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Finding it hard to be with new bf because of emotionally abusive ex

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  • Finding it hard to be with new bf because of emotionally abusive ex

    I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for two years with my ex which was my first proper boyfriend. I didn't realise that it was abusive until afterwards.

    I found the break up very difficult (probably traumatic as I has ptsd afterwards) not because we broke up but because of how he did it. He kept manipulating me for about 6 weeks being on and off (I just wanted to talk to him about things and sort them out). He gave me silent treatment, lied about things kept telling me he wanted a future and couldn't bear to be without me one minute then dumping me over the phone and dropping all my stuff at my house 20 minutes later. Then getting back together the next day.

    It was a mess. And I was a mess a long time after.

    He was also physically abusive and I think sexually abusive too but it's the psychological abuse that has messed me up and still leaves it's mark although I'm a lot better now.

    After being isolated for so long I got back in touch with one of my male friends. We became best friends and he admitted he liked me and slowly slowly we have gone into being boyfriend and girlfriend. He knows most stuff and my ex and we can discuss it openly.

    Even though my new boyfriend seems to be really good and completely different I am finding being in a relationship difficult:
    • I worry when I don't hear from him all the time because I was so used to my ex being controlling by constantly texting and asking what I was doing all the time. My ex gave me silent treatment when he was mad at me so now I worry that my bf is mad at me a lot. I get really bad anxiety and lows when I don't hear from him.
    • My now boyfriend raises his voice at me sometimes and I find it really distressing and triggering, even though it is normal to get angry sometimes.
    • I keep threatening to end the relationship which is not good. But it's a pattern of behaviour I learnt from being with my ex because he wouldn't let me end it.
    • I find it very hard to trust my current boyfriend because my ex lied a lot.
    • I worry he will be abusive too because my ex was and I didn't realise.
    • I worry that he will abandon me too and not tell me why like my ex did.
    • Sounds silly but I am not used to him being affectionate because my ex withheld affection when he was mad at me.
    • If he blocks the way I find it intimidating because he is bigger than me and I worry he will restrain me like my ex did.
    Tl;dr: I am finding it hard to be in a new relationship because I constantly expect him to be like my emotionally abusive ex. Can you help me change my thinking?

  • #2
    hi supergirl sorry to hear all this, I'm always here if you need help but it will be easier through private message so I fully understand what you've been through if that's okay? x I have been similar things so I know its hard. stay strong

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    • #3
      Hi supergirl

      It sounds like you really went through it with your ex, some of the things you described him doing really made me feel confused and frustrated to the point of hopelessness.

      I also hear you say it sounds silly how you are still affected with your ex, you see to me that does not sound silly at all. You mention ptsd and also how hard it is being in your new relationship. When I read it I was nodding along as it makes sense, it is not helpful but makes complete sense to me.

      I wonder if there is anyone you can talk to who isn't your partner about the experiences you have had. How afraid you must have been at times and how things are reminding you of what he did.

      You see I do not think you need to change your thinking, but if possible allow yourself to feel the feelings you have following what you experienced in the relationship. Why would you feel anything else? It is when we feel ok with our emotional reactions that they can change or be released.

      Your way of thinking with your new partner may be your body protecting itself, looking after you by being cautious. Even though logically you may not want to be feeling that, emotionally it may be doing it anyway with your best intentions as its priority.

      Relationships are difficult but hopefully this one can be supportive and caring too.

      Glenn

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      • #4
        Hi Glenn,

        Thanks for your reply. I think you are one of the only people that has said to me that it's okay just to feel what I am feeling. I normally feel like I just have to shut u about it and cover it up and get on with it.

        When you say it makes you feel frustrated and confused do you mean because of things I did or because I stayed with him?

        I don't really have many other people I can talk to about it because they are fed up of me talking about it really.

        Yes I think it is my body protecting me. I am really angry I have to be so cautious with relationships now . Thanks I hope so

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        • #5
          Hi Laura

          I would PM you if I knew how. Do you think you PM me? Not sure how to use this site! haha.

          Thanks for your message

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          • #6
            Hi supergirl. Thanks for the reply supergirl. To PM me you need to go on your profile and accept my subscription and then I can send you a message, no problem I'm always here for you

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            • #7
              Hi Glenn. Wondered if you could take a look at my recent posts specifically the one on Staff pregnancy, pregnant again not planned and Friday Date Awful and if you can send me a PM too that would be good

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by supergirl View Post

                When you say it makes you feel frustrated and confused do you mean because of things I did or because I stayed with him?

                All I was saying is that while reading your post I had a reaction inside me. It was my reaction to what was happening to you. I felt that being in a relationship like your last one would make me feel frustrated and confused for some reason. I don't know if that was any help or not but thought I would share it.

