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I've never used a support group or anything like this, so I

Thank you for anyone who reads this. I feel trapped and scared, and I do not know where else to go.

I've never used a support group or anything like this, so I'm very new. I dated a sociopath for three years, and that may not seem like a lot, but I met him, we'll call him x, when I was sixteen. He lived with my dad and I my senior year of high school for a year, and I broke it off last may with him, but we have been on and off ever since. I am now 20 years old and still trying to end things.

We never got the title back, because I know he will not change, and it was so difficult to break up with x the first time. He never said it, but made me feel he would commit suicide if I left him. He had terrible rage, and he has scared me very much. I was in denial about the abuse, because x was so good at blaming it on me. I actually thought I was the abuser.

He would create fights out of nothing, gaslight me to the point where he could tell me the sky was on fire, and the ocean wasn't real, and I would believe it. He got me to doubt my reality where I did not trust myself with anything.

I remember sitting in my closet, while he screamed at me, and when I was shaking in tears, he would rub my back and act like he was helping me. And when I would tell him he was screaming, he would say "No I didn't, I just want to take care of you." He would go back to screaming, and pretend he did not do it. I looked at him and said "You make me feel like I'm on some type of drug and I'm hallucinating."

He only physically hurt me once, but he slit my wrists and made me believe it was me. I went to the hospital and told no one, because I had no idea how I could of done this to myself, because I was trying to save him from a suicide attempt, I was not trying to harm myself. This suicide attempt he made was not out of sadness, but rage. The rage may have come from sadness, but he was angry and grabbed a knife. I know I didn't hurt myself, because after I was bleeding, I told him to get away from me. He kept getting closer and saying he was just trying to get the knife out of my hand, but I was only holding it so he wouldn't get it. I blacked out, and while I was sober, so much of that night I do not remember. It feels like a dream. I swung the knife in front of me back and fourth because he kept getting closer and I kept telling him to stop moving and that he was scaring me. He did not look like he was trying to help. I remember trying to call 911 so he couldn't hurt me again, but I couldn't get to the phone so I ended up screaming and saying "Help me, call the cops please". I got around 7 stitches for slits in my wrists, and a couple in my palm from pulling the knife out while he tried to jam it into his chest.

I feel so much pain for him, but he attacked me. And he denied it. I didn't remember what happened because it was so much trauma, but I had flashbacks for months. And no support, because I didn't tell anyone. I was so codependent on him, I didn't want anyone to tell me to stay away from him.

I felt like a child who lost their parent without him, even though he was almost never there for me. My dad passed away a month and a half ago, and x did not even show up to the funeral. He told me he would meet me there at 5, but blew me off, and made it about himself.

Whenever I called him for help, it ended in him being suicidal and me having to take care of him. I had a very bad home life full of verbal abuse and gas lighting, so I was used to this. I'm finally starting to realize this isn't normal. And I want to get out of this terrible cycle with x but I do not know how. I have a lot of mental health problems because of my abuse growing up. I have flashbacks of sexual abuse that feels like it happened when I was about three, but no actual memory of the trauma.

Now that my dad is gone, I have to pay for our apartment, so I took up working full time, and I go to school full time, but I'm on the brink of an emotional breakdown, and I have so many anxiety attacks every day. I feel so trapped, and I just keep going back to x. I have support, but it's not very good support, and I am so afraid to go back to x. He scares me, and makes me have breakdowns. I keep forgetting how awful he is, and seeing him again. Because when he is good to me, he treats me like a princess. He acts like the most amazing soul I have ever met, and I have never connected with anyone like I have with him. I loved him so deeply, and we have so many memories together. I have many mixed emotions, and he was my best friend.

It is tremendously difficult trying to get away from him. I know why he acts the way he does, because his father was incredibly verbally abusive, and I think his parents neglected him, but I do not deserve this. And not all trauma survivors act like this. I am an Empath, and feel others pain very deeply. I want to live my life bringing as much love to this world as I can, so when I realized he was a sociopath, I thought I could help him. I'm a psychology major, and I've always focused on positive psychology, which explains that people always have room to change and grow, if they want to. But I can't take this anymore; I believe he can get help, but not from me. He has damaged me too much.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel lost and scared and trapped. I have been feeling so suicidal but I don't want to kill myself, it would hurt too many people around me. But this pain is becoming unbearable. I don't know how I'm going to keep working and supporting myself, because I feel so emotionally unstable.

If you got to the end of my post, thank you for listening. For so long, no one would believe me about x, and I just want to be heard. So really, thank you.

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NowImNarcFree's picture
May 16

I am so sorry. I can relate to some of what you described-- sitting in the closet while he screamed and the gaslighting brings back memories. He is very dangerous, especially with his attack on you.
You are working incredibly hard to keep your apartment and go to school. Please spend whatever time you can in self-care, because you can't do all that on an empty tank. I am so sorry for your anxiety attacks. Have you found coping strategies yet? Do you have anxiety medication? I had one medication that I took for panic attacks and another that I took daily and they made a huge difference in my ability to function, and now I've been able to lower my dose. I also have some books to recommend:

- Why does he do that by Lundy Bancroft -- there is also a "Daily Encouragement" version of this book that I found very affirming
- Women who love too much by Robin Norwood
- Codependent No More by Melanie Beattie
- Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel - this is a journal with writing prompts. Great for self care and positive reflection.

Take care of yourself first, especially now. Having your empathetic and caring tendencies are wonderful qualities, but you have to protect them so you do not become drained as you are now. Spend some time working on yourself each day to change any self-destructive habits you have. Go for a walk, listen to encouraging music, enjoy a cup of tea, relax outdoors, practice deep breathing or yoga-- these are things I do for self care.

Also, you absolutely must protect yourself from the abusive person you had a history with. Block him on all communication channels. It is okay to wish him well and hope for the best with him, but realize that you being a part of his recovery would be dangerous for you both.

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NowImNarcFree's picture
May 16

I also wanted to say that you are very brave for coming to this realization at a young age. You can recover and become healthy and find a healthy balance to your relationships. I married my abuser when I was 22 and it took me 9 years to fully admit to myself what was going on. So you are doing well to get out of the denial phase, and you can have a very bright future ahead of you, but you have to work at it.

May 21

You are SO strong. Thank you for being so brave and for sharing your story with all of us. I’m sorry you have had to face so much so far in life. It sounds like you and your father had a positive relationship, so losing him must have been painful to experience on top of everything else. Please know, you are not crazy. You are not insane. Relationships with toxic individuals can often times make us feel like we’re the ones with a problem. You are not the problem.

You shared you’re open to advice and this is what mine would be. Find every way possible to remove him from your life. Do this for yourself. You deserve to be at peace. You deserve the opportunity to find true and genuine happiness within yourself. Take the time to properly heal from ALL the pain you’ve experienced the past three years. Take the time to get to know and truly know who YOU are; who you are as a person removed from a toxic relationship. Who you are in your hopes and dreams. You don’t need this individual to find love, joy, happiness, peace, or ANYTHING. Allow yourself the opportunity to experience happiness on your own.

YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are a beautiful and incredible person. You are gifted in the ability to guide your own life without having someone control it. I so badly want you to see your worth! Because, from what you shared, you are a beautiful and kind person. You have been so patient and loving to someone who has only continued to hurt you. So badly do I want you to break away from the chains of this toxic relationship. Change your phone number. Block him on every social media site. Move away if you need to. Allow yourself to be free and know you don’t owe him anything.

I’d love to keep talking! Feel free to reach out and share updates with how you’re doing. Just know, I know you can do this without him.

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