Looking for opinions/advice

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by CourtneyB, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. CourtneyB

    CourtneyB New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for - I really just haven't spoken to anyone about this before and I'm interested to see what others think.

    I think I'm generally a pretty decent person - I'm nice, I'm close to my family, I've always had a lot of friends and I have a good job that I enjoy. I would consider myself to be quite a strong person who wouldn't put up with someone treating me like shit and that's why I'm struggling with the realisation that I stayed in an emotionally manipulative relationship for so long.

    My first long term relationship was pretty much a disaster, and even years after I find I'm still reluctant to get involved with anyone else. I think I'm subconsciously traumatised and now I'm not sure if it's that I just don't want to get into another relationship or that I'm just scared to.

    I met my ex girlfriend a year after I left university, we both lived in the same city but hadn't crossed paths before.

    The first couple of months she seemed really cool, she had a lot of friends and seemed really fun to be around. She wasn't really what I would consider my 'type' normally but we got on well and to be honest I think I just wanted to have a proper girlfriend as mostly before that I'd just had casual flings.

    Over the next 18 months she went from being a sociable person with lots of friends, holding down a good job and being close to her family, to leaving her job, stopping talking to all of her friends and completely stopping seeing her family. She had been living with a room mate but this went sour and she ended up moving in with myself and my room mate. At this point she didn't have a job, was receiving state support and spent all available money she had gambling on line. She didn't pay for rent, food or bills but spent all her money on recreational drugs of various sorts. She didn't leave the house and would get up, spend the day in bed, in winter with the heating on full blast, and smoke weed all day while gambling on line. Throughout this it became apparent that she was having some kind or nervous breakdown or there was something else going on with her. I became quite close to her mum and between us persuaded her to go to the doctor - the doctor was under the impression that she wasn't suffering from any particular mental illness other than occasionally feeling anxious. At this point she was taking numerous drugs throughout the week and at the weekend including cannabis (daily), ketamine, ecstasy, cocaine and hallucinogenics - she didn't mention this to the doctor and I felt like this was the main cause of her problems. Her mum knew that she smoked dope but was unaware of the extent of her drug taking. (I didn't take drugs).

    Throughout all this I felt like I was in a bubble where I cared about her, but didn't love her, but also didn't know how to remove myself from the situation. I was aware that my friends and family were worried about me and about the relationship but I didn't really talk to anyone about it. It's only in retrospect that I realise how emotionally manipulative the relationship was and how badly it affected me. I recently looked up 'signs of an emotionally abusive relationship' and 9 out of 10 rang true.

    Without listing everything that happened (because really, who's got the time?), here is a snapshot of what our relationship was like:

    • She would never socialise with anyone other than one friend who was unemployed and came over to my apartment regularly to smoke dope with her. If I went out for drinks with friends she would phone me several times a night and complain if I wasn't home within a couple of hours. One night when I didn't come back from a friend's 40th birthday party until 4am she refused to talk to me the day afterward.
    • If I wore a dress she would accuse me of wearing it to attract men to have sex with them, specifically men that I worked with if I was going to a work event, and would try to get me to wear something else.
    • She would regularly accuse of me sleeping, or wanting to sleep with, men that I worked with or friends of both sexes.
    • The whole time we were together (after the first few months) she didn't work and had very limited income. I paid for rent, bills, food, holidays, clothes - pretty much anything either one of us bought. She used her meagre income to gamble or buy drugs.
    • I did literally everything for us - cooking, shopping, all housework, organising money, holidays, as well as working a full time job plus overtime (for extra money).
    • We would occasionally babysit for her little brother - when this happened she would spend almost the whole time in another room, leaving me to entertain him.
    • The first few months that we were together she made an effort to talk to my friends but after that she would make no effort and if they came over she would not leave the bedroom and not talk to them.
    • When I had (my oldest childhood) friends staying over for the weekend she complained that they had been there for too long after one night and told me to tell them to leave (from my own apartment).
    • She once kicked the wall because I sat on my friends knee when drunk at a party and would often throw things at or near me when having a fight.
    • She asked for my bank details to borrow 10 dollars and subsequently took over 1000 dollars out of my account over two days before I had noticed and could change the card details. She then proceeded to tell me I was being unreasonable when I said this was unacceptable.
    • Throughout our entire relationship she maintained an email relationship with a woman she had met previously online where she would often tell her she loved her, wanted to be with her and wished she was with her now. She would talk openly about this and when I questioned her about it (or saw emails she had left open on the laptop) she would cry and makes excuses for why she couldn't stop talking to her.
    • She would talk about herself all day every today, texting me hundreds of times a day and constantly phoning me at work even though I told her I couldn't answer and if I did answer she would cry uncontrollably.
    • She would complain of back pain and would badger me continually to massage her back, if I did it and complained my hands were tired after half an hour she would cry if I didn't continue.
    • We lived with her parents and little sister for a few months, in which time she rarely left her room and often had fights with her mum (who was lovely) telling her to fuck off and that she hated her. I spent most nights in the kitchen drinking wine with her mum, I don't think her mum knew how to deal with her and part of the reason why I didn't leave was because I was so close to her family and her mum once (after a few wines) asked me to try to keep her alive.
    • She often spoke about wanting to leave the UK to travel to another country so I bought us round-the-world tickets (on credit card) thinking that getting away might be what she needed to feel better. Over the course of six months travelling we had very little money and I ended up racking up almost 20 thousand pounds on credit - most of which was transferring her credit cards on to my own so she wouldn't be charged interest - almost 10k of which she had before I even met her (stupid, I know).
    • After a few months travelling she came to the conclusion that she wanted to go home but I had reached the end of my tether and we agreed to part ways (in a much more civilised manner than I had anticipated). Throughout all this she had promised that she would get a job and pay me back the money from our trip - I drew up a very reasonable financial plan that involved her paying back almost 5000 pounds over the course of the next 18 months - not even a quarter of what she actually owed. (It's now over three years since I last saw her and she has send me only 300).

