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Sasha

Need Help

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Hi,

 

I saw you have a free week if I post here. Is it really free? And can I get some help? I'm divorced from a man who exhibited a lot of the things you have listed in the 21 forms of abuse on your site. The divorce was final 6 months ago, but I feel kind of - I don't know. Maybe lost is the word? I'm not sure how to move forward.

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Yes, it's really free. :)

 

Your free week starts once one of us responds to your first post (so now!) and ends at this time (it's 2pm CST) in 7 days. We'll send you an email on Day 6 to see if you want to continue, but there is no obligation to do so. Subsequent weeks are $50 per week.

 

In order to get the most out of this, post often. Once I have posted, I won't post again until you do, unless I have something to add. We can potentially get a lot of work done if you post frequently. If you only post a few times, not so much.

 

Now that we have the housekeeping out of the way, let's get to what you're struggling with. Since you're familiar with the abuse list, I'm not going to spend any time there unless you have questions. Let's focus on moving forward.

 

Tell me a little more. Are you having trouble letting go of the relationship? Missing him? Wishing he was still with you? Or is it more that you don't quite know what to do with yourself now that you're single? Maybe both?

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I miss him sometimes. Well, to be honest, I miss what might have/should have been, if that makes sense. Our marriage was over long before he actually moved out, so when he finally left, the main thing I felt was relief. I know I'm better off without him, and I wouldn't want him back. I'm just lonely.

 

I think I just don't know how to be single. We were married for 20 years. I'm afraid to start dating again because I don't want to end up in the same kind of relationship, but all of my friends are couples and most of the time I feel like a 3rd wheel (although my friends do work hard to make me not feel like that).

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OK, so let's start by talking about how you ended up in an abusive relationship to start with. Understanding that is a big key to not repeating it.

 

Here at Ephesians 525, we strongly advise anyone who is divorced, man or woman, to wait at least 2 years before getting into another relationship. You need time to heal. You need time to learn from your mistakes so you don't repeat them. Most importantly, you need to learn to be content even if God doesn't bring someone else into your life right away ... or ever. Unfortunately, we rarely understand that Christ is enough until He is all we have.

 

I'd strongly recommend doing an APS test. How God wired you has a lot to do with how you react to the people and events around you, which in turn explains, at least partially, why you allowed yourself to be treated the way your ex treated you.

 

For now, tell me a bit about how you grew up. Please note that I am not suggesting this is all your parents' fault ... at some point we all grow up and are responsible for our own behavior. But understanding the environment you were raised in helps to figure out why your particular dysfunctions ... because we're all dysfunctional to one extent or another ... lined up with your ex's. In a nutshell, that's what happened. He recognized, probably subconsciously, that something in you responded to that part of him that needed to control and/or intimidate.

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I have one sister who is two years older than I am. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, mostly because my parents were pretty bad at managing it. We always had enough to eat and a roof over our heads. There just wasn't a lot extra for things like vacations and activities. We went to church sporadically when my mother wanted to go. My dad never went. I don't remember there being a lot of conflict at home. We pretty much just went our separate ways. As long as my sister and I got good grades and stayed out of trouble, we could pretty much do whatever we wanted to do.

 

You know, I never really thought about it until recently, but I have few childhood memories that involve my parents. What do you suppose that's about?

 

Anyway, I guess I had a pretty average upbringing. I'm not sure how that plays into marrying the guy I married.

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So let me guess ... the abuses on the list that your ex was guilty of include responsibility, emotional, and silence, correct? There may have been others, but I'm pretty sure those three were the main ones.

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OK, how did you know?

 

Responsibility and silence were the two main issues in our marriage. There were others, but if the man had shared the load and talked to me, we wouldn't be divorced.

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It sounds like your parents weren't really involved in your life beyond providing a home and meals, which is most likely why you have few memories of them.

 

Your description of your upbringing tells me a couple of things ... one, you were used to being ignored, and two, if you wanted something to happen in your life, you probably had to make it happen yourself.

 

So when your ex didn't talk to you, it felt normal, because you didn't grow up sharing thoughts or feelings in your family.

 

When you were being your normal, competent, git 'er done self, your ex took advantage of that, because the more you were willing to do, the more he was willing to let you.

 

Fast forward however many years, and your ex is sitting in his man cave or in front of the computer or wherever, zoning out while you make life work. Sound familiar?

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I had to think about this for awhile, but I've realized you're right. My parents were not really involved in my life. I really can't remember having any meaningful conversations with them, ever.

 

And yes, my ex did zone out most of the time. He was there physically. Mentally, I don't know where he was, but it wasn't with me.

 

So how do I not end up with another guy just like him?

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As with everything else, the first step is to be aware of your tendency to be drawn to this kind of guy. Then everything else is simple ... talk to God about him daily, go slowly, don't give your heart away before you really know him, look for signs that he avoids communication and/or responsibility, and ask for other trusted people's opinions.

 

Note I said it was simple. I didn't say it was easy. ;)

 

The best thing you can probably do for yourself, other than getting as close to God as possible, is to work on developing good boundaries. Although your ex's behavior was his responsibility, part of the reason he treated you the way he did was that you allowed it.

 

I recommend the book Boundaries  by Cloud and Townsend to most of my clients ... please note that the scripture references are mostly taken out of context, but it's excellent otherwise.

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