Itís done. In pain, but hopeful

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bohemian butterfly

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Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« on: August 14, 2021, 06:55:38 PM »
Itís been a little while since Iíve last written. I was pretty active on this site a few years ago (2018/2019) and your words and advice changed my life!  With your help, (and a good therapist) I  was able to end my relationship in 2019. I broke it off, I bought a house, and was doing well. Well, I was doing well until a few months later (Sept/Oct 2019) when I got a surprise visit from my ex and was completely love bombed (13 page letter professing his love, and promises to change, etc). I returned to the relationship because I was hopeful that things would change (because the first 2 years of the relationship were amazing and I was hopeful). Even though we got back together, I did not move back in with him.  I kept my house, and I kept living at my house (I would visit him during the week, and stay at the farm during the weekend). But even with this set up, the relationship did not really improve.  Itís like we were just going through the motions.

Everything came to a head five months ago. I realized that once again I was not a priority in the relationship.  A little background. My ex has a working farm, that has actually become quite successful in the last few years. When we had first started dating in 2015, it wasnít a fully functioning farm (and I had no idea that it would become what it has become.).  From 2015 to 2018 he went from being a caring, loving boyfriend to a work addict.  Constant chaos, high stress, and constant ďemergencies.Ē  I was expected to be on call at all times (even though I had a full-time job and a life outside of the relationship).  And not that it matters, but we were not married and we are not young (I am 44, he is 53).

So fast forward to this past year (after we got back together) whenever I would visit him, I was put to work. One time I had just put the car in park, and just opened my car door, when he walked up to me and asked if I would take care of some customers.  I was completely exhausted, I had just finished working my full-time job, and had battled traffic, and didnít even get a hello from him  It was still the farm 24/7.  I was still constantly running errands, and I was constantly being called on to help with emergencies, (even though he had a full farm crew).  He just kept adding more and more animals and more and more responsibilities, he started adding extra farm markets, he started selling to restaurants, etc.  itís like he was addicted to the stress!  And if I wanted any kind of relationship with this man, I was pulled into the stress too because it was all about the farm. 

in March, we got into an argument on the phone, and it ended with us saying that we needed and should take a break. Itís been complete silence for the past five months. I reached out via text twice, but no response from him. So with the help of a therapist, I wrote him a letter and sent it to him on Friday. In this letter, I broke it off and I told him that I would be stopping by the farm to pick up the remainder of my belongings on Saturday (today). I knew that he would not be at the farm, because he works at a farmers market, but I was still very nervous (the memories, seeing the chickens Iíd raised, the feral barn cats I socialized, etc).

We used to live in a renovated barn, so when I got to the farm, I drove right up to the back of the barn. Again, I had just a few belongings, so I knew I would be in and out in less than 15 minutes, but I also wanted to walk around the barn one last time and just say my goodbyes to the barn cats, and just say a prayer over the farm, because a lot of trauma has happened on the family farm throughout the years.

When I walked into the barn, I was just completely shocked. The place was an absolute wreck. I mean, it is a barn, but he used to keep it somewhat tidy. I checked the cats, to make sure that they were being taken care of, and it looks like they are the only thing he has actually taken care of in the barn. I was just filled with a deep deep pain.

I know heís stressed. His older sister was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer. He also has an elderly mother that this sister was taking care of. Now with his sister being ill, he (along with some nurses)  have caretaking duties (driving his sister to chemo, etc) as well as trying to run the farm. Thankfully he has a farm crew that helps with planting, harvesting and animal husbandry, but this added added stress with his mom and sister must be completely overwhelming.

This morning was devastating to me. I feel like a terrible human because I felt like I was to blame. my first instinct was to start cleaning, and to just try to fix everything.  I felt like I should instantly call him, and tell him that everything was going to be OK, that I would help in anyway I could!

My codependency is on full alert at the moment. I keep thinking that Iím a terrible human for ďabandoningĒ him during this extra stressful time.  But then part of me is trying to convince myself that the stress was there long before his sister got ill.  The demands and constant requests (feeling of engulfment/enmeshment) was there even before his sister got sick.