    In retrospect it is almost possible to see why I stayed throughout this hellish relationship. Everyone I knew and loved was worried about the effect it was having on me and even though they didn't tell me to leave outright, I knew that was what they were thinking.

    In reality, the only reason I stayed was because she often spoke of wanting to commit suicide and told me early on that if I left her she would kill herself. I should have left then but its incredibly hard to be so close to such an emotionally manipulative person and not feel responsible for them / guilty for leaving.

    It was only after she had left and I didn't have to see her every day that I realised the true extent of how unhealthy the relationship had been. I know that she wasn't diagnosed with any particular mental illness but there must have been something going on, whether or not it was due to the excessive drug consumption.

    In the last three years since I've seen her she has sent me over 4600 emails. That's quite a lot.

    They range from being incredibly offensive, to polite, to completely random to acting as though we are still a couple. I haven't really known how to reply to them and have mostly just been polite but distant, and occasionally been rude in retaliation.

    I guess I'm just really looking to hear from anyone else that has been in a similar situation.

    Massive apologies for the lengthy post but you know what they say - a problem shared is a problem halved!
     
    #1
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Dear CourtneyB, I have not been in anything like that but I have met kind, extremely intelligent and educated people who have. It is often their first really serious relationship and they somehow have a real sticking to it mentality that allowed them to stay as long as they had. Then one day they either found their way out of it to save their lives or things got so bad that even the abusers recognized it was time to quit.

    Your ex had really checked out of real life long ago and she displaced all the blames from herself and picked on you for things real or mostly things imagined. In her world you really didn't exist, you were just a means to her needs. She didn't exist either, but her needs did. I know rot can come from heartwood but be careful with her folks, there maybe something not so right about them. I know I can be completely off and unfair but doesn't hurt for you to be careful if you are still in touch.

    The best thing you can do is to not beat yourself, kick yourself in the behind for staying and, worse, let it be that sack over your shoulder that you lean on when you avoid, think about, being in and have a bad moment in a new relationship. She is gone now and the only thing that can hurt you is that sack keeping you off balance. Ya, you made a mistake sticking with her but you won't do that ever again with anyone. In fact, as articulate and smart and educated and caring as you are you will be a light and helping hand to someone else in that situation. God knows mental problems with drug abuse thrown in as a form of self medicating is a deadly combination and an epidemic that has devastated communities. Your ex was sick and she did not have the help she needed and she was abusive. I am so sorry you went through all that. You have done the best you could and I hope you will heal soon and well and be able to climb out of this debt she threw you in.

    On a practical note, ask your tax person if bad debt is deductable. It may take more energy to try to recover the money from her or be tied in communication with her because of it. Write the thing off, it is healthier. You are young, you can make it back and someday that would just be a pittance to you.
     
