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#312: Aftermath

Hello! I took a few days off to work at my real job and go to the movies and read books and hang out with my boyfriend. It was awesome and I will be doing more of that + shooting a short film in August.

Old business: If you donated to the pledge drive via the Dwolla link, I don’t have your email address. So email me and I’ll send you the link to the movie. Also, a few of the PayPal donors had email addresses that bounced back (or I may have missed you), so if you are missing the movie let me know and I will fix that ASAP.

New business:

Attention: The Foster Kitten Cam has new kitties.

Also, this is a very sad letter. I am putting it behind a cut. And I want to say something very clearly first:

This blogger is officially, unilaterally, and forever pro-choice. I believe the decision to terminate a pregnancy is morally neutral and should be private, legal & safe. I trust that anyone undertaking that decision has their own reasons that are better than anything I or any outside party could come up with. I will be moderating comments here accordingly. You can disagree with me…privately in your heart. Or on other websites. All anti-choice lobbying & debate will be deleted without warning. Repeat offenders will be banned without warning. This was your warning. If this is a hot-button issue for you and you don’t think you’ll be able to resist internet-fighting what you see as the Good Fight for Tiny Innocent Babies, maybe don’t click further. You will not change my mind, and this is not the place to try out your Ethics 101 arguments. The Letter Writer and I are not interested in your jibber-jabber.

Dear Captain Awkward:

If this is rambling/crazy talk I’m sorry, I’ll do my best to be concise. Basically this is a bad breakup, he ended it via text while he was in NY for an interview and I was in SC for my cousins bachelorette party. I was on my way home to pick him up from the airport and he texted me that it was over and to be out of the apartment. Because of the way he ended it (two days prior to ending it he had asked me to be sure to bring some dvds home so we could watch them together and had been very excited about being my date to my cousins wedding, it was shocking how fast it turned around) I feel like its my fault, like I’m awful or crazy or horrible since he refused to see me or talk on the phone with me. Granted, I had been acting up because he was being distant while he was in NY and I was having a hard time at the bachelorette weekend because of other issues (discussed below.) PS there are tons of issues (abortion, ADHD, previous suicide attempts, PTSD-ish stuff dealing with a rape in high school, on top of being dumped via text out of the blue when last time I had checked the plan was for us to move together when our lease ended in the beginning of August.

I terminated a pregnancy recently. My partner was very much in favor of terminating the pregnancy and took very good care of me after the procedure. Truth be told I was very hurt that he didn’t want the child and felt very pressured into the abortion decision. Looking back it was clearly for the best and I am pro-choice and not religious so it’s not like I think it was wrong to have the pregnancy terminated; it was just a difficult decision to make. I became very depressed when I found out I was pregnant, my partner was aware that I have always struggled with depression and anxiety resulting from low self esteem and undiagnosed ADHD (2 very impulsive suicide attempts in the last five years have resulted in 2 trips to the ER and one involuntary stay in a mental health institution.) We fought a lot right before the procedure (the day it was scheduled, after I had told him that I felt pressured by him and I felt that he was very insensitive about my feelings about the baby/fetus, and after I’d told him that it was best to terminate the pregnancy he decided to beg me to keep it. Later he said he only asked me to keep it because he thought I’d leave him if he made me go through with the abortion.) It was a very tumultuous two weeks (the recovery time recommended by the clinic) and I have been very distressed but I thought we were actually becoming more intimate and stronger as a couple. Two weeks after the procedure (monday) he terminated our relationship via text message out of the blue and informed me I needed to vacate our shared apartment or he would tell the police I was an intruder.I am having a very hard time coping with this, I am limited because I am unemployed and do not currently have insurance. I do not know where to go and feel very alone and helpless.

Honestly I’m blindsided; I’ve never been through such a bad breakup. I’m so mad at myself because I was very hesitant about moving in with him before there was a commitment, but he convinced me that he loved me and as soon as he finished his degree and got to a good place with his college loans that he’d propose. I really thought he loved me, and I really thought I’d found the one (latino, but raised by a single mom here in the states so not a machista, phd student in poli sci that focused on political violence, loved the fact that I like Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica (basically into all the weird, nerdy-ass shit I’m into which isn’t that easy to find.)

The truth is I am just so devastated I feel like I can’t even move. It’s very hard not to blame myself or think this is somehow my fault for him giving up on me. The truth is this was his decision and he clearly isn’t mature enough to handle a relationship given how he broke up with me. The worst part is that despite how much of an asshole he is I keep thinking about him and wondering how he’s doing, how his grandma is (she was in the hospital). I don’t know what to do. I’m home with my family and trying to figure out the next step. But I just feel like I suck so much, I mean I still haven’t finished the Master’s because I can’t seem to finish my thesis even though I’m SO SO SO close, and I quit my job because he had said that he wanted me to move with him wherever he got a job in August when our lease ended, I don’t have any friends here because I’ve only ever been here during school breaks, my parents are great but I feel bad because I just sit around the house, and randomly burst into tears or sobs. I’m just a big fat mess of loserness right now. Most of all, I keep making excuses for him, thinking he did this because he got overwhelmed but that he actually really loves me and this will all work out and he just needs time. But then again, in December before we got back together and he asked me to move in with him I had an episode after a friend made a rape joke that (unluckily) echoed the exact conditions of my sexual assault, he told me to be stronger about it and I freaked out, called him every name in the book (again he was in NY and me in FL) and told him I was going over to a friends house to calm down and I’d call him after that. When I called him and started apologizing for being so unreasonable he dumped me. It wasn’t until a month later that he responded to an email saying he’d made a huge mistake and begging me to forgive him and move in with him and give the relationship a real shot. So maybe he is just the type of guy to make promises and then leave when the going gets tough? Or maybe I’m just a crazy awful bitch who drives away even the nicest of guys? What the fuck is wrong with me Captain Awkward?

You feel shitty right now because some asshole put you through a giant ordeal and then dumped you via text message. Not because something is wrong with you.

I mean, something is wrong – you’ve been through a traumatic experience, you already are prone to depression – and if you’re not already seeing a counseling pro of some kind your first order of business is to get one on board.

My best friend dated someone we call The Tumor because after being all “Live with me!” “I will love you forever!” “Let’s adopt kittens!” he dumped her via text message in much the manner you are describing, up to and including treating her like a criminal. We could come up with only two plausible explanations for his behavior:

1) Evil, or emotionally damaged/selfish enough to be indistinguishable from evil.

2) Rapid onset of a malignant brain tumor. (No offense to non-evil people with brain tumors! “Wildly erratic behavior” can be a symptom.)

I’m pretty sure he’s still alive and well, so I’m going with Evil.  My friend lived on my couch for a while and then slowly put her life back together and moved on from being with the selfish, abusive piece-of-shit who made her homeless.

Because that’s what you do when you talk people into living with you, make them as dependent as possible on you (like when he encouraged you to quit your job), and then, once they are dependent, you unilaterally decide to kick them out. You make them homeless. And you make them temporarily crazy looking for the things they did wrong or the things that are wrong with them that would explain what they did to deserve this. The answer is that they did nothing to deserve this. They dated someone with a blank space where his heart should be, and he was smart and handsome and able to put on a really good show for a while and then when he couldn’t sustain the show anymore he kicked the audience out.

Sometimes people suck. And then they break up with you, and you still miss them, and you hate yourself for it. So, listen:

When a bad relationship ends, you will still grieve for the love you had and the dreams you had for what it could have been. You will grieve for its potential. You will grieve for the good times. You will grieve for that feeling you had when you believed that everything would work out, for the times that you felt loved, for the times you felt hopeful. The Golden Retriever of Love is a loyal dog and you’re going to feel what you feel until you don’t feel it. That’s ok.

When you decided to terminate your pregnancy, SOMETHING was whispering to you and telling you All Is Not Right Here. Your partner was fluctuating wildly between extremes of emotion but somehow not allowing you to do the same thing. He was being manipulative and making his emotional roller-coaster the dominant one that you also had to ride on. You were feeling depressed and anxious. Things weren’t right. And ultimately you obeyed that feeling of Not Rightness when you made your decision. But it’s totally normal and okay to grieve for what might have been. How could you fail to imagine that alternate world where you were psyched about your pregnancy and your partner allowed you to be happy about it and wanted to build that happy alternate future with you? Go ahead and grieve, sweetheart.

I think ultimately you are going to be glad that you did not make a child with this man. I believe you that he manipulated you into making the decision, but I also think your self-preservation instinct had something to do with it. That feeling of relief might be a long time coming to you. It might never be simple and clean. But the relief and the healing will come to you in some way, sometime.

The best thing you can do when someone breaks up with you is to believe them. Whatever the reason, the fact is that you’re broken up now, and people get to break up with you even when they do it badly or it’s unfair.

I have a story about dating someone long distance who convinced me to reject a job offer in New York and move back here and start a relationship with him. I was lukewarm on the job offer and had friends and graduate school to finish back here, so it wasn’t 100% about him, but when he picked me up from the airport, took me out to dinner, had tender, loving sex and tons of FutureTalk and “I’m so glad you’re back!” with me all night and then dumped me the next morning it kind of threw off my balance for the next year of my life. It didn’t help that I kept sleeping with him sometimes. It didn’t help that I tried to stay friends or be the bigger person. It didn’t help that I kept looking for plausible explanations for what had just happened and how I could have been so stupid.

In addition to inspiring the term Darth Vader Boyfriend, here is what I gained from that experience: Sometimes you don’t get closure. Sometimes you don’t get to know what changed. Sometimes you don’t get that long talk that lays it all out there. Sometimes people act one way one day and the next day they act another. Sometimes you have to look at the array of plausible explanations, pick one, and go with it. Brain tumor vs. Evil. Here’s the kindest possible one I can think of for what your boyfriend did to you: It may be that being away from you gave him some perspective about the relationship being unhealthy and he needed that distance to make some final decision about it. He sent the text to make it complete and irrevocable and remove the temptation that a face-to-face conversation would be derailed somehow and you’d end up knitting back together like a badly-set bone.

