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In Love With An Abuser, Trying to Lose the Love

I thought it was love, an over the top tenderness, a magnetic sensuality that kept me waiting for the next time we were alone.... At first it wasn't abusive, just angry sometimes, what's a little insult with a bit of a slap or hair pulling???  But it got worse: being together 24/7, broken cell phones to keep me from using them, being kept awake at night, jealousy of imaginary men, hit in the face while driving for looking at other drivers (not), being pulled out of bed, kicked while down on the floor (bruised breastbone), pushed against the bathtub which probably fractured my wrist (still hurts today), a broken nose, black eyes twice.... Finally, I started abusing back, at first if I hit him back, it would stop the rage, but not in the later fights, it just got crazy and we hurt each other.

There were many separate bad incidents, followed by good.  After a bad marriage, I needed this relationship.  I kept hanging in there and it kept getting worse.  I'd leave, drop him off, crying my eyes out, then go find him again after a few days.  I couldn't live without the fabulous emotional and physical highs, it was heady and addicting. I'd forget the bad times after the next good time.

I don't think I would have left if not sort of forced into it by another person, thank goodness for the other doing the forcing.  I went back, how many times?  At least 6.  The final time I left, I was sure that I should leave, it wasn't going to change.  I don't regret leaving but I can't lose the love I feel.  I think about him daily, almost constantly, I cry when I'm alone, just like I cried each time I thought about leaving or when I left him, but is it love?  It's like being possessed, I do hope that addiction goes away in time, although it's been 4 weeks since the last time I saw him. 

I'm glad someone posted on EP the way they felt about their abuser, that's how I found this site, through a search about domestic violence and love.  I couldn't believe another woman felt about her guy as I felt about mine.  Now I am talking about my problem.  It helps.

dancingonthehill dancingonthehill 51-55, F 56 Responses Apr 3, 2009

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i've tried escaping my abuser about 6 times also, but the addiction is too strong. I love him. I forget about the horrible things he does and says to make me feel worthless. I am infatuated and succumbing and I'm sure you know the feeling. I want to leave and become independent, and find a new relationship, but I like the way he treats me. some kind of adrenaline fills up in me when he puts me down. another part of me is being eaten alive at the same time, but lately the adrenaline side has been winning. I love it so much, i can't even see myself in a healthy relationship without getting bored and missing him

I know how you feel, it's hard to lose the love

I have left my abusive husband. It has only been a few days but every day i want to email him and beg for him back. I feel so stupid for feeling this way. I would know exactly what to do if one of my friends were in this situation. I have a bachelors degree so I have read many textbooks about the violent cycle. Its just harder when your the one in the situation. I just never thought it could happen to me. I was such a strong independent woman. Now i feel weak and alone. I have two beautiful children with this man and we always talked about watching our baby boys grow up , what we wanted to do, and where we wanted to live. Now its like, was any of that ever real? I called the police on him and got a restraining order and now he wont even speak to me, not even regarding the kids through email. I was with this man for 4 years, endured his abuse and now its HIM that doesnt want to talk to ME? Why do I feel like i am the one being punished? He's probably out with his friends every night getting drunk and having sex and having the time of his life. But Im at home with our two kids and miserable because i miss him. I really really hope I get passed this. I feel so weak. I gave him so much of me. I dont know how to get it back. I

This subject has come up on a few posts in the last couple of weeks so I thought I'd post a link on it from our Recommended Reading section.

Also, this is what my favorite guy, Lundy Bancroft, wrote about traumatic bonding in his book, "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men." Below is an excerpt:

"One of the great tragedies of all forms of abuse is that the abused person can become emotionally dependent on the peretrator through a process called traumatic bonding. The assaults that an abuser makes on the woman's self-opinion, his undermining of her progress in life, the wedges he drives between her and other people, the psychological effects left on her when he turns scary - all can combine to cause her to NEED him more and more. This is a bitter psychological irony. Child abuse works in the same way; in fact, children can become MORE strongly attached to abusive parents than to nonabusive ones. Survivors of hostage-taking situations or of torture can exhibit similar effects, attempting to protect their tormentors from legal consequences, insisting that the hostage-takers actually ha their best interests at heart or even descibing them as kind and caring individuals - a phenomenon known as the Stockholm Syndrome. I saw these dynamics illustrated by a young boy who got a shock from touching an electric fence and was so frightened by it that he grabbed on to the fence for security - and wouldn't let go as each successive shock increased his panic, until his siter was able to reach him and pull him off.