I know that if I would have stayed, I would have been miserable. I would have been used and would have gained the added role of caregiver, because he totally would have pushed that responsibility on me (claiming that he had no time, that he had a farm to run).  I know this because six months ago, he asked me if I would be his mothers caregiver, he said he would pay me $100 a day (12 hours) . (Keep in mind I have a full-time job outside of the farm. He told me I could just take my laptop in the house and do both). Iíll never forget his response when I declined he said, ďyeah, I donít blame you, itís a miserable job.Ē  When I asked why he would push that ďmiserable jobĒon his girlfriend, he did not have an answer (and then changed the subject).

The codependent guilt is so strong right now. 

Does anyone have any words of comfort or advice? I thought I had healed, but this morning wounds were ripped open. I feel guilt, I feel like it is my responsibility to save this person. I feel like I am a horrible person. 

I am also struggling with the fear that this is it for me on the dating front. That I will never find another partner.  My ex was super smart, attractive, physically fit and loved by many.  I am so very afraid. Is it normal that I keep envisioning his future and not focusing on mine? Example, I keep torturing myself, thinking that I am just totally messed up, and that another woman will swoop in and save the day, and he will treat her like he treated me for the first two years of the relationship. I feel like I am flawed and he is perfect. I know thatís not true, but itís like it haunts me.

Lots of shame and self hate right now. 

Ugh!



Thank you for reading.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2021, 07:56:47 PM by bohemian butterfly »

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2021, 07:32:49 PM »
You are not to blame.

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2021, 09:24:07 PM »
Thank you so much Poison Ivy.

I just went back and reread all my past posts.  That was extremely helpful.  Iíd forgotten how terribly unhappy Iíd been. 

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looloo

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2021, 11:32:33 PM »
BB!!!  So funny, I havenít been on here much at all for a while, but have jumped back on for a little visit, and I wondered how youíve been doing  :D.

You and he gave the relationship another try, and it didnít work out because heís exactly the same and you have changedófor the better.  Those guilty feelings, I think thatís a really tough struggle, but you made good decisions for yourself despite them. 

I can imagine your ex becoming something of a hoarder, the way he takes on project after project.  And the neglectful condition of the barn.

As someone in their 50ís, I donít think 44 is too old to find another relationship.  One that is truly fulfilling.  You know yourself so much better now, and Iím very confident that a terrific someone is out there for you.
ďIf you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.Ē  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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bohemian butterfly

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2021, 11:52:58 AM »
Hi loo loo!  I remember you too!  Thanks for your reply and for thinking about me.

I feel a little better this morning. Thankfully I have a therapy session on Tuesday, so Iím just trying to stay busy in the meantime. 

My house has been and continues to be my safe space.  It is only one of  a handful of decisions that Iíve made in my life that I havenít regretted.  It was also a process that went so smoothly that I have no doubt it was meant to be.  If I hadnít purchased it when I did, I would probably still be at the farm (especially since COVID hit only 9 months later). 

Last night I reread my old posts in this forum to refresh my memory and that was so helpful.

There are so many thoughts swimming around in my head right now.  But I realize that Iím not thinking about my feelings, Iím thinking about his feelings, itís like Iím experiencing this break-up behind his eyes (what he might be feeling and what his future might look like). 

Iím trying really hard to ďstay in my laneĒ and come back to self. 



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hhaw

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2021, 08:26:59 PM »
My trauma informed T would say.......
your nose is on the pebble. You can't see the field or other pebbles or trees or sky,bc your nose is stuck to the pebble that is your ex,his situation, his barn cats, sister,mother....... and ya....that's your co dependence talking.

Did your T teach you any coping strategies to help you get back to center?

Like.....breathing excercises?

Pushing on walls with everything you have?

Walking backwards around a trash can,slowly, while thinkingabout your breathing?

