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Thread: Suggestions for dealing with the past?

  1. #1
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    Suggestions for dealing with the past?

    15 years ago I dated a guy in high school who was mentally and sexually abusive. For a few years after, I pretended it didn't happen until a dam broke in college and I found a support group. It helped me deal with a lot of my issues, and then I moved home, met the love of my life, married, bought a house... pretty much loving life. Only every once in a while I have nightmares, or I see somebody who looks like the jerk and have a fight or flight sort of reaction. It wasn't really a huge problem though, just a minor annoyance, because I knew the jerk didn't live in my hometown anymore. Buuuuut last night I was informed by his brother that he moved home. Now I'm feeling terrified of running into him, and I don't even know why. He can't hurt me now, and I have an amazing, supportive husband. So, I'm wondering what I might do to put the past behind me. Should I try to contact him first, to get rid of the possibility of running into him? Or some kind of therapeutic way of dealing with the thoughts that still haunt me so that if I do see him, it doesn't induce a panic attack? Any suggestions would be helpful. (I don't have the resources to see a therapist at this point). Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I was in a very similar situation a while back. I just tried to avoid anywhere he might be. Wasn't a great way to go though. Hope you find something that works for you.
    "You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." -- Robin Williams
    "Don't be afraid of the shadows, that only means there's a light nearby." -- Evanescence
    "So when you’re feeling crazy, and things fall apart, listen to your head, remember who you are." -- Three Days Grace
    "But I am not really worried, I am not overly concerned. You try to tell yourself the things you tell yourself to make yourself forget." -- Counting Crows
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    "And I will say that we should take a moment and hold it, and keep it frozen and know that life has a hopeful undertone."
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  3. #3
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    i been in a similar situation. helped me to imagine what would happen if i did bump into the guy, what would i say, what would he say, what could he possibly do, how could i respond, would i need to respond at all, etc. not role-play an argument in my head, no, but just brainstorm solutions to possible problems, to be prepared. like, idk, if he assaults me right there on the street i can run and call police, and im physically stronger so i can push him away from me, i'll be safe; if he asks me to go somewhere with him, for whatever reason, im not going no matter what, public places only, no one on one interactions; if he just talks mean stuff - i turn around and walk away; etc. it helped to calm down the panic, when i had a plan of what to do, should this interaction happen.

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  4. The following 2 users say thank you to Manya for this useful post:

    Jane (01-06-2016),weepingwillow (01-02-2016)

  5. #4
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    I've been in this situation...got to the stage where anyone who vaguely resembled my ex triggered a panic response in me. Used techniques a bit similar to the one described by Manya...reminded me that I was no longer as powerless to protect myself as I had been...ran through the various ways I could now do this.

    One thing that really helped was to always carry my phone with emergency help numbers on fast dial. I also attended a self defence class for women...learned techniques to bring a bigger person down and to release myself from various holds they may use. Certainly gave me confidence. Also to screm rather than freeze if I was attacked. Was still careful to keep to well populated areas and exercise sensible care.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.


    Off for a while. Searching for the end of the tangle that is my life

  6. The following user says thank you to Jane for this useful post:

    weepingwillow (01-06-2016)

  7. #5
    Unregistered Guest

    Still trying to let go.

    It has been about six years since i have seen my ex huband. Every time i see a black suv. I still get a panic attack. He doesn't even own one anymore.i am now in my third abusive relationship. Hard to deal with the past when i am still living it. Name calling, door slamming, and god forbid you walk into a room and say something without me knowing you are coming. Ido not know if this ever goes away. I sometimes feel that i willnever be free of this. I just keep trying.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    It has been about six years since i have seen my ex huband. Every time i see a black suv. I still get a panic attack. He doesn't even own one anymore.i am now in my third abusive relationship. Hard to deal with the past when i am still living it. Name calling, door slamming, and god forbid you walk into a room and say something without me knowing you are coming. Ido not know if this ever goes away. I sometimes feel that i willnever be free of this. I just keep trying.
    Hear you...how hard these triggered responses are to deal with...how they somehow tend to arise out of nowhere. Also the repeat pattern of being attracted to/hooked in by not ok partners...ended up realising that at one level I did not think I deserved better also that this time things would play out differently. Worked with both these issues in T...it helped.
    Rest in my arms precious child; cradled and warm. You are safe. The war is over.


    Off for a while. Searching for the end of the tangle that is my life

  9. #7
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    I have gone through that with my abusive ex fiance. I was terrified of the possibility of running into him in public. If I saw him in store I would quickly change aisles and hope he hadn't seen me. I suspect he probably did and took delight in the fear he provoked. He moved away for a time and I felt relatively safe. Unfortunately, there is a man who looks very much like him and when I would see him the anxiety would hit until I realised it wasn't him. He moved back. My youngest son and I often walked. My abuser had an office on Main Street. I made a point of staying on the opposite side of the street and was glad I did because he would come out and start sweepng outside his office, I am certain he had seen me it was just too coincidental that he would choose that time to come out. I worked as a waitress, he started coming into the restaurant where I worked (the family-owned restaurant where I had worked previously had banned him), fortunately I could always get another to wait on him if he was seated in my section. He finally got arrested on charges that his family's prominence and wealth could not get him out of, I suspect with his mother (his enabler) deceased he didn't get much help from his father. He is in prison now and most likely will be for the rest of his life. Not long ago I feared he might find a way to get out. I googled his name and found he had filed an appeal, fortunately his appeal was turned down. I do live without as much anxiety now.
    Dixie

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