honey:

    Maybe I can add something useful, maybe not, but I don’t think that what I will add here can harm you, so here it is:

    January 2020: “I don’t want to fall back into another depressive episode because every time I do, everything gets progressively worse. Life is so scary… it is too much for me to handle.. it’s so overwhelming. I need to take baby steps to recover but I’m not sure where to begin”.

    February 2020: “I’m afraid of pain. I hate this fear that I have… I think this world is a disgusting place, but at the same time, it’s so beautiful… I want to be able to see the world for its beauty, not its pain… pain and beauty go hand in hand… I’m only 17, I want to be able to live the rest of my life seeing the good things and accepting the bad. But I’m so afraid… I don’t want to die yet. Not yet. I don’t want to suffer this much… I haven’t been able to fully love myself, but I’ve been able to love others”.

    My input today:

    1. It is interesting that you suggested that you are severely mentally ill, suffering from “severe mental illnesses”, and yet I don’t remember reading a more accurate description of what it means to be mentally healthy, than what you came up with February this year in the quote above. I will edit your description so to state a definition of mental health->

    Mental health: to be able to see the world for its beauty and for its pain, to experience pain and beauty going hand in hand, to see the good things and accept the bad.

    Here is how I experienced mental illness in  my life: I numbed myself to all that is life, best that I was able to, separating myself/ disassociating my emotions from the good and the bad in life. I lived my life as an outsider looking-in, seeing other people enjoying their life, a joy that was not for me.

    The goal of this kind of separation is to be less harmed by the bad. The cost is not experiencing the good.

    But if not separating from the bad(and therefore, the good as well),  what is one to do when the bad feels like “too much .. to handle.. overwhelming”?

    The answer is what is referred to in the psychotherapeutic literature as “emotional regulation skills”- ways to lower the intensity of overwhelming emotions so that we don’t get overwhelmed. When able to do that, things do not get “progressively worse” and worse, until we collapse.

    You can learn emotional regulation skills and practice them repeatedly, every day, day after day, after day- this practice is the beginning of the baby steps you mentioned (“I need to take baby steps to recover but I’m not sure where to begin”).

    My therapist back in 2011 started my emotional regulation skills learning with guided meditation, specifically the mindfulness series by Mark Williams. He gave me homework after each session, to listen to one of the mediations a few times a day or a week, until the next therapy session.  There are resources in books and online on the topic of Emotional Regulation Skills and Mindfulness.

    anita

     

    #368698
    Kylee
    Participant

    Honey,

    I wasn’t trying to seem like I knew anything about your relationship, other than the information you had on your forum and the responses that followed. So I apologize, I’m not trying to make it seem that way.

    I think you have misunderstood me as well. Yes you may never be “cured” and I’m not at all saying that you need to be completely cured and “have everything sorted out” before entering a relationship, because you are correct, you will never have “everything sorted out.” What I’m saying is, based off what you have typed out here on this website: you should not enter another relationship until you know more about your mental illness and how it effects you.

    I suffer from anxiety and depression, and have since I was 16. I am 21 almost 22, now. I know what it’s like to be in a relationship at a young age while also battling mental illness. I ignored it for years. I knew something was wrong mentally, but I just kept trying to find someone who “understood me.” Well I couldn’t find someone who understood me, until I was able to understand myself, and that is what I’m getting at. You’re aware you suffer from some sort of mental illness, but you don’t know why. My advice the first time I replied wasn’t to make you feel down about having a mental illness, it was to motivate you to speak to someone. So you know how to help yourself instead of hoping someone will know what to say to make you feel better. Again, I’m not trying to insinuate that you relied on your ex or expected him to be your therapist. But obviously the reason you two broke up, was because of your mental illness and the fact you didn’t know how to help yourself.

    Until you talk to a professional, who really knows how to speak to someone with mental illness, you will continue the same routine. There will not be a prince charming that will come along and take your pain away. He may dim the pain for a while, but until you learn how to help yourself, how can you expect others to help you?

    Also, I was not trying to make it seem like there was no love in that relationship. You could very well of had a deep love with im. Like you said earlier, I don’t know all of the details of your relationship. I was just speaking from my heart and my experience. From my experience, I dated 3 boys in high school, and at that time I thought I loved all of them. It wasn’t until I had been in a relationship outside of high school that I realized, I had only truly been in love with 1/3. It could be different or the same for you. Your life is different from mine and anyone else’s. I was only speaking from experience because a lot of times, women experience a lot of the same things around that age. I was just offering my perspective.

    Once again, I am not trying to seem rude or anything. I know what this situation feels like and that is why I’m not trying to sugar coat anything. Things I say don’t translate very well over text or written word at times. But I hope you get the jist of what I was trying to say and that is: You will never be able to truly love or care about anyone, until you can do it for yourself.

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