Years ago I had my first bout with getting an emergency and then an actual restraining order on someone. This person had put an audio recording device in the shower of our rental home, I assume the shower was the chosen place for many reasons, but mostly because 1 I was very routine back then due to my son with autism needing a routine, and 2 it was the most central place to hear almost every conversation that went on.
Later, I would find out that he was doing it because he thought I was cheating or something. You see, I had asked this man to leave. I had informed him after multiple not-good-for-my-kids scenarios, that we weren’t a good fit. This relationship had to dissolve, and the space was needed for me to be Mom, not keep having to play the silent treatment game just for him to have me inside a room for an hour and a half each time listening to his drawn-out reasons why he matters most when my kids needed me to take them somewhere or tend to them.
The kids were a bit younger then, and for those who have a kid on the spectrum? Well, you know that routine matters a lot. I know I had to change my entire personality and rhythm for my kid(s) because the counselor we had for the kiddo and fam back then informed me this strict routine was required to ensure my kid was going to have a solid, fewer meltdown life.
The thing is, dating this guy that I ended up getting the restraining order on created more meltdowns and while I had the rose-colored glasses on back then, I can see clearly now that it was never a good situation for my trio and me.
The guy flat out told me he had recorded his exes before; both by spying on a laptop (something like a key logger program) and an audio device inside one ex’s van. I don’t need to get into the full stories, as I am not one to reshare someone else’s stories. I merely share this because not only were people commenting on my blog back then warning me about this guy and to stay away, but the guy himself was telling me WHO HE WAS.
Annnd I did not listen. Not one bit. (until he showed his true colors to me)
Even my firstborn kid was trying and pleading with me about this guy being bad, but I didn’t listen to them, and that caused major issues between us. Not to mention, the next two summers I ended up homeless from the trajectory that this particular season in life set me on.
Don’t get me wrong I am not blaming this ex for anything! I am just stating what actions he chose to make and was convicted for (audio recording device – domestic spying). I am simply sharing a little bit of a background to show that we often have such rose-colored glasses on that it does not matter one bit what anyone else says.
We just get so brainwashed, or infatuated, or whatever with a human that we cannot even see the damage they are doing to our loved ones and us.
Michael Fuqua, 47, 31 Cornish Turnpike Road, Newport, willfully endeavor to intercept the oral communication of another person on March 15 in Newport. A second indictment charged Fuqua with violation of privacy March 15 in Newport.
It’s sad. It’s scary. And …. it changed me. Forever.
But wait, there’s more.
He did all of these things, that truly hurt at least 2 of my kids and me, but I still missed or miss him sometimes.
Why the heck is this a thing? Why do people miss someone that was rotten to them?
That, my friends, is what I am talking about today. I am talking about the weirdness of missing someone who was abusive, manipulative, or just plain not right for you – yet here you are missing them for some unknown reason.
The first obvious reason is that not every moment of that relationship is bad. I am sure you can look back and remember some of the good times you had. The laughter, the connection, the conversations, the travel excursions, the whatever fun you both had in between the abusive scenarios.
The second reason is not so obvious. I think it’s about habit. It’s about trauma bonding. It’s about a lot of different things that could be different for each person.
My Dad once told me that relationship triggers where you miss someone are probably much like the triggers you get for some bad habit.
So, why on Earth is it so hard to fight the trigger that says you miss an ex or need to talk with them? Why is it so hard to redirect your thoughts towards the reasons why you left that person in the first place?
I don’t have the answer, as a therapist would be best to help each individual learn the why, but most importantly – you need to know that this trigger you have that is causing you to really miss your ex, in such an addictive way …
That it is not healthy. It is not ok. It is something you must learn to fight.
Did you call or text them? Maybe you browsed the internet to see if they were recently convicted of another crime. Maybe you poked around to see if they’re still posting online, or maybe you drove by where they work or live.
This is addictive behavior and it’s dangerous. It is dangerous for your well-being.
I don’t mean physically dangerous, although that could play a factor depending on the scenario of you and the ex. I mean emotionally dangerous. You cannot move forward if you keep going backward, and I know you deserve something much better than this, my friend!
What do do when you really miss an ex that’s not right for you …
Here we go, friends, my tips on what to do when you really miss an ex that isn’t right for you. There is a reason you two didn’t work out. This truth is even more serious if there was emotional or physical abuse, a restraining order, or anything similar involved. Those cases, make an ex not worthy of a repeat offense in any part in your life today.
Remember the why
When you’re feeling that trigger come on that you want to call them or search the web for them or any other method of trying to reconnect with them … remember the why. Remember that, while there may not be a strong emotion attached to the situation any longer, at one point you got a restraining order against them for a reason. At one point, you were scared to go home, to go to sleep, or you were fearful for your kids’ safety.
The list could go on and on but it is different for each of us. Just remember the why behind the dissolving of this relationship. At the end of the day, this past relationship was simply not a good healthy fit.
Remember the trauma bond addiction
Call it what you will, but these videos about trauma bonding may give you a little insight. This is something that makes you addicted to the chemical high that’s created when you and this ex connect. You may want to reach out to them to get this rush of “feelings”, but they’re nothing more than a chemical reaction.
I compare it to the trigger I occasionally get with the cigarette. I crave it, and I want it, but that fleeting moment of desire goes away if I just sit there and redirect my mind to something else. The feeling and desire to want the smoke changes quickly when I remind myself that I am not a smoker, this feeling is silly, and that I should read a book instead (or do some other healthy activity).
