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AIBU to be upset by this? Confused by how this has made me feel...

(30 Posts)
LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:17:25

8 years ago I walked out on an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. Towards the end I was incredibly unhappy and developed anorexia because it gave me an element of control over my chaotic existence.

Over the years he alienated me from my family and most of my friends, made me feel worthless, slapped me, pushed me, held a kitchen knife to my throat. He told me that no one would ever love me as much as he did. The final straw was when he broke my arm in two places.

You get the general idea, I could go on but to summarise this was a destructive, soul destroying relationship.

I have since moved on with my life, I met a wonderful, gentle, loving man, married him and we had 2 DC. I'm blissfully happy and it's very rare that I spare a thought about my old life or about him, I consider it a chapter in my life that has been closed and it has been a long time since I have spoken about it (this feels very strange!!)

However, recently I learnt from a friend (who was a mutual friend when X and I were together but has since only kept contact with me) that while we were together, he cheated on me - possibly numerous times. She thought I knew already and it came up in a conversation when we were both quite drunk.

What I want to know is, why does it bother me so much? It's ancient history best left buried and I don't even know why I'm sparing it a second thought. I feel a bit humiliated by it all if I'm honest sad

Feel free to psychoanalyse, I'm interested to hear your views... sorry if I'm not making much sense, I'm finding it hard to put my feelings re all this into words. I want to bury it again and forget, but it's niggling me in my quiet moments..... I can't talk about it to anyone, so maybe this will help.

Thanks in advance smile

Goodynuff Wed 20-Jul-11 20:24:14

I think you are hurt for the person you were back then. You obviously had been through so much, and got so hurt, and now you find out that it was even worse than you had known or imagined. It is one more confirmation that he was rotten.
It is no reflection on you, back then or now. He was an asshole. This is one more asshole thing he did. It is ok to be hurt when you find out, and to take some time to work through it, but don't let it define your future.
This is another sign that you did the right thing in getting away, and becoming a happier person through it.

DontCallMePeanut Wed 20-Jul-11 20:25:49

I can only offer sympathy, and ditto what goodynuff said. Sorry that's not much help.

Nagini Wed 20-Jul-11 20:26:18

I think you might well be upset mostly by the thought that everyone knew but you?

snuzzdizz Wed 20-Jul-11 20:27:05

Do you feel hurt or betrayed that your friend (or friends) knew and you didn't? If it was me, I would feel really foolish (not suggesting that you are!)

NoMoreWasabi Wed 20-Jul-11 20:29:42

I think what you are feeling is perfectly normal and I would feel the same.

FreudianSlipper Wed 20-Jul-11 20:33:05

i can understand why you are hurt and angry why shouldn't you be but you have moved on to a far happier life and that takes a lot of courage

let it go he has caused you enough hurt and do not be angry at yourself for feeling this way, it is sometimes hard to forgive ourselves too for how we feel

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:33:19

Goodynuff I think you're right. I'm grieving in a way for the person I was. I feel embarrassed for her.... does that make sense?!

TheOriginalFAB Wed 20-Jul-11 20:33:24

You didn't have the chance to be upset and react then so it is only natural that you are now. Just another sign you were right to leave him.

33goingon64 Wed 20-Jul-11 20:34:29

YANBU. What you experienced in that relationship was deeply damaging and you will always have scars from it, although it's wonderful that you have moved on and are so happy now. Knowing that he was also cheating on you is rubbing on the scars and its not at all surprising that you are upset by it.

What worries you about admitting it has upset you? You don't wish you were still with him, you don't still have feelings for him. No-one could think you want to return to that time in your life. Maybe the fact that you are so happy now made you feel like you had 'won' in the end, but now another layer from the past has been revealed you feel that the issues you have laid so well to rest are actually more complicated than you thought.

You just need time to re-adjust your 'I'm over it' level to incorporate this new fact. Also you've been reminded of something you have done well to 'forget' and even though it happened a long time ago the fact that it's news to you makes it feel immediate, as if it just happened.

You'll be fine smile

omaoma Wed 20-Jul-11 20:35:06

Possibly something to do with the fact that you had managed to get over that horrible episode in your life - or all of what you thought that episode was - but this is a new horrible thing to have to get over. Just because the betrayal it happened a long time ago does not mean it is not a powerful and disturbing issue to have to deal with. In a way it's worse because your past is 'frozen' in time and it may feel as if you have no way to heal those wounds because you're not living that life now, you can't change anything about it. You're having to revisit your past as well, when you had buried it so successfully.

