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Melinoe

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About Melinoe

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  1. I have had depression and anxiety for most of my life. I was diagnosed officially with dysthymia (a less-severe form of chronic depression) as well as an anxiety disorder. I have been on Prozac, Paxil, Welbutrin, taken the occasional Ativan, and tried 5-HTP supplements. I was only on Prozac for a very short while - it gave me constant, terrible indigestion. I don't think its effect as an anti-depressant had even kicked in because I don't remember feeling any happier or calmer, just the indigestion. Ativan is for not for continual use as far I know: it's for individual times of extreme stress. It is meant to just calm the nerves, but it basically knocked me out the couple times I've taken it. So if you want to actually do things, like drive and teach, I might not recommend that one. It is great for getting to sleep or if you are having full-on panic attacks, can't stop uncontrollably crying, etc. Paxil worked very well for me, it is an SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor). I was put on it as a teenager and helped my moods a lot; didn't take away any emotions (i never felt like a zombie), it just seemed to make them more handle-able, rather than be overwhelmed by them. It definitely helped lessen my panic attacks and boost my self confidence, self-worth, sense of hope and strength. I went from thinking nothing was possible and I was worthless, to feeling like hey, I wasn't so bad and I could do things. However, it is *extremely* difficult to come off of. I am not sure if it was because I was on them for an extended period of time (like 10+ years) but the withdrawal symptoms were debilitating. If I missed my dose by even an hour, I felt the effects, which was like having the flu: lightheadedness, paresthesia, body aches, chills, etc. It took me almost 2 years to wean off them with a doctor's supervision because we had to go in such small increments. Paxil is apparently infamous for being hard to wean off of. It worked really well for me in terms of helping my moods and anxiety - in fact I credit it for saving my life, in tandem with talk therapy, but it also affected my weight/metabolism a lot, which raised my blood pressure, which is why I eventually decided to try to come off them. I used 5-HTP supplements during this time because they helped with the withdrawal symptoms. I am taking Welbutrin now, short-term, to see if it helps me with my depression and anxiety. It's not as effective as the Paxil, but it does help. Things are not as overwhelming and I have a stronger sense of my abilities and worth. It does not have the same reputation for tolerance-building that Paxil does, there are less severe withdrawal symptoms, so it can be used short-term to get through trying times caused by external stress. That is my experience with anxiety meds. I hope you found it useful I will also say that the type of therapy that has helped me the most in terms of healing anxiety and panic attacks specifically is what my therapist calls "self regulation". As far as I understand it, it's being mindful of the physical sensations your body is having during emotional reactions, and instead of trying to use logic to talk yourself down, acknowledging and allowing the feelings - the actual physical feelings, not your thoughts- to be felt. This allows the body to "work through it" as a natural response to stress and come to its own realization that there is no threat or danger. There are also a couple books that deal with this such as "Waking the Tiger" by Dr. Peter Levine and "The Body Keeps the Score" by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. Our bodies are actually responding with life-saving wisdom that has been developed over millions of years, which is why we can't reason it away or "just get over it", and seem to feel worse if we try to ignore it or use logic to make it stop.
  2. Thank you so much for posting and sharing this. It is astounding to me how our stories, experiences and feelings are all so similar despite us all having such different lives...all from abuse. I sometimes find myself questioning my "hastiness" in leaving, trying to remember "was it really that bad?" or if I was misinterpreting things and being too sensitive. Your post reminds me of the wisdom of listening to those subtle warning signs that others may scoff at as "over sensitivity". That empty, confused feeling was an everyday occurrence for me, and not recognizing who my partner was when they were angry. It was less than 2 years in and already I was crying uncontrollably at least once a week. It only would have gotten worse. You're right. Just go. Life is too short. Thank you. thank you.
