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Psychological Triggers following abusive relationship?

I got out of an emotionally abusive relationship a while back, and I'm now having trouble readjusting to normal life and especially having trouble with trying to form new, healthy relationships. One of the things my abusive partner used to do is say 'you're beautiful and pretty' all the time, as if that made what he was doing all right. Now I cannot stand to hear anything that sounds similar, and break down when someone gives me a compliment. If anyone says I'm looking nice on a given day or that I look 'pretty' in a particular outfit, I snap or scream at them or tear at my hair- even if it's one of my friends or family complimenting me. If any men show any signs of finding me physically attractive or compliment me on my appearance I immediately assume they're going to be abusive and end anything that could be heading toward a relationship, or refuse to start anything up with them, or go a bit mad, and this does tend to scare people off. Is there any way I can get over this and stop compliments being a trigger? This is hindering my ability to trust anyone and form a proper, non-abusive relationship.
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replied March 11th, 2014
Extremely eHealthy
It isn't unusual for compliments to trigger a negative reaction though it is usually for a different reason. Mostly compliments are considered by those affected women to be a prelude to thinly disguised sexual overtures signalling the man can't or won't see the personality behind the pretty face and nice boobs. Sometimes this is considered insulting and sometimes it is a trigger for something deeper.

It is perhaps because you are expecting too much of yourself too soon and perhaps there is an element of attempting to punish your ex-boyfriend by punishing yourself and others for what he did to you. This sort of thing is quite common; when somebody needs to hit out almost any punch-bag will do.

It is clear your experiences had a deeper and more damaging effect on you than you realised and your stored anger and frustration and probably self-recrimination for not getting out sooner hasn't yet dissipated.

Only you can overcome this social disability. It could take time and need a great effort for your rational mind to begin to influence your emotions.
Forcing yourself to count slowly to ten before reacting might give you time to realise you are being ill-mannered and unfair to those who offer you a compliment. You can't make everyone else a proxy for your ex and you can't go on punishing yourself for "foolishly" allowing yourself to be trapped in an abusive relationship for so long.

Some instinctive thing seems to make some men treat very pretty or very attractive women badly. If the woman has a good brain holding her ears apart it makes it so much worse for her as the frustration at not being recognised or being given the credit for being an intelligent individual personality of infinite value can soon turn into depression.
Somehow some men seem to believe attractive women were made only to be objects of desire and sex and it is a personal insult to them for such women to be equipped with brains.

I think you should stand in front of a mirror and see yourself as others see you while you try and sort out your thoughts and feelings and try and prepare a short speech to apologise for and to explain why you are having a bad reaction to a compliment.

It is right and proper those around you who are affected by one of your outbursts after somebody has innocently provided the trigger should be made aware of the reason for your outburst. Making your private life public under those circumstances will go a long way to eventually taking the sting out of it while ensuring you can maintain some sort of a social life.

Good luck!
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