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Dear all,

 

I would like some advice on how to heal, for myself and for anyone else going through what feels like the most horrible thing in the world. In my case specifically, I invested a great deal into the relationship: moving far away from my friends and family to be with my ex, particularly when my father was terminally ill. When my dad died, my ex was emotionally unavailable and criticised me rather than supported me, making me feel needy for requiring a shoulder to lean on. He preferred drinking with his single friends and texting his female housemates to being present with me through my grief. Since breaking up, I feel like I have been hit with the most insurmountable loss which is accompanied by feelings of panic and intense sadness. I realise how codependent and one-sided this relationship was, and how cold my partner was; how I kept lowering my standards in order to accommodate his increasing disinterest in the relationship and why I would find myself apologising for things HE had done for fear of losing him; apologising when he told me to F-off, or when he accused me of being needy or nagging. I feel fragile and that I need space for healing and self care.

 

How do I heal myself, and build myself up as a single entity outside the context of this toxic relationship and how do I avoid repetition of this pattern in the future? Any advice or resources would be much appreciated!!

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Hi Jen , well you have listed many reasons why you will , in time , be glad you are not with him ..but first you need to simply heal from these very same things , so don't try and climb a mountain all in one go . There are many emotions to go through before fully healing . I always think it is ok for a while to let these things go through your mind , I think blocking them out with looking at them properly actually hinders moving on . It is just the amount of time you spend doing this that can be a problem . If you posted in 5 years time , saying the same ...then there is a problem . Right now you are just absorbing it all . These are the things that I too struggled with ..the cruelty in a relationship and what felt like one misjustice after another .

 

This is why it important to be ready for the next chapter of your life :

 

build myself up as a single entity outside the context of this toxic relationship and how do I avoid repetition of this pattern in the future? Any advice or resources would be much appreciated!!

 

You avoid it by learning everything you can from this ..like me , you put up with crap and this is why I think it is important to allow yourself to go through it , look at it ...at your part as well and come out stronger and more determined then ever . The problems come in future relationships when one is not prepared to take that space and take that time out ..reflect , learn , know what you want , put bounderies in place , and see red flags and actually act on them ....that way you move on not carrying all this emotional baggage .

 

You are half way there because you can come on here and be honest about how it really was ..express your anger and your hurt ...and believe me , you will move forward with a lighter heart and more knowledge then you could ever imagine . It will be ok Jen ...

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It’s going to take some time. Don’t worry about repeating the pattern, just try to survive hour-by-hour, then day-by-day and try not to think about being in a relationship at all for now. You need to work on yourself while you are away from your family and friends. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself to your favorite workout or little treats like bath and body products, a new novel or anything that can get your mind off of dwelling on this horrible person. Being alone in an unfamiliar area is not helping your situation, but from what I saw in another post is that you are stuck there for a while?

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Get professional mental health services. What you've described was at worst emotional abuse and at best a very unhealthy and toxic relationship. Working through why you were so attached to someone like your ex and why you were willing to stick around may help you achieve closure and make different decisions in the future.

 

Other than therapy, time and reaching out to stable supports will be your best friends. Reengage with life and do activities that make you feel good. Rebuilding your self-esteem is critical for healing.

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Big hugs, Jen.

 

Let me begin at the end: you are going to be okay. More than okay. What you are feeling right now, hard as it is, is the path to a strong and open heart, more open and sure of its worth and strength than maybe it has ever been.

 

Why am I so confident in this? Yeah, partly it's my own experiences out there getting wounded in the trenches, seeing my own heart surprise me with its resilience. But there's enough in your post, and your earlier post, that it's so clear what is already inside of you, strong and intact: compassion, curiosity, warmth, intelligence, a hunger to learn and grow, to love more richly and be loved more fully. Those are real gems. They were there before you met him, are there today. They're covered under some dirt right now, yeah, but they're there and shining and ready to be mined. I can see them from here.