  3. What the others say is right: it is by far more dangerous for you to knowingly keep yourself and your child in an abusive situation (even abuse that isn't "that bad") than to risk it and leave. I can speak from personal experience that life for a child IN an abusive home is way, way, way worse than life AWAY from the abuser, even with all the complications that come with leaving. You are scared of the unknown future, and that is normal and logical, especially considering the fact that you have been conditioned to doubt your own strength and abilities by the abuser. Remember that his "sweetness" is still abuse. For a child to grow up not knowing if dad will be calm and loving or mean and scary from one moment to the next is very, very damaging. Again, personal experience. I know it is stressful for you to think of all these variables and worries, but it is also very stressful to be raised in a home with an abuser. At least away from the abuse, the child will see some healthy normalcy. They will see that people can have emotional consistency, that healthy people make sense and don't blame others for their actions, and that loving someone doesn't mean they can treat you however they want. Trying to heal oneself from the effects of abuse - even "mild" abuse - is incredibly hard. The sooner the healing can begin, the better. Both you and your child need to heal, and that healing can't start while you're still with an abuser full-time: it'll be one step forward and five steps back. Your plan doesn't have to be perfect. You don't need to have every variable figured out (like "what if he does this, or that?"). Like others have said, one step at a time. You can do it. It'll be scary, and messy, but it might very well save your lives, and it'll be saving your child years of pain that they will never get back. Instead of thinking of how this change might negatively affect your child, think of the good, healthy messages you are teaching them by leaving: -That one's safety, health and happiness are important and valuable. -That it is unacceptable to abuse the people you love. -That just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to accept abuse from them. -That their feelings of fear and sadness when they sense tension and danger are correct and they can trust their instincts; they don't have to pretend everything is ok when it is not ok. -That they have the power and ability to make choices to change their reality. They don't have to stay anywhere they are not safe and happy, EVER.
  4. That's amazing Hope! Good for you! I'm so glad you are feeling happy about this awesome empowering step you took <3
  5. Exactly absolutely yes. If you feel insulted, shamed, hurt, your feelings are valid. I struggled a lot with that too - I dismissed my confusion and questioned my hurt over these instances because I thought I was wrong for feeling them. But they were accurate - I felt that way because the insults, shame and hurt WAS happening. If they were not happening, I would not have felt that way. A non-abusive partner would reassure and comfort us, not purposefully target our vulnerabilities for their own amusement. Mistrusting your own reactions and feelings and questioning their validity is a huge sign of abuse!
  6. Right on You deserve to feel better in a relationship. You are feeling stressed because a change like this is stressful! Even good changes trigger that "oh no, a new scary thing!" reaction in our brains.
  7. Yes, that is abuse. Quaddie is right, it's not even that covert - it just seems that way because you are getting acclimated to more loud, violent abuse. It is definitely not his place to bug you about your body! Your body, your business, end of story. Abusers see their partners as extensions of themselves or things that belong to them, so they think they have the right to control it the same way they would their own bodies or possessions. Some examples of sneaky, covert abuse that my ex abuser did, specifically related to the topic of weight and bodies, was stuff like: -If I ate fruit, potatoes, pasta, bread, or rice more than once a day, or two days in a row, he'd make a comment like "Wow, really? Potatoes for two meals? That's just a lot of carbs....Of course if you want it, eat it, babe. You know I just love you and want you to be healthy." - If I took a selfie for Facebook, he'd want to see it first, and say "Oh, you're using that picture? Huh. It's just, your neck looks weird. Well, ok...." - If we were sharing a snack like chips, he would suddenly decide we'd both had enough, and pointedly stare at me while silently putting them away or in the garbage. -Played this super weird game with me where he tried to get me to guess what was on his mind, and figure out which "somebody" had done something that upset him, but he wasn't sure if he should talk to them about it since it was "just a dumb pet peeve" of his. Of course, it turned out that I was the one who he was talking about : that watching me eat had bothered him since we'd met, and filled him with so much disgust it was hard for him to even stay in the same room with me. Then he hugged me, saying how much better he felt being honest with me, happily thanking me for being an amazing girlfriend he could talk to about anything. -Buy me candy and soda (without me asking) and give it to me with this strange, sheepish attitude, saying things like "I'll do anything to make you happy...I know you love this stuff...." and look at the candy and me with this absurdly pained expression (that he would of course deny if I asked "what's wrong?") That sort of stuff really messed me up, because I never felt like I could say "what do you mean by that?" without starting a huge, confusing fight that made me look like a hysterically insecure woman. It was like...90% supportive and 10% denigrating, and 100% about trying to quietly control me. If I ever tried to explain how weird these comments made me feel, he would say "But I never said that. You're twisting my words and making me feel like some kind of bad guy." And I could never really argue that, he wasn't doing anything terrible, really. In fact, some of the stuff was nice, like the gifts of candy. So then I'd just get really quiet and withdrawn, berating myself for feeling upset when I had such a wonderful partner, and he'd say I was giving him "the silent treatment".