    #2
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  3. CourtneyB

    CourtneyB New Member

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    @greylin thank you for your thoughtful words :) You seem wise and kind.
     
    #3
  4. sundancer

    sundancer Well-Known Member

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    Many people consider me a strong and intelligent woman - both academically and emotionally. However, I ended up being in an abusive relationship for 5.5 years... in the last year or maybe the year before that... I dunno... somewhere my internal voice was telling me to get out of there. I felt really trapped... for many reasons. I knew I had bargained myself down and tried to rationalise it like her family got in touch with her (she has bad relations with them and they always end up in some kind of screaming match), etc. I just didn't know how to get out of there. Finally I had the courage to do something once she hurt another person that I cared about. I finally broke down and told my parents, and my parents went to help me break up with her. I had tried so many times to break up with her, and she even rolled her suitcase out the door but she kept looking back as if I were going to say something else... and one of the times, I actually didn't. I just don't know why I let her back in. But I'm really glad it's over.

    The years after that was down and up. Some of my friends couldn't believe it but then their partners were like I knew something bad was going to happen, I never liked her. I started researching more and more about same sex domestic violence and was surprised to learn many people don't think that it exists... but it does. The problem now is that I can see it in different relationships, both straight and gay, and that kind of scares me. But I guess the fact that it opens my eyes that things aren't quite as it seems is a good thing.

    It took me years to process this on my own. But then one day I couldn't take it any more, after falling down emotionally deeper into more levels than I could ever imagine. Not only because of this relationship, but also because of other things going on in my life. One day, I bumped into a business friend of mine and she could tell something was wrong. She challenged me to go and get help by August and then I would have to tell her about it. August was 2 months away at the time... she offered her services but I felt it would be too personal to tell her my problems, so she gave me 2 other options. One of them was to see a Psychologist. The thing is, I was afraid of seeing the Clinical Psychologist that I was referred to but it's been the best thing I've ever done.

    I think it also helped that I thought that my ex had a hold over everyone where everyone liked her... but it seemed that someone that I considered as 'her' friend (not mine) thought she was a little dodgy. I knew she had started telling everyone that wasn't my friend lies about our relationship - that I was the abusive one. As if!! She does have one scar to prove it, but it was in my self defense after being tortured for the whole day (not kidding about this). Anyway I happened to sit next to this person I considered as 'her friend' at a wedding - meant to be, I guess. She asked me about my ex and I told her I wasn't seeing her any more. I was surprised as I thought that my ex would have kept in touch with her and this other girl that got along with her really well. I told her I didn't want to talk about the break up. But at the end of the night, she asked whether my ex was abusive towards me. I was totally shocked that someone else could see it that was 'her' friend. Later on, I asked her how she knew and she said she has patients in her dental clinic whose partners have the same personality traits as my ex! In the end I realised that if one of 'her friends' could see it, others would believe that I was not the bad person in the relationship as well.. it made me feel less alone.

    I'm still in therapy, but we've way passed the things about my ex. We're now discussing the things that lie beneath the surface in terms of the iceberg metaphor. Believe it or not, there are many emotionally strong and intelligent women who fall into these domestic abuse traps. Men too. If you are able to go to a good Psychologist, I highly recommend it. At least for me, it's changed my life and I do feel more ready to get into another relationship. Mostly because I know that back then, I would have refused to get into a relationship because I knew I couldn't take care of myself let alone my partner's.

    If you wanna chat, feel free to message me. Or we can continue on here. Regardless, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me, I have been through literally the worst of the worst, that my friends even say that I could write a movie, book, or a really fantastic few episodes on a soap opera that would be 100% true but it seems so fictitious that no one would believe it. You can do it and feel happier and stronger than ever!
     
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  5. sundancer

    sundancer Well-Known Member

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    Also I forgot to say CourtneyB, that the first step is actually admitting it out loud. Not only to yourself, but to others as well. So a pat on the back for actually admitting it to somebody even if it is on a forum. I would also block the email / change your email address to stop receiving those thousands of emails. And your phone number too if you can. Some exes are just crazy and you don't need to be reminded of them! You are not responsible for her or her actions even if you dated her - she did it all herself. Don't you dare think that you caused her to become like this for one second!! It sounds like she has a personality disorder - something which you definitely didn't cause.

