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What stops you going back?

(28 Posts)
Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 08:40:43

So what is it that stops you doing it and actaly going back?

I left my abusive ex of 16 years, a year ago I moved away with some of the children to a new area.
Why do I crave to go back I don't know what's wrong with me amd wonder do women go back ?
It's been a very hard fight to get away and keep my kids and I carnt figure out what's wrong with me when I wish I was back there.

I know he'd never change, it would be worse etc iv done the freedom program, but I carnt seem to move on I'm stuck and it's taken over everything I feel frustrated with myself.

Lovingfreedom Wed 10-Apr-13 09:57:52

Sometimes you start to crave 'normality' of the old life, even if it wasn't good. You have to try to think about where you are now and what you are doing now as the new 'normal'.

You can miss all the 'excitement' of the abusive relationship and life can sometimes feel less 'thrilling' when you are away from all that drama of surviving with an difficult/abusive partner.

You do grieve for the relationship and for all those years that you were together. But remember, you do tend to miss what you thought you had rather than the reality of the relationship.

When you've spent so much energy on 'getting away' you can be left a little bit flat....what's your next project now you've actually 'got away'?

The good news is though...you have done it...you've made it! Congratulations. You have lots of choices now - that's daunting in itself sometimes - but be proud. You've done the right thing for yourself and your DCs. Try to give yourself the recognition you deserve for what you have achieved...and breathe, allow yourself to enjoy your life. Start with small things - walks, meet up with friends, do things the way you want to not how your ex used to do it.....ENJOY

Lovingfreedom Wed 10-Apr-13 09:58:47

In the early days, what stopped me going back was a list of the worst things that ex used to do....whenever I wavered I read it back and thought 'I never want to experience that again'

Chaoscarriesonagain Wed 10-Apr-13 10:09:26

Hi OP , good question, I find myself warring with myself about this!

You're doing incredibly well after 16 years. I was 2 years and been out almost 4 months and he's moved on already. It's hurtful but ind of helps.

To answer your question though, before his latest 'romantic ' development my family and friends stopped me - I was finally honest with myself and them - I told them everything. The more time wares on I feel I slowly feel better and respect myself more, although I have moments !

I post on MN quite a bit , too!

Please keep posting and please say strong. In this funny old virtual world, we have similar scenarios.

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 10:38:11

Thanks, it's like I should be happy I'm free, I'm really struggling with freedom but it's what I wanted.i get that bad I feel like contacting him and that's crazy.
I just think, what have I done sometimes... I'm just so lost
I have no supportive family and making friends has been hard as for 16 years I thought I just needed him and he got rid of friends I had.
Its like I'm missing something, something's stopping me moving on and I don't know what that is.

Lovingfreedom Wed 10-Apr-13 11:13:22

There is a loss...you have lost a big part of your everyday life...these guys are time-consuming, emotion-consuming and when you finally get away from them, they leave a gap.

Distractions are good - I've picked up a hobby that I used to do years ago and really enjoy being back into that (met some new people that way too) and I'm re-decorating the house room by room. Got a couple of cats too and I talk to them! Do you have hobbies/interests? Really these kinds of things will fill your time and you'll start to miss his presence less.

I started online dating quite early on, partly I think so I wouldn't be tempted to get back with ex. It has worked for me and I met a nice guy whose company I enjoy and is so nice that it reminds me what a horror ex was. But lots of people would say have time for yourself before you think about dating and I'm not sure I would recommend it for everyone.

I found writing very therapeutic...wrote books and books full of notes, letters to him that I wouldn't send, letters to other people, rants etc.

Dahlen Wed 10-Apr-13 11:20:31

I would tactfully suggest that if you still feel like this after 16 years, you might need to revisit the freedom programme.

I left an abusive ex. I never wanted to go back. This was because I revelled in the freedom, rather than finding it frightening/overwhelming, etc. Perhaps you could try looking specifically at what it is about freedom that you're struggling with and try to work on those to gain confidence. You could also try starting a hobby that you know your X would never have allowed/mercilessly belittled etc. Eventually if you can build yourself a great life that would never have been possible with your X, you will find that you want to go back way far less than before.

Ultimately, though, it's easy to discuss this from a rational perspective and all the explanations given here make sense. You can dissect them and understand your feelings, but it doesn't actually help on an emotional level, does it. sad. Emotions are so deeply entrenched in experience that sometime breaking the link and the conditioning can be incredibly difficult. It may well be worth getting some more counselling.

You should feel proud of yourself though. If you've been feeling like this for 16 years and still haven't succumbed, that shows incredible strength of character and determination. I'm sure if you can channel that into overcoming these feelings, you will certainly succeed.

Dahlen Wed 10-Apr-13 11:21:57

I'\ve completely misinterpreted that, haven't I! blush You were together 16 years and left a year ago, yes?

If so, give yourself a break. It's still early days and it will undoubtedly get easier. smile

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 14:10:32

We were together 16 years yes, I don't have any hobbies iv never worked blush iv got no family as such, I just am a mum to my dc and I don't know what to do
He was my whole life, I had nothing else but the dc

Lueji Wed 10-Apr-13 14:12:33

What exactly are you missing from him?

