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cayc posted 7/3/2014 07:28 AM

I recently broke up with a man whom I love dearly but who had a habit of being an asshole to me. It was truly a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde situation. The day I broke up with him had been a magically perfect day, so happy! And then he turned on me & I finally ended it. I didn't even brook conversation. I literally put the guy on a plane & banished him. There's no going back.

But I'm left with a lot of unresolved feelings & self doubt. Could I have been nicer? Was breaking up the right thing to do? Was the issue his behavior or how I handled it? I can't help but think I should have tried harder and that it could have been different.

I'm really struggling with believing I made the right decision.

I did didn't I? Partners shouldn't be passive aggressive dicks to each other, saying the ugliest things possible to wound the other? This relationship taught me what intimacy was, but I'm still left rudderless to know or recognize what a good relationship is. Maybe the ones I have with my closest girlfriends are the model for that? I do not know. Part of the problem I guess, that since I don't know I can't decide if the problem was me, him, if I gave up too easily ...

This is the first time I've ever broken up with someone that I love. Pre-M I took the PA route of being a bitch and making the guy do it, or I legit got dumped. I instigated my D but by then I no longer loved xWH, plus he was living with OW#umpteen so again, there was really no choice in the matter.

What is this self doubt???? Why can't I break up with someone? Judge what's normal disagreements & communication with a partner & what's not? It's leaving me vulnerable to mistreatment (or is it, gah!) and I don't know what to do about it. How to make a choice & know it's right. Or at the very least right for me.

(And fwiw, I'm curious about your alls' thoughts & experiences, comments based on how well you may or may not know me. Recommending IC, while valid, doesn't do that & doesn't share your insight with me I just wanted to head that post off at the pass )

Sad in AZ posted 7/3/2014 08:19 AM

Good relationships have ups and downs, sometimes very serious downs, but if it's a good relationship, you don't think of the other party being a passive/aggressive dick. You may say (hopefully to yourself) "asshole!" but you don't harbor deep anger.

Having said that, are you sure you didn't revert to your p/a behavior during the relationship? Did you expect him to be able to read you mind? Were you open and honest in all your communications?

Rather than doing a post mortem on the relationship, do some soul searching, and if you could have done better, resolve to do better next time.

norabird posted 7/3/2014 08:25 AM

I tend to not be a big believer in beating oneself up after a relationship for what you coulda woulda shoulda done differently. that is to say I do beat myself up for this, but I think it's stupid behavior.

Yes, we could all improve our tempers, or our annoyance, or our irritating habits, or our tardiness or our OCD or our messiness, etc etc--but that is not the real issue here. It's not that you weren't patient enough. It's that he was not treating you well. And that is all that matters. If someone is purposefully saying hurtful things to hurt you, then you are right to leave them and should not doubt your decision. You bowed out on a red flag and were right to do so. It doesn't mean you don't still care for this guy or that he is an awful person. But he sounds like a bad partner.

No IC recommendation on my part but I do read and reread Baggage Reclaim when I'm struggling with what is healthy behavior.

Charity411 posted 7/3/2014 08:35 AM

I think we all doubt our decisions in relationships to varying degrees. But I don't think you are incapable of judging what normal disagreements and communications with a partner are and what is not from what you have posted.

Our normal tendencies, or at least mine anyway, when we love someone is to chalk asshole behaviour up to the person having a bad day. Or explain it away. Or what I classically do .....wonder what I did wrong and try harder to please them. That's unhealthy. That's not what you did. Something in his behaviour caused you to reach your breaking point and end it. And it probably wasn't that one thing he did that one day. You recognized a pattern you couldn't live with. It doesn't mean you didn't love Jekyll. You just couldn't live with Hyde.

I'm impressed with you. I loved a guy I dated for about 3-4 years for very good reasons. He was funny, great conversationalist, adventurous, and was the guy who everyone in and outside of town knows and genuinely likes. So I ignored the flaws. He was cheap and stubborn. And he uses people. He shows you a great time while he's using you but he's doing that none the less. I should have ended the relationship 2 years sooner than I did. I honestly don't know why I didn't. It had become a very one sided relationship and I just put up with it thinking something might change. I wish I that like you I would have looked at the flaws I couldn't live with sooner. I saw them because they were in front of my face, but I didn't really look at them and face the fact that to settle for him would be settling for a never ending term of gnawing unhappiness that wouldn't go away.

