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Ryan LCSW, Mental Health
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Individual and Family Therapist
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Can anyone help me with this? I am very distressed about leaving

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Can anyone help me with this? I am very distressed about leaving an abusive boyfriend. I left him 2 days ago and feel very bad. He was - is a narcissist. No question. Also, OCPD. He was very controlling and abused me. But also said I was the light of his life, his only love, the only one who ever understood him, the only one he could talk to. I loved him. I trusted him. I had to leave without telling him, he called many times, left some emails, but today he went into my account and deleted them. Somehow that hurt me. He had sent a photo of me, and messages and now they are gone. Help?
Thanks for your question.

I can certainly understand how this would be a distressing situation for you. You obviously care about him a lot, and despite his flaws there may have been some very positive qualities about him which make this situation a lot more complicated than simply leaving a situation that you are no longer happy in. However, at the same time, it's important to keep things in perspective. Despite the fact that leaving is very hurtful and difficult, it seems like it was also necessary. If the relationship had enough problems that you had to leave without telling him, that's certainly a sign that you made the right decision, even though it may be hard to stick with it at times.

As sad as it is, it seems like you did the right thing. It can often be very difficult to recover from an abusive relationship, and it can often be tempting to get back involved in that relationship even knowing that it is unhealthy. If you find that you're struggling, I would highly recommend seeing a counselor in order to make sure you are recovering properly emotionally, and are not tempted to put yourself into a potentially dangerous or volatile situation now or in the future. Since only two days have gone by, it's possible that it will still be difficult for a while before some time passes and it starts to get easier. Until it does, it seems like despite the pain, you can take some comfort in the fact that you did the right thing for yourself.

I definitely wish you the best with all of this and hope that you are able to stay strong. If there's anything else I can do to help please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Ryan. It really had to be. He locked me in at times. He sexually assulted me. But then there was the very intense proclamation of his love for me. He published a novel that had long beautiful scenes about me and his love for me. He mentioned my name. He was the love of my life. I thought. I am getting bad anxiety. And feellings like I want to run back. But I am in a different state- I flew here on friday. He followed me to the airport- just guessing I was there. But I didn't see him then or answer his calls. If felt like I was the worst cruest person. Because he seems to me to be sick, like a part of him does love me? But he loves the me he knew when I was 16. I think. Not so much the woman i am now. He called me "little girl" He talked about when I was in high school all the time. It didn't really feel real. what can i do to calm down? Will I have peace in my heart again? Why do I still want to please him and not want him to stop loving me??? (I won't go on much more, promise, but could you help just a bit more?

There's nothing cruel about protecting yourself. That may come at the expense of his feelings, but he put himself in this position with the way that he treated you. Perhaps part of him does love you, but that doesn't take away from the dysfunction and the importance of you getting away from that.

You'll find peace in your heart again, but part of that comes with letting go of this need to please him and need for him to love you. That is very often how the victim in an abusive relationship feels, which is why I would strongly recommend seeking counseling. That will help you to stay calm and avoid those urges to go running back. It will also help you to figure out why you feel this need to please him and why you want him to love you. The answer to that question can be different for each person. It may take some work and thought to get to the bottom of it, but it is important to figure that out so that you don't repeat this experience in the future.

In the meantime though the most important thing you can do is to maintain perspective and not make an emotional decision that would be destructive for you. You did the right thing. You are protecting yourself. In this moment one of the best things you can do to calm yourself down is to work on your breathing and slow down your heart rate when you start to feel these moments of panic and anxiety. If you were to go to youtube and search for anxiety breathing techniques, you would find plenty of videos to watch. All of these techniques work similarly, with the idea of slowing down your breathing and heart rate which will stop the racing thoughts and start to break that anxious cycle. With some practice and repetition you should start to find yourself starting to feel less anxious in general, which will make it easier to do the rest of the emotional work. Hang in there.

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