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I'm New Here - so lost


Amy Brock

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Hello everyone. This is the first time I've reached out into this type of forum for advice. My ex and I broke up early last month. Our relationship started out with so much love and respect and understanding. We both knew what we wanted from each other. Or so I thought... I met him while he was in the military and he recently retired. We moved into our home last November. I was so excited to start our life together. Things started to go sour quickly. He became quick to anger. He would stay mad for hours. Then days. Then weeks. He seemed constantly annoyed. I became insecure by this and started doubting myself. I spent a lot of time crying. Communication broke down completely. I desperately wanted to salvage anything I could, so I tried to make him talk to me so we could resolve whatever it was that was going so wrong. I wasn't ready to give up on our love. I wanted to prove to him that not everyone walks out when things get rough. The disrespect got worse. We would have an argument (I don't even remember the arguments now) and he would say he wanted to be left alone. I would turn around and just go to bed. Giving him this time. A few hours later I would notice he was still not in bed and I checked to see if he needed a blanket while he was laying on the couch. I walked out into the living room and asked if he was going to just sleep out there and he got more mad and said "why can't you just leave me the "f" alone???" Accusing me of aggravating the already bad situation. I went back to the bedroom in tears and left him alone. This kept going on. Telling me to leave him the "f" alone. I'll admit, I was at times demanding to talk, but it was because I was so afraid of what was happening. One day we had another small argument. (None of them were serious enough for his reactions.) I was standing in the doorway and he said really angrily "MOVE!" Not excuse me... Yelled MOVE. He stood in the living room with his arms crossed and I said "really?" He said "yeah, it means get the "f" out of my way". I sat down on the couch and started to cry once again. He never comforted me when he was cruel or rude. He rarely apologized. I told him that no matter how mad he was at me that he still needed to speak to me with respect as a human being. He refused, so I told him I couldn't take it anymore. We needed a big change. I was from another state, so I decided to move back. I thought time was needed. He shut down on me immediately. No emotion. He knew I was a wreck and there was nothing inside of him that even remotely wanted to make me feel any better. I tried countless times to comfort him. He never let me in. I asked him if he still loved me. He said "I don't know". I can't live with "I don't know". Then he said he was lost and needed to find himself and needed to be alone. The day I left, he left before me. He didn't see me off. He gave me a cold hug and I was crying in his arms and I told him that I loved him. He looked at me and drove away. Didn't even say goodbye. He never even checked to see if I made it home safely which was 3 states away. We haven't spoken since. The day before I left I was on our iPad. The bookmarks were about PTSD support groups. I'm not sure if this has been instrumental in what just happened, but I'm still in shock and love him so much. I don't miss how he treated me, but I miss the person I fell in love with. I found out that less than 2 weeks later that he joined at least one dating site. That killed me that I was forgotten so quickly. It's been so long now and the hurt comes in waves daily. I've not broken no contact. I've respected his wishes for time and space. I just don't know where to begin to pick up the pieces now. If I would've known he had PTSD I could've been more of a help than a hindrance. My reactions to his disregard to my feelings would've been different. I was at such a disadvantage. Now he only can remember me as a weak, weepy woman when in all honesty, I'm a strong and very caring woman that would've helped him so much. I'm sorry this is so long winded, but to this day, it plays like a movie in my mind and having zero closure has left me shattered. We talked about getting married this spring and now my life is completely turned upside down.

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You had no obligation to have "helped him due his PTSD". His bad behavior has absolutely no excuse. He treated you with complete disrespect. Please OPEN YOUR EYES and see that this person does not deserve your love and caring. If he already joined a dating site, good for YOU. Let him wreck another woman and NOT YOU.

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I appreciate your insight. I guess I'm just making excuses for his bad behavior, but I know what I did to agitate his already bad state. I know there are no do-overs in life. I just wish I had a thread of understanding of how I was so easily forgotten. I loved him with all of my heart despite the cruel things he said. I really did try for him. I've never given this much of myself to anyone and the first time I do, I end up in this position. I'm still in shock.