That doesn’t explain the threats of police action and forcible eviction. Those, honestly, sway me back towards Evil or Really Fucked Up (& Kinda Evil).

I want to suggest some concrete steps for you to pull yourself through this time of grieving.

1) You’re with family. GOOD. That doesn’t make you a loser, that makes you a person with a family who will help you during hard times. Hold them close. Be nice to them.

2) We already said this, but COUNSELING NOW.

3) What do you need to do to finish that degree? Make a big list. Then do the stuff on that list. Slowly, a little bit at a time.

4) Be really, really gentle and nice to yourself. Eat good food. Get out of the house every day. Get a little exercise if you can. Read for pleasure. Watch movies or TV you like. Treat yourself a little bit. Give yourself a lot of credit for the small things you do every day.

5) Find a story to tell about what happened. Work with your therapist or counselor. Pick any explanation that does not end in “…because I suck and must have deserved it somehow.” That’s just untrue. Consider giving him a derisive, silly nickname. “Poopyhead.”

6) Believe in the breakup. I have a really, really bad feeling about him trying to resurface in your life soon, the way he’s done before. He may have made the decision to break up, but right now, you have a decision you can make too, and that decision has power. You can decide to STAY broken up. You can decide to block him on all social media, to filter or block his email messages. You can change your cell phone number and not give him the new one and tell all your friends and family to not give him the new one. You can decide to be done with a dude who breaks up with you via text message and treats you like an illegal squatter in your own home. You can decide that whatever explanation he can possibly give you is not worth one more second in the company of someone who would treat you like that. You don’t have to get on his roller-coaster with him ever ever again.

It’s now six years after her text-message breakup, and my best friend is happily married to the best man in the world and they’ve enthusiastically made a small person together. What you’re going through right now sucks beyond the telling of it. Your pain is real. Your grief is real. Your confusion and feeling of whiplash is real. Those things are all survivable and you will survive them. As with any grief, time does its work on us and we literally cannot sustain that intensity of pain for very long. All the things you want from life are still possible and ahead of you.

The nickname “The Tumor” is up for grabs, is what I’m saying.

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85 comments
  1. Jedi hugs for LW. He treated you like crap and you don’t deserve it. Block him from your e-life and get help from Team You to get back to your true Awesomeness.

  2. Dear LW, I’m so sorry you are hurting.

    This is what I wish someone would have told me, so I’ll tell it to you in hopes it will help.

    – This is not your fault. You did not, do not, and never will deserve to be treated with such disregard and malice.
    – You aren’t bad, or undeserving of love or happiness.
    – You have a right to feel whatever you feel about the situation; it’s okay to have ugly feelings about this.
    – You have a right to take things a step at a time to recover from this and to move on and grow from this in your own time and at your own pace.
    – It’s okay to ask yourself “What do I want for myself?”, and it’s okay to not immediately know the answer(s) to that question.
    – It’s okay to cry, okay to laugh, and it’s okay for those things to happen together.
    – It’s okay to reach out to your friends and family for the support you need during this hard time.
    – It is a deeply good idea to seek counseling to help give you tools for taking yourself through this healing process.
    – It is okay to ask any mutual friends not to tell you anything about your ex, and not to tell your ex anything about you.

    Right now, it might feel like it’s hard to breathe, to think, to eat, to do anything normal. You *will* get through this. Be kind to yourself. Avoid blaming yourself.

    One day at a time.

    • Ursula said:

      Foxipher Jones is 100% correct. I wanted to add, too, that the things he did and the way he treated you are unforgivable. Can you imagine yourself doing ANYTHING like the things he did to you, for any reason? You can find somebody who is as nice as you are; don’t settle for a crazy, evil, cruel person who could even conceive of treating you like that, especially given that he knows your history.

  3. RiverTamming said:

    LW,

    My heart aches for you and all my love and understanding goes out to you and yours; I also fully support your decision to terminate the pregnancy. Please don’t blame yourself for what happened; it’s very easy to be blindsided by someone who cares about you and by the sound of it, this guy has been manipulating people for a very long time. I am very glad that you did not have a child with this asshole.

    Captain Awkward has given you very good and solid advice, but I have my two cents to add in. You’re starting from the ground up again, and it’s not going to be easy at all. It sounds like your family is loving and wants what’s best for you. If you stay with them and they support you and go out of their way to make things easy, do not feel guilty. At all. Accept their help. You are going through hell right now and family, in most cases, is for helping you get through it. They don’t want you to feel like a burden because you are not a burden, LW. You are a lovely and awesome person in a bad situation and you will still be a lovely and awesome person after you get through this bad situation. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends. You need as many people on Team You as you can. If they’re really your friends, they will love and support you.

  4. robiewankenobie said:

    i’m a huge fan of the captain, and i heartily agree with the advice she’s given you. she’s not all rah rah about breakups – she knows that it can be tough. i promise that her advice is sound.

    generally, i’m not a fan of telling people which choice is the best, but i urge you please, please, please do not return to this boyfriend.

    i can tell you (and you already know) that the big ole world can be tough. your home should be a haven, and the person that you share it with? should be your own personal cheering squad. i doubt all sorts of things beyond my doorstep, but inside? i know that my partner has got my back.

    in addition, i know there is a lot of stuff on the internet and jokes about living with your parents, but these do not apply to you. do. not. apply. those jokes are strictly for slacker kids who expect parents to pay their way and pave their way through life. you’re working hard for what you want – geez, an advanced degree is a big big deal. not working at a job is so different than not working.

    above all, i want you to know – you are loveable. your dr. who, battlestar gallactica loving self? totally loveable. i promise. it’s going to take time, but you can find that loveable side of yourself again.

    • St Roonicorn said:

      Sooo true! Why do we treat people who are working on their education as if they aren’t doing enough? Writing a Thesis is hard shit! If your parents are able and willing to let you live at home while you make yourself more awesome, what is wrong with that?

  5. Holy fucking shit, LW. I actually started cupping my hands over my heart while I was reading, which I guess is an actual physical expression of Jedi hugs, because this is terrible. He has done terrible things to you. You deserved precisely none of that, regardless of brain chemistry or history or anything else.

    • Awkward Niece said:

      What a beautiful image: “cupping my hands over my heart”, as if you were protecting yourself from all the heartbreak in this letter.

  6. Stephanie said:

    Wow, this letter makes me so sad. And really, this is so much bigger than the abortion (which was what I was expecting based on the CA disclaimer at the beginning) – this is about a person who treated you poorly!

    I love the Captain’s Advice and don’t have anything to add really, other than Jedi hugs, I suppose. I hope one day you can look back on The Tumor Two: Electric Boogaloo and just shake your head and say “wow, things are SO MUCH BETTER now.”

  7. aprilhl said:

    LW, I am so, so sorry about this all going down like this, but the Captain Awkward team has got your back and the advice here is pretty solid.

    I do want to offer one extra thing though: your boyfriend threatening to call the cops and tell them you’re an intruder? Here in Chicago (and I assume most places with ANY sort of tenant’s rights laws), that’s illegal and has the possibility of getting him arrested for unlawful eviction. Not that you shouldn’t get out of that situation and away from him ASAP, and more drama (even if you’re legally in the clear) is often just not worth it–

    but if he’s forcing you out by, say, changing the locks before letting you get your stuff or before figuring out where you can stay safely, then he’s acting illegally.

    something small in the overall scheme of things, but having a safe space for yourself is very important.

    best of luck to you!

    • clairedammit said:

      That’s good to know!

  8. drst said:

    Oh LW, many Jedi hugs headed your way.

    Being pro-choice and nonreligious doesn’t mean that abortion is automatically an easy decision for you or anyone who fits those two descriptors. You have every right to grieve and feel remorse. It doesn’t make you a bad person or somehow not “really” pro-choice to feel that way (or to feel nothing, for that matter. Pro-choice means “Nobody else gets to tell you what to do OR how to feel about any of this” at heart).

    I agree with the Captain that down the road you will likely be relieved on the whole you didn’t have a child with this guy. Maybe you’ll harbor some regrets too. Maybe you’ll wonder “what if” sometimes. Life is complicated and emotions are messy and that’s okay. There is no single correct template for how to handle an abortion that everyone has to follow or be labeled as “doing it wrong.”

    As for the relationship, I fear he’ll be back too. When he pops up again, especially if he is spinning the “I made a mistake” line again, remind yourself of the text message and the police threat. This man has not been decent to you. He has not treated you with kindness. Whatever good moments and qualities you know of him that we don’t, those previous two sentences are still true and they outweigh the rest. And that was his choice. He didn’t behave that way because of anything you said or did or were. He did it because he’s an ass.

    Don’t reconcile. Rescue your stuff from the apartment. Block him entirely from your life and get Team You to help. Take care of yourself. You don’t have to decide the entire rest of your future right now if you’re not up to it. Try to plan for a week, maybe a month or two at a time while you sort things out. Eventually you will develop a better sense of what you want and how to get it. Go forward, one step at a time, to the rest of your life. May it be filled with awesomeness.

    • drst said:

      PS – I’m almost 40 and I just quit my terrible, horrible, no-good very-stressful and miserable job to go back to school (for the second time) and I’m living with family to save money. I have all sorts of panic and “OMG I’m such a loser” feelings about this, but the world is hard and scary and when you get a chance to spare yourself some struggle, it’s okay to take it. Family, the bio kind and the type you form for yourself, is there for this reason.

