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Melinoe

Dealing with mistrust and overreaction after abuse?

7 posts in this topic

This one has a bit of a story that goes with it.

A few months ago, I made a new acquaintance in an online spiritual group, a guy quite a bit younger than me. He was looking for a native English speaker to help him with his language skills. So the basis of our "friendship" is basically vocabulary and translations and stuff. He was always very respectful and didn't pressure me to do voice or video chats. I got the feeling that he wasn't attracted to me, and I was relieved by that - it could just be a nice mental distraction and nothing more. Slowly over the months we did share our personal lives a bit. I never got any vibe that he wanted to scam me or anything like that, we never flirt with each other, we really are just friends. But, in the past few weeks, the intensity of our "friendship" began to shift. He starts talking about how incredible I am, how stupid my ex is for mistreating me, how he's never met anyone like me before. It's all very flattering. Then he says I'm changing his life, I am a source of hope and inspiration. I am his most important friend, that he might die if he can't talk to me. Then he starts hinting that he wants a partner like me and wonders if he could fall in love with me. Then a few days later, he declares he does love me. At every stage I tell him firmly that I just want to be friends and I start pulling away. After the big "love reveal" I had a very strong emotional reaction, shaking and crying with sudden cold and fear. The things he said were SO reminiscent of what my ex abuser used to say in the beginning, like almost word-for-word. And back then I totally fell for it. It brought up all kinds of feelings - I liked being told these lovely things, but I was angry at myself for falling for it with my ex, so now I felt fear and suspicion when I heard similar compliments. I felt guilt about my past mistakes and also shame that I had walked into another nearly identical situation! I started to fear I would never feel good about receiving love and compliments. What if I never trusted in love ever again?

Later I try to explain these things to him. He said something to me that made me immediately angry: "Do you notice that now I and the next guys in your life have become the victims of [my ex's] past rudeness? That now you can't believe or trust me because of what he did?" He talked about how I had "changed" since my heart was broken and that I mustn't "let myself become hard", otherwise not all men would be as understanding as he is, and find my attitude unattractive. He asked me if my Therapist agreed that I had become "more hard on people" since my breakup.

I was getting SO many flashbacks to my ex abuser through all this, because I felt this was a similar thing that he used to do - debate the validity and wisdom of my emotional reactions, insist I had misinterpreted things and was jumping into irrational anger, encourage me to question myself and check with other sources on how to act, think or feel, and insinuate that I should be careful to appreciate his love and understanding, or else I might end up alone. 

The thing that was getting me stuck was that I felt very self-righteous during this exchange, something my ex abuser would accuse me of often, and shame me for. I honestly did think my "friend" was wrong to make such judgments about me when he didn't really know me, I was indeed self-righteous about that. But that doubt was still there. Was I taking offense over nothing? Was I over-sensitive about simple misunderstandings? Was I punishing innocent people just because I had been hurt in the past? Could they be right and I am wrong?  

I should also say that I found an online copy of "Why Does He Do That?" and I am reading it, so maybe I am extra-reactionary because I'm feeling so much validation and yet also having flashbacks from reading the book? Am I perhaps just in a state of heightened sensitivity? 

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Your instincts are correct. He is "love-bombing" you. He might die if he can't talk to you?? That's abnormal and unhealthy, pure manipulation.

The things he's saying about you getting"hard" and him being a victim of your last relationship are pure manipulation, designed to control you.

Him questioning you if your therapist agreed with him...That's really inappropriate, also highly manipulative and a boundary violation.

In my opinion, it would be prudent to disconnect all communications with him and block him. He is, indeed, being manipulative and controlling, and is not a healthy thing for you to engage in.

No explanation or discussion is required. Just something like, "I'm not going to talk to you anymore." (Notice, no apology - you have a right to decide on your own.) Then stop, and block. If you don't block him, you will receive a barrage of various types of hoovers and criticisms. 

Follow your instincts. 

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I also think that your instincts are correct. I'm sorry you came across another one, but you can be proud that you recognize him for what he is.

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Thanks guys. I mean....I know I am still kind of in the "angry phase" and find it healing to identify all the unacceptable things my ex did and to let myself feel justified anger. But I hope I will not be harsh or unfair to people forever. I think my trust and openness will gradually return. I won't become a perpetually bitter, jaded person. I keep telling myself that, at any rate.

And I recognize now that this guy's reaction was related to the fact that I didn't return his feelings and he wants to twist things to make me feel guilty and hopefully change my mind. I am going to block him. He's already starting in on the hoovering, as you predicted Quaddie.

Ugh :( 

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So I had a similar experience. I TRY to give a new guy a fair chance and separate him from my past because he had nothing to do with what happened with my ex. It's not fair to punish another guy for the sins of my ex. New guy...new chance. That being said, I don't 100% trust my own judgement and worry that I am over analyzing a new guy's actions and motives. For me, my fears were put to rest when I saw him with his child and saw their interaction. It was their relationship that made me realize he is a genuine guy who is not faking it. Because his child is a lovely human with a great heart and is in the teen years and not even bratty toward him. Wow! And he treats his child with patience and respect. Wow again. I'm sure your situation is different and there is not a child to meet or you are not that far along. But just the fact that his is twisting your words already and basically arguing with you and picking at you...this is a huge red flag and I'm glad you've already taken moves to remove him. There are better choices out there. Throw that fish back for someone else to catch. 

"Spiritual" one are sometimes the worst covert narcs. Beware. 

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Melinoe

I see red flags!!! The things he said sound abusive to me. I would quit talking to him, I don't think it is worth the chance.

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