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Late night loneliness

Community Member

I recently realised that I have abandonment issues, building the base for my constant need to be perfect, desire for attention and constant feelings of worthlessness in positive situations (especially relationships). I thought my father was the one to destroy my mind, but it turns out my mother leaving me with him as a kid - before I could even remember her - stayed with me much more so than him.

I worked though a fear of men, a fear of intimacy, of failure, of being disliked... I recently started to get over my constant thoughts that the person I love was going to leave me once he realised how much of a bad person I was. In response, he cheated on me. And I thought I could get over it, but I was already putting walls up and my mind was struggling when he told me he loved her and kept spending more time with her. He avoided me, because I kept up all my walls and lashed out at whatever attempts he made to get close. Pushing him away like I've always done to people who have or could hurt me.

I couldn't handle it. I couldn't think at all, could barely breathe. I did the first thing I fixated on and broke up with him, and now here I am. I can think most of the time now, but instead I swapped it for emptiness and loneliness. My kids (toddlers) don't count toward it much, although I've taken to bringing them into my bed when I go to sleep so I feel less alone. I stopped talking to my family years ago, and I've never been able to maintain friendships outside of classrooms.

Instead of doing the chores for the house inspection, or my assignments due for uni soon, I've spent an hour on here instead, retyping this.

It's hard to see professional help as useful, when they can't help you get up in the morning, or help you when you're laying awake in the middle of the night, both desperate to sleep and wanting to stay away from your empty bed. Now I get to stare and try to will myself to do my work, or lay down and relive my constant bad choices.

Anyone have a way of lifting the exhaustion? I used to try starting with something small and working up the "successes", but it stopped working.

9 Replies 9

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Despond,

Thanks for sharing your story, i can feel the hurt you must be feeling through your message. You have clearly been through a lot of heart ache and trauma which is still impacting you to this day. You also seem incredibly self aware though, which I think is a big strength. Someone who is able to see where their feelings and behaviours are rooted. For many of us, this doesn't come naturally.

While I know the loneliness after separating from a partner can be crippling (along with the isolation of raising young children) if he wasn't being faithful, you certainly deserve much better. Do you feel you made the right decision?

Lifting the exhaustion can take some time, but small steps do definitely equate to a strong foundation if you stick with it. I understand your hesitancy to see a professional for the reasons you describe, but I would also argue that the advice and support they can give you will actually offer you tools and ease for the times when you can't sleep or get out of bed. Having a safe space to work through your trauma, emotions and general day to day challenges with someone you trust is really helpful.

There's also the option of speaking to your doctor for medication to temporarily help you while you engage with a pysch for more long term solutions, if you feel this might be necessary.

In the short term, some small but powerful tools i've built into my routine when I am in a deep depression or anxious are:

- Journalling all my feelings out with a pen and paper

- Going for a long walk or run outside

- Doing a guided meditation or yoga

Perhaps you could try one of these, or are there other things in your life that give you joy and relax you to help regulate your nervous system and take your mind off things?

We're always here if you want to chat in the forums too.

Hope this helps.

Community Member

Thank you for responding.

Thinking back on how our relationship was in the past year, his cheating seems closer to karma for my behaviour. I still question my decision constantly, although I regret it. But as soon as I move on past the regret, I question if I'm lying to myself, if I'm only regretting it because it's a change/I'm alone. I questioned whether I loved him or just was scared of being alone for years before being able to choose an answer. The only facts I have is that my entire family consists of him and our kids, and that I should have talked better before breaking up.

I tried journalling in the past and it was helpful, I might try that again, thank you.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Despond,

Welcome to our forums, and I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. I hope that typing out this post has had some kind of therapeutic value for you - I often find that writing about what I'm experiencing can help me to process it and work out exactly how I'm feeling.

I applaud you for breaking up with your partner. Splitting up with somebody can be extremely difficult and can take such a huge mental toll on people. Also, please know that his cheating is not justified by your actions or behaviour towards him. It was wrong of him, especially considering the fact that you have children together.

As Banksy92 has said, I would also argue that it would be beneficial to seek professional help as well. It's always great to be able to talk to a third party about your experiences, and perhaps you may come back with some useful tips for beating exhaustion. I've found that online therapy sessions (via Zoom) are good for when I'm short on time, feeling tired, or if I'm struggling to leave the house.

I think journalling is a great tool for relieving stress and calming nerves or anxiety. I've also found that meditation can help relax you or even make you feel less exhausted. There are some really good apps out there, like Calm, Breethe, or even Headspace.