I think you need to rewrite your past in your mind, to write in this new twist, remembering to make it ALL ABOUT HIM being an utter hideous twat and not a way to consider yourself at fault or stupid. Then you need to close the book again. And allow yourself to grieve as well, it does not mean you are weird or somehow caught up in this guy to feel sad all over again about his cheating, for the reasons above. Don't doubt yourself, you are a loving, caring human being and that is why you are bothered! If you were a psychopath like him you wouldn't be giving it a second thought - it's a sign of your humanity darling, not anything to be humiliated about.

pleasenap Wed 20-Jul-11 20:35:57

Maybe you're also upset because its upsetting that you still can feel upset and hurt and he can still affect you after you've moved on and are happy and don't think about it anymore. And the other things others have said too.

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:38:19

33goingon64 - thank you. You were able to verbalise exactly what I'm feeling. I shall read your post again and again.

vjg13 Wed 20-Jul-11 20:38:19

YANBU, it's a reminder of some really awful times you've left behind and had to think about all over again. Is there someone neutral you could just talk it over with?

FreudianSlipper Wed 20-Jul-11 20:39:51

do not be embarrassed for what happened or ashamed in any way, he is to blame for what your relationship became, he did the things he did to meet his needs never yours

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:41:39

omaoma - thank you. I feel tearful now - but in a good way.

No, vjg13 but this is really helping.

Maat Wed 20-Jul-11 20:41:57

When people are as abusive as your ex, we find it difficult to understand their behaviour as it is so alien to our own.

Perhaps you tried on some subconscious level to rationalise his abusive behaviour as an act of love. He did, after all, say that nobody could love you as much as him.

Now, finding out he was cheating on you, just doesn't fit into that scenario so you may be back trying to understand what happened again.

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:45:10

Freudian, I emerged from it all the stronger person, but I suppose it has made me doubt what I thought was real, it makes me feel angry because I forgave him so that I could move on with my life...

Mobly Wed 20-Jul-11 20:45:11

It's fresh information, of course you are not being unreasonable to be hurt. You are processing it- you are doing the best thing by talking about it on here. Give it time, you will get over it like you got over all the other stuff. You sound really strong.

It's so good to hear that you came through all the shit and you're happy now.

Goodynuff Wed 20-Jul-11 20:45:15

of course it makes sense smile and it is totally normal. It will take a bit of time to get used to it though. In your head, you had the concept of what had happened, your 'life story'. Now someone has re-written it, and you need to reprocess it. You will get past this.

lenak Wed 20-Jul-11 20:47:52

I think that despite his abuse, he used to tell you that "no-one would love you like he did" which is a suggestion that you were the one for him (despite the unhealthiness of the relationship).

You don't say, but did you use his profession of love as a way of justifying remaining in the relationship, despite the abuse before you were able to escape?

Finding out someone cheated when you believed they loved you is hurtful at the best of times. If it is what you were holding on to to be able to put up with the abuse, it makes it even worse.

On some level, your subconcious will have accepted the abuse as part of his 'love' for you - it will be what kept you there. You now have to face the fact that actually he couldn't even stay faithful while abusing you - the one 'positive' (and I use the term in its loosest sense as there was obviously nothing positive about the relationship) that helped you to justify staying for so long in such an unhealthy situation was also a lie.

You are mentally going through the same process you would have done when you were finally able to leave, but from a different angle - asking yourself why you put up with it.

It will be magnified by the fact that you now know what a happy, healthy relationship really is and you thought you had put it all behind you.

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:48:09

Maat that does make a lot of sense, thanks.

FreudianSlipper Wed 20-Jul-11 20:54:01

you did what you had to do and have moved on to a happy life. those who have been in an abusive relationship often beat themselves up after as if he has not caused enough damage unfortunately the emotions come with us when we walk away but over time they get less and less. i have done it and no doubt will again but when i am not i can see what a waste of time any negative feelings for my ex has on me but it is a natural feeling, totally normal

LastTrainHome Wed 20-Jul-11 20:56:11

Yes lenak, I did. His 'love' for me (I thought) was extremely intense and I did use that to justify staying. He stalked me for months after I left and I even felt guilty for 'ruining' his life!! (I know, I know it sounds insane now) The whole thing was one big lie.

lenak Wed 20-Jul-11 21:11:55

It doesn't sound insane and explains your reaction to this latest revelation.

When negative things happen, we always try to look for a positive - especially if we don't react in the way we 'should' react - to justify our own behaviour. It's a protection mechanism.

Finding out that you were wrong about the 'positive' means that you end up questioning yourself and subconciously trying to justify your own behaviour (in your case, remaining in the relationship). You feel guilty all over again - not for what you did to him, but what you allowed him to do to you and what you did to yourself by staying.

Consciously you know it's mad - it just take your subconscious a bit of time to catch up - when it does, the rationality of knowing you did the right thing in getting out will overide those pesky guilt emotions and you'll be able to get on with your lovely, happy, healthy life.

Just let yourself work through it - don't try to stop the process - it's part of the healing. One day, you'll think about it and realise that actually, you don't care anymore. <Happy Days> smile

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