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Thread: Past abuse affecting current relationships

  1. #1
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    Past abuse affecting current relationships

    I was with my abuser for only 6 months, but they were intense. I was only good for sex and paying for things. He would get so defensive and angry if I even tried to bring up how I was feeling. There was a lot of name calling and very mean this said through the whole relationship. At one point he claimto have people watching me and had pictures of me. I never really dealt with the abuse afterwards.
    I got into a new relationship a few months ago, and my past had started to really affect it. I'm terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing. I feel he deserves someone better. I question everything he says (to myself, not him).

    I don't know how to stop projecting my past onto my present and future. How has anyone else dealt with this?

  2. #2
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    It's not an easy thing. Over years it's gotten easier for me, and I've had a combination of therapy and meds, as well as a very (very, very) patient partner. Some of it is creating new connections to things. So say every time you watched a movie your ex was mean, of course it would be hard to sit down and watch a movie with someone. Getting through movies and enjoying them with your new bf would help change that, but it's really hard at first.

    Lots of grounding early on, reminding myself where I was and who I was actually with. Deep breathing techniques to help with anxiety. It's a matter of finding what helps you. (If you're interested the Fort library has pages on grounding and distractions that you can look through.)

    A big thing is to make sure that you're even ready to have a relationship. I wasn't ready at first, and the first relationship I had was hard going at the beginning. (Because of my trauma and his sheer confusion about what was going on) I'm very blunt, so being very honest and talking about what I could helped. I couldn't have my hands held a certain way, and so I didn't give details but told him that because of old stuff it freaked me out, could he not do that? idk works for me, doesn't work for everyone I know.

    I wish you luck in your new relationship. Also, if you're interested you're welcome to sign up for the members only forums to discuss things like this that are the aftermath of abuse.
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  3. #3
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    I cannot recommend therapy enough. The right therapist is worth their weight in gold. That said, you have to be ready for and receptive to therapy.

    I second what Willow has said about being sure you're in the right place for a relationship. Most people fall into the trap of thinking you have to be in a relationship. There's nothing wrong with being single. Especially if you're taking time to know yourself and work on your issues.

    So, let's assume you've given this a lot of thought and have decided that you're ready for this relationship and want to stick it out. Communication is paramount. Acknowledge that your feelings and thoughts are valid and important, but they are not his fault. There is a constructive difference between saying things like "I'm feeling insecure today and I just don't think I can deal with intimacy right now." and "you're always pressuring me to have sex, just like my abuser!". It is very easy to want to lash out, particularly when we are just starting to form and use our voices. Just don't be silent! Anyone who legitimately cares about you would be horrified to learn that you went along with things you did not want just because you felt like you shouldn't say anything.

    These are things that I have found to be invaluable in my own personal relationships. Maybe they will work for you, maybe you're not in that place yet. Whatever happens, I hope it ends in personal growth and happiness for you.

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    weepingwillow (01-13-2017)

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    I don't know how to stop projecting my past onto my present and future. How has anyone else dealt with this?
    I think I "get away" with bringing my crud into a relationship because I am also self aware and realizing that I am doing it, so will play with it a little bit.

    For example, on occassion, my feelings will be hurt and I know I am feeling over sensitive and that it is not my friend's job to have to put up with the brunt of that emotion. I will literally say, hey, I know your behavior was appropriate, but can I role play out what I am feeling?
    If he says yes, I go on a silly tongue in cheek rant:
    You hate me!
    You hate me cause if you didn't you woulda txtd me back four minutes ago telling me how important I am to you and not caring about your stupid movie way more than me.

    Um, I suppose this only works cause I got a friend that is ok with this.
    I then explain how logically I know part of me actually is glad he set boundaries, and lives his life without tending to my emotions that are not his responsibility. But him allowing me to vent, helps him understand why I may back off or such, and helps him to understand my struggle, and we both seem to be somewhat entertained by it.

    Yet, other times, I cannot do this cause what is bothering me, I may take more seriously, idk.

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    weepingwillow (01-17-2017)

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    I guess a better way I coulda explained it is...

    Being aware what is my stuff vs other persons.
    Learning to respond to another vs react

    Then taking my stuff somewhere to work on it...
    Sometimes I will discuss my "stuff" with another, online, draw about it, find someway to work through it.

    The example I gave was me actually admitting I got "stuff" going on and role playing a part of how I feel that I know is not relevant to present, but coming from past.

    The example I gave doesn't happen often.

    More often, I have to seperate from person that I feel I am reacting to vs responding to.
    Sort out what is my past reaction vs present response.
    Then find a way to self soothe.
    If self soothing/self care stuff seems not enough then I gotta seek a friend or T or online support or such to help me sort out my struggle.

    My point is...
    The way I keep my past from affecting current relationships is doing my best to stay...
    In the present
    Mindful
    Non reactive/maintaining an observing perspective to the situation when possible
    Identifying when I am triggered and taking care of it somehow, knowing it is ultimately my job to do my self care

    Not saying my stuff doesn't seep out and find it's way...
    Just saying these things make it manageabl and doable.

    Even if a oerson doesn't have a history of abuse in their past, often we all repeat past patterns and stuff. A certain amount of our past is really apart of who we are today. I think the key may be not so much trying to stop it, but watching how it comes forth... hopefully in a manageable way.

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    weepingwillow (01-17-2017)

  9. #6
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    Thank you for this insight

    Thanks you all on this thread for the insight from survivors. I recently broke up after just a few months with a woman who had suffered 15 years of serious emotional abuse. She had been in counseling for two or three years. Unfortunately, the abuser and she shared children and he was still in touch daily and present on weekends. What completely baffled me was how my now ex would completely misinterpret things I said or get quite upset at things that apparently I should not have done, like talk to a professional abuse counselor. So some of what I've read on this thread and elsewhere on this forum have helped me process. I would appreciate any specific feedback if anyone feels compelled.

  10. #7
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    Not sure what feedback you are seeking.
    This site has a rule that a member only speaks for themself. Meaning, none of us are professionals, so we cannot give advise in such a way. Also many folks need to feel safe and ensuring the tone stays non judgemental helps many feel safe. So no one can tell you what you should do. Also, we try not to pretend we may know how to handle your situation better than you cause well, idk, in the end it is your situation and we are limited in "seeing" and all. So we kinda tend to share what our experiences or perspectives are, what works for us or hasn't or such, and it is your choice if you want to leave what is said or try to apply that.

    I am no Mod or Admin so I hope I expressed that clearly.

    Just didn't want to leave you hangin wondering why no one gave you direct advice or such.

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    weepingwillow (02-27-2017)

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