  9. It seems like you really feel like you are a flawed individual and that had something to do with this break up. And you are a flawed individual, we all are, but we still find people who love us and we still deserve to be treated with dignity.

    You don’t have to be perfect for a bad situation to be not your fault. If someone else does something shitty to you, it is their fault. You being a normal human with some normal human flaws does not absolve him of his evil behavior.

    I encourage you to remember that the way you are feeling right now is his fault. Your lack of desire to get out of bed, your economic insecurity, is something that he did to you. Not your fault, his, he betrayed you, and this was the result. He betrayed your trust in his commitment to you, he betrayed you by not giving you any way to prepare and just blindsiding you with this break up that makes everything 10x worse. Put the blame on his shoulders, remember that the way you feel now is his fault.

    This is important, because when he-who-deserves-a-terrible-nickname comes back in a week or a month talking about how he made a huge mistake, you should remember that no matter what he says he was willing to do this to you. He was the one who made you feel this way, and who was willing to knowingly put you in an untenable situation.

    You’ll get through it, you’ll get back on track. You’ll find your silver lining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0h0a27_jPQ

    *jedihugs*

    • Copcher said:

      That’s an awesome song, and so right.

      Also: “You don’t have to be perfect for a bad situation to be not your fault.” <– This, so much. LW, you have flaws and you probably made mistakes, but those flaws and mistakes did not make this guy do those mean things to you. Sometimes it sucks to know that people can be mean and cruel for no reason, but sometimes it can actually feel really liberating. You don't need to look for an answer or a reason. He did what he did, and that says a lot about him and nothing about you.

      And, finally, I want to particularly second the Captain's advice about getting out of the house every day. Even if you don't make it out until the evening, even if you don't feel like you deserve it, even if you haven't done anything else that day, try to get out of the house for at least a few minutes. When I feel super crummy, I sometimes feel like I'm turning into a piece of furniture. Going outside can remind me that I'm a real person and help me get at least a little bit out of my slump.

      • Ethyl said:

        “You don’t have to be perfect for a bad situation to be not your fault.” <– This, so much. LW, you have flaws and you probably made mistakes, but those flaws and mistakes did not make this guy do those mean things to you.

        Yes, and also important to remember because part of what anxious and depressed jerkbrains can sometimes try to tell us is that the anxiety and sadness are a punishment, they’re what we deserve for making the wrong choices or whatever. But the jerkbrain is wrong — everyone makes all kinds of choices, and sometimes what looks like a good choice has bad consequences because other people are terrible. That’s not something we can always control, but of course the jerkbrain delights in finding ways to make us feel bad and so seizes on anything and everything it can.

  10. RodeoBob said:

    Wow. I may come back and write more later, but for right now, let me just offer the LW a little advice that helped me a few times in the past:

    Feeling fucked-up because you are in a fucked-up situation does not make you a fucked-up person. It makes you human.

    • thegirlfrommarz said:

      My dad (who is a retired clinical psychologist) once told me “sometimes depression is a rational response to a bad situation”. I find it helpful to remind myself that at times when my life does indeed suck, it is okay to feel sad about it.

  11. Sheelzebub said:

    LW, there is NOTHING wrong with you. At all.

    I’m seconding what the Captain said. Anyone who pushes for you to move in with him, who pushes for you to quit your job so you can move with him whereever he gets a job after getting his degree, who pressures you into having an abortion (then tries to pressure you into not getting one, then tries to blame the whole flip flop on you), then breaks up with you via text message and tells you to leave or he’ll call the cops on you is a vile, abusive piece of shit.

    I’m sorry. I know you still have feelings for him. But it’s the truth. He’s been manipulative as fuck.

    What to do moving forward?

    Therapy. THERAPY NOW.

    Undiagnosed ADHD? See if you can get it diagnosed. Do you have medical insurance that cover behavioral health? It may cover an evaluation (these apparently take several hours, I haven’t been through mine yet but I’m trying to schedule one). If you’re hitting the markers and you think this may be an issue, get this done as soon as you can–Google neuropsychologists in your area, call around, and ask them if they do adult evaluations. I think it can help in your treatment for depression, and it will help you in choosing a therapist–you’d want one who is familiar with ADHD and who can help you develop coping mechanisms and possibly help you with meds if that turns out to be the road you want to travel and the road that is best for you.

    I’d also talk about the abortion, the pressure you felt under, his pressure on you for other things, his crazy-making behavior, etc. I think as you work this shit out with a therapist, you’ll gain some clarity. And yes, talk about the rape, talk about everything. That is your hour it is all for you and the therapist cannot judge you. They will not judge you. So spill and take deep breaths and cry and get as snivelly as you need to.

    Nuts and bolts stuff:

    Degree: Do you have an advisor? Will they help you with the roadblocks you’re facing? Make up that list the captain suggested, cross things off, and work closely with your advisor if need be. Sometimes being accountable to a person can help. If what you need to do is write it (the research is done, etc.), set some goals. For example, by Sunday I will have drawn up an outline, by next Sunday I will have written sections a & b, etc.

    Living with family: I think this is a good thing. You are with people who love you. Do a few things each day to make yourself feel like a grownup. Assign yourself some doable chores each week–clean the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, vacuum, offer to make dinner one night, etc. (When I say, “offer to make dinner,” I do not mean a four-course meal. I mean make something simple and tasty like spaghetti or tacos, unless you are really into cooking and can do it very easily, in which case, have at it.)

    Work: Right now, your master’s is important, but I have a feeling you might benefit from doing something else that is productive where you meet other people and talk to them. Maybe get something part-time for now for some money. Or do something full time but temporary so that you can look for something in your field once the master’s is completed.

    Friends: Join Meetup.com and find some things that interest you–you will meet people who share those interests and you may make some friends. There are meetup groups for all sorts of things–from pug owners to book clubs to homesteading to SF geekery. And there are new groups forming all the time. You can also volunteer if you want. If you have the funds and are so inclined, take a class in something fun that you are interested in–a language, a craft, history, cooking, birdwatching, whatever.

    I also want to second, third, and one-millionth what the Captain said about blocking any access Douchey McDoucherson has to you. Don’t just defriend him on FB–block him (that way he can’t see your profile and you can’t see his). Change your cell number or screen his number. Block his emails. If you haven’t clued your friends into the utterly douchetastic way Douchey McDoucherson broke up with you, make sure they know and make sure they know to NOT give him any info about you and to NOT pass along any information about him (unless someone splices together a land-dwelling pack of douche-eating land piranhas that make a meal of him. That would be TOTALLY AWESOME to hear about). Like the Captain, I have a feeling that he’s going to try and insinuate his way back into your life. Don’t argue with him, don’t try to get zingers in, don’t communicate at all. Let your stony and icy silence and disappearance from his view be his answer.

    Many hugs to you. You will come out of this, LW, and you will do well.

    • shadowspar said:

      Too, university counselling centres and clinics are sometimes shockingly well-equipped to deal with ADHD. Some do an amazing job of putting you in touch both with professionals who can diagnose & treat ADHD and ways to pay for their help. It can be hit-and-miss, certainly, but it’s definitely a resource worth checking into if it’s available.

  12. St Roonicorn said:

    Dear LW,

    I feel for you so hard! Please, please, please start rehearsing a new mantra where your brain stops saying that you suck. Because you don’t, at all. You are having a rough time, but that does not define you. Also, please stop defining your ex as a “nice guy” unless you mean Nice Guy™. He fails at being actually nice on multiple levels IMHO.

    I don’t want to project my own experience on to you, so I will just relate my story (briefly) in hopes that it will resonate with you and let you know that you are not alone in your conflicted feelings. I had an abortion when I was 21. I had been in a crazy manipulative, emotionally abusive, draining, and broken relationship for over 3 years. I was so lonely and sad when we broke that I kept going back for make-me-feel-worthy sex which led to a fetus. I knew I couldn’t make a little person with this immature asshat, so I decided to terminate the pregnancy. After the decision was made and everything was over with, Asshat decided that it was totally okay to tell all of our mutual friends, accuse me of making the decision without even consulting him and robbing him of what he was sure was his son. I lost the vast majority of these “friends” and I felt like my life was ruined (it WASN’T).

    Despite all of the shitty things that Asshat did before and after the abortion, I STILL mourned the life that could have been *if*. If is a powerful word. It controlled my heart and my brain for a long time. If I had been more forgiving. If he had been more mature. If he hadn’t threatened to commit suicide. If we had already finished university. If we had gone to counseling… then [fairy tale ending]. But none of that was REAL.

    What I’m saying is this: It is okay to feel comfortable with having an abortion, and still wish you could have had a better option. An option that feels like a happy ending, not an escape from misfortune.

    What I’m also say is that seven years later, I don’t think about it everyday (rarely, really), and I’m happy. There are people who will treat you with respect and will love you for all of the geeky things you love. There are people who will happily discuss Daleks v Cylons (really, who wins??), have Tardis lunchboxes, and watch Caprica. I promise. I highly recommend Meetup.com to arrange Dr Who viewing parties and other such enjoyable activities. There may even be some super awesome geeks near you already who will be happy to have you join in their festivities!

    Take care of yourself, LW. You are worth it, and you are worth a future that is full of happy. Massive Jedi Hugs from a fellow survivor.

    • EponaEF said:

      Thank you for posting your story. I too had an abortion 14 years ago and you are the first person I have encountered whose feelings toward it echo my own.

      ***hugs*** to both you and LW.

      • St Roonicorn said:

        Hugs to you, too! It’s such a difficult and complicated decision. I feel like the overwhelming message out there is either “you will regret this forever and you are bad person” or “it’s no big deal.” For me, neither of those is anywhere near what I feel/felt.

        It’s hard to reconcile “this is the best decision for me, right now.” and the dreams of *if*.

