You can't be friends with your abuser.
July 15, 2014 9:20 AM Subscribe
Help me accept that I can't be friends with my ex-boyfriend. The relationship was abusive but we've had to maintain contact while we disentangled our lives and I got on my feet. Now that time is over and I have to move on. I am finding it very hard. How can I start moving on towards my future?
posted by misspony to Human Relations (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My ex-boyfriend was mentally abusive to me and it was complicated by the fact I moved to his country with him and it was very difficult. He was very controlling and un-accepting of my body. You can see my previous question from March. I need to start moving on now and let go, but I am not sure how. I am really scared and afraid.
Since our break up my ex has been very kind to me and helped me get on my own 2 feet financially. I have a new roomate now who is great. I spent a lot of time at the Women's Crisis Center getting emotional support. I have a therapist who is awesome (but my next appointment isn't for a few weeks). I have tons of friends and a job I like. I am finally moving towards an independent life where I don't need to be in a relationship for survival.... so I am hoping that now I can move on and actually have a quality relationship and a family of my own.
The summer has been okay. I had your cliche rebound. Gotten over it. I'm dating a few different guys. But yesterday and today it became clear that we were not going to be friends and its left me feeling very weepy and wobbly.
I have a lot to be proud of. My past, from childhood up until the last few years, I am 33 now, was very traumatic and I have no family support to speak of. My childhood was not a bed of roses and I grew up in a family that was involved in a church that border lined on being a cult... and looking back I really internalized the message that I was a bad person and that my body is bad. My mother died when I was in my 20's and I took it hard. I've really struggled with alcohol abuse, a pretty severe eating disorder- and I've managed to overcome those things and by all accounts I have a nice healthy life now. But I have still yet to let go of the idea that I am a BAD and unworthy person.... Often I feel happy- but sometimes, like today, that little voice comes through.
My therapist has suggested that because I grew up in an emotionally abusive family where I had no voice, but where I was completely provided for practically and financially- that I am probably drawn towards relationships where there is a lot of financial support and that feels like love to me.
I'd also been living a very transient and unsettled life until I met my ex- and I have deep feelings that I've been saved from an awful fate. He's left me with a home and opportunities for the future.
So maybe that is why I am having a hard time letting go of this relationship. I know that he is seeing someone new and can't be a support for me anymore. But I am scared. I know that I shouldn't even want to be friends with someone who treated me like that. But I get afraid that I really was a loser, that I wasn't good enough, and that's why he wasn't happy. And whoever he is dating is better than me. Sometimes I feel like I must really be second-rate if someone doesn't even want to abuse me.
So I need help mefites- you are all so wise. How do I make peace with this? What can I tell myself in wobbly moments? Where do I go from here? How do I start re-framing things so that I can be a strong woman and have a relationship of equality?