Almost no abuser is mean or frightening all the time. At least occasionally, he is loving, gentle, and humorous and perhaps even capable of compassion and empathy. This intermittent, and usually unpredictable, kindness is critical to forming traumatic attachments. When a person, male or female, has suffered harsh, painful treatment over an extended period of time, he or she naturally feels a flood of love and gratitude toward anyone who brings relief, like the surge of affection one might feel for the hand that offers a glass of water on a scorching day. But in situations of abuse, the rescuer and the tormentor are the very same person. When a man stops screaming at his partner and calling her a "useless piece of *(%@" and instead offers to take her on a vacation, the typical emotional response is to feel grateful to him. When he keeps her awake badgering her for sex in the middle of the night and then finally quiets down and allows her to get some of the sleep that she so desperately craves, she feels a soothing peace from the relief of being left alone.

Your abusive partner's cycles of moving in and out of periods of cruelty can cause you to feel very close to him during those times when he is finally kind and loving. You can end up feeling that the nightmare of his abusiveness is an experience the two of you have shared and are escaping from together, a dangerous illusion that trauma can cause. I commonly hear an abused woman say about her partner, 'He really knows me,' or 'No one understands me the way he does.' This may be true, but the reason he seems to undersand you well is that he has studied ways to manipulate your emotions and control your reactions. At times he may seem to grasp how badly he has hurt you, which can make you feel close to him, but it's another illusion; if he could really be empathetic about the pain he has caused, he would stop abusing you for good."

And this:

"The trauma of chronic abuse can also make a woman develop fears of being alone at night, anxiety about her competence to manage her life on her own, and feelings of isolation from other people, especially if the abuser has driven her apart from her friends or family. All of these effects of abuse can make it much more difficult to separate from an abusive partner than a nonabusive one. The pull to reunify can therefore be great." 0425191656/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351304696&sr=1-1&keywords=why+does+he+do+that+inside+the

danielleday, Please read the book "Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry controlling men"by Lundy Bancroft. He explains some psychological conditions that may be responsible for your feelings of attachment to someone that hurts you. Look up "traumatic bonding" and "Stockholm syndrome." Call the national domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and ask about finding counseling near you. It is possible to break the destructive cycle of abuse and move on.


im looking for answers too....i cant believe im not the only person alive that could feel this confused, torn, desperate, twisted, in love or addicted, and just plain crazy for aching over the loss of my horrifically abusive boyfriend who repeatedly promised to take my life...and almost succeeded on more than one occasion..i try to make sense of it...i obsess over it daily...i look for answers, "post traumatic stress syndrome", "battered women and why they stay" "why men abuse" "narcissism" i even thought he could've been possessed! All the answers are saying women stay out of fear and there is beautiful, inspirational stories of getting away and women turning their lives around and never looking back....but what's wrong with me that i don't want to let go...that i love the @#%& out of him and i miss him...i must be sick in the head and no one else can even fathom the thought of how in any way, shape or form, that i could feel this way...i dont want to go on without him...its like he tried to destroy my sense of self, make me into nothing....and yet i crave for him to love me...i even looked into hypnosis and mind-control thinking I'd get some proof or closure or something...i dont know how this will ever stop...i just want to give up completely...this is the first time hearing that maybe one other girl REALLY understands...

I know exactly how it feels. Its been 3 months since I last saw my husband. I also think about him every day nearly all the time. He was so lovely and caring when he was nice and such fun to be with...but when that trip switch flicked oh my he was the devil incarnate. I used to say to him he was like an addiction, and after having counselling I know that that is exactly what it is! I am tempted to contact him every day at least six or seven times, but so far have managed not to....I pray I will get over this I feel so empty inside without him.

