Editor’s note: The following was sent by a long-time Lovefraud reader who posts as “Aloha Traveler.”
February 16, 2012
Dear LF Readers,
I found this article below as I was cleaning up my computer files and thought I would submit it.
I wonder if anyone else has the experience of the “Old Me and New Me.” I hope you enjoy. See below.
P.S. I left the Bad Man on July 3, 2005. So the below article has been hiding in the Aloha archives. :O)
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Dear LoveFraud Readers,
A little over 4 years ago, I was a post Bad Man train wreck. My life was a shambles on the outside and my insides matched. Today, though I am in a much better place, I am still struggling with some aspects of healing. I decided recently to find a therapist to talk to about my experiences. After several sessions, she suggested that I need to integrate the Old Me with the New Me. Apparently, I have abandoned the Old Me for a new and wiser model. But when I tossed out Old Me, I also tossed out my hopes and dreams. I decided that hope was a dirty word but after living like this for a few years, I realized that maybe this coping strategy is not fully healthy. I do need to have some room in my life for hopes and dreams. You see, I fell on my face so hard when I thought my dreams were coming true with Bad Man… that I just decided I couldn’t handle the possibility of hoping for anything ever again.
So I live like a robot. I plan things and I do things, but I spend no time on hoping and dreaming. I hope for nothing. I can barely tolerate big displays of “love.” I hate love songs (I think it’s a bunch of hooey!) I hate weddings because I cry worse than the parents of the Bride, but not for the same reason.
Yeah… I need therapy.
The problem is, I can talk about the Bad Man in an oh-so-intellectual way these days, but if I talk about my dreams, the things I had always wanted in life, and the way Bad Man, for a brief time, appeared to be the embodiment of my dreams, I quickly crumble into a crying, whimpering mess with a tiny voice that can barely speak.
The letters below are my attempt to communicate with a part of me I left on a Maui beach. I left the Old Me behind in order to feel safe in the world. I am sharing my dialogue with all of you in the hope that perhaps there is another reader that might benefit from doing an exercise like this.
Healing from an abusive or pathologically exploitive relationship of any kind is a slow and painful process. It takes time. Here’s to taking another step forward. Come with me if you like. Aloha
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Dear Old Me,
It’s been over 4 years since you left the Bad Man and I haven’t heard from you. I know you and I don’t talk much these days. I wanted to let you know some things that I miss about you.
Old Me, you were so loving and I really admire that about you. You were willing to walk through fire for the one you love and you surely did. I know you got burned. How are those wounds healing? Remember that it’s important when you are healing to keep moving. Be gentle and take it slow but don’t let your wounds freeze up with scarring.
I know we don’t talk about it, but I miss so many things about you. I miss your open heart and your trust of people. I miss your innocence. I am very sad that you didn’t get what you wanted, and I know you are hurting. You know, Old Me, when you truly loved, there was nothing sweeter than that. Remember when you didn’t question people’s motives? Remember when “I love you” meant “I love you?” Remember when you had no real consciousness about pathological abusers? You sure got in over your head, didn’t you? Well, you didn’t know that you didn’t know. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You were just trying to keep to your word. You said you loved and you meant it and so you did the natural thing. You tried to help, but you didn’t understand what you were dealing with… a personality disorder.
I want to acknowledge you for the way you tried to help the Bad Man and for the true and tender concern you showed him. If he had been helpable, surely, your compassion and patience would have made a difference. You tried so hard to understand his wounds and his perspective. There was no rhyme or reason to it. I want you to know that none of it was your fault.
Love, New Me
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Dear New Me,
Thanks for your kind words. I want to acknowledge you as well. Ever since the Bad Man, you have overcome so much. You pulled things together against the odds, and the people who know you really admire you for the way you have turned things around. You have been a work horse with a singular focus. You have been a woman on a mission to save herself… I guess you had to do a lot of cleanup work from me (Old Me) and my mistakes. Sorry about that.
By the way, New Me, I have noticed that you are beginning to stand up for yourself in a way I never could. I was so unsure of myself. That was part of the problem. I let Bad Man tell me who I was, because I didn’t know. I know you, New Me, would never let a man like the Bad Man sneak into your life. I know you are selective now about whom you allow to “coach” you. All of Bad Man’s attacks on me were truly his projections of his own flaws. There were MANY, weren’t there?! I am glad your wisdom allows you to have better discernment than I did.
New Me, I am proud of you for helping so many others. You didn’t let this experience go to waste. Your advice has helped many that were trapped in a situation like I was. For many people, you were a rope, a strong hold, and a shaft of light. Good for you. It’s healing to help others, isn’t it? And New Me, your life is going forward now and you are using your knowledge to help others in your career too. You have found meaning in your Bad Man disaster and you are doing something with it.
One last thing, New Me… you (New Me) and I (Old Me) both have good qualities and we need each other. I am still you, and you are still me. Maybe we can work something out?
Love, Old Me