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Finally breaking out of denial about abuse

Old 09-30-2012, 02:16 AM
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Finally breaking out of denial about abuse

I have been trying to get over a pot addict/alcoholic man for nearly one year. Although easy at first, going "no contact" has, at times, been impossible. I live in a village, he lives on my street, and since our breakup, he has started to work architecturally for many of my friends.

Here's a quick synopsis of my last year:

-Nov. 2, 2011 - breakup (sporadic contact, i.e. 1 x every two weeks)
-Christmas/New Year 2012 - tried to get him back, begged him to move in with me saying that our not living together was the problem, (increased communication... 1 x week... every time he called I had hope)
-January-May 2012 - severe depression, panic attacks, weight loss, started smoking again, feeling hopeless, near-suicidal (daily phone calls, obsession)
-May-September - started working part-time to help obsession, short relationship and two one-night stands that helped in one way but not in others... sex without love (still having contact... but less... 1 x week)
-September 23 - last contact with ex, inviting him to move in with me. Removing some boundaries I had had. How sick is that!?

Then, this past Wednesday, as I was expressing my frustration at still having feelings for my ex, a girlfriend said to me: "Think about his bad sides. I once had a difficult time stopping loving a man, and thinking about the bad things helped to stop the feelings."

So, I took out the Codependents Anonymous book and reread signs of abuse and control and realized that my ex had in fact abused me, something I had not wanted to look at before. So, I decided to write a letter to him and not send it. Here it is and it unleashed such an anger!!! I also have been more assertive this past week. Please note, I was sexually abused as a child, so many of my codependency traits stem from that.

"I know I shouldn't have stayed in the relationship with you for so long. It was a toxic relationship. I am sorry I accepted sex as a substitute for love. I tried to rescue you. I tried to please you at my own and my children's expense. I obsessed about the lack of love I was feeling from you. I fantasized about a potential life with you and about you getting healthy. I tried to control you and circumstances, as when I would not allow you to come over if you were over the legal blood alcohol limit (yet allowed other people to stay in my house drunk). I condemned myself.

I should have seen the following warning sign: You used to control me physically, by not letting me out of bed in the morning. I thought it was love, but now I see it was control. You were too lazy to get up and you didn't like that I was so energetic.

The reality is: you used me and my children. You were abusive and controlling. You blamed me for needing any attention at all. This resulted in my self esteem eroding. You shamed me, put me down, blamed me and called me names. You criticized me for being American and for having money. You got close to my children, acted like their father and then withdrew. You criticized me for putting my kids in a private school, even though you had distanced yourself from them after getting so close. You criticized me for traveling and killing the planet. You criticized me for wanting love attention and affection, saying i wanted too much. You criticized me for wanting to be with people, and for saying I wanted to share public time with you. You criticized me for not wanting to isolate. You shamed me for my past abortions. You blamed me for your not seeing you friends, when it was YOUR choice not to see them. You blamed me for controlling you when I wasn't.

You misrepresented the truth. You withheld information about your activities. When I asked you if you smoked pot when you were alone you got mad at me. You only went out on the town and socialized when I was out of town, even though I was constantly encouraging you to go out. I suspect you were unfaithful. People say you have a lot of girlfriends. You hid your pot use from me. Therefore you lied.

You suppressed me emotionally. You refused to offer support. You refused to give me attention. You refused to respect or validate my feelings. You rarely (if ever) offered affirmations or compliments.

You constrained me financially. You tried to control my spending through criticism. You criticized my workouts, my travel, my leisure time activities, even if they were free. You tried to make me feel guilty for having money and spending it. You didn't support my desire to work. You never offered money. You used money or resources as punishments. You made travel promises with no intention of keeping them. You talked of children and marriage, with no intention of ever upholding those promises.

You used power tactics. You hurried me into making construction decisions as in the summer of 2011. You had booked carpenters, but your new beloved clients (the wife of whom you were most likely sleeping with) changed their minds again and you didn't want to lose face with your carpenters, so you asked me to come to the rescue. You gave me no time to think about it. You used me and you used power tactics to pressure me into saying yes. You shamed me about my past. You pouted when out with me and blamed me for needing attention from men. You manipulated me by not caring. You got me pregnant, not because you wanted children, but because you wanted to keep control over me. Due to stress most likely from not feeling any love from you, I lost the baby.

You abused my feelings. You didn't respect them.

You used money (or lack of time), sex and MY CHILDREN to control me."

Now, I have to figure out how to forgive myself for staying with this man for 5.5 years, for my obsession, for my accepting sex when I wanted love, and for all my mistakes this past year.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:37 PM
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Why not celebrate that it's not 6 years.

Have you considered getting some therapy to help you cope with grief and learn how to set and maintain boundaries.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:16 PM
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Our minds are very fragile, and there are times in our lives when we can be easily controlled. Sometimes a history of childhood abuse or neglect or abandonment weakens us, we become less able to have faith in ourselves and what we know, we become malleable. Then someone comes along and he is a narcissist or a sociopath or a drug addict, someone who is wired to be selfish and manipulative either due to addiction or biology. And he uses his considerable power to control other people, and women with trauma histories are easy bait for him. He can usually spot one across a crowded room.

I have a dear dear friend who, like you, is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And for years she became involved with men who hurt her, in awful ways. But she did not understand she had this pattern, this vulnerability to men who would abuse her. She thought it was just chance.

A couple of years ago she had a particularly terrible relationship with a man who is a sex addict. He triggered every weakness and childhood terror she had repressed. She became very emotionally ill.

My friend has been attending S-Anon for a year now, and seeing a therapist with expertise in childhood sexual abuse, and she also participated in group therapy. She has changed, deep within, she understands now, she has released undeserved shame, she helps other women in the 12-step group who have lost their way and who are in pain.

My friend is a new, healthy woman. She has hope for her future. And she is not afraid to love again. She knows now what love is.

Please consider finding good support for yourself. People you can trust and be vulnerable with without fear. You can be healed. Please seek help. My friend did, and it worked. She is sorting through her closet now, for an upcoming trip to a warm tropical country to stay with old friends for a few months. A year ago, she could barely leave her home.

Please love yourself and find help for your wounds.
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