Hi, You may be dealing with a psychological condition known as traumatic bonding or Stockholm syndrome. If you google those terms you can learn more. Also please get a copy of the book "Why does he do that?Inside the minds of angry controlling men"by Lundy Bancroft. You will find it helpful. You cannot help how you feel. But you do not have to ACT on those feelings. Especially if you know you will get hurt. The less contact you have with an ex abuser the less conflicted you will feel. I know it is not easy. But you deserve to be with someone that does not hurt you.


I am glad you managed to move away of that harmful relationship. And I am glad you are talking about it. Definitively it helps a bit to express oneself. I wish you the best in the future. Feelings takes time to fade out, just do not close yourself, and try to be active with other people. Maybe someday a better man will appear in your life, and you will be able to enjoy a healthy relationship.

i sit here i look at what you have done and i cry i know i still love the man that is passionate who is clever and funny but it has taken me 13 years to be cross. that is what keeps me away.please dont let it take you so much time and energy ,he is stealing from you what you need for you to recover

I am so glad to hear you broke it off... those kinda men dont deserve a woman's love...they dont even know what luv is about... too me :-(

I have been abused physically and emotionally for 8 years, our relationship ended last summer yet we stayed friends he kept telling me that he would take me back once I sorted my alcohol problem, which deep down I know he caused, I live in a small town he has turned everyone against me, I fear leaving the house, he has such charm, he has told everyone im crazy etc and they believe him, today he told me our friendship is over, this man has broken my ribs twice, he has kicked me over and over, he has stuck things in me like syringes up my nose, none of that pain compares to how i feel today, hes gone and i dont know how to carry on

I am going through a similar thing right now. I had my abuser arrested, but for 6 years it has been abusive. Choking me until I pass out was his main form of abuse. I feel like I am at a point where I am tired of it. I spoke to him and he told me this is myfault. That I should watch what I say and these things would not happen. I know that is untrue. I know he will do this again, but yet I love him and for some reason feel as though I want him home. I have let him back so many times with the i love yous and im sorrys etc... And nothing changed and yet, I still love him and am fighting myself for wanting him home and missing him. I think we try to block out the bad with the good. At leasst thats what i do, all I can think of is the good with him. the smiles, laughs... He was not always horrible to me, but the fear of not knowing when he would be haunts me each day. Im still confused, do I bring him home..even when he wont admit he was wrong and blames me for it all? You are not alone in your feelings.

i feel reflected myself on your storie.

I too still love my abuser he is in jail six months and I was hurt so bad I was in the ER. After a few weeks I slept with a gu only made me physical sick as time went on my feelings are still strong I miss the man I fell in love with his drinking and mine was our downfall that's how the abuse started
I went to jail over him.after almost two years and trips to the Er and policeman showing up I gave up on him. I begged him to change.

Please stay strong. Your relationship sounds almost identical to a 2 year one I was in. When i finally decided to leave for good it was like breaking an addiction. I still thought about him a lot. But now, it's been a year since I left him and I never want to see him again. I wish I never met him... stay strong and surrond yourself with support. I became an abuser as well and I'm still dealing with the horrible anger problems it gave me. Sadly now I have abused 3 people due to what his abuse engrained into my mind. I'm starting kickboxing soon to learn more self control but honestly idk if I will ever forgive myself... for pursuing him, loving him, going back to him so much, hitting him back, and losing the control I had.

Im 24and seems that my life ended when I met him.<br />
We fight for nothing, its always my fault, im always bad for him. He thinks I have sex with someone everyday, everytime, and everywhere. I cant look to other people, cause he thinks i want to have sex with. I quit jobs. I quit life.<br />
I tried to leave him 8 times, he calls me, and I give another chance.<br />
I had several bruises since I met him march 2011. He doesnt love me, dont have sex, he rather watch ****. But sometimes he have sex with me but not before making me cry and beg him . 4 restraining orders, arrested 4 times, and he still dont learn. <br />
I cant work , my life is just to keep him away from **** sites and webcam. Im tired. I wanna meet someone else.<br />
He wont talk when I want, but when he asks me something I have to awnser right way.<br />
Playing mind games everyday 24/7. Im going insane.<br />
And when he needs me to sign something for him, cause he wants to get the greencard, he treats me like a queen.<br />
I thought about suicide, but I know god. Im lost.<br />
My phone is 857 615 0042<br />
If anybody wants to call to talk, someone thats going through the same think.<br />
Take care

