I have had my fair share experience with bad breakups, well is there any good breakup?! I don’t think so, some endings may be more peaceful than others, but they end up all being upsetting and for some even traumatic. That’s probably why I am so devoted to always finding new ways to help heal a broken heart. At one point I was so used to having to put my heart back together, that I developed a soft spot for those in this type of pain.
I am going to write about my first breakup that was not only tough, because it was my first real heartbreak experience but was also by far one of the worst experiences I have had and quite a traumatic one. Bear in mind that I am not writing my experience from a therapist point of view nor am I analysing my experience in any way, simply telling it as it was for me, from a human experience.
I met this guy back in 1994 when I was 16 years old whilst he was turning 23 and we became boyfriend-girlfriend soon after we met. That’s already a great start eh?! Considerably older and with such rapid relationship development… Back when I was 16 I simply did not consider this age gap a problem, if anything in those days, that’s probably what made me feel attracted to him in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I judge age differences anyway, however when you think about my age at the time I was a teenager and he was an adult, and in such cases this gap is not only more significant but as teenagers we are not yet equipped to make the most reasonable decisions. Even though I still feel I am responsible for my choices even if not properly and appropriately thought out.
We had a relationship that lasted 4 years and as much as I would like to express details or events during this relationship – I simply cannot recall a large chunk of it! I can recall properly what I have done by myself, like taking my driver’s licence and have memories of school and work because he is not present in those memories, but the times we spent together I cannot access other than bits and bobs from when we started dating and the time leading to the breakup itself and obviously afterwards. I hated myself so badly for allowing this person in my life that all I wanted was for this person to cease to exist in my mind and I guess in a way I did just that…
So I will describe as best as possible the memories I can access.
I remember that we met at a bar, but soon after we started dating he stopped enjoying bars, clubs, parties, you name it… So I guess we would drive around town and for the majority of times we would end up going to his parents’ house.
I was very bubbly and at 16 was starting to enjoy the freedom that comes with being a teenager, like going out with my friends and discovering who I am and who I wanted to be. However, this relationship meant that this phase was interrupted.
I recall him not being happy with any interaction with my friends, and in fact he would constantly criticise anyone who I maintained any form of contact with, in his words – girls were promiscuous and boys were not trustworthy… Especially when I was invited by my friends at the time to hang out with them, he would speak ill of everyone as to justify why I shouldn’t accept any invitation from them.
After 4 years of this, what I can only call an unhealthy relationship, he was working in another part of the country and would return every weekend where he would make remarks that ‘people’ would have seen me in bars with other guys during the week, which was not true! So at the beginning of these accusations I would question who were these people that kept seeing me every week in bars with other guys, they must have mistaken me for somebody else or they are simply messing around telling lies, I thought. But he would avoid telling who they were and was when he started to become very defensive about it that I began considering that he was the one lying.
Soon enough a friend of mine was planning her birthday and she invited us to come to her party. I knew he would make excuses not to come as always, and at that stage (now with almost 20 years of age) I told him that I understood he wouldn’t want to go and that I would go by myself. So I went to her birthday party, which started at her house, followed by a bar and to finalise the night we went to a disco or as we say these days a club.
At the club I saw him at a distance staring at me and that really bothered me… He wouldn’t get near me but wouldn’t stop staring either, I believe he thought I hadn’t seen him. The next day he described every step I took that night, so not only was he at the club he had followed me since I left home… I was perplexed at his sneaky behaviour and honestly quite scared.
Later that day I told him I would meet the same girlfriend (the birthday friend) and that we would go to the beach. He was so upset that I would dare to go out with this person that he would describe many times as a bad apple, that he hit me… I ended the relationship right there. I was confused, hurt, betrayed and worse of all, I felt betrayed by myself – how could I allow myself to be with that person? How could I have left myself down so badly? I blamed myself for a long time for even meeting him. But the worst was yet to come…
Soon after I broke up with him, most of my “friends” were comforting him and soon almost everyone in town was looking down on me and making unpleasant comments relating to the fact that I stopped speaking to him. People had no idea what went on in this relationship and before they knew what really happened, he stepped in with his version of events that were nothing short of extraordinary lies, straight out of his twisted imagination, where he was a real victim and I was a terrible girl, ill intended, who broke his heart, that I couldn’t even have the decency of talking to him anymore.
