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Trying to deal with anxiety and loss after relationship break up

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  • #362862
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I just saw some of the notifications in my less-used email. It’s been overwhelming. I felt my journey was better to continue within myself but I have now seen some messages where people are blaming themselves etc and I couldn’t let that train of thought continue. I think we all on this forum have enough sh1t going on that we don’t need to add a truck load of blame which is totally nonsensical to it!!! Absolutely nobody was responsible for me deciding to go away from the forum…I was just overwhelmed by a lot of what was happening in the world and in my personal world. That’s all. Just needed to get a handle on some things! So please please please, I promise, it was never to do with anyone else.

    @Kkasxo…Kammy….I’m so sorry dear friend if you felt abandoned…this saddened me the most. You’re a special person and the very first day I posted here a couple of years ago and you replied, I remember I wasn’t eating, sleeping, going outdoors and I would live for your responses at that time, because they made me feel less afraid, less alone. You kept me from the brink. So I’m sorry, I will always be here if you need me. xx

    #362904
    Sammy
    Participant

    @shelbyville thank you, thank you, thank you! It is so nice to hear from you and I know you said no one’s to blame but I’m definitely sorry if the newbies overtook a safe space for you. Please continue to post, or tell us to shoo! I know when @Kkasxo picks up the notification she will be even more overjoyed. At least something positive has happened.

     

    How are you? Has the time away been good to you? My anxiety has settled a little because after @Kkasxo heartfelt message i was overcome with sadness. You have helped a lot of people on this thread so i hope we can continue to help you.

     

    @Tim tomorrow is my day off I will reply properly to your initial message. Thank you for your help so far especially in tagging. Maybe it’s the man’s touch that was required!! X

    #362905
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    @shelbyville, oh I am overjoyed indeed!
    Your message has lit up my day! I am so so so glad to hear from you!

    Please do not apologise! If anyone knows journeys, it’s me. And I know these journeys can often mean different things at different times. Sometimes something may be your life line, other times that same thing may no longer serve you. I am glad that you did what you felt was right for you at that particular moment.

    I felt terrible that I wasn’t as active as I had wanted to be at the time and reading your last messages before you logged off for some time broke my heart a little. I too felt like I hadn’t been there for you at that time. I am so pleased that you have checked in. As strange as it may sound, over the years you truly have grown to be a dear friend and I value you and the time that you have spent communicating with me. Crazy or not, I lived for your messages too! Feels like we have been through such a whirlwind together!

    I hope you are well. I hope your soul feels a little lighter. I hope your smiling. I hope life has been treating you better. And I always always hope to hear from you!

    #363071
    Sammy
    Participant

    @shelbyville

    Shall I make another thread so I don’t interrupt yours and @kkasxo communication? I’d still like your input /thoughts though Shelby, you helped calm me in the beginning days.

    @Tim,

    I find myself reaching for the bottle as comfort more and more, it soothes the emptiness at least when I’m merry there are moments of happiness or maybe ignorance but the cold reality of the situation hits after I get sober and the cycle repeats. I don’t know what to do with my life, I feel so lost. My friends and family think I’m doing amazingly well. The mask is working but remove it and I’m a mess.

    It’s been 4.5 months since the last and final break up. I made a pro/con list like you suggested and the encouraging thing was there were definitely more cons. Whereas just thinking about it in my head I tended to focus more on the positive memories. The more I wrote the more I felt the view change to stark facts and not the rose view I had clung to. Writing it with a clear honest mind I see beyond our physical connection and the comforts/familiarity we definitely were not the right fit as you said. I was disappointed time and time again, he was a shit communicator, selfish, emotionally immature/ low Emotional intelligence, I wanted him to be the father of my children but he couldn’t even commit or handle the responsibility of adjusting for the both of us, I even wrote down his grooming habits which peeved me off like using my shaving blade for his privates!! Yet I was so blinded that I had convinced myself he was going to propose but instead he dumped me once more! Definition of FOOL = ME!!

    There have been more days of when im not holding onto hope of a reunion anymore, I acknowledge if we did reunite it would be for validation and to try and play out the idealisation I had of him in my head. When that person doesn’t exist. So i find I’m the opposite I have no hope for the future. I’m scared I’ll never find someone. What’s it even like to have someone love you like you loved? What’s it like to feel special? What is a healthy relationship? I’ve never been in it and this experience seems to have scarred me. I feel like I’ll never get to experience that so thoughts of going back to what I had creep in it’s better than nothing?  I don’t know. I don’t know. I go from one extreme to the next. When does it become better? Is it really better for you with your new partner or is it settling because you can’t have your ex?

    I don’t know maybe I’m just rambling nonsense and I need to pull myself together and get a grip!

     

    #363114
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    @kkasxo, my goodness, nothing to feel guilty about, as you said, we all have different journeys at different times. But I often thought of you and wondered in my head how you’re doing. There is a lot of change in the world and in my life currently and I guess I was and still am I guess, overwhelmed at times. The two of us have been on such a roller coaster or is it a merry go-round at this stage?

    How are things with Mr. A and the jobs front? I’m so glad as always to hear from you.

    @sammy, it’s a tough time for you huh? It’s totally up to you, this forum and these threads are for anyone and everyone to contribute to. The only thing that might additionally help is to have your own thread with a title that will get people’s attention as you might not get as many responses on my thread because it’s old and new readers might not be inclined to dip in to a thread that’s over 100 pages long!!! I’m happy to help in any way I can – even though I have by no means got my sh1t together!

