General Question

dopeguru's avatar

How can I be happy?

Asked by dopeguru (1907points) October 24th, 2015

I’ve been in an abusive relationship. Never gave up, always been back to this guy who treated me horribly, lied and cheated consistently, even though we both suffered because of his mistakes, he kept lying until I had enough and physically weren’t able to handle it anymore.

I want to know how to let go and be happy because I’m in a lot of pain, even though I ended it recently Im having difficulties sleeping etc.

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37 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

See above^. But if that isn’t practical, keep busy. Wounds take time to heal. But the time seems shorter if your mind isn’t on them. Your mind’s going to go there anyway, but jump up and run around the block.

dopeguru's avatar

@stanleybmanly Im trying both. I go to therapy and I try to keep busy, but then there are nights where Im alone, all nights, and I am reminded by the silence of what has been lived and what could be like if another body was with me (only his seems to fit perfectly)

cheebdragon's avatar

Start looking for your self-respect. You seem to have lost it a long time ago.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Turn on the tv. And plug in a good movie. Happiness is elusive, but there’s absolutely no percentage in life as a door mat. Take the offensive. Substitute angry & pissed for sad & needy. The time you’ve wasted on your defective boyfriend should make you mad as hell. If darkness & silence bring on needy longings, then eliminate them til things calm down.

BosM's avatar

Therapy is a great suggestion, it is important to understand why you are allowing yourself to be true and devoted to someone who abuses you. You can’t “fix” anyone else except yourself. You need to believe you have worth, that you deserve to be treated right and won’t accept anything else. You need to teach people how to treat you and also believe you are worthy of being treated well, loved and valued for who you are.

Be determined to stay healthy – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Choose behaviors that support happiness by avoiding negative people, sad songs, movies, etc. Be true to who you are, choose happiness. You’ve taken a first step and asked for help, continue on your journey of healing, you can do this. Peace, BosM

janbb's avatar

I’m confused by the number of relationships you’ve talked about. Or is it only one? And what happened to your pregnancy scare?

As for your immediate question, maybe you won’t be happy for a while. But it’s important to learn to live alone at times and this may be what you have to learn right now.

Haleth's avatar

@janbb has a very good answer. It’s a long road to happiness after an abusive relationship. However, you can take gradual steps starting now that will lead you to happiness.

First of all, be glad that you left this guy. It’s very hard to leave an abusive relationship for a number of reasons. Abusers usually do things to hurt your independence- like pushing friends and family out of your life, undermining your self-esteem, or making you financially dependent on them.

At this point, the thing to focus on is staying away from your abuser and building up your independence. Both of these are intertwined and they’re not easy. The point of an abusive relationship is to make you think you can’t be on your own.

I left an abusive relationship two years ago. At that point I was totally lost and hadn’t talked to my friends in a really long time. The first thing I did was to call an old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a long time. We ordered a pizza at her place and talked for a couple hours, and it was such a huge relief.

If you have friends/ family who have dropped off the radar during your relationship, reach out to them. They probably have been worried and wanting to hear from you. Your project over the next several years is to gradually strengthen these relationships while staying single.

Many people above said to seek therapy- that is also very, very important. Google “crisis line+ (your area)” and then call the phone number that comes up. They will be able to refer you to pro-bono therapists specializing in domestic violence. It could also be very helpful to join a support group for abuse survivors. You will meet other women who have been through the same thing, which will help you feel stronger and stay away from your abuser.

Make an inventory of all the things you have going for you. At the very least, you have successfully gotten away from your abuser. You can start the list with that. Think about your special skills, interests, relationships, etc. Even if there is not much on the list at this point, these will be the seeds of the new life you are going to build. For instance, if you used to paint, now would be a good time to sign up for an art class. Or if you love to read, you can immerse yourself in a great new book.

Think about new things you would like to try also. Whether it’s a new career, travel, learning to dance, sailing lessons, whatever- just brainstorm a bunch of ideas. This will give you hope for positive things that have nothing to do with going back to that guy. And also, you can start looking into them and doing them. When you get a little further along, think about what you can contribute to the world to help others, and start pursuing that.

Try to get to somewhere safe. Whether it’s a friend’s house, a family’s house, or renting a new place, go somewhere that has nothing to do with your abuser. (Also, thinking of him as “your abuser” instead of “hisname” or “your ex” will help you avoid the temptation to go back to him.) Make your new home safe and comfortable; delete all of that guy’s contact info and block him on social media.

