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.

That love will be what sustains you and what has to get you through this, at least initially. If you want some solid, concrete reasons, go here. Then, if you’d like, read my story, here.

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.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

25 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • Jules says:

    And it’s not even Sunday here yet…..

    Dear Broken Hearted,

    I’ve not only been in your shoes, I’ve had them re-heeled twice, now vowing not to let the third time be the charm. You can be strong until you can’t anymore. That’s when you lean, lean, lean on friends. You’ll be surprised how life rewards courage to change when it’s all for the right reasons.

    You are welcome to lean on me. My rebar is currently intact.

    Jules

  • karen says:

    (((HUG)))

    It is way better to be alone and get to know how okay you are be rather than be exposed to some dolt tell you how little THEY THINK you are worth.

    He’s wrong. Deep down inside, you know this. Hang in there and go girl go!

  • Ami says:

    My heart hurts for you my fellow Prankster. I wanna give you a big giant hug and I wish had the same magical ability my mother did when I was a kid to just kiss it and make it all better. lol

    I used to be extremely self abusive… I’d taken enough of it from other people for long enough I decided they must be right and so I took the shit buckets they wanted to dump on me and said thank you and dumped them on my own head and made them my very own b/c clearly, I deserved it, right?

    The thing somebody said to me that started me heading in the right direction was this and I don’t know if you believe in a higher power but I do and my friend told me that I was a child of God. Literally. A daughter of God. And as such there was simply NOTHING better I could be. And that God loved me enough that this whole amazing creation that He made for all of us, if I was an only child, He would still do all that work.

    Because I was worth it.

    She told me to go outside, look at the stars and try to count them and that I couldn’t b/c God had made the whole universe just for me b/c I was worth that much.

    I think I probably stared at her with my jaw on the floor for an hour. Nobody had ever said that to me. She then told me that whenever the world tries to tell me that I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or thin enough or fill-in-the-fricking-blank enough, to remember that they’re all full of shit b/c I’m a child of God and theres nothing better than that.

    So recognize the shit bucket for what it is and don’t accept it. Because you Prankster are of infinite worth.

  • Kendra says:

    I am so, so sorry. There is no cure for a bad relationship that works better than realizing that you do, in fact, deserve better. Of course, those are easy words, hard to live out. But know that you are not alone. Lean on the people in your life, wherever you can find them, and believe that you are so worth loving and being treated in a way that makes you feel better–never, ever worse.

    Good luck, and I hope to hear soon that you’re feeling better about your future, knowing he’s not in it.

  • V says:

    Prankster,

    Aside from therapy, which is my first line recommendation, I would recommend you go to the library and get a book call “All About Love” by bell hooks. Read the book, and try to absorb it as best you can (I’ve read it twice and still don’t understand all of it). I hope it gives you some strength!

    V

  • Val says:

    I don’t know you, so I don’t know if you are beautiful, smart, funny or kind. You probably are. What I do know is that you deserve someone who loves you, as you are, right now. You are worth that.

    There are so many men out there. I know in my heart and soul that there are men who will love you, cherish you and you will be the light in their eyes. They won’t ask you to change yourself. Instead they will support you when you feel down or unable. They will encourage you to be your best, not make you feel bad. They will help you find your potential, and cheer you on as you go. To them you will be sooo beautiful, sexy and charming, even if you don’t feel that way about yourself (or hopefully if you do!).

    I also know you can’t find them while you are still attached to, or even talking to this man who hurts you. He has hurt you before, he will continue to hurt you and keep you from finding someone better, because he likes to keep you where you are now.

    Get a new phone number, never call him again, if he shows up, don’t answer the door. Call the police. Protect yourself to love yourself.

    I wish you the very best, and know you can love yourself enough to be done with him.

  • Dana says:

    I can tell you what you should do, but that would be a bit hypocritical as I am sharing those shoes you are in right now. Just know that you are not alone – that smart, well-educated, articulate women can (and do) find themselves in abusive relationships. Keep fighting – not against him, but for yourself!

  • Kadye says:

    Fellow Prankster,

    Although my experience in this is not as bad as most peoples, I do know that it can seriously damage you. There are so many places to reach out to and get help! And of course, if you need people to talk to your fellow pranksters are here to listen! I’m proud of you for getting away from him in the physical sense. That was an awesome giant step. Now, the next thing is to learn that you don’t need him to feel loved and to love others. It’s going to hurt and you’re going to pretty much feel like crap, but it will get better and you’ll become stronger because of it. Aunt Becky gave wonderful advice, and I hope that you take it! Good luck! We heart you!