        My hope is that more women will fell comfortable talking about their experiences openly so that others can hear the whole spectrum of reactions and outcomes. I felt like I had lost my feminist card because I mourned the loss. Of course, now I know that’s not true.

        • Ethyl said:

          There is a website out there called I’m Not Sorry (www.imnotsorry.net) where people who have had abortions share their stories, with a focus on how having an abortion was a “positive” experience (I mean, in terms of what was right for them, not in terms of how much fun it was, obvs). Having said that, I’ve found that many of the stories express conflicted feelings similar to St Roonicorn and EponaEF above, although others are much more “no big deal” about it. It’s a great resource, I think, that shows that there’s other ways to feel besides what the extreme right-wing wants us to believe (despair and suicidal feelings), and of course, any time stories are being shared that would otherwise be silent, I’m a fan. Please be aware when choosing whether to read the website: many of the stories are harrowing and touch on subjects such as abusive relationships, rape, religious environments hostile to choice, and substance abuse.

          • bearcatbanana said:

            My abortion mantra was: One day, if I want children, I will have children. But this was not the right time or the right partner (since he wasn’t even around). Some day in the future, there will be a right partner. We will decide together on the kids/no kids thing. If by some twist of fate, I want kids in the future but am physically unable to have one, I will not beat myself up over the child that could have been. I will adopt or foster and my partner will be supportive. And I will feel blissful/excited/joyful/loved about the whole journey because that is the way it should be.

            I was 14 when I got pregnant. My adult friend helped me with that mantra and the whole abortion process. I will be forever grateful to her. It was 14 years ago and I rarely think about the abortion anymore. I helped two friends through their unplanned pregnancies (one chose abortion and one chose adoption). That was the best thing that came from it for me.

  13. Stray Cat said:

    LW- This crap is not your fault.

    I know it feels like it. You said as much. But it’s not. It’s not. It’s not. It’s not. It’s not. Not even a little.

    This guy who did this to you has no decency or honor. What he did was cruel, cowardly and selfish. To hell with him.

  14. Sheelzebub said:

    I posted a long comment and don’t know what happened to it. But LW–know this. You have done nothing wrong, and your ex is a manipulative dirtbag.

    Many Jedi hugs to you!

    • JenniferP said:

      Stupid spam filter was hungry. Who knows why. I rescued it!

      • Sheelzebub said:

        MAH HERO!!!

  15. Sophia said:

    Dear LW,

    My heart is with you and I hope that you can hear all the voices on this blog that say, “this is not your fault” … “there is *nothing* wrong with you”. Everyone has offered wonderful ideas and much needed support.

    I want you to know that you are not alone — you are not the only one who has been left in a vulnerable place. My fiancee broke up with me two days after my own abortion experience. Like you, I felt pressured into the procedure. I was very young at the time (21) and am glad that I trusted my inmost intuition that told me he would not stick around and I was not emotionally able to raise a child at that time. Later on, I had a wonderful child and raised her on my own. Despite the despair in the moment of his leaving and my fear of the future, things have turned out well for me — without that partner!

    I have many friends who have partners who leave them during or after traumatic life events: abortions, cancer, death in the family. Those who leave are often cruel. Those who are left are often devastated in the moment. However, we are not crazy bitches, we are not broken or flawed or unlovable. We are simply human doing our best to deal with awful situations and deeply fortunate when we have family and friends who stand by our side, hold our hands. When we’re ready, we move back into satisfying lives.

    Trust yourself.

  16. TheWindupBird said:

    Much love and Jedi hugs to you if you like them, LW. I have to second the advice of giving yourself credit for the little things you do. Even if it’s just stepping outside the house and standing in the sun, those little steps get you a little closer to where you want to be.

  17. Lyla D. said:

    Oh. Oh, LW. That is an awful situation and my heart goes out to you.

    I feel like the Captain (and the commenters) covered everything beautifully, so I can only echo their wise words and encouragement. But I also noticed that you said you are without insurance.

    To that end, the recommendations of therapy are great (whether for addressing the ADHD, depression, PTSD, or you just need someone to unpack the baggage about the dirtbag ex with) but I know it can be hard to fund that. So here’s a link to the Captain’s post on how to find low cost mental healthcare: http://captainawkward.com/2011/09/22/how-to-locate-low-cost-mental-health-care-in-the-us-and-canada-guest-post/

    Jedi hugs to you, LW. I hope you’re able to get everything you need. We’re all rooting for you.

  18. alphakitty said:

    A thousand hugs, and lots of chocolate and funny (but not rom-com) movies to you!

    Yeah, I get that you’re wondering what you did to deserve this… but you’re not the one who’s all over the map here, your ex-guy is. He also dumped you, coldly and brutally, at a moment when any idiot could tell you’d be really, really vulnerable. So what does that tell you? “It’s him who’s defective,” that’s what. No matter what sterling qualities he has, he does *not* deserve the description “the nicest of guys.” He’s somebody who doesn’t know what he wants, and who can’t handle it when life gets complicated (which it is, of course, prone to doing — so that’s a pretty big failing), and is seriously deficient in the basic human decency department.

    It’s too much to expect you to be glad (right now) that you discovered this before you bound yourself to him further. But you will be someday. Meantime, try to settle for wishing he hadn’t had those tragic flaws that in the end outweighed all that was good and lovable about him, and made him behave so cruelly… but accept that that’s just the way he is, and know that there was nothing you could have done to change that about him. He is who he is.

    And remember, if he does come calling again, that no matter how sorry he says he is for acting like such a shit, you now know what cruelty lurks inside his soul. Don’t let him in. Say, “It’s nice to hear you admit I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. But after what you did I could never make myself vulnerable to you again the way I did before. So goodbye.” If he protests that he loves you, tell him “then you need to let me go.” If he says you’re being a bitch, tell him “all the more reason to let me go.”

    It’s soooo hard, but try to live as little as possible looking back over your shoulder, trying to post-mortem exactly where things went wrong, exactly what was whose fault. You’ll be telling yourself you’re just trying to learn the lessons of this relationship, but really you’ll just be tormenting yourself. Perversely, the lessons will mostly become clear when you are back on your feet enough not to care so much, and/or in therapy.

    • alphakitty said:

      P.S., Someone very dear to me married a man who is often charming and funny and genial — and has a flip-switch into disturbingly, creepily cold. Don’t know why; he just does. She didn’t know that when she married him, and now he’s the father of her children. Much as she loves her children, she would give a great deal — probably everything except those children themselves — to have found out about her husband’s flip-switch before marriage and kids. Truly, it is a gift to have found out.

      • FemmeForever said:

        The charming funny genial is the fake hook men use to lure and trap women. Once the trap is sprung disturbingly creepily cold (the real him) shows himself. It’s not an accident or an oversight that she didn’t see it earlier. This is how men get women. By lying to them.

        • JenniferP said:

          I realize you feel strongly about this, but one more categorical statement about “how men are” and “what men do” as if even close to all or most men do those things and you’re banned.

          PREDATORS and ABUSERS do groom victims and use charm and niceness to get under people’s defenses. “Predator” is not a gender assignment. We can talk all day about how patriarchy creates a structure where predatory behavior and abuse of women by men is tolerated and supported (aka Rape Culture), but we’re not gender essentialists here.

          This is a giant derail and this line of discussion is closed. FemmeForever, do not post any more in this thread. Other readers, do not respond to FemmeForever. Grind your ax someplace else.

      • alphakitty said:

        Actually, I should not have said it was a gift: it is something you *earned* the hard way, by following your instinct and not having a child with that man even when there was the potential for one *right there* and in your mind you could almost picture being a happy family with him. The prize is that you still have have saved yourself the chance to make that happy family with somebody worthy. You only get one life, and you’ve saved yours for something better.

  19. Oh, LW. I am so sorry for everything you’ve been through. This is not your fault. You did not deserve to be treated the way your ex treated you—I’m hesistant to make grand pronouncements and/or sweeping generalizations, but I have a hard time imagining how terrible a person would have to be to “deserve” all of the terrible, awful shit that shithead has put you through. Again: this is not your fault, and you did not deserve it.

    Please be gentle with yourself: the shit you have been through recently is MAJOR. You were already dealing with some major issues (*waves from a neighboring home in the land of ADHD and depression*), and then you had the trauma of terminating that pregnancy (which I think was 100% the right thing to do, but was clearly psychologically traumatic and probably at least somewhat physically traumatic as well—and am I understanding correctly that it wasn’t even three weeks ago yet?), AND THEN shithead pulls the text-message-breakup bullshit (if you’re ever feeling like you’re in a place where you can maybe sorta kinda laugh about it (in an entirely deservedly self-righteous kind of way), way on down the road, look up the Kelly song Text Message Breakup on YouTube), with bonus I-might-just-call-the-cops threats, which is asshaberdashery (credit for that word goes to Miz Cleolinda, BTW). So again: please, please, please be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time and space to heal. The Captain’s list is spot-on, of course. Gather Team You and tune up your awesome—but again, allow yourself to grieve, too.

    I am sending all the jedi hugs and positive mojo and brain flowers, and the cool thing about your having written to the Captain is that I’m betting you now have at least a couple hundred internet people actively rooting for you. LW, you are loved, and you are worthy of love, and you are deserving of peace and calm and kindness and a decided lack of shitheads. Please take care of you.

  20. AMM said:

    Two weeks after the procedure (monday) he terminated our relationship via text message out of the blue and informed me I needed to vacate our shared apartment or he would tell the police I was an intruder.

    This is the line that flipped my view of him from “jerk” to “possible psychopath.”

    I realize it probably doesn’t help the LW with her situation, but in most places I know of, this isn’t even legal. If she’s been living there, most places require that he go through a formal eviction process, and I strongly suspect he knew that. If he was planning to lie to the police and say she broke in, well, that’s perjury (or something equally illegal), and I’m sure he knows that, too.

