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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Dr Michael, you have helped me so much before and I just wanted

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Dr Michael, you have helped me so much before and I just wanted to let you know what is happening and ask you another question...you had given me advice on moving out of the situation I was in with my abusive ex-girlfriend and it was wonderful advice. The good news is I am finally free of being with her...and for some reason that is the bad news too...I can't seem to get over her, no matter how hard I try. And even when I have a few good days of feeling good to be free of her and all the chaos she created I end up dreaming about her at night and feeling like crap all over again. When does this end? Or at least get better? I have tried to date other people but it's impossible because I just end up feeling sad. I hate feeling so sad and empty and lonely it makes me not want to get involved ever again. Thanks for all your help, Dana
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

Dana, it is always good to hear from you!

Your emotional mind or trains of thought WANT to focus your attention on the good times and positive aspects of your relationship with her; after all, there were probably emotionally intense, meaningful moments when you felt loved, accepted---just as you have wanted to feel in a quality relationship. The problem of course is that other aspects of the relationship or other 'times' in the relationship, it was seriously pathological. So your wise rational mind was able to take an objective look at the totality of the relationship and get you the heck out!!! On balance, you did the right thing of course. But you WILL have these feelings of loneliness and longing for the past i.e., you'll dwell on and tend to fantasize about the good components of the relationship. You may wonder what she is doing, who she is with----at least your emotional trains of through or emotional mind will do this. But your wise rational mind will keep you as far away from her as possible, and wisely so.

Most people who break away from an intense, pathological relationship take about 4-6 months to start feeling better---the transition to feeling better, and belong ready and emotionally open to new relationships happens gradually. And I mean---gradually! Two steps forward and one back, emotionally, but the trend is to feel better month by month. And you can help this along by staying really connected to other good friends, hanging out with healthy friends who are supportive, staying busy and avoiding periods when you are alone e.g., long weekends alone----it is when you are alone that you'll have the worst recurrences of these feelings of longing, or at night if you had intimate times together regularly at this time of day. But it WILL get better and you will start feeling like taking an emotional risk again, but not right away. In fact you do not want to get involved with anyone right away until you totally regain your sense of identity or 'self'---which got entangled in the pathology of this relationship. People do lose a bit of their identity in intense pathological relationships and it takes time to get re-grounded or centered in one's sense of self again. So this whole thing is a lot like a bereavement process and we know bereavement involves approximate 'stages' and a 'process'----everyone more or less has to go through the phases of a bereavement. You are well into it and struggling of course, but I can pretty much promise you, it WILL get gradually better. What do you think?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Everything you've said makes a lot of sense Dr Michael...and somehow has had a calming effect on me right now, which is more than I thought was possible, so, thank you! One thing that really struck me is the part about being entangled...I hadn't looked at it quite like that but what a good way to describe what happened. I feel like I completely did lose my identity and everything became about her, revolved around her, around us as a couple... I know I pushed away a lot of people in the process. Hopefully I haven't pushed them too far away, the good news is at least one good friend has really stepped in after all of this. It's weird but it's like coming back to reality...I can't believe how much I let that relationship take over and control my entire life to the point I was letting everything else fall apart. So if I can just think that way I maybe can feel relieved instead of so sad so much of the time and not hurt as much everytime a memory stabs me out of no where. It feels like the part that hurts will never end sometimes, even though I know that it has too...but in any case you have eased my mind by giving an estimated time line on this...
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Good luck with your final steps in disentangling yourself from this now 'past' relationship. Please let me know if I can be of further help.
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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