I know exactly how you feel. My husband had beaten me so bad before, throughout and after my pregnancy and everytime I felt as if I just kept taking the abuse eventually it would end. Well recently it got to the point where he actually tried to kill me. He is now locked up and now I have the courage to testify. I cry often because I truly was in love with him and I gave him two beautiful children. Its hard especially at night when my emotions sometimes get the best of me but then I look at my kids and realize that I had to get him out of our lives. I finally am coming to that point where I realize he obviously didnt love me because if he did he wouldnt have degraded me or choked me or punched, kicked, bite, slapped and make me feel worthless. I feel better knowing now that there are people out there who have gone through what I went through and that I am not alone.

my boyfriend broke up with me because of my weight. try this site, make money and be healthy!

Congratulations, I am so proud of u guys for getting out I haven't been in ur situation,but I'm sure it can' be easy. If it were none of these things would end so tragically. I saw a movie this morning where a High School student was killed by her boyfriend. This is NOT love

Now that many months and years have gone by, I look back ward at those times and wonder who I was back then. I am a different, happier, person now.

My husband abuses me and i cant seem to leave. I feel like I love him and get very sad and lonley when I think about being without him. I know this is a very unhealthy relationship and people close to me are afraid for my life. I just want to get that feeling of being loved back, I feel like somehow I let him down I just want him to show me he loves me again. I've been hurt so bad and so many times i am starting to become angry and I can't conrol it, I break things and refuse to let my husband go to bed without me. I feel betrayed and abandoned by the one person who promised to love and cherish me. I need to leave, how did you do it and how do you get through the days with out him?

It is often hard to leave even though u know u should, but he isn't going to make the effort to Chang if he doesn't want many people hope and pray that things will change. Let him know u will NOT tolerate his behavior any more.

The anger is VERY unhealthy. It is very hard to get away. I had to force myself to leave. And to stay away. Plan it out, keep it secret, change your cell phone number, and don't go back to him. I am willing to bet that within just one year, you will be a different, happier person if you can get out of the abusive relationship.

I'm glad you left and i hope you stay away from him luv please remember your a wonderful women<br />
that can do better and the world needs you in it. i know i don't know you and i just read your story but your story tells me your looking for hope but i think hope found you <3 please stay strong and wonderful xo

I dealt with an abusive boyfriend for three years i still love him. but when it lead to rape my friends had to keep me away from him. i still love him though he raped me twice and gave me roofies but i know i cant let myself near him. im only fourteen but i look up to you.

You deserve better, I hope you can stay away from anyone who hurts you.

wow, I feel the same way. I love him to death but it's gonna be hard to move on. I have dreams about him all the time and our two kids together. In a way I don't want to move on, I gave up on love. he is in jail now and I know he was wrong but why do i feel like its my fault. I just want the judge to give him counseling or something. He was abused as a child too and I understand how we both grew up in ****** up environments but that still didn't give him the excuse to hurt someone else but I still love him. WHY?????

I think that it is very hard to stop loving someone. But, if that person you love hurts you more than he helps you, it's time to leave. If he is going to be in jail for a while, it's a good time to move on.

What I did was write and list the abuse, I wrote it in an email to myself and saved in drafts, if ever there was a weak moment I read them, and it makes me mad! I have no feelings for the person who wanted to stomp on my stomach while pregnant or light me on fire. I know better just like you do and you also deserve better. Time will help you to fully break your feelings away. X Hug

What a great idea, to reread your emails. I kept coming back here to read my stories and talk to others who reached out to me. It helped me a lot. I hope you are doing well now.

