It’s important you understand that I’ve written this to you, not in the hope of reconciliation, acknowledgement, or thanks, but from a position of compassion, understanding, and love. One human being offering a friendly hand to another. The hurt, the blaming, and the anger have all gone. All that remains is the tenderness, and that is the essential spirit of this letter.
Although I will never feel the excruciating, suffocating torment that you continue to carry inside yourself, I have however had a glimpse at it, and I can appreciate how that intolerable pain drives your actions which keep you locked in an endless cycle of hope, disillusionment, withdrawal, and misery. Relationships, which seem so promising at the start, continue to fail; your barriers have grown more thorny and impenetrable; you feel more separated from the world; happiness and peace of mind seem more out of reach now than ever.
Please know that anything I say here is from the perspective of someone who has been close to you, who cares about you, who has witnessed your anguish eye-to-eye, and who has really tried to fathom the primary cause of that suffering. Any insights I may have gained have only become clear after eventually healing myself which has finally leant me some much needed clarity, and also through the benefit of distance, time, compassion, much searching, and much thought.
I can’t help you directly of course. I'm not qualified for that, and more to the point, you probably still think I'm part of the problem. All I can do is gently point out a possible exit from your cycle of misery. And you can act on that however you see fit and when you are ready. But please know that there is no ulterior motive at work here, just a genuine hope that someone I care about will finally find some inner peace.
I could find no peace of mind for myself without at least trying to understand the mental and emotional chaos that I have felt over our time together. Over the past few months I’ve spent a vast amount of time, read many books, been on forums of all kinds (not to vent, but to listen), spoken to many people who’ve been through similar events, trying to make sense of the agony, confusion and contradictions present during and after our relationship.
Please know that I’m writing this from a place of love because some of what I’ve got to say here will very likely hurt like hell. But if you’re ever going to find peace of mind, to thrive rather than just exist, to feel easy joy instead of numbness, to connect rather than to hide, to truly love yourself and others, then I believe you’re gonna have to face this at some point.
I have seen you endure an awful relentless flipping between either feeling like a victim or feeling like a monster, between feeling alone or feeling suffocated, between idealising someone and loathing them, between feeling loved or feeling unloveable. But I am convinced this nightmare can be stopped for good. It really can. So here goes:
It seems you have a deep traumatic wound buried within you. How and when it was originally created is something only you will know or be able to discover. This wound is so painful that a protective-self fortress has been built around it. I believe this protective-self has been masquerading as your real identity for quite some time. Most people, including yourself sometimes, believe it is the real you. But it is not the real you. It is a construction. A most-of-the-time functioning, tightly controlled, scared, charming, but disconnected construction. There is a huge chasm dividing this protective-self from your true, loving, happy core-self. You try to fill this void with many external validations, all of which keep you nicely distracted for a while, but nothing really ever makes you truly happy because the real solution to this puzzle was always and only ever inside you.
The one distraction that works best is ‘the new relationship’. For a short while it feels wonderful, the dopamine flows beautifully, and it appears to be the answer you’ve been searching for. You regale your new partner with stories of abandonment and awful ex’s. The relationship appears to be working very well for you both. And it is, at first, because everyone’s getting something nice. They feel like your saviour and you feel like you’ve finally been saved. it is during this period that your partner quickly becomes addicted to you because you have made them feel incredible, listened to, needed.
But before long, you become aware that your new favourite person is not the perfect Prince Charming (outside Disney, they just don’t exist). You start to despise them for not living up to you ideal image. In your eyes, your partner has turned from being your long-awaited saviour into a complete waste of space and you hate them for letting you down. And so the devaluation begins as you blame them for not living up to your impossible expectations and failing to rescue you from your private hell. And you still feel as empty as ever because ultimately nothing can ever fill the abyss which is, of course, bottomless.
New partners with strong boundaries will quickly run from this confusing turn of events, leaving you feeling the victim of yet another abandonment, but more often, being now addicted to you, they will stick around, like I did, and slowly have the life and joy sucked out of them, pouring every last drop of their happiness into the hungry void. You begin to feel more and more powerful, even superior, as you watch your partner descend into your living hell. Paradoxically, this power also makes you feel like a monster, as you end up despising your ailing partner for being such a pathetic sap whilst still not making you feel any better. Any subsequent desperate outburst by your disoriented, drained partner is confirmation to you that he was clearly to blame for your continuing misery. ‘There you go…he’s another needy, angry, suffocating, weak, hysterical fool! That’s why I’m still suffering. Why do I always either get abandoned or end up with jerks like that?’.
As soon your walking-dead partner is suffering at the appalling level which you endure constantly, when they have nothing left to offer you, you discard them in disgust as a useless piece of garbage. This is not you being consciously nasty of course, just your way of managing the chaos and agony within you as a result of your mangled sense of what is real. And what is real for you changes constantly.
So now you can tell the world of how they made the situation intolerable for you with their awful [insert any credible character flaws here] behaviour. Because to face the truth, that the love, the same love which had buoyed you up to incredible heights at the outset, now leaves you feeling as empty as ever, is just too bizarre for you or anyone to comprehend. And so objective history is rewritten in order to make sense of the chaos inside you.
But you’ll do this over and over and over, because, for a while, it offers a high like no other, and more importantly, it distracts you from the terrifying nothingness. The truth is, ‘new love’ has become your addiction. Your heroine.
None of this is your fault of course, but you do need to take responsibility at some point for the considerable impact all this stuff has on those around you, especially those who get really close to you. They are destined to suffer a portion of your pain too. I naively thought that just staying calm, present, and showing you unconditional love would make things better, but I can see now that no amount of that was ever going to fill that insatiable emptiness. This has been both my torture and my lesson.
So be in no doubt that in this process you do steal something quite fundamental from those romantically in love with you. And so, quietly and unknowingly, your personal wound is spread.
All the literature has advised that I turn my back on you completely. No contact, no rationalising, no attempt to sympathise. It is said that these actions would just draw out the problem and delay healing for us both. But something about this didn't sit right with me. The thought of someone, for whom I care a great deal, suffering for their entire life just seems too awful to bear, especially if there is the slightest chance that I can help find a way to escape that terrible fate.
This miserable hamster wheel will keep you restlessly unhappy forever unless you decide to break the cycle and get some proper professional help. Heaven knows it won’t be easy because you’ll finally have to confront the enormous hurt that your protective-self has been hiding from you all this time. The protective-self is a stubborn and cunning creature which will do absolutely anything to divert your attention from the root cause of your misery. But the final prize is that you will eventually rediscover your core loving-self, thus reuniting mind, body, and soul. Only then will you properly be able to love yourself and thence others. However tough that long, difficult homeward journey is, it must surely be worth the battle.
I was neither your perfect saviour nor was I a contemtible waste of space. I was just flawed me, very much in love with flawed you. And you were neither the helpless victim nor the cruel, heartless monster. You are a beautiful, tormented soul just trying to get through life the best you can with a burden of pain more monstrous than anyone should ever have to bear.
i wish you nothing but peace, love, and happiness. I hope this helps.