While you’re doing all this, take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise; eat healthy meals, and spend some time outside. In the weeks after leaving my abusive relationship, I started learning how to cook and went on a lot of long walks in a local nature preserve.

Gradually, once you start feeling a little better, you can begin to get out there and make new friends. Having a strong network of friends and family is so immensely helpful. Stay away from guys for as long as it takes; strengthen your ties to friends and family and the local community. You may also want to read up on limerence and codependency, which I think lead people to choose relationships that they shouldn’t be in.

Doing all these steps will be an ongoing process. You can do them a little bit at a time, as many times as it takes. In the mean time, try to look for little bits of happiness where ever you can find them. The day after I left my relationship, I sat outside and ate an apple. That was, like, the nicest thing that happened to me that day and the best I could do at that point. But keep going- if I did it, you can do it to. And stay the fuck away from that guy!!!!!

Coloma's avatar

@dopeguru Your emotional and somatic issues are about your fears of abandonment which, obviously, kept you, far too long, in this abusive relationship. Yes, therapy and, you must find a way to access your inner tigress and realize that we ALL need to be islands unto ourselves. Hopefully you will never give away your power like this, ever again. There are far worse things in life than not being in a relationship.

Letting another control you emotionally is one of them Good luck and I hope you find your tough.

dopeguru's avatar

You guys are being SO helpful. Unfortunately I reached out to the guy and now, he is ignoring me for some strange reason which is making me very pissed off because he is a pathological liar who is still being a piece of garbage even in my absence. Unfortunately these things still get to me because Im aware of them. And his ignoring is absurd to me because he was the one at fault, and he tried to reach out for days when I wouldn’t respond. And telling his friends how sad he is and how it will be difficult, etc… Yet he is hitting on this one girl he promised me would never be with (liar, again). So Im confused as to why he is ignoring me now. My message was about how he lied to me continuously and hurt me, even though i gave him endless chances. And then I sent a few after as he wasn’t responding.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Darth_Algar's avatar

Is this the same guy whom you’ve posted about your personal problems with numerous times here? Why are you trying to reach out to him? FFS. Move on from him already. Don’t reach out to him. Don’t contact him. Don’t accept any contact from him. Forget about him and move along. The signs are flashing all around you, and have been for ages, in bold, bright neon lettering, saying – “THIS RELATIONSHIP IS BAD FOR YOU!”. Time to heed those signs already.

Jeruba's avatar

Beautiful answer, @Haleth.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Once again, I’m a slow learner. I need my own question. Why do I get sucked into answering questions like this one? I mean I have no empathy for repetitive self destructive behavior. If you were in front of me, I would surely strangle you myself out of sheer frustration. You have my apology for getting involved. Go in peace.

dopeguru's avatar

I dont understand for the life of me what the hell is wrong with me.

skfinkel's avatar

Feel the pain, stay with it. Don’t try and be happy. Stay strong and stay away from this guy.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

STOP PUNISHING YOURSELF.

Haleth's avatar

@dopeguru “Unfortunately I reached out to this guy and now he is ignoring me.”

GOOD!!! Him ignoring you is the best possible outcome. Even though it sucks to feel slighted to be ignored when you are feeling limerent toward someone, you shouldn’t have anything more to do with this guy. Cut off all contact, seriously.

augustlan's avatar

I couldn’t possibly answer better than @Haleth. Above all, though: NO CONTACT. NONE.

dopeguru's avatar

@Haleth @augustlan True… Im doing my best now. This time i have to stick with it, i always end it and return :(

cheebdragon's avatar

Stalking is illegal in all 50 states.

Here2_4's avatar

If you are totally hung up on an abusive man, and can’t leave him alone, then you have a death wish, and there is just no helping someone with a death wish.
If you want to die, and you aren’t willing to be safe, happy, and productive, then that’s that. Don’t expect me to mourn you when you are gone.
Anybody who wants me to care about their woes has to care enough about life to try.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
LostInParadise's avatar

I would like to call attention to one part of @Haleth‘s very fine answer. I can understand the importance that you attach to having a boyfriend, but I wonder if you tend to ignore friends and relatives when you are in a relationship. You only visit here when you are between boyfriends. You are certainly free to come and go here as you please, but could this be part of a pattern? If you place importance on your relationship to a bf to the exclusion of everything else then your neediness creates a vulnerability that invites people to take advantage of. You need to establish a life for yourself independent of who you happen to be sleeping with. Maintain friendships and explore the world. Who are you? What do you want out of life?

jca's avatar

It’s hard when relationships end but really, stop contacting him and continuing the cycle of being in touch, not being in touch. He’s ignoring you because he knows it will bother you. He might know you better than you know yourself.

