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anger problems/drink problem or just hated me? Was this abusive, or did my mental illness warrant it?


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Around 3 years ago, I was in a relationship with someone who I felt was bad for my mental health. After the breakup, I did very bizarre and manipulative things, and convinced myself I was damaged, deranged, mad and evil. I don't remember the 4 months after the breakup, but I did enter into a mental health crisis.

I haven't thought about this relationship for at least 2 years now. Suddenly, over the weekend I had overwhelming levels of anxiety, shame and guilt.

My ex was generally not very nice to me in the relationship, and I was very mentally unwell so probably was a nightmare too. I have depression, OCD and anxiety and was self-harming at the time (though, less than I would if I was single, and never in front of/in places my ex was likely to ask questions on). 

Early on in the relationship, he "cheated" on me (well, it wasn't cheating it was before we were "official") and told me "she had bigger t*ts than you" when he told me, at his birthday meal, surrounded by his friends and family, and kept saying it until I cried. When I felt awkward on whether to stay or leave, he was like "I'm calling you a taxi, f**k off, go home" etc etc - and then he suddenly decided I could stay and that he was "sorry". This was after a perfectly pleasant day for his birthday where I had tried really hard for him and tried to make his day special.

Another time, he let one of his female friends stay in our bed when I wasn't there. I found out because she text his phone which came up on his Mac when we were watching a film, saying "haha, did you stay in bed with me all night?! xxx". He says he didn't cheat, and so did she. He called me manipulative after I took him back over this by saying that he would always pick his friends over me, and that I was controlling him because he wouldn't cut her off. I didn't ask for him to do that, but I did ask for them not to hang out together on their own as I felt like I didn't trust them. He accepted that, but then weeks later said he wouldn't be doing that.

Other things just included him calling me nuts constantly, telling me I was an embarrassment, telling me that he was still in love with his ex when I had cooked him a three course meal on Valentine's day. Coming to my house when I was sick with vomiting etc and sitting on my bed saying "Don't you ever just miss the sound of your ex's voice?". He would always compare my lack of confrontation and lack of arguing back to his ex and say things like "my ex used to argue back with me" and "why the f*** are you sitting there like a battered wife?". He was not physically violent to me, but he did punch things/throw things when he was generally angry and this would make me feel a bit on edge (but, not directed at me).

When he shouted at me, or snapped out of nowhere, I would tell him I felt he was being emotionally abusive to me - to which he laughed and mocked when he did something wrong - "ah guess im being emotionally abusive again huh?"

He also did stuff sexually which was disrespectful to me. One time he had sex with me when I was extremely drunk and had been vomiting - when he was still inside me he answered his phone (to the girl above he cheated on me with) and had a short conversation with her. When I told him to get off me, he screamed in my face "you think this is assault? you think I did anything wrong? you're a f***ing liar. It makes me think you lied about getting raped when you were a teenager too."

Another time I remember is us both being intoxicated, but him more than me, He was grabbing me really hard during sex and started just spitting in my face, until it was wet with saliva.

Another time I woke up to a bruised face and torn out hair, and a bloodied nose (not bad, just a bit of caked blood in my nostril), after he took things too far again when I was drunk. Instead of being nice to me, or explaining, he started shouting again "where's the f***ing shower gel? f***ing hell i'm gonna be late for work." I was rushing around trying to find it, getting more and more anxious, and dealing with this pain in my cheek and intimate area.

He also did this thing were he would stop sex if I was "too loud" - which felt humiliating.

After I slept with him after the breakup, he said "would you sleep with someone who sexually assaulted you? I doubt it..."

When we were asleep one night, I turned over to hug him, as is obviously normal in relationships. I had previously experienced night terrors, and my ex witnessed these regularly. Out of nowhere, and with literally no warning, he SHOVES me off him and shouts "f*****g hell you're so f*****g clingy". I was so shocked, I just turned over and cried and didn't sleep at all.

So all this comes to a head, and he decides to break up with me. During a long, rambling monologue he looks me dead in the eyes and says "don't come anywhere near me", when I walk passed him to get a glass of water (calmly, I may add), he says "stay back!". For reference, I am literally 5ft, he is 5ft 11. He then says "if you don't leave me I am gonna start hitting you" and "no one makes me angry like you".

He also said days after this that "Maybe I would have tried harder if you didn't take me back so quickly after I let [his friend] sleep in our bed". He also said that "you'd do anything for me, but i wouldn't do anything for you". Aside from all that, he told me had was "sexually perverse" and wanted to meet woman on pickup sites and have sex with random people. 

I know this man's ex girlfriend didn't experience this behaviour from him, and it makes me feel so anxious and upset that I can evoke such anger from someone.

I am a very annoying person because I like to be with someone because of depression/anxiety and just general loneliness, I don't like my own company and my anxiety is a joke so I am a nightmare to be around. There were definitely times where I acted irrationally - I used to fear being on my own and would try and ask to stay with my ex most nights to alleviate this. In some ways that's abusive isn't it? Being suffocating to him was definitely a reason to some of his nastiness. I was extremely difficult to be around probably because I wanted to be with him often - I didn't stop him seeing friends/going out etc., it was more I wanted to stay at his flat most evenings. 

Apart from that, after he cheated I did check his phone for contact with the friend he slept in our bed with, which I feel absolute shame for. I've never done that with my subsequent partners - ever. Even when my most recent boyfriend hands me his phone to order takeaway/call someone/do something for him, I NEVER go on ANY of his private things. 

There were times when we would really get on, but that was only really when we were having sex, or times when he felt happy. Other times, he would snap at me for talking when he was watching the telly.

He also wanted to break up with me many times In fact, i BEGGED him to stay when he wanted to breakup with me. I didn't want him to go.

Was this abuse?

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It just sounds really unhealthy, I'm not sure if it was abusive, but it was definitely just wrong.  Wrong for him to say the things he did, and wrong for you to stick around for it.  

It wasn't a good time in your life, at this point it doesn't do any good to lay blame, either on yourself or him.  Labeling it abusive isn't going to help you do what you need to do, and that is let it go.  You both had your issues, it's been over for several years.

What triggered you to start thinking about it?  

Focus on the here and now.  If you still suffer from depression and anxiety, seek help from a trained professional. They can also help you with letting go of the past. 

Don't spend time digging up old, bad memories.  

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He was definitely abusive.

And no, you didn't do anything to warrant that treatment. If he were a decent person and was finding it difficult to deal with your mental illness, he would have simply ended the relationship. And he wouldn't have been cruel about it.

He was cruel and abusive to you because he chose to be those things. Going by your description, he sounds like he gets a kick out of hurting people who are vulnerable. I don't for a second believe that you're the first and only person he has treated that way.

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