He Says He Will Change, But Can He?

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“In November of 2013 I realised that I have become codependent. I had to hit an ultimate low to achieve this self awareness. I’ve been in relationships since I was 17 that were unhealthy. At 17 I lost my viginity by being raped weeks after my father passed away. The man who raped me was older than me and I actually ended up staying with him for 9 months of abuse (mental and physical). I should mention that I am now 36 years old and after being in only horrible relationships and a failed marriage I am overwhelmed at what I have leaned about myself.

My most recent experience with a “man” only lasted 6 months. This time I felt as if I was raped of my soul! I still do. I’ve always been overly empathetic and compassionate and have fallen prey to many good talkers with a sad “story”. Over the years I’ve lowered my standards more and more hoping that a man would love me for me. I give beyond my means and in unhealthy ways. I didn’t realize how low my self esteem actually was. Never feeling good enough and always pleasing others while ignoring my own needs. Each time my heart would break from being taken advantage of I’d lose more self esteem. Men would even use my insecurities against me as a way to control me.

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I believe my previous relationship was with someone that is the best teacher I have met… Finally giving me self awareness. A quick review with him… I quit my great (but high stress) job and left my condo in the city to move 2.5 hrs north and rely on his income. He didn’t have anything financially when I met him and had a sad “story” to support it. I had enough to purchase us a home and set us up and he could take care of us. The simple life after working hard at my career all my life and the idea of finally being able to be a mom was a dream come true for me. He made me feel like he loved me for me! I finally felt physically attractive and even though I was not physically attracted to him in the beginning I quickly became attracted because of his heart and the way we made each other laugh, both being witty and sarcastic.

The moment I got to this stahe and was 100% vulnerable (relying on him), he began breaking me down FAST! He instantly became controlling and jealous and it was like he had no concept of realty. If things didn’t go as he imagined in his head he would have tantrums and become highly emotionally abusive which quickly became mental abuse and then physical. In my past I would never put up with physical abuse but I also had an easier way out. It wasn’t until an evening I would love to forget where I ended up with law enforced space from his tight grip. During this time I was able to come out of the fog that I was living in for 6 months and remember what had happened. The memories still flood back. I can’t believe how much I had pushed out of my mind or ignored. I’m even embarrassed when talking in counselling about the things I did to “prove my love”. I realized that every time I’d pick myself up from his blows he’d have to knock me down again and each time it was harder to get back up. It was constant! I was exhausted and physically ill most of the time and kept thinking and doing “one more” outrageous thing to please him, hoping he’d believe I love him and just love me back.

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Now it’s been almost two months since this final incident with him and each day I see clearer. It’s been painful reliving my entire life since the age of 17 but it’s also exciting in a way. I can’t say I’m not overwhelmed, excited, scared… Etc. but I can finally say I need to love myself so I can attract healthy relationships! Friends try to set me up and the last thing I want is a man to “save me”! I need to save myself… I’m capable and resourceful in many ways but gaining the confidence I should have is not easy.

My challenge is that I am in a new and small town where I don’t know a soul. Jobs are not plentiful here and real estate is not good. My options are to try and make this work so I don’t need to declare bankruptcy and move home at 36. I can be quite driven when I focus and I don’t mind working a few jobs to stay afloat. I am highly marketable but the job market sucks to be blunt. I do love my home and my two dogs. If I can do this for ME I truly believe my life will finally be full of love. I don’t have a lot of time to kick it into high gear. I wish I had more time to heal. I do realize with my rational mind that getting out and being sociable will be great therapy (through work and even volunteer work). I am a sociable person and attract people easily. People seem to be drawn to me and often tell me I’m easy to talk to and comfortable. I’ve just been so isolated and it’s hard to get moving…. Starting from scratch.

2014 has got to be a great year for me! I truly deserve it! I just have to work for me… For the first time ever! Here’s the kicker that you’ll probably think I’m crazy. Some times I think I should take him back. He says he will change. It’s lonely here but also very peaceful with my pets. I believe I know what I need to and should do. In your experience can men like this change? He couldn’t be away from me for more than an 8 hour work day and now he’s had some real space. His family has reached out saying he must love me because they’ve never seen him attend counselling. Any advice would help and please forgive me for being all over the map. There’s just so much…

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Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this.