    This isn’t to say that she should have stayed and fought it. If she’s managed to find a safe couch somewhere, that’s probably better than being in range of this guy.

    But IMHO, it’s yet another argument for having nothing whatsoever to do with him. (The melodramatic part of me is shouting “Witness protection! Witness protection!”)

    • Thneedle-dee-dee said:

      This is the line that flipped my view of him from “jerk” to “possible psychopath.”

      Similar experience, sort of: I was having an online conversation with someone who was mad at me and wanted her books back. I was making arrangements with a mutual acquaintance to deliver them for me. When I didn’t reply to the demand fast enough (as in, within the hour), she wrote again to demand her books back, and told me she’d call the cops on me as a thief.

      Now, she didn’t have even part of a leg to stand on. Not only do the police have better things to do with their time, but borrowing a book and not returning very specifically doesn’t count as “theft”. But that was all beside the point. When she made that threat, she made it very clear to me that she was a disturbed individual and that there was nothing to be gained from any kind of interaction with her.

      (The ending of the story is sweet: she made a point of telling me that she had no proof that I’d given the books to the mutual acquaintance. This would be *after* she’d gotten the books back. That’s not just getting mad and saying dumb things and backing yourself into a corner, that’s actual malice.)

      To the LW: When/If that sucky ex of yours comes back, saying he made a mistake, well, he did. A big mistake. A FATAL ERROR, if you will. He killed your love for him and now it’s dead and buried. Let it stay that way.

  21. Zed said:

    LW, I don’t have any idea how you must be feeling right now. I don’t have any experiences that allow me to relate. But I want to tell you something anyway–something that is so, so clear to me after reading your letter.

    There is nothing wrong with you.

    It’s okay to feel off-kilter right now. It’s okay to need support from your family, to need some time to sort things out. And it’s definitely okay to take care of yourself.

    A break-up is a Big Deal at the best of times, and goodness knows what your ex did to you does not qualify. Terminating a pregnancy is a Big Deal and a Hard Thing, even when you know 100% that you made the right decision. It’s also a medical procedure, and doctors don’t recommend two weeks of recovery for a medical procedure that’s not a Big Deal. And, too, it’s a loss, and you should let yourself grieve.

  22. Vicki said:

    Also, to reiterate one of the Captain’s really smart thoughts: People who like you will act as though they like you.

    Those things your ex did? They are not things you do for, to, or with someone you like.

  23. case-in-point said:

    Oh honey, I ache for you. What you’ve been through, what you’re going through, it’s awful and it’s traumatic and you do not deserve it. I can imagine that you are counting up your flaws one by one and laying them out on the bed and saying to yourself, “this is why I deserved this.” But honey, there is nothing you could be or do that is bad enough to deserve this, there is nothing. So take those flaws and failings back to your heart, they are beautiful as you are beautiful in the most human of ways. You ache and you grieve and you are vulnerable and you are beautiful and alive despite the ache in your chest and the cloud in your head. You will heal and find love in all of it’s shapes and colors again.

    There’s no script here about how you should feel or be– about your breakup or about your abortion. For a while I lived in Louisiana. I was there when Katrina came through and I was still there when Rita pummeled us a few weeks later. I sat amongst the debris. Where I sat is where you’re sitting. You’ve had two natural disasters one on top of another, and you’re battered and aching and wondering “what next”? This was not your fault any more than hurricanes are someone’s fault. It just happens sometimes and all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and rebuild.

  24. Alice said:

    LW, I feel really, really awful for you because damn, that entire situation is just rubbish. Jedi hugs, if you want them.

    If you’re the kind of person who finds comfort in adorable animal pictures, here’s a tumblr dedicated soley to pictures of red pandas: http://fuckyeahredpandas.tumblr.com/

  25. L. said:

    LW, I’m so sorry. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your ex suddenly betrayed you in a remarkably cruel fashion, with no warning.. Of course you’re depressed and feel paralyzed. You need time to recover. Everything the Captain and other commenters said was right on.

    There is one very difficult thing that I want to touch on, and in doing so I want to state that I’m absolutely pro-choice and I hope that shines through to you and the Captain. I say what’s below because in my experience it’s awful and gets in the way of healing to have feelings that aren’t voiced or that you think might not be “justified.” Feelings don’t care about the reasons that might or might not occur to your brain, so if they don’t get recognized they just go “underground” and cause more trouble. I hope that in talking about them I don’t cause you any more pain.

    When you say “Truth be told I was very hurt that he didn’t want the child and felt very pressured into the abortion decision”, and talk about the fights you had around that time, I wonder if you’re grieving not “what might have been” but also the pregnancy itself. It would be perfectly normal and it’s not at all incompatible with having made the decision to terminate. Your lizard brain might mourn having to terminate that life (even if you know it didn’t yet think or feel) or wish that you hadn’t, even if your intellectual reasoning brain knows that you would have had far bigger regrets and troubles if you’d brought the baby to term. You might need some space to just miss that life without thinking about the very valid reasons that led you to terminate.

    I’ve never had to terminate but I did lose my first (planned) pregnancy at 8 weeks, most likely because I did something kinda dumb while knowing that it was kinda dumb. And I guess for a long time I felt like I wasn’t justified to grieve it because it didn’t even have a heartbeat and it was my fault and etc. etc. But in the end, I do. I feel sorrow and apology toward whatever that little spark was for not being a better mom to it–without beating up on myself, exactly, but just sorrow that I made a mistake. I don’t think about it much, and it’s nothing like what I’d feel if one of my actual living children born since, god forbid, were in danger. But I have to give those feelings occasional space, and I feel some peace from acknowledging it. Like to have those feelings gives respect to an important part of my life.

    You might not feel at all like that all, or any grief might be much more about the lost potential of the pregnancy and your relationship. But I thought I’d just put it out there that you might feel these things and that it’s okay if you do. Grief is a powerful thing and needs to be heard in all its forms.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery from this terribly difficult (emotionally and physically) time.

  26. MaryKaye said:

    I’ve been in that “I have to finish this degree, it’s almost done, but I CAN’T DO ANYTHING” place with depression too.

    There are two responses that can work; which one is right for you depends on how close you are to finishing and what your personal coping style is, so I can’t possibly say. One is to get people around you to help organize the tasks, and then do them one tiny bit at a time, as the Captain recommended. The other is to say no, I can’t do this now, I need to grieve; and do only what is needed to manage that situation, which is often taking some form of leave from your degree program. It is much easier to come back later if you formally take leave now rather than vanishing.

    The worst thing you can do to yourself is to sit around thinking you *should* finish the degree while you really can’t. It makes the depression worse and it builds up bad feelings around your project that will make getting restarted even harder. So if you really can’t–don’t be fooled by “I should” if the truth is “I can’t”–take leave, and give *yourself* leave to do what you need to do now.

    My mother finished everything but her dissertation the year I was born, and then had horrendous trouble with my birthfather and dropped out. I proofread her dissertation. It is never too late to go back, so do what your mental health requires right now.

  27. S. said:

    Wow. i just got dumped via text as well. It was followed by 24 hours of ignoring all my messages/calls and then an e-mail blaming me for all of our issues. Friday it was “I love you so much!” Monday was, “Baby! Can’t wait to see you!” Tuesday was text dumping me. We spent 4-5 nights a week together. Everything was fine. Then this. He will not talk to me. After almost a year.

    I’m devastated as well and to be honest, it’s nice to hear you feel just as I do. Eating is hard. Walking is hard. Seeing the “bright side” is hard, not to mention thinking of dating. I just want to talk to him.

    And ya, I feel WRONG for feeling sad. He was so cruel to me in every single way. How can I feel SAD that he left me? What’s wrong with me!?

    So, you’re not alone. And I do believe we will both see how lucky we were for getting dumped. I’m sad I hate him. I wish I didn’t. I feel uncomfortable being so angry but really, you know you’re great. You have nowhere to go but up.

    And if you feel sad, think- there’s another girl dealing with the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with us. Karma was just correcting a bad situation for us since we didn’t have the heart to walk away from an asshole.

    Sending love.

  28. Datdamwuf said:

    LW, it’s not your fault, his behavior is not your fault. When he needs you it’s all good, all charm, all awesome, when you need him he fucks you over with special care to ensure you question you.

    It’s not your fault. At 52 I’ve finally figured this out, don’t get as old as I am before you do.

    Jedi hugs hon.

  29. gaijinrei said:

    Oh, LW. This is a terrible situation to be in. I feel for you.

    One thing that I found helped me when I was in a similar emotional state – when you think about him? When you ask yourself how he’s doing, or wonder if he might call you and turn it all around? Those thoughts are just thoughts. They are by-products of your emotional state; you loved him very much and had a significant relationship with him. It is okay to think those thoughts.

    But they’re not mental imperatives. The fact that you’re wondering how he’s doing doesn’t mean you’re about to call him. The fact that you’re wondering if he’ll call you doesn’t mean you’re turning into a stalker who will be hung up on their asshole ex forever, or that you’ve forgotten everything he’s done. It is normal and natural to think those thoughts at the end of an important relationship with someone you loved. Maybe try, if you can, to get to a place where you can let those thoughts wash over you without thinking that they say something about you as a person.

    I say this because the temptation can be to use the fact that you’re thinking this stuff as another weapon against yourself: “God, I can’t believe I’m still thinking these things, I don’t even want to see or talk to him but I guess I must do ON SOME LEVEL because I’m so fucked up I can’t even be angry with him properly. You are not fucked up, and thinking about talking to him – or even wanting to – doesn’t mean you’re going to do it and it doesn’t mean you’re wanting or thinking the wrong things.

