SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY, I’m doing things a little different today since I have two very important but very different questions that both could use your undying attention and/or love. Rather than combine them into one post, I split them into two separate posts.
CAN YOU HANDLE IT? (yes, you can).
I’ve been seeing the same guy on and off for the last 2 1/2 years. I really care about him but his actions and words throw me off. So much so that my mental health is suffering. I’ve been on more anti-depressants, anxiety meds, and therapy than any other time in my life.
I know he’s abusive. He doesn’t use physical violence anymore, since he’s not in my home but the verbal shit is killing me. At least, that’s what everyone keeps telling me when I call, again, in tears. Or when after succeeding in every aspect of my life, the moment I anticipate him calling, I want to drive into the median.
I’m having a super hard time just *quitting* him. It’s like I’m hooked. I’ve only successfully left his physical presence, but somehow he still holds a place in my head and heart, no matter how painful. How do I get past this relationship without being sucked back into it again?
Oh Prankster, there’s very little that I hate more than hearing about another Prankster in an abusive relationship. Not because I hate you, of course, but because I hate hearing that someone I heart is suffering.
Let’s start at the beginning. It sounds like you are addicted to this man and this relationship. I’m willing to bet that a good portion of us have been in abusive relationships before at one point or another–I know that I have–and I know that part of the abuse starts small, like you said, they get into your head and erode your self esteem.
There are people out there–like this guy–who prey on people to do exactly this sort of thing, so before you start blaming yourself for being an asshole to fall for it (that will come eventually. It always does, trust me on this), just know that it’s not your fault. It happened to you, it happened to me, and it’ll happen again to other people.
But this relationship is toxic, Prankster, and you must quit it. You must love yourself more than you love being with him. At the end of the day, you must love yourself. You know that Your Aunt Becky loves you and her Band of Merry Pranksters love you, but YOU must love you.
I won’t pretend it’s going to be easy or that you’re not going to hurt like hell because you will, but I guarantee that you’ll come away from this situation a better, stronger person.
Perhaps you should treat this like an addiction, because that’s what it is, an addiction. One of the things that addicts do is to make a list of all of the reasons that they quit their drug of choice and put that list somewhere safe, like their wallet or their purse. When they feel like breaking down, they pull that list out and remind themselves of why they’re doing it. It could be something as small as, “because I like to listen to MY music” or something as important as “I love ME more.”
Maybe you can get one of your friends to act as a substitute to call when you’re feeling weak and anxious and want to call him to talk you through it, a fake-boyfriend type of friend. You’re going to need an emotional support system to get you through this because you’re going to have to go through the grieving process, just like you would with any relationship.
Your self-esteem will creep back in, you can fake it ’til you make it, and you’ll find your way again. We human beings are resilient as hell and I can tell by the tone of your email that you’re a smart person and you’ll do well at finding someone who genuinely loves you.
Because someone who loves you does NOT hurt you. Someone who loves you does NOT call you names. Someone who loves you does NOT make you feel badly about yourself.
There is a difference between co-dependence and love, Prankster.
Perhaps you can take a 12-step approach and work it that way, if that helps, but whatever you do, you must get away. I cannot stress that enough.
Lots of love to you, Prankster. Let us know how it goes. We’ll be waiting to hear the progress you make.
All right, Pranksters, time to love on this Prankster. I know a lot of you can relate to this and it’s time to help her out. Give her some advice, some compassion or just a *hug* in the comments.