With regards to social support, how have you been in terms of finding friends at uni? With people in your courses, you can always bond over things like stressful assignments, similar life experiences, or even stressors in everyday life. Most universities will have various clubs you can join, and they're always great for finding likeminded people with shared interests.

We're always here on the forums to chat with you as well. Please feel free to write us back if you have more to talk about!

I wish you all the very best. And good luck with your uni work as well, I'm also approaching the assignment-heavy part of the semester so I know that feeling all too well.

Take care 🙂

Kind regards, SB

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Despond

You are such an incredible person on what is obviously a mind altering deeply challenging quest, to better make sense of who you truly are, despite the pain and suffering of your past.

I'd have to say the greatest quest of all in life involves fully understanding yourself while discovering your abilities at the same time. Such a quest can hold such an enormous amount of questions. It's great when you've got answers, when they're coming to you in rapid succession, but when there are no obvious answers it can basically be horrible and even deeply depressing at times.

If I had to pick an analogy, I'd say it's like you one day find yourself having woken up to being on this path to better understanding yourself, better understanding life and better understanding how things became so 'screwed up'. With that last one, it's like 'Who screwed me up or how much did I screw myself up along the way?' It feels like you can't take a significant step forward without finding an answer first. Then, just as you feel like you're making progress, a detour sign appears dictating you have to take this side track in order to move forward. The side track, which provides a lot of hard work and some revelations, brings you back to your path, with a greater sense of understanding. You mentioned what you've managed to work through over time, which is a reflection of how hard you've worked to get back on track time and time again. There are not a huge amount of people who are prepared to work this hard. It's exhausting work. It can be lonely work too at times...

I've been with my husband for more than 20 years and rarely has he ever led me to wonder about a lot of the things that really matter. With your ex, did he ever lead you to wonder why you suffer so much in some cases or lead you to wonder how you've been challenged/shaped by your parents? Did he lead you to wonder about your ability to ask the hard questions of yourself, so as to move forward, or did he lead you to imagine your sense of wonder and questioning was a 'problem'? Did he shut you down or open your mind? Did he choose what was easy or did he choose to work with you through the challenges of what is incredibly hard?

Sometimes I find there is an undeniable compulsion to sit with a question until it's answered, meditating on it. The time spent in such a state often reflects the significance of the revelation that can come through it. With such a deep and exhausting meditation, it's important to have breaks.

Community Member

As a kind of follow up, some recent information I learned:

He's "over her" already, would never date her and is trying to spend less time with her because she's irritating him.

So I'm spending my kid's birthday trying to not show how much I hate her while she's in my house (as she's my kid's aunt), while dealing with the fact that years of a relationship went out the window because my ex was so much in love with her that he got over it within 3 months.

That's all I'm worth, apparently.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Despond,

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation - it sounds like you've been going through a really rough time. Firstly, I want you to know that you are worth everything and that his actions do not reflect your value. He seems to be unable to commit and that is his own issue that has nothing to do with you as a person. I'm sorry that you need to see her - but I imagine she is feeling something similar to you at the moment if he left her too. I know it is so hard but maybe over time you can act as a the bigger person and talk to her, you may be able to hold onto that friendship if you have both been hurt by him. I think support is so important for you and will help you with your feelings of loneliness.

Lastly, I want to see that you are always welcome on these forums and should not hesitate to reach out everytime you feel a little low. We are always listening.

Hope to hear from you.

Hi Despond,

Just checking in...

How did you go with the journaling? Or have you had a chance to try anything to help you feel a little better while you cope with all of this? I hope so.

Did learning he wasn't interested in the other woman anymore make you feel anything towards him? I'm sure it's mixed emotions but what stood out the most?

How are you going with university assignments?

I know you're doing okay, we're all here to chat whenever you need.

Community Member

I've been relying a fair bit on a silicone necklace, I tried journalling once but it ended with a few broken pens instead of calm. I also had an appointment with a psychologist the other day, I felt they were judgey but hopefully it will end in long term management.

It makes me feel worthless, but also ironic humour. Like I want to laugh and throw it in his face, then sit alone and cry.

Assignments wise I'm still behind, but with extensions should at least have something finished for each thing. I've been trying to find a job as well which is going poorly of course, but that's fine.

thank you for replying

That's really good you've got some extensions on uni work while you catch up. Also great to hear you trialled a psychologist. Every small step helps towards the big picture, be proud of yourself for finding the strength and doing what's right for you during this time.

Sorry to hear journaling didn't work out (nothing worse than a broken pen!) perhaps even just chatting here and sharing your thoughts on the forum when you feel comfortable sharing can work in a similar way?

Understandable you're still hurting about it all. You are definitely not worthless though and his actions don't reflect your worth - remember this! 🙂