                I found counselling was a really good outlet for talking about the stuff that annoyed my friends. I wonder if you have any services near you that you can speak to. There is an online counselling service here http://www.themix.org.uk/get-support/speak-to-our-team

                And we are always more than happy to listen on this forum.

                glenn

                Comment


                • #9
                  I see what you mean now! Sorry I must have misinterpreted what you wrote. Thank you

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi supergirl

                    ​I hope you know you are not alone in how you are feeling, the past can creep up on us in many areas of our lives and it sounds like you have gone through a lot with your ex.

                    ​I agree with many of the things that Glenn has said above, and if possible, you should allow yourself to feel these emotions. Everything you feel is valid here. Many people almost feel guilty about feeling these things but in fact, it takes a lot of strength to get through the type of relationship that you have.

                    ​And now you have embarked on a new relationship, which is a very hard thing to do - this shows the inner strength you do have, even if it may not feel like that way sometimes.

                    ​It sounds like you are both taking it slowly and you have been friends for a while. You also mentioned that he knows about your past and it sounds like he is understanding about it. I am curious, do you think you could discuss the things you have listed with him?

                    ​Maybe he is unaware that things such as not hearing from him, raising his voice, blocking your way etc. are triggers for you? Then these things are neither of your faults. The way that you are feeling and some of your reactions are caused from the past and how you were treated then. And from your boyfriends side, although he is aware of some things, he may not realise that some things can cause this anxiety.

                    A little talk about it may help, rather than keeping it in and becoming even more anxious. Sometimes, new partners can be feeling a similar way - anxious and worried - because they don't want to hurt you further, come across as controlling, or be too distant etc. and loose you.

                    ​I understand that you don't want to have all of these thoughts and feelings but I don't believe you need to 'change your thinking' as you said. I think what would help this would be to get reassurance that you deserve to be treated so much better than your ex. Along with reassurance that your boyfriend will be able to do this.
                    ​As much as we want to give the world to our partners and hold on to them - it needs to be mutual love, respect, care and support.

                    You deserve all of that and when we start relationships it's hard to know what will come in the future but remember how strong you are and what you have overcome.

                    ​As hard as it is, do you think you could sit down and speak to him further about your triggers and worries?

                    ​If not, as Glenn said, there are so many other people that you can talk to and offload any worries you have, even if it is online on this forum.

                    ​I hope this has been helpful, let me know what you think or any other worries you have.

                    ​- PositiveAura

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for your reply PositiveAurora,

                      Thank you! A lot of the time I don't feel strong. I feel weak that I am still harping on about it all and crying sometimes.

                      I have discussed the relationship at great length and I have tried to sit him down and discuss the triggers. He understood about him blocking the way but he also said it upsets him because he is not like my ex. I have tried multiple times with the raising voice thing and he says he understands but he finds it difficult to control the volume if he gets frustrated. I still find it really distressing so I don't know what to do about that. I don't know if he understands just how bad it makes me feel.

                      He has said a few times that he is really scared of loosing me and I don't want him to feel like this. My ex used to always say he was scared of loosing me though and that he would never break up with me but he obviously dumped me very harshly.

                      I will try to keep talking to him. SOmetimes I feel I just put a downer on eveythng though.

                      Thank you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's great to hear back from you supergirl.

                        ​It is understandable that you may feel weak sometimes but remember how much you have overcome and all the obstacles that you have tackled.
                        ​It takes a very strong person to do that so even when you are down and upset, try to remember that this weakness is just a feeling but it isn't so.

                        ​It is good that you are able to speak to your boyfriend about everything. And even though you say you feel that you 'put a downer' on things, you are both in a relationship and it takes team work. Working together, talking, communicating, expressing both of your feelings will help to build that. And then in the future you will be a much stronger couple who understands each other on a much deeper level.

                        ​From what I am hearing, your boyfriend does care about you and doesn't want to hurt you, like your ex. Though he says that this upsets him, (and in turn this understandably upsets you also) maybe let him know that all of this that you are both working through is because you do want to be with him and you do want it to be different than your last relationship. It sounds like he is feeling this too.
                        That way, as negative as some of these things may seem, it's actually a positive step for both of you. It's positive if you both take these difficult steps to get a mutually happy and healthy relationship.

                        You said about his frustration and raising his voice too, I understand that is something that you are weary of and affects you. If talking hasn't helped this much, maybe you could do things as a couple to relax and bond more too? Activities that are specifically calming and relaxing.
                        ​From things like yoga, stretching and meditation (you can even follow videos for these) to smaller things like listening to relaxing music, tv, even herbal teas or any other hobbies you have.

                        ​Let me know what you think and how you are getting on.

                        ​PositiveAura.

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