Growing from past trauma

A few months ago I started seeing a therapist. For the most part this was to help me overcome a series of panic attacks that I was having when South Africa wouldn’t move out and would just go psycho on my ass. I’ll write about that again another day. Part of seeing the therapist was exploring different situations that lead to me having anxiety attacks and it’s been evident with the last partner that one of those times is when he was out drinking and I didn’t know where or when he would be home.

My shrink helped me break this down and see where the anxiety stemmed from, how to deal with it better, but also to recognise that it wasn’t all my fault.

I’ve written about my ex that I was engaged to before here. In a nutshell, we were together for nearly five years and he absolutely screwed me over: he developed an ice addiction, spent $80k of our money, put me in hospital, and ended up in jail. In all honesty, it scarred me. I was single for over 2 years after that ended. With the cheating and the lying, it was really hard to open up and trust anyone. I acknowledged this – that I need to work on me before I work on us with anyone, but I suppose I never dug deep into the different ways it affected me.

When South Africa was out drinking with his mates, he said he’d be home by a certain time. For illustrative purposes, say 10pm – it was just dinner and a couple drinks afterall. So come 1am and I hadn’t even heard from him, my heart skipped and my mind raced. I know nothing was going wrong, but I also couldn’t help but to feel the same way I did when I knew my ex was out cheating on me and high on ice ruining our future. It tore me up, it made me hate myself, and it made me panic.

I’d never really identified that this is where those feelings came from, but unpacking that with my therapist was a really great way to realise that when I’m feeling like that, I can attribute those feelings to an ex who fucked me over, not to a current boyfriend who isn’t. He did, however, also point out that in a healthy relationship your partner wouldn’t disappear for hours and not even text. They would recognise your anxiety triggers and, even if they didn’t come home to be with you, would let you know where you were and what’s going on before you got to that point. So I suppose my therapist also helped me realise that not only can I grow from past trauma, but that there are elements of a healthy relationship I can look out for.

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