General Question

Scarlett's avatar

What do you do after an abusive and controlling relationship and you have nothing ?

Asked by Scarlett (915points) August 8th, 2010

So I just got out of an abusive relationship and I don’t know how to put the pieces back again…As crazy and dumb as this seems, I miss him… I have nothing because I depended on him so much, but now that I’m away from him ( I just got out of this situation last night ) , I have no clue where to start and how to begin….

It feels like I want to go back with him, but at the same time I’m unsure and afraid.

I didn’t press charges against him because I was living with him and had no where to go if I had called the police.

My mom is letting me stay with her until I find a place, My dad is willing to help me out with rent, and my dad wants me to just get into the military ( Air Force most likely ).

I feel torn, lost, stupid, and dumb.

I know people are gonna tell me I should not go back with him, then why do I miss him so much and feel so low and guilty ?

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37 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

You don’t have nothing, darlin’. You’ve got yourself back. Now you just have to find out who that is and how to be it.

Any interest in going back to school? or looking for a job? or both?

Give yourself some time. There are plenty of guys out there in the world who will treat you right. Meanwhile you’ve got yourself to look after. So don’t rush into anything. Thank goodness your parents are there for you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Please don’t go back. Do you want to live like that forever? It only gets worse. Stay with your parents until you find something. You will.
Learn from this.

Aster's avatar

Sometimes we “think” we miss someone who was awful when what we Really miss are the good times. And the familiar. Some people Must go back ; then and only then can they come to the conclusion they made the right decision. Good Luck.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

First, I’m sorry that you had to go through that difficult relationship. You are to be commended for making the hard decision to leave and following through on it.

I don’t have any magic advice to give. In fact, I don’t have any advice. I have suggestions:
Reach out to a therapist or support group.
Give thanks for the strong person you are.
Watch funny movies.
Walk through a park.
Buy flowers for yourself.
Take an old-fashioned bubble bath.
Love yourself.
Pamper yourself.

gemmasgma's avatar

It helps to get involved with other people going through the same thing. Contact the local women’s shelter, and get hooked in with a women’s group. When you feel so alone, and stupid, it really helps to see someone who has gotten a little farther along in their journey.

stardust's avatar

Missing him does not seem dumb or crazy @Scarlett It’s understandable. You’ve made a really brave decision by getting out of that situation. It’s only been one night so allow yourself time to adjust.
Try to take this time for yourself to figure out what you want – not what anybody else wants for you.
There’s no rush. I agree that seeing a therapist is a good option to consider, as is everything else @hawaii_jake suggests.
Good luck.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Get some counseling to help you deal with the loss and your feelings about it. Most communities have resources available to help you. Seek them out! Congratulations on taking the first step. You have a ways to go, yet, but the courage you displayed in getting out will hopefully help carry you through. Keep looking forward, you’re stronger than you know. Good luck!

St.George's avatar

Get into therapy to see how you can work on those things that got you into the relationship in the first place. You can rebuild your life, and as @JilltheTooth said, there are many resources out there for you. Welcome to the rest of your life!

Austinlad's avatar

He’s be out of your life physically—thanks to your strength and bravery—but alas, he’ll be in it mentally for a long time. This is unavoidable and natural. But as everyone else above has suggested, seek therapy and the support of others who have gone through the same thing. Your life will get better and better.

lynfromnm's avatar

You aren’t dumb. You’re smart for recognizing the truth and extremely brave for getting away.
I can understand your father wanting you to get away into the military right away – he thinks you’ll be safe there, and he is probably right. I am concerned however that you may make some decisions rashly because right now you are so alone and vulnerable. Is there someone in another town you can visit for a couple of weeks so you can get away and think? Maybe it’s a good idea to go to school and start carving a new life out.
Like most abused women it sounds like you’ve been isolated from your friends and family. Talk to people at the Domestic Violence Center in your area for support and assistance.
And whatever you do, go forward. Never go back. One step at a time, forward. You already did the hardest part.

