Breaking Trauma Bonds


A crush.  Panic.  Adrenaline.  Heartbeat.  Nerves.  Overheating.  Chest pain.  A twitch.  Is this supposed to be good?

Or just walking away from a date feeling like crap.  You get used to it, and you think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Or, you blame yourself for feeling bad.  He still wants to see you, and that’s good, so why do you feel bad?

When I see my girlfriend, I feel happy.  I never realized what crap I was putting myself through by having relationships with men until I experienced actual friendship with a (female) partner.  I never felt “crushed” around her.  Lucky me, we started off as friends.

With my first boyfriend, things were good at first.  We were both inexperienced.  We moved so slow.  We kissed so well.  Then we fucked, and the kissing was never the same.  When we broke up, I was sure I would never have sex with anyone ever again.  I couldn’t, after this betrayal.  The most horrifying, sickening part of being dumped was the knowledge that he’d been considering it for a while, he’d “fallen out of love” with me, he didn’t like or respect me anymore, AND YET he was willing to put me in compromising positions and fuck me.  I trusted him, I became so vulnerable for him, I let him do things to me only because he respected me, and then I realized he didn’t respect me after all.  He used me.  I felt so gross and worthless.  I was broken for months.


Not speaking to him after that was the best relationship decision I have ever made.  He still wanted me there to talk to him, be supportive.  He said I was incredibly selfish to withdraw, to place the boundary that prevented him from manipulating me and sucking my feminine energy.  I really didn’t have any to spare, because even though I wasn’t speaking to him, seeing him, following his life, all I did was think about him and hope we’d get back together eventually.  The first year after him was the most painful year of my life.  Most painful of any life moment so far, worse than the death of a relative.  It felt like my own death.  I was empty inside, looking at what had been taken from me after I had given so much.  It’s hard to imagine what would have been left of me had I let him abuse my friendship, if I had continued to give while he took, if I had helped to soothe his ego.  I had enough self preservation to see that it would have shattered me.  I saved myself by denying him access.

It was a hard line to draw.  He begged and pleaded.  He criticized.  I was selfish, unfair, irrational, unequal, I was holding all of the power.  I was cruel. Yet I was steadfast.  I am sometimes amazed that I had it in me.  I ignored his emails, blocked him on social networking, and resisted the urge to say hello, to open it up again in the hope that he really did miss me.  He dangled that carrot in front of me during our final conversation, and it tempted me many a time over the years.  But I had seen him take advantage of my desire for him while he remained aloof in return.  He took without giving, and that continued to wound me and sap me.  A real friend would acknowledge my need to heal.  A real friend would not accuse me of selfishness for trying to heal.  Either he would see that in time, or I wanted nothing to do with him.  This knowledge helped me keep the boundary firm.

Over the years there were some attempts at contact.  We emailed.  I still hoped, slightly.  Then I exploded with all my unspoken anger, and stopped hoping, and starting really healing.  Only the briefest of contact, once, since then.  I’m still curious sometimes if we’ll ever catch up, or if we’ll ever have that face-to-face meeting (he dumped me by email and we never saw each other after that).  Mostly, though, as the years tick by, I find myself caring less and less.  There is nothing good to remember.  The distance healed me.  My life is so different, and there is zero chance we have anything in common.  He hurt me, and I don’t want him in my life any more.  That’s a nice realization to have.

Another interesting realization is that none of my other boyfriends are worth keeping in touch with.  We never built a lasting friendship.  I have this dreaded sense of obligation to keep the door open, but there’s no joy in that.  I’m sure it would soothe us both to imagine that our failed relationship could have some meaning in the future, but sometimes the scalpel is preferable to the salve.

I am trying to develop a forward view.  I am trying to break the trauma-bonds.


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