Abusive Relationships/How can I move past my abusive relationship and its effects on my self-worth?
QUESTION: Hello. I've been writing to another expert up here for the past couple of months because I was involved in a bad relationship. The expert I wrote to up here referred me to a website about BPD, and said that my ex exhibited signs of it. I checked it out and it does sound a lot like him. The relationship took a negative toll on my personal relationships, my education, and partly, my self-esteem. My self-esteem was already pretty low to begin with, which is probably why I allowed my ex boyfriend to treat me this way. I struggled with my weight, and I was self-conscious. In the beginning he made me feel better about myself, always calling me beautiful, encouraging me to take more pictures (innocent ones) to send him because he is in Japan due to his job. I began to slowly feel more and more beautiful, but then he began to devalue me and make me feel like I wasn't doing enough. He'd ask me things like "Why do you always pose like that?" "Why don't you straighten your hair?" and once he told me that I looked fat in a picture (claimed he was joking) and told me that my hair reminded him of pubes (again he was joking and thought it was the funniest thing ever).
After a while, I wouldn't take the types of "photos" he wanted me to and it sparked a series of bad arguments. He felt that I should be willing to do that if he was all the way over there not sleeping with anyone for so long. I refused and even on the last day that we spoke, he still brought it up. We were talking about working things out and he told me "If we're going to do this, you're going to have to compromise." It was at that moment that I realized he would never change. I wished him luck with his new girlfriend there (because he had told me he was seeing where things went with some Asian woman he met…but that she was a "nonfactor" when it came to me). I also told him to get help because he had issues (abandonment, drinking [so I thought], and loss).
He went off on me. Called me a stupid b***h, told me to mind my business, and that he did a bunch of horrible stuff before we got serious that he never told me about. He said he slept with his best friend (and when I told him she wasn't even attractive he told me 'I love you but you're not that attractive yourself.') He basically rubbed it in my face and said "How do you like that?" He said I deserve to suffer and I crushed his heart. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was freaked out.
It has been a couple of months now and we haven't spoken. I doubt we ever will, and that's fine. It becomes easier to accept as each day passes by. However, I've since then looked at his social networking sites and I saw that he is dating an Asian woman (presumably the one he lied to me about before). It hurts to see him calling her beautiful and speaking in Japanese with her. It's like I never existed. I'm sort of bothered by the fact that I'm still holding onto this, and the words that he said. It's like I find myself thinking "He'd definitely call you fat in this outfit," or "He'd call you stupid for saying that." It's like even when he's not around, the things he would say and do still linger in my mind and take a toll on my self-worth.
Before him, I used to be really into Japanese culture (specifically anime and films). Now I can't even enjoy them anymore, and I'm constantly comparing myself to Asian women. It's like every Asian woman I see, I'm thinking "She's cute than I am. She's thin. She's everything a man would want." A woman I met on the BPD website I was referred to told me not to take this to heart, and that for him it's about who is easier to control. It still hurts though. How can I move past this?
ANSWER: My apologies for the delay getting back to you. I took the time to read what you sent me and much of what you're talking about is something that I saw in my ex boyfriend. He too was displaying signs of bipolar disorder and he also cheated on me quite often with different women and most recently men. It's hard to see how the damage has caused me and it's about what's easy for him to control since he was doing what he was doing because he couldnt control me so the next best thing was to cheat on me with other people. It's a sickness that most don't see does a lot of damage to not only themselves, but to those around them as well. The person who has BPD also cheats on the person they cheated with on their spouse or partner it's a vicious cycle and then somehow they'll make their way back to you and by then you're not going to want to be bothered thus sending that person to the next victim who's willing to tolerate their behavior. It will keep going until that person gets help or whoever they deal with get sick of them. Start with cleansing yourself of the person you were with it's hard because I have to deal with this pertaining to my ex. I don't call or text him and I occupy my time with things I loved to do since my ex took all that away from me. You should do things for yourself it's time to do you and next time you are in a relationship really look at the person closely and really see if they're worth being with and the minute you see something about their mental state not being right move on immediately don't stick around because the last thing you need is to fall back into what you're trying to move away from.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
Wow, God really does work in mysterious ways. I forgot I wrote to you. However, it's funny that you responded when you did. Since I asked for your advice, a lot has changed. My birthday came and I hadn't heard anything from him. I was deeply hurt (as I expected), and in a fit of emotions, I e-mailed him and told him everything I had been feeling over the past couple of months. I spilled everything: how he made me feel during the relationship, how his "rage" the last day we spoke made me feel, etc. He apologized. We talked via e-mail and texting and for a moment, it seemed as if we could be "friends." Bad idea.