 

So I'll spare you the toe-tap about the gym and yoga and hanging with friends, since I know you've lost some weight and are looking fantastic in that new dress while still feeling less than fantastic. And did you mention you were in therapy? If not: therapy. It's so good. Helps you see the roots of certain choices, so you can make new ones. Windshield wipers for the soul.

 

As others have said, this is just the time to sit with some pain, to heal. Think of the emotional pain as being no different than physical pain. You're a marathon runner with a broken leg. You want to get out there and run, but you can't, not yet. For the runner that's frustrating, of course, but easier to process, since a broken leg is finite. The runner is compassionate with himself, because there's no other choice. He knows bones heal in time.

 

Broken hearts, broken spirits: they're a bit more abstract, but not so different. They demand rest, so let them rest. Feel what you need to feel, knowing a lot of it will really suck. In just doing that, something interesting happens: you think you can't quite take it, but then you do, and right there you're rebuilding that little muscle that is your spirt. That strength and that shine. That's the dirt being washed away.

 

My last relationship had its own brand of toxicity, put my self-esteem through a paper shredder, so I know, to some degree, where you're at. Where aside from just missing the pillow of familiarity, no matter how lumpy the pillow, you're kind of asking: What the F is up with me to have done that? Oh, it sucks! Part of what makes toxic relationships last, in my opinion, is that on a subconscious level we stay in them just to avoid having to ask what the F we are doing. It's like using a wound to staunch a wound. Or, well, treating illness with poison.

 

You'll get those answers, in time, because you're already asking them. You're open for them, even hungry for them. Time. They're coming. They'll inform you and straighten you, but be patient. No judgement. When you drift into self-critical thinking, spot it, acknowledge it, and then give yourself a hug. I mean that literally. Sounds goofy, and it took me a long while to do this, but it's real. Compassion starts within, loving yourself, getting intimate with yourself, and lost loves present an amazing opportunity to fall in love with ourselves again.

 

So, on that note, make sure to be kind to yourself. Take yourself out for dinner or drinks. Treat yourself to a massage. The little things are nice buffers as you ask the hard questions.

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Dear all,

 

Annoyingly, I just composed a lengthy response which was not processed so aside from wanting to throw my computer out the window, I wanted to say thank you for such kindness and compassion. I do feel particularly fragile but my strength is building with each day and I realise that healing and love must come from within: no more searching for these things from the people around me. Toxic relationships leave a particular stench on one's soul. I just need to keep giving myself love and appreciation and taking it one breath at a time, until breathing no longer seems like such an effort. Lots of love to you all xxx

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Dear all,

 

Annoyingly, I just composed a lengthy response which was not processed so aside from wanting to throw my computer out the window, I wanted to say thank you for such kindness and compassion. I do feel particularly fragile but my strength is building with each day and I realise that healing and love must come from within: no more searching for these things from the people around me. Toxic relationships leave a particular stench on one's soul. I just need to keep giving myself love and appreciation and taking it one breath at a time, until breathing no longer seems like such an effort. Lots of love to you all xxx

 

ahh bless you jen , thankyou xx you are right , , toxic relationships do leave a particular stench on ones soul ( I might have to pinch that lol very well put) I have had some shocking relationships ..well all of them actually ...( the serious ones at any rate ) ...I once had a man tell me he had watched me literally breaking down over the last months we were together over his behaviour ( my bad for not getting out of it ) but the aftermath of that took me a very long time to get over and that is what you need now ...time . Much love back to you xx

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ahh bless you jen , thankyou xx you are right , , toxic relationships do leave a particular stench on ones soul ( I might have to pinch that lol very well put) I have had some shocking relationships ..well all of them actually ...( the serious ones at any rate ) ...I once had a man tell me he had watched me literally breaking down over the last months we were together over his behaviour ( my bad for not getting out of it ) but the aftermath of that took me a very long time to get over and that is what you need now ...time . Much love back to you xx

 

Hi Pippy,

First of all, Pippy Longstocking was my favourite film as a kid (not least because I have long red hair I wore in plaits) and I also live near London (in Reading, Berks). Anyway, I'm the same as you. All but one of my relationships have been awful. Really toxic. If it wasn't for that one I would have given up on humanity long ago. If the man watched you breaking down in that way over his behaviour, why did he continue it? I have been the same over the last few months, feeling myself losing the plot completely over my ex's gaslighting ways. We discussed breaking up 6 months earlier, but it was too close to my dad's death and I couldn't take any more loss. Unfortunately, my bf just became even more of who he really was and a break-up was inevitable. I too have spent many an hour thinking I should have saved my sanity and walked away earlier but it's only in hindsight that I realise this.