JLeslie's avatar

What you did takes courage; I am glad you left. It is pretty normal to miss him. Kind of like stockholm syndrome, which documents a phenomenon that people can fall in love and feel loyalty to their captures. Part of what you miss is your routine with him. If you were with him every day, it is a big upheaval to not have him there anymore. It is likely you will go through a grieving process, hopefully not. I am guessing he had some good qualities, most shitty people do. I always say that pretty much all of us are 90% good, fun to be around, interesting, etc, but it is the 10% negative part that really is what counts. What is the 10%, he leaves the seat up, he gets mad if you leave paperwork in the kitchen, he cheats, he hits you, he doesn’t close the toothpaste? This is why it is so difficult, because we fall in love with the good parts, and try to overlook the bad parts, but some bad parts are not to be overlooked.

I recommend not trying to press charges at this point, if he will leave you alone. I know that might not be nice for the women who will come into his life after you, but for your safety if he is leaving you alone you may want to let things lie. If there is some way to make a police report without the police going to him, it might be good to have some sort of police record of his violence, I am no expert on such things.

Thank goodnes your parents are being helpful, let them help you. I am sure they are very glad you have finally left him.

You only left yesterday, give yourself a chance to adjust.

kevbo's avatar

I recently read (not that it’s new news) that people will suffer exactly as much abuse as they themselves feel they deserve.

I’m not saying this in a “blame the victim” sense, by any means, but if you feel it rings true for you then perhaps one thing to work on is figuring out whether you have a healthy enough sense of self worth.

Best wishes to you.

Scarlett's avatar

We were together every day and every night for 3 months…Last night was the first night of me being alone without him.

I have a deep scar on my leg because of him, and a dark purple bruise,

I feel really bad right now and want to go back…but I know if I did it wouldn’t work out….

I just miss him a lot and feel he would change his anger and not get violent again….

@kevbo – You’re right…

The situation was : I got out of a homeless shelter to be with a guy who ended up abusive and controlling.

Thanks for everyone who responded, just feel really stupid and confused.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Yes, confused, No to stupid. I PMed you with a few ideas…

Scarlett's avatar

Yes they’re glad, my mom said if he can get violent then he will hurt me again. I’m very grateful I do have my parents.

I guess a part of me just wants advice….. for so long I had no friends and couldn’t go out.

Scarlett's avatar

I just thought he would change. Dumb idea I know.

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett How old are you? Stop being so hard on yourself. I bet everyone on this Q has stayed with someone who did not treat them well, and had a hard time leaving at first. Stay strong! He won’t change you are right.

SuperMouse's avatar

Please, please, please do not allow yourself to believe he will change. He won’t. Read @Jeruba‘s post again, then again, and one more time. You have something. You have the will to survive and thrive. You have the self-esteem to know you deserve better. You have a mother and father believe in you and are willing to help you out. You can do this. You will do this.

gemmasgma's avatar

People who solve problems with violence will always tend to keep up this pattern. Without significant therapy (more than one year) I would not think that it would be wise to think he would change.

Scarlett's avatar

I’m 20 years old…........... He’s 31…...........................

I know I’m stupid for letting it happen. Before he got physical with me, He threw things and broke things..I should have known..He also told me once he felt like strangling me to death.

I know life will go on, right now it feels like he’s the only one. Because we spent so much time together. It feels like life won’t go on.

I have to look inside myself to not let this happen. Mind games he did because I had nothing when I was with him, I should have known to not depend on him.

He did have a criminal back, was in and out of group homes as a child, but I believed he had changed his ways.

I feel stupid because I honestly thought I would never go through something like this…

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Oh I’m so sorry to hear that…You don’t have “Nothing” you do have something and you always will even if it feels like you don’t. But ever thought of getting on your feet or take a rest from guys for a little. I mean after being in an abusive relationship, I’m sort of assuming that you need a break. And it seems best to me. But it’s always good to not lose focus of finding another guy. I have confidence in you that you’ll be able to find another guy that suits you well, and won’t abuse you. I hope you’re feeling better though!

