Damaged Relationship

Submit your questions for Dear Hoopers here 

Dear Hoopers,
I met this guy back in 2013 in college, he has a really effed up background – for starters, his mom was “the other woman” and his dad has never been there for them, he has clinical depression (doesn’t take any meds for it, quit therapy a long time ago), has had crisis episodes in which he attacked himself (scratched his own neck very badly, punched himself to the point where he made himself bleed and had to be taken to ER to get a calming shot). These crises were both caused by his first ex-girlfriend (let’s call her A) and second ex (let’s call her N). His relationship with A lasted 3 years and was a very toxic, unhealthy, destructive thing. For instance, one day she cut herself at school, screaming at him and loudly stating that she was doing that to herself because of him (yes, at a very public spot and this was witnessed by a lot of students), she tried to slit her wrists some other time, and during other fights, his response to her actions would usually end up in him hurting himself physically as well.

It was because of the public self-cutting incident that he felt really humiliated and ashamed, that he decided to drop out. A got herself a new boyfriend and he fell into this terrible depression crisis episode. They were basically fighting all the time but couldn’t leave each other. His therapist banned him from seeing A and eventually, he got a bit better, went back to school, met N and started a new relationship which didn’t last long, because A wanted to get back together, A was always trying to find new ways to disturb the new relationship and eventually, N ended up breaking up with him because of all that. I entered the picture soon after he broke up with N. I, have tried to leave him (1st time because of N, 2nd because of A, 3rd because of a new girl) but he always finds a way to contact me, whether it’s showing up at my house, texting me from another number or e-mail, etc…and I always fall back.

Last year, A showed up again, and they went to a therapy (supposedly to end the cycle, but it was actually to get back together). In the end nothing happened, but I’m aware that he is not going to change, he is very toxic and I live with constant anxiety and fear that he is going to leave me and choose A over me. I don’t even know why I worry so much. He is very rude and cruel to other people, he is rude to me, he is always judging what I do, and he makes me feel stupid and unwanted. I know he talks to another girls and has even been sexually involved with at least 2 of them, and yet I desperately try to be enough for him. I feel lost, thank you.
-Damaged Relationship

Dear Damaged Relationship,
It is clear to anyone who reads your question, that this is a terrible relationship for you. The details of the back and forth relationships truly aren’t even necessary. You said it yourself (“I’m aware that he is not going to change, he is very toxic…he is rude to me, he is always judging what I do and makes me feel stupid and unwanted.”) This relationship will always be terrible for you and you will feel used and abused when this relationship comes crashing down. Perhaps this is soon, perhaps that it sometime in the future, but this will not end well.

The true question here is what do you want for yourself? The unhealthy dynamics in this relationship may be appealing to you. The thrill of “trying to be enough” for someone like him could seem like a worthy goal, but it certainly will not be. It will leave you devastated. This desire likely comes from an unhealthy part of your interpersonal history and could follow you around for decades to come. The key to your life will be uncovering this desire and channeling it into something constructive and healthy for you.

The key to your life will be uncovering this desire and channeling it into something constructive and healthy for you.

-Dr. Ryan

If it’s the anxious excitement of this relationship that is enticing for you, know that there are more constructive ways of finding excitement (and anxiety). If you truly desire a healthy and supportive relationship in your future, you know what you need to do. End this relationship, spend time focusing on what got you into this relationship in the first place, and make changes for a better future.
-Dr. Ryan


Dear Damaged Relationship,
Please do me a favor and re-read what you just wrote to us. This guy is in a chronic cycle of unhealthy behavior and you’ve fallen into the rhythm of his madness. Get out and stay out. Do yourself a favor now before you get pulled back in.

He judges you. He makes you feel stupid. He makes you feel unwanted. He hurts other people. If you were listening to one of your friends explain this relationship, what advice would you give them? You have already defined that this guy has toxic characteristics. What else do you need to move on?

No one wins in a situation like this.

It sounds like it’s more of a game to you and a competition of what girl will win him over. But, no one wins in a situation like this. Don’t give him any more of your precious time. He will never make you feel like enough. You have to feel like enough for yourself and yourself alone.