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Abuse Survivor

Question:

A man I’d been dating for 9 months went into a "rage" at 3 months when he thought I was going to leave him. (Significant property damage and physical damage to me). After a separation from him we continued the relationship. The plan was to move to another state after we both sold our homes which would have pulled him away from his family and friends…but a change he vowed he wanted….although strongly resisting the places that I wanted to move to. 3 months ago we got into an argument. (He was trying to tell me how to run my new business I was planning in the new state). He hit me in the head with a plastic bottle (which he initially denied)…I backhanded him in the chest and reprimanded him. (he remembered that). I wasn’t going to let him continue hitting no matter if it caused injury or not. He feared I might call the police but I did not. I just wanted him to stop. I slept in the other room. I came home the next day after work and the sheriffs dept. knocked on his door and served me with an order of protection. He told them I was hitting him and moved in without his knowledge. I got kicked out of his house and he has made no attempts to contact me. I was homeless. I’d moved in with him two weeks ago because my house was on the market in another state for sale. I had to quit my new job. The grief has been paralyzing. I loved him with all my heart. I knew he was jealous and rigid in attitude most of the time….I spent alot of effort reassuring him. I guess I thought that past relationships made him that way and that he deserved reassurance. How can I not feel rejected? We belonged to a tightly knit group and he told them all I was crazy and to not answer my calls. Noone ever did. He’s now with someone else…one month later…happy and idealizing her now. I know you can’t diagnose someone without a professional…but I believe he has borderline personality disorder. He’d panic at the idea of me leaving…he fits the love/hate model towards people, he often has symptoms of outright paranoia….thinking someone is sabotaging him in some way. It’s even harder because I know that if he does have BPD, he really does hate me, and I am nothing to him now. It’s like I never existed to him. I have sought out spiritual counseling, crisis counseling, friends, journaling, writing the good bye letter you never send….but the pain is still there. Do you know what it’s like to really love someone and then they just vaporize? And you know that if you call them they will see you as an enemy and show no remorse and no sympathy…but only blame….and who knows…probably a harassment report? I am moving out of state on my own next week….continuing with the plan I had before I ever met him….changed my phone number because I know that he will never be able to comfort me. It is the hardest thing to walk away with so much unsaid, and also so misunderstood by what I thought were my friends…..but I have a fear that he will make my life chaos if I make any attempts to contact him. I didn’t deserve such mistreatment and rejection. It kills me that his life has not seemed to skip a beat. The grief is getting better…but..somedays its worse than ever. I just wish he would have said good bye to me, or at least called to see if I was safe. I refuse to blame it all on a psychological disorder. I do take it personally and I am pissed off that I have no recourse in which to comfort myself with him. I haven’t once called him and he has not called me. I WILL NOT be treated as the annoying ex. He is the one that has destroyed us. I am alone to work out my grief with no help from that asshole. As my date to leave the state approaches (next week), my grief is getting worse. I know there will be no chance to ever see him, and since I changed my number he will never call me. I hope I am doing the right thing cause I know what a good person I was to him, and I did not deserve this punitive treatment. My only comfort, and I know this is a mean thing to say, is that because he refuses to take responsibility for his problems, he will only repeat the cycle with someone else. In other words, I only hope is life is not idyllic and perfect. I think that I can find someone who can love me unconditionally. My question: Can you offer any comfort to people who are suddenly dropped from the other person’s life….when they know that contacting the person would only increase their emotional distress? How do you get rid of anger if you can’t talk to the person? (Hitting objects, writing letters, screaming….vengeful thoughts….tried em’ all….still angry….)

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Answer:

In your E. Mail description of your relationship you expend a lot of effort in diagnosing what is wrong with him. It strikes me that you do not seem to have spent any time thinking about yourself and why you remained in an abusive relationship for this long. It seems to me that the question you should be asking yourself is why you feel any loss of grief about this man. It seems to me that you could be feeling relief that it is over. For you the question is whether or not you will repeat this type of horrible relationship in the future.

What I want to suggest to you is that after you move you enter psychotherapy in order to learn why you got into a relationship with such an angry and abusive man and what you can do to prevent your choosing the same type of person in the future.

You see, I have to wonder to myself whether or not you were abused during your childhood. I have no way of knowing this but the way in which you portray the situation in your E. Mail leads me to believe that you could have been treated very badly all during your childhood.

I really want to encourage you to seek help for yourself. In my opinion, the question you need to ask of yourself is why you have felt any grief about this man. From my point of view, he did you a gigantic favor by ending this relationship and you should feel over-joyed that it is over. If he has another woman now, then, "poor her," because she is in for a very hard time.

Best of Luck in your move and in your life and future relationships.

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Comments
  • Betty

    It appears to me that Dr. Schwartz is blaming the victim. This is the last thing she needs right now. I come from a similar situation and can better understand her feelings than he, I surmise. I do agree that a little introspection is good, but to tell her that she "should" feel a certain way (relieved, jumping for joy) is harmful to her. She feels what she feels. I think she is a very caring person (as was I), and we give people the benefit of the doubt. Also, when you are being emotionally abused, you are brainwashed into thinking the abuser's way. This is very, very confusing. This would explain why she is feeling the sadness and grief. She came to Dr. Schwartz for help, and what she received was another dose of blame. I think she had quite enough of that in the abusive relationship. She needs to surround herself with people who truly love and care for her and lean on them when she needs some compassion and stay clear of those who tell her what she "should" be feeling.

  • kas

    I think what the doctor was trying to say is that what she needs to worry about know is not her ex's behavior but why she is feeling a loss and whether she is willing to get treatment to prevent her from getting involved with the same type of man again. I was in an abusive relationship, physically, emotionaly and sexually, and I believe the reason that i got involved with this person and stayed for as long as i did stemed from the abuse I was subjected to as a child which shaped my personality and allowed me to justify staying.

  • Anonymous-1

    I agree with Betty. Everyone is entitled to their feelings and Dr. Schwartz does not seem to know how it is like to be living with a man with BPD. I have and I can totally relate. It is very up and down. They could be the sweetest thing on earth or very evil. I am not from a family of abuse. No substance or violent. Although I picked a guy that was very charming and caring, not knowing what lied ahead. It is very easy for someone to say. I would never be with someone like that, I said that too. There will be a time when we can look back and be grateful that we left. But I understand the feelings and the things that has to be processed to get out on the other side. It wasn't your fault. He will do it again with this new poor woman. It is not her fault either. But you are out of there. And you are free. He will NOT change! I know you are angry. Try chanting or meditation. Yoga and turning your love inward to your soul. Nurture yourself. You can never change another person only yourself. Put that as your goal this year. Heal yourself.

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