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Dating someone abusive for so long that you become more toxic than them

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Hey guys, I would love to vent about my situation and get anyone's opinions on my situation. 

When I was 20, I moved from California to Australia to study abroad. I immediately fell in love with a guy who was 27 years old and had massive red flags that I looked past because I just wanted to have fun while studying abroad. He was a massive alcoholic (drank about 3 bottles of wine after work everyday), and told me that he was addicted to heroin and meth for years in his early 20ies. I had never tried drugs or even a cigarette and didn't drink much when I met him. Other than this, he is a very generous, loving person, he just has a lot of unresolved trauma. We moved really quickly in our relationship since I was all alone in Australia. After about 5 months there started some verbal abuse when he got drunk (calling me a *** and a ***). We broke up after my study abroad year finished and I went home. We started a long distance relationship, and that was when he first over dosed on heroin while we were chatting. I still get back with him again, and 6 months later I move back to Australia to be with him. Everything was going great except 2 months in, after moving into our own apartment, he calls me a *** for no reason and I check his phone and see he's been having a secret day-time texting relationship with his ex-gf. He would also have suicidal nights where he put his body over the balcony to kill himself while I tried to hold his legs from falling to his death. The next morning he wouldn't remember anything and gaslight me that I'm making this stuff up and I always try to ruin the day. He also would get irrationally angry and smash everything in the apartment. 

One night we went to a party with unlimited drinks, I got so drunk that I got into my brain that he was trying to hurt me physically although Im not certain, and when we got back to the house, I started pushing him trying to get him to physically hurt me, because I think I wanted some physical evidence that he hurts me so that I had an excuse to leave him. Since I was only 21 and didn't really understand all the emotional abuse he was doing. I ended up punching him in the face. I will never forgive myself for my actions on this night. I still think about it every day 5 years later, and I would never let myself do something like this ever again. The next day, he got black out drunk in the car ride home and he said 'if you stop the music one more time, I will crash the car and kill us both'. So we break up again and I return home to the US. About 4 months later, he is extremely suicidal and needs my help. I try to help him, but end up falling back into the toxic cycle again. I came back to Australia when I was 23 for his birthday party before moving to New Zealand for a couple months before starting my Masters Degree in Melbourne, and here he said things like 'i just use you to cum' and 'youll be the reason why i dont live until 30'. We break up again, but get back together when I start my Master's degree and I started living with his best friend which was really nice of both of them. 

He got a new job on a mine site where he would spend two weeks there and two weeks off. We communicated mostly over text from now on and he could just block my messages anytime he didnt like what i was saying even though I was never abusive in my messages. It made me go insane over time. Covid hit which was basically two years in lockdown and we couldnt see each other so we were seeing other people and would sometimes see each other between lockdowns. For the last three years of our on and off relationship, we probably spent a total of 3 months a year in person, so I was dying of loneliness between his job and lockdown. After our first major lockdown and trying to date people during it, we got back together and only a few weeks in I realise he is doing heroin behind my back. So I break up with him again and start seeing someone else who wasnt interested in me and of course i go back to him. Immediately after, I realise my IUD moved and I got pregnant and had to have an abortion which left me traumatised and devastated, especially since his brother was having a baby at the same time. 

Now its November 2021, Im 25 years old and I have finished my Master's degree and I am debating moving back home to get away from him or moving into his new house in a different state. A few things happen like him still gaslighting me about how he never said that he would crash the car and murder us, and is still using violence to threaten me in fights. I then go on a short holiday where I had to meet his brothers baby and I find out he has been spending thousands of dollars on coke for him and his friends. He then tells me that he is never going to stop doing drugs, never going to try to drink less, never having kids, never quitting his long distance job, and never forgiving me for things I have done to him in the past. I am absolutely broken at this point and started going out drinking with his friend who is in his friendship group and my friend. I start looking for attention from other guys - kissed someone at a party, cuddled his friend after a party, and then eventually we ended up having a threesome together when I was black out drunk. 

