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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

How to stop being so angry about my past?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) October 28th, 2009 from iPhone

I’m happily engaged right now to a man I really do love and admire. We have a great life together. Before my relationship began with my fiancé, I was involved with a very emotionally and physically abusive guy. From my very first date with him I had a gut feeling that he was bad news. But with some nagging from both his friends and mine I let things progress into a full blown relationship. He moved in with me very quickly and I had to support him. The relationship went from bad to worse when I discovered he had been cheating on me with his ex for a few months. Being the idiot that I was, I still stayed in the relationship with him and forgave him for the infidelity. Eventually he became very abusive. It started with him just emotionally playing mind games with me. I was a compete wreck. Then it progressed to physical abuse. When he drank, it was much worse. One afternoon it all exploded. He started an arguement over me not buying him cigarettes and it ended in me fighting for my life. After choking me, smashing my head on the floor over and over, dragging me by my hair, smashing my cell so I was unable to call for help, and then shoving a pillow over my face trying to suffocate me while screaming “I WILL kill you. Do you believe me now?” To this day I don’t know why he stopped. I don’t know why he took that pillow away from my face. But I thank God that he did. It gave me the opprotunity to run as fast as I could to my car, lock the doors, and drive as fast as I could to a payphone. Of course as I was backing out of the driveway he jumped on the hood of the car and punched a hole in my windshield. But the point is, I got away. The police arrested him that day but let him go within a few hours and the only thing he got was a restraining order to stay away from me for 6 months. Unbelievable. I feel like he got away with attempted murder. But the cops obviously didn’t take it very seriously. This guy is a pathelogical liar and he’s damn good at it. He spent the entire relationship lying to me and I never thought twice about it. So I’m assuming he won the cops over with his charm and good story telling skills. So here is my problem now…I still have nightmares about him. I still hold so much anger inside. I constantly wonder if I had done something differently or made better choices, could I have avoided the situation? I want to live happily ever after with my fiancé but I’m haunted by my past. I hate that this evil guy still has such an effect on my life. He made me have huge trust issues with people, made me afraid, gave me nightmares, made me feel guilty. How do I fully recover? How can I repair the damage that he caused? Will I ever trust again?

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14 Answers

troubleinharlem's avatar

First of all, I’m really sorry that it happened to you. No one deserves that kind of thing from anyone.

You have to learn to forgive him, though. I actually learned this from a Madea movie, of all things. I’ll even share the quote with you, because I keep it on my bulletin board so that I see it every morning.

Forgiveness is for yourself, not for the person you are forgiving. Why toss and turn and stress over something when the person who did it is sleeping soundly in their bed? A valuable lesson and one that we should remember. The most important thing that I learned in growing up is that forgiveness is something that, when you do it, you free yourself to move on.

Isn’t that true? Forgiveness is not for the person, it’s for you so you can begin to let go.
Oh, and try therapy so you can help getting over your trust issues. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have them – I’m saying that you can get rid of them, but you have to be willing to forgive.

kibaxcheza's avatar

deep breath
look in mirror
“today is gonna be a good day. He cant hurt me, i wont let him. He cant effect me, i wont let him. Im going to live my life again.”

every morning
over a bit of time
youll wake up
annoyed that you have to repeat this every morning
and instead, youll wash your face, kiss your (wo)man, and have a great fucking day.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I was abused as a child (mostly verbally). You will never forget it, and the nightmares may return.

I think to heal yourself, you will need a few therapy sessions or a few books to help you work through this fact: You were a victim. You are not one now.

You are currently allowing the abuser to win. He’s still controlling your thoughts. I agree with @troubleinharlem, you will need to forgive for you. There are some good books for this.

If you can visualize him just standing in a room with you. You are facing him. You say to him something to the effect of “I have moved on. I have learned a valuable lesson from your actions toward me. I now forgive you. I wish for you the best in your life.

You may need to practice the above more than once to feel it “work”. I’ve had to do this for a few choice people from my past. It is not easy, either. I now harbor no ill-will toward them (as I once definitely did).

Dog's avatar

Anger takes valuable energy from TODAY.

Do not let your past trauma BE your identity.

You deserve this new life.

Allow yourself to embrace it and not be shackled by ghosts or the ghosts of the past will undermine and destroy your present and future.

janbb's avatar

That’s an awful thing to have to go through! You might want to consider some short term therapy to deal with the residual fear and self-guessing. I also imagine your body holds some memory of the trauma so some body work therapy may be helpful for that. I wouldn’t worry about forgiveness yet, that may come or it may not, but do work on yourself so you can enjoy the lovely new relationship you have and the upcoming wedding!

HGl3ee's avatar

I am so incredibly sorry that any sad-excuse of a human would ever do that to you or anyone! It angers me to the core >:(

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship before I met my SO. Nothing compared to what you went through but this is what I did. I wrote him a letter. Telling him how little he means, how pathetic he is to have dominated me like that, how I did not deserve his bull-crap and how I am letting go, moving on and never thinking about something as low as a creature like him. I let it all out scribbled down in my own hand-writing. By the time I was done I had written 12 pages. I cried, I got super pissed, laughed at the great names I made up to call him and finally peace and calm.

I took that letter burnt it to a crisp (burn it in something you can bury and has no meaning to you I just bought a little wooden box) and buried the ashes in some random meaningless place, walked away and moved on.

You are better, you deserve better and you have a beautiful life ahead of you with a man you love and who loves you back.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ElleBee letter writing is so healing for me too

HGl3ee's avatar

Thanks @SpatzieLover <3 I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it has brought me so much peace and relief in my life. – LB

SpatzieLover's avatar

@ElleBee it helped me a lot as a child, too. Now it helps if I journal things that have brought up or stirred old emotions or memories I don’t want to dwell on

RedPowerLady's avatar

Anger is a normal reaction to this. Let yourself be angry. That is absolutely okay.

But also consider that anger always hides another emotion. Fear likely being one of those. I’m betting that vulnerability is another. You could probably make a list. Dealing with those underlying emotions is a bit more difficult than dealing with the anger.

You really have to find a way to create safety for yourself (in the way you feel even if you are already physically safe) so that you can live more in the present. Without feeling safe it is understandable that you hang onto the past.

A therapist would be able to help substantially or even a support group, if you find the right one, that is key.

Again I’m so sorry you had to deal with this. No one deserves it and it is not your fault.

filmfann's avatar

I am so sorry for the hurt this man caused you. I am glad you found someone who is taking care of you, as any partner should.
There is no disgrace in going to therapy. I have done it several times to cope with problems I have had. It’s good to get a tune up every once in a while.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

what a fucker
karma will get him
don’t you worry
focus on the future
and try hypnotherapy

nebule's avatar

Counselling/Therapy is the best place to start in my opinion
It has taught me a lot..
To allow myself to be angry and to find acceptable ways to release that anger
To realise that the story of what happened is not who I am…
To be responsible for the part that I played in the abuse
To seek self worth and self love and acceptance
To empathize with others and through that find compassion for myself

kibaxcheza's avatar

blah blah blah

just go stab him with an ice pick….

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