Freedom

It’s nearly 2 and a half years since my relationship with the ex ended, yet I still didn’t feel free from him for a long time. Sometimes even now I don’t.

I felt like I was always looking over my shoulder, waiting for him to be there, for a message or something, waiting for him to cause more pain. But it’s over, it’s really over now.

Now I’m in Germany I finally feel safe. He’s not going to hurt me here, he’s not going to hurt me ever again because I won’t let him.

Unfortunately I have a strange ability to remember dates (whether voluntarily or involuntarily!) so I knew it was his birthday recently. And I didn’t think it would affect me – why should it? But everytime it gets to a time of year that I relate to him, I start having these dreams (nightmares) about him.

Why won’t he stop haunting me? It’s over now.

And every time I think, that’s it – I never need to think about anything to do with him again, there are these triggers. Stupid things, tiny things. Like dates and places and smells and things.

I went to the funfair, something I have memories of doing with the ex. And they weren’t bad memories, yet I have been hesitant to do anything that reminds me of anything to do with the ex. But I went to the funfair, it was fun and I made new memories. And it hit me…

Not all of my memories of the ex are bad. And that’s ok.

A lot of my memories of him are horrible, and demonise him. I’ve never written here about the good times, because they aren’t the things that are still affecting me. But once upon a time, we were ok. Before everything went wrong, he made me happy. And that’s ok.

I have been trying for so long to forget everything about him, but I can’t – it’s impossible. It’s over 3 years of my life at an important time in my life, and I can’t erase 3 years of memories, I can’t pretend they never happened. And I’m finally starting to realise that they are memories, they are in the past, some of them are good, lots of them are bad, but they’re just memories and it’s not going to happen again.

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Sometimes it’s better not to know

What you don’t know can’t hurt you…

Right?

Sometimes knowing can help, sometimes it can make it worse, always it makes things different.

I found out in May that the ex is having a baby with his current girlfriend. It shook me up a bit, and definitely made my path to recovery a bit bumpier, a bit harder.

But that was all I knew. I didn’t know who she is. I didn’t know how many months, or when the baby was due. I didn’t know if it was going to be a girl or boy. And I didn’t want to know.

All I wanted to know is why now? Why is she good enough and I wasn’t?

But I didn’t speak to him about it. I didn’t speak to him at all.

And it’s been in the back of my mind since then. But I didn’t know any details so it wasn’t real (to me.) And I didn’t want to know any more about him or his life now. I had cut him off, severed all ties. I don’t have him on facebook, I don’t talk to him, I don’t text him. I won’t send him a text on his birthday, christmas or new year. Nothing.

And then today I got a text from Artist. She said: Did you know your ex has just had a baby?

And now I know when, and now I know it’s real. And now I know that it’s a girl and was born a few days ago.

I still feel like I don’t deserve that: the relationship, the happy family. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want it now, but one day. And I feel like I’ll never be able to. I’ll never deserve it, I’ll never be good enough.

And he gets it all. He gets to play happy families and ignore all of the stuff that happened in the past. But me, I’m stuck in the past. And one day I’m going to end up losing S because of it. Because I can’t get over what happened with me and the ex, the whole thing was just a toxic mess that I couldn’t escape from. And even now I haven’t fully escaped… in my dreams (nightmares) and in my mind it’s still real (sometimes.) It still scares me.

And then it makes me question whether it all happened at all. Whether it really was “that bad” or whether I’ve gone crazy and imagined it all. Maybe my hatred of him twisted my memories. Maybe the arguments were because I was always doing things wrong… Maybe, maybe, maybe.

All of these thoughts, these questions have been opened up again. All of the memories I have fought so hard to keep away come flooding back.

I am angry and I am hurting. I hate him and I hate myself. I want to speak to him and I don’t. I want to know and at the same time I don’t at all. I want to ask him why I wasn’t good enough, why he treated me like he did, why someone else is good enough to have a baby with and I wasn’t.

