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Hand-holding needed... I've nearly done something very self-destructive and its really set me back

(36 Posts)
namechangenorah Fri 03-Jul-15 21:17:11

I'm a few months out of what had become an abusive and damaging relationship and am generally surprising myself with my ability to cope: I have been feeling better than I dared hope, my child is coping fine, I feel freer, my social life has improved, my focus on work has improved. Generally feeling pretty good about the progress I've made, considering the past few months of my life have been hell.

In the last few weeks I had started to become embroiled in what could have been a very self-destructive new relationship. It's been knocked on the head and pulled back from the brink before it really got off the ground, thankfully. Can't really go into more detail for fear of outing myself (I know that sounds paranoid, and I am) but there were numerous logistical reasons to do with not s**tting where you eat why it couldn't have gone ahead.

So no great shock, no harm done and its all for the best.

But what's really shocked me is that I was sleepwalking into a bad and dangerous situation with someone who I knew was bad for me on every conceivable level. I knew that this person was damaged, had a serious addiction (when this was one of the reasons I ended my marriage), generally had the potential to really hurt me and hurt my self-esteem. I don't think this person has much respect for me and I don't think I respect him much. I also knew it couldn't work at a practical level, even if this person had been right in other ways.

And yet I could not stop myself walking into it.

Why, knowing what I know about myself and my tendency to go for damaged and damaging people, and knowing how badly I needed to avoid this, did I do it to myself again? Why did I risk my child's happiness and well-being? (child wasn't introduced to him and won't be by the way) when she most needs me, by very nearly going from the frying pan into the fire? I'm old enough to know better.

Sorry if this sounds self-indulgent and childish. Nobody died. But it's really upset and scared me. I am seeing a counsellor, and I am fully aware of these damaging patterns. But I don't yet seem to have grown up and learned from any of it. Is it possible to get past this?

SoljaBonita Fri 03-Jul-15 21:29:32

I think it's a learnt behaviour, and an almost anxiety at striking out on your own, and remnants of the wrecked self esteem from the past relationship

kittybiscuits Fri 03-Jul-15 21:30:30

Unconscious patterns and urges are very powerful. You have freed yourself from one unhealthy person but not from the overall pull towards that kind of person and it sounds like that is, quite naturally, a work in progress. You are not responsible for your own early life and the patterns you learned there. You are working on yourself and making changes. One day you will be able to spot one of these people you get drawn to and just quietly say to yourself 'oh there's one'. Please don't be too hard on yourself. You were programmed that way and you are still unlearning x

ShebaShimmyShake Fri 03-Jul-15 21:30:35

Eh, this time you pulled away before it could become damaging. Sounds like you've come a long way and learned a lot from your experiences...

SanityClause Fri 03-Jul-15 21:33:31

Yes, what Sheba said.

You recognised the pattern, and walked away.

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Fri 03-Jul-15 21:33:43

Surely the very fact that you stopped it before it had gone too far shows that you are becoming more aware. Hopefully, in time, with continued counselling you will see your behaviour before even that point. It seems like you should congratulate yourself for your developing self awareness.

cozietoesie Fri 03-Jul-15 21:36:05

You can get past it but it's not as easy if you don't work on that self esteem. And remember - you recognized the new relationship as potentially damaging and managed to walk out of it at an early stage which should show you how far you've come? I think you're probably doing better than you think. smile

Will you be able to have a talk about it with your counsellor soon?

namechangenorah Fri 03-Jul-15 21:41:59

Thanks everyone. But the thing is I almost wanted to push it as far as I could get away with before walking away. I consciously thought "I want to take this right to the edge."

I knew he was going to do something s****y. And he didn't disappoint me.

And the scary thing is that this sort of behaviour excited me. I almost go looking for it.

After all the crap my DH put me through I walked into it again. I am really trying not to beat myself up about it but I can't help it...

namechangenorah Fri 03-Jul-15 21:44:57

cozie yes, am going to see her next week.

cozietoesie Fri 03-Jul-15 21:45:47

Just remind yourself that this time, you walked before any bad damage was done.

Why do you think it excited you? (That may be something to talk about with your counsellor.)

cozietoesie Fri 03-Jul-15 21:46:48

That's good - seeing her next week. Soon but not too soon.