    I can’t say I know how it feels to need to want alcohol, I’ve never been a big drinker so I guess that was at least one extra dimension that I didn’t have to suffer through with my heartbreak. But from what I’ve learned…and again…I’ve no experience, but just some research of my own, the booze is to stop you feeling. All the feels. The loneliness, the pain, the loss. I think it’s a numb-er, a distraction. Cos those feels are…..hard. I mean….really hard. But I guess all feelings, good or bad, hard or not, gotta flow through us, until they disappear. If we allow them out, they do eventually change. Ebb and flow…this too shall pass.

    I know it’s been 4.5 months and he was not right for you in so many ways and you can see – logically – that you needed better and deserve better…but you’re still hurt. Absolutely hurt and why wouldn’t you be? It was a lot. a large part of your life, all of your heart, it’s okay not to be okay ya know. And trust me, I get it….we don’t WANT to not be okay, we want the pain to go away, we want to see an improvement, we want to feel better and we want our hope back. And it will come, but just not yet maybe.

    Tim has had some great insights on here from what I read and he’s made it through and worked on himself wonderfully and painfully and we all have the capacity to do that. Do not be harsh on yourself for feeling how you feel. Self criticism and degradation does not prove helpful I find. You are who you are Sammy, you feel a lot, you feel sad, it’s not your fault you feel this way, everyone on this planet deals with things differently and your way is your way.

    Keep trying to think ahead and at least even if you don’t believe there is hope, say to yourself perhaps that ‘everyone can’t be wrong, there’s gotta be some hope’…

    Hang in there x

    #363136
    Tim
    Participant

    @Shelbyville, it’s a pleasure to have your acquaintance. You were in demand, it seems! Thank you for the compliments on my insight, it is good to know my personal shit show was worth it if it helps others  😉 You offer a lot of sound advice, yet you seem to be stuck after reading your latest post? Anything I can aid with?

    @Sammy

    I’m no expert but sounds like this isn’t just heartbreak but signs of depression occurring alongside, you need to PUT DOWN THE BOTTLE! You are doing yourself no favours. As Shelbyville mentioned alcohol simply numbs your emotions so you think you have better control but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Trust me, I spiralled into both alcohol and gambling addictions just to get that dopamine hit. Adding another addiction to the one you have for your ex is not the answer, it will prolong your journey. Let all those emotions pass through even if they are confronting/painful. I suggest you consult with your GP and perhaps look into some counseling/therapy. It might be an avenue worth trying because of how you are using alcohol as a crutch. I’d hate for you to spiral or hit rock bottom. It’s been 4 months, I would not be worried about where you are at, everything you are feeling currently is normal especially after 4/5 years together, you definitely are being too self-critical and not acknowledging the small victories and progress. There is no timeline and no universal method to heal from heartbreak, some people do have the ability to get over things quickly because of their own self-belief, faith/religion or because they didn’t actually open up/be fully vulnerable in the first place others like myself/ people on these forums struggle quite often because there are underlying unresolved issues from childhood or poor self-worth, etc. What you should know is with work, growth can occur. You have the ability to steer your life towards success/happiness. I’m an example despite the turns I took that life does get better if you proactively work towards goals or choices which are in your best interest.

    “What’s it even like to have someone love you like you loved? What’s it like to feel special? What is a healthy relationship?”

    Ah, Sammy, I can see you are low and it saddens me you feel unloved but you are loved by just looking at the family you’ll see they all love you unconditionally for who you are. Just because your ex, one person, didn’t choose you does that now make you unlovable? NO!

    In the context of romantic relationships, let me tell you to be able to love openly and selflessly like I’m sure you did hence you felt the loss so deeply requires courage and is such a magical trait, don’t lose it.

    In a healthy relationship, you’ll notice the love is the enduring kind that develops over time. When you begin to share your life with someone whom you treasure and who treasures you, you have some shared interests, goals and dreams, you always keep avenues of communication open, compromise, when you hold yourself to the highest standards of moral, ethical, physical and emotional standards because you both bring the best out of each other.

    So it is incredible when someone understands you, recognises your quirks and flaws, and loves you even more. When you start admiring and loving your inner-self, then you will realise the difference of loving & being loved.

    “What’s it like to feel special? “

    I think for men and women it is dependent on their love language how they are made to feel special for example, I like to feel appreciated and expression of affection and love through physical touch and words. I like the odd surprise too.

    It is a beautiful feeling when someone reciprocates equally and makes you feel special. If you are special to someone do not lose them. Because it’s a feeling very hard to describe and hard to obtain because a lot of people are fickle and selfish.

    You feel special when you share real intimacy, people associate the word intimacy with sex but it is so much more than that. It’s about being open, sincerely wanting to understand, learn from, care for, enjoy, like, and love the person you’re with — for who they are.

    Is it really better for you with your new partner or is it settling because you can’t have your ex?

    Sammy, after you have been through the wars like us, if you haven’t learned what love should feel like then you need to perhaps go back for another round to know what your ex was offering is definitely not love! I’m not settling, my ex actually came back but I had grown, I walked away. When I ran into a mutual friend, she informed me that at the time my ex reached out to me she had actually just been dumped. Go figure, she thought of me as sloppy seconds still even so by then I had no desire to return. Like I mentioned once chance otherwise it is a path towards self-destruction. So yes, currently things are better with my new partner, she is understanding, communicates, and makes me feel special and loved in ways my ex never could.