    Jedi hugs to you.

    • anold said:

      I want to second this. Give yourself a Timespan (i recommend a week) and allow, really allow yourself to fully grieve till you cant cry no more. Give youself one week of waking up crying, thinking about a never will be future, about how you don’t know what to do next, about whatever your mind wants to focus on, without any and if i say any i mean _any_ ‘i should not’ or ‘i should’. Just one week full of feeling, not leaving couch, eating unhealthy, hating the world and whatever else comes round.

      For me because of my Experience with Depressions i still fear or better used to panic like hell that too much of any bad feelings will bring me back into a depression i will need again years to recover. But thats not true. These are Emotions and they belong to you and you need them like air to breathe.
      The people say, if you don’t love yourself, nobody can love you. And i learned if your grownupself isn’t able to hug your littlelosthurtself, feel sorry for it and admit it to this littlelostandawfullyhurtself nobody else will be able to give you this. So take time.

      If you would have had a car accident and you would have lost one leg and broken an arm nobody would think something like ‘i have to live with my parents’ or ‘my degree’ or ‘what do i do now’ or or or or. All of what captain awkard crew said would be what everyone would expect you to do (guess who would be the driver in this picture) as rehabilitation.
      be helpless, be dependant, be hurt. it’s your damned right!

      • anold said:

        with this just one week i didn’t mean you should not griev after this. but there should be this timespan without any bad feelings about what you think what you do or are not doing. just you and yourself.

      • human said:

        I like this. Also one thing that has worked for me is, if you’re feeling really awful but there is something you HAVE to do, is give yourself permission to cry/grieve/whatever later on. I would have to go to work, but I’d say to myself, “Tonight at 8 pm, if I still need to cry, I will cry for one hour.” Usually I wouldn’t need to by then. But this allowed me to get stuff done in the midst of Feelings.

        • CoolNewAnonymousNickname said:

          This! When was in the Year of Surreal (right after I left my abusive ex, but before the divorce), I would literally make deals with myself like this: “Ok, you can’t cry right now because you’re on the clock, but if you can make it to the car without crying, you can cry all the way home, ok?.” Try this, it really works. And also, you can track your progress, because as you heal, the times between crying will get larger and larger. Then the glorious day will come when you will not cry at all anymore, I promise.

          I also had to live with my mom and dad (at 41!) because I was left physically, financially and emotionally broken. It was difficult, and it did involve some swallowing of the little pride I still had left, but I have since come to consider that time a gift. Let your people love you and care for you, because you deserve sooooooooo much to be loved, cared for and even maybe coddled a little bit right now.

  30. solecism said:

    What a heartbreaking year 2012 has been for you, LW, and I am so very sorry for this suffering. You have not deserved cruelty and malice and failure and grief. You are worth love and loving and success and support.

    First, the thesis so close to the end can be overwhelming. I don’t think any thesis or dissertation is every truly finished and complete, simply that each person reaches the point of being done with it. No more. Good enough to graduate. And that last little bit before it’s over is when the jerkbrain ambushes you. Having gotten so far, the last piece should be easy, amirite? Why has it taken so long to get so close to the end? Why can’t I just get over this last little hump? it should be easy. What’s my problem? So many of my classmates have already finished and graduated, and I must be some sort of failure to still be here. I am sick of it, but it’s not done, and I dread digging back into it. I can see all of the unrealized potential, but I have to relinquish it for the sake of starting the rest of my life.

    Second, the abortion–such a difficult situation with no easy answers, everything feeling like a horrible mixture of right and wrong and confusion and fear and uncertainty and little support. Please believe that you made the right decision for you at that time, but that grief and self-doubt and all of those other complicated feelings are natural and okay, and it will take time for you to find peace emerging from this turmoil.

    Third, the intimate betrayal and malice of your boyfriend’s dumping you remotely. You deserve love, respect, and trust, and received none of these at the end. You did not bring this on yourself, but it still hurts, and it hurts to not know why.

    Any one of these would be sufficient to lay one low, to seek the fortitude and courage to face each day, to activate the social support network, to plunge into existential crisis. You’ve recently experienced profound psychic trauma (on top of what you already experience, and I am so sorry for that too), and you may never be able to untangle the abortion and the breakup from each other in your heart and soul. Healing is a long, arduous, painful process that requires time, self-care, love, therapy, rest, asking for and accepting help, that is, many of the same approaches that would be required to recover from major physical trauma.

    I was in graduate school for 5 years. I graduated 6 years ago. It took me 2 years of classes, 1 year of figuring out my research topic, 1 year of data collection, and 1 year of statistical analysis and writing. I was in cancer treatment for 3 years. Treatment ended 2 years ago, and I am still convalescing. I may never recover fully and I have some lifelong side effects of treatment that definitely affect my quality of life. I was in an abusive relationship that lasted for 7 years. It ended 6 years ago, but again, I am still recovering from its ill effects. These were major life events. I consider the last two as life threatening and life altering experiences. Society has much more acceptance and sympathy for cancer than abusive relationships, and yet plenty of victim blaming for both. I suspect you’ll encounter similar challenges as you get through even the horrors of this year.

    Immediate challenge–the wedding. My guess is you probably already RSVP’d a while ago with your boyfriend. You have the option of attending solo, or inviting a trusted friend or family member to accompany you. Consider having that person run interference for you, because weddings are always a great time for people to reconnect and ask how you’re doing, how’s the thesis, where’s the boyfriend, etc. Your friend can field these questions, if you like, and you can rehearse brief answers with maybe a spectrum of details, depending on whether you want to entirely deflect curiosity or share your newly single status/state of your thesis/whatever.

    I hope you’re already familiar with using creative expression to help you process traumatic and painful experiences. Art, journaling, poetry, music, photography, crafts, whatever. Please use these outlets to help you mourn that lost life and the lost relationship, and the lost future that both represent as much or as little as you need to. There’s something to be said for the old custom of the year of mourning to give you a buffer from the irritants of everyday life and time to reinvent yourself from the ashes of what’s no more. Give yourself time and gentleness. Seek help and comfort. Rely on the love of friends and family. Rediscover yourself, your strength, and skills, and talents, and beauty. Good luck.

  31. Anita said:

    LW, I couldn’t help but feel angry when I read your letter. I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of this.
    Though I know you say you are not religious, I hope you don’t mind if I keep you in my prayers. This is the only real way I can think of to help; l want to give advice, as your letter brings up many, many concerns, but I don’t think it would be tolerated here, and I want to at least be respectful of the Captain. Regardless, I hope that your life begins to move in a much more rewarding and positive direction. Keep moving toward that which is healthy and healing for you, and I believe the rest will fall into place.

  32. Pterinochilus murinus said:

    I’d just like to highlight this bit:

    “after I’d told him that it was best to terminate the pregnancy he decided to beg me to keep it. Later he said he only asked me to keep it because he thought I’d leave him if he made me go through with the abortion.”

    A genuinely good guy, faced with his partner’s unplanned pregnancy, would have said from the beginning, “Honey, I’m here for you whatever you decide. If you want to continue the pregnancy, I’ll support you with that. If you want to have the abortion, I’ll go there with you and look after you afterwards. If you need to talk through it while you’re deciding, I’ll listen without pressuring you either way.” And then stuck to that.

    Or let’s imagine a not so good guy who did what your ex says he did, and pressured you to have an abortion, then realised how conflicted you were, and got scared that you’d leave him. How might that guy react? “Honey, I’m so sorry I’ve been pressuring you this way. You know I don’t want this baby, but you should do what’s right for you. I’ll stop pushing you from now on.”

    Your ex didn’t even do that. He was scared you’d leave him for pressuring you to have an abortion, so he pressured you to have a baby instead. He literally cannot imagine a reality in which you make a decision about your body without his coercion.

    He was scared you’d leave him because then he’d lose control of you.

    You are not a crazy awful bitch, at all, and he is not the nicest of guys, at all. He is Bad News.

    • Datdamwuf said:

      I agree with this: “He was scared you’d leave him because then he’d lose control of you.”

      This guy has you on his roller coaster, so much so you are beginning to doubt your own feelings, your gut, you are buying into his crazy. He dumped you once and then hoovered you with sweetness and light and you came running. He’s likely to do this to you again. Do yourself a great favor and do not answer any calls from him, block his emails/texts. Please do not let him suck you in again.

  33. pidgeonrat said:

    I like the Captain’s advice about deciding to STAY broken up. This man sounds destructive and even if he comes back apologizing, he will only mess with the LW\’s emotions and cruelly break up with her again. I know that the instinct when abusive people ask to get back together is to hope \”Well now he really means it and everything will work out like I dreamed!\” but that is almost never the reality. Cut your losses by cutting your ties with the asshole ex.

    I also like this post by Boggle the owl http://bogglelovesyou.tumblr.com/post/22977478528
    It is normal to have mixed emotions in these situations. It is normal to miss the good times shared with an ex while hating him for being a manipulative asshole that makes you crazy. People are allowed to mourn relationships even when those relationships are destructive. And this relationship sounds very destructive. Take the Captain\’s advice and cut all ties with the ex. Move on to the next stage of your life. I bet it will be wonderful!

  34. Ellen said:

    LW, I am so sorry about what you’ve been through and am sending Jedi-hugs.

    I have nothing constructive to add, but it sounds to me as though your ex liked to undermine or ‘police’ your feelings (telling you you should have a different response to a triggering rape joke, for example – I don’t have any words for how angry that made me).

    I want to call shenanigans on that and reiterate what a lot of other commenters have said. Your feelings are VALID. However you may feel about your ex, your experience of abortion, your experience of rape, there is nothing wrong with those feelings and there is nothing wrong with you.

    All of your feelings are OK.

