The Secret Reason Your Ex Is Mean To You

Some break-ups are amicable and others are so nass-teey. Some people stay friends after a breakup, and others want to forget they ever knew each other’s name. Then there are exes that say you are going to remain friends, but then they start acting really cold and mean?

S/he sees you and quickly walks away or ignores you altogether, or s/he talks to you (even sometimes initiates the conversation) only to start telling you how great his/her life is, now that you are not together. S/he goes out of his/her way to be affectionate and flirtatious with others when you are around and tells you about this or that great person s/he’s seeing. S/he even talks about his/her (great) sex life and what this or that other woman/guy does with him/her. And whatever you say or do, all your best intentions are met with hostility, suspicion, resentment, irritation, anger, vindictiveness and worse.

Why would someone who said s/he loved you now be hurting you intentionally?

Some exes act mean because they really want you gone.  It’s a passive aggressive behaviour where someone feels that if they are mean, cold and cruel to you, you’ll get the message and leave them alone. This is especially the case if the person feels that you are in denial or are not accepting the fact that it is indeed over. You trying to hang on to him/her or be a part of his/her life  irritates him/her. Your hanging around  irritates an ex even more if you are still professing your undying love and commitment.

Why doesn’t s/he just tell you to get lost instead of intentionally trying to hurt you?

If the break-up was not nasty or if s/he broke up with you, s/he may be struggling with a combination of pity and guilt. S/he feels pity for you because you are a really “good” human being, but s/he just doesn’t have those romantic or love feelings for you anymore. S/he feels guilty that s/he can not love you as you love him/her and that in some ways makes him/her a “bad” person. The combination of pity and guilt gets under his/her skin, literally, making him/her angry at you for making him/her feel this way. Your sad puppy-face doesn’t help.

Could it be that s/he still has feelings for you?

It is possible that your ex is not over caring for you. His/her cold, mean and cruel behaviour is his/her way of trying to deal with the feelings s/he still has but does not want to feel. You can usually tell an ex is dealing with conflicted feelings by how they go back and forth. One day they are so loving and kind and the next mean and cruel. Their reaction to you reflects what they feel at that time or on that day.

But if the person is angry, mean and cruel to you all the time, with no “loving and caring” breaks in between, they want you gone, like really gone!

Just a word of caution. The sweet-and-mean intervals may also be a result of Bipolar Disorder. If your ex has a history of Bipolar, it may just be that they can’t help themselves.

Does s/he have to hate you that much and be so cruel?

A majority of relationships where an ex acts cruelly post-break-up were toxic to begin with. It’s rare for a healthy relationship to go toxic and unhealthy post-break-up. For some exes, it’s a power/control thing. If they can control how you feel, they control you. For others, they interpret your pain as “you still care for him/her” and that makes them feel good in a twisted way.

If this is what is happening to you, and you are still trying to get your ex back, you need to ask yourself, “Is this person treating me with love and respect?”, “Is this the kind of man or woman I want to spend the rest of my life with?”, “What kind of life would that be?”

Should you then leave your ex alone and move on?

It depends. If this is your ex just being his/her usual mean and cruel self, it may be best for your own good to move away from the emotional abuse. But if your ex is a kind and caring person who would never act mean or cruel unless forced to, then you need to look at yourself. May be your refusal to accept reality or your your needy and clingy actions are forcing your ex to try to push you away. Work on changing you, and see if s/he starts warming up to you again.

Sometimes it’s him or her, but sometimes it’s really you.

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26 Comments

  • I know what I did wrong and where things went wrong. We generally got along very well before the break up. I’m being met with this even though she had expressed interest in maintaining contact with me. At this point I just want to reconnect as friends while I continue working on myself. I’m going to leave her alone for a couple months.

    Any suggestions on how to reconnect in a situation like this?

    View Comment
    • Unfortunately, I do not have any suggestions or advice.

      “No contact”, “limited contact” and “giving space” are all fear/avoidance based strategies in that they encourage moving away from what you want instead of moving towards it. They are all in conflict with what I advice and encourage, and that is, moving towards your ex, openly, fearlessly and in an emotionally healthy, mature and smart way.

      Using “no contact”, “limited contact” and “giving space” while at the same time following my advice is likely to create ‘avoidance-approach’ conflict where you try to move towards your ex, make things worse, move away, then try to move towards again. After sometime you give up because there is no progress or because you’ve completely pushed her away to a point of no return.

      View Comment
  • We were happy together, I don’t understand what happened to make him not want me anymore. I was a wonderful girlfriend to him and I’m so scared that he still loves me but doesn’t realize it. I think he’s trying to kill his feelings for me and I don’t understand why.

    View Comment
    • May be if you got out of denial and accepted that his feelings for you indeed changed, it’d help you understand why. You can’t see when his feelings for you started changing or what you can do to make them come back when you don’t even accept, let alone acknowledge that his feelings changed.

      Also someone can still love you, but not feel IN love with you.

      View Comment
    • If we operated only on very basic emotions (fear, anger, happiness, sadness, surprise) like most animals or didn’t have human emotions (like computers), it’d be easy to simply “program” a relationship and have it work exactly how we program it.

      Complex emotions make human beings unpredictable. Many of us don’t handle “unpredictability” very well. Those that do, are better with and at relationships in general.

      View Comment
    • If we operated only on very basic emotions (fear, anger, happiness, sadness, surprise) like most animals or didn’t have human emotions (like computers), it’d be easy to simply “program” a relationship and have it work exactly how we program it.

      Complex emotions make human beings unpredictable. Many of us don’t handle “unpredictability” very well. Those that do, are better with and at relationships in general.

      View Comment

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