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Trying to bounce back after addiction to manipulative ex - anyone been there?

(19 Posts)
squishee Wed 22-Aug-12 19:07:39

I fell hard and fast for my ex, and always knew that the break-up, if there ever was one, would be just as intense. This does not make it any easier to deal with now that it is a reality.

We were together almost two years, long-distance for the first year. During which he cut all contact for three months, leaving me seriously wondering if he was dead.

While he was gone I was able to take a step back and realise how manipulative he was. I have a self-help book that sets out the hallmarks of the manipulator. He scores 30 characteristics out of 30... A textbook case. Blackmail: check. Constant belittling of everyone around him: check. Barely comprehensible, murky communication: check.

When he resurfaced begging for me to take him back, I did. Against the advice of my friends and some family members. For a variety of reasons, I had to go there. And have come out the other side, seven months later.

As those months went by he indeed showed himself to be manipulative. A bully. And a dictator. He was all-consuming, and I let him steamroller everything in his path.

Rather than the humility he should have shown after what he did, he showed blatant disregard for me and my feelings. He made it very clear that I came after his work (or whatever else he was engaged in for 11 hours a day). Yet did not pay his share of the rent (long cock-and-bull story).

He started to call me names and criticise me continuously. Keeping my remaining self-worth afloat was a daily combat. Tooth and nail.

He systematically hated everything I love, from my family and friends to my late childhood dog and my new handbag.

This was still not enough to push me over the edge. It took "surprise" tax arrears which could have had the bailiffs round. I gave him an ultimatum to be honest with me about his finances, or move out within five days. He made his choice.

I have seen him twice since, when he came over to pick up some belongings. The second time I was struck (in a detached way though) by the animal magnetism that got me addicted to him in the first place.

Wow I didn't mean to write such a long post. I suppose I am posting partly to vent. Plenty more where that came from!

After all that, I would like to hear from anyone here who has been in a similar situation. I'd welcome any input that might help me get past these events. And over the after-effects of a powerful but irrational addiction.

Thank you for your time, Ladies.

outmyemind Wed 22-Aug-12 19:25:38

Hi SQUISHEE, im afraid i dont have any advice as to how to get this guy out of your head im afraid,just wanted to say you aren't on your own as far as these irrational addictions are concerned. Mine has lasted just short of 3 years nowangry and try as i might,it will not shift. Very different to yours as i was never in a relationship with mine, and my obsessive feelings are for another women,so also had to understand and accept thatconfused Years of mixed signals,weird behaviour etc from her just got me hooked,when usually i would have ran and not looked back with how odd she was at timesconfused Have tried to forget, dont even like her as a person if im honest(from what i know of her) but it just isnt fading, and i have no idea what else to do to deal with this obsession/addiction. Just have to help that time will do its thing i guess

CalpurniaRocks Wed 22-Aug-12 20:08:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squishee Wed 22-Aug-12 20:08:54

Thanks, Outmyemind. It is weird how we can dislike someone and be drawn to them at the same time. You might be right about time doing its thing, it's still a bit raw right now.

MrsJREwing Wed 22-Aug-12 20:13:25

My ex was smarter than that. Sorry you went through that op, at least my ex had some nice qualities.

squishee Wed 22-Aug-12 20:26:14

Thanks, CalpurniaRocks, it's nice to know I'm not alone. I understand about mourning what could have been, just wishing things were different.

Well done you - too many people stay in bad relationships for the children's sake when it is doing them no favours. Hang in there for you both.

squishee Thu 23-Aug-12 20:56:55

Thanks MrsJREwing. My ex is actually quite frighteningly intelligent. But lacking in real emotional intelligence.

I forgot a lot of stuff in my OP, but it has to end somewhere eh?

I think it was a good thing to write it out. Catharsis. But it upset me last night and I hardly slept. Anyone else been there, too?


NicknameTaken Thu 23-Aug-12 21:45:25

Ooh, I had one of those! Married him too. He was vile to me. I'm generally considered by family and friends to have quite good judgement about people, and quite a few people have told me they are utterly mystified about how I fell for him. But like you say, it was chemical. Pheremones or something.