  8. How long were you around the abuser for, and how long have you been away from them? It takes time and lots and lots of self care. I'm slowwwwly getting my confidence back after 5 months of No contact after ending a relatively short relationship with an abuser. It comes in spurts. Literally do anything that makes you feel good, and do a lot of it. If it's something you feel good AT, that gives you a sense of satisfaction or pride, even better. And this can be anything, anything at all. Maybe you are really good at drinking delicious smoothies, or watching Netflix, or sitting in a hot bath. It's all amazing, keep doing it and keep enjoying it. Really revel in it. Gather your strongest, most patient supporters around you and go to them when you need a reality check when all those abusive lies about yourself start swirling in your head and seem so plausible. I can't tell you how many times I've sat with my mom or my friend or my therapist and asked them "....ok, but what if I actually am the horrible person he said I am, but I'm just too stupid and selfish to realize it?" And then they will be a touchstone of reality reminding me of the truth about myself, and give me a bit of strength to at least reject his claims even if I'm not yet able to replace it with some confident beliefs about myself. Seek out and absorb all the good stuff you possibly can. All the reassurance, all the delight, all the soothing, all the calm, all the logic, all the encouragement you can grab, gobble it all up. You deserve to feel better and refill that well of self-love and esteem that being around the abuser depleted. It might not seem like this will affect your confidence, but slowly, it will. You're re-learning that it feels good to feel good, and that you are doing this for yourself, because you have value and the power to choose stuff - a new or long-forgotten sensation. You are returning the focus of power onto yourself. Bit by bit, that grasping fear of "what if they think I'm no good, what if they don't like me?" and how scary-important that seems will shift into a more you-centered focus. What "they" think will become less and less prominent as you practice shifting your focus back onto yourself and how YOU feel and what YOU are doing and YOUR ideas about yourself. Living with abuse meant training yourself to focus constantly on someone else, centering your reality on how they felt and acted, totally ignoring and dismissing yourself. Now you are able to pull that outward focus back inside where it belongs. It will take time, but you will get there. We all will
  9. Yikes, that really IS icky and underhanded! As I was reading your story and came to the part where you responded by trying to call out his sly dig at your achievement (the "So, if I was in a class with smart people...." comment) I immediately thought "Oh man, my ex would have flipped out at that and started screaming about twisting his words around, totally showing his hand....this guy is so much more slick and insidious, what a snake". I would have left that conversation feeling very mixed up indeed. And the added weirdness of giving you a gift of snacks after?? Barftopia. It really goes to show how alien the concept of just being kind and supportive is to them, isn't it. He could have quit while he was ahead and congratulated you with his comment about your profs loving your writing: There! Done! Decent human being skills! Incredible! But he just couldn't let you have it that easily; it's gotta knock you off balance and leave you bewildered. The worst kind of poison. Pure psychological abuse. I totally agree with Kanga and Quaddie's observations of how he had to neutralize your success because he felt threatened by it. Totally. You be proud of that paper!! Be obnoxiously proud!!
  10. Is there a domestic assault hotline in your area you can call? You can explain your situation to them and ask for their advice on what to do. Maybe they know more about the shelter rules and can tell you if you'd be welcome. Like, does a person have to "prove" they are abused to stay in a shelter?? For real??