Whilst he was entertaining my “so called friends” – including the ‘birthday girl’ as well as entertaining the rest of the town, he was also leaving voicemails several times day and night, but he kept it from everyone else!
I was receiving constant calls and letters from him which started with him telling me how much he loved me, that he wanted to talk to me, etc… Then he changed his tone to saying that if I wasn’t his I wasn’t going to be for anybody else, then soon escalated to him threatening to kill me and every male that I would simply be in contact with… This lasted for far too long… These are some of the most twisted messages, to hear someone tell you they love you and that they will kill you in the same sentence… It’s awfully scary!
Not only was he living a double life, being a victim to everyone in town, he would hide to every single person his real intentions, and the fact that he was trying to isolate me from everyone, I had no one to tell what he was still doing to me. He would stalk me, call me, write to my home address, and once I arrived home he would stay in his car near my home late at night, I could see him from my bedroom window… Thankfully I lived in a penthouse apartment.
To think that I once thought I loved this person and now not only was my life upside down he was terrorising me.
He would go to my friends’ houses and feed them stories about how sensitive he was and how much he was suffering because of me… He was so confident that he even went to my parents’ home in my absence and asked them not to tell me and they didn’t at the time! He was charming and convincing and that contributed to how dangerous he could be.
I felt very lonely, broken-hearted, betrayed, sad, disappointed, frustrated, misunderstood, belittled, ostracised, neglected, unsafe, ridiculed… But never powerless, as I would dress up and go out even if by myself sometimes! I felt that I was manipulated, used for far too long and that I wouldn’t give him or anyone else what they wanted, especially if that was to my detriment. I was not going to give him that! But it was not easy…
His threats and stalking behaviour lasted for a long time, years later he would say to someone once close to me that he was still sleeping with my picture under his pillow…
These so-called friends at the time would reach me to simply talk about him, doing his dirty business for him.
I was so disgusted by his behaviour and by how easily others believed him without so much as to question certain obvious facts, that I asked them not to talk about him in my presence nor even to mention his name, I was so fed up with too much gossip and huge lack of care. As they were already so influenced by him, everything I could possibly say or do would be used against me, so to say that I would not only not talk to him but refused to talk about him made me seem even more “the evil” one to them.
At one point I went to the police with recording messages from him and letters, but they didn’t file a report, they didn’t even take note… I felt let down by everyone at this stage… Was only when his parents found him a job abroad that I had stopped hearing directly from him for a while, but years later he was in town on holidays and his sickening behaviour persisted…
I didn’t find peace from his threats that easily. They lasted for a long time… But I was determined to live my life without him in it.
I had to rediscover myself, concentrate on what I really wanted, thinking for myself, and that was a blessing! I have since created opportunities to make new friends and rebuild my life in many different aspects.
I travelled, learned a second language, resided in different countries, studied a lot, met fascinating people and most of all, I learned a big lesson: I learned to love myself, to be accepting of my own suffering nonjudgmentally, with more kindness and compassion for myself and others.
I learned that not everything is fixed, actually the majority isn’t, circumstances do change just like our emotions, we don’t have to be stuck in a bad situation forever nor our feelings of sadness are permanent. I also learned from other relationships and even ended up marrying! Today I am happily married and that wasn’t even on my mind when I met my other half.
I learned that around every corner there’s an opportunity to change directions, to do and to be what we aspire to be. And with this new sense of being, this new sense of self, I discovered my calling – I became a therapist and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to come into contact with so many incredible individuals.
I can definitely say: I am happy after him! #happyafteryou
Thank you for reading.
Wishing you a kind recovery,