August 6, 2020 at 10:08 pm #115378
This may well be a long post post, so please bear with me. This post will jump back and forth to signify the things I have come to realise.
3 weeks ago now my ex broke up with me.
Backstory: We are 2 Aussies (her 32 and me 26), met and living in Japan, we had been together for nearly 4 years, with a year and a half of that being long distance.
On the surface, the reason that we broke up is because I would argue with others constantly, and when I thought I was right and they wouldn’t accept me as being right (often times, I was legitimately correct, factually speaking), I would double down and become condescending and nasty. I failed to just let it go and walk away. It had started becoming a pattern and getting more frequent and the final straw for my ex was when she saw me lash out at a friend I’ve known for over a decade. These were a by-product of a lot of internalised self-anger that I had been storing for quite some time. My ex mentioned that this was just too much of a red flag to continue moving forward and that while she did still love me, she didn’t think it was forever love.
Now it’s important to note that I never treated my ex this way. She is the one person in my life that I have never been able to be angry with. Frustrated, sure, but never angry.
Through out the two weeks after we had hot and cold moments. Sunday, one week after the break out, she was hungover from drinking and partying on her own in her apartment the night before. We ended up chatting on the phone for more than 5 hours, including going to McDonalds together and then chatting and watching a couple of movies together, all while on the phone. The next day was minimal contact.
About 9 days ago, there was an major earthquake warning (turned out to be a false alarm) and as soon as it was broadcast to our phones, we both messaged each other to make sure we were safe. The rest of the day was minimal contact.
1 week ago, after a night of no sleep, I made the cardinal sin. I got emotional, clingy and needy. It was bad and despite being genuine with everything I said, albeit very broken, I can see now that the things I said could have been taken as emotionally manipulative. I start NC the day and am now one day 6.
Over the last 6 days my head has cleared a lot. I’ve started seeing a therapist but I’ve also realised a lot of things about my self that are honestly uncomfortable. I have a bit of a duality in my personality. When I’m alone with her, she has the pure version of me. The true me. But when another social presence is introduced, be it online, in person, family, friend or stranger, I have a lot of walls I erect and I become very socially controlling, lacking empathy, selfish and attention seeking.
I’ve recognised where this comes from. From year 0.5 to year 2.5 in Japan I was a teacher in Japanese elementary schools. In these schools I dealt with a lot of (for lack of a better term) sexual abuse. On an almost daily basis I would experience anything in the range of being groped, poked, prodded or punched. I once had a finger wormed between my buttcheeks. This all came from students and no matter who I told (managers, supervisors, etc), or how much I protested, this continued. No one made any effort to put a stop to it. I was powerless and could only deal with it until my contract ran out. I was miserable. I think that during this time 2 things happened. I developed inner demons that have continued to grow and warp my social personality to the point where it is vastly different from who I am when alone with my ex and who I want to be as a person.
The other thing that happened is that I started to get angry. To give back story here, I was bullied a lot in school because I was quick to anger and get a reaction from. By the age of 16 I learned to just let that anger wash over me, but as a result of the feelings of powerlessness and lack of control, some of the anger returned. I started to internalise it, and kept it as a ball. Then I would get angry at the fact that I wasn’t letting go of the anger and another layer would be added to the ball. Initially this had little effect on me, but over time more and more layers were added to this ball and occasionally I would snap. But as I mentioned, these outbursts became more and more frequent.
Through a lot of research, I have come to realise that demons aren’t something to be defeated. They are lessons we failed or avoided learning. Now I have to learn from my demons, which is terrifying because it means re-living that trauma and accepting it, forgiving it, and forgiving myself for the way I have behaved.
Originally I planned on doing 14 days of NC. And at the rate I’m going, I think I’ll be in a good enough head space to contact her at the end of it. I won’t have fully made peace with my demons, but that will be a long journey I suspect.