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Not all times we spent together were bad... There were the little things that he did that made me love him and showed that he did care in some small measure. I just don't know who this new person is. Or maybe this just really is him and he just showed me this far into it all. Just so many hurtful words were said and little to no remorse from him. I don't feel victimized. Don't get me wrong. I'm just in a confused state because I've never had a situation that my love wasn't good enough for someone. It's left me questioning my own self worth and if I'm deserving of real happiness. That fear of never connecting on a deep level anymore.

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It may not be that he's "forgotten" you, it could be more as he's looking for distractions. I can't say for him that he hasnt replayed everything over and over again in his head or that he doesn't love you or didnt. But, from cases Ive seen personally Guys will use things like other women, dates, video games, sports, whatever as distractions so they don't constantly think about what they did wrong to the women they supposibly loved.

 

Now, from what I read. He doesn't deserve you or the love you gave him. You put up with things that a lot of women would not of put up with from a man. I don't see it as weak, it does make you a strong women to try and stand by him and try and make things work and it makes you even stronger to realize it was time for you to leave before things got even worse. I am not saying that he would of gotten physically abusive, but it could of happened. What if the time he told you to MOVE and yelled in your face, he didnt just yell and he pushed you out of his way and you got severely hurt. You made the right choice to go home and try and start over. It's going to be hard but the man he was that you fell in love with is not there anymore and if he is he is barried in a mountain of issues that HE needs to figure out before he should bring you or any other women for matter back into his life.

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Hi Amy. I'm sorry you went through that treatment. I can tell you that my dad was in vietnam, he has ptsd, and what you described is exactly how he treated my mother and me, which led to their divorce. PTSD is soooo complex, you can't just comfort the person, it actually makes them mad for some reason. You can be proud of yourself that you were a caring human being and you tried, don't let his coldness let you think you did anything wrong or didn't do enough. Not even psychologists can help people with ptsd, usually. You sound like a good woman, you will find a good man who can give you the emotional support every woman needs.

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I just feel like I failed him in some way. I really made a decision based on my own self respect and to let him know that I wasn't going to put up with being treated that way and disrespected that way. It in no way was a reflection of how I felt for him. I would've stayed through it all. Now he's making his way with new people. I'm a memory to him now. I don't think he would've hit me, but it did cross my mind. I know that I'm the one who ultimately walked away, but as I said... I still love him much more than I should. Then to find out how easily and quickly I've been replaced is like a slap in the face. I know he will never contact me again. I don't even know what I would say if he did. He did start to insult me a few weeks before this all came to a head. Letting me know how bad I was at certain things. Hurtful things. He was done with me long before, I think, but maybe didn't know how to tell me so used anger to push me further away. I also have a feeling he was interested in other women considering he missed all of the dating people go through in their 20s due to him being in the military all his adult life. I don't know. I love him and would rather not care at all. This has been hell. I became close to his family and that is all over, too. I just feel like I lost a huge piece of my life. Him and his family. Our home. To now know that I'll never see him or hear from him ever again after being so incredibly close hurts me so deeply.

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This is the thing, you can't fix whatever happened to him while he was in the military. And it's kind of obvious something did indeed happen. Or that he was having a tremendous amount of stress and anger over having to adjust to civilian life, which can and does happen on a regular basis. That said it's still no reason for you to try and appease him or stick around, he needs to realize his anger is out of control and he needs to be the one to reach out for help. You can't make him do that, you can't love him out of whatever emotional, mental or spiritual distress he's in and it's nothing you did or didn't do.

 

Let it go, let him find the help he needs, he chased you off because of something that is going on in his head. And him looking up PTSD support groups tells me he probably knows it and is trying to get a handle on it. Whether or not he ever contacts you again you have to let it go and move on, because this isn't something you can fight. He has to do that. And as AgentMrBig said trying to comfort someone or even indicate to them that they are going through PTSD or other issues can just set them off even more. So as much as it hurts you have to move on, because whatever demons he is fighting have nothing to do with you and frankly it is better you stay safe and stay away. I'm sorry to say that, but he may have driven you away in part to protect you in case his anger got out of control. A blessing if that's the case even though I know it doesn't feel like it right now.