    Now as a strong and brave woman go and process with the assistance of a professional. Some of your friends in your support network, including your close friends, won't be able to handle such tough conversations as you're already aware. They're just not built for that even if they want to listen. Plus their feedback may not be very helpful/life changing. Hence the recommendation to see a Clinical Psychologist if possible just to talk it out about your emotional and social abuse. Financial is also one of the subcategories, I think. Trust me, you will feel heaps better about yourself and find the root cause of why this happened to you and how to prevent it in the future. Just remember, you are not your past. But you can create a beautiful future. There may be tough days ahead but you will get there! If I can do it, you can do it too! :)
     
    #5
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  6. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    We all live and learn from our past mistakes. I was involved for a short time with a woman who was an emotional vampire. She has so much going on inside of her that she sucked me dry emotionally. I put up with it for 6 months before I told her to shove off. And, I'm not the kind of person who takes shit from others. So, why did I? Because she told me when I first met her she has emotional problems and I listened to her issues without even thinking that by doing so she was attaching herself to me. I was involved with her before I even knew it. And, I stayed on because I thought I was keeping an open mind and not judging her for her problems. What I learned though was to run the hell away - and fast, whenever someone with mental issues shows up in your life. You don't have to be opened minded or put up with it. Most people are not equipped to do so, so don't beat yourself up if you turn the other direction and don't get involved.

    From here on out, you just need to keep your eyes and ears opened and whenever you meet someone who reminds you of your ex, don't get involved. Make a list of the things you want in a woman and check it off. Staying single won't make you happy, but finding someone who is better suited to a healthy relationship just might.

    Oh, and someone suggested that you might be able to write off bad debt on your taxes - you can't. You must either pay it or file for bankruptcy, which will stay on your credit report for 10 years. In the future, don't spend money you can't afford to spend on anyone. You can't make someone else happy. It's not your responsibility to bend over backwards to take care of someone who refuses to contribute anything to the relationship. If you find yourself in that type of situation in the future, don't stay in it.
     
    #6
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  7. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I didn't say she can I said she should check with a tax person. I don't even know which country she is in. I meant that she has to pay her debt and then see if what someone owes her and never pays back can be deducted from taxes. I don't know anything about preparing for a tax return so I suggested she check with someone. I googled what I once heard and I think here's what I may have heard in case she is in the US:
    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc453.html
     
    #7
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  8. CourtneyB

    CourtneyB New Member

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    I'll pay the debt back - I got into this mess so I'm more than prepared to get out of it myself. Appreciate the links and advice nonetheless. If nothing else it's all a lesson learned and I'll sure as hell avoid getting into a similar situation in the future - if my story helps someone else in the slightest from getting into a similar situation, then all the better!
     
    #8
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  9. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    @CourtneyB ....not that I need to go into a lengthy discussion but in reading your post, your ex seems very mentally ill. Mentally ill people -- in some circumstances -- may not even realize the harm they're causing people in their life -- and her predatory/abusive nature of you might not have been intentional. People who are mentally ill tend to self medicate with drugs/alcohol (I say this from having experience with mentally ill friends and a relative). The problem is...these types of people are not rational and they often go off on their own reality which isn't really reality at all. I remember I was on a date with this girl once (whom I later found out was bipolar)...and I happened to run into a friend...the car ride home that night involved a lot of her acting out for no reason inferring that there was something going on with me and said friend (and me and the girl weren't in an exclusive relationship).

    The point is...emotionally abusive with me stings of intentional behavior. And maybe that was the case with your ex...but also, mental illness is so not understood, that maybe it wasn't intentional toward you at all. Even if you did everything 100% correctly, that won't make sense in a mentally ill person's reality.

    So, stop blaming yourself or beating yourself up over something which might very well have not been possible for you to control at all. Be objective -- and give yourself some credit for sticking with a situation where you believed in her and did everything right by her. Because sometimes, no matter what we do and no matter what we say...there are things that simply cannot be quantified. You're a good person and wanted to believe in someone who just didn't have the capability to give you what you needed or, if she's sick (which means she needs help) understand how she was bringing you down.
     
    #9
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  10. jellohead

    jellohead Well-Known Member

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    Lots of great advise here. Also remember that anyone on drugs cannot give you their all. Ever.
     
    #10
  11. Just Me

    Just Me Well-Known Member

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    This should be under the definition of drug user in the book of red flags... It's not just crack either, it's the prescription addicts too... But when you think of the amount of synthetic (and real) heroin, crack, extasy, and meth that the government allows your doctor to give out, it's sickening...
     
    #11

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