    Don’t lose hope in a brighter future, it is time, work and making better decisions! So step 1 – ditch the booze.

     

     

    #363456
    Sammy
    Participant

    @Tim Reading your reply made me cry, you along with @shelbyville are both so intuitive. I had been feeling like recently I had gone backwards in my progress as when the pandemic began my break up was so miniscule in relation to the worlds that I was able to find solace. So this sudden change of feelings I have found hard and confusing. Having to then keep that a secret from family and friends as they thought I was doing great has been exhausting and alienating.

    I don’t know if it’s just feeling low from heartache or I may be suffering from depression. But I will book a check up as I’m overwhelmed and I certainly don’t want to end up an addict. Thank you for not sugar coating the facts even if it was hard for me to acknowledge.

    Tim, I’m also sorry for even insinuating you are settling in your new relationship. I find I get jealous not in a horrible way but I want to be where you are, on the other side happy and loved. I do feel unloved because if you think about it I gave 100% to my ex but I was not good enough. He gave me much less and I accepted him. It hurts in its own way. I don’t know if the ego is bruised or I lacked so much self love that I thought this was all I deserved?

    I am loved but I want that one person who understands me, is mine, I can turn to whether I’m in a joyous or pissy mood. Someone like you described that makes you feel special too.

    @shelbyville if it’s ok may I continue to post here? I find you understand my peaks and troughs and @Tim is inspiration as he has made it out the other side and he gives sage advice.

    Shelby, You are so right, my ex was a big part of my life, many of my firsts and adulting was with him. One day he moved in and 3.5 years later I would have expected to have a baby, a forever home, wedding. Was I wrong to have this expectation? None of that came. So it hurts in so many ways. Why didn’t I chose better for myself? The signs were there. Why was I not enough? Was it all lies and he just coasted passively enjoying the warm body and having me there doing everything, spoiling him until he was eventually going to find something better and leave? I feel like if I didn’t push for more he would have carried on enjoying all the benefits until he came across his one because I clearly wasn’t as his actions in the end showed time and time I was not a priority. I feel hurt for being a fool. I feel hurt I love him so much that 4.5 months on and after he broke up with me so many times citing the same reasons, I still if he came back at this point give it consideration. Although I don’t want that, the time I invested seems like such a waste. My head feels like scrambled eggs. I then cry just wanting someone to tell me they love me, I want to be able to sleep next to someone knowing he wants me. Am i just lonely?

    How and where are you at in your stage of your journey? Some of my friends are suggesting I go on some casual dates but I don’t want that. I want to fast forward to the part when I’m with someone I feel loved and secure with. Someone if I get too merry after a girl’s night, will hold my hair back while I puke and tells me in my worst state he thinks I’m amazing. I want to be seen. I want someone to say it and mean it and show it.

    It’s a Sat evening and I have so many friends and family but I feel so alone. When does it get better? You mentioned you still haven’t got your “shit together” in what way (but then again you have been very self degrading in your previous posts before your break) ?

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #363646
    Lucie
    Participant

    @tim I will read that link on limerance. I really am thankful but right now I don’t feel brave enough to share my story, trying to speak or write it out is too scary, I try and work on myself by using some wisdom from others experience but I know to really move forward in my life I will need therapy which I can not afford currently.

    @shelbyville I followed your thread for a long time and will continue to because @Kkasxo PTSD and your spirals were so relatable and I’m ashamed to admit because I can’t afford therapy, I’d read your tips. How are you coping with anxiety @shelbyville and PTSD @KKasxo?  I suffer terribly with both it can feel so overloading… I feel if you two make progress then it is a ray of hope for me too.

    #363649
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    @Lucie,

    PTSD is an asshole of a disease, if you’ve followed this thread for a while you’ll know that I called it a ‘life sentence’. It really is a completely life altering experience.

    Obviously, I don’t know your story, your trauma, how long you have been suffering etc and that’s okay, but what I do know is that from personal experience I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    When I first got PTSD I was in complete denial. I was at the lowest of the low, no longer ashamed to admit that I was very much suicidal for many months. In fact, even though at the time I knew things were awful, it’s only now I look back and notice that my dear friend sacrificed her job and her actual life to actually keep me alive at the time. I was a very lost person, and that’s the best way I can describe it. I literally had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t recognise myself, my behaviour, my outbursts, why I did the things I did. And in some sense, I’m still lost. I’m still trying to figure it all out, I’m still trying to learn and grow.

    BUT, yes there is a but! I am not where I was then, and that in itself is a blessing! And I remember, being the person on the receiving end having had enough, without an inch of belief that it will ever get better, reading all these people advise that it WILL get better and I didn’t believe it. I thought maybe I just didn’t have it in me to get better. But, it does get better.

    What once kept me sleepless for weeks on end, now haunts me once every few weeks. The triggers, reminders, actual physical pain, it’s a lot less intense. You really learn about what works and doesn’t work for you.

    It is a journey. And one hell of a spiral one at that. There is a lot of pain before there is any form of release, I won’t say happiness as I still haven’t felt this for many years. You have to learn to face your worst nightmares before they no longer hold over your life. Putting boundaries in place. In doing so, you eventually learn to live day by day with this ‘altered life’.