 

Come here often, work on yourself, heal and journal and maybe even seeks out and see if there are support groups for families and significant others of those suffering PTSD. It may really help to talk and find out that what you went through isn't something you have to go alone.

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I never thought I could fix the problem. I just didn't want him to have to go through it all alone. He's not so alone, though. Dating sites... Let it go sounds so easy, but there is so much that I can't erase from the slate. I would love to be able to get amnesia. And yes, when I assured him that I loved him he would get agitated and say "I KNOW you do".

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It hits me differently each day. Learning to function again is quite a task. I broke down so badly in the duration of it all that I lost myself pretty badly. I've found myself again, but now all of the hurtful things said and done to me are setting in. Seems unbearable at times. Feels like a huge wave of emotions I'm riding on. I've not spoken to him since and blocked every way he could contact me aside from changing my phone number. At this point, I can't look at his pictures and I don't want to know how he's doing. Is this normal?

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Amy, I've recently went through a traumatic break up. I know what desperation feels like, to hurt so bad and know that there is nothing that can fix it because the only one who could doesn't care. At first I had hopes and wishes that she would change her mind but then I began to hate her and then not care.

 

I think what you are going through is pretty normal considering what you went through. The difference between our break ups is that I got 24 hour notice that she was leaving me, not to change her leaving just to let me know this was the last 24 hours I would see her. I didn't even know how she felt because when I asked her to tell me all the time whats on her mind tell me whats wrong she would always say nothings wrong. It literally went from I love you to about 12 hours later to you, I don't care about you, bye. She took my son. I haven't seen him in about 6 months, he was 4 months when she took him.

 

I am not going to go into detail about my problems on your post, my point is you literally are not alone. I've focused on improving myself, not for others but for myself, learning a new language, becoming healthier, discovering new interests while nurturing old ones. Things will get better, don't focus on everything that makes you feel sad or alone, I know its wayyy easier said than done. The very next thing that makes you smile and or laugh, enjoy that moment then focus, remember that moment in time and record it in your mind (do not compare this moment to past moments) as proof that you can find happiness no matter the situation.

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It hits me differently each day. Learning to function again is quite a task. I broke down so badly in the duration of it all that I lost myself pretty badly. I've found myself again, but now all of the hurtful things said and done to me are setting in. Seems unbearable at times. Feels like a huge wave of emotions I'm riding on. I've not spoken to him since and blocked every way he could contact me aside from changing my phone number. At this point, I can't look at his pictures and I don't want to know how he's doing. Is this normal?

 

His treatment of you is horrible. PTSD or not, no sane woman could put up with that much longer.

 

It's good that you do not look at his pictures. Do not look him up on the internet. Blank him from your life.

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Sorry to hear you are going through this. In sum, while his PTSD is no excuse for his aggressive behavior towards you, it does offer some insight. You really cannot fix someone who has PTSD -- you have NO knowledge of what he saw or went through when he was (I assume) deployed, and therefore, by no fault of your own, he didn't see you as someone he could grow close to and relate.

 

He will have to get professional help for that. He is not ready for a serious relationship, with anyone. Any dates he goes on or sites he joins is probably just to pass the time because in no world will he be able to be with someone seriously until he is treated.

 

Try to keep your head up and be positive, look at it as a learning lesson here. It was bad timing and you just moved together but sometimes things happen that are out of your control and at the end of the day it just makes you stronger. You are not at fault so do not blame yourself. He probably did love you but was unable to express himself healthily to you…it just isn't possible with something as big as PTSD. In the end you are better off separated and maybe a while down the line if he has gotten treatment and can prove he will be more caring and gentle, you can talk again, but for now just leave him alone, cut it off.

