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Teen Dating Issues/Trying to get over an abusive relationship

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Hi, I'm 17 years old and last year when I was 16, I dated a 19 year old for 8 months. During those 8 months, I was physically, mentally, sexually, and verbally abused. It got to the point where he threatened to kill me, so my parents filed a restraining order. That relationship caused me to go into a long depression and just really traumatized me. It's been about 7 months since then and I'm talking to a new guy. He's really sweet and pretty much amazing, but I feel like it won't work because of my past. Everytime he playfully pushes me or says something that sounds rude but is obviously a joke, it gives me flashbacks of my abusive ex. Also, my ex pretty much demolished my self confidence; he always told me how he "made me" and "no other guy would want to be with me" and I listened to him. Because of that, I feel like this new guy'll cheat on me with someone better; I have major trust issues. He tells me he wants to date me but I'm just scared he'll hurt me like my ex did, but I know I shouldn't assume every guy is like that. I really just want to completely move on from my past relationship and welcome in a new chapter of my life but I don't know how because all of the pain is still there. Help?

Answer
Jasmine, you need to see a therapist. They are experts - face to face experts - at helping people get over mental and emotional humps like this.

After my divorce (and a break up is very similar to a divorce), I started doing everything for myself.  Even if something was WAY outside my comfort zone, such as replacing a broken light fixture or replacing my dead brake light, I figured it out. It wasn't always easy, but the rewards were GREAT! After I figured out how to replace an old chandelier with a new one, I literally felt like I had been reborn.  I know it sounds crazy, but I realized that I had let my husband of 12 years convince me that I wasn't capable of much. Discovering my true capabilities was empowering.

Also, I was so angry after my divorce that I adopted a new attitude: I'm going to be myself, and if people don't like me, that's their problem. But that wasn't enough.  I also had to LIKE me, so I took on a new slogan, which was Be True to Me. I stopped agreeing with people when I didn't, and what I learned was that they still liked me.  I began saying what was on my mind IF it was necessary to move a situation forward, and again, people respected me. I learned to say no.  This was the hardest. But again, no one disowned me because I turned them down.  All of these things taught me more about myself in a few short months than I felt like I'd ever known. I realized it's much more compassionate to tell someone, "I'd love to be able to help you, but doing so would put me in a really bad situation, and I know you don't want that. I've learned to help myself out of similar situations, and it gave me a renewed self-respect. I'd like to encourage you to do the same." WOW!! It was magical!!

Lastly, I started taking taekwondo, which is kind of funny for me.  I was always such a girly girl.  That was 5 years ago.  Today, I honestly feel like I can defend myself, and people respect my confidence.  I'm a 2nd degree black belt, and at 48, I'm a muscular size 4/6, healthier than I have EVER been.  I hope you will consider some form a self-defense in light of what you have endured.

I'm very sorry that, at such a young age, you experienced what you did.  It can have more impact that people realize.  You are so wise to ask for help rather than trying to endure alone.  Please seek the help of a counselor/therapist.  Your parents' insurance will likely pay for most of it.

Best of luck!

Suzi  

Teen Dating Issues

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Suzi Zimmerman

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I am a teacher and I write books on teen dating, self-esteem, and values. I can answer questions on making healthy choices, self-improvement, liking yourself, relationships and friendships, goal-setting, values, and how to handle making difficult choices.

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Today 1 in 5 sexually active people has HPV (linked to cancer and genital warts) and 1 in 4 has Herpes. 90% of girls who do NOT use condoms become pregnant each year, and AIDS cases are on the rise. Those who do not have sex will not have to deal with these issues, nor will 99% of those who use condoms correctly and consistently. In short, abstain from sex or use condoms - and use them correctly. Parents of adolescent and teen girls should research Gardasil, a vaccine against many forms of HPV. You may not think your daughter will be sexually active, but this will also offer her certain health protection in the event of rape - or should she become sexually active.

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