I became jealous, clingy…I didn't like the person I was becoming. I told him he was always ignoring me and it was rude. It got to the point where I told him I knew what the new girl he was dating looked like and where he'd been with her. He didn't respond angrily the way I thought he would. He just said it was freaky and wanted to know what else I knew. Then he made jokes about it and denied dating her. He always does that. He never attaches titles to anything and denies, denies, denies.
So recently, I hit rock bottom and realized what I lunatic I look like, and I decided to put an end to it by not contacting him anymore. I hadn't reached out to him for almost two weeks. I had been watching my Asian dramas and films again, feeling good! Then he reaches out to me…texted me last week randomly, that convo went well I suppose. Then a couple of days ago and that's when things got bad.
We were having a normal conversation and I was telling him about these tattoos I like. I told him about this guy at my school that had one and how cute/neat it was. His response? "Okay cool story." I told him it was rude and I hated when he did that because it made me feel as if what I had to say was insignificant. He said it wasn't rude at all. I said it was extremely rude and he said "I choose to treat you this way because I don't want to develop old feelings. I'm pushing you away because you hurt me and I have someone new in my life that I like a lot and I don't want to mess things up with her." That hurt a little, but I asked "Okay, so if that's the case, why text me?" He said he slips up and texts me when he shouldn't. He also said "You're everything I want in a woman, but I realize I'm not ready for that right now…I don't need this in my life right now. I'm young. I need to live my life, make bad decisions and continue to learn and grow." I said "That sounds like BS on top of BS. When you love someone, you do what you can to keep them around. You love and respect them, and that's something you never did."
So we continue talking about this and I go off (as always) about how he shouldn't go out of his way to push me away…and how I'm not going to try and force myself into his life anymore. I told him how good I had been feeling, and how I was healing. He said "I'm glad you're healing. Didn't take my as long but I had my time." Ugh. I wished him luck with her. Then he started being short. One word responses…something went off inside of me and at that moment all I wanted to do was to be just as rude towards him. So I told him something I shouldn't have. I said "You know, I always thought that when you told me you were dating someone new, I'd be hurt and want to die or something. I might have felt this way if she looked like a star or something. The fact that she's not cute makes it easier." He said "The fact that you said that…bye." So I told him bye as well. Then he said "You've got some nerve saying someone's not cute." I simply said "Haha" and put a smiley face and that was the end of it. Haven't heard from him since.
It felt like my conscience was personified and was standing next to me with her arms folded asking "Do you feel better about yourself for putting her down? Do you feel big and bad?" At that moment I didn't even want to think about how it made me feel. I went to sleep and woke up feeling surprisingly good. Had a great day and everything. Now I feel like crap because the echoes of him saying "I like her a lot…someone new in my life" are echoing through my mind. Talking to him has helped me to realize he's a jerk and he's always going to be one, and he brings out the worst in me. I just wish he had left me alone the other day….let me continue to heal.
Reading this it seems that he is a lot more "mature" than I am. Whenever we speak it's like I turn into this angry person, and I don't like that. I don't know if I'll ever hear anything from him again, but I hope I am strong enough to ignore him if I do. Nothing good ever comes of it. I guess this isn't really a question. More like an update. My apologies.
Thank you for your response!
Im glad that you are moving past all this and beginning to put your life back together. My ex is currently dating some trashy broad he met off Facebook and started living together almost immediately.Remember that looking back is not something you want to do keep looking forward and keep your heart open and love will find its way to you. You deserve a healthy and loving relationship. Glad I could help you :-D