A love-hate relationship I started experimenting with alcohol when I was around 17 years old and like most young people of that age in the UKI would go out drinking with my friends most Friday and Saturday nights.
I entered the relationship with my husband with positive preconceived notions of his ex based on what I had seen growing up in my own family; My mom and stepmom getting along fabulously.
So my confusion began early on when I expected her to treat me neutrally or better — not like the enemy. It was as if, before ever meeting me, her mind created beliefs about who I was a liar, lack of integrity, manipulativeand then she proceeded to treat me accordingly.
Years later it would become obvious that nothing I could ever do or say would change her image of me. Protect yourself at all costs Looking back, the one thing I wish I would have done differently was completely deny her access to me. I should have refused all contact with her, but I kept thinking of a million different reasons to leave myself open.
I tried to be compassionate and patient. I tried explaining myself, correcting her misperceptions, etc… But all that did was keep her engaged and allow her to keep dumping her aggression onto me.
I would block her from email periodically, but never consistently. And this was my mistake — allowing her back in over and over again.
When someone is aggressive towards you and is completely stuck in their own reality with no willingness or ability to see you in any other light, the only way to protect yourself is to stop giving them access to you. Granted, there was no way I could have known what I was in store for.
So how do you know when you should cut off contact? Check in with your body. Assault on your psyche will take its toll. Emotional abuse is traumatic. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is real and can occur after being exposed to continued harassment.
When an email or a text would give me anxiety for days, that was a huge red flag that something was very wrong. When the simple sound of a text message notification caused my heart to skip a beat, that was my cue that I should have been protecting myself better.
But if I could have seen the future, I would have lovingly told my husband he needed to figure out how to make this work without me ever having contact with his ex.
And he would have. Otherwise, years down the road, you and your family will suffer. The Healing I was 5 years into stepfamily life when me, my husband and stepkids moved miles away from his ex and I was finally able to get some physical and emotional distance.
No more negotiating — anything. I finally blocked her completely when the iPhone made it simple and complete: Block all numbers and email with one button. Ten months later, although miles away, I was still feeling the effects of her assault on me. I found myself angrier than ever at her treatment of me over the last six years.
The ex is far away and I have no contact with her. Some healing from the trauma needed to happen. I was lucky enough to find a retreat center within 45 minutes of my house and very reasonably priced.
You have a blank slate and time to reflect without the stress of everyday life. And it hit me: The darkness is behind me. So it was time for me to let go of anything I was holding onto from the past.
After a minute cathartic cry, I was free from the anger, resentments and pain I had been holding onto.“Every morning I wake up, and I pray and ask God to make me the best woman I can be,” she says.
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