Scarlett's avatar

@SuperMouse – Thank you…and thanks to everyone else who has responded will helpfull advice

chyna's avatar

Please stop thinking of yourself as “stupid”. You are out of it now, so focus on yourself. You say your dad wants you to join the service. Is this what you want to do? Take one day at a time, and try to decide what kind of life you want for yourself and decide what you have to do to get that life. School, service, therapy? You are worth so much more than being an abuse victim.

JLeslie's avatar

@Scarlett Well, thank goodness you got out after a short time, 3 months. It will make it easier for you to move forward. Do you have violence in your family? If so I might recommend seeing a counselor, because you might be accustomed to the behavior, and have trouble breaking the pattern. If this is not typical for your family, then I would just take it as a learning experience.

Do you work? Promise me you will not be alone for a while. Don’t walk to your car by yourself, keep everything locked. He might freak and lash out. Be on alert for the next coupel of months.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar


People who have never been in an abusive relationship will always be judgmental. (“What…are you crazy? Go back with him? You must be nuts!” or the worst one: “Well, she must have liked it or she would not have been stupid and stayed.”) You left. That took a hell of a lot of courage. And being in an abusive relationship brings so much shame (unfounded shame) that most women never say a word. They are the silent majority in the world.Abusers convince women not to say a word with mental and emotional and brute force. And then, to add insult to injury, most people are brutal when dealing with abused women. Men especially get angry and tell women to just “get out if they don’t like it.” With all the strides that women have made (supposedly) we are still suffering silently everywhere in the world…from stoning in Iran to honor killings by fathers in the USA. But you know what, Scarlett? No one knows that you went through except you and millions of other women who have been in your situation.

And only other women who have been abused know what you are feeling right now. Missing him? An abused woman knows. Feeling like you are a bag of ****? An abused woman knows. Lost so much of your self-confidence that you just want to curl up in a ball and never lift your head? An abused woman knows. Not able to look anyone in the eye? An abused woman knows. Looking over your shoulder in case he might reappear? An abused woman knows. Your friends tell you to “just get on with your life” and you cannot even bring yourself to go outside or take a walk? An abused woman knows.

Here is what is going on…you are probably suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Similar to what happens to someone who has been in a war or through some other life altering trauma. You have been traumatized. But do not let this define your life.
Yes, you will get on with it…but before you do…you need to get some help in sorting out your life so that you don’t get drawn back into the chaos again…either with your ex or some other guy.

It is perfectly fine to miss him….okay? But you are not missing him. What you are missing is the hook that this guy has in you. The hook he used to reel you in. You say you went from a homeless shelter to him. So, you must feel that he somehow “rescued” you. But you paid a huge price. Stay with your parents. Just for awhile until things settle down.

What do you do after you leave an abusive relationship?

1. You create a safe haven for yourself. (If you are back in your bedroom at your parents, clear your room out, paint it and make it peaceful. Find a comfortable chair and make it your meditation chair and sit in it to dream of your new life.)
2. Don’t answer your phone. Not if it is him.
3. Get therapy. (Find a therapist by calling a women’s domestic violence shelter. They will offer you free counseling and usually have programs to get you started out. This is so important. Contact them to help you.)

Scarlett…if you can do just these THREE THINGS just to start off….okay? Just these three things….this will get you on your way to becoming self-sufficient. If your family is willing to help with rent, that’s fine…then get a small apartment as far away as you can from Mr X. But if you have a good relationship with your parents, then stay with them for a month or two until you can sort your life out. Then move into your apartment. I would stay at your parents so that you are not tempted to get back with him. And I also think, in the short run, it is safer to do so. An abusive relationship can be like a drug——a drug that has worked on your mind. So, you will have withdrawal symptoms which is why you must surround yourself with family and friends you can trust who will act as a buffer to keep you away from this guy.

I can assure you he will promise you the moon but he will not change. He will promise that he will change but he will never do that. That is why, I am begging you to please talk to a women’s shelter/domestic violence center to refer you to counselling.

Tell yourself this: “I am valuable. I deserve better.” And say this over and over until you can feel it in your heart. Because you do deserve better.

Don’t beat yourself up….for your choices, for what happened…you have been through enough. So many women are still being abused. Guess what? You got out!
And that is a huge achievement.

