My Ex is negatively impacting my Life. What can I do to stop this?


mrnonamex asks:

My ex and I broke up basically in July but officially in August.Everything was fine we were going out for 11 months and she came over I gave her, her birthday present and we were good. A couple of days later she starts ignoring me, with an excuse of she is too busy to talk to me on and on this went for a month. She would tell me she loves me, talks to me, then later pushes me away on and off till I had enough. She got violent when we broke up (she broke up with me) she bit me, and a few other things, and I was stupid because she had a history of hitting scratching and kicking me.

Shortly after she broke up with me, and keep in mind we haven’t spoken since then, she tells the RD of our college dorm (we live in the same building) that if I enter the suite that she is in (where all my friends live and hang out) I could get expelled because she feels uncomfortable being around me. After all this she started spreading rumors about me so much and calling me a stalker and abusive even though she did that to me. For example if I ever talked to certain girls she would be so mad with me and turn it into me having to apologize and such. Despite all of this, we go out from time to time as a team (me and her are on the same team) and she has no problem going, even when I’m there.

What can I do about this? I’m getting fed up of not being included in anything. I reported everything she did but said I didn’t want anything to happen to her because it’d be immature yet I because of her have a disorderly conduct on my transcript and the only way I was told I can get rid of it if I open a case.

Demetrius says:

Ooooooooof. When I read the title I thought this question would be a little less intense. This sounds way less than just “negatively impact” and more like “Making your life unbearable”. This sounds like a pretty targeted campaign on her part to make every aspect of your  life a nightmare. The problem with people like this is that playing their game means you lose, acknowledging what they’re doing and calling it out means you lose, and trying to defend yourself and your actions means you lose. Or, you can approach things a different way.

CAVEAT: This advice is based solely on the presumption that you’re being honest about your situation. Please don’t use this advice for evil if you’re being dishonest, or if you’re a random person reading this thinking “this guide would work in a lot of situations and could totally be used to gaslight someone” {Insert Evil Laugh}.

I’ve found that in situations like this, fighting dirty doesn’t help, nor does calling someone out on their bad behavior. You’d think that being in the right would guarantee that people would automatically be on your side, but no, that’s hardly ever the case. She’s waging a war against you and it’s a Public Relations war. She’s not trying to physically harm you (anymore) she’s trying to tear down your image as a decent guy. It’s why she’s done things to isolate you from your friends and peers, while at the same time maintaining an image of civility while you’re together in public with your team. If you were to call her out, you’d look like the jerk because from an outsider’s perspective, all they see is her being normal. They don’t know about her violence toward you, or the manic flip-flopping between loving you and hating you. If you were to call her out by saying she’s lying, do you know what you’d look like? An abusive jerk that is stalking her and trying to make her uncomfortable. You’d be doing her work for her.

It’s going to be difficult to do, but you have to bear in mind that attack, defense, or even explanation aren’t the moves you want to take. Attacking her will make you look like the aggressor, defense will make you look defensive and guilty, and explaining yourself will come off as you trying to double-down on behavior you haven’t even engaged in. Instead of doing all of those things, you want to try to distance yourself from her. You will have to do it in a way that doesn’t blame her, and doesn’t question whether she’s right or wrong. The goal is distance, disinterest, and indifference toward her, while trying to maintain the peace.

Let’s start with your Residence Director. A quick note for those who aren’t aware: A Residence Director, or Residence Hall Director, is usually someone who the Residence Assistants (RA’s) in a dormitory reports to. Instead of going to your RD and trying to defend yourself by telling hem that she is lying, instead say “I understand that she said that I’m making her uncomfortable. I’m not sure why that is, but I want to avoid doing so, especially if it will put my enrollment at risk as she’s stated. What do you suggest that I do to make sure that neither of us is uncomfortable since we do live in the same space?”. It’s your RD’s job, and I mean this literally, to provide counseling to student residents, so ,make them do their job. Once they tell you what to do and give you some next steps, send them a follow-up email thanking them for their time and reiterating what they said you should do and follow through with it. If they give you specific steps that you’re comfortable with doing, go through with them. If they give you specific steps that you’re not comfortable doing, like reaching out on your own to your ex, explain why you’re not comfortable with going through with these steps and ask for an alternate method to resolve the problem. You’re not in the business world yet, but in Corporate America™ that’s what is colloquially called CYA, or Cover Your Ass. You need to make sure that a paper trail exists to show that you’ve tried your hardest to resolve the situation amicably. While your RD is giving suggestions, or discussing her accusations, refute nothing but also don’t take the blame for anything either. Simply listen, absorb your RD’s advice, and send that follow-up email thanking them.

Next, ask your friends if they would be cool hanging out in your suite, or an alternative suite, because you want to avoid encountering your ex. If they ask why, just let them know that she’s said that you make her uncomfortable and you want to avoid being expelled, which she’s said is a possibility. Again, don’t say she’s wrong or that she’s lying, don’t attack her or try to explain why this whole situation sucks, just explain why you want to hang somewhere else and leave it at that. You might hang out with some friends less frequently because of this but trust me, it’s worth it. Better to lose some friends and gain some control over your life than to hang out in a suite where even being there can be perceived as harassing.

You might want to consider quitting whatever “team” you’re part of. You don’t specify what type of team it is, whether or not that team is involved in a sport, extracurricular activities, or even class based activities, but whatever it is, you really need to weigh whether or not your participation in said team is worth it. Unless it’s tied to your being able to afford to go to college, consider quitting. I’m not saying that you need to quit out of the blue, no, you’re going to do the same things you did with your friends. Whatever sort of team it is, let your teammates, captain, or professor know that you think its best that you quit because of the reasons you mention above. Again, no blaming, no explanation, no defense, just simply say “It’s for the best, I’m worried about what the implications might be if I stick around her”. If it’s your professor, they might be hesitant to reassign you, however, that earlier email that you sent to your RD where you thanked them for helping you and also mentioned the whole “I don’t want to be expelled thing” is a great way to get a professor on your side.

Finally, that whole CYA thing I mentioned above? Start doing the same thing with her. If she reaches out to you in any format that can be used as a record, retain it. Keep every single, text, email, call log, and voicemail you get from her. If Don’t respond to any of her communications in any way, shape, or form. Make it clear, through your actions and not your words,that you have no interest in interacting with her. I don’t care if it’s an apology, a request for forgiveness, or whatever else it might be. Don’t validate her negative PR campaign against you by responding. Take the highest road possible and avoid her mudslinging. It will require some sacrifice on your part, but I think it’s worth it in the long run. You can always return your life to normal once her campaign against you dies down.

I don’t think I’ve ever meant this more than I do right now but:

Good Luck Out There. Seriously.

Also, promise not to use my tips for evil. Thanks in advance.

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