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#354579 - 02/23/11 01:55 PM Ex-bf and flashbacks
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
I recently found out that my ex partner of 9 years has been "secretly" seeing one of my (our) old friends.

In all honesty, I have no idea as to the actual nature of their relationship, but finding this out by gossip has triggered me into a very deep rooted, possibly the very basic root, of my flashbacks.

The deterioration of our relationship can reasonably be blamed on both of our addictions. His turned him into someone I didn't know anymore not to mention I was triggered and afraid of him. Emotional numbing took me over and all of my decisions about us became completely mechanical. After realizing that I no longer could trust him, I had no choice but to end it. He showed little reaction.

I have since moved out and am dealing successfully with my alcohol problem, but since he still lives in the house with the same stressful job he maintains his terrible addiction (meth).

We both still love each other VERY much but we cannot go back to how it was. I think everyone will agree with me on that. Things really started to take a turn when he called me a couple months ago and told me he wants to quit the meth. I told him he has my absolute support in any way I can provide it. I didn't expect it at the time but this started me thinking about how things were before the addictions. I started to really look forward to seeing him and spend time with him when he could find time. He was letting himself fall behind on work to be able to spend time with me.

About two weeks into this newfound hope, various friends started telling me things that he had done with other men behind my back while we were still together, but never told me about any of it. Perhaps I was overly verbal with my friends about my new hope and thus prompted them to warn me, I can't tell for sure. This was very painful to hear, but excusable since they were right after I had told him about something impulsive that I had done with another guy while under the influence. As far as I'm concerned his going out and messing around was cathartic and quite forgivable. What I don't like is that he kept it from me while I was promptly honest about my mistakes.

The REAL hurt came from finding out that he has been seeing a friend of mine (ours, but I've know this guy for 10+ years) and hiding it from everyone, yet everyone knew there was something going on. Its also one of the guys he got physical with while we were still together but never told me about. One of our friends called him on it and my ex told him that he doesn't want me to know about it.

Okay, here's the problem. This situation has triggered a very deep flashback. I spend most of every day trying to suppress thoughts and images of them together, and I try with all my strength not to analyze and assume what might really be going on between them. As you might guess, its impossible to not be reminded of it.

The reason this is a flashback root for me, is I immediately remembered so many times throughout my youth having a deep crush on someone heterosexual (my abuser was hetero) and unavoidably finding out about him (my crush) having sex with a girl. It was most painful in high school when the guy I was crushing on (who I naturally made my "best friend" just to be around him as much as possible) for more than two years called me to tell me about having sex with a girl friend of ours. I've never felt a pain so deep and so long lasting in my life. It is this very pain that I am flashing back to.

I find myself second guessing everything I do, I am plagued with thoughts of insecurity, everything I say (to my ex) or do is reviewed with scrutiny and second guessed. I can clearly see the illogical nature of this, but since we are no longer a couple it is inappropriate for me to bring it up with him. So now the inability to verbalize my feelings about this has left me with this same horrible feeling of pain, worthlessness and insatiable longing. Sometimes I get so confused I can't even tell if I am flashing or if my instincts are telling me something valuable. I don't want him to know about all of these dark feelings but I can sort of see that it may actually be a healthy option in this situation, but in the past it has not been an option.

UGH!! Sorry for the long story but I had to get it all out.

I am so lost and confused. Can anyone shed some clarity on this? I thank anyone in advance for their comments.

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#354637 - 02/24/11 02:44 AM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: cbfull]
1.healing Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 261
Loc: NW Ohio
Craig,

Only we can fix ourselves and, yes, the help of others is essential in healing, but at the end of the day it's always up to us. Sounds like you made the choice to deal with your alcoholism and end an unhealthy relationship, not easy, you deserve a lot of credit. Your ex-partner is still immersed in his addiction and all the dysfunction and trouble that goes with it, like being secretive, dishonest and manipulative. Your sobriety and all the hard work you've done are in jeopardy as he pulls you back into the madness that is his life. Cutting ties to him and refocusing on your new life, your sobriety and your healing from csa is a better way to go. Take time to step away from the craziness and to find your center, that lost feeling and the confusion will go away and you'll feel in balance again.

Wishing you the best in this, I know it's difficult, but you've the strength and heart to move forward.

Gary


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#354672 - 02/24/11 10:43 AM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: 1.healing]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Thanks Gary.

It really helps to hear my personal accomplishment(s) emphasized like that. I was doing just fine keeping a safe distance from him and not allowing him to pull me back into anything. I guess the problem is the flashbacks causing me to try to reach out for an "instant fix" of my dark feelings. I realize that talking to him does not help at all. I just end up over analyzing his comments coming to any conclusion that fits into my "fear formula". That is something I have NEVER found myself doing with him before in all of our years together. I guess that's just the nature of the beast (flashbacks). We will see whatever scares us the most.

This is entirely within ME and no one else can take these feelings away. I must own these feelings, there is just no other way.

I have no intent of returning to the alcohol, the blackouts and the bruises were just too much to handle.

I guess what really helped remind of what path I need to be on was your validations. The secretiveness, dishonesty and manipulations are just completely unacceptable, plain and simple.

It would be great to hear from someone who was in a relationship with a meth addict and has witnessed similar behavior.

Thanks again!