    You don’t need anyone in your life who is going to treat you like this. You deserve someone who will be kind and sweet and loving, who is funny and loves Dr Who and Battlestar Galactica.

    Be kind to yourself. Much love.

  35. kristinmh said:

    LW, this is heartbreaking. I don’t have anything to add other than I hope you find your way out of your depression and, when you’re ready, meet someone who isn’t a WHOA WTF manipulative asshat and who is eager to make small humans with you when mutually desired. :)

  36. The outpouring of love and support is more than I could have hoped for, or even imagined. I have already started seeing a therapist, talked to a doctor about starting on some anti-depressants to get through the hump. I’ve made a list of Team Me and another list of things (healthy things) I can do to cope. The thesis list will start Monday and I started a “breakup” blog where I can vent and rant (will anyone mind if I link to this post? I’ll give credit of course!)

    There is too much great advice and solidarity and empathy to recognize everyone individually so let me just say you are all incredible and I send everyone who wrote or even took the time to read my story a huge, tearful, jedi hug! I think I’ll bookmark this page and keep looking at it whenever I start to doubt myself. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Y’all are the best!

    • JenniferP said:

      Link away, lady. And feel better soon. You didn’t deserve any of this.

      • Datdamwuf said:

        things get better, come back any time he hoovers you, you deserve better, jedi hugs all over the place

    • L. said:

      Things do get better! And I’m so glad you’re already feeling that way at least a little. And that you have a Plan. Plans always make me feel better. Plus healthy things and Team You and lists and mental health stuff and venting… you are doing all the good things that will help pick you back up and move forward. You go!

      Grad school and especially theses (thesiseses??) are hard and scary. Six years after I finished my M.S. I am sucking it up and trying to rewrite mine for publication and it’s amazing how I still get nervous about opening up that file. But the distance of time helps hugely with perspective and at some point you will probably look back and feel very differently about your work and your time in the program. You’re almost there, you’ll get it done, and then you don’t have to ever deal with it ever again and you’ll have those shiny letters after your name. You can do it! More jedi hugs!

    • lydirae said:

      I’m interested in reading the blog generated by breaking up with this guy, if you feel like sharing. When other people unpack their feelings it seems to help me evaluate my own with more clarity.

      I, too, have bookmarked my CA letter and read it whenever I need a pick-up.

      • http://omg2idb.tumblr.com/

        That’s the blog… it’s mainly a bunch of rambling and there isn’t too much to it, but it’s a start and it’s nice to have a safe place to vent or let my feelings out. My family is great but sadness makes them uncomfortable, I think especially with my history of depression they worry that anytime I’m sad it’ll lapse into a depression episode…. but I know that it IS okay for me to be sad, to mourn. Not for him because he is a jerk, but because of the person I thought he was, and the life I thought we would have. I have told other friends who have gone through breakups about the blog hoping they will share their stories so it isn’t just me there venting but no one has taken me up on my offer yet. If you’d like to feel free.

        • I will just reinforce what people have said elsewhere: sometimes depression is totally appropriate to the situation at hand. You might have a relapse! That would suck, but would be okay.

          Find someone you can be sad around. It’s so important to be able to feel what you feel without people getting all “OMG IT IS MENTAL ILLNESS AGAIN!!” Maybe it is! Is pretending going to make that any better?

          Bah. This is a fine time to be sad and situationally depressed. It’s a fine time to be off-balance and confused, and it’s a fine time to struggle with balancing all the different parts of your life. It’s also a fine time to be unexpectedly emotionally stable, to find yourself with a surprising lack of anxiety, or to discover that work becomes easy when you’re not in that relationship.

          You are how you are right now, and this is a fine you to be.

    • tanglefox said:

      LW, the maturity and intelligence you’ve shown in dealing with all this aftermath is really impressive. If you still need reassurance that you’re not crazy or hysterical, your own actions should be proof enough. From one grad student with ADHD and depression to another, I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world.

      • Thank you Tanglefox, I still feel a bit paralyzed so the thesis list hasn’t come to fruition yet… I’ve only managed to brainstorm a couple of small steps I can take. I keep convincing myself that’s okay though. I have until October to defend and I know once I start working on it I’ll realize I’m a lot further along than I thought. I’m always up for advice on how to get motivated, organized and not let the depression and ADHD keep me from accomplishing what I know (cognitively) that I CAN do… it’s just this stupid brain of mine that keeps telling me that I can’t, or I won’t, because I’m too stupid, or too lazy… but I talk to myself in the mirror almost everyday, and tell my brain to stop fraking with me, and that if I WERE stupid or lazy, I wouldn’t have gotten this far to begin with. I need to allow myself to take one small step at a time, and reward myself for the small things I do instead of beating myself up for all the things I don’t do.

        • Cheri said:

          I have ADHD, (diagnosed, supposed to be on meds, but eh, I think they make me feel stupid-headed so I don’t take them. Personally, I feel brilliant and witty, and don’t know WHY other people aren’t constantly charmed by me!) and focus is so very, very hard!!! I’m an artist, and haven’t been in the mood for arting lately. So what I do is, I surround myself with things that inspire me to art. I have coffee with an extremely talented friend and we discuss art; I go to museums, I read internet friends’ art blogs, I browse and impulse shop a budgeted amount in art stores. And it really helps.

          My advice is to surround yourself with things related to your thesis list. Google it, read what others are doing in the subject matter, visit places where it has a physical presence and so on. ADHD drives you to keep moving and to keep noticing. If you surround yourself with inspiration all you notice is various parts of the subject of your thesis list. Instead of, “Hummm, must write lis… Ooooo! There’s a bunny in the yard! Wonder if it will scare off the … SQUIRRELS! I need more bird seed. Where are the keys to the car? I need a new purse. Louis Vuitton sure is talented. Did y’all watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony?”, (believe me, all that has valid segues that make perfect sense to me,) you’ll be thinking, “I need to write that lis… Oooo! New Word software on my computer! Wonder if the library has reference material? Maybe I can get Friend to go with me to get coffee and we can discuss Thesis List. I need a new notebook. Black ink.”

          That’s my advice; surround yourself with things that constantly point you back to, or remind you of, your thesis list. Some stuff should be work encouraging, and some stuff just for fun. Whatever it takes. Also you aren’t lazy or stupid. Your brain is differently organized, your body is wired just a tad different, and sometimes it needs help. (ADD and ADHD are different; the H adds a delightfully clumsy and fidgety component to the mix. My doc told me that there’s a mis-wiring in the connections that leads to less accurate spatial awareness.)

          As for the abortion, it doesn’t matter how it happens, your body goes through some rough hormonal changes. I don’t know how recent it was, but I guess within the last month? So not only are you dealing with the usual brain derailing culprits, but you’re dealing with major hormone swings, swings that have set normally cheerful women to drown their kids, shoot their husbands, and kick their dogs. Whether you carry for 9 months or 9 weeks, you still can have Postpartum depression. The time-frame doesn’t make it any less valid. And to think you have a horrid ex messing with your mind and making you homeless on top of it all? Criminal. I don’t know how long it lasts before the hormones level out, but when you see your therapist be sure to ask about it.

  37. Agnes said:

    LW, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I feel so hurt and angry on your behalf. I hope you have all the logistical things figured out- you don’t say if you were able to get back into the apartment to get your stuff, for example, so I hope you’re able to if you haven’t yet. (The other stuff, being totally emotionally wrung out, doesn’t so much have steps-you-can-take-to-do-ness other than time.)

    Many other commenters have pointed out that you should not take him back if he shows up again, and I want to emphasize that. He willfully endangered you by making you homeless with no warning and no chance to move out in an orderly fashion. Thank goodness you have your parents to provide refuge for you!

    Let yourself feel bad- someone you love betrayed and endangered you, and that’s a Big Deal.

    • Thank you so much for the concern. I was able to get my stuff out, he was … well I won’t use the word decent, but he did agree to spend his first night back in our hometown at a friend’s house to allow me to move out, he just said that if he saw my car in our parking lot when he got there the next day to move his things and sell our mattress that he would call the cops…. my brother in law informed me that this was totally illegal (but I’d have to explain the situation to the cops calmly and show them proof of rent, which I had) and my sister kept telling me this was abusive and controlling behavior, so I actually told him that if he brought the cops in I’d get a restraining order him… after that he chilled out and sent me money for the followup ultrasound I’ll need (that he knew was scheduled in the town we lived in, and that was scheduled for four days after he kicked me out…. he did say I could stay there but apparently without a bed, I guess I could’ve stayed but I thought it would be better to just get the hell outta dodge.)

      I AM feeling better, still dumbstruck and heartbroken, but I really do feel like everything here was dead-on, this was about his issues and who he is as a person, not me. Granted… I still check this every day to reinforce myself, but hopefully as time goes on I’ll need that less and less.

      • Agnes said:

        You sound like you’re handling this whole awful situation with a lot of courage and grace.

      • You’re going through such a terrible time. Have you seen http://calmingmanatee.com/ ? It’s such a random thing but sometimes having a picture that says OH HONEY helps me.

        I have good news for you: the time will come when you will be happy and stable and safe and sane!

        I also have bad news. It may not be very soon. Today you’ll be doing better and making plans, and tomorrow you might be crawling into the closet to wail. Thursday you have the strength to make a therapist appointment and Friday you want to cancel because you cannot imagine talking to anyone or putting on pants but the telephone is too overwhelming and you might have to explain.

        You’ll have ups and downs, is what I mean. Especially with your hormones going all funky, that’s going to add to it. It’s gonna be really, really hard. I know this isn’t cheerful happy news, but I want to tell you the truth here.

        The good news is true, too, but even after a while when you’re happy and you’ve graduated and you’ve got a new apartment and everything, it’s still going to come back and get you. The brainweasels will come out when you’re trying to fall asleep. That’ll be hard too.