Big gigantic hugs….we are all pulling for you….xxxxDR

Scarlett's avatar

@chyna I don’t know what to do in my life as a career goes.. I, like everyone else, want to be happy, financially good, loved, have good friends around, a nice place to live, enough money to have fun, etc..

About the service… I’m thinking of it now because I don’t have anything, no money, no direction, I have 0 dollars to my name.

A part of me does because I think I might find direction and have a drive….. but I’m also girly and artistic/creative at heart… I’m also a caring person, etc so I don’t know if the military would be good for me?

But i’m at this point where I don’t care…

I like human rights, humanitarian, therapy, I like things that involve helping people mixed in with government and politics…. don’t know if they would have something like that in the Army.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Take heart from the fact that all of us jumped on your question with good intentions and advice minutes after you posted. This should give at least one warm fuzzy to to help you through the night.

Cruiser's avatar

Something is NOT better than nothing. Your guy is abusive and dose not care enough about you or even respect you one little bit….he made that crystal clear when he smacked you down. You have people who are there to help you not look back so DON’T!! A couple years in the Air Force would do you a huge favor in the self esteem department and may be your best option….just do it!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus has three excellent suggestions.

@Scarlett please read those three excellent suggestions carefully.

YARNLADY's avatar

You don’t have nothing, you have loving parents that are willing to give you help and welcome you back, that is way more than many people have. You also have the advantage of hind sight to help see you into the next relationship with more experience.

crisscrossdork's avatar

Do not feel dumb. Do not feel dumb at all. It makes sense that you miss him. But maybe you don’t miss him, maybe you miss having someone paying attention to you all the time. That’s not a bad thing either. I was in your situation at one time nd i know how it is and I truely thought that i missed him but i realized that i missed someones hand to hold and someone to kiss whenever i wanted. But it will get btter and you will find someone who truely cares about you and respects you as a person.

Trillian's avatar

You do not have nothing. You have your freedom and your whole life to make the changes necessary that will allow you to break the cycle of violence. Get the therapy you need that attracts you to abusive men, and they to you. Then worry about the rest of your life.
The only thing that you can do about your feelings is remember that getting over someone or something is a process. It takes time and you have to actually go through it. There are no shortcuts. Surround yourself with supportive people and keep your memory sharp. Every time you feel like you want this peron back, have someone you can call or something to do. The distance of time is what you need to put between yourself and him. Keep yourself occupied while it is happening and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again with another one. There are thousands of them out there and they can read the signals you send out. Therapy. Seriously.

perspicacious's avatar

It’s easy to confuse missing him and missing familiarity. Just don’t go back with this man. Take some time before you join the military—that’s a commitment for a long time. Good luck.

YARNLADY's avatar

@perspicacious It’s easy to confuse missing him and missing familiarity Very good comment.

rooeytoo's avatar

Why were you in a homeless shelter if your parents want to help you?

Often people get into accepting this sort of behavior towards them because it is what they grew up with. Was there abuse in your home? Did you see your mother being abused? Also some people just only feel alive when there is utter chaos in their lives.

In all these cases I think some therapy would help. If your parents home is safe go there, take any job you can get to save some money, get some counseling and see why you went down that path and how you can avoid it in the future.

If there was alcohol involved go to alanon, it is free and there are people there who have been through it all, they will share how they survived. You can learn a lot in an alanon meeting.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Scarlett : I hope you had a better night. Another idea: my friend who went through this said that a big help for her was to take a self-defense class. Not only for the self-defense part, but because it helped her to develop her own self confidence and focus. The benefits went way beyond physical protection although that was no small feat in itself!
New day, new start, new outlook.

le_inferno's avatar

Congratulations on being strong enough to leave the relationship. That in itself is a very difficult step and requires a lot of courage. Focus on how far you’ve come, how much stronger you are and how much stronger you’re gonna get, and don’t let yourself get sucked back in. You’ve started the journey towards self-recovery, don’t turn back now. Push away those “second thoughts” and keep moving forward. Good luck :)

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