Owning my Part in a Broken Relationship

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
Hello Friends,

So, as you may know from my other threads, I have suffered a lot of abuse. In the aftermath, I spent 6 years basically self isolated in my house so stricken with Social Anxiety (among other things) that I just could not even function in the outside world. Just coming out of this, I took to drinking alcohol in an effort to reconnect with people in the world outside my home. It worked splendidly, or so it seemed. I didn't realize at the time that I was in denial and masking my issues.

I got out of the house! And I was socializing. In my twisted thinking, I was just going to charge the world head on and at least enjoy a little bit of whatever time I have left on earth. Bad idea!

I ended up in a romantic relationship with a dear lady. Turns out she has her issues too. Whereas I operate on the extreme "flight" end of the fight or flight response tending toward avoidance, she operates more on the fight side of the spectrum tending toward confrontation. Fire and ice! We had a lot of good times together and everyone thought we were a perfect match for each other. Maybe if we were both less damaged this would have been true. But what is, is. It didn't work out.

She repeatedly aggressed me verbally. I set a boundary that she kept crossing. I fled.

Now, some 4 to 6 months down the road, I am sober and processing my stuff personally and in therapy. I am facing who I really am now, a person totally different than I used to be, different than I thought I might be when I was drinking. In coming to terms with who I am, I am also seeing how painful it can be for people trying to get close to me.

Upon realizing how painful it can be to get close to me and how I seek out intimacy and then can't bear it, my heart is pressed to make ammends, own my part in the broken relationship, and hope that this lady and I can at least have a decent friendship. We both highly value each other's friendship and think well of each other despite our breakup.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a letter to my lady friend entitled, "What Happened?" I proceeded to delineate how I had failed on my end of the relationship. I didn't address her part in the situation. I feel that is up to her to address. I can only speculate. Nobody knows exactly what is going on in another person's heart.

Out of respect for her, I did not send her the letter immediately. I wanted some distance from the letter so that I could review it and be sure it was what I wanted to say. I also was awaiting her response to my reaching back out to her on social media for friendly chit chat.

Over the last couple weeks she and I have reconnected via social media. She's been a bit distant with short replies to my attempts. Yesterday I wished her Happy Thanksgiving. Today we chatted a little over that. I asked her if she would be interested in reading my letter. I didn't want to send it unless she wanted me to. She invited me to send it.

Now I'm waiting.

I've been pretty much a total nervous wreck over this letter. It's a big step for me. It's the first occasion I've had to own up to my shortcomings, my new reality, and how it must have been very devastating for her that I pulled away.

I don't know what I expect from this forum in regards to this situation. Perhaps just simply to share and be heard. Perhaps to hear responses from you. Certainly to be encouraged! I feel like I need all the insight and encouragement I can get.

My mood is good, but my bodily response is very high energy anxious. My thoughts are not particularly racing or negative, just kind of wrapped up in this situation.

I appreciate any feedback you share.

Thanks always,
Woodsy
 

RussellSue

Not Active
my heart is pressed to make ammends, own my part in the broken relationship, and hope that this lady and I can at least have a decent friendship. We both highly value each other's friendship and think well of each other despite our breakup.
I hate being alone. I mean really hate being alone. When I got sober, I got into a relationship, immediately, against every shred of advice I got.

But I remember a dear friend in meetings saying something like, I say get into a relationship in early sobriety. There's no better way to get close to God in a hurry. Which was basically saying that relationships are HARD and will force you to deal with your shit. And that is true.

I understood more later when realizing that even "normal" people are sometimes horrible at being alone and that there wasn't anything wrong with me seeking relationships, necessarily but that it did add an extra element that was often very hard to manage on top of the trauma, tendency to depend on alcohol, anxiety, etc.

Knowing that your friend has her own issues going on and I assume that she drinks because you made this friend while drinking and since you are attempting to stay sober - I do want to offer the word of caution that staying sober while trying to be in a friendship or more involved relationship with someone who drinks is VERY, VERY HARD. Doing this led me to a very nasty relapse and that is pretty common.

Best of luck to you with this. I understand the need for connection and amends but I can really see this going a direction that might be very hard to handle. I hope that this does not happen.
 
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woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
I hate being alone. I mean really hate being alone. When I got sober, I got into a relationship, immediately, against every shred of advice I got.

