From the fire to the pan.

Avelyn wrote:
Hi Sean,
So my situation is seemingly complicated…so I hope you’re ready to pick my brain!  About 6 months ago my ex and I finally ended things for good, resulting in no contact, which is for the better.  Things between us had gotten extremely bad to the point where he would constantly lie to me no matter how big or small the lie was, which was irritating…and he would constantly drink and get very mean to me when he was drunk, one time even telling me that I was worthless…wow.  Even though he would always apologize, he would get drunk again and tell me that he only ever apologizes because he knows its exactly what I want to hear.  He would also tell me that he knows I will always be around, even when I would tell him I was going to leave, he’d tell me that I would walk way for about 5 minutes and then come right back.  Overall, not a good relationship…and he was the first person I had fallen in love with so ending it officially was a pretty big deal.    But now I have found someone new! The new guy is the complete opposite of my ex, he is sweet and caring and appreciates me…which is weird for me because I am not used to it.  I find it hard to take his compliments, and im not sure if its because I am not used to hearing them.  The biggest issue I have found that is making complications is whenever my new guy tells me he’s at home or whenever he makes promises, I find it hard to believe him, even though I have absolutely no reason not to.  He has always been truthful with me….but yet im nervous he is lying or will lie.  With my ex the way our relationship went was we were on and off a lot and he would pull me in but then he would always end up telling me that “we just had to be friends and if i wasnt able to handle it then we couldnt talk” but then he would pull me in again and it ended up sucking me into this vicious cycle that lasted for more than a year.  I can tell this new guy is good and not like my ex but whenever the new guy makes a promise to me about anything, I go into panic mode and overthink everything.  I don’t want to push this guy away….I dont know why I am acting like this, any suggestions?  I want to be able to enjoy this new relationship and not be so worried about everything, especially when I dont know what is causing all my worries.  Any suggestions on why I am acting like this? or how to fix it?
Any ideas or suggestions just so I can get a feel on why i’m always freaking out would be helpful!
Thanks,
Avelyn
Avelyn,
This ex sounds like a textbook “abusive ex”.  The vicious cycle, the not letting go, the “mean when drunk” aspects, the lying, and the emotionally abusive attitude are all indicators of an abusive person.
I would first like to applaud your ability to leave and cut off communication.  Things like this are not ever easy to endure..let alone to end.
Secondly, you’re likely feeling the way you do about the new guy because you’re afraid of letting your guard down and being hurt and you’re scared of being vulnerable at a time when you have just started feeling good about a relationship.  I had it happen to me once.  I got out of an awful relationship early in my college years and completely destroyed the next relationship I was in with insecurity and a lack of trust.  As a result of the past drama, your brain is (as you said) in “panic mode” and  you over think things to prepare you for any sort of disappointment your brain perceives may exist…and nine times out of ten, there is NO ACTUAL looming disappointment or issue…but if there were, you need to examine yourself to determine if you’re okay dealing with heartache AND if you’d be okay being on your own for awhile (I mean like 6 months or more).  If you answer “no” to either (or both) of those, you should not be in a relationship because you aren’t ready for one.
I hate when people say “I’m independent” and mean the wrong thing, but stick with me as I explain my last sentence in the paragraph above this one.  When some people say “I’m independent”, they mean they like being alone.  That’s not independent, that’s antisocial.  “Independent” is the ability to be okay on your own (not a need to be on your own).  You need to be truly okay with being on your own in order to be successful in a relationship. Not only that, but you should be able to know that any doors with negative people in your life can close and remain closed.  THAT is being independent.
You may be feeling the lack of trust and the panic because you haven’t established that inner strength yet.  If this thing with the guy has been established as a committed relationship (you talked and both agree you’re boyfriend and girlfriend), then you need to communicate with him and let him know what you’re feeling and then get some psychological help (therapist) to work through the issues.  Many people don’t escape abusive relationships without a few issues to work through and that is okay.  Just make sure you work through them.
If it’s not a relationship, I’d recommend taking a break to work on yourself before taking things to a more serious level.
I hope this helps.
Sean
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