  11. Something to keep in mind during these seemingly confusing moments: This IS the person you fell in love with. This whole time, he has been showing himself as exactly who he really is. You are accurately perceiving reality right now. His "bad side" where things seem to be so much worse? That is ALSO him being the person you fell in love with. Both parts. This is the kind of person he is. He is trying to make you doubt the validity of the truth that is right in front of you, as though this is some kind of one-time anomaly that will blow over. But this is all part of a huge pattern. He is an abusive man with two modes: scary manipulation, and confusing manipulation. This "nice side" is not some kind of alternate version of himself, some "real him" that he needs help with to bring out as his full-time personality. And, if you look at it objectively, this "good guy" act is still not a genuinely caring, decent person! It only SEEMS better in comparison to the rages and explosions. But what is happening now is not actually an improvement. It may feel like it is, but it is actually incredibly gross and twisted. All these parts of him that you are experiencing are who he is - the entire life cycle of seeming to be a stand-up guy for years, then worsening cruelty, explosions, false calm and confusion, rising anger, and more explosions. Everything that is happening now, and everything that has happened, is who he is. This is what your life will consist of, over and over, forever, living with him. In one way or another, this will be your every day reality with him. Because this is who he is. If this was NOT who he really was, then you would not be here talking to us right now. Your life would be completely different. There would be no need for you to agonize over wondering who the man you married "really is".
  12. It is so right and natural and proper for you to enjoy your life in any and every way you can!!! ❤❤❤
  13. Nah, you're right, it is totally gross that he thinks the groping is a great, important part of your marriage, and that he is so willfully clueless about your discomfort about it. It is completely demeaning and controlling and speaks to his outrageous sense of entitlement. Not healthy at ALL. ANY time your partner touches you in a sexual way, without your consent, and continues to do so when you have clearly said you don't like or want it is sexual assault.
  14. I won't say "I understand exactly how you feel!" because your experience is unique to you, but I do recognize the struggle to forgive oneself. I have moments too, where I understand that I did things that were wrong (or simply imperfect, mistakes), and I feel ashamed of them. I sometimes get stuck in this cycle of despair over "what kind of person I am" because I admit I've done these things that are shameful to me - even if they are understandable, justifiable, they still make me feel gross. I think the idea of "forgiveness" is a tricky thing - whether forgiving others, or ourselves. There are a lot of ideas and feelings that go along with it: a lot of baggage. I don't know about you, but when I think of "forgiveness" I imagine this near-mystical experience where suddenly all the pain goes away and the thing that tormented you doesn't matter any more. That it shouldn't hurt at all to think of the past, after forgiveness is achieved. It's like instant magic: that's what it's supposed to feel like. So when I say "I forgive myself" and yet it still hurts, I think I have failed, that I am unable to "get over it". And I imagine this to be a very big problem that again shows something about "who I am". And then I beat myself up for that. But I think perhaps "forgiveness" is more like...a staircase. You gotta take steps to get to the top. So something I try to work on is "compassionate acceptance", I guess you could call it. When I think of something that I regret or am ashamed of, I go "Yep, that was a thing that I did. I feel really bad about it. It's been a while, but I still feel bad, and that's ok. I regret what I did and the hurt I caused, I recognize that as a mistake/unwise choice I made, and going forward I intend no further hurt." I kind of have to....forgive myself for not being able to forgive myself just yet! To sit with that uncomfortable feeling and tell myself it's ok to be struggling with this right now, that I'm working through the process. And slowly, it gets easier, until one day you find that you've reached that magic place of forgiveness where it doesn't hurt any more and you can hold both the acknowledgment of regret as well as the acceptance that you are not a bad person. And you didn't even notice it happening, because you let yourself be not-ok for the time it took to go through the process. So, I don't know if that will be helpful for you at all. But it seems to help me ease up on beating myself up!
  15. Definitely normal. I was exhausted near the end from all that.