To locate the place in your body where this distress lives, put your hands on it then breathe into it while listing what it feels like....sharp? Dull? Pounding? Tight?  Give it a number between 1 and 10.... 10 being worse.

Breathe into 10 times..... really focusing on it...... then check it. Is it better? The same? Worse?  If it's better, continuebreathinginto it, checking it until it stops gettingbetter or is GONE.

If it stays the same or gets worse, focus on a part of your body that feels neutral or positive.Breathe into it, really thinkingabout how that feels for you and what feels good about it.

Check your distress again.

Notice the shapes and colors around you.

Notice the space to your left and right.below you....above you. 

Breathe some of that spaciousness into the place in your body where you feel distress....... like you're pushing in around it, expanding the space...creating spaciousness around the distress.

You don't have to remain stuck in fight or flight reptilian brain survival mode.  You can get you nose off that pebble, notice the field it's sitting in, other stones and rocks and trees and flowers....and yourself. 

It's a biochemical hijack you can't think your way out of,btw. The more you try to get out of it, the farther in you sink, IME.

So......
just stop.

Be kind to yourself.... extend tsunamis of selfcompassion to yourself....like you're caring for an infant.... extend that care to yourself without questioning it..... just try.

Try to shift into observer mode...... try to drop all judgment.... all of it. Good.Bad..... and sink into curiosity around whatever comes up.  Accept it...... try to see it without labeling it anything at all.

Sometimes things present themselves when when we let hard feelings come and go, without struggle.

You seem so bright and kind. 

Imagine if you were very kind to yourself....if you became your own powerful advocate and protector, without fail.  If you cared as much about your job, your down time, your time in traffic and creating sacred space as you do about your ex's.

He's not going to change for someone else. He is who he is.  You don't want to live that way and you decided it's not working for you, so good on'ya.  You deserve better.  You're worthy of better.  I won't say not to worry, bc you're worrying,but there's feeling better in your future, and if you're focused on self care.... there's joy and happiness too, IME.

All these things helped me, eventually. They were difficult to wrap my mind around, difficult to manage and get used to, but they're the foundation of new brain pathways you can choose and cultivate and grow into new default pathways.... until they become familiar and normal.

I just kept plugging away..... trying to be kind and consistent with myself.  I didn't judge when I failed,and I failed a lot,w hich lead to getting it right some of the time, then things would suddenly get SO much better.

If you haven't learned any coping strategies and tools to get out of fight or flight.... ask your T to teach you some.

Things can get very much better, BB.

I promise.
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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blacksheep7

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 02:32:52 PM »
Hi bohemian butterfly :)

It has been a while indeed.  I'm sorry to hear what you went through.  You gave it a try and it just confirmed that he's not the one. Unfortunately we have to dip again to make sure that we did the right thing, leaving our partner.  I did that three times with one, back in the 90's.  lol I still did not have enough self-esteem to respect myself,  that I was a lovable, good woman.  When we are kind with people pleaser tendencies, people take advantage of us because they know.

The good news is that you broke it off, realizing that he was asking toooooooo much and not giving in return.

As for thinking that you will never find a good partner, you are jumping to conclusions and anticipating. You are only 44! Your life isn't over. :yes:  My son just seperated this year at 40 yrs old and he is happy which was long overdue.

One step at a time. Concentrate on your healing.  Nice to hear that you have a safe place, your house.

Do not forget who you are: a good, warm, loving woman who deserves better.

 :bighug:
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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Empie2204

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Re: Itís done. In pain, but hopeful
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2021, 07:17:27 PM »
Hello bb,
please don't reproach yourself. What you, and all of us, experience is a process. It' s learning and healing in one. Regardless of our ages.
Just as hhaw put it nicely and truly, notice and live life which is around and ready for us to dive in.
I know for myself that I will remain full of doubts, questions and insecurities. I guess it applies to lot of us, more or less. This is a part of us but let it be the small one. Besides, mistakes are here to learn from.
There are really many beautiful and magnificent things in life to conquer and enjoy.