  • mumma boo says:

    You’ve taken the all important first step in removing yourself from his physical presence. Removing him from YOUR mental/emotional presence will take some time, but you can do it! As Becky said, write down that list and keep it handy. When you feel like you want to call him, DON’T! Write out what you want to say to him, then burn it. Call a good friend, distract yourself by reading Aunt Becky, e-mail a Prankster, just channel that urge somewhere else. You ARE worth loving, you ARE deserving of something better. Good luck to you, fellow Prankster. We’re here for you. ((HUGS))

  • Erin says:

    Prankster, you are not alone. As Becky has said, many of us have been through relationships similar to yours. You aren’t bad, you aren’t less worthy, and you can leave this situation. It may take time, and you will have backslides where you wonder why you’ve done something. Think of the relationship like brainwashing that needs to be undone one day or one step at a time. Be very, very gentle with yourself. Patience is key. As long as it takes, it’s worth it to get away completely.

    There are people, and it sounds like he’s one of them, that thrive off finding people to manipulate. And you aren’t weak for having been his victim. We’ve all been thrown off or caught off guard and let people past boundaries we normally wouldn’t. You are allowed to have moments where you aren’t always “on guard” and prepped for attacks. It doesn’t make you stupid or bad. It makes you human. And it makes him a predator in an emotional sense. He feeds off bringing you down and sapping your energy. That’s his thing, his responsibility. Not yours.

    We are with you, Prankster, and sending warm strength your way. It’s in you, promise.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    Oh sweetie, my heart truly aches for you. I have seen both my sisters through relationships like this and it sucks. Only you can make the decision to quit him for good (and you are half-way there already) but you can enlist the help of your family and friends. One thing to consider is changing your phone numbers and contact info and make sure he NEVER gets them. All I can do is offer my love and prayers to you. We love you fellow Pranksters.

  • Mary says:

    His actions and words are what he really is. Don’t you feel that you deserve better? Go to the nearest women’s shelter and talk to someone. Tell them that he had been physically abusive with you.They can refer you to a therapist who has experience in dealing with abused women. He is giving you something that you want. You have to find out what that is. Stay away from this guy until you have the tools to deal with him.

  • Quiet Dreams says:

    Excellent advice, Aunt Becky.

    I got out of a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship last year. All I can say is you CAN do it and there are many of us out here who have gotten out and gotten better. People came out of the woodwork when I blogged about my experience. Many hugs.

  • Statia says:

    Oh girlfriend. I’ve so been there. I wish I had wise words. But, Becky said it best. You have to love YOU. Those days post breakup were some of my darkest days. Once time went on though, I started to feel
    liberated. I started to learn who I was. It was awesome. Time heals hurt. As does solitude. Take a weekend away and do something you would love, but that he never would have done for, or with you.

    Good luck.

  • Andygirl says:

    Oh I have so been there! And there is nothing worse (even the physical abuse) than the control they have over your head. It’s so painful and makes you feel like a crazy person. Two things helped me. First, an ex boyfriend whom I was still good friends with reminded me what a good person I was (my abuser convinced me that *I* was the mean one) and was there to call if I needed a voice of reason. Second, I got fed up with feeling crazy and went on an anti-anxiety pill. Pills aren’t for everyone, but for me, they calmed the crazies in my head and gave me the strength to love myself again and erase the abuser from my life.

    I would suggest a sponsor, much like drug addicts and alcoholics need someone to call, get yourself someone. Get one person to agree to do what it takes any time of day or night, to hold your head, to tell you you’re amazing, to take your phone away if needs be, or to slap you when you need a dose of reality. My ex was that for me, but it could be any friend. Just make sure that person knows what they’re getting into and agrees to stick with it.

    and I always advocate therapy. if you can afford it or find a clinic, get a professional to talk to. it will HELP!

  • Shin Ae says:

    If you choose to walk away from this, and I hope you do, and I KNOW you can, someday you will look back on it. It will seem very, very far away. He will seem so small and pathetic. You will have new things to occupy your time and thoughts and this old thing will be just that: an old, stale thing you wouldn’t even think of being in again. Like a filthy old shirt. You might still get angry when you think of it, but you won’t feel so desperate anymore.