    #363651
    Kkasxo
    Participant

    @Shelbyville,

    Change?! Although this can be terrifying, I didn’t get that vibe from your post! Maybe a little apprehensive but excited?! I hope it is good change?! I hope it is positive change?

    How is work? How is that guy you were seeing that you didn’t really think you were ready to see, but he was lovely? Did anything progress there in the end? How are YOU?

    Don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed. It’s a whole (nearly) two years later and I’m still kinda all over the place! Granted not completely down in the gutter & actually living rather than keeping alive but still lost in some sense. That bloody journey eh!

    The famous Mr A eh. This has become the most annoying topic of my life to be quite frank haha. Whilst he’s still ‘around’ it’s circumstantial more than anything. I think getting back together was probably the biggest mistake I could’ve done, as I often wonder how I hindered my own progress BUT things were different then, I needed him. I needed him to process everything that I couldn’t fathom on my own. I’m in a different place now, maybe that’s why it’s a lot easier for me to just be like ‘Oh well’

    I guess what is life if not a bunch of bad decisions, regrets and what ifs amongst small moments of joy & happiness!

    #363886
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Sammy,

    You can post here for as long as you like, you definitely don’t need my permission and Tiny Buddha is a sanctuary for so many people and should continue to be for anyone who feels lost and is reaching out.

    I suppose I’m hesitant to say too much about my own circumstances now because of some of the posts I have read from people who are really waiting to hear that I’m living happily ever after! Trust me, I get it…people on this thread can attest to the number of times I wrote….WHEN will i feel better?!!! WILL i ever get over it! You just want some hope and i remember that feeling all too well.

    But here it is. Im a work in progress. I am NOT where I was two years ago when I first began posting here and I’m NOT where I was last May/June when the ex finished it for the last time. So in that sense…..everyone who said it is correct….’this too shall pass’. But I’m acutely aware that no matter who said that to me at the time, it didn’t touch my heart, it just didn’t sink in, so you don’t have to believe me now. But one day in the future, you will look back and have an ‘Aha’ moment and realise that these dark moments you’re in now, have indeed passed. It may take time and it may take work, but life is something that by its very nature will not allow us to stay stagnant. We will be moved on one way or another.

    So, I’m grateful for where I’m at now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have anxiety. Man the anxiety kicks my ass sometimes! And it’s always in my stomach! I don’t sleep and my tummy just heaves, no matter how many meditations I do that day. But lately what I’ve been trying to do is question everything. Question myself. My anxiety, my body, my heart is telling me something and I think it’s about time I listened. So sometimes, I’ll ask myself a couple of questions and begin journalling from there.

    Can I just say….you are enough Sammy. You have always been enough. I could not be told that either when my ex left me, I fundamentally saw it as a reflection of me not being good enough, not being cool enough, not being sexy enough, not being aloof enough. Hard to not think that if you have low self worth anyway, so don’t be mad at yourself for feeling that way, but just because you feel like that, it does not mean its true. Your ex was his own person, with his own life experiences and conditioning which got him to the place he was when he ended it, same as you had your own life experiences and conditioning that made you the person you are. Just because he was not able to be the person you wanted him to be, that is a separate issue to who you are. He couldn’t do it not BECAUSE of you, he couldn’t do it DESPITE you being so incredible. Ask yourself, what exactly did you have, what were you not enough at, that you failed the relationship test set by your ex? Tell me the reasons you think he decided ‘you were not good enough’.

    I would suggest as a starter towards healing to drop the inner critic. I know you won’t want to. It’s habitual. She/He won’t like it…inner critics can be right biatches, they rebel when you don’t follow their usual rules. But I named mine….Martha…she’s a little pain, but I acknowledge her when she’s there. In some warped way, she was and has been trying to protect me, but I try nowadays not to be so harsh on myself. Yeah I took longer that would have been ideal to start seeing improvement, yeah I still am super emotional and sensitive, yeah i went back to my ex a THIRD time!!! But all of that was part of my journey and getting cross with myself for not being where people wanted me to be only shoved me in to a shame spiral. For me that resulted in pain, I often felt physical pain in my stomach or wherever because i was trying not to be me. Perhaps for you, it’s being channeled through alcohol. But perhaps there is a brighter way for you. A different way to help heal yourself? Tim has some sage and insightful advice which I feel is so worthwhile to you also, because he’s been through the firepit and is out the other side.

    Lucie…I think it was yourself who asked about how I’m doing now….do you mean in relation to anxiety? Well if so, then I’m doing okay. Better. Let’s be honest, anxiety is not fun. It feels horrendous. It has been horrendous and as you may have read I still struggle with sleepless nights and panic attacks. The difference now I guess, is that, I’m not as frightened of it. When it first happened I honestly thought I would be committed, that it would overrun my mind and body and I’d be trapped forever in a spiral. That has changed, anxiety is frightening but I no longer think it will be the end of me. So maybe that tiny shift in my mindset has been enough to keep my from the brink recently with anxiety attacks. It might be hard, it might be scary, but it will NOT destroy me, even if it wants me to believe it will. Therapy has helped me, but honestly….I lost my job in March so wasn’t in a financial position either to see my therapist for months there during quarantine. In those instances, I reached out, mostly to my sister, who did the best she could, which was enough to help me feel less alone, I also read a lot of blogs and followed people I admire online and took part in free webinars or sessions and those things helped open up my perspective enough bit by bit to introduce some new self awareness or insight which I feel is really helping me grow. There is hope. Now.