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 14:13:53

Thankyou your replys have helped x

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 14:16:45

I'm not entirely sure but feels like I'm missing the comfort from his control iykwim it felt safe I know that sounds so rubbish

The excitement too

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 10-Apr-13 14:19:42

"Its like I'm missing something, something's stopping me moving on and I don't know what that is."

You're probably missing companionship, intimacy, that kind of thing. When someone has dominated your life it leaves a big space and there will have been some good times as well as all the bad ones. If you've spent the years together forgetting what you want and preoccupied with keeping him sweet, it's hard to remember who you used to be.

I think you are more than 'just a mum' already. But work on your social life, find hobbies, make friends and you'll soon regain your confidence. Good luck

Lueji Wed 10-Apr-13 14:24:34

It is understandable, I think.
If you are used to the security of largely not having to be responsible for decisions, then having that burden can be overwhelming.

On the other hand, normal life can be "dull" by comparison. But you know you don't want that excitement that you had.

I agree on distracting yourself. Try online dating, searching for a new hobby, and so try on different things.
Do things you've never done and meet new people.

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 14:38:51

I think your right because I feel lost and like iv been in prison all my adult life really so now it feels very odd.

I will try what you have suggested smile thanks.

Lovingfreedom Wed 10-Apr-13 17:04:29

Yes, I think the analogy with getting out of prison is a good one...trying something you've always wanted to do might be a start...
Something like jogging club, martial arts, choir...all the kinds of activities that you can start from scratch at any age. Exercise is recommended as having positive mental health/well-being benefits; singers are said to live longer and more healthily...win-win wink

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 18:55:01

Thankyou lovingfreedom I don't know what I like? I'm completely lost I guess I should take enjoyment from finding out who I am, starting my life again it's scary and I want to run back to my normal my familiar ...
Will it always be this hard will I ever feel happy or content or whole again
I question leaving every day I shouldn't be feeling like that.

relaxingathome Wed 10-Apr-13 18:59:52

Very hard to come to terms with being an independent capable woman who is free to make choices and decisions without being questioned and belittled.
It took me a good 3 years to feel happy to be me if I am honest even though everyone around me thought I was fine from day one as i was coping day to day.
for me is was the feeling of living in a vacuum that made me occasionally consider going back, but the straw that broke the camels back ( infidelity) kept me strong.
It will get easier

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 19:31:37

Relaxing it's helping knowing I'm not alone tbh and normal, Im expecting miracles, if three years is what it took you then I'm no were near that ( I know we are all different) I just keep thinking what's wrong with me I should be a strong independent woman now, I'm away from him etc
It's not simple is it ? Lots of things to recover from I guess confused ??

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 20:05:30

Has anyone gone back ? Once your stronger and you've learnt x

TricksyBee Wed 10-Apr-13 20:19:32

I apologise if this appears a trite or insensitive post but when I read your post it resonated as you describe the craving to go back despite knowing how hard it was to get free. I know abusive relationships are far more complex than conditioning alone but I am of the bent that understanding why we perpetuate with negative behaviours is half the battle to overcoming them.

I'm not sure if this will be helpful (or indeed true) but I have just started reading a book called Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Prior. It looks at behaviour (of all animals including humans) and how we become conditioned to act in certain ways and to crave certain rewards. It does go on to explain how to 'uncondition' your negative behaviours and condition yourself to act positively and in your best interests, unfortunately I haven't got that far yet as the book only came this morning.

Apparently a very strong behavioural conditioner occurs over long periods of time when you have no idea when the reward is going to occur. It is a paradox in common sense terms but the less often and more unpredictable the "reward" (him being nice for a change) occurs the more strongly it reinforces the behaviour (of remaining in the abusive relationship). This is all occurring on a subconscious level in the same way an alcoholic will crave a drink despite knowing all the misery alcohol brought him.

It is explained here from the perspective of a DV survivor with a quote from the book:
http://ibibliophilia.wordpress.com/category/operant-conditioning/

Well done for getting yourself and your children out and I hope you build a strong and happy life away from him.

Lueji Wed 10-Apr-13 20:23:16

Once you are stronger and have learnt, you don't go back because you know it's not worth it. You know that you can't change or control that person.

Good swimmers know you shouldn't swim against the current, and if you encounter a big carnivore it's probably best to play dead, if a bull charges in your direction you should move out of its way.

Just forget about this man and move on.

racingheart Wed 10-Apr-13 20:34:59

Maybe it's just the incredibly powerful pull of the familiar. You must have learned amazing coping strategies to survive over 16 years. And now all those skills aren't needed, but new ones are. It's always harder to learn new stuff, even if it's stuff you want to learn, than to stick with what you know.

Can you just get involved with three things that get you out of the house every week, that keep you too busy to think about him? Something at your DCs school or local playgroup or church? Something physical that makes you feel strong? And something really good fun that might help you meet new people.

Please don't go back to someone who hurt you.

Imdoingthis Wed 10-Apr-13 21:03:22

I'm scared to let go of him

We had 7 children together, youngest two are just two and three years old so I feel I'm stuck in the house with them as I did when I was with him so nothings changed in that way, I just have to be patient, and as they grow I will be able to do something more with my time.

Thankyou and I'm going to really try

Lueji Wed 10-Apr-13 21:43:45

You don't have to be stuck in the house.
There's play groups, support grouos, the library even.

Can you afford some child care or a nanny sometimes?

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