My abusive relationship that revealed so much
I'm gonna make another post today about my abusive relationship and how it changed my life.
For basically all of my life I have conducted very intense friendships and romances. I never understood why, and I guess that I never thought about it until recently.
My last relationship was with someone who abused me terribly and I did not understand that she had done this until months after the breakup. At the time of the breakup my mind was mush and there was almost not boundary between myself and her. It happened over a long period of time, so long that I never really perceived it happening.
She clearly had very deep traumas and was an extremely chaotic person. I suppose that I enjoyed that about her since I am often overly-orderly. I figured she inspired me and allowed me to cut loose, and to some extent I think this was true.
However, in retrospect she always made everything harder and my mood worse. She was very stressful to go places with, so we ended up not going a lot of places as I was tired of being humiliated. We had a good sex life at first, but then she ruined it with her chronic anxiety about us not having enough sex to keep the relationship interesting. In general, she manifested most of what went wrong.
She would always make things hard for me and incrementally forced me to take on more and more caregiving roles. This eventually caused me an intense amount of chronic stress, which made me dissociate away from her and avoid certain things like sex. She always had some way to either make something even more stressful than it had been before, or completely change her memory of events to make me look bad from her perspective.
These things took a very heavy toll on me and helped to isolate me from others, as she always needed more time and attention dedicated to herself. If this did not happen, her mind would change past events to reflect poorly on me. It was all very surreal and I'm not sure she knew she was doing it. Although this sort of uncertainty regarding her intent also kept me locked into the relationship longer than was good for me, and ultimately long enough to be good for her.
She always had something new to criticize me for even if it was just the kinds of snacks I liked. All the criticisms she had for herself slowly migrated to me as well, until finally she was accusing me of being desperate for being in the relationship and calling me fat to my face even if I had lost weight. Her own mental health problems consumed everything between us and even her memory of how we first met changed over time. Each time degrading me from an interesting person she took interest in, to finally the seat next to me was open in the classroom so she happened to sit in it.
All of these things terrorized me over time and I was held emotionally hostage. I had to fight desperately to keep the relationship even kind of on track. If I didnt she would let everything drop in a free fall and take the ensuing frustrations out on me. In retrospect I am disgusted with myself for letting her obviously abuse me like this, but I loved her unconditionally.
One day her anorexia got too strong and we got her to an outpatient clinic to go through an extended stay in another state. For two months all I wanted to do was see her and be together again, even after all she had put me through. When she returned I found the vestiges of the love she had for me had evaporated like they had never existed. All the horrible things she had done to me drained my will to have sex or go places with her, and that was her reason for breaking up with me.
This was extremely shocking to me as she never told me before or during her trip that this was happening. She didnt even really tell me for almost two months after she got back, but my body knew something was wrong. I just got worse and worse, desperately trying to figure out why she seemed like a different person now.
All she ever did was hurt me and lie to my face. She abused me and ground me down to a nub so that she didn't have to be alone. The irony was that she practically begged me to start the relationship, and it almost never began. I totally regret ever giving her the chance, and even regret ever having met her to begin with.
Out of the kindness of my heart I tried to stay friends with her. We were friends for over a year before the relationship, and just like the relationship beginning she practically pleaded with me to remain friends. One day I realized that she had started drinking again even though we spent so much time getting her to stop, and it was a major component of her outpatient stay for anorexia. She also started a relationship surprisingly soon after ours ended, and with these things combined I realized that almost everything she had ever told me was a lie. She lied even when promising the lies would stop in order to remain friends.
After these realizations I stopped talking to her altogether. I couldn't bear the thought anymore and she had completely exhausted my capacity to care. She was extremely lucky to have me during the hardest period of her adult life, but my luck was the opposite. It took over six months for me to seriously begin getting her out of my head. She had bore so deeply into me that I didnt know the difference between us anymore.
These events retraumatized me and have lead to me distrusting the intent of others. Her problems became my problems, which meant I had both hers and mine to bear. I struggled with anorexia for almost a year, I hated myself, and ultimately clung to my few remaining interests like a life raft in a hurricane. She genuinely left me a different person and all of this enacted a sudden personality shift in me.
I have become far more withdrawn and somehow even more asocial. Each time I want to talk to a woman I remember my ex, terrorizing me in private and conveniently forgetting all her abuse toward my person the next day. I remember her proudly showing me off to her family, then just some months later ending things. It was always for show because the show was all that she knew.