We are still friends. We can still have great conversations when we run into each other. But I have no regrets that I ended it other than not doing it sooner.

cayc posted 7/3/2014 08:54 AM

Well it was definitely a pattern on his part. So each time out the gate I reacted differently. I built up to the scorched earth policy I enacted this time over the last year. And the ugly stuff he said ... really mean, & always couched in terms of how much worse it is for him. And then the woe is me shit (the litany of all he does for me, true, so why am I not accepting his shit too).

If you were to describe to me how he was in Mr. Hyde mode, & that it happened with regularity, as if it were your guy, I'd be rolling my eyes at you for putting up with it.

So why do I feel guilty? Doubt my decision? Doubt my perception??? That's really where the decision doubt comes from I doubt my perception of events. Yeah there's the missing him, and the bevy of emotional support he gave me when he was "normal". That probably contributes too.

ProbableIceCream posted 7/3/2014 09:25 AM

Only you can know if you made the right decision. You have to come up with your own reasons and trust yourself.

I'm glad you stood up for yourself.

Amazonia posted 7/3/2014 10:03 AM

But I'm left with a lot of unresolved feelings & self doubt. Could I have been nicer? Was breaking up the right thing to do? Was the issue his behavior or how I handled it? I can't help but think I should have tried harder and that it could have been different.

Sometimes love isn't enough, and it's not a matter of pointing fingers or assigning blame - it's just being in different places at different times. Someone who could be perfect for you may not be perfect for you right this minute, because of where you or he or you both are in life. A lot of compatibility really boils down to being on the same page emotionally - and if past baggage is preventing either of you from being there, the emotional connection may not be enough to pull you to it.

He acted badly, you reacted badly, okay, we're all human. But the relationship is going in circles, the same patterns repeating, right? bad behavior, bad reaction, bad behavior, bad reaction. Both of you need to figure out your own ish - and that might mean you can't be together, because for a lot of people (including me personally),personal ish doesn't get worked out well in relationships. Some people are capable of that deep dig into their personal stuff while in a relationship, but many of us aren't. My theory is that relationships bring enough happy emotions that we can ignore or forgo the ugly personal stuff. (Or maybe that's just me. )

Sometimes love isn't enough.

cayc posted 7/3/2014 10:34 AM

I reacted badly? That's what I'm worried about. He was mean and I have two options, be nice & let him or stand up for myself. I did the latter but worry I should be doing the former. That I should be more understanding and forgiving.

And so I doubt my decision.

People tell me that you shouldn't put up with bad behavior but how do you know what bad behavior is? How do you define it? How am I supposed to know it when I see it?

I don't think I have issues to work out per se, and if I have to be perfect to be in a relationship then I'm going to never be in one. I also disagree about relationships and timing (being a good fit but at other points in our lives). Because if that's true, then how do you grow as a person but maintain a relationship overtime? We'd all constantly be moving on if that were the case.

Amazonia posted 7/3/2014 10:42 AM

Sorry - I meant that you perceive yourself as having reacted badly.


Because if that's true, then how do you grow as a person but maintain a relationship overtime? We'd all constantly be moving on if that were the case.

This is why I'm not interested in a long term relationship. I don't see it as realistic.

[This message edited by Amazonia at 10:43 AM, July 3rd (Thursday)]

Charity411 posted 7/3/2014 10:45 AM

If someone treats you badly on an ongoing basis, why do you think you have to be nice? You've said this was a pattern so obviously he did this on a regular basis and so you must have chosen to be nice all those other times. Did you ever adress this issue of Mr. Hyde with him any of those times? If you did and you saw no change, then you were right to make the second choice of ending it with him and you shouldn't question it at all. Because other wise you would have stayed in the relationship and started setting the bar lower and lower regarding how you wanted and needed to be treated.