    @kkasxo

    Oooffff…what do I mean by change?! Well like i mentioned to Sammy above I’m half afraid to elaborate on my story too much because I might disappoint posters here who want the happy ever after ya know?! But I guess there is hope now. That’s new! You know how I do love an old wallow session of despair heehee! But basically my job I started at the beginning of this crazy ride we’re on right now with coronoavirus, has gone. It’s not likely to return anytime soon so I’m diversifying. I picked up some freelance work in my old career field which kept me going a little throughout quarantine etc. The out of boredom I applied for a couple of jobs in the big city and am proceeding through the processes there. I hadn’t really put too much thought into those, but I got called for interviews anyway and then second interviews etc, so it’s all moving faster than I expected and I’m anxious anxious anxious because it’s a lot of change and a move away from everyone and everything I know. So I’m not sure if I’m afraid to get the job/jobs or I’m afraid not to! Change is scary.

    The guy who I started and stopped something with last year is still very much in my life. He’s a really good friend. I mean…..there have been times over the past few months, where I wondered do I feel more for him, but he’s a little flaky and would let me down from time to time, so i figured her’s not the one for me. Also quarantine has a lot to answer for….people get bored and it amplifies feelings that you might not have otherwise have had. But we’re in an okay place now, being friends and hanging out as friends once in a while. The lines have been drawn and I’m good with that.

    On the advice of friends and the fear that I would NEVER get over my ex, I joined a dating website/app….whatever you call it, gosh I’m so old and not used to this! Anyway, talk about the spiral of absolute hurt, betrayal, confusion and upset I went through in the past couple of months, when my ex came up as a suggestion on the dating app. Yep. So that happened. At least if a mugger every decides to karate kick me in the stomach and knock me to the ground some day, I well I’m now well-prepared for the ordeal! Needless to say, that on top of all the change regarding work etc, I was not sleeping at all. The anxiety is real.

    However since then it’s settled down a bit. I’m making better progress, my therapist says he’s proud of me and was finally glad i was at long last developing some real anger towards my ex!! haha! So at the moment whats happening? Well I’m kinda seeing two guys….I know right…who even am I?!! It’s all very new and honestly, who knows…it could be a way of distracting myself, I don’t know, but for now….it is what it is! Oh there has been a situation with an older male neighbour too which has caused me extreme anguish of late and actually not feeling safe in my own home….so yeah….that’s been me! Anyone reading this can most assuredly now know that I did not leave this forum because of any posters!!! I literally had a head that was about to explode is all!

    You definitely sound like you’re in a much stronger place. I don’t believe you made a mistake getting back with Mr.A. That was a a decision you needed to make at that time in your life. We make the best decisions we are capable of at any given time. I feel you were on the brink, really struggling and you saw a way of helping make it through, survival instinct kicked in and you found the route to help you survive, so well done you. You’re more resilient than you think. That decision got you to here right? Okay, as you said maybe not happiness, but in a FAR better place that you were previously, so as long as I have @kkasso to chat to because of decisions she made involving Mr. A, then I’m grateful for those decisions! The rest will come, I think we will get to the point that is out of survival mode, and once we have a bit of strength and grounded ourselves a little, then perhaps we can move to the next phase, actually figuring out what will make us happy and making decisions accordingly!

    I’m grateful for you and our journey together! 🙂

     

    #363946
    Tim
    Participant

    Hi @Sammy,

    Lordy, you have really got yourself in a tangle there. I know that feeling too well. Let me remind you even the most difficult knots can be untied or worn away until they disintegrate. By that, I mean whatever is hurting right now will not last. I had no intention to induce tears, I know the expectation of moving forward can be difficult, your nearest and dearest want what is best for you and not to see you suffer but you take your time and work through the feelings at a pace that feels right for you. There is no universal method as I mentioned. You have this forum and also reach out for help if needed with the alcohol. Guidance/support from whomever you trust can keep you heading in the right direction. Better than suffering alone and prolonging your pain.

    I’m glad you acknowledge that there is an addiction element occurring in your recovery. Put down that bottle, as hard as those dark and painful thoughts are they need to be faced head-on to move forward. It will destroy you if you allow yourself to numb the feelings. Post on here if you feel you have no one in person to turn to, when you feel you are slipping, one of us can post a friendly but stern warning and motivation to not go there! I used to have a buddy who I would call or text whenever I felt tempted to go back to any 3 of my addictions; ex, alcohol, and gambling. It really worked. It also stops you from feeling so alone. Day by day you muster up enough strength to say NO for yourself, right now you just need a little hand. It is ok to ask for help, it is ok to feel pain from heartbreak. It is no different from having a devastating RTA and needing to recover from several fractured bones. The same happened to your heart, it shattered the shards hit different aspects of you causing pain/wounds to surface. They need to be healed by addressing each issue i.e. self-worth etc. With time and self-love, you will heal, do not give up. Fight for you as you did for that relationship.

    Communication helps resolves a lot of our woes, so do not be afraid to talk it out

    You asked @shelbyville should you jump into casual dating; from what you said earlier and what you describe you want (a long-lasting, loving relationship) it is of my opinion that this will be the wrong avenue for you to pursue. I did that and it wasn’t good! People got hurt and I only hindered myself further. I’ll explain more below as @shelbyville needs to consider this too.