In the end she did help me realize that I was abused in my childhood and had deep scars from that. After all, how could I stay with her through all of this if I weren't already trained in it? This awful event in my life revealed to me that I am simply used to being treated badly. Though, it is barely a silver lining and it did nothing to make me want to stay her friend. I realized that I needed to begin protecting myself and she was the first casualty of this new drive of mine. Now I just have me to look after and must elevate myself, I suppose. I do feel stronger in some ways, but on the other hand my fragility has never been more obvious.
#trauma #ptsd #mentalhealth
Half my size
So bought some new clothes today and got my eye brows waxed. Also I guy checked me out. :)
Also saw my psychiatrist who interrogated me due to my past with anorexia. After anorexia I had binge eating disorder and became 280 pounds. Now I’m skinny mini. Wasn’t fun though. Was irritating. Told her I was going back to therapy. The therapist does EMDR and since 15 years of therapy have failed me she’s hoping EMDR will help.
To be fair 15 years of therapy I didn’t know I had CPTSD so… perhaps we weren’t working on the right things. Also therapist vary WIDELY in value. You know what I mean.
I Choose Recovery
Part 1 of 2 My childhood was like most girls. I was highly social, got my energy through being with others, and I had many friends. I played soccer, loved fashion and went to sleep away camp. Occasionally I would worry or get anxious, but it was mainly situational and nothing that concerned my parents at the time.
Then I proceeded to high school, and as 9th grade started, so did my mental health journey. This was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I had uncertainty, as any 15 year old would, and had no idea what to expect. I was aware of the stigmas surrounding mental illness and feared that something was in fact wrong with me; something that made me different or not normal like my peers. I grew up in a town where everyone would put on a front, had perfect images on their Instagram stories, and would hide their reality behind closed doors. My picturesque hometown had many more problems than you could see from the outside.
When my Cognitive Behavior Therapist (CBT), at the time, recommended medication, shock ensued. I had this antiquated perception of what it meant to take medication and the impact on my future. I always wanted to be a “normal” kid, and I believed at the time that this would stand in the way of normalcy. I started regularly taking medication for anxiety, depression, and later ADHD, which presented a whole new set of challenges in terms of how I felt on a daily basis. One medication cocktail made me lightheaded, another made me nauseous, while another one gave me shaky hands. I felt hopeless. Something had to work. After a year of medications that either didn’t work or had intolerable side effects, my new psychiatrist performed a GeneSight test, a pharmacogenomic test which analyzes how your genes may affect medication outcomes based on genetic variations in your DNA. Results informed by the Doctor how I break down or respond to certain medications. After creating a better medication cocktail, I felt good. And this was the first time I had felt good in a while.
I am not kidding when I say high school was tough. I felt alone and no matter how many friends I had, I still had this constant state of loneliness. Without having friends who experienced what I experienced, I felt like no one truly understood my struggles. With this time bringing the rise of a variety of social media applications, I was exposed to other people’s stories, their struggles, and who shared the feelings I had. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone. During my four high school years I experienced anxiety attacks, migraine headaches, and what comes along with taking an ADHD medication, loss of appetite. I do have fond memories though of eating ice-cream for breakfast most mornings to keep my weight at a healthy level.
Everything was good for a while, but it was now time to decide if college was the appropriate option for me at that time. My family and college counselor weighed the pros and cons of attending college or doing a gap year program for those with similar struggles, to slowly adjust myself to the start of my independence. My therapist and executive functioning coach worked with me to establish a list of milestones that I would need to achieve to be college ready. I wanted to be “normal”, and I believed that attending college was what “normal” people do. My mind was set that I would attend college, I achieved all my milestones and my parents agreed to let me take this leap.
And a leap it was, attending a large university, a 13-hour ride from home. It felt great being independent, surrounded by new people, and fresh experiences. I loved making new friends and making new memories to replace some of the old ones. I worked hard, achieved good grades, rushed, and joined a sorority, created more friendships, and finally did not feel alone. Life was good, everything I imagined for myself and quite honestly, I was proud of how far I had come.
Well, not for long.
It was March 2020, and I was preparing for my first college spring break. As I was packing my bags, my parents warned me of a new virus that was taking the country by storm. I purposely shut out this looming reality and did not think this would impact me. I was finally happy with my life and didn’t want anything to disrupt that. Soon after that conversation, I received an email from my university saying that we would have a two-week class break due to the spread of COVID on campus and throughout the country. I sobbed. I didn’t want to leave the place that finally made me feel so happy.
