My time with the Abusive Asshole was motivated by a complete lack of caring about myself or what happened to me. It was almost like he epitomized the death drive for me. Sometimes I have a hard time even relating to the thoughts I used to have – it's like they belonged to a different person, although I can recognize them. I would think about things that could happen to me because of him, I could get AIDs from him cheating or get into a car wreck because of his reckless driving or he could hit me hard enough to really fuck me up…and I just…didn't…care. In fact, in a way I was almost interested to see how bad it could get. It was like standing on the edge of a cliff and being tempted to jump off, just to see what would happen. Even though you know what would happen and you know it would be bad. I would walk around in a daze, step in front of cars without looking, almost hoping to get hit. How did I get to the point where being abused was like an addiction to me? How did I learn to be so dependent on that behavior that I almost wanted it?

But in a way, a seriously fucked-up way, it was freeing to feel nothing. Because nothing mattered, so nothing scared me. There were no consequences I was afraid of. Now that I value my life, I am scared by so many more things. Not least of which is the fact that I so narrowly escaped him.

I am thinking about this because I recently went to the doctor for my annual exam. I had gone a few weeks before I broke up with him, but not since then, until last week. And when I got my test results back last week, I learned I have a growth on my cervix and I've had chlamydia for more than a year. Arguably, neither of these things are that big a deal – my pap came back normal, so the thing on my cervix is probably just some kind of cyst, and the chlamydia is gone now with no complications. But it has really fucked with my head. I've realized anew that in many ways I almost threw my life away. That I could have a kid with him. That I could have actually married him. That I could have gotten AIDs or actual cervical cancer. And I see a few people in my life who are acting from a similar place of recklessness, of not caring if they live or die. The Abusive Asshole has become less a person in my mind and more a symbol of the poison and darkness that used to strangle my life, and which still creeps toward me sometimes when I'm alone for a long time or when I'm afraid of something.

Most of the time I'm free of him and of these feelings. This last week has been really hard, though. I think I see him in the rear-view mirror as I'm driving. I keep expecting to find that he's set my car on fire or stolen another one of my cats. I jump every time the phone rings. I've also been terrified that GreenHunk is going to suddenly become exactly like the Abusive Asshole was. This is irrational to the nth degree, and I know it. GreenHunk is the nicest person I've ever met in my life. The Abusive Asshole hasn't contacted me since September, and I haven't spoken with him since last May. I have a restraining order against him. He doesn't know about the chlamydia. And yet. It just feels like the darkness that used to define my life is circling on the fringes of it again, and I want so much for it to go away. I just want to be happy again, and to feel healthy and to appreciate my wonderful life and my wonderful friends and my wonderful fiancé.

This is especially bad because it's been more than a year since it all happened. I know everyone is sick of it. I'd done so well with not talking about him or thinking about him in the last 4 or 5 months, and now everything is scaring me and reminding me of him again. I feel like I'm being totally unfair to all my friends and to GreenHunk if I talk about it, and I feel like I'm being unfair by even feeling so off and being less fun than normal. I've been so upset the past week and now GreenHunk has a cold and I haven't been taking care of him at all, I've just been sitting in a corner moping and I feel so terrible about that. He deserves so much better.

Do any of you guys struggle with similar feelings? If so, what do you do? How do I get back to normal?