    I could write a whole book to remind you that you are enough, but until you feel it within yourself you will continue to feel inadequate. The mind can be cruel, do not always take its word. Emotional intelligence therapy taught me that we must stop comparing ourselves, as there is only one of us and therefore of course we are enough because no one else can be us. We are unique each holding our own flaws but also many valuable qualities. Everything you have been through play a reverse on it. For example; I felt like a class A fool for returning to my ex; everyone would automatically say that was because I was desperate and needy but alternatively it represented my loyalty and commitment to making something I valued work. Society sets these standards but you should hold yourself to your own set of rules and values and as long as you are doing right by them then you are doing your best.

    I want you to think about something, if your ex was the ONE he would have made you feel special, you were missing this element because he did took you for granted or did not give you the merit deserved. Hence why you want to experience it,  YOU WILL FEEL SPECIAL – WHEN THAT PERSON COMES that is someone you DO NOT LET GO OFF! So let go of your ex, let go of that anguish which holds you back. You will immediately recognize the difference of being treated in a special way in future relationships especially since you felt so undervalued in your previous relationship. So just heal and allow yourself to get to a stage when that person does walk into your life, you are ready to grab it and not let fear destroy it (again I had to take the long road to realise this too – see what a mess I was, but the work I did on myself, made me stronger and I got there 🙂 )

     

    @Shelbyville

    I have noticed my advice seems to be helpful and I am glad it is relatable, my journey was literally from hell and back. Now I’m a male so some of my advice may be blunt/logical and less comforting nonetheless it is said with greatest of respect for each person’s journey and to offer a perspective from someone who has been through the cesspit.

    I had a read of your post above and picked up on a few things, feel free to dismiss my view/thoughts but I recognised my own behaviours in some of what you said.

    Flashback!!! I struggled with seeing the hard truths in relation to my ex, I struggled to generate anger for a person I loved with all my heart but boy is this stage so vital in recovery.

    Can I tell you how lucky you are that you didn’t have to witness the gut-wrenching moment of your ex moving on, in person!! Thank the powers to be you were saved that at least. I remember the first time I bumped into the ex who was so adamant she wanted to focus on her career and didn’t want the responsibility of being in a relationship yet there she was supposedly moving on with someone else, it was a tsunami of emotions. I felt jealous, I felt betrayed, I felt like a fool for investing so much of myself with someone who never really loved me or respected me enough to say YOU ARE NOT THE ONE but instead continued to enjoy the perks I provided, I felt I had received a hefty punch from Mike Tyson himself which left me so winded. On top of this, I still couldn’t bring myself to ignore her/be impolite when deep down I had my inner self scream YOU BITCH, thank you for almost ruining my life completely and wasting my time and hopping straight into another mans arm. At one point after the initial shock wore off over the coming week, I even for a moment convinced myself she would rebound and return but deep down I knew this was detrimental to my own emotional health because we had tried several times and she dumped me each time and I no longer wanted to deprive myself of feeling content because of her and actually did want to be in a healthy, loving relationship where I FELT loved. This type of revelation can be another major blow to our self-esteem and mental health. So just some pointers do not compare or criticise yourself, have a positive outlook, and acknowledge you have actually just been saved years of more turmoil from someone who couldn’t see your value and love you in the way you deserve. It is a blessing!

    I’m not ashamed to admit I am a very romantic man and those rom coms my sister forced me to watch in my youthful years have a lot to answer for. I always want everyone happy, which is a trait you appear to exhibit from reading your posts (people pleaser). It was when I started to realise “Happy ever after doesn’t exist” that I began to actually understand what love is. So do not worry about giving that ending to everyone because it isn’t realistic and you don’t owe anyone anything! If they have that expectation it is on them to figure out do not add undue pressure onto yourself. It is your journey and one thing which you should be proud of is that you are growing and undergoing work to progress. This should make you happy as you are working towards being a better human. Not many have the drive to work on themselves and simply blame others for their issues. Kudos to you!

    This is a world where no matter how much is given to us, we can never be satiated, we will always feel there’s more and want more. Those who are able to get into stable relationships have the basic understanding that it requires; communication, empathy, compromise, and focusing on gratitude. Sammy mentioned I was settling (no offense taken whatsoever), however, with experience you learn to manage your own expectations and empathise more with your partner, there can never be a relationship without any disagreement, the one that’s all smiles and laughs and hugs and kisses. You learn not to take things for granted. When life throws you lemons, at times your partner will let you down, but you will pick up the slack on that occasion and vice versa. It’s a fine art of balance from two people who have committed themselves to their love for one another. So no happy ever afters just a commitment and you try and uphold that even when shit hits the fan.

    I couldn’t fathom reading 100+ pages (sorry) but I was curious to see what was causing everyone to feel they had caused you to leave this thread, which is where I picked up on a few other things. So when Kkasxo asked about the guy you dated and stopped because you were not ready, I was intrigued. After reading your above response and what you had written a few pages back I instantly recognized a few patterns of behavior in your reply, so I thought I’d give you an insight/food for thought based on the previous descriptions you wrote of the said friend (at least I think it is that one, haven’t read all of the thread!)

    It reads to me as if you are convincing yourself of the decision of being just friends. You know your circumstances, however without knowing the exact background but from my own experience, I sense they may have been a little to and fro between you, the indecision from your end (due to ex baggage) resulted in your male “friend” flaking, but quite often it isn’t them as I said in a previous post to Sammy, it is us running due to FEAR. I wrote in more detail about my self-sabotaging, you would have thought after the pain of the heartbreak, the universe would go easier on me! Jesus! The road was tough but I will not elaborate too much you can go back and read it.

