Help me bounce back from an emotionally abusive relationship.
February 23, 2011 8:17 PM Subscribe
I just left an emotionally abusive relationship. And I feel... off. Help?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a 22 year old female who just decided to leave my 26 year old boyfriend of 6 months. We have broken up multiple times before, and the relationship had degenerated to a really bad level. For background information, I survived a lot of childhood sexual abuse and family chaos, followed by a physically abusive relationship from ages 19-21.
He pressured me into a committing to a relationship with him very quickly, but I liked him and it seemed like he wanted the best for me so I went with it. Various troubling warning signs appeared relatively early: small put downs and complaints about me, my appearance and my attitude; blaming me for his lack of affection and our non-existent sex life; treating me and talking to me as though I'm stupid (FWIW, I'm a grad-school bound student that made Phi Beta Kappa now graduating early; my intellect is one thing I'm not insecure about).
I did bring up my concerns about these things more than once, but he tended to deflect the conversation or answer my questions about why he was doing these things by either listing things I do wrong or stating that I don't "deserve" affection, sex, or whatever I felt was missing because I do too many things wrong. Part of the time I bought into these ideas. The other part I didn't, break up with him multiple times. But after a few days he always called me very apologetic, promising things would change, finally giving me the affection that he had been withholding, and I came back. Over time it got worse and worse, with him randomly accusing me of seeing another guy, telling me I shouldn't talk to my friends about this because its bad for "us", mocking my sexual preferences, and stating that only if I don't "start a fight" for two weeks would he then think about sleeping with me again.
I'm in therapy and that's going well and very helpful. I KNOW I'm not coming back this time. And I KNOW I'm never letting this happen to me again. But I right now I feel... off. It's hard to describe, but I just feel really weird in an unpleasant way. Not exactly sad, but somewhat anxious that's only a matter of time before he reappears and attempts to reenter my life. I feel strangely empty at the same time, sort of disappointed this how things turned out, and kind uncertain about how to proceed.
The rest of my life is actually going great right now. It's just this thing that is lingering over me like a storm crowd. What can and should I be doing to work on healing and recovering? How can I get myself feeling relaxed and good again?
Any advice is really appreciated.