Sad in AZ posted 7/3/2014 11:21 AM

cayc, if we've learned one thing here, it's that you can't 'nice' someone back into loving you--or in this case, treating you in a loving manner.

Have you struggled with co-dependency? This smacks of it. Don't let the wrong people steal your soul.

Crescita posted 7/3/2014 11:29 AM

I reacted badly?

Donít get too hung up on this. Even if you were somehow at fault, or you were provoking each other, that doesnít discount that his behavior was not okay for you. Two wrongs donít make a right.

No one can be perfect and forever above reproach but that doesnít give people a carte blanche to treat you poorly. He has to own his behavior, and you have to own yours. If you acted badly, resolve to act better, donít resolve to put up with bad behavior. You should expect forgiveness for some things, but remorseless cruelty isnít one of them.

Sazzy really nailed it with this;

Rather than doing a post mortem on the relationship, do some soul searching, and if you could have done better, resolve to do better next time.

Sorry you are hurting (((cayc))).

Red Sox Nation posted 7/3/2014 11:58 AM

How much of these doubts are about him, and how much are about wanting a good partner?

We all have these doubts when we break up with someone. It's harder to do the breaking than to be the breakee. I always found those doubts when I was having a lonely day. I tried to keep in mind one or two things about that person that would have made a long-term relationship impossible.

Hang on to that Hyde (in your mind). People aren't cartoon characters. That's always inside of him, and he makes a conscious effort to control it - then (most likely) less and less when he gets comfortable.

Again, it's hard to be the breaker-upper. Find the confidence to know that because you can do this when you need to do it, you are better prepared for taking on the dating world and finding success.

Artemisia posted 7/3/2014 11:58 AM

I'm sorry this is hard. Endings and changes and transitions are hard, no matter the topic or circumstances.

It hurts me to hear you doubting yourself so much, because I have done the same thing and I didn't find it healing. I really raked myself over the coals with the questions that you're facing. It was part of the process, but it wasn't where my acceptance or healing came or started from.

The thing about almost anything is YOU GET TO CHOOSE. You get to choose what is acceptable, in someone else's behavior and in your reaction and in the dynamic between the two. It sounds to me that his behavior was ultimately not acceptable to you (It wouldn't be for me, either, by the way). And that's the bottom line, and what I hope you will come to trust yourself on. In this situation, I see you setting your boundaries, and then honoring and living them. That is so amazing. I hope that you'll pass through this doubt and see how you stuck up for what you need. Hugs.

Williesmom posted 7/3/2014 12:00 PM

I don't believe that you were hasty in breaking up with him. A huge part of relationships is the ability to fight fair, and this guy never did that with you.

I think that you deserve to be love, cherished, and treated like the wonderful person that you are. With that said, I don't blame you for second guessing yourself. Be kind to yourself.

cayc posted 7/3/2014 12:16 PM

I really appreciate everyone's comments. That's why I titled this thread "reality check". I know I'm susceptible to letting my feelings for this man cloud my vision. And I fear back-sliding without a full arsenal of "no, you aren't crazy". Obviously the goal is to not need the hand holding to do that but since I'm not able to yet, this is all really helpful.

And yes ugh. I'm also just so sad at having to end this because like I said, I do care deeply for this guy. It's the having to accept that that isn't enough ... wow just hard to believe. And it goes without saying that I don't love Mr Hyde. He's a mean hurtful fucker that doesn't treat me respectfully at all.

Lonelygirl10 posted 7/3/2014 12:42 PM

People tell me that you shouldn't put up with bad behavior but how do you know what bad behavior is? How do you define it? How am I supposed to know it when I see it?

Oh man, I totally get that. I know you're familiar with my recent situation, because you gave me some good advice.

I think bad behavior is different for different people. What I think is bad behavior may not be bad behavior to you, and vice versa. One of the things that I really struggle with is tying to make my judgement of bad behavior be "normal" and react in the way that other people react. So in a given situation where I have to choose whether to be nice or stand up for myself, I question how other people would respond. But that shouldn't matter. What should matter is what *I* (and you) think is bad behavior, and then respond accordingly.