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I'm trying to understand that there was nothing I could've done differently that would've changed the outcome, but I still blame myself for the reactions I had towards him. Instead of being loving and understanding and supportive, I tried to make him talk and he just didn't have the capability. I'm trying to look at things objectively. I can't help but remember the man he was before his retirement. He changed almost instantly afterwards. I know that I can't love him anymore. He's not mine to love anymore. I know that I'm no longer a part of his life or thoughts in any way now. I just can't stop sifting through the plans we had and how this was supposed to be the end game for us both. I'm growing internally. I realize my shortcomings and now know the warning signs of emotional/verbal abuse and further aggressive behavior. I know that one day I'll be better, it's just not today. Letting go of a dream is so hard, but painful reality to that is that it was simply a dream. It was such a beautiful one, though. I don't know that I'll ever feel that way with anyone else ever again. Thank you for listening to my babbling.

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I'm not trying to beat myself up over it. I just keep having all these intrusive thoughts and my emotions for him can't just be shut down. I would love to move from love to indifference, but right now I'm still stuck in missing the man he once was. I know what he did to me was wrong, but I knew a side of him that was so kind. I keep thinking of how quickly he moved on and how stuck I feel. He wasn't perfect, but he was mine. I just don't have that anymore. I loved him completely. Even if he was broken. Now he's giving himself to someone else. I don't know why people go searching for things they already had with someone else. I feel like I've taken a huge step back in my healing.

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I wish you'd stop saying he's "replacing" you. I highly doubt that. In fact, he's probably distraught over having run off someone who meant so much to him. He is probably upset that he hurt you. But, he probably can't deal with that pain and trauma on top of all the issues PTSD has introduced.

 

So...what does he do? He joins a dating site--not because he wants to find a long-term partner or replace you, but because he wants a distraction from all the pain, from the things haunting him that he has little or no control over. He probably wants to think about anything else, is dying for something that can push back the negative thoughts even for a moment.

 

If that is indeed what is happening, I feel sorry for him and for whatever women he befriends. He is a broken man who needs a lot of help to pick himself up and get put back together again. Whatever new person stumbles into his life will most likely have a similar experience to you, or perhaps (God forbid) a worse one.

 

However, that is neither here nor there. You did what was right. You acted sanely and rationally in a situation where you had no way of knowing what was really driving his anger. Of course, had you been aware of PTSD you would have adjusted your behavior toward him, but there was no way for you to know that. No way at all. He didn't share that with you and there is nothing you can do to change that. You were exactly right to stand up for yourself and leave, even if it shattered you. I am astounded at your strength and self-respect. Even in the midst of loving someone with all your might, you still loved yourself more. That is a beautiful and rare thing.

 

Just keep loving yourself, take care of yourself. Whenever you think of him, send him positive thoughts and love, but then let it go. Give yourself a hug and do something nice for yourself. You deserve to be back in top form. You don't need to love any other person the way you loved him, as long as you love yourself that way.

 

I'm really sorry you're going through this. It's absolutely horrible and traumatic. Be patient with yourself and take care. All's well that ends well. Hugs to you.

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I hate to think that he would've eventually gotten physical, but to be honest it was a fear of mine that was a deciding factor as well. With all of his yelling, throwing things, insults, slamming his fist down... I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that my situation was getting worse all the time and I loved him and myself enough to make it known that this wasn't right. Knowing the type of hurting he may be going through right now because of me in any way is driving me completely mad, and maybe I'm weak, but after the way it all ended I can't reach out to him. When I left, he was cold and hateful. The night before I left, I was in the bedroom crying uncontrollably and he never came to me. I was able to talk to a family member hundreds of miles away and she helped me through that last night. Then I get a text from him who was just in the living room saying he was glad I could find someone to comfort me. I don't know if he couldn't or wouldn't. Then again, he never tried to comfort me. I just don't know if I ever meant a damn thing. PTSD is cruel, but isn't there a shred of humanity that he could've at least said he was sorry once in a while?