    Just remember having doubt or anxious feelings is a normal response to change, it usually stems from fear and your own doubts about yourself. I thought my current partner was amazing when I met her but my brain started to compare, transference occurred and I convinced myself out of fear she can’t be right for me, so I acted like a turd and in the same breath, I felt deeply hurt and abandoned when she said she could not continue as we were, she recognised I needed to work on myself. Rather than acknowledging her as a strong woman, who had enough self-respect, self-love to walk away with compassion even though she had feelings, I began to applaud myself for my self-fulfilling prophecy and being right about her walking away from me or using it as an excuse to disguise the pain and loss I was actually experiencing. With time, so more pricey therapy and reflection on the connection, etc. I pulled myself together and went after her determined even if it meant rejection. Her feelings were true, finally, some luck for me, even after that space, she knew we shared a real connection (the older you are the more you realise how hard it is to find that!)  took a punt and so far fingers crossed it is going swimmingly.

    So it can pay to take a good look at yourself first when it comes to doubts. It might be your own behaviour towards your potential partner that you are projecting. When I look back I still think fuck what was I thinking? I actually probably didn’t deserve a second chance but I went for it, because what is life if you don’t shoot all your shots and accept the outcome. My therapist said this was actual progress, facing your fears and being vulnerable in ways you are afraid to after past “failures” ( I call them lessons now or joke to my therapist all these events were intense growing pains you get like a child. I was growing into a stronger person just took me longer than most but I got there!)

    Interestingly you wrote lines have been drawn, by whom? You or your friend? Are you really ok, you may well be but I said I was going to give you my experience in case there is anything you can take away. It reminded me of myself trying to convince myself I was fine. Usually, it’s a lack of communication that tends to be the true issue in these things, did you mention your surfacing feelings over the past few months and confront them with your friend or are you hiding them from your friend out of fear because lines have been drawn and he could now possibly reject you? Remember though the line between friends and lovers is very thin.

    I ask you this as a neutral reader because I know what it is like to have regrets and project when you have been hurt in the past. Reading your past posts the descriptions you wrote about this very close friend (I think it is this one?) were very gushing and indicate feelings brewing pre quarantine to a neutral reader, and although you may be blaming quarantine for amplifying the feelings out of boredom perhaps it was just time, and they are real and have grown? Like KKasxo /questioned you were not ready initially and now you feel it is too late…

    All this is just food for thought because I also noticed you are dating 2 people for distraction, a distraction from what? You are running from something because if you wanted a stable relationship you wouldn’t state they are distractions, could it be you are actually still unavailable because of your ex? Or are there conflicting feelings you may be suppressing for this new friend? Being friend-zoned is tough, I posted on another thread about this you may want a read of that.

    Either way, my experience, and advice are encounters for distraction never fill any voids, it will affect your own progression and you can convince yourself that the other person is aware that it is casual but the other person could easily end up developing feelings that is another headache you do not need if you do not want to be vulnerable for a real relationship. You only have to read my story to know I was a POS who hurt a few women before I found a strong woman who put me in my place by walking away until I fixed up.

    Being unavailable is our responsibility and we shouldn’t toy with others feelings to make ourselves feel better . Don’t make my mistakes, because if you are a decent human being, eventually the guilt will overcome you, the sleepless nights when someone good gets caught in the crossfire all because of our own issues is not worth it for a momentary pick me up. It just feeds the cycle of toxicity and results in self disgust and exacerbates our already low self-worth. I know most women think us men are jerks but same applies to us, we are not void of emotions we hurt too when used, we feel pain too and I’m the only male voice on here so I want to put it out there don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you.

    I also feel a lot of FEAR is playing into your job worries. Doubts? Ride the wave of change, change is not always as daunting as you think. If you land an opportunity, grasp it because I have become redundant, but stay positive, with the correct mental support in place you will make it through. It is a lot, people are feeling dejected and hopeless because of the uncertainty but we are all in the same boat so do not let this worry add to the anxiety you feel and stop the work in progress.

    @Lucie

    You sound as if you have had a very tough experience, I want to say if you wish to talk this is a safe, non-judgmental community that can help. I have had a lot of therapy so if you need free tips or even cheekily to ask my therapist hypotheticals, I will be more than happy to help. However, to really overcome deep-rooted issues, you may still need professional help and I hope you can find avenues through charities or your GP? Where are you based? There is a website called SupportIV which offers 1-hour free therapy, you may wish to post anonymously there to see if it helps. It is a group session but sometimes you get lucky and find a 1-1 session. There are a few more if you google them too. We can only provide help based on our own experiences and hope it will help someone enduring something similar.

    @KKasxo

    I would hate to leave any lady out, although it seems you have a good handle of things currently, you seem very resilient given the snippet of posts I’ve read and have taken strides to adapt to your life sentence (PTSD). If you ever need a male perspective on this infamous Mr. A, do drop a message, happy to help. I feel giving back will help others and atone me for my sins haha! A man can hope!

