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Still struggling even though I feel I should be happy

(5 Posts)
ohsotired15 Wed 03-Aug-16 12:59:14

I'm 3 years into having left my abusive (EA) ex and share custody with him 50/50. Things are civil enough when it comes to DD (5) but I have a zero contact order in place as a buffer so we don't get into arguments over anything to do with our personal lives. It still makes me highly anxious to see him. Had to see him this morning for a pick up and even though it went quickly and without event, I was shaking afterwards. We do handover via school 95% of the time. Occasionally a row flares up via email over a sensitive topic to do with DD but nothing too frequent.

He is at least very reliable about our agreed arrangements and pays for his share of her care costs without quibbling but I just don't want to see him or his new partner and baby, which I have politely told him. When we take DD to his house, my DH takes her to the door from the car. Ex brought them to my DDs end of year concert without warning me. Thankfully I was a good distance from them so just didn't look again and tried to put it from my mind.

I agree 100% that both he and I have the right to attend events that only have one time slot & now that we are both established with new partners, they would understandably want to come along, but he knew I'd never met them and he didn't have the decency to warn me that he was bringing them. I believe this was an attempt to unsettle me (he has past form for still trying hooks from time to time) but I was smart and did not acknowledge it at all, or react at the time. However inside I was shaken.

I had a good number of sessions with a private therapist last year who helped me address a lot of issues and coping strategies for dealing with him as well as my difficult childhood, but I still don't feel totally strong. I can't shake the feeling of deep sadness that I will have to deal with him forever and that I can't cut him out of my life.

I came on here in the spring before my recent wedding to get some advice on my mother, who revealed to me last summer (just a day before she left from a visit, and I hadn't seen her in 4 years) that my dad raped her shortly after the birth of my sister, and continued the abuse for some years. She then told me I couldn't tell anyone, or my sisters. My dad does not know I know.

I hadn't invited them to the wedding because of this, and was struggling with it a lot. Lots of feelings of loss (no family at the wedding) and realising how much what she dropped on me had damaged me. After some great advice and perspective from posters here, in the end I wrote her a couple of emails that let me get my thoughts off my chest and asked her to not contact me for a while, and to ask my dad not to email me (he tries to send me bizarre e-cards that go straight to the trash)

My wedding was wonderful in the end, although I suffered from exhaustion afterwards and nearly didn't make my brief honeymoon (although a bit of searching told me this is pretty normal for brides!) My husband and I love each other very much, DD loves him and things are going well for us as our new family unit.

I landed a decent full time job at last earlier this year and I'm halfway through a year long contract. It has its positives but there are some office politics and hierarchies that I find hard. I have genuinely tried to keep my head down, work hard and avoid getting led into gossip or politics, but one manager just doesn't seem to like me despite my best efforts. I've felt a lot of stress this past month as things have escalated a bit (although nothing that would make me walk out) and it makes me uncomfortable and unhappy. I don't feel I can challenge it due to my not very secure position. I don't even know if I want to stay on if it were offered, as I would prefer to have straightforward relationships at work. But I don't know if I'm expecting too much. I know politics pop up everywhere. So every day I have a debate in my head about whether I'm expecting too much or I should just toughen up. Overall I think I'm seen as doing very well and achieving what I'm asked to do, and I have good relationships with quite a few people there. But it's hard when a manager doesn't like you. I started looking at jobs again today and immediately felt my brain shutting down.

My mum also broke my request for no contact the other week and sent me an email out of the blue to tell me (with a lot of upsetting details) that her sister had died very suddenly from cancer. She then sent me the same email with an addendum at the top to say "I got your other emails, but I thought you would want to know about your aunt." It popped up on my phone while I was at work and I was very upset by it. The email was otherwise very chatty and not worded in a way that you would send someone some news to an estranged family member.

I still have this feeling that I am a weirdo with crazy parents, a troubled past (both childhood and abusive ex) and that I'll never be able to feel normal. This feeling only really bothers me however when I'm at work - and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because you're there for your "best" hours and it's a big chunk of your time.

I really just want a quiet, happy life and a job that doesn't cause stress, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to with my past popping up despite me trying to manage it at arm's length. I know we can't control others and can only control how we react, but I'm still not doing a great job of how I react internally and how I feel in the days after an event, even though I've completely changed how I react in person/at the time. I still over analyse and forget to live in the present.

I am thinking about saving up for some more therapy, but I wonder if I'll ever fully cut loose from the sadness and anxiety I've had for so long, even though it's definitely been reduced.

I'm even considering ADs in the meantime, although I had a bad experience with Citalopram (stopped taking them cold turkey after 6 months for PND and had terrible head jolts even on a low dose, and I didn't like how they made me feel numb. But it was 4 years ago, and I could try another one.)

I still feel sad a lot the time, but I try not to overload my friends or DH with it. My DD is amazing and she keeps me going. But I worry that I am someone who will struggle with anxiety and depression forever to some degree.

Is three years since leaving my ex and 5 months of intensive therapy that ended last September still early days for all of this?

If you've read this far - thank you. wine

pallasathena Thu 04-Aug-16 17:56:07

Oh bless you, you're amazing coping the way you have with everything but you sound so tired and exasperated which is to be expected after everything you've been through.
I'd advise booking a proper holiday somewhere warm, relaxing and easy to get to. You need a break. Then, I'd buy a couple of self help books to take away with me. One on toxic families and the other on bullying in the workplace. Then, extend the no contact limit for another six months, longer if you find your anxiety levels easing.
You need to put yourself first o/p. You need to analyse why this colleague is making life difficult - is it jealousy maybe or does he\she sense that you're vulnerable in some way? Bullies have a sixth sense for detecting any weakness in another. Build yourself up, get assertive and plan your strategy. Always call a bully out but make sure you have thought through the tactics and strategy first before you do.
You'll be fine. You come over as incredibly well balanced. And very tired.

Lilacpink40 Thu 04-Aug-16 18:03:30

Your abusive ex was at an event and you had no preparation, but you were strong and held it together. Well done you!

Focus on what's going right in your life rather than the parts that you have little control over.

ohsotired15 Thu 04-Aug-16 22:26:41

Thank you both for replying. It helped me to write all that out, even if if it was a bit long... you're right, I am tired.

I have a seaside week with my DD coming up and that will be a good time to reflect and recharge, definitely.

I wish I could call out my manager but I feel the imbalance of power is in her favour - I'll have a think though. The person was awful again today, makes every day a bit stressful. I've run into this problem several times in other jobs, you're right - it's like a bully sniffs out vulnerability. I am trying to present myself as fairly strong but it must still show somehow.

Definitely trying to focus on the present. We went for a bit of a date night tonight and it was lovely, helped shift away the focus from being at home and thinking things over.

pallasathena Fri 05-Aug-16 08:16:43

Get those books!

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