But I’m not going to ask him. Because starting contact with him again would never end well. He would try to manipulate me again, try to make me believe he’s a different person now and that things weren’t that bad, that I’m exaggerating. And he’s had enough chances, and he always proved me right. He is not someone I want in my life (again.)

And that’s why sometimes it’s better not to know.

Mammoth

MammothToday I was feeling pretty low. I have been feeling a bit funny physically for the last few days – lots of migraines/headaches, feeling a bit faint/light headed, feeling really really hot… that kind of thing. And a combination of feeling bad physically and mentally is never good.

So S said he would come over after work for a bit to see me and give me some cuddles to cheer me up. And he did.

We ate some strawberries and ice cream and had some cuddles and talked and it was really nice. It sounds pathetic but it’s the small things that mean the most. I love the fact that  S can just come round and he gets on with my family and it is relaxed and I don’t have to be on edge (like I was with the ex and my family).

And as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I am now in possession of a new elephant (or more accurately – a mammoth!) S brought me it from work to cheer me up (as he knows how much I love elephants!) It is a little fluffy cuddly toy mammoth and I think he’s really cute! Only problem now is that I can’t think of a name (but I’ve decided it is a him), so feel free to give any name suggestions! 🙂

While we were cuddling and talking I said “Maybe you do actually love me”, because I’m finally starting to think maybe it’s true. Maybe not everyone will be like the ex, and maybe I’m not unlovable – maybe it wasn’t even my fault. And he laughed and said “At least it’s a maybe now.” I know it’s stupid that I am so scared of getting hurt and that I really find it so hard to believe that anyone could love and care about ME, but these are thoughts which have been programmed into my mind for a long time – with the ex, and even before that with the teasing/bullying (?)

I am feeling more determined than ever that I am going to get through this stuff, and I am not going to let the ex win or ruin any more of my life. I can and I will get through these problems. I can and I will succeed and be happy. I know I need to deal with the anger I still feel about everything that happened, but maybe I can use it positively, and use it as motivation and incentive to keep going and stay determined. I can and I will.**

I am so happy being with S, he makes me feel safe and loved and happy. And I love him, I really do and our relationship is so much better (now that I’ve finally allowed myself to feel that way instead of being too scared to get close.) I think my depression/anxiety/general craziness* definitely does affect our relationship but he copes pretty well, and he is very understanding and helping me get through my issues.

Time for bed now, but tonight I am going to bed feeling happy and safe, instead of anxious and scared and paranoid (like last night).

Good night,
Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. Here is another picture of my (nameless) mammoth!

Mammoth toy

* I hope this doesn’t offend anyone – here I am referring to my irrational thoughts and behaviours, which could definitely be called crazy rather than the mental health side of things.

** This is one of the mantras from my list, and this one often comes to mind. When I’m feeling low or like I can’t do something, I think to myself ‘I can and I will’ and I feel more in control, more determined and more positive.

Come here – Go away

**Trigger warning – self harm thoughts**

A lovely blogger, Zoe, has been writing posts on the topic of boundaries this week, and having read them, I realised I have a lot of issues around this area.

One of the posts was on the difference between healthy and defensive boundaries. The bit that seems to be most relevant to me (at the moment anyway) is Split off boundaries. In particular, this bit:

  • Relationships are threatening both abandonment and invasion wise

  • It manifests as ‘come here, go away,’ indicating both a need for distance and closeness.

I realised that this is a MASSIVE problem for me. My boyfriend, S, has to put up with this all the time and it must be difficult for him (and confusing.) I seem to be sending mixed messages all the time – come here and go away. I’m so scared of being left/abandoned and I want him to be there for me (that’s the “come here” part) and at the same time I’m scared to be close because I don’t like relying on him (because he could leave me) so when I get scared I end up pushing him away (“go away” part.)

