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Struggling to come to terms with break up

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  • #229197
    Flo18
    Participant

    hello

    im not quite sure where to start but I’ve been reading some of the posts on this forum which I have found insightful and helpful.

    My bf and I broke up about 4 months ago and although I’ve accepted it in that Im not actively pursuing him to get back together I’m truly struggling with the rejection. We met on a dating site about 18 months ago and we quickly fell for each pretty hard. At first I didn’t think he was my type but quickly realised the things I thought I didn’t like were just superficial and he had so many other great qualities. The problem was me. I realise looking back that I had insecurities that I never fully dealt with and half the time I was in denial. I would revert to childish behaviours which he picked up on but I didn’t realise I was doing it at the time. Looking back I knew I was seeking validation from our relationship. One of biggest problems was that we never communicated properly and also we never met each other’s friends and family. It didn’t really bother me as such but it was strange that neither of us integrated each other in our own lives despite being “so much in love”. It was like we lived in this bubble.

    things started to go wrong after 3 months which I guess was our honeymoon period being over. I started to act out ironically as I started to like him more. I think it was some self protection thing. I don’t think he was used to this. He’d been with someone for 16 years before but it ended because he was never in love with her and it was a passionless relationship.

    I don’t want to post too much detail here as I could just go on and on but I just need some words of comfort to help me cope. I’ve been getting CBT therapy as I realised much of the break up was down to me acting out inappropriately. He wasn’t without fault completely as there were times I felt he wasn’t being completely honest with me. During the 18 months we broke up once for about 5 months but we were still seeing each other. He went straight back onto the dating site the moment we split so it’s no surprise that when we did get back together I continued to feel insecure. He also had a close relationship with his ex which I accepted since they had a Long history together. What I found difficulty with was him not telling her about me. He said he had his reasons but they didn’t seem genuine to me. This fuelled my insecurity and eventually it led to our break up. Ironically he broke up with me and I’m mad at myself that it should have been me breaking up with him, not setting boundaries and putting up with the crap.

    I know I’ve got work to do on myself so yes he came into my life to teach me a lesson I needed but I’m angry that I let someone determine my own self worth and that I was too weak to walk away in the first place when he showed me behaviours that were not acceptable to me.

    Before I met him it had been a very long time in meeting someone who genuinely felt the same way as me so I wanted to hold onto him as I know he did love me. When we were together nothing else mattered which is why I guess it didn’t matter whether I met his friends and family as I was with him for him.

    I’m learning my lesson but I find it so difficult to move on. I cry because I know it’s healing but I wish I could move on. We are still in touch and sometimes I tell him I’m sad and he’s very understanding about it. He tells me he feels the same but he’s not able to handle the fire that our relationship brought to his life and that the conflicts we had slowly chipped away any feelings he had for me. He lost his mum when he was very young and recently he acknowledged he needs stability in his life. My unpredictable behaviour was far from giving home that stability.

    I’m blaming myself a lot and the reality is that the break up has revealed some Home truths about myself. I know I need to work on these but facing your faults is never easy. I know I’m a good person with lots of friends and family who love me but I struggle with closeness despite have 4 significant partners during my life time. Men who loved me very much only for me to ruin things time and again. I’m not a narcissist in any way but I do think I have things from my childhood that continue to haunt me. Despite countless therapy and meeting with healers over the years I’m still struggling. Do you ever get better and resolve the childhood traumas? Don’t get me wrong things were not that bad but I only came to the realisation that I was actually threatened with murder when I was very young (I’ve blocked it out so well that I can’t remember the age) – I was pulled into a bush and had a knife held against my neck and was told if I didn’t stop crying he would kill me. That was probably the worst experience. What I remember most was how lucky I was that I escaped without being raped.

    I think I’ll stop here for now…. thank you for reading.

     

    #229253
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Flo18:

    Reads to me that in this recent relationship the two of you contributed to it coming to an end. I wonder about the current contact with him, if that works for you or against you.  If you’d like to share about the current communication with him, please do, how often do you talk, is he dating and telling you about it, how do you feel when communicating with him and after each communication… are you still hoping for a reunion with him?

    You shared a bit about that violent, scary incident in the bushes, was that a stranger who did that? Is that incident what you meant be “childhood traumas“, plural?

    anita

    #229269
    Flo18
    Participant

    Hi Anita

     

    thanks for your reply. No I’m not sure if the continued communication is helpful but I feel more at peace that we have an amicable arrangement rather than a hostile no contact arrangement which has often been the case with past relationships. The thing is we both still have feelings for each other. I know he is actively looking to date but I’m not sure if he has anyone in his life at the moment. Judging by his behaviour with me he doesn’t seem to have a problem with keeping in touch with exes. I have set the boundary by asking him not to discuss romantic relationships with each other. I do wonder if I should go no contact but I don’t like the feelings of cutting him out. It feels so aggressive when neither of us have done anything wrong. I’m not sure a reunion is a good idea until I sort out my own issues and when I do I may realise he isn’t the guy for me.