 

One thing that keeps creeping up is that feeling of rejection and not being good enough. I realise I am placing my worth in the hands of another person who is extremely flawed and lacks empathy. It's something I need to work on clearly! Sending you love xxx

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1. you start doing for you, not anybody else. make yourself the focus of everything you do.

2. you don't beat yourself up over anything that's happened. just let it be.

3. you realize that there is nothing you can do about the past, and that all you can do is mold and affect today and the future - so focus your energy on YOUR today and YOUR future.

4. nobody said it would be easy, so there will be pain. it will take time. the key is to allow for pain and time to help heal and move on.

 

it'll go faster if yo don't fight it, don't question it, and don't try to "figure it out" (what happened in the past). so cry when you feel like it. laugh when you feel like it. smile when you feel like it. and cry again when you feel like it again. just go with it and let it be and focus on your today and future - and that will let it and make it seem to pass as fast as your'e able.

 

you'll know what to do once it passes (especially if you've been focusing on yourself, your today, and your future the whole time).

 

hang in there.

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Have you considered attending an Al-Anon meeting? It would be a great source of support for you and you'll realize that what you experienced is not unusual for being with an alcohol. It would be a good healing and learning experience for you. I could help you not only make sense of things be be grateful that you dodged a bullet so early. Also focus more on returning to your city. Start tuning up your resume, enlisting help from friends and family with regard to housing, jobs etc. The longer you stay there the worse you'll feel.

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Thank you Wiseman. I think you are right regarding moving. I am planning to do some travelling in April and then hopefully will move. It's not too long to go now...

With regards to Al Anon meetings, I haven't considered this. I didn't even know that non-drinkers could attend these meetings. But it might allow me some perspective if it's possible to go along...Thank you for your kindness.

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Thank you Richey, I feel like the sensations of loss and rejection are just overwhelming me just now. Your words and advice really help, thank you so much.

it's always best to listen and pay attention to mother nature (and that includes our bodies).

let the body do what it needs. don't fight it, don't wonder/ask or challenge it.. just let it do what it needs.

then it'll pass by faster.

 

hang in there *hugs* you're going to be okay. i promise.

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Hi Pippy,

First of all, Pippy Longstocking was my favourite film as a kid (not least because I have long red hair I wore in plaits) and I also live near London (in Reading, Berks). Anyway, I'm the same as you. All but one of my relationships have been awful. Really toxic. If it wasn't for that one I would have given up on humanity long ago. If the man watched you breaking down in that way over his behaviour, why did he continue it? I have been the same over the last few months, feeling myself losing the plot completely over my ex's gaslighting ways. We discussed breaking up 6 months earlier, but it was too close to my dad's death and I couldn't take any more loss. Unfortunately, my bf just became even more of who he really was and a break-up was inevitable. I too have spent many an hour thinking I should have saved my sanity and walked away earlier but it's only in hindsight that I realise this.

 

One thing that keeps creeping up is that feeling of rejection and not being good enough. I realise I am placing my worth in the hands of another person who is extremely flawed and lacks empathy. It's something I need to work on clearly! Sending you love xxx

 

aw I love that ..just knowing who pippy longstocking is is a good start . I did laugh reading it because I was a blonde for over 30 years , and before christmas decided to get it all done like a coppery red , so I am literally sat here with two *red* plaits lol .

 

It makes you wonder in the aftermath how they can do these things I agree and as for walking away as soon that first red flag is waved ...well hindsight is a wonderful thing hey .