But I remember a dear friend in meetings saying something like, I say get into a relationship in early sobriety. There's no better way to get close to God in a hurry. Which was basically saying that relationships are HARD and will force you to deal with your shit. And that is true.

I understood more later when realizing that even "normal" people are sometimes horrible at being alone and that there wasn't anything wrong with me seeking relationships, necessarily but that it did add an extra element that was often very hard to manage on top of the trauma, tendency to depend on alcohol, anxiety, etc.

Knowing that your friend has her own issues going on and I assume that she drinks because you made this friend while drinking and I think you are attempting to stay sober - I do want to offer the word of caution that staying sober while trying to be in a friendship or more involved relationship with someone who drinks is VERY, VERY HARD. Doing this led me to a very nasty relapse and that is pretty common.

Best of luck to you with this. I understand the need for connection and amends but I can really see this going a direction that might be very hard to handle. I hope that this does not happen.
Thank you, @RussellSue. We actually both quit drinking at the same time the relationship was coming to an end. How ironic, right? She realized that drinking brought out the aggressive in her, and I just simply didn't want to keep drinking. Not even sure why I quit beyond that.

I've tried drinking once since then, thinking it would ease my PTSD symptoms, but boy was I wrong. It was a miserable experience that convinced me I likely wont ever drink again. On that front, I think we are OK.

On the friendship after having been romantic front, that's a different story. I can see where it could be very hard for both of us. That's why we're having a tentative social media only relationship right now. I don't think either of us wants to be romantic again BUT, as I said before, we never know what someone else is thinking/feeling until they tell us. In addition, sometimes we aren't even really good at knowing what WE ourselves are thinking/feeling. That's a truth I've come to know through this entire process of recovery.

I think it is healing to at least find closure and give space for expression of our disappointments and hurt. That's what I'm aiming for. And, maybe, if it is possible, a continued friendship. We'll have to take that one day at a time and see how it goes--VERY SLOWLY and CAREFULLY.

Believe me, I appreciate your feedback and cautionary note. I will be communicating on this forum regularly and very likely bring this to my therapist. I don't want for either of us to tailspin because of our relationship.

Thanks so much, @RussellSue. I appreciate you!
Woodsy
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Good on you for getting sober and owning your own part....both take lots of work!

Thank you, @RussellSue. We actually both quit drinking at the same time the relationship was coming to an end. How ironic, right? She realized that drinking brought out the aggressive in her, and I just simply didn't want to keep drinking. Not even sure why I quit beyond that.

I've tried drinking once since then, thinking it would ease my PTSD symptoms, but boy was I wrong. It was a miserable experience that convinced me I likely wont ever drink again. On that front, I think we are OK.

On the friendship after having been romantic front, that's a different story. I can see where it could be very hard for both of us. That's why we're having a tentative social media only relationship right now. I don't think either of us wants to be romantic again BUT, as I said before, we never know what someone else is thinking/feeling until they tell us. In addition, sometimes we aren't even really good at knowing what WE ourselves are thinking/feeling. That's a truth I've come to know through this entire process of recovery.

I think it is healing to at least find closure and give space for expression of our disappointments and hurt. That's what I'm aiming for. And, maybe, if it is possible, a continued friendship. We'll have to take that one day at a time and see how it goes--VERY SLOWLY and CAREFULLY.

Believe me, I appreciate your feedback and cautionary note. I will be communicating on this forum regularly and very likely bring this to my therapist. I don't want for either of us to tailspin because of our relationship.

Thanks so much, @RussellSue. I appreciate you!
Woodsy
pa
 

JRRTG

Learning
Hey again. Just checking out peoples posts. This struck a cord for me. I am going through something similar, me being the other side (maybe not verbally aggressive though). I feel her pain but I feel your pain too.

The situation (the avoidant ex) for me pulled away a lot and it hurt like hell. We’ve gone back to one another a few times however the hurt just built up on my side and I’ve almost become the avoider and have locked myself away from him (emotionally).

Would I appreciate a letter from him? Not right now I don’t think. I’d need some time to heal before reading that! However, losing people and my needs being ignored are triggers for me so I guess it be different for anyone.

I guess you also have to do what is right for you!

Relationships, hey?
 

Toren

Learning
Reminds me of that sage advice of speaking your truth to someone with good intent without being attached to the outcome which is not under your control. Maybe a good exercise in this? Brave is good. Bravely kind to self and others? That's arduous and beautiful.
 
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