        It seems overwhelming and this sounds awful and why am I telling you this, besides that I think it’s true? Because the _rest_of the truth is that it’ll get better. In fits and starts, a bit at a time. For a little while it’ll feel like you’re going backwards, like it’s one step forward and two steps back. But before too long, on your own schedule, it’ll be two steps forward and one step back.

        This is just how people usually recover from terrible traumas. In fits and starts. Most people go through a stage of hating all over themselves because they should have gotten over it by now; most people make some unwise decisions in the short and middle term; most people get through it in the end. So will you.

        One final thing from me: I like to decide that for a period after a breakup or other catastrophe, that I am temporarily insane. My judgment is so busted that I might do all kinds of things that normally I would not do. Impulsivity, I have it. This is okay! It’s best if I can have someone around to talk me down from the worst ideas, but who will embrace the bizarre-but-not-actively-harmful plans. You might not react this way, but you might, and it is totally okay if you do.

        I wish you the absolute best.

  38. rachel scotland said:

    Wow.

    It is like the Captain published a letter that I don’t remember writing from four years ago.

    I’m so, so sorry LW. That’s literally all I can say.

  39. PomperaFirpa said:

    Oh, sweetheart, sweetheart, I am so sorry for you. This sucks so, so much.

    Everyone else is smarter than I am on the ex with the psychopath switch, so I’ll just give you this:

    1) I’ve been through one pregnancy that resulted in a small person and one first-trimester miscarriage, and I am here to say that pregnancy hormones are no goddamn joke, they will fuck you up. I’m not talking about “during” so much as I mean “after”, because your body hits a re-set button and everything wrenches around and it just completely screws up your emotional stability. Riding that wave is a nasty experience and I am so sorry you’re having to deal with it AND deal with such a horrific break-up and randomly cruel behavior from your ex.

    2) Grief doesn’t make sense, and that’s okay. It is good to mourn. It’s not bad to feel sad about an abortion or the end of a relationship with a guy who turned out to be a major dickhead; part of getting out of a bad situation is to look back and wish that it hadn’t turned bad, maybe wish that the decisions you made– that were the absolute best under the circumstances– could have been the kind of decisions you get to make under normal, un-stressed circumstances.

    The only bad thing that can come of the mourning is to think that going back into the bad circumstances will give you a chance to fix it. It won’t. The best present to give to your past self is to grieve, and to be sad that your past self didn’t have what you wanted for yourself, and then to try again so that your current self will have that chance.

    3) We want to believe that bad things happen for a reason, that people treat us badly for a reason, because in its way it’s better than the alternative theory that there’s no way of avoiding this shit in the future. That’s why it’s really, really hard to believe that this happened to you for no reason: the lizard brain craves a reason so it knows what to do in the future. It wants control.

    Feed the lizard brain a reason and a plan: this happened because your ex is a bad guy, and in the future, you will avoid him and other guys like him. Read up on this sort of thing (The Gift of Fear, which is mentioned A LOT on this site, is mentioned A LOT for a reason, and I highly recommend it) and apply it in retrospect to your ex. This will help give the lizard brain the sense of control it needs, and focus that reason and blame outside of you and on the person it belongs.

    A nickname for the ex helps a lot. If the nickname trends to the funny, that’s even better, because then you can hear the new people in your life laugh at the asshole who tried to ruin your life.

    Many jedi hugs. You are loved.

  40. thegirlfrommarz said:

    Hi LW,

    There is so much good advice on this thread that I really don’t have much to add, only to echo that it’s not your fault and your ex’s behaviour towards you is not how anyone treat someone who loves them. He does sound controlling, and the fact that he’s now done this “dump you out of the blue” thing twice shows that it’s part of his pattern. He will probably come back into your life, as that also seems to be his pattern, so I agree with the Captain’s suggestion to raze the ground and salt the earth so that there isn’t a way that he can contact you and you don’t find yourself being sucked back in by him.

    Even though the ex turned out to be a heel, you shouldn’t feel sad about grieving. It’s not just the relationship or the loss of the person you were with you are mourning, it’s the future you thought you had ahead of you. You can break up with someone, know it’s the right thing, and still feel really sad that you had to make this choice and wish things were different.

    I second the recommendation of The Gift of Fear – it’s not only full of useful information, but is also a gripping read!

    Also, it might help you to think of moving back with your parents as a chance to spend some quality time with them. I had to move back in with mine for four months when I moved to the city where they live for a new job. At first it was suffocating (although having my dinner cooked for me and getting my laundry done was a big plus immediately!), but once we got used to negotiating the fact that we were all adults now (as I was a teenager when I last lived with them, we all immediately fell back into child/parent patterns and we had to work out ways of stopping ourselves from doing that), it was actually really nice to be with them on a daily basis and I missed them when I finally moved out. I know that when (god forbid) they are gone, I will always be glad that I had the chance to spend proper time with them for those few months.

    Jedi hugs to you, if you want them – it sounds like you’re doing all the right things by assembling Team You and getting some help from a therapist (and I LOVE the blog idea!), and I’m sure you will come through this stronger and wiser.

  41. Bunny said:

    LW,

    I’ve read your heartbreaking letter, and I’ve read the responses you’ve made since. You’re doing so well! You’ve been through a terrible, protracted trauma that would make anyone struggle, and your emotional responses are valid, normal and healthy. But the action you’ve taken and the attitude you have now is amazing, and I hope you can recognise and feel proud of what you’ve already achieved.

    I’m so glad you’ve managed to get a Team You and action plans ready – these things are so, so vital.

    There will be good days and bad days while you deal with all this, and sometimes maybe the bad days will seem to come in a block, but please make sure to remind yourself at every point that having bad days is normal, especially when recovering from so much trauma.

  42. I sent you another email today Captain, but you can just delete it. Just writing it made me feel better and now I feel kinda silly for sending it your way (because really, I do have a therapist and I know you’ve got your own life and other LW’s to attend to.) I’m just needy right now and reaching out to everyone. Today is not a good day but the sun will rise again tomorrow and I’ll have another chance.

    • alphakitty said:

      Hang in there, things.get.better. You knew healing would not be a smooth progression; hopefully more like two steps forward, one step back than the other way around… but not a smooth progression.

      In fact, I suspect that intellectually, you know all the things I might think to tell you and more, because life has taught you a lot of hard lessons! But I just wanted to tell you that from the things you’ve written, I have a lot of faith that thing really *will* get better for you. You’re strong, and smart, and (though it may not feel like it) pretty well-balanced emotionally, considering all the shit that’s been thrown your way.

      As you wait for time and circumstance to do their work, do the visualization thing: picture yourself happy and emotionally stable, surrounded by friends and loved ones and maybe a husband and kid, with work/career that satisfies you… whatever the things are that would make you say “Aaaah! Now this was worth every single thing it took to get here!” — and try to think of yourself as moving toward that, not just away from pain.

  43. M-C said:

    I’m coming to this very late, I’m sorry, but I hope it’s not too late to let you know someone else thinks you’re not the bad person here, and that you deserve all the hugs you can get. I hope by now you’re beginning to feel a little better about all this horrible stuff, and seeing your way back to normal life.
    Don’t beat yourself up for being depressed. First, you just had an abortion. It’s not ever a happy event. The Republican myth of abortions for entertainment is grossly, grossly overstated. Moreover, your body is severely unhappy with you, your hormones are screaming worse than any PMS you’ve ever experienced. If you’re like most women, that means you need a lot of chocolate at the very least.
    Second, you’re in the Painful Thesis stage. This is never happy for anyone either. It’d seem like you could just get on with it and finish the damn degree, but it’s never that straightforward. It seems major life reassement has to go on before you can do it. And basically everyone I’ve ever seen in this predicament ends up filing just because they want their life back, not because they feel like they’re done or much less that they wrote good stuff.
    Third, you’ve been dumped, in the rudest possible way, and by a jerk who sounds like a real abuser. You may be better off without him in the long term, but the initial pain is just awful. In a way, the more horrible the guy, the more painful the breakup, they’re good at manipulating you that way. Shred your self-esteem o bits twhile they’re there, and then kick you on the way out the door too.
    So guess what? Not one, but 3 major reasons to be depressed, all at once. You’re way off the stress scale. You’re actually doing pretty good if you’re still in shape to ask anyone at all for help :-). I’m very glad you came to Captain Awkward, she’s giving you very good advice, I hope you listened carefully to every single bit of it!
    I’m mostly concerned that Schmuckface (pardon, Poopyhead, that’ll do too) might be trying to get you back again at some point. Now that you’ve been suitably chastened by feeling the pain of being dumped like a rat turd. Can I be an ex-librarian, and strongly advise you to read Lundy Bancroft’s “why does he do that?” I think you need it to process your experience a bit, and to fortify yourself against possible further intrusions from SF/PH, not to mention spotting this type fast in the future.
    I’d also like to point out that when I had an abortion I couldn’t possibly have told you exactly why, besides the usual about being young and having a half-time minimum wage job with no prospects and clearly no end to the thesis and all that. But I just knew in my guts I couldn’t commit to 20 years of mandatory relationship of sort with that guy because a kid I loved was also his. And you know what? I was so right, I don’t even want to flip you out by telling you the details of what I found out 10 years later. Of all the decisions I made in my life, this one was the really good one, without it I’d have been toast. So listen to CA, and believe that somewhere you -knew-, and you did the right thing. And CA, thank you. Not just for your good advice, but for doing the right thing and protecting this girl from the trolls.
    I’m very glad you are with your family, and I hope you’re still there with them, feeling their love and allowing it to heal you from this encounter with evil. It’s heartbreaking to see anyone being treated so badly. Please don’t give up on life because of it, it really can only get better.

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