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LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: The Old Me and the New Me

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.

Aloha

P.S. I left the Bad Man on July 3, 2005. So the below article has been hiding in the Aloha archives. :O)

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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



52 Comments on "LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: The Old Me and the New Me"

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  1. Vidya says:

    from your post at
    http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2009/02/15/why-i-say-%E2%80%9Cbad-man%E2%80%9D/

    “I argued with him in my head all the time, because I never won any arguments in person. I was exhausted from constantly defending my choice of words, my past, my present, my future, myself. ALL THE TIME! I was just so tired.”

    I have lived this exactly. I would give speeches to him in my car, alone, saying all the things he never let me say about what was bothering me (because in reality there would come a point where he would not let me finish, turn my grievances with him around to point back at me and at the end of the conversation I was left wondering, “what the hell just happened??”)

    I am currently reading the most amazing book called, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men” by Lundy Bancroft. It has been so illuminating and has helped me to see I was NOT responsible for the way things turned out with my verbally abusive, manipulative ex. At times I have laughed out loud because my ex was a textbook case! The author has worked with abusive men (verbally and/or physically abusive) for over 15 years (most of whom are there under court order). He also takes the time to speak to the partners of the abuser to get her side.

    In one chapter he lists characteristics of abusive men. One of the items on the list is:

    “He tells you that your objections to his mistreatment are your own problem.”

    “The abuser can try to persuade you that: you have unreasonable expectations for his behavior, and you should be willing to live with the things he does…

    His tactics are forms of DISCREDITING your complaints of mistreatment, which is abusive. His discrediting maneuvers reveal a core attitude, which he never explicitly states and may not even be aware of consciously himself: You have no right to object to how I treat you.
    And if you can’t be in a fair and healthy relationship if you can’t raise grievances.”

    Another item on the list:

    “It’s never the right time, or the right way, to bring things up”

    “…with an abuser, no way to bring up a complaint is the right way. You can wait until the calmest, most relaxed evening, prepare you partner with plenty of verbal stroking, express your grievance in mild language, but he still won’t be willing to take it in….He doesn’t spend the intervening period digesting your comments and struggling to face what he did, the way a nonabusive person might. In fact he does the opposite, appearing to mentally build up a case against your complaint as if he were preparing to go before a judge.”

    “The abuser’s problem is not that he responds inappropriately to conflict. His abusiveness is operating PRIOR to the conflict: it usually CREATES the conflict and it determines the SHAPE the conflict takes.”

    Get this book. It has been a godsend.

  2. alohatraveler says:

    Hi Vidya,

    Sounds like a great book. I will add it to my collection. This letter above and post are OLD. I have been at this for quite awhile now. :O)

    But, I still have stuff to learn. I will be going to a training on thursday called “Emotional Manipulators.”

    I liked what you pointed out from the reading… that the abuse was present before the conflict. This is a great line. I will definately use this when working with clients. It’s a great way to frame it. When I was going through all this with the Bad Man, I kept trying to figure out what I was doing to cause his behavior but I know now that it had nothing to do with me.

    Here’s another two of my old posts here at LF.

    Emotional and Psychological Abuse
    http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2009/03/05/emotional-and-psychological-abusers-coping-with-chaos-and-losing-your-balance/

    Psychological Head Games
    http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2008/04/10/on-psychological-head-games-and-%e2%80%9cnookie%e2%80%9d-the-turtle/

    I also really really enjoyed this one that recently popped back up because of how it explains trauma bonding..

    http://www.lovefraud.com/blog/2009/06/08/a-classic-story-of-sociopathic-manipulation/

    Aloha

  3. skylar says:

    Aloha,
    it IS a really good book, I highly recommend it.

  4. clair says:

    I can’t fix anyone else, I can only fix myself. It set me free.

  5. Ox Drover says:

    Aloha, It is so good to have you back posting. I know your time is limited in the last semester of your Masters Degree program, but I have missed you and your wonderful hard won wisdom so much.

    Thank you for sharing! I always enjoy your posts!

  6. alohatraveler says:

    Skylar,

    Got it! I will add this to my book tower next to my bed! All me read-me-later material! I can’t wait!

    Now I just have to get a few teeny tiny little nightmarish projects out of the way! HAHA!

    I love to complain about my school. I am fighting myself all the way because I am not an academic but I do love to learn and we are having to jump through some hoops to get that precious piece of paper that says we know some stuff… HAHA

    I learned more about this problem… the LoveFraud problem here than from any book! Didn’t we all?

    But yes! Also learned a heck of a lot fomr the LF book list and all the recommendations from our school of hard knocks readers like you and Oxy and all all all!

    Aloha!

  7. alohatraveler says:

    Oxy.

    I am procrastinating. Please shoo me away. :O)

    Aloha

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