I go back home to California where my ex tells me he didnt mean any of that stuff and he wants to get back together. I was coping all the new changes in my life and I wanted to get back together too. Eventually the guilt and he was putting together pieces of what happened and I had to come clean about what I did with these people. He told everyone and then when everyone decided they were still going to be friends with him, he freaked out and abused all his close friends for it, so now he has no one in the friendship group anymore. Finally I decided I needed therapy and started going where I learned all about my daddy issues. However I couldnt afford it anymore.

Its been a year now since I last saw my ex and after this all happened and I still spend every minute of the day obsessing about everything we have done to each other. It's been hell and I honestly feel like I am never going to be able to return back to being a normal person who has normal relationships. Please reach out if you can relate to my situation, or if you dated someone horrible that turned you into the toxic person. 


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Not "more toxic". There is a thing where we assume characteristics of people around us. If those people are "goal- oriented", excell at something, have a positive environment, we sort of "rub off" them and try to mimic that. That is why its very important to choose our friends and relationships. 

Unfortunately for you, your choice lead you to a druggie that abused you and cheat on you. So your behavior in that environment mimiced his. So you became exactly like him. Abusing substances and doing bad stuff.

I suggest you go back to therapy. You cant rewrite the past. But you can write a new chapter in your life. By fixing your headspace and creating a new loving environment for you. Where you should be able to lead better life then before. But to do that, you need therapy. Especially after everything that happened.

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Get your hands on a copy of a new earth by Eckhart Tolle and read it (public library for the win). 

I think it could be an easy trap to fall into, kicking yourself for hanging around in the fire for so long. But what good will that do you? How about gifting yourself some grace and compassion. You did learn the lesson in the end, staying broken up and disentangled for a whole year, that’s fantastically good stuff. That’s all you. You tapped into your mightyness and did what needs to be done. 

I have a friend who spent 10 years never quite being chosen by the guy she loved. In the end he went radio silent on her again and she got so sick from worry it nearly killed her. Her body was telling her, no more with this person. The thing you both have control over is what happens next. You do have a choice with the obsessing too, I know the thoughts are going to keep popping up, that’s what intrusive thoughts do. Your task is to not feed/entertain/indulge them. ‘Ah, I see I am having a thought.’ *redirect your attention back to the present, your breathing, what you can hear, feel, smell*. 

Definitely, save up for more talk therapy too, this is a good investment. 

I’m sorry you got entangled in such a harmful relationship and proud of you for leaving it. 

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10 hours ago, CourtneyNicole said:

  I decided I needed therapy and started going where I learned all about my daddy issues. However I couldnt afford it anymore.

Sorry this happened. It's in the past now. All you can do is focus on sobriety and healthy living.

You'll have to delete and block all these toxic people from ALL your social media and messaging apps.

Once you commit to a healthy sober lifestyle, it's the first step in the right direction. Not everyone can afford out-of-pocket therapy but you can get an evaluation of your physical and mental health from a physician with regular health insurance. Get some tests done.

Your drinking behavior and craving for danger seems a lot more complex than "daddy issues", so it's best to find more useful help anyway. "Daddy issues" is a derogatory pop term, no qualified therapist would use or "treat". So run from whoever told you this.

There are free sobriety support groups and other support groups you can look into. Get involved in sports and fitness. Join some groups and clubs. Focus on your future, not the past.

Your issues are most likely beyond selfhelp books if you got into violence, drinking,  group sex and other significant self-destructive behavior. However there is help available if you get away from toxic people and get appropriate healthcare.

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I'm so sorry you've been through all of this.

Your focus now is to move forward and not backwards in your life.

Block and delete him and his people everywhere. He was a chapter in your life, and that chapter is in the past and is closed.

Focus on you now. Do more self-care activities, build new hobbies, meet with friends, and resume therapy as soon as you can afford it. It's also very key that you give yourself as much compassion and love as possible. We are all humans and we can make some serious mistakes in the name of love. But, the good thing is we can learn from them and become wiser and stronger with time. We can move on with time and find love and joy in ourselves and people who treat us with love and respect 💚

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