Yesterday I commented on a mutual friend’s Facebook post about a black family being detained over a falsely identified stolen car. I mentioned that I had been in a similar situation, but that in case the situation was rectified very quickly and that what happened with the family was appalling. Early today my ex responded to my comment (the first contact I’ve received since starting NC). She challenged my views on what was happening, and how the family would have felt. I also feel like she was challenging my ability to not double down and argue back.
I agreed with her, and accepted what she said, while also correcting what I had originally said to add more context.
Do you think this counts as breaking NC? Nothing else has been said since, and I don’t plan on responding any more to it.
Should I be extending NC longer? I was originally aiming to finish on the 17th and write a letter using the Elephant in the Room approach (she loves stationary so I felt that a letter would be a bit more personal and show more effort), because the new season of Lucifer starts on the 21st, and after we broke up, she expressed interest in still watching it with me (we watched the previous episodes together, so it’s kind of an “us” thing) and I’d still like to have that option if it’s possible.
Thoughts?August 7, 2020 at 3:21 am #115383
@Matt11 You seem to be making lots excuses for your bad thoughts and behaviors. How is it that elementary children could physically abuse a grown man? If the school supervisors wouldn’t do anything to resolve the issue, you should’ve quit, contract or no contract..
And being bullied in school is no excuse for your belligerent behaviors. Even though you said you didn’t mentally abuse your ex, she saw the red flag! She probably thought sooner or later you would treat her the same as you treated others..
Whether or not your egotistical argumentative attitude derives from past experiences is something to explore with your therapist, but changing your core beliefs will take a good long while!
I suggest you stop looking for things on Facebook to comment on and focus on your therapy.
Yes, no contact was broken when you responded to her Facebook comment. Continue no contact and maybe, just maybe she will agree to watch some of the new season of Lucifer with you. In the meantime, practice being considerate of other people and their opinions. Put their feelings first, be kind/respectful and don’t verbally abuse them!
Good luck..August 7, 2020 at 8:58 pm #115393
@patricia12 thanks for taking the time to respond. I don’t think I’m making excuses for my behaviours, rather realising where the behaviours have stemmed from.
You’d be surprised at how easy it is for kids to sexually abuse an adult. Keep in mind at the time I was living in a small country town, barely spoke the local language, and stuck out like a sore thumb because I was one of 11 white people in a town of 70,000. I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m just trying to give some context.
You’re right, I could have quit, however finding a new job that did not require any level of Japanese fluency is basically impossible out there. Unfortunately my only course of action was to wait until my contract was up so I could go elsewhere.
Please understand that when I say I was bullied a lot in school, I’m not making excuses. We are all products of our past. Our past shapes the personality, behaviours, and reactions we exhibit in the future. I personally think it’s extremely important to understand our past, to learn from it, so that we can mould ourselves into something better based on that.
You’re absolutely right that even though I didn’t treat her that way, in her head she would have been wondering “how long until he does”
I think ultimately, I’m taking all the appropriate steps I need to be taking to better myself. I’m trying to learn from my past, from the traumas I experienced, and not let the negative behaviours take over. It’s not a quick process, and will take a lot of work, I’m just looking for support and understanding I guess.
At this stage, I’m thinking of extending NC to a full month.August 7, 2020 at 10:39 pm #115394
@Matt11 I think at least a month of strict NC is a good idea..
Your determination will help you become a nicer person.
Take care and stay safe:)August 8, 2020 at 4:23 am #115399
Update: Had to break no contact today.
I checked my bank account and noticed that my ex had sent me some money. I had loaned her a bit of money not long ago, but what she sent wasn’t the total amount, and I didn’t expect anything yet, so I just sent her a simple message asking if that was just a repayment.
She messaged back almost immediately and attempted to engage in some warm conversation, but also taking a while to respond between messages.
I shut the conversation down but just told her I don’t want to be rude but I’m trying to work on myself and I think we should do radio silence for a while, if there’s anything important that she can reach out, but other than that, I’ll message her when I’m ready.
The response I got was simply “ok, sounds good. Bye.” which was quite cold from her. I’m trying not to look into it too much but it sounds like she’s upset, which I hate, and almost makes me feel manipulative, but I think it’s a good sign.
