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Melinoe

A (mostly happy) update

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Melinoe

I just wanted to give the forum a bit of an update on how things are going for me since I've been quiet for a while. I was reminded the other day of how much progress I've made towards healing, and that I should be proud of myself, and maybe by sharing it I can help someone else feel a bit more hopeful :)

To recap a bit, I left my abuser 11 months ago. It feels like it's been decades, but it wasn't even a full year ago that I was still with him!  The abuse I experienced was verbal, emotional, sexual, and psychological in nature. Lots and lots of gaslighting. So much gaslighting that he had convinced me that nothing in our relationship was abusive... except me, *I* was the abuser, and I came here first for advice as an abuser who wanted to stop abusing! Luckily the wonderful people here, as well as my fantastic therapist, helped me recognize that in fact, my relationship was abusive and I was not the abuser at all. 

My ex has fallen into a pattern of sending out a really pathetic hoover attempt every few months. He would do subtle things like ask people to check in on me - sending our former landlady or friends of his to tell me stories about how he was still hurting and missing me and sorry. Then he switched to making new email addresses (because he knows I've blocked him everywhere) and sending me short, pitiful messages, always the same: he knows he shouldn't bother me but he still loves me, and he's sorry, and he'll "never email again". And a few months later, a new message from a new address will show up. 

Each hoover attempt just ripped the rug out from under me. It would set off days of crying, depression, re-living everything, and questioning myself. I felt like I was recovering too slowly (I was with the abuser for less than 2 years so I figured I should be "over it" in a matter of a couple months), and these random reminders of everything seemed to tear down any progress I made. I always fought the urge to respond and kept up No Contact - but it was really, really hard. Sometimes the only thing that kept me from breaking no contact was my stubborn pride, and wondering what people would think of me if they knew I was talking to him. Which  somehow seemed like a "bad" reason to use as inspiration, but I figured: whatever the reason, just stay away. Whatever works. 

A few days ago, he sent out another limp tentacle of contact. Another mopey email about how he knows he should leave me alone but he still loves me, and shuffling away saying "sorry" - which I know is self-pity and not genuine remorse at all. That day was a tough day, I got teary-eyed and did replay a lot of memories in my head, both good and bad. I spent the day being extra nice to myself and doing a lot of self care. But the next day, I was ok. I still felt a twinge of discomfort, but somehow I also felt... separate from it. I was able to see his tricks clearly and dismiss them and acknowledge how awful I felt, instead of beating myself up and questioning myself for days. And that's when I realized how far I've come. You don't really notice it, as it's happening. Nothing seems to change day by day, but all of a sudden you notice everything is different, and you've made it through the worst of it.  

A few good things are happening for me now. I have returned to university to complete my honors degree, and I feel great in that environment. My confidence and hope is returning. I have recognized and distanced myself from an unhealthy friendship, and reconnected with friends who I feel amazing and supported and valued around. I am focusing on the people and things that make me feel stronger in myself.  I'm getting better and better at honouring my own boundaries, and being kind to myself when I am not perfect. 

I just wanted to share, in case hearing this is helpful to someone in some way. Maybe gives them a bit of hope that even if they feel awful and everything is hard and it seems like you're failing, you are not. Things get better when you're sort of not looking, when it seems to not be getting better at all: suddenly, it will be. Sometimes when you feel weakest, you are actually being the strongest, the wisest, the most courageous. And I wanted to share my gratitude for the patience and kindness and wisdom of this forum. This place has honestly been instrumental in helping me rebuild myself. So thank you <3 

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Quaddie

I'm glad to hear you're doing better. That "separateness" you describe is a big deal - it's like, cutting of the "direct" veins and arteries between you and the abuser, where their antics stop engendering reaction in you. That's actually a really good analogy, the tentacle. It's like - in abusers, their behavior is like it sends a neurological response into their target to feel. Like tentacles or neurons. Like when a hand touches something, and then the signal transmits through the nerves into the brain to feel - only in abusive relationships, the abuser is the hand and the tentacles are the neurons sending signals into the victim to process and adapt and react-to. Interesting.

It's great that you described the separation as a gradual thing. Developing boundaries is a process - that separateness, the boundaries, even when you practice them at first and it feels very unnatural because it's not what you're accustomed to. I liked how you treated yourself really well for resisting even though it was painful. I think that's probably important also in order to sort of "recondition" the being into associating goodness and the self-care with the separateness, rather than the "negatives" that the abuser would have conditioned you with. 

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad to hear you're back at university and completing your degree. It's all really great to see. Congratulations ;)

 

 

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lizzibethak

Oh Melinoe...........you've come so far!!!  Best wishes as you continue your degree and continue to grow in confidence! 

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