I had a glimmer of hope I could return. I had so much hope that I only packed a small bag for my trip home. My trip home quickly turned into a trip into isolation, being alone in my room taking online classes that extended into my entire freshman year. I was devastated. No more independence, no more learning in classes with my peers, no more sorority e
I Choose Recovery
Part 2 of 2 vents, no more fun times with my new college friends. I finally had found my place and people, and after seven months, it all came to an end sooner.
Quarantine was an interesting time. I had a steady routine of waking up late, scrolling through Tik Tok, going on a drive with my sister, and baking cookies each night. I remained grateful that my family and I were not directly impacted by COVID but wanted to get out. As a social butterfly, my winged were clipped and I didn’t fare well with isolation. Not being able to see my friends destroyed me. I felt alone again. Alone in my thoughts. And would physically lock myself alone in my room and isolate myself from my family.
This is where I would like to say my mental health journey truly began.
Quarantine gave me plenty of time to stand in front of my mirror and psychoanalyze what I did and did not like about myself. This unhealthy habit led to unhealthy behaviors that ultimately led to an eating disorder. I spent a lot of time “covering” my eating disorder as I was so deep, I did not want my family to find out. I felt trapped, both physically and psychologically.
I returned to college in the fall for my sophomore year. I was ecstatic to be living in my sorority house and back in my college town with my friends. But things felt different. I had lost control of myself and was now one with my eating disorder. With my sorority house under quarantine and my meals delivered in Styrofoam containers three times a day outside my door each day, my eating disorder had taken over and my depression and anxiety heightened. My mental state was at an all-time low. I no longer enjoyed doing the things I loved and spent a lot of time alone in my room. Once again, I found myself covering my feelings with friends and I lived in a dark and lonely place.
Fast forward to February. First, I started asking my parents if I could stay at a hotel to get some alone time to think and a bit more independence. That did not help me in the slightest. Once a hotel night, or should I say morning, I woke my parents at 2:00 AM to tell them I needed to come home. My parents took this very seriously as they knew how much I loved school and being with my friends. Once I got home, went through another medication adjustment, I started attending IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program). At this point, again my life was a mess. I finally had come clean about my eating disorder and was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I felt free knowing that I wasn’t hiding this secret anymore.
This is when I chose recovery.
I completed the IOP program and when I returned home that May with little sign of improvement, my family decided it was time for an inpatient program. I attended an intensive residential program in Illinois for 40 days. I am at a loss in describing how hard this was for me. It may be etched in my memory forever but what I do know is that it pushed me to choose recovery instead of falling back into bad habits. I learned new healthy eating habits, had some very helpful candid therapy, and learned how to deal with the things that trigger my anxiety. It was then that I started tapping into all the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) resources provided on Instagram and LinkedIn. I could see that I was part of a larger world with similar challenges. I can’t lie, my experience that summer left me with some bad memories, but I am working hard to replace them with better ones.
Going back to college my Junior year was rough, with adjustments to medications, but I added an incredibly helpful resource to my life, a DBT coach who instead of focusing on my experiences with anxiety, helped me create a goal-based approach to my therapy. I now focus on what is getting in the way of achieving my goals and work hard to eliminate those barriers. Those DBT skills, IOP, and the inpatient program were now really paying off.
Looking back now, almost exactly a year after I completed my inpatient journey, I am grateful for all the resources I have been afforded to come to the place I am at today. I do have some bad days, but I am now equipped with the knowledge on how to treat myself during hard times.
Mental health resources have made me feel less alone in this big world. It is critical to tap into these resources to help you through your own recovery to feel heard and understood.
Every day I choose recovery. I wake up each morning, and whether it is a good or bad day, I know I never want to return to that dark place. I have a whole great life to live with tremendous hope and inspiration for the future. I am stronger than my diagnosis. I choose recovery to be able to be the person to guide others out of their dark place and give you light.
Scan Weight Loss Products
Some old family friends are selling scam pyramid scheme weight loss products. One their ads actually had the audacity to claim that using their product could help an E.D. , when in fact we know they make it worse. Taking umbrage at their continuing outrageous claims, I responded to one of their FB posts. So now, my husband is mad at me. I don’t know if I was wrong or right. But I do know that I feel better. Thoughts ?
#EatingDisorders #Anorexia #Bulimia