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#354677 - 02/24/11 11:06 AM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: cbfull]
michael Joseph Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
Hi well I am sorry for the stuff you are dealing with. I do hope you can find someone who treats you better.

I was in a bad situation with someone who said they wanted me to be in a relationship. It never really was one, but that is another story.

Hugs Peace Joy and Love,

Michael joseph

_________________________
Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat

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#354729 - 02/24/11 07:25 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: cbfull]
westchesterguy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 421
Loc: Westchester County NY
Originally Posted By: cbfull
... I can clearly see the illogical nature of this, but since we are no longer a couple it is inappropriate for me to bring it up with him.So now the inability to verbalize my feelings about this has left me with this same horrible feeling of pain, worthlessness and insatiable longing. ...


sounds quite complex. dealing with your own childhood abuse recovery, dealing with addiction inside a relationship, dealing with the ending (possibly) of that relationship, which, being gay is i think harder to do in the first place.

wasn't quite sure about the flashbacks, maybe we have different definitions? this was bringing up that teen memory of a guy you liked who ended up with a girl... which left you out in the cold since we guys can't compete with a woman... am i right?

_________________________
Jeff

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#354754 - 02/24/11 08:52 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: westchesterguy]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Jeff,

Yes you are right! Flashbacks for me are entirely emotional. I left some stuff out because my story was getting a bit lengthy.

The high school situation left such an emotional scar because I continued to pine for him even several years after that incident. I was depressed all the time, I kept trying to change myself to be like him. That's quite a long time to be having feelings like that, four or five years.

A couple years after that, in college, a roommate started making regular comments to me that were filled with sexual innuendo. I immediately sank bank into the depression and internalized it completely. I kept telling myself that I was weak for not "making a move" and every moment of my days became a calculation of when I might have another opportunity to right the situation so I could stop beating myself to pieces. I realize now just how incredibly creepy he was.

Here's where the "trauma" settled in. One night we (there were a total of 4 roommates) had a big keg party and at the end of the night this really trashy girl would not leave. She clearly wanted to have sex with him and he told me he didn't know why she was hanging around. This confused me because they both went into his room. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling listening for any clues as to what they were doing. The whole time I was thinking that this incredibly dark and fearful feeling was going to make me insane. I was sure of it. I just kept waiting for insanity to take me, and I was terrified to my very core. On top of all this it was my junior year getting my chemical engineering degree so I was constantly overloaded with classwork. I just couldn't focus on my schoolwork. I don't know how I ever made it through and graduated.

I am flashing back to that same dark place. Im handling these feelings much better now, but I still struggle with terrible confusion and low self-esteem which didn't start until the flashback started. I never know if I am saying the wrong thing, or whether or not I should be ignore my ex (which doesn't sound healthy), how much support I should be giving him to help him get off the meth, especially since I told him I would give him 100% support.

I know for a fact that he has been clean for almost a week. The first week is the hardest part. He just barked at me in a text for not giving myself to his dilemma 100%, so I played it cool, waited a little while and then just texted "r u okay?" and he's holding out. I have to believe that it can't be all about him. I already beat myself up for sending that last little text, but I am letting myself off the hook because he needs help. I don't know when he'll realize that he barked at me unnecessarily but I can't be sitting around waiting for him to tell me how he feels.

I better stop here.

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#354756 - 02/24/11 09:05 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: cbfull]
devon0 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 45
Loc: TX, USA
CbFull, fwiw.... I found that flashbacks, although painful and disturbing, were an indication that I was not where I should be. They come up when I'm in a situation that reminds me of things I am trying to get past. In a way, they became a signal flag to me that I needed to get out of the situation I was in. I hope this is helpful.

_________________________
A life worth living.

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#354759 - 02/24/11 09:19 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: devon0]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
I think I understand what you mean devon0, and I agree. The last time I was in full flashback mode was with a coworker at my last job. I posted plenty about it on this site. In that situation, I wanted this very attractive man to be sexual with me, even though he is not gay. I found myself planning my day around when I go to his office for a visit, any I was literally *high* when he was nice to me, but then I would crash into terrible insecurity when I thought he was ignoring me. What a horrible roller coaster ride that was.

Does that sound like what you mean by being in a situation you need to get out of?

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#354769 - 02/24/11 10:05 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: cbfull]
devon0 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/00
Posts: 45
Loc: TX, USA
Ding! LOL.

_________________________
A life worth living.

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#354774 - 02/24/11 10:50 PM Re: Ex-bf and flashbacks [Re: devon0]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Thanks! I guess I'm struggling to try and understand how much similarity I should expect out of my current situation, given that this time the person is actually gay.

However, there are apparently still some similarities. Most importantly my ex is emotionally unavailable to me because of his addiction. Feel free to suggest other similarities, I think an outsider's perspective would be helpful.

I have to admit I am somewhat ashamed that the overwhelming feelings of insecurity that resulted from finding out about secrets he has been keeping from me, has caused me to become somewhat aggressive about reconnecting with him. That is quite unfortunate. I have to give myself credit though, in reality there was no real harm done by attempting to express my feelings, no matter how impulsive they were. What's important is that I realize that I am putting myself at risk to be hurt even more.

Clarity is such an unbelievably important thing for any of us to have. We all need it and I believe that we should strive for it any way we can. That's why I like to say that slow, deep breaths are how I give hugs to myself.

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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