I recently had a revelation that hit me pretty hard, in the process of doing some really good productive poly stuff and learning how to evaluate my relationships at face value (rather than wondering if I’m somehow “failing” in comparison to my metamours). I realized that I have some hangups I’ve never really fully formed in my conscious mind about the concept of “love” in a romantic relationship, and they come in part from a relationship about four years ago that I, at least, experienced as emotionally abusive.
Now that I’m starting to fully grasp what’s going on in my brain here, I’m craving some kind of support, but also not sure what that looks like. Therapy is one option I might pursue, but I also would love some peer support around this, and it’s murky because the fact is that my experience was not black and white. I don’t think my former partner will ever see her actions as abusive or manipulative, and when I think of them as such I sometimes feel guilty. What I perceived as using against me my need to emphasize that “I love you” isn’t a conditional thing that goes away when there’s a fight, she may have experienced as just not saying those words when she wasn’t feeling them.
There’s a lot of stuff like that that could easily go two ways, but I feel a need to talk it out with others who might have insights on healing from emotional trauma, because I do think that either way there’s a healing process I haven’t exactly completed by just letting time pass. I’m doing better, but I would like to develop stronger skills around self-esteem, and viewing the “love” words as less emotionally loaded — more like a gift or a neutral emotion that people can express than a tool or a weapon. Does anyone happen to have resources that might be helpful, or some sort of support group information (that would be appropriate for someone who hasn’t experienced physical or sexual abuse)? Alternatively, if this just resonates with you and you’d like to talk 1-on-1, let me know how I can get in touch. Thanks in advance!