Letters from readers: Leave it all behind

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“Hello. I was in a toxic relationship with a man who was addicted to games and marijuana and periodically wanted to beat me. Once I met my future husband, who saved me. He made me his queen and sent the tyrant to his hometown by plane… well… and took his place. In all senses. The bad thing happened in a year. He didn’t hit him with his fists (well, only once), but I was very depressed emotionally. I don’t understand how it happened. Everything was wonderful before that day. I always helped my husband in everything, sometimes even too much. Sometimes, I completely took over his direct duties. So I helped him to find a new job. It was a well-paid job, and he liked it. It was the last drop in our ocean of quarrels and troubles. Soon he took a mistress (as it turned out), then began to disappear at night under the pretext that he found a night job. Later he just went to a new woman when we decided to divorce. We didn’t live together for a couple of months, and we called each other periodically. I started looking better, while he started to help me with small things. He came back with all his belongings and we decided to try to fix everything. At this point, he was already very ill and getting worse every day. Ambulance, dropping-bottles, injections, pain, intensive therapy, coma, and death. I didn’t even have time to understand anything. Everything happened so quickly. At the same time, I began to find out the details of his life without me. I found out that he lived with her. I discovered what he used. She made him some injections. She was going to his hospital and told everyone that she’s his wife. She even tried to come to the funeral.

I felt bad. It was painful. I took several different courses to return myself to normal life. I went to a psychologist. I thought that everything was in the past, but the problem remained. I can’t stop constantly turning these thoughts in my head: “Why did he come back?”, “How could he?”, “I’m a fool and a loser”, “Why does he need this woman with two children, although he hasn’t seen his own children from the first marriage for months?” and much more. I don’t know how to help myself. What to do? Who to contact? I’ve been dreaming about him EVERY night since his death, which is almost 5 months now. How can I let him go? I want to calm down myself and let him leave our world in peace. Thank You.”

Hello, V.!ย 

I will highlight the 2 most important topics that are worth paying attention to. I’m talking about the death of a husband and the toxic relationship.

Here’s about death.ย 

Whatever a person does in life, it is always bitter and difficult to experience his loss. Please accept our condolences. The experience of loss takes an average of 6-12 months. But the fact that you dream about him at night is a sign that your relationship with him still “hurts”. It can be a difficult attitude to it (he’s your husband, but there was a lot of negativity) and something you have not experienced. 

You need to know that a person rarely has time to live their feelings in a timely manner (something happened, we experienced it, and went further). Feelings are piling up and become a giant snowball. 

I will not tell you exactly what is happening to you. I don’t know why you dream about him every night. It must be analyzed in detail. In your case, I recommend visiting a psychologist. 

You can ask yourself questions and try to hear yourself. What are the saddest feelings about his death? What is the nature of dreams involving him? What are these dreams trying to tell you? You can do something with this information. 

I’ll make another guess. Often, when we see deceased people in dreams, we have questions for them. You wrote me the following: “I can’t stop constantly turning these thoughts in my head: “Why did he come back?”, “How could he?”, “I’m a fool and a loser”, “Why does he need this woman with two children, although he hasn’t seen his own children from the first marriage for months?” and much more.” When you have so many questions, and no answers, this thing can take a lot of time, while changing its appearance and shapes.

You won’t get any answers from him. But you can do it this way:

1. Think about what the answer will give you.ย  2. Think about 3-5 options. Live each of them. I mean, what would you feel in the case of option 1, option 2… What does it give to you?
3. You could find the real answer with your husband if he knew such things as honesty and awareness. In any other case, these answers might not be the real reason for his actions.ย 

Here’s a couple of words about toxic relationships.

While looking at your story with 2 men who allowed themselves to raise their hands at you, tells me that you had some difficulties with parents and family. Here are the possible options: tyranny, alcohol dependence, codependency, hyper-care, severe illness (parents, grandparents, or those who raised you). It could happen for some other reason, You have a scenario that has already been repeated twice. This doesn’t happen out of the blue. We can say that there was a 90% chance of toxicity at home as a child. 

You write the phrase: “My husband saved me.” You say that you weren’t the one, who won in the battle with the first husband, the toxicity, the toxic relationship, and the situation. There was a certain “rescuer”. This is not good since there is such a model as the Karpman triangle. 

All the roles of the triangle are bad. They are the victim, the rescuer, and the tyrant. If you were saved, you were a victim. If he has saved you, he could easily become a new tyrant. But I’m not scolding you by telling about the victim. This is just a reason to study the Karpman model and recommendations for getting out of it. 

I understand that it can be unpleasant to read about yourself. But there are signs of codependency in your letter.

1. The first man used light drugs and tried to beat you. 2. The second man decided to beat you too. 3. The second man saved you. 4. You took over his duties.

If you are ready to work on the issue, then you should continue working with a psychologist about codependency. I also recommend checking the “Loveholism” educational course in the app. The course and work on yourself are necessary for you to change your scenarios. By doing so, you can make sure that the new relationship will be built in a different way.

Take care. Let everything work out for you.

Natalia Nikulina, Consulting psychologist