Broke the cycle of abuse. Feeling extremely low.

I (29F) finally broke up with my long-term partner (42M) who was an emotionally abusive alcoholic. I spent the last years of my twenties’ trying to love someone who gaslit me, punched walls, kicked chairs over, knocked things off the counter, slammed doors in my face, cussed at me, name-called me, mocked me, gave me the silent treatment, always hung up on me, and more classic toxic behavior.

I’ve tried to leave him multiple times but this time I finally feel like it’ll last. However, he still had to gaslight me. I honestly told him how his drinking and temper made me fearful, like I have to walk on eggshells around him, and he called me “fucking nuts” and “nasty.” After years of manipulation, I find myself second-guessing my decision to leave him. Deep down I know I did the right thing, and hopefully my mental health will improve in time. But as for right now, my heart feels like a shadow. I feel decapitated. My soul longs to rest. It hurts: I gave so much of my heart, body and spirit to someone who treated me abusively and still thinks I’m the “crazy” one, not him. I feel depression returning. Maybe I should have tried harder to make things work.

I truly gave it my all… every ounce of love, caring thoughtfulness. I wrote him love letters, sent him postcards when we were apart. Drew his dog who passed away, surprised him with his favorite foods, painted his dad’s dog for him, painted a card for his mom, got her flowers for her birthday. Even when he called me a “fucking bitch” I never retaliated. Never brought up his drinking, and understood it is a disease of addiction- I was very tactful and empathetic to his personal struggles. Yet, I felt more alone within the relationship than if I was actually single.

And now that I’m single, I feel empty. I feel mournful our relationship had to die. Maybe I’m not capable of living. I do believe I trauma bonded to him, and I am trying to separate myself. But man. I’m tired. Of pain.

*To provide context, I have been in therapy for over five years and have actively spent most of my adult life working on recovering from lifelong depression and past trauma, my recovery includes DBT, CBT, group therapy, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and I graduated from an intensive outpatient program. I am also on medication.

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