Just because you feel this “missing them” feeling, does not mean you need to open the door to invite them back into your life. I did it three times before finally breaking off the bond (although I will still miss them and do dumb stuff about this desire, more on that later). Essentially, I broke it off with this man at least 3 times before the final scenario I noted above that involved the court system & him getting arrested.
That does not mean that I haven’t texted them or tried to call them or spoken to them. I did. I have. And each time I feel awful about it. I realize that it was not a good choice to do this & I pray more about it.
Remember what wasn’t right
One of the things I try to do is remember things beyond the obvious, restraining order and crime committed scenario. Since the emotions involved with this long ago relationship are diminished, I have to use logic and data to remind myself why this situation wasn’t right.
And if all else fails, my firstborn has offered to remind me just how shitty this situation was.
So, when you start to feel that wish to peek at them or contact them, remember what wasn’t right. Some examples I use include:
- The ex tried to switch up every routine my son with autism had; his place to sit at the table, his taco Tuesday night routine, and anything else he could possibly swap to cause a meltdown with my son on autism … he did it.
- The ex would sleep in the garage or a shack in the yard for 3 nights just to give me a “silent treatment” to get me to “hear him”. Although looking back and knowing what occurred after the final breakup, I am not 100% sure he was in the shack or garage all night long. Ha.
- The snowstorm night I left to get one of my kids and came back to him sound asleep instead of him being on call in case I got into an accident driving in the middle of a blizzard. He would go on to have many scenarios where he wasn’t good for backup on safety and security.
- I always felt this weight on my shoulders of anxiety or stress or fear when I would return home from getting my kids from school. I never knew which version of him I would get. The crazy control freak, the silly child-like him, or the somewhere in between.
- After the breakup, my friend helped me go through the entire home to see if he had put any recording devices elsewhere, I could finally feel this relief. My entire soul was lighter and I knew this was the right choice.
Remember the therapy sessions
If you didn’t go through some sort of therapy after a relationship like this, then I highly advise you to go now. I don’t care if it has been 10 years, 1 year, or 20 years if you’re still missing this person and haven’t gone to therapy. You need it. They will provide you with the right fuel to use logical thinking to not reach out to this person OR if you do reach out to the ex, the therapy you had will give you fuel to forgive yourself and remind yourself of the terms like gaslighting, narcissism, and other terms that remind you of the unhealthy scenario you were in.
I have gone to therapy many times, especially when I find myself having a hard time working through something. If I have strong emotions about something, I get right in to speak with a therapist as soon as possible. I refuse to live my life full of emotions from the past as they do not belong in my present day.
Therapy can help … a lot! if you did go to therapy, remember to make some notes so that when you are missing them, you can reference them to redirect and make a better choice today.
Revisit the life you have now
Another data point for me to realize that this ex isn’t right for me is that I crave the scenario so much. I have this almost unnatural yearning to talk to someone when I never had this with any other ex before. I now realize it isn’t about a “soulful” connection, but rather an “unhealed inner child” connection.
This is where therapy helps you get through that, and while you may get through it, the brain is a program that wants the easier route to something which is why you may still have triggers but without the emotion attached & you can fight those using my tips here.
Look at the life you have today, look at what your kids have accomplished since being away from that unhealthy experience. Look at how well you show up now without the anxiety of an unhealthy relationship. Look at the business growth and personal growth you’ve had.
Do you really want to throw away all of this growth and positivity for someone who helped cause such trauma in your life that you felt entirely broken?
I can’t answer that for you, but I truly hope you realize the damage that can be done if you let the not-good-for-you ex back into your life. Do your best to seal that door shut … no matter how easy social media and technology makes it to reach out to them.
But also …
Remember you’re only human
Last, but not least, yes I have reached out to an ex and I have realized within 24 hours how dull the conversation is. It wasn’t that the chat was bad, it wasn’t that it was good, it just was not what I remember the conversations were back in the days of dating each other.
Yup, I’m human. I don’t know why, but sometimes I miss that chats we used to have. The conversations would go so deep, and so twisting and turning and keep me wanting to talk & listen more. But now? I just rambling nervously and talk feverishly which is a sign that I’m uncomfortable or anxious.
Of course, in the chat, I rarely realize that I am doing this. It’s only through hindsight reflections that I realize reaching out to an ex doesn’t give me what I think I am missing. It won’t heal the void that is often there.
It is something much deeper and more spiritual that will heal that void that I feel every so often. For me, that void is being filled by my spiritual journey. I am still on this journey but it’s helping me to redirect. It’s helping me to realize that I need to make good choices for a future that aligns with my values, my goals, my dreams, and my kids.
I want my kids to return home and be around and I want to see my grandchildren if I ever have them. I want to have the blessings that come with growing older and watching my children experience their new seasons in life. I want all of the experiences that being a Mom provides you with. I want it all. And that means choosing better.
Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t ‘fall off the wagon’ every so often, remember the Devil is lurking around the corner trying to pull you back into his realm. The demons you struggle with are part of your dark side. We are all light and dark. You just need to use the tips above to help you with each struggle. Find a new healthy addiction.
Each time you want to reach out to an ex or stalk them or whatever it is that you desire, read this blog post and remember that you’re not alone. These triggers happen to the best of us.
I have a healthy life with someone who respects my boundaries, loves our children as deeply as I do, and would do anything for his family without question, and without being selfish. That is something I should cherish much more than I sometimes do.