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Why do I feel so bad about leaving?


New Here
I'm in the midst of breaking up with my partner of 3 years. My therapist says I pretty much have to - that the constant walking on eggshells has really made my C-PTSD grow.

I know deep down my therapist (and friends I've talked to) is right. Being in this relationship is causing me harm. I mean, I even get a stress-rash when I'm around her sometimes.

So then why can't I leave?

I did plan for a while - I put some money aside and even had a "bug-out" kit ready to go. And then one day the last big argument we had I just couldn't take it anymore and I grabbed my bag and left. I went to an aunt's house who was away overseas for a couple of months.

For the first night I felt 'safe' and had a good sleep. But then over the coming days the depression started to creep in more and more and more until it was unbearable. I ended up getting physically sick and even worse mentally - I couldn't leave the house, developed numb legs and couldn't even walk up a set of stairs. I ended up taking leave from work I was so depressed and unable to concentrate.

So I moved back - sort of. I came back but have been sleeping in another room. We've become roommates, living independently of each other, with not much affection. This is not ideal at all and feels worse, but at least the physical side of things got better and I was able to return to work.

I had a plan - I would stay at my aunts and find somewhere to live. I would keep communication to a minimum, I would join a gym, I would make an effort to hang out with friends more, I would indulge in my favourite pastimes. But my stupid brain and body prevented that and now I'm just about back where I started only with a more damaged psyche and relationship.

This is just so horrible. This "big step forward" was definitely 2 steps backward.
Someone on here once told me that one Step forward and two steps back, was still a step forward.

and my T once said to me that I was expecting something to be traumatic, when it might not be, it might just be incredibly hard.

and I say all that to you because:
if you left once, you can leave again.
and leaving again, doesn’t mean the same thing will happen.

maybe examine what ‘went wrong’ with the leaving. What triggered everything when you left?
and what was it that worked so well that first night?

if you can work these things out, next time you leave you might have more of a plan of how to manage.
I had a plan - I would stay at my aunts and find somewhere to live. I would keep communication to a minimum, I would join a gym, I would make an effort to hang out with friends more, I would indulge in my favourite pastimes.
This was an good plan.

And you now have a lot of information about what happens when you just walk out.

So, with all the information you now have: what worked (eg. aunt’s place felt safe), and what didn’t (eg. not enough support? not having fixed apportionments beforehand?). What can you do differently to make it work next time round?

Planning ahead, using the information you have from your own personal experience. That can make a huge difference.
Thanks @Movingforward10

I guess what triggered me leaving was an argument over money. After work one day I casually mentioned that I had gone over my personal budget for the week. My partner got quite silent and cold. When I asked what was wrong she said that if I had a budget it must mean that I had savings. It's true, I did have - and always had had - a small amount of savings in my account set aside of emergencies - I've never hidden this fact from her and have used it for such emergencies in the past (I treat it like a credit card). I explained this to her. She got upset that I wasn't sharing these savings with her by putting it in our joint bank account. She got angry saying I was being deceptive and non-committal for keeping this small savings amount private from her.

Now, I contribute more than her to our mortgage and and equal amount to our shared expenses. The emergency savings I have had not grown in years because pretty much all of my income had gone into our mortgage and expenses. I felt comfortable with the amount I was contributing and that my own personal bank account was frankly none of her business. This is when I actually started to get a bit mad, rather than fawning. I think this is because the facts where on my side:
  • I contribute more to our mortgage than you (almost double), and have used these savings to bail both of us out of situations
  • I pay for most outings from my own personal account, even though we have a shared account for this, because I like to treat you.
  • What I do with my income is my business, and I feel comfortable with how much I'm contributing, and furthermore I have never and would never tell you what you should be doing with your income
  • It's not related to my level of commitment to the relationship
I think the anger really helped me.

That night I also just felt tired, too. We'd had arguments probably 3 of every 4 nights recently and I was expecting it. I just didn't want to do it again.

I think what helped to was that she didn't try to stop me. She stayed out of the way as I got my things and left.
This was an good plan.

And you now have a lot of information about what happens when you just walk out.

Upside? IF it’s an abusive relationship, instead of just a bad one? You only have to leave 6 more times. Statistically. As most people leave an abusive relationship 7 times, before they stay gone.

A bad relationship? You could be doing this for the rest of your life. Or leave for good next time. No real clock on that.
I think the anger really helped me
Anger has a productivity and energy to it. Where as feeling low/depressed/fearful all create more passive energy.
And sometimes when the adrenaline is pumping, due to anger or another motivating emotion, then there can be a dip after it.

Do you want to leave?
If you do, how do you want to do it, and what support do you need to do the act of leaving, and the act of staying gone. Can you plan for all those.
Would it have helped if your Aunt was home and not away for a couple of months?
What about letting your work know and having some support in place of people checking in with you?
Or upping therapy if you are in it?

You can cope without her. It will be a big change leaving, and lots of things will be different: your home, your routine, your belongings. It's a complete upheaval. Is there a way of managing that differently next time?

That is if you want to leave, as I was also struck by your starting this thread saying your T wants you to leave, as do your friends who you talk to. Rather than you wanting to leave.