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I have been trying to manage my depression and anxiety for around 8 years. For the past 4 I have been seeing a psychiatrist and been on medication with fairly good results. I am now mostly functional.

6 months ago, I broke up with my first partner. We were together for 2 years and he was emotionally and sexually abusive towards me. Initially he seemed socially outgoing, energetic and nuts about me. I had expressed that equality was important to me in relationships and he said he respected that.

He progressed to being socially reclusive (I later discovered he had no close friends and spent all his spare time at home) incredibly selfish, consistently ignored my clearly expressed boundaries and was obsessed with chasing other women.

Initially when I was upset by some of his behaviour he expressed remorse. Later this turned into constantly finding reasons why his behaviour was my fault and using emotional blackmail to get his way. He also required me to be dependent on him and asked me to spend less time with my friends and family.

I quit one of my casual jobs after I left him as I was not coping emotionally and felt I had too much on my plate. I felt a huge sense of relief but I am struggling with feeling frequently overwhelmed with shame that I could have allowed someone like this into my life.

I have always struggled with very low self esteem but despite this I have a number of good, close female friends.

All of these friends have full time work or study and are in committed long term relationships. They now have very little time for me and I am mostly the one initiating catch ups.

When I am well I am socially outgoing but when Im not I have trouble intiating contact. I want to make new friends but I have a lot of difficulty trusting anyone and dont want to attract anyone into my life that might abuse me. I am incredibly lonely most of the time and I don't know what to do about it.

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hi, I noticed you said you struggle with shame of letting this person into your life. A year ago I ended a relationship with a man that sounds quite similar to your experience, at first he seemed wonderful, caring, so much interest in me. But then he flipped and it was all about him, treated me like I wasnt important, would say he was going to spend time with me and then just wouldnt show up. I had fallen in love with him, or so I thought at the time, so it was hard, I felt low, got depressed which I usually can cope with but this time I couldnt, so I started seeing a psychologist and that really helped to talk to someone......but I also burried my head in study to focus on something else as a distraction. A year on today I have realised that I think I was in love with the idea of being loved. And that my self worth and self esteem is low, so I have decided this year to work on this and to learn to love myself. So I sat down and thought of things that I enjoy and what makes me happy. One thing is fitness so Im going to a yoga class for the first time this week to see how that goes. The reason I am replying about you saying you felt shame is I too felt shame that I had fallen in love with such a man,how could I be so wrong and thought what is wrong with me, and there are manipulative people in this world which are not what they seem, which I believe was the case with the man I was with, but I just have to accept I made a mistake and now try and work on me and my internal happiness.

Community Member
Hi there Cattrap (and also Jo)

Thank you for both coming here and posting about your relationship situations and how they turned very nasty for you.

Egotistical bullies, is what I’d use to describe these types of men – I guess that’s one way to describe them, but there’d a lot more that wouldn’t quite be publishable. All is well and good in the initial stages, as they appear to be something – then once that phase is through, they then turn to become their real selves. It’s so sad to know that there are people out there like this.

Good on you Jo for being able to recognise how things were and that you’ve done a great job in sitting down and putting it in black and white for things that you enjoy, even things that you are good at, or things that make you happy. That’s a tremendous positive step, and the goal for fitness is one to be applauded. Fitness is a huge positive goal to set for yourself, as it goes a long way to helping you (that’s the collective ‘you’, as I am a regular gym goer as well – who also has low self esteem), but I think if you can work on your own person, the physical being, it can lend itself to having really good and positive outcomes for your inner person.

I hope that made sense.

Dear Cattrap, may I ask are your close friends having little time for you now, because you are now single (as they are in long term relationships) and was it because you were in a relationship that you did things together?

However, having said that, to me, I usually drop the word friend if referring to someone who I used to be able to call upon, but once they found out I have depression, they kind of drop off. To have low self esteem in the first place and then to find that ‘once friends’ are avoiding, is not what we need.

After this latest relationship, I can understand how you’d be very nervous about trusting people again, but can I say, that the bad apples out there are few and far between – there’s a lot of genuine caring people and just by the tone and the way you’ve written your post, it sounds like you’re a wonderful person who has a lot to offer.

I hope that you’re able to work through this phase and are able to come out the other side – and please keep writing here.