Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Where to from here? Left an abusive relationship, dealing with collateral damage.

Community Member

Hi everyone

I left my ex nearly 7 months ago now.

Based on the reading and research I've been doing, it appears she was a covert-malignant narcissist. I tried everything I could to make the relationship work, but in the end nothing I did was enough. I was with this person for 5 1/2 years. I spent nearly all that time in fight/flight/freeze mode, not knowing what mood she would be in on a given day, what was expected from me, or whether she'd be kind to me or cold and silent. There was a lot of emotional/verbal/psychological abuse, where I felt completely dehumanised at times. I left because the mental health toll the relationship was taking meant I was becoming so depressed that I no longer felt safe.

When I left her I had to deal with stalking etc. It was very scary.

I'm now slowly on the path of recovery. I'm getting therapy. My stress levels are nowhere near as high any more. My ex has left me alone now. I've made positive changes to my lifestyle i.e getting exercise, trying to stay social as much as I can.

The collateral damage is complete lack of confidence and self esteem. She took all that away. I think about the possibility starting a new relationship for example, and I find just the thought of it completely terrifying. I don't trust anyone. Additionally my ex was very controlling. Before her I had many female friends. I lost touch with many of them, so my social circle is small now.

Mentally I feel fatigued. I'm only 29 but I honestly feel like this relationship too about 20 years off my life. I'm mentally exhausted.

Has anyone else had this kind of experience? How did you move on? Is it even possible to trust/love again?

I apologies for whinging! I'm having a bad day today and trying to make sense of it all.

1 Reply 1

Hi rhinoceros,

Welcome to the forums, and thank you for sharing this here. We’re really sorry to hear what you’ve been going through. It sounds like you're doing some amazingly strong and impactful steps towards feeling better in getting therapy and making positive lifestyle changes. We think posting here can be a really powerful step too, and we know it isn't easy. 

We're sorry to hear that you were living with abuse, and are still feeling this impacts. It's not easy to work through something like this, and it can take a long time, so there's some tips for practicing self-care here. It's super important to be kind to yourself as you go through it, and to reach out whenever things are getting tough. The Beyond Blue counsellors are available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or online, here between 11am-midnight... 

We’re sure our warm and kind community will spot your post soon, some of whom may be able to relate to what you’re going through. Thank you again for your courage and strength in sharing your story here.

Kind regards,

Sophie M