I've been having a lot of the same doubts about ending the thing with new guy. Every night this week I've been asking myself whether I did the right thing. Should I have been more understanding? Was I too hasty? Did I let other people's opinions of his behavior affect my decision? It's been driving me crazy. But every time I start to think those things, I try to make myself FEEL instead think. I turn off all my thoughts, and try to remember how he made me feel. There were moments where he made me feel happy, but he also made me feel bad about myself. Sure, there are a lot of excuses and maybe valid reasons for why he acted the way he did. And thinking makes me doubt my decision. But I felt bad about it.

I have a habit of staying in relationships for waaaay longer than I should. This time I was trying to avoid that, and so I'm having doubts that I did it too soon. I think doubts are normal.

Try turning off your brain, and listen to how you feel. Your feelings aren't right or wrong. Be true to yourself.

InnerLight posted 7/4/2014 10:40 AM

Your Mr Hyde sounds darn right abusive....and I think it's not unusual to have extra self doubt when dealing w an abusive person, even after it's over.

This morning I woke up kicking myself for taking way too long to breaki up w Jekyll / Hyde type from my twenties. He would be sweet and positive and complimentary, like he really 'got' me...and then he would say things like, 'don't expect me to take care of you if you get pregnant'. I remember feeling horrible when he said that. Just the pits! Who says that to someone they love? What a huge red flag! I feel bad for my young self that I stayed with him. And I stayed with him because I loved him for his good side. What a fool I was! I see now how this set me up for accepting bad behavior from my X, and then that affected a huge portion of my life since I was married so long.

Trust your gut feeling, that you knew when you banished him he was a hazard to your well being. Trust that part of you. There is no peace with someone like this bec you can never truly relax in the good times, wondering when the evil one will surprise you.

We all have dark sides, but that doesn't mean it's ok to bash our partner with them. You shouldn't have to override your gut and your feelings to be 'nice'. If you do you just turn into a twisted mirror image of his crazy-ness. And then you would have to spend years untwisting yourself in therapy, and there is so much more to enjoy in life.

This self doubt is triggered by this break up, but it's coming up so you can finally release it from your psyche and be open to something better.

I recommend EFT, or emotional freedom technique. It's great to do it with someone walking through the steps with you, you can also do it on your own. You can google videos of it to learn as well. It's simple and powerful. I now have an EFT practitioner I work with on the phone, she is wonderful, and in between I work on myself. It helps so much to let go of old beliefs that might have protected me as a kid, but hold me back as an adult.

Most of all, be kind to yourself. (((((Cayc))))

norabird posted 7/4/2014 10:47 AM

Cayc, after reading what you said about your 'bad' reaction (ie not rolling over and letting him be abusive), I want to tell you: nothing you did caused him to be abusive to you. It is not your fault that he was so cruel. He was not being cruel because that is somehow what you 'deserve' for standing up against a his bullying.

No one deserves to be treated cruelly by a partner. and it is not your job to be understanding when someone does this. It IS your job to stand up for yourself. You did that. Be proud.

((((& strength))))

Oh the Irony posted 7/4/2014 10:57 AM

I've so been there. I had a guy like that. I suspect he had borderline personality disorder. I was either the best thing EVER, or I was an awful, awful person.

It was a very confusing break up. I also did it suddenly. We had a decent day, but then he said something that basically meant he'd been "testing me" on purpose!! Like pushing my buttons, on purpose, to see if I would be nice or nasty about it. I broke up with him right then. And went through this cycle of self-doubt that you are in.

Do you want a relationship that makes you doubt your judgement?? Remind yourself that a great relationship doesn't make you doubt YOU. Make a list of the good stuff & make a list of the bad stuff. Don't let yourself romanticize the good stuff--in this case, if you focus on the good, you will make you doubt yourself more. In this situation, I do recommend holding the bad shit front and center.

Be careful, he won't take this all that well. Being friends with a guy like this is really hard after a break-up. It's easy for him to get you back in by being sweet, but have NO DOUBT that the cycle would continue. Much love.

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