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I'd like to ask a different therapist a question. I loved my

I'd like to ask a...
I'd like to ask a different therapist a question. I loved my ex husband very much--too much, and he seemed to love me as well--for nearly a year. Then I helped him buy a bar, and he became cruel, as well as indulging in all sorts of destructive habits. I put up with it for a couple of years, though it took quite a toll and to get rid of the pain I acted in ways I was not proud of. Because of all of this I got into extremely bad financial circumstances, and severe pressure seemed never ending. I finally had to get a restraining order and change the locks on my apartment. Amazingly, I began a relationship with a wonderful man afterwards and after ironing out some problems have been happily married for four years. However, I am haunted by disappointment in myself for taking so much bad treatment from my husband, for the way I acted and not being stronger. I find myself being very bitter at times about the way people judged me and I feel in general that when you need approval or when you are down people take this as an opportunity to congratulate themselves and to behave contemptuously toward you. I have friends but I avoid becoming close with people. This seems a gloomy way of looking at life and tipped too much in a negative direction. Therapists, too, sometimes behaved badly and I am not inclined to spend much time with them. I think my attitude is not helpful, and though I fear my behavior indicates character weakness it doesn't matter--all I can do is to look to the future. But I can't shake off the disappointment in myself and others.
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Answered in 57 minutes by:
7/10/2013
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,857
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Verified
Hello, I'd like to help you with your problem.
It can be very difficult when you struggle through a difficult time such as an abusive relationship. It is not uncommon at all for someone who has been in an abusive relationship to feel like they had some input or control over what happened to them. And it is also common to feel shame, remorse and disappointment with yourself for not acting differently than you did.
Keep in mind, at the time you had no support. And you had certain expectations of your ex husband while he was with you. People tend to be optimistic by nature and want to expect the best from others. You also were trying to deal with his behavior which was extreme. Almost no one decides to leave a relationship immediately that the first sign that things are not going well. Most people try to hang in there and give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Plus abusive behavior is not clear, especially when you are in it. Things are confusing and overwhelming to deal with.
What was missing from your life then and now is compassion. For yourself and from others. You learned that when you are hurting, it is not only your fault but that others will not be there for you. That can make you doubt that anyone cares or that they could treat you with kindness. It also enhances how you feel about yourself. That you could have done anything differently than you did. As long as you can have the perspective of the relationship looking back, you are always going to find something that you can criticize yourself about. Hindsight is 20/20.
The key here is to forgive yourself and the others that hurt you. What they did to you does not mean you are not worthy of being loved and cared about. And beating yourself up will never help you. You are only hurting yourself. And you are ignoring who you have become. You were able to escape a bad marriage, get yourself back on track and marry a wonderful person who treats you as you deserve. That says a lot about your character. Try focusing on that instead when your mind wonders back to the past.
Also, try to change your thinking. When you do start to think about what others did to you and how you felt about your marriage, say "stop!" to yourself. Then refocus on the good you have now. Make a list of the accomplishments you have made since your divorce. You may also want to try writing a letter to yourself about that time in your life. Be open and honest. Also, write a letter to your ex but don't send it. Just get your feelings out there. Keep them and add to them or make it a point to get rid of them in a way that is important to you. Burn them, bury them or shred them. See it as a way to put the past behind you.
I hope this has helped you,
Kate
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

One last response--your letter was very helpful, though I think I would feel better if I could think of something I could have done to have reacted more constructively. My ex is dead. He did not do well without me. All I can think of is that I wouldn't leave myself in such a financial vulnerable position, I would have sought professional help. Maybe the lack of support reflects who those people are--but I can't help but remember the lines like "you just don't deal with it at well all"--and that from someone I thought was a friend--though not a close one. I'd like to think that people were different, that this doesn't reflect a universal condition of kicking the one who is down--but though unreasonalble I find at times I think of others with the same contempt I think they showed to me--a mistrust and disgust that is harmful to me as well as to them. I realize that this is only for short term counseling so I will not be asking for any more feedback after this.

You can try to think of things that were more constructive to do during that time, but so can anyone else who has been through a difficult time like you were. Almost everyone looks back at a bad time and thinks, I could have done something else to help myself or the situation. At this point, you did what you could to cope. That is all you could do. And those that were so cruel to you during that time were not real friends. A friend doesn't judge, they only support. You deserved better.

Kate

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks Kate, I appreciate your help--though I do not believe everyone in my position would have reacted as I did. I'll keep your replies.

You're welcome! Not everyone would have reacted the same way I agree, but we all react in the only way we can at the time. Every situation is different. Try to be kinder to yourself.
Kate
TherapistMarryAnn
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,857
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Verified
TherapistMarryAnn and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!
My best to you,
Kate
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Unfortunately I am very unhappy with the way I reacted at the time, and the problem is that I would feel better if in hindsight I really could think of constructive things that I could have done to avoid having so much damage at the time, and for quite some time later. Given the extent of my depression, and financial trouble at the time, if faced with the same situation I'm not sure if I could handle it much better now. It happened so quickly--one day he loved me, the next day he did not, rather than a collection of things little by little. If at least I felt that I learned how to help myself, it wouldn't be quite so disappointing. What was perhaps worst of all, is that I am self employed and it crushed my career for some time. Things are much better now that I can work again and I have someone wonderful to love--but that doesn't necessarily mean that I've learned or grown stronger.

Hello, it's nice to hear from you.
This appears to be a new inquiry. Just Answer prefers that you open a new question page for new questions. This ensures that you'll have an accurate customer ratio on the site, and it helps us to give the best possible answers to your questions.
If you wish to work with me again, please put "For Kate" in front of your new question.
Thank you,
Kate
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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn
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Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,857
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