That feeling of rejection and not been good enough will pass I promise you that and you will indeed come to the conclusion that it was them who was not good enough certainly not you . When another batters you down and down you do start to question yourself and even believe the stuff they say , this is your time jen when you will conclude on many levels that it wasn't you . I wish I could fast forward it all for you , sadly I can't xx

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Thanks guys, I will look into those groups. I don't even know if my ex was an alcoholic, maybe I'm just looking for something to blame. He drank every day but still held down a full time job and never missed a day of work. But still...he comes from a long line of alcoholics and when he found out his dad had lost his job due to alcoholism, I asked if I could do anything. His response? 'Get me a beer'.

 

You're so right Pippy that in the aftermath, you wonder how they could be so cold. Isn't this the person who told me he'd love me forever? Now I'm not sure he was even capable of love. At least I know that, like everything, this too shall pass, and hopefully I will emerge stronger and more resilient as a result. Thank you xxx

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These issues and questions are exactly what the in-person and online Al Anon communities can help you sift through.

I don't even know if my ex was an alcoholic, maybe I'm just looking for something to blame. He drank every day but still held down a full time job and never missed a day of work. But still...he comes from a long line of alcoholics and when he found out his dad had lost his job due to alcoholism, I asked if I could do anything. His response? 'Get me a beer'.
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In the moment, when feelings are extreme you swear you are bound to feel this way forever.

What helped me was to acknowledge the progress every day.

It's never as much as we would like it to be and the increments are so small sometimes, they are easily missed.

 

But force yourself to admit that today was better than yesterday.

Look back to where you were a week ago and give yourself credit for having gotten to where you are at.

 

It's these moments I realize it does pass, ever so slowly in the beginning. But we do come out the otherside ok for having gone through it.

 

At some point I challenge myself to focus on the lessons the experience is brought me.

Some of them are difficult to face, but well worth exploring.

The good news is you walk away from it just that much better prepared for the next time.

In the meantime be kind to yourself.

Edited by reinventmyself
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Thanks guys, I will look into those groups. I don't even know if my ex was an alcoholic, maybe I'm just looking for something to blame. He drank every day but still held down a full time job and never missed a day of work. But still...he comes from a long line of alcoholics and when he found out his dad had lost his job due to alcoholism, I asked if I could do anything. His response? 'Get me a beer'.

 

You're so right Pippy that in the aftermath, you wonder how they could be so cold. Isn't this the person who told me he'd love me forever? Now I'm not sure he was even capable of love. At least I know that, like everything, this too shall pass, and hopefully I will emerge stronger and more resilient as a result. Thank you xxx

 

oh jen you are lovely .... they will be climbing the walls to get to you when you are healed and ready

 

one of my exes was a functioning alcoholic , so he worked very hard all week , got sh1t faced on a night and was able to get up and do a days work every day like nothing had happened ...with no memory of the night before might I add . Not nice to be around at all xx

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Big hugs, Jen.

 

Let me begin at the end: you are going to be okay. More than okay. What you are feeling right now, hard as it is, is the path to a strong and open heart, more open and sure of its worth and strength than maybe it has ever been.

 

Why am I so confident in this? Yeah, partly it's my own experiences out there getting wounded in the trenches, seeing my own heart surprise me with its resilience. But there's enough in your post, and your earlier post, that it's so clear what is already inside of you, strong and intact: compassion, curiosity, warmth, intelligence, a hunger to learn and grow, to love more richly and be loved more fully. Those are real gems. They were there before you met him, are there today. They're covered under some dirt right now, yeah, but they're there and shining and ready to be mined. I can see them from here.

 

So I'll spare you the toe-tap about the gym and yoga and hanging with friends, since I know you've lost some weight and are looking fantastic in that new dress while still feeling less than fantastic. And did you mention you were in therapy? If not: therapy. It's so good. Helps you see the roots of certain choices, so you can make new ones. Windshield wipers for the soul.

