Dear Dr. Love,I was recently involved in a brief relationship. The relationship was trouble to begin with but I continued seeing the guy. He treated me horribly, but I put up with him. Finally we broke up technically I dumped him, but emotionally he dumped me. I know he meant a lot more to me than I did to him. I’ll probably never see him again, but i’m having trouble letting go. I can’t stop thinking about him. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m over him, but i’m only fooling myself. How can i let go and move on with my life?
Whenever we can’t let go of an ex. , (or whenever emotions nag at us for days on end) we are dealing with unfinished childhood business. In your case, it sounds like you were abused as a kid, and your mind has drawn you to an abuser in an attempt to heal the old wound. You may think, how can being abused once again heal me? It can’t. But, our minds, left to their own devices, only know one way to try to heal us. To recreate the abuses of childhood and engage us in the futile process of attempting to make the abuser change and finally love and appreciate us.And, here’s why it’s hard to give up an abuser. There is such a burning hope to make this old wound right, that the mind is actually addicted to hanging on to that abuser in the hope that one day he will treat you better. Giving up the abuser, then, becomes a terrible torture and feels like giving up the hope of ever healing the original wound.The only way around this type of problem is to go into individual or group therapy were you will develop new, nonabusive relationships. At the same time, recognize that until this problem is healed in therapy, you will be drawn to abusers and find it hard to give them up. When you experience better, loving treatment in therapy, you will heal and you will develop a model for the kind of relationship you deserve in your life. Until you work this out, it is safer to give outside relationships a rest. I wish you a speedy recovery.