It’s very strange, but these things happen very naturally and I feel like I don’t have much control. For example I am terrified, and I mean TERRIFIED, that he’s going to find someone else and cheat on me/leave me for someone else (like the ex did.) I know it’s irrational, I know he wouldn’t hurt me like that. And more embarrassingly, I am terrified that he’s going to realise that one of our mutual friends (Sheep) is effectively a better version of me. We are very similar in personality, except she doesn’t have all of these “issues”, and she’s thinner than me… They went to the pub together last night and S didn’t bother to text me after work. He always rings me after work, but yesterday not even a text. And I’m so paranoid and jealous, and I don’t know why. Sheep is one of my best friends and I know that (even if S turned out to be a cheating idiot) she wouldn’t do that to me. And yet I worked myself up about it.

And so when I spoke to S last night (after I had had a couple of cocktails – probably a bad move) I was upset that he didn’t bother to text me. We ended up arguing about it, and as usual I created a massive negative spiral… You didn’t text me, that means you don’t care, you don’t love me, you’d rather be with Sheep anyway… I’m not good enough, you’re going to leave me… and on and on. And I told him I don’t want to be with him anymore. That’s not true, I just got scared. I wanted to leave before he left me, I can’t go through being left like that again.

It’s scary being with someone, letting them in. Because S could tear my world apart (if he wanted to.) He knows pretty much everything about me. I rely on him a lot too much and I hate myself for it. I feel like I need him. And I need constant reassurance because I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t think I deserve to be loved. And it’s all scary because I could get hurt again. And I don’t think I could go through it all again.

Things have definitely gone downhill in the last few weeks. I think since around my birthday, I’ve become really scared, paranoid, jealous, clingy… everything I don’t want to be. And I can’t seem to stop. Even if I don’t say these things I go mad in my head thinking about them. Last night I had such a massive urge to hurt myself. And when I was walking home I thought about if someone came and killed me, it would be so much easier, and then it wouldn’t be my fault. I didn’t do anything but the thoughts were there, and they were strong. I haven’t been thinking like that recently so I definitely think this is a sign of things getting worse.

I don’t know how to control all of this. Come here, go away. I love you, I hate you. I want to be with you, I don’t want to be with you… It’s all a mess. And sooner or later he is actually going to get sick of it, and then I will be on my own.

Why can’t you get this into your thick skull Ellie?? He loves you that’s why he’s with you. That’s why he’s still there after nearly a year and a half. And he always tries to help, even when you’re acting irrationally. Why do you have to push away someone that really cares? Why can’t you be rational? Why can’t you be happy, you have everything.

You may have noticed my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. I don’t quite know why. But I’m going home today, just until Monday. S is meeting me at the station and I know I need to talk to him. I just don’t know what to say anymore, I’m so broken. I just want to feel safe.

Fragments of who I am

I’m sick of being the weak one.

I always was. I still am.

I was that kid that always cried in school. The one that was over-sensitive. I learned that I was worth nothing and that was reinforced over and over. I’ll never be good enough for any of you will I?

And they wonder why I have no self-esteem, they wonder why I doubt myself so much.

I wonder whether I was depressed as a child. I can remember going to help out in reception at lunchtime sometimes, because I wanted to get away from the ones who always teased me. But it’s just teasing right?

And people always choose other people over me. I’m sick of being second best. Not even second best, the last alternative.

Feeling pretty low today. Because sitting here and moaning is really going to help me pass my German exam… 

Failure. Disappointment. Lonely. Lost. Scared. Pathetic. Hurt. Anxious. Sad. Broken. Weak. Useless. Fake. Nothing. That’s me.

(Sorry about the fragmented post. It doesn’t make sense)

Strange happenings & arguments

It seems like every time I post something on my blog, something strange happens!

One time, I wrote about the ex, and the next day I received a message from him (despite not having heard from him for months before that!)

Yesterday, I wrote a cheerful post about things being a lot better… And then last night got very upset and ended up arguing with S, and today I’ve spent most of the day in bed and feeling down. 

It’s all very strange.

I know it’s not because I’ve written it. But it does seem that everytime I write that things are feeling a bit better, I end up feeling worse afterwards. 

