How can I stop my old relationship from damaging my new one?

Anonymous asks:

I was in a 2-year relationship that, while it’s had its highs and I do have some good memories from, was toxic and abusive.

I’m now in a new relationship with a person I really like, who makes me laugh and feel positive most of the time.

However, I feel like I am emotionally or mentally damaged in some way from my past relationship.

This ex-partner used to use controlling behaviour such as gas lighting and sometimes would even be physically abusive.

While I acknowledge that no relationship is perfect, I’m worried that my experience with my ex is having a negative impact on my new relationship.

For example, I feel very insecure and keep convincing myself that my new partner doesn’t even care for me and that he views me as a burden, and I don’t make him happy.

I feel that my past relationship has obviously had a massive impact on my self-worth and has turned me into a self-doubting individual, but there is also another part that asks why I feel like this.

I am his first proper partner and I do sometimes think that I expect too much from him or expect him to behave too much a certain way.

I understand that every person shows love differently and not everyone is going to act the particular way I do/ want to when in a relationship.

I find it really challenging to believe him when he says he loves me when he doesn’t show me the behaviours I would show someone when I want to express how I feel.

For example, I sometimes find that he can be quite dismissive of me when I try and discuss issues with him.

This includes the one I previously mentioned about feeling insecure in how he feels towards me, by saying things like “Don’t be silly”, or “Why do you always over think like this?”.

He also occasionally makes comments such as “you’re already in the bag” when I bring up certain things like why he doesn’t necessarily compliment me as much.

I just feel like he’s already stopped trying as much to make me feel loved and valued because we are in a relationship now and he knows how strongly I feel for him.

I worry that I come across as nagging him for some of his behaviours as I’ve never really sat down and fully explained to him how he can make me feel and why I’m already emotionally damaged because of my ex.

He knows the situation, about her being abusive, but I’ve never actually spelled out to him how it’s affected me.

He is wonderful in so many ways and has made a lot of changes to his routine and lifestyle since we got together.

I understand and appreciate this was probably a lot to take on after never being in a relationship therefore never having to compromise so much.

With that said, I keep having these negative thoughts about our relationship that I really wish would just go away so I can enjoy his company.

I understand that my past relationship has traumatised me in some way, especially considering it was one of those relationships where we would be in each other’s company 24/7 and would have such extremes lows and highs.

As an example of how explicit we were in our feelings, we would write extremely intense loving paragraphs to each other constantly. But this relationship is different, better in so, so, so many ways, but I’m struggling to adjust to it.

The fact my boyfriend doesn’t feel the need to constantly tell me how he feels or exhibit behaviours that would demonstrate his emotions, in combination with how he can sometimes be dismissive, makes me have doubts.

I want to be with him, we have been together for 6 months and were almost best friends for a good 6 months before that.

I would hate to lose someone who makes me laugh so much and who i’ve made some fabulous memories with over me being unable to communicate how I feel or because I’m so insecure and almost not trusting of his feelings.

Basically, I’m asking for help as to how I deal with these feelings. Also how can I potentially discuss this with him in a way that doesn’t come across as me saying he’s a bad boyfriend or that I think he’s lying about how he feels about me.

Hello Anonymous,

Agony Aunts on Female First

It’s a brave first step to reach out for advice, especially when feeling so confused. The harsh reality is that we date at the level of our self-esteem, which in simple terms means that you are being called upon to learn to like and love yourself. Your partner is doing what he can and will benefit from understanding how you work but it is not his job to make you feel okay about yourself, lovable or secure per say. Let me add the caveat that his job is to behave with kindness, respect and consistency. When we need the other person to make us feel okay, we’re giving away out power and the opportunity to heal our deepest wounding.

Self-love may sound a little hippy-dippy but the reality is that it’s tough work! It means speaking to yourself kindly, taking responsibility for our behaviour and the consequences. Knowing and giving ourselves what we truly need. We can’t expect another human to make us feel okay about ourselves. Fearing your lovability and being abandoned suggests the wound was present prior to your previous partner.

I hope you will honour yourself and your new-found love, by being gentle and kind to both you and him. Start with listening to some good audio books on self-love and honest relationships. Esther Perrel is an excellent relationship coach and has much material to hear. I highly recommend listening to Tara Brach’s wonderful book ‘Radical Self-Acceptance’ on a daily basis. Listen for ten minutes and take the day to assimilate what you’ve heard. How might it apply to you and how can you integrate into your life?

You may need the help of a professional to guide the way to your deepest healing. Be sure to find someone you feel understands you and holds you accountable, just talking it out, isn’t usually enough to heal this kind of wounding.

You say your man shows you love in many ways, each day focus on the things he has done to demonstrate his love for you. Focus on what you want more of, he’s on a learning journey too being his first relationship – what better way to get even closer? Learning together, taking baby steps and acknowledging each other’s progress can be truly magical. I wish you both every happiness along the way!

Michelle Zelli

Michelle Zelli AKA ‘The Real Fairy Godmother.’ is a renowned international life coach. She blends her Blue Chip board-level background with spiritual wisdom and cutting edge science and has transformed her own life from a difficult and dysfunctional childhood to a successful executive. Michelle is relentless in her own mission for self-mastery and teaching others to find their own powerful path. This dedication has seen her train with the very best globally, and has since become a secret weapon for celebrities and CEOs worldwide.

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