Let it go. Get busy doing other stuff. See your friends, go to the bookstore and read books and have some coffee, exercise, take a day trip. Seek therapy. Good luck and keep us posted.

crazyandbeautiful's avatar

First start off with therapy. It will take time. I know this is going to be a very hard move from being with someone. To not being with them. Maybe you can find a support group nearby and get involved with that. Spend time with your family. Family is always going to be your number 1 support. Just take care of you. And in that time I hope you find all the happiness to surround you for along time.

Very best of luck to you. Stay well.

dopeguru's avatar

Why is he ignoring me?

janbb's avatar

facepalm!

dopeguru's avatar

@janbb Hahaha okay. Look, you guys’ answers are very helpful. Im focusing on myself. Im also very inspired by all I’ve lived and am creating some art with it. But yes there are times where I feel horrible. Thats when I think I might need a man’s presence at nights… Is that a bad idea?

rojo's avatar

NOT THIS MAN!

dopeguru's avatar

@rojo I mean another!

janbb's avatar

@dopeguru Yes, with your history as you’ve expressed it here, it is horrible for you. I’ve learned to live alone after a long term marriage ended and it’s taught me tons. You seem unwilling to even begin to grow.

rojo's avatar

Loneliness can be difficult I know and I wish you the best of luck.

Please, please please follow through with the letting go. Do not let yourself slide back into the same abyss you seem to have fallen down repeatedly and try to get back together with the same man. Don’t call, don’t answer calls (if he ever condescends to call), don’t go by there and stalk him anymore; just let it be.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yes, it is a bad idea. You need to focus on yourself and getting to where you’re mentally and emotionally ok with being alone. As long as you feel you need a man then you’re probably just going to bounce from one bad, maybe even abusive, relationship to another.

I was sorta like that once. I felt like I needed to be with someone. I endured a string of shitty, dead-end relationships before I realized that maybe I needed to be alright with just being by myself. Once I got to that point I was happier than I had ever been when I was with somebody. And only after that was I able to find a healthy, long-term relationship that lasted longer than 6 months (10 years now and counting, actually).

Jeruba's avatar

Staying with the wrong man stands in the way of finding the right one.

But as long as you’re not right with yourself, it’s pretty hard to be right for somebody else. How sad it would be if the right guy did cross your path and he didn’t recognize you because you were still too messed up by sickness and bad choices.

Haleth's avatar

@dopeguru “Thats when I think I might need a man’s presence at nights… Is that a bad idea?”

Let me tell you a little about my family. I come from a long line of women who never found happy, fulfilling lives. Instead of going out and doing cool stuff, building awesome lives of their own, they depended on men to feel happy and validated. As a result, they either chased after men who treated them like garbage, as you are doing now. Or they sat around watching tv and sleeping, feeling sad.

I went through a patch of this in my teens and 20s. If you don’t have a life of your own, it is VERY EASY to feel like some guy can magically fix things for you. Every message in our pop culture tells us this. One of the earliest movies any little girl sees is Cindarella, where the guy rescues out of her own crappy life into his amazing one. Sleeping beauty is even worse. At least Cindarella did a few things! Sleeping Beauty spends the whole time asleep before being rescued by the guy.

If you can’t get out of this Disney princess mentality, you will fall for guys who treat you badly again and again. You won’t meet a great guy until you become your best self. To be your best self, you have to build up your independence by learning to live a good life on your own.

I know it seems really hard to be without a guy. But it’s not an actual physical need- you won’t die. On the other hand, many women are literally killed by their abusers.

Leaving your abuser is a golden opportunity. You have a chance to get it right this time. Think about this also- if you have a child with an abusive man, they will grow up thinking that’s what relationships are like. These kinds of relationships will happen in their lives.

If you feel like having a guy around, do something that makes you happy or call a friend or family member.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)

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