    #364001
    Sammy
    Participant

    @Tim, thank you for continuing to motivate me, you give me hope there are some good men out there at least. I have definitely got my self into knots but with some guidance and virtue, I’m hoping to untie them all. I’m tired of everyday feeling like a drag, effectively wishing my life away. I have definitely gone backward and can’t pin down why? I think I need to go back to my roots and seek solace there because during the pandemic the faith kept me going. Yesterday I had a visit from my best friend who you may have read about in my earlier posts. She is very much like yourself, very perceptive and insightful, she has a psychology background and I guess your therapy has made you very clued up too. I think it is admirable that you are trying to help others when your initial post was seeking help about being rusty! I’m glad you stuck around because you have been a great support to me.

    I think the buddy idea sounds fab, over the past few days I have reduced my units. I now wait until midday to drink…can I toast to that? Progress?

    Tim, I do want the loving long term relationship, I’m aware enough to know that I need time to work on me and getting into casual relationships for me would take me away from working on the issues I am burying and only set me back. For me, it would just be a total waste of time as I want something meaningful. I probably with the issues I have, be a blubbering mess even kissing a new man. I guess with men it is different you tend to do this when hurting so it makes sense why you did even though you regret it

    I’ll keep you posted on, by the way, I have noticed I have been making digs at men, you are outnumbered on here but I want to say I am grateful for you perspective!  Sorry if you get caught in the broad strokes!

    @shelbyville,Wow! I mean with all that going on I’m shocked your head didn’t explode. You made it through!! You sound so positive now, that is so encouraging. I think you have begun to progress towards feeling more fulfilled. I don’t believe in happy endings anymore either, stupid fairytales! I’m sorry for adding any pressure, I guess in a way it is pinning hope, if this person who is so great and suffered so much, gets back up and starts to see the light then I can too. I was looking to you for inspiration, a bit selfish to want you to hurry to a good place. Tim is right, it is your journey.

    Did you always suffer anxiety or was it a result of the ex?

    Shelby, you are already showing so much more resilience, after coming across your ex on the app considering he claimed to be happier alone, you appear to have handled it well, you didn’t act out of desperation and beg or even confront him. I would be tempted to do that in your circumstances. Tim, I would have screamed your inner voice too! I don’t think seeing my ex with someone new would hurt though, I kind of feel he probably already is. He is a man, they are so thirsty! Sorry TIM! What would hurt is if he committed/proposed to someone, I hope I’m not still in this mess if/when that happens!

    Shelby thinking back the way you would describe him and how he made you feel like the ground you walk on was golden etc gave us all pangs of jealousy and I remember thinking you were lucky to connect and someone makes you feel that way, you yourself described it as incredible. So yeah I wouldn’t be surprised if you caught feelings, I also recall you wanted from him things you wouldn’t expect of a friend but more of a bf, do you think Tim’s observation may have legs? You may be acting out of fear because of the way you described this friend to us he didn’t sound like a flaky person. Flaky is my ex telling me he is going to meet me after work for a date night I took weeks organizing and then him going to watch the footie with his mates, not bothering to call or text me. Yet I thought he would change?! I feel so pathetic sometimes!

    You asked me for reasons you think he decided I was not good enough;
    I guess I will never know, but I tried in every way I could to make him happy but it never was enough. Over the years it wore me down, when he would disappoint me in a substantial way like not turning up for our date night or forgetting to buy me a gift for my birthday/spoiling me like my friend’s significant others would, this made me feel shit when others would call him out, by the end I was making excuses, justifying his behavior and accepting that because I thought that was all I was worth. Maybe he thought I was boring, maybe he lost attraction or I wasn’t smart enough, I just felt despite giving all of me he still didn’t love me enough to commit. So now I feel unlovable. I feel like everything I did over the course of time we were together he chose the odd moments where I wasn’t there for him in the exact way he needed and then made a decision that impacted the whole of our lives, how is that fair when I was so selfless with him? My friend said he was someone who refused to fully accept me because it was easier to make me think something was wrong with me than it is was for him to be vulnerable and human and open to the idea of being hurt if he gave his all too. This makes sense but doesn’t change how I feel about myself, I sometimes cry about how I allowed myself to be treated, which makes me feel even more worthless. It is just a shitty cycle and I desire to be hugged and made to feel loved, alive and it is such a strong feeling I end up drinking more to quell that loneliness.

    So that is where I’m at :((

    #364202
    Lucie
    Participant

    @KKasxo thanks so much for replying, I do feel like a broken or damaged person seeing a way out is difficult, some days the PTSD alongside the anxiety makes life feel like it is strangling me and I’m gasping for breath, I think these are panic attacks? Sometimes I do think would it be better to just end it here but I can’t let him win. I can’t. Not when all I wanted was to have someone who loved me.

    I’ve been suffering for while now, did you find therapy was a big role in getting to a stable place? I suffer so bad with sleep paralysis along with the trauma that haunts me throughout the day and I’m frightened to even sleep.

    I do hope it gets a little easier, I don’t know how much more I can take. Its good to read you have made improvement.

    Do the flashbacks become less real or are they just as sharp but spaced out?

    @shelbyville do you still take medication for anxiety? Does it help with the darker thoughts. any free webinars or online people you can recommend to follow to help ? I live alone, no real support as I left home when i was 16, I have one bestie who earlier months was my saviour but she has her own issues now with a complicated pregnancy etc and not being able to help her back because I’m still caught in my storms hurts so much that I pushed her away.

    @Tim i couldn’t ask you to do that, you pay for your therapy to help you. Thanks so much. I will look at Support IV

    Tim our circumstances are so different but you seem the furthest through your journey and so wise, if someone hurt you can you really trust or be close to someone again? Is normal to want to return to with someone that hurt you?

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