Last night’s argument made me realise I still have a very long way to go before I’m “better”. I am insecure, scared and worry about everything. I read far too deeply into situations and I expect S to understand how I feel all the time, when of course he can’t. I struggle to keep up with it myself!

During this argument, it came to light that there are lots of underlying issues. And they are not issues with our relationship, but more about me (because of the ex). I am ridiculously insecure, and trust is very difficult. Even though S has never given me a reason not to trust him, I always imagine these “what if” scenarios, and I expect him to find someone else (like the ex did). 

He went out with his friends while I was away, and it was something he was planning to do when everyone was home, but he did it while I was away. I can’t help but see it as him not wanting me to be there. No matter how much he tells me that’s not true. Then it comes down to me thinking he’s embarrassed and ashamed to be with me, and that’s why he doesn’t want me there. The more I think about this, the more it snowballs until I’ve convinced myself that S is just going to hurt me (just like the ex did). 

They are not the same. They are completely different people. I need to remember that.

Not everyone treats people the way the ex did.

I find it very difficult not to blame myself for everything, and not to over-analyse every detail of everything. 

Recently S has said things that he hasn’t said before. Nice things, about wanting a future for us, and being in love with me. But for some reason it scares me. Because you can say the right words but it doesn’t make things work. The ex said all the right things, and treated me like crap. He made me feel like I was nothing, like I was lucky that he put up with me, and now that’s how I feel about myself. 

In my previous relationship, sex was a given. I guess I thought I had to, that it was his (the ex’s) right in a way. And sex was something I could give him, to make up for all the crap he had to put up with by being with me. Sex was how I learned to show love (that’s what my relationship with the ex taught me, anyway). But he didn’t love me. He said all the right things, but he hurt me and he used me. He made me into this mess, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces, even though we split up nearly 2 years ago now…

S still says sex is not important, that it doesn’t matter and he doesn’t mind that I’m not ready. I just see it as me letting him down again and again. I am ashamed of myself for not being able to give him that, the one thing that he could get out of being with me (the way I see it anyway). 

I hate arguing with S. It makes me so sad. It hurts too much. We don’t argue much, but when we do it’s because of me being insecure, me over-thinking everything, me over-reacting. I want to stop. I want to be “normal”, whatever that is.

I wish I could have a normal relationship, where past memories don’t affect the present, where I’m not scared of being left behind, and where S doesn’t have to make all these allowances for me. He never complains, ever. He just takes it, he just puts up with all the crazy ways I react.

I know he loves me, I know I’m lucky to have him. He makes me happy, or happier than I’ve been in a long time anyway. So why don’t I let myself trust him? Why don’t I let myself believe the things he says? Why do I question his motives all the time? I just wish I could get over the past, then maybe I could live in the present. 

Nightmares

**trigger warning – abusive relationship and sexual stuff**

I suppose it was inevitable after the post I wrote last night that I was going to have nightmares. I was scared and on edge. I had memories haunting me.

I spoke to S on the phone before I went to sleep, and it made me feel a bit better. It made me feel safer, and after putting my phone on charge, I snuggled up in my duvet with my heffalump. (Yes I still sleep with a cuddly toy! *embarrassed face*)

For some reason a memory of things with the ex came into my mind last night. We had been arguing, I can’t remember what about. As usual I was apologising. He picked up the bread knife and started cutting his arm with it. I’m scared of blood, maybe this is why I’m even more scared of blood. He scratched him arm over and over with the knife so it was bleeding. He said that’s what I’ve done to him. I was scared.

I can feel myself dissociating as I’m typing this. Each memory seems to link to another. Him threatening to overdose on paracetamol. Me screaming and crying and begging him not to. It was all my fault he said.

I suppose this is what is going to happen. In CBT we are working through traumatic memories, and it’s bound to remind me of more. Of things that I had forgotten. This is why it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

Last night apparently I screamed twice. About half an hour apart. I woke up scared, but couldn’t remember why, or what had caused it. I don’t remember screaming – like last time I was asleep.