 

As others have said, this is just the time to sit with some pain, to heal. Think of the emotional pain as being no different than physical pain. You're a marathon runner with a broken leg. You want to get out there and run, but you can't, not yet. For the runner that's frustrating, of course, but easier to process, since a broken leg is finite. The runner is compassionate with himself, because there's no other choice. He knows bones heal in time.

 

Broken hearts, broken spirits: they're a bit more abstract, but not so different. They demand rest, so let them rest. Feel what you need to feel, knowing a lot of it will really suck. In just doing that, something interesting happens: you think you can't quite take it, but then you do, and right there you're rebuilding that little muscle that is your spirt. That strength and that shine. That's the dirt being washed away.

 

My last relationship had its own brand of toxicity, put my self-esteem through a paper shredder, so I know, to some degree, where you're at. Where aside from just missing the pillow of familiarity, no matter how lumpy the pillow, you're kind of asking: What the F is up with me to have done that? Oh, it sucks! Part of what makes toxic relationships last, in my opinion, is that on a subconscious level we stay in them just to avoid having to ask what the F we are doing. It's like using a wound to staunch a wound. Or, well, treating illness with poison.

 

You'll get those answers, in time, because you're already asking them. You're open for them, even hungry for them. Time. They're coming. They'll inform you and straighten you, but be patient. No judgement. When you drift into self-critical thinking, spot it, acknowledge it, and then give yourself a hug. I mean that literally. Sounds goofy, and it took me a long while to do this, but it's real. Compassion starts within, loving yourself, getting intimate with yourself, and lost loves present an amazing opportunity to fall in love with ourselves again.

 

So, on that note, make sure to be kind to yourself. Take yourself out for dinner or drinks. Treat yourself to a massage. The little things are nice buffers as you ask the hard questions.

 

OMG, you are so eloquent, bluecastle. I read this message and felt like it applied to me as well. It was so powerfully written; thank you.You should consider writing a book. I am so impressed with your messages.

 

Jen, this is so profound. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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In the moment, when feelings are extreme you swear you are bound to feel this way forever.

What helped me was to acknowledge the progress every day.

It's never as much as we would like it to be and the increments are so small sometimes, they are easily missed.

 

But force yourself to admit that today was better than yesterday.

Look back to where you were a week ago and give yourself credit for having gotten to where you are at.

 

It's these moments I realize it does pass, ever so slowly in the beginning. But we do come out the otherside ok for having gone through it.

 

At some point I challenge myself to focus on the lessons the experience is brought me.

Some of them are difficult to face, but well worth exploring.

The good news is you walk away from it just that much better prepared for the next time.

In the meantime be kind to yourself.

 

This is so true. I am focusing on the lessons, and grateful that I have learned now that he is this type of person, and not 20 years down the line. My instinct is to write him a letter to let him know how I feel, but I realise that it will fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes!). I know that this experience will make red flags abundantly clear to me in the future, because I spent my whole relationship ignoring the warning signs. xxx

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Pippy, I'm sorry you went through this too. It is very familiar. At the beginning of the relationship, I witnessed this with my ex and it only increased as time went on. He'd say, 'I'm going sober for a month, except for X's birthday, and Y's stag do. Oh, and on Friday and Saturday nights'. Eh...that's not sobriety. I would suggest gently that he is reliant on alcohol but he'd vehemently deny it, saying that nothing in his life was impacted by it, he just liked a drink. Then I'd see a bottle of vodka and a litre of Jack Daniels on his bedside table...

 

Bolt, you are so right. When he is entirely out of my life, I will feel the clouds clearing. Even now, I looked at his LinkedIn profile picture, a feeling of absolute repulsion came over me. I realised that a lot of the relationship was based on pity. I felt a bit sorry for him and so gave and gave and gave. Now I wonder why I was even attracted to him in the first place.

 

Goddess, yes I am always startled by Bluecastle's messages. I agree he should write a book. I don't know him but his words alone have gone some way to restoring my faith in mankind!

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