    I hope you get help. Maybe see which friends/family think he’s a complete idiot? I’m sure at least some of them do. Stay accountable to them. If that’s not enough, I’d strongly suggest finding some kind of group or a professional to help you through this.

    • Shin Ae says:

      Oh, and if it’s not obvious, I advocate completely cutting him off. 100% in every, single way. No compromise.

  • Melissa says:

    I cannot add to what has been said already, except I PROMISE. I PROMISE, once you are out of this situation for a while, and you no longer feel the way you do, that you will see him for the pathetic loser that he is. He makes you feel small because you let him have that power. The fact is, he is the small one.

  • bashtree says:

    Take a 60 day He-tox! I read about it in a great book (it’s called a breakup because it’s broken) and tried it for myself. It was hard, but with a breakup buddy (the person I would call instead of him) and a list of things I wanted to do for myself (like see an opera, learn to knit, read those books I always wanted to read, etc.) I made it. You can too!! We’ll help!

  • GingerB says:

    He seriously cannot change. It doesn’t matter whether he wants to or not, it doesn’t matter whether he was abused as a child, he is that way and he will be. A person who can actually become non-abusive to partners would need to go to literally more thena a hyear of treatment (weekly) and be the most motivated person you’ve ever met. This guy is probably not capable of being that motivated. You have to cut the strings, and fast.

  • anne says:

    I would recommend the help of the personal counseling of a therapist too. It would be a great support and hopefully gives you the most reasonable advices and would help you to build up your self esteem. You seem to have make the biggest step in recognizing that this relationship is abusive and harmful for you. To go out of this relationship will make you stronger! It will be a life lesson and you will be able to pick a partner that truly loves you and makes you feel good :)
    Good luck!
    Anne
    (sorry for any misspelling, english is not my first language)

  • Joanna says:

    These kind of letters just make me cry and want to fly to wherever in the world these writers are so I can hug them and stay with them until they can finally move on. I spent 2 years with a total loser with a tongue as sharp as a knife, no education, a crappy job, and the meanest mean streak you’ve ever seen. It took until the day he threatened to kill me when I found him with another girl that I realized I didn’t need someone to belittle me every day, make fun of me for going to school, tell me I was worthless and that he didn’t love me. Duh. What I needed was to get the hell out of there before he made good on his threats. I cried for an entire day and night with my mother and that was that. It was like sucking the poison out. I never looked back and no one I meet now would EVER suspect that I had allowed myself to stay in a relationship like that. Because I am smarter and better and worth more than any of it. And so are you.

  • Jennifer B says:

    Friend- I don’t have anything amazingly witty to say that someone here hasn’t already said, but I wanted to add my hugs to theirs so you really feel the love. You CAN do this. You can leave him in the dust. You CAN find someone who treats you with the love and respect you DESERVE. You can be okay without anyone, because you are amazing. Think of the odds. There are 6.8 billion people in this world. So out of 3.5 billion guys, there are some great ones out there. Don’t waste any more time even thinking about that one. Strangely enough, the Daver inspired me to give this suggestion… Get a hobby. Now I don’t mean to say that this will solve anything, but since this relationship is like an addiction, and I truly believe that having been in a co-dependent though non-abusive relationship in the past, you need to find something that fills a void in your life. For me, it was dancing. Dancing is something that makes me feel like I am truly alive, where I can really express myself. If you can find a happy place, something that makes you feel at home, go there and do that thing, a lot. When I finally got the courage to break up with my ex, I danced 4 nights a week and lost 25 pounds. I became a different person, the me I had always wanted to be. If you can find something that makes you feel really alive, you will see how much you don’t need people/things that drag you down. You CAN do this. You’ve already taken the biggest step. Now you just need to fill the void that is there because you are missing something – and it isn’t him, just something that takes you to your happy place. I hope this makes sense. Good luck friend, you have a lot of support here @ Aunt Becky’s house. Feel free to use it.

  • I must second Aunt Becky’s comment that building yourself a support system, people you can learn to turn to INSTEAD of turning to this mean you believe you need will help you literally wean off him. When my impulses were to call my ex, to berate him, beg him, reach for him, I taught myself to reach for a friend.

    I will admit this friend needs to be VERY willing to hold you up for a time being, listen to you, help you, but eventually, when you come out of it, and you don’t need them as a flotation device any longer, you can repay the favor.

    Good luck. You can do it. Waterboy style.

  • KYouell says:

    1) Many hugs for you. ((((((()))))))

    2) “It replies to the comment or it gets the hose again.” ILY, AB.

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