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If you don't know how you're being affected...

Old 03-01-2020, 03:11 AM
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"O you must wear your rue with difference".
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If you don't know how you're being affected...

If you don't know how you're being affected by another person's addiction, or you're unsure about leaving a toxic situation... here's what happened to me today:

I found this forum maybe two years ago... or more. At the time, I was leaving a relationship that I didn't know was abusive until it became violent. I was in a relationship with a violent drug addict. I thought I had to save him -- so did he; and because of that expectation, I was blamed for everything from his resistance to trying sobriety to my depression from being in what I felt was an unlivable situation that I could not leave.) I have since been free. When I went no contact, I did everything I could to maintain those boundaries.

But there's one thing I did not do. I did not delete all my social media accounts. Instead I just ignored them for two years. I really wanted to just hide from him (I was that afraid of him).

So today, because I thought I was "over it", I tried to do a "clean up". I was deleting things when I saw a recent thumbnail picture of him and immediately my heart rate increased, I started sweating, I started feeling my extremities go numb, and I started to feel extremely unsafe. I had no reason to feel unsafe... it was just an automatic response to... a blurry thumbnail picture of my ex.

Because of this I now know that complex PTSD is for life. PTSD may go into hiding for months... and then -- boom -- you're exposed to a trigger and you start thinking of building a panic room and wondering how long you can live in it if you fill it with cans of baked beans.

When you're in the thick of it, you don't know how you're being damaged.
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Old 03-02-2020, 05:18 PM
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Ann
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Ophelia, I am sorry you are going through this and hope you can use your recovery skills...and/or counseling to help you get through it.

Tell yourself "I am stronger, wiser and no longer a victim. I CAN and will protect myself and surround myself with support." Repeat until you believe it.

I am glad you are able to talk about this. Don't stuff it, shared is aired and will help you keep it in perspective.

I am cheering you on. You deserve a happy life.

Hugs
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Old 03-04-2020, 02:41 AM
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"O you must wear your rue with difference".
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Originally Posted by Ann View Post
Ophelia, I am sorry you are going through this and hope you can use your recovery skills...and/or counseling to help you get through it.

Tell yourself "I am stronger, wiser and no longer a victim. I CAN and will protect myself and surround myself with support." Repeat until you believe it.

I am glad you are able to talk about this. Don't stuff it, shared is aired and will help you keep it in perspective.

I am cheering you on. You deserve a happy life.

Hugs
I don't see myself as a victim, but it would be easier for me if I never had any exposure to him accidental or otherwise ever again... forever and ever.
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Old 03-04-2020, 05:19 AM
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Very wise, Ophelia, toxic people have no place in our lives anymore.
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Old 03-11-2020, 03:19 AM
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First of all congratulations on maintaining those boundaries and getting out of the toxic relationship. Thatís not easy and you have a lot to be proud of.
Your reaction really shows just how damaging these people are to us and how much we block out just to remain in survival mode during the relationship.
I canít imagine how horrible you felt seeing his picture and how it brought those feelings back.
Keep on being amazing and thanks for sharing
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:57 AM
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I feel I have more work to do in regards to boundaries, not only the boundaries I have to protect myself from my ExAH, but also other people.

It's been difficult. Lonely. Confronting.
Sometimes I feel grief -- but not for my ex-relationship.
Some days I feel really happy.
I know I am no longer going to be the me I was before -- that is like preparing a death.

Since I started improving my life, I realised that I unconsciously attract people that want me to perform emotional labor -- particularly at work where I spend most of my day.

I have, so far, had five people burst into tears in front of me since January. One of my colleagues crossed my boundaries by discussing things, while drunk, that were personal -- he is an ACOA -- and then he was offended that I didn't want to discuss my personal life with him. I have not told a single person at work that my ex-husband is/was an addict. I do not discuss my hobbies or religion or political ideas. I think only one person at work even knows I'm divorced (but she's also divorced... so, I guess we were discussing divorce in general -- things like, "I have to pick up my child after work, I'm a single mother"... etc. ).

I am aware that I seem very reserved -- perhaps this is true. Yet for some reason I know a lot about other people's lives (or at least more than I should know considering I don't talk much about my life). It stresses me out and sometimes, I leave the office and find a big sofa to sink into where I can do my work in hiding.

I have realized that I am a magnet for hurt people. I think it's because I've been through things, so I don't automatically judge people for making mistakes whereas others might reject them. I think this is why I gave my ex so many chances -- years of chances, and then woke up to the fact that my life was only caring for him. I wasn't going anywhere in life. I was just a carer.

My healing has taken the form of deep introspective questioning of my values and how they have played out in my life. My ex was attracted to me because of what I was offering: an unfaltering loyalty to the idea of love as sacrifice because that is what was modeled for me in my youth. My parents sacrificed a lot for me. My mother and father sacrificed a lot for each other. I was taught to "stick out" the tough times, to pick myself up, to keep going no matter what -- to believe. My faith is all about sacrifice. Etc... . In the end I think that doing what is right feels "wrong" because (for me) it has historically been the path of resistance. It feels uncomfortable. If I am lazy, I just say, "yes". If I'm brave, I say, "no".

"No, I don't want to hear that -- please stop talking about that."
"No, you are not entitled to that information about me because it is private."
"No, I don't want to get into a car with you and be trapped with you for forty minutes while you talk about yourself."
"No, I don't want to store your files for you/photocopy those papers for you... ."

NO.

I have said: "I respect your work here and I have learnt a lot from you, thank you," as a way to end conversations. What I mean is: I respect your work and don't need to know you in any other capacity because your secrets might put me in a compromising position... and also, I am continuing to learn about boundaries from you.

This doesn't mean I don't actually want friends. But I am starting to think carefully about what people I want as friends. I would like to find my tribe one day -- but that is going to be like the search for the holy grail.

First I have to be the sort of person I think belongs in "my tribe".

I have not dated since I left my ExAh.
This was deliberate.
I want to trust myself fully first.

It's more complicated because of my mind-set. I'm older, so because of that I think I should have expectations. But I think everyone should have expectations anyway.

I have more expectations of myself these days. As a result of that, I have more expectations of others.
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