    Regarding the childhood incident – yes and no. It was a teenage boy who lived in the neighbourhood. At a guess he might have been 15 or 16. I was likely to be under 10… but I told no one. Not a soul. I buried it really deep as I just continued to live life normally. There was some sexual abuse but I can’t remember what. It was a one off incident. I don’t know how I managed to erase it from my mind just like that.

    The other “trauma” relates to abandonment issues. Technically I wasn’t abandoned as my parents were only doing their best but I was sent away at the age of 2 to live with my grandma for a couple of years on the other side of the world. I didn’t even realise this was an issue until I started therapy but the therapists pointed out to me that this would have benn very traumatic for me and unsettling to be bounced about between carers as I was too young to process what was going on.

    #229273
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Flo18:

    I don’t know if it would be better if you cut contact with him. It may be something for you to consider later, if needed. And if you do end contact with him, it doesn’t have to be hostile or aggressive (“a hostile no contact arrangement.. if feels so aggressive”, it can be as friendly as can be.

    I think that there is a reason why you didn’t tell your parents about the violent incident that happened, why you didn’t run to them with tears, telling them about what happened. Maybe he threatened you with more violence if you did tell- or maybe you didn’t think of your parents as capable of protecting you?

    anita

    #229291
    Flo18
    Participant

    We did cut contact at the beginning, initiated by me as I thought that was what I needed to move on but I did it in an aggressive heat of the moment manner which only confirmed to him that he was right to end things with me. I told him never to contact me again but once things had cooled down I realised I didn’t mean it and I was hurting so I said and did things out of hurt and anger. Although we both contributed to the ending of the relationship it wasn’t what I wanted. I would have liked to discuss what was bothering us and see if we could find a solution to work things out.

    What is a friendly way of cutting off contact? I told him I would be there for him still despite that I am putting myself out. I know he struggles with anxiety and I want to be there for him. I know none of this is his fault and perhaps he is only acting out from his child’s perspective in terms of losing his mum so young.

    And yes you are right there is a reason I didn’t tell my parents or anyone as I was threatened with more violence. He said if he found out I told anyone he would kill me. I do remember feeling really dirty afterwards and I went home and ran myself a bath and sat in the bath crying. And that’s about as much as I remember – I don’t know what happened after that. The only other thing that springs to mind in connection with him is that I had to deal him when I was old enough to help out in my parent’s shop. He would come in with his 2 young daughters and I was expected to serve him. Why would he do that? I was mortified and sick to my stomach that I had to be nice to someone who molested me and threatened to kill me. I was old enough to say something then but I just couldn’t. Later in life I realised I held some resentment towards my parents. That they never protected me from being hurt. I didn’t know at the time it wasn’t their fault. But I suppose I felt let down by them again.

    #229355
    Flo18
    Participant

    Hi, I think I’ve gone a bit off track with this thread. The reason I started it was because I was trying to seek comfort about how I was feeling about my break up so I prefer to stay with that for now.

    I’ve been feeling terrible the last couple of days. I think he’s started seeing someone else and that’s what is causing me to feel so sad. I don’t know for sure but I have a feeling, call it sixth sense, and I feel terrible about it. However I know there is nothing I can do or say but I can’t hekp feeling this way and I really don’t want to.

    I suppose staying in touch with him was my way of giving myself some hope that we might have a reconciliation. I wonder if it might be a control thing as sometimes I did wonder if we were compatible at all. I’m really confused why I feel this way about him.

    #229393
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Flo18:

    We will stay with the topic then, this breakup. You disliked having acted “out of hurt and anger” before, “in an aggressive heat of the moment manner”. It is better to act when calm. When angry, in the heat of the moment, it is almost always better to take time out, calm down and then say or do what you then believe is best, the way you believe is best.

    If you do end contact with him again, if you do, you can do it in a calm manner, letting him know the reason assertively and calmly, not aggressively and angrily.

    It is clear to me that you take more responsibility for this breakup than is yours. “I’m blaming myself a lot”, you wrote. About past boyfriends, you wrote: “Men who loved me very much only for me to ruin things time and again”.

    Of course you are not perfect and you are well aware, overly aware and focused on your imperfections in  context of relationships with men. Problem is, in that exclusive focus, you are not seeing the men’s responsibility for the breakups. Let’s look at your most recent boyfriend, “there were times I felt he wasn’t being completely honest with me… He also had a close relationship with his ex… What I found difficulty with was him not telling her about me.  He said he had his reasons but they didn’t seem genuine to me”. I trust your suspicion, because the following doesn’t read honest to me:

    “He’d been with someone for 16 years before but it ended because he was never in love with her and it was a passionless relationship”- almost impossible to be true, especially if he is capable and expressed some passion with you at one point.