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I hate sounding like I'm just sitting here feeling sorry for myself. I'm not trying to. Believe me, all I really want is for him to be happy. I just hate that he won't find happiness with me. I was too much for him to handle emotionally. That's why I blame myself so much. I hope that he finds someone down the road who will love him as strongly as I do. I know where I stand now and also know there is nothing I can do to change that. We had such a tender love at one time. We leaned on each other and held each other up during rough spots. I'll never be able to do that again. I know my role now and that's a pain I just can't seem to cycle that fact very well. I was so close to his family as well. I love them all. That's another hard transition. Going from being a part of that family to now being a part of each other's pasts. This is awful and being away from what I called home and family just still seems so wrong. All of this is so wrong.

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Well, whatever else happens the fact is you've seen how he deals with adversity--he doesn't. And he's pretty cold about it all too, which speaks to the fact that he may have had underlying issues to begin with. Or not. The fact is you did the right thing, anger can boil over into the physical and then no one may get another chance at happiness. Breakups are always awful no matter the circumstances, even mutual ones. If you have friends or family you are close to now is the time to reach out to them and make sure they have your back, maybe even going to see them or relocating if that's feasible. Do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself and know that the grief and anger and all of it will pass, but right now is the best time to reach out to any avenue you have for comfort.

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I have little support at the moment. I feel like a child because I feel like I can't comfort myself the way I should be able to right now. I know he's gone. I know he's moved on. I know he no longer loves me. I know he has no obligation toward me. I know that my feelings aren't important to him anymore and they shouldn't be. That's the thing. I can rationalize everything for what it is, but the pain factor isn't subsiding. I no longer want answers from him. I was so hoping in the beginning he would talk to me and explain in more detail his actions, but it didn't happen. The further I've come along in this process, the more I know how mortified I would be if he ever did contact me again. I know how far it would set me back now. I think that I may have developed some form of PTSD myself through this. Flashbacks. Bad dreams. Misplaced anger and quick to be annoyed with people who don't deserve that. Is any of this normal?

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Yeah, I think it's understandable you'd have some after-effects from being exposed to what sounds like emotional abuse.

 

I won't go into PTSD (which IS very treatable, by the way, I don't know why people act as if it's not) or really dwell on whether or not this guy is an abuser. But certainly it's traumatic to be shouted at, have things thrown and slammed down and broken, and that whole "texting from another room" scenario you described is pretty consistent with an emotional abuser, deliberately withholding love and support. That really hit home for me and I could identify that type of behavior from an abusive relationship I was in.

 

So I think it would help you out to seek some support in getting over this. If you're not into seeing a therapist, at the very least I'm sure there's online support groups and websites on the subject. I found the book "Trauma and Recovery" to be really helpful in understanding the psychology of emotional abuse (link removed) but there are certainly many books out there, although this one I found really impactful.

 

Sometimes it's very hard to recognize that you've been in an abusive relationship if there's no hitting or physical violence.... but actually an emotionally abusive relationship is considered to be even more damaging by many psychologists because it goes on longer. And there IS an aftermath from being exposed to that, so to answer your question -- YES, what you're feeling now is totally normal.

 

Anyhow, I posted this link on your other thread, check it out: link removed

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Thank you so much. I'm not comfortable feeling this unstable. I'm not waiting for the day he ever says he's sorry. I know that is unrealistic because he's feeling justified in how he acted anyway. I'm just trying to pick up myself now because after that kind of emotional neglect, it's drained me. It's been such a system shock that I was actually in an abusive relationship. You never picture yourself involved in something like that. Then you see the things after the fact and all the things you brushed aside because you "loved" them enough to see past all of that. No one would really know him without living with him or at least being in a relationship with him. I can recall dreading the ride home after a family function. It was always awkward silence. I was afraid to agitate him. Wow. I don't know what I was expecting now from him. All the times he would be so cruel and so cold and never once reassure me or apologize. That's not important anymore, but I'm still haunted by those times. I remember laying in bed at night relieved that the day was over and that I didn't have to talk to him anymore that day. Wow. All of these realizations.

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