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Complex situation. How to cope with jealousy surrounding emotionally unstable ex

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Hello everyone,


I haven't used e-notalone in ages. I guess that's a good sign that things have been going smoothly! But I'm in a bit of a complicated predicament as of late and could used some unbiased opinions. Here goes...


My previous and longest relationship ended 3 years ago, but I have stayed in touch with my ex-boyfriend. I will call him Hank*. Hank and I dated on and off for 5 years and it was overall a very toxic relationship. However, I truly do care deeply for him. And I can honestly say that I still love him but in more of a human-who-is-important-to-me way rather than romantic. Our break-up was ugly and we have gone long periods of time without speaking but within the past year we have come to decent terms. Despite what I am about to write, I really just want him to be happy.


So Hank has some sociopathic tendencies but I would not consider him a sociopath. He had a very tumultuous childhood and I think as a result has a hard time forming genuine connections. He lacks empathy and has no problem lying to people he cares about. He also has historically self-harmed and been suicidal. Just all around emotionally unstable but has plenty of redeeming qualities. He also has a habit that gets him into trouble with the law. It's not drugs nor is it anything that hurts anyone else. For the past 4 or so years he has been arrested more times than I can count but has always seemed to get out of things unscathed. During these times, I am

his go to. I am the person who he calls when he is in jail so that I can let his family/friends know what's going on. But in the past couple of months all of these things have caught up with him. He is currently facing about 7 different criminal cases spanning 3 states and potentinally looking at 2-6 years in prison. Now you can imagine that this is a lot to deal

with at once and especially for someone like Hank who is very angry at the world to begin with. Myself as well as his family are worried about his mental health and personal safety, as we are afraid he might hurt himself. Through all of this I am trying to be a pillar of support. I want to be there for him when he needs me and want to help him in any way I can. I feel compelled to do this.


HOWEVER, and writing this now compared to what I just said above seems silly, but I must. He has a best friend turned girlfriend who has now turned best friend again - I will call her Megan*. Megan and Hank have been friends for a couple of years. I forgot to mention that throughout the time we have been broken up, Hank has made it clear to me that he wants to get back together. He has made this very, very clear. My response is that I don't think it is a good idea. Despite really caring for him, I just don't think we are a great match for a few different reasons. Anyway, so Megan recently

moved across the country from where she lived into the same apartment that Hank shares with their mutual friends. They had already broken up before she moved but remained best friends. However, she only stayed for about a month and then moved back to her home town. While Megan was living with Hank and even before, I felt very insecure about her. I always felt as though I was being replaced as Hank's "go-to" in his life. It was at this time that I realized I still define my self worth as how important I am to Hank. It is important to me to be important to him and any time I feel that is threatened I freak out. I just lose it. (This is a topic for another thread.) I just can't make this make sense. I have made it clear to him that I cannot date him and truly don't think it's a good idea (alrhough sometimes I wish it was) yet I become jealous and insecure when I think about how much he cares for Megan. And I feel almost betrayed when he sees her because after all of the worrying about him and the helping him, he still feels like he needs and wants her. (


Now the conflict mostly comes in here. So I see myself becoming irrational and upset about Megan and I know it isn't fair and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And my solution to this would be to detatch myself from him and to wish him the best then go my own way. I don't want to feel jealous and upset all the time and especially when I know that ultimately it may not be valid or fair. With that said, I am so deeply involved in his life, in his legal troubles, with him family at this point that I don't feel good about just walking away. I feel like I'm (for the most part) a positive force in his life and I think he needs that right now. I'm scared to death of walking away because if I cut off that line of communication and something happens to him, self-inflicted or otherwise, I will never forgive myself. It also gives me purpose to help him. I like helping him.


So I just need any insight on what I should do. Any insight on why I feel so jealous about Megan when I refuse to be with him anyway? How do I manage the feeings of jealousy while still acting as a friend and confidant to Hank? Why, especially after 3 years of being broken up, do I still use him to define myself?


Thanks for any input at all

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You realize and have stated many times in your post that Hank is not good for you, it's a toxic relationship even as friends. You're insecure because you still let him occupy a space in your heart and in your mind. You need to cut all ties, that's the only way you're going to let go of defining yourself through Hank, and consequently the jealousy and insecurity will subside. Time will change things to indifference and acceptance when you choose to let him go and cut ties.

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I agree with everyone that you should cut ties with him and let his family (and Megan?) to do the helping if they want since he's toxic to you as a boyfriend and as a friend.


However I'd also suggest therapy or at least a big analysis as to why you want to even be friends with and want so much to be a fixer and "saviour" of a sociopathic, low empathy, lying, manipulative criminal and I'd research on "co-dependency".


I'm sorry if I'm being harsh, but you can tell all you want that you're just helping someone you care about and I believe you have a good heart, but that's not entirely truth. You help him expecting in return to have a special place in his heart and you feel threatened when he finds someone else to be his "go to" and even as friends you're all messed up with him sleeping with someone else. You're not over him nor you live well with being friends. You can say that he wants you back all you want, but the truth is that you're on the palm of his hands. He controls your emotions and uses as his go to person when he messes up with the law. If he's sociopathic and low empathy, it's probably that he even doesn't care about you and only sees as someone useful when he's bored or when he has problems with the law. Yet you live for his validation. This type of co-dependent relationship is common between sociopaths and/or abusers and low self esteem people/co-dependent/eager to please people. I've been in an abusive relationship myself and I know how hard it is to get out of one, even after breaking up with them. Remember that low empathy toxic people rarely change or if they do they need intensive therapy and even so the chances are low, and that the glimpses of "caring" and "friendship" you see in them are most often than not manipulation mechanisms, or useful tools or simply fleeting and elusive.


Please, realize that the main problem is not him and Megan, but it's the wounds that you need to heal (maybe with therapy and deep self analysis) before you can get into any other sort of relationship with anyone. And the way to start healing is to cut ties with this toxic person and let the rest of his support network help him. It's not your job and is only destroying you. It's also important to get other people and hobbies in life that take your mind away from this mess, since at this moment you're too involved in this.


So as to answer your question, you use him to define your worth because this is a co-dependent relationship and also because even though you have broken up with him three years ago, you haven't really broken up with him because you're still involved in his life and haven't found ways of getting your worth from inside and healthier things to occupy your mind and life. When we break up, specially with someone toxic, it's good to detach from them even if it's hard at first.


Sorry if I was too harsh, but I really hope you can get yourself untangle from this toxic situation and can rise above free and happy.

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