    I suppose the ex he is still talking to is the one with whom he had a 16 year old relationship? And while in relationship with you, he didn’t tell her about you, neither did you meet his family and friends. It is possible that he goes from relationship to relationship, old, new, back to the old, lots of overlapping. When you had the breakup with him before, he went straight back into dating.

    It is impossible for any woman to have a monogamous, committed, healthy, loving relationship with a man who is not monogamous or committed.

    What do you think?

    anita

     

     

     

    #229455
    Tom
    Participant

    You wrote, “He broke up with me and I’m mad at myself that it should have been me breaking up with him, not setting boundaries and putting up with the crap. ” And, “I’m angry that I let someone determine my self worth and that I was too weak to walk away in the first place when he showed me behaviors that were not acceptable to me.”

    It has been 3 months since my relationship ended and it has been very challenging for me to move forward.  I was treated very poorly, blamed for things, belittled, put down, and treated in a controlling way.  I also did not assert my boundaries at all.  Not once.  I attempted to explain why my feelings were hurt and how I didn’t appreciate certain things but this was not helpful because she was unwilling to listen.  I also am angry at myself for not sticking up for myself, being more assertive to how I was being treated.  It pisses me off to think that there were double standards in our relationship and how she could not see the hurtful things she did to me.  Your comment hit home for me and I have been struggling to come to terms with my inability to stand up for how I should be treated.  Because I continued to put up with it my self worth kept getting lower and lower.  The lower it got the harder it was to fight for my respect.  It is hard for me to acknowledge but it happened.  What I am trying to say is you have to take these thoughts, this regret and anger you have towards yourself and promise yourself that you will never let that happen again.  We both need to stand taller, more fully aware of our self worth and understand that at any time if someone wants to treat you less than that you will call them out and set a boundary that you are not willing to be a part of a relationship where it is not equal.  We all deserve respect and if our partner is not willing to hold that same belief then I think we are better off without them.

    #229475
    Flo18
    Participant

    Hi Tom

    Thanks for your kind and wise words. I’m sorry that you are also going through this and that you were treated the way you were. It’s really sad it gets like this. We don’t get taught at school these soft skills which are so important in life.

    I really liked what you wrote in that we need to be “more fully aware of our self worth and understand that at any time if someone wants to treat you less than that you will call them out and set a boundary that you are not willing to be a part of a relationship where it is not equal”.

    What I’m realising is that much of the pain I’m feeling isn’t really about him per se but being awakened to the truth about myself and how I had let myself become this person.  When I look back I must have been really desperate to have wanted a relationship that I didn’t consider my own needs along the way. I wanted it to work out so I would put aside my needs but this would then cause me to act out and behave inappropriately – i.e. getting upset, feeling hurt, etc but I couldn’t communicate what it was I was really feeling. So of course this led to us breaking up and it’s all my fault! In a way it was my fault: for not clearly stating what I wanted and walking away sooner. It’s a bit of a wake up call and it’s much harder having to acknowledge and accept the error of your own ways. I could easily blame him but that wouldn’t do me any good as the only person I can change and control is myself.

    Today I do feel a bit better. The last few days I have allowed myself to properly mourn the loss and finally accept that we are not going to get back together. My emotions would confuse me to the point that I would be thinking about having a reconciliation with him so that I would feel better but he was not a good person for my soul. We were deeply connected on an intimate level but we had many values that were not aligned.

    This next part of the journey is about improving myself. I do believe people come into our lives to become teachers of ourselves, if we are enlightened enough to see that. It’s just painful doing this work on yourself and facing the reality that I was rejected because I wasn’t strong enough to feel worthy of something better. I have to remind myself that he is not the only man in the world and when the right person comes I’ll be able to command the respect in a way that is effective and to stand my ground when something isn’t working for me. I thought I was acting compassionately by being understanding and accepting but this was to the detriment of my own self worth.

    I let myself cry when I need to. The more I cry the more I feel I’m releasing something. I am also writing a lot and I give myself credit that I can take this situation and turn it into something more positive for myself.

    #229479
    Flo18
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for your reply. What you wrote made me realise that he was definitely not an angel and that I was putting him on some kind of pedestal when clearly he should have been put in a pit. He was not true to himself, how could he ever be true to me or anyone else for that matter? I was feeling distraught about him being with someone else but really I feel relieved that I no longer have to put up with the stuff that wasn’t working for me. Yesterday I wrote a list of what they were and it turned out to be quite a long list indeed!

    I think I spent too much time focusing on what a good person he was and how good he made me feel when the other side probably tipped the scales more. I didn’t want to admit that I had failed another relationship and in a way I wanted to prove to myself I could make it work. I wanted to be optimistic and ignore the reality of it.

    The good that’s come out of it is that it has forced me to look at my behaviours and in doing so I will hopefully attract and be with a man who is loving, accepting, kind and understanding and who will also adjust and adapt to the flow of a relationship rather than run away to the next person at the first sign of trouble.

    #229539
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Flo18:

    Reads to me like good thinking on your part, increased awareness, excellent, I say!

    anita

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