LondonRocks Fri 03-Jul-15 21:47:40

Maybe you did it to subconsciously test yourself.

You walked away. Well done!

namechangenorah Fri 03-Jul-15 21:54:08

cozie I don't know why it excited me. It's a pathetic and depressing cliché but I had a bit of a bad boy fetish. In my conscious mind I know these people are losers who will hurt me and I have enough self respect not to get really dragged along but I can't help being attracted to them.

This one wasn't even a particularly bad boy. Just damaged and shockingly, hilariously inappropriate.

I think also the fact that I have been in a settled relationship for most of a decade meant I was a bit out of practice and my defences were down.

cozietoesie Fri 03-Jul-15 22:00:55

You can become a bit unused to saying 'No', it's true - just out of the way of how to go about it in real life without hurting someone. (There's a whole issue there about why other people's feelings should matter so much given the circumstances but that's maybe for another day.)

You seem to want to knock yourself down very much?

namechangenorah Fri 03-Jul-15 22:08:31

I do have a bit of a masochistic streak when it comes to this sort of thing. Not literally but emotionally I am a masochist.

I am a reasonably tough person and I don't think my self esteem is low at a fundamental level. But I have always believed that I am not a "high quality" woman. Not much of a catch.

cozietoesie Fri 03-Jul-15 22:20:34

Ah. That insight is starting to strengthen.

As I said, it sounds as if you're progressing better than you might have thought.

smile

alongcamespiders Fri 03-Jul-15 22:30:32

Marking place as so many parallels with my life. Too tired to write now but I've just ended a fledgling relationship when in the past I would have hung around a lot longer even tho I still ignored the alarm bells for a couple of months. I have had a couple of failed 'flings' with no-marks since ending my marriage and today I have decided that my kids need me more and deserve me more than any passion with a cheeky loser, I only have enough energy for our little family now!

I gave myself a pat on the back for getting out early though and you should be proud too.
Awareness is half the battle .

SoljaBonita Fri 03-Jul-15 22:31:53

Having done similar, but in my case I went back to the ex, I personally wanted to test his behaviour and feel like I was in control, and to watch the siuation thinking that I might understand it then. I was wrong.

namechangenorah Sat 04-Jul-15 08:29:57

Awareness isn't always enough though... This is what has really shaken me about this whole episode. I knew what I was doing yet lacked the power to stop it until he did something actively unpleasant to me.

It's almost as if I need a tangible example of shit behaviour to prove to me that I am doing it to myself again...

Georgethesecond Sat 04-Jul-15 08:34:36

Is it more that you are so used to this dynamic and these feelings that they have become your normal, so you seek them out because they are familiar?

You probably need to spend a few years not in a relationship, they aren't compulsory you know!

namechangenorah Sat 04-Jul-15 08:40:00

George I have been on my own most of my adult life, excluding my marriage. Not my style at all to go from one relationship straight into another.

I agree about needing to be alone. But I think you are missing the point-- it's not that I am desperate to be in a relationship, I am desperate to have disastrous experiences which confirm to me psychologically why I can't and should not be in a healthy relationship.

cozietoesie Sat 04-Jul-15 09:03:48

This may sound like a daft question but - Do you deep down actually want to be in a relationship? (Not everyone needs or wants one.) What do you think you'd contribute to it and get out of it?

namechangenorah Sat 04-Jul-15 09:12:52

cozie I don't know. It's a good question and I don't know the answer.

With this most recent disaster I didn't want to be in a relationship with him but desperately -- and I mean almost obsessively-- wanted to s* him. Like a bloke chasing a girl who doesn't like him...

namechangenorah Sat 04-Jul-15 11:34:46

I sometimes worry that my sex drive is completely decoupled from my sense of self preservation. As if I go out of my way to find people who are woefully unsuited to my future happiness.

It's one thing to do this when you are a teenager but at my age it's a bit worrying...

cozietoesie Sat 04-Jul-15 11:58:51

For some people though, I think that sex is almost the ultimate form of acceptance and acknowledgment. (Albeit temporary.) 'He wants me therefore I must be worth at least sleeping with' sort of thing. It comes down to self-worth in the end maybe - I doubt it has a whole load to do with hormones.

Something, again, to discuss with your counsellor next week?

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