There's no cure but time. Take pleasure in indulging yourself in all the things he used to criticize, and when you're enjoying yourself, picture the pleasure he would have taken in destroying your enjoyment. Write a diary. Come on here and advise other women to leave the bastard. Over time he'll end up taking less and less headroom. You see him for what he is, and your body will catch up with your brain eventually!

squishee Fri 24-Aug-12 18:44:01

Thanks for your advice NicknameTaken. It helps to know that I'm not alone. Yes, blasted chemicals!!!

I'm a naturally cautious person, but threw caution to the wind when it came to him. My friends said it was very out of character. A red flag I guess, but hey everyone has 20/20 hindsight.

Vile? Yes that is accurate I suppose. He homed right in on my weak spots and exploited them to the max.

And whenever he changes employers he "cleans up" the new outfit. People get fired, resign, take sick leave, report him. He's proud of it too.

So really it's nothing personal, he's abusive with everyone around him.


CalpurniaRocks Fri 24-Aug-12 22:22:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CalpurniaRocks Fri 24-Aug-12 22:32:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StrawberrytallCAKE Fri 24-Aug-12 22:33:18

Just keep going.

look at how much you have said about him...that is a waste of words. Get a counsellor to talk to about what you have been through and him, spend the rest of your time thinking about you. How old are you? do you have children? What helped me when I went through the same thing is going travelling, even if it's just for two weeks or a month I would get away and get some perspective.

While you are still speaking about him in public he might as well still be your partner. I know how difficult it is not to talk about him but he made you miserable and he would make you miserable for the rest of your that what you want? probably not. There are people out there worth your time and you're wasting it worrying about the past and this person and possibly missing meeting them.

Hope you don't think I'm being harsh, just want to be honest. x

squishee Fri 24-Aug-12 22:45:30

Hi CalpurniaRocks,

OK ta. Yeah, it seems like a case of misspent intelligence with these people. They are complex characters though eh?

That must be hard for you tonight. I'm sure wobbles can be expected but it will get easier each time. Sounds like you know you're doing the right thing. How old is your ds?

Stay strong.

CalpurniaRocks Fri 24-Aug-12 22:52:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squishee Fri 24-Aug-12 23:00:17

Thanks StrawberrytallCAKE, makes a lot of sense.

I'm taking a couple of weeks' holiday this time next week. Back home to the UK for a week, and hopefully somewhere different after that. Maybe that will help get this out of my system. I've realised how little time off I've taken this year, time to catch up!

Thinking of moving house too at some point. I'm 36, no children.

No, straight talking never did anyone any harm :-)

fiventhree Sat 25-Aug-12 09:52:25

I think that he represents to you a tantalising glimpse of what you yearned for as a child and did not get.

What was that thing? What is the thing he offers so powerfully (I dont think it is just sex, it is maybe strongly expressed passion and love?? )

Read Patrick Carnes on Exploitative Relationships.

squishee Sat 10-Nov-12 18:40:32

Thank you MNers for your support. I wanted to post an update, because I am now feeling much better about this. Travelling did really help me get some perspective - thank you for that tip StrawberrytallCAKE.

When I first posted I still had some of his belongings in my flat. I hadn't realised how much that was affecting me. It was giving him presence in my space, and an excuse to stay in touch.
He resisted it, but I gave him no choice but to take his stuff away once and for all.

Now I've fully reclaimed my space, and he has no excuse to make contact. I've got the closure I needed.

He's in his place. In my past. Now to the future. Onwards and upwards :-)

kernowgal Sat 10-Nov-12 19:42:34

Good on you squishee, I'm now six months past splitting with my very similar (though not as intelligent) ex. He saved his abuse for me and me alone, but I am pretty sure his ex-wife also went through it.

I still think he's sexy as hell but I would never go back there, not even if I was desperate. Even in the weeks after our breakup I had no desire to get back together with him. There are still a few of his things in my house but I'll be getting rid of them when I move out. I don't miss him at all, but he does occupy my thoughts frequently, probably because I still live in the house we shared and we have mutual friends. Only a few of them know how he behaved towards me.

squishee Mon 19-Nov-12 17:57:22

Thanks kernowgal.

The way I see it, I've lost many a stone (however much he weighed) of dead weight :-)

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