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How do I get the old 'me' back?

(8 Posts)
LovesPeace Tue 16-Oct-12 12:14:36

I have to give you a brief life story.
I split with ex in the spring after a long term relationship went wrong - he'd been using prostitutes, swinging, and having cyber and possibly RL affairs with women about half our age (we are both around 40).

I was emotionally abused as a child by my mother (still am, lol) where nothing I or my siblings did was ever good enough, so I've always felt that the 'rules' were different/harder for me than everyone else in the world. As a response, I tried harder. And harder.

In retrospect I can see that I did exactly the same with ex - the lazier he was, the more critical he was of me, the harder I tried to please, keep our relationship together, and absorb the extra chores which he didn't like doing. I tried to be 'more enthusiastic' in sex as I wasn't up to par there either (he'd come in the door, and shout 'Give me a fucking blow job' whle scowling - when I didn't it was further evidence that I was a frigid, self-centred bitch).

Now, before I met ex, I was a confident, happy singleton who wasn't looking for a relationship, focussed on life, career and other things.

I have had a casual relationship since ex, but find myself incredibly needy, untrusting, and I become anxious out of all proportion if I think I am not pleasing them, or they are even slightly 'off' with me.
My mood swings are unpredictable to me (and imagine how the poor guy must feel!), and I am pretty much giving men permission to treat me as badly as they want.

Surely I should be the opposite - should be protecting myself more, taking things easy, enjoying my own company. He's a nice guy, the recent one, but I think he's had enough of my behaviours as he's not speaking to me today. sad

Help - what is wrong with me, and how do I get the confident, normal 'me' back?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 12:38:43

The wish to please sounds like a very deep-rooted habit for you. Habits are tough to break. At least, however, you recognise that you're not acting quite normally when you're in a relationship and that's half-way to fixing the problem. Maybe it's too late for the latest guy but you can possibly learn from the experience and try not to repeat the same mistakes next time around?

To take a different tack.... do you think the anxiety and mood-swings are serious enough to see a GP about? Do you feel the same way even when you're not a relationship? There are several common physical illnesses that can result in precisely those symptoms and, obviously, there are mental illnesses that can present the same way.

Brodicea Tue 16-Oct-12 12:41:23

Sorry to hear of your ongoing woes Loves - your post rang lots of bells with me.
First of all you have to really accept as far as you can that you were not to blame about what happened with your ex - you seem to recognise the pattern, (he treated you worse and worse, you tried to please him more and more) but the question is how to break it?
Also, don't fall into the trap of blaming yourself again with this casual relationship: you say YOU are to blame for being uptight and anxious, but if he is uncommitted, maybe your gut instinct is kicking in and thinking 'hmm, de ja vu': the casual nature of your relationship might confirm bad feelings you have about yourself, that you might be unloveable or unworthy of a commitment? (that comes from my story!)
I'd try stepping away from relationships and finding some time to gather your self esteem on your own - you need to begin to see yourself as a whole person, get to know what you want and don't want in friends, partners, life. Is there something you would like to try out that you have always been interested in? You need to first find love from outside of love/sexual-relationships, even if that's as simple as doing something for yourself.
Then a partner can come along, or come back, and see a confident, assured you to fall in love with. If you limp, scarred from relationship to relationship without taking any time (sorry am a hippy) to love yourself then the pattern will always repeat.
In short, it sounds like you need time to process the emotional abuse you got from your ex and keep away from the sorts of relationship that may damage you.
It's always hard to escape from the ghosts of the past, but you need to know (feel AND think) that you are awesome and deserve a loving partner: then you will see that you can be strong enough not to be the victim, and / or the needy one in future relationships.

LovesPeace Tue 16-Oct-12 14:13:59

Thanks both.
I think my mood swings are largely dependent on my interactions with other people. If I think someone's upset with me, regardless of whether they are right to be, I feel a complete sense of dread and fear, and can't rest or concentrate until I have apologised and tried to 'fix' the problem.

I think this stems from my mother - another child could punch me in the face for no reason, and she's be giving them sweets and hoping they didn't bruise their pretty hand on her ugly daughter's face. :D

So I became expert at conflict avoidance/apologies/appeasement.

The current man (or most recent ex perhaps) is stressing me unbelievably as I believe he's angry, but not responding to me to sort out issues.

I missed a counselling session last week, because my homework was 'If you were just you in relationships, what's the worst that could happen?'. It was such an impossibility I couldn't think of any answer - brainfreeze.

I do wish I were someone else. sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 15:05:55

What you're really saying is that you never developed your 'f**k you' reflex. smile The teenagers have a brilliant way of rolling their eyes and saying 'whatever....' - same kind of thing. Sometimes conflicts need appeasing and sometimes, for your own sanity, you have to save your breath. You might actually want to try it for size with your more recent ex.... "You're angry but not responding? Well f**k you!!"

(BTW I have no idea what that homework question is supposed to mean. Just you???)

LovesPeace Tue 16-Oct-12 15:54:27

The thing is, Cog, I'm really upset at the thought of losing the current ex.

I'm feeling pretty isolated and alone at the moment - he was one of the few people I could talk to.

Feeling as though nobody likes me. Hell, I don't even like me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Oct-12 16:10:15

Is the problem therefore that, because you don't have a good social circle at the moment, you're over-relying on this man to be your sole companion and confidant, which forces you even more into approval-seeking... and it's all getting a bit stressy & high pressure?

LovesPeace Tue 16-Oct-12 16:36:26

Yes, that's pretty much it.

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