One of my friends who has been quite supportive (actually the friend I lashed out at that happened to be the last straw) has been talking to my ex a little and mentioned that I started seeing a psych. I’ve been told that my ex responded favourably to that.
3 weeks to go!August 8, 2020 at 9:21 pm #115402
@Matt11 You checked your bank account and noticed she sent some money? Sounds like she has your bank account number. If so, that’s strange and unusual. Mostly married people know the account numbers.
Sounds like there were several messages going back and forth between you two. Logically no contact would need to start over again. Therefore, 4 weeks to go.. right?August 8, 2020 at 10:31 pm #115407
She has my bank details in so far as she has the ability to send me money, but cannot take money. It’s very common in Australia for that to be the case, and I guess even though we’re in Japan that’s something we’ve brought over with us. Either way, we were together for four years, so our finances crossed multiple times (nothing heavy, but if either of us were short here of there, we’d help each other out).
In total,. there were 9 messages yesterday, 4 from me, 5 from her. It wasn’t a long exchange, rather short, and I shut it down relatively quickly.
In terms of starting NC from scratch, my understanding is that the main focus is for me to get my head in the right space, and I don’t think I regressed at all with the contact the we had yesterday, so I think 3 weeks is still OK, especially considering when I started, I was only intending to do 2 weeks NC.August 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm #115410
@Matt11 What was your general impression of the content of the 5 messages she sent? Whenever you initiate contact, what do you hope to accomplish in the first few messages?
How often do you visit the psychologist?August 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm #115413
My general impression was that she was warm and wanted to continue talking. Until I shut it down, then she seemed upset.
Do you mean what do I hope to accomplish when I re-initiate contact in the future? Or what did I hope to accomplish here?
Currently seeing a psych once a week.August 10, 2020 at 2:24 am #115414
@Matt11 “Do you mean what do I hope to accomplish when I re-initiate contact in the future?” YESAugust 10, 2020 at 2:28 am #115415
@Patricia12 I hope to start off by reigniting familiarity. I know that we’re not instantly going to get back together, so I want to take the time to work towards that by showing her that I am working on myself, and steadily open her mind to the possibility of getting back together to build something better and stronger.August 10, 2020 at 3:49 am #115416
@Matt11 Sounds like a great plan:) In addition to exploring your past to try and determine the root cause of your anger, you will also need to learn how to think carefully before you speak so as not to verbally abuse people. I’m not saying to act/speak pretentiously, but to practice kindness until it becomes automatic..
I can sense your strong desire to improve the way you interact with people and I wish you success! You will most definitely find life in general more pleasant. Happiness/joy is a main goal of everyone:)August 14, 2020 at 12:19 am #115441
Update: A couple of days ago her friend had her birthday. I met this friend once about a year and a half ago when she came to visit. My ex posted on her friend’s FB page wishing her a happy birthday as well as sharing 3 photos from that trip, one including me, and tagged me in the post. I had specifically told her that I wanted to do no contact for a while and that I would reach out to her when I was ready. I also know that the two of them have more recent photos together than those three, and definitely have a lot more photos together without me in them, so I’m a little confused why she would post that one in particular and tag me. Thoughts?
Basically the two reasons I can think of are that I was on her mind and she’s missing me (doesn’t mean she wants to get back together) or that she’s trying to torture me, and I know she’s not trying to torture me. Does my rationalisation make sense? I’m trying not to look into it too much.August 14, 2020 at 3:00 am #115444
@Matt11 The day or event shown in the 3 photos may have had some significance. Maybe something related to her friends birthday.
How do you know she has more recent photos? Did one of them travel to see the other? How far apart are they?
Don’t stalk social media and try to stop trying to make sense of posts. Continue no contact..August 14, 2020 at 3:42 am #115447
@patricia12 That particular day had no more significance than the rest of her friend’s visit, it was a different time of year.
I know they have more recent photos because while we were together, my ex traveled back to Aus for a wedding where they were both bridesmaids and I saw the photos.
Don’t worry, I’m not stalking SM, I was tagged so I got a notification.
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