Thank you for replying :) - I am doing well and I am still free over 2 years and counting :), I worry and look over my shoulder alot, no one really prepares you for after you break free from domestic violence. one thing for sure you take each day head on and you keep moving forward :)

I am the abused and he was found not guilty!!!!!!

Justice does not always come, even when it is deserved. I hope you got away and went on with your life.

Yes, getting away is hard, almost impossible, unless planned out secretly in advance and with the support of someone who won't give up on you. THEN, once away, the thoughts never stop, wishing it could have been different. But, the supporter, whoever it is, has to keep reminding you NEVER, NEVER go back, NEVER NEVER even talk to him. My best support was from MARJI here on Experience Project. We are still friends, and I am over the addiction to the abuse. Wow, was it tough.<br />
<br />
Please, please if you are being abused, reach out to someone who will support you in planning to get away, secretly. It can't be in the open, or he will stop you and talk you into staying or returning. Plus, believe me, he won't change, no matter how much you wish that he would....

I admire you for the strength it took to get away from one should have to endure what you did...It well take you even more courage and strength to stay the distance...I know more than words can express how tempting it is to call him or want to see him again...but your self worth and well being is not worth it....I appreciate you so much for sharing this with us...your courageous...I too was in a very long relationship of the same caliber and if it wasn't for me being forced to walk away...I am not sure I would be alive today...Needless to say I didn't like who I was becoming in the end because I mirrored his actions...In the beginning it was so hard to stay is true...I was addicted to the the end I really didn't know any better...I had to find myself again...and there well be someone else out there that well treat you like the lady you so just takes time to get over the trauma you have endured...give yourself time to heal...Big Hugs sweetie

One day you will be tired enough... so tired all the time, too tired to even remember the good times until you get away and you start missing him. It's very hard and I sympathise with you. It is such a loss because I truly love this man, but he doesn't seem to be changing. You will be able to do it. I pissed him off enough that he isn't speaking to me at all. But then again, I am oceans away from him now and he cannot touch me. My friend told me this often: run, fun far, and never look back. I had a feeling he might be right but it took mt he longest time to do it. i ran. i ran far and i kept on looking back. This time, I seem to be lucky enough not to be hearing from him, i do miss him, though, and i do get hopeful once in a while. Clutching on straws, eh?<br />
<br />
Be safe and take care. If you want to talk, there are many of us here. We all could use each other's support.

I am currently in an abusive relationship and it's been progressing for 3 years... But through everything I am at a point where I'm numb. The accusations, namecalling, pushing,,,etc. Doesn't even bother me anymore and it makes him crazy. I know I need to get out. It's just hard when I think about the guy I first met... Its hard because u want that person back:(

That person you fell in love with wasn't the real person, the abusive nature was under the surface, hiding, waiting for you to bring it out of him. It is time for you to get out, he will never change, but you can.

I am the victim who pressed charges for my husband when he bruised my arm with 4 punches when I was living in Texas. In many of these chat rooms, I read how hard it can readjusting to the life without the abuser. The one issue I want to address here is all the people that have helped me during the continuing changes in my life. These people include: 1. Brother-in-law, 2. Sister, 3. Sister, 4. Niece, 5. Nephew, 5. Niece, 6. Nephew-in-law (I don't know if this is the proper word), (All in California), 6. Friend and her husband, 7. Friend, 8. Friend, 9. Friend and his wife (All in Texas), 10. Mom and her friend, 11. Friend, 12 Aunt, 13. Aunt and Uncle (All in Iowa). Counselors I have seen in California and especially in Iowa have been helpful. The counselor in Iowa has helped far above her job desc<x>ription including helping me find an apartment, readjusting to the area, and helping me figure out exactly what 35 years of abuse has done to me. My husband will be on trial in October and I have support for that also. On the day of the trial, I have a friend from Georgia that is flying to Texas, and two other friends that will be with me. My husband believes he is innocent and will go to all depths he can to hurt my reputation even though there are pictures of what he has done.

I hope your court date went well for you. The important thing is to move on with your life, if you change your life, the reminders of your old life go away and eventually you are looking forward instead of backwards.