Then I went back to sleep and had more nightmares. They seemed to follow me all night. I don’t feel rested. I feel exhausted and scared. It’s nearly 12pm and I’ve only just got up. I have to be somewhere at 1, I need to get ready, need to get going. I have to be ok.

I can’t remember all the details, I never do with nightmares. I can remember being with the ex. Him being with someone else and me begging him to come back to me. I told him he could do anything he wanted with me. He made me suck his penis, forcing me to go deeper so I was gagging. We had sex and as I was in pain, he carried on. I felt used, embarrassed, hurt. But I told him he could do what he wanted, and he did. So he didn’t do anything wrong, right?

And all this leads me back to my feelings of shame around sex. When I was with the ex I didn’t even seem to realise that I didn’t have to do sexual stuff whenever he wanted. It was like I thought it was his right. I used to use sex to solve arguments, anytime he was angry I’d “make it up to him”. And I didn’t know this wasn’t a normal relationship. I feel so stupid.

I just want to hide. I feel so sick, so ashamed, so scared.

I just want all of these thoughts and memories to stop.

Scared

I’m so scared of so many things.

I realised that S is the only one who makes me feel safe. When I am scared I just want him to hold me and I know it will be ok. But he’s in London and I’m in Lancaster so for now I just have to be ok by myself.

As time goes on and I start to come to terms with things that have happened, I am realising how fragile I am. I don’t feel safe. I notice I am always on guard, always on edge. Everytime I see a car like his*, I panic. Even though I’m in Lancaster and he isn’t. Even though I know he’s not here. Even though he probably doesn’t even know or care where I am or what I’m doing. I’m so scared that he’s going to come back and hurt me.

I’m going to bed to hide and hope that he won’t haunt me tonight in my dreams. Sometimes I dream of being with S, and wake up feeling safe. Sometimes I dream of being with the ex, and wake up scared. I wonder if that’s what I was dreaming of when I screamed in the night.

Good night,

Love from Ellie xxx

*the ex

Jumble of nothingness

I don’t feel good at all.

My mind is a swirling mess. Not a single thought that makes sense. Just a big jumble of nothingness.

I have an exam tomorrow. I have work to do. Why can’t I concentrate? Why aren’t I worried? Why don’t I care?

I don’t even want to go. I just want to stay in bed all day.

My brain hurts. My heart hurts. I don’t know how to deal with this anymore.

Give me a break. Just a night where I can sleep and wake up not feeling tired in the morning. I am so tired. I’ve been so tired for so long. Someone asked me a while ago when the last time was that I wasn’t tired. I said I don’t know; maybe a few years ago. That’s ridiculous.

Alone

I feel so alone.

I’m not, but I feel it.

It’s amazing how you can be surrounded by people and still feel alone.

S (the boyfriend, who is now my ex, but not to be confused with THE EX) is away on holiday at the moment. We still talked everyday, even though we split up. Now I can’t speak to him, I feel so alone.

I wish I could feel fine. Not even happy, just fine – that would be enough. I feel so alone, so sad, so hurt and so tired.

What does it take to make the pain go away?

This is why I never wanted to rely on someone again. After the ex, I told myself I wouldn’t let anyone get so close, I wouldn’t rely on someone so much. But I did. Not quite so much, but only because S didn’t manipulate me into being controlled and completely reliant. Whenever I had have a problem, I always went go to him. I need him. I miss having someone for me all the time.

How selfish is that?

Now I have no one, and it’s my fault. I don’t want to be a burden on other people. Most of my friends probably don’t notice. They don’t understand anyway.

Just cheer up.

Just get over it.

Things will be fine.

You’ll feel better tomorrow.

But will I? Will I really? Because this is what I’ve been hoping for as long as I can remember, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Why doesn’t anything help?

Maybe tomorrow…

P.S. Sorry for posting so much today. I feel alone and I have too much to say. But still say nothing in all these words.