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Realizing he was emotionally abusive. Why do I still love him?


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I've been going through a very difficult time since hearing from my ex after a few months of NC about 6 weeks ago. I realize I never really dealt with the feelings I was having and just ran away to a new city to start over when he did the same. We began talking, talking about possible reconciliation, and then he did a 180 and shot the idea down, and now all of a sudden I'm devastated to the point that I can't function. The thing is though, that after talking to my brother last night I am admitting that my boyfriend was emotionally abusive to me. I mean, I knew his treatment of me was, at times, not acceptable and nothing I've ever experienced from another partner before, but I've been in denial about it. I think I need to really come to terms with this so that I can find a way to move past the hurt and the rejection that I feel. I know I deserve better and should never have put up with the things this guy put me through.


He was really sweet for the first year and many other times throughout our almost 5 year relationship, but his frustration about not being able to find work and support himself turned into anger a lot and his anger was usually directed at me. He would fly off the handle at the littlest things, and when we would get into fights they would turn into me trying to talk to him and him screaming at me at the top of his lungs. It seemed that the more time when on the less he was capable of having a normal disagreement that didn't include shouting and name calling. He called me every name under the sun including a c**t, told me I was worthless and "no wonder I wasn't close to my family, who would want to be close to me", etc. He even spit on me during a particularly bad fight the last few months we were together, and rammed my car with his repeatedly outside a bar one night a couple of years ago when we got into an argument. He would occasionally apologize, but more often than not he blamed me for the constant fights and crazy behavior. Something was wrong with me. Oh, and because something was wrong with me no one would ever want to be with me and I'd be alone forever. Mind you, I've had several long term relationships over the course of my life, and I've never fought like this with anyone ever. I have normal arguments, but generally hate conflict and am not a yeller.


His parents divorced when he was pretty young, but I know while they were together his dad had a pretty awful temper and used to beat his mom in front of him and his siblings. He has told me stories of them being huddled together while he beat her to a "bloody pulp". I'm not sure if knowing that was what made his behavior towards me acceptable, or if I thought I deserved it and that maybe the fights were my fault. I definitely suffer from low self esteem, so I'm sure that played into it a lot. And actually, I didn't think it was ever acceptable. I just took the blame for a lot of it and tried to change my communication skills so we wouldn't fight as much, but I thought about leaving a lot. I just really loved him, which I know sounds crazy. But I did and I still do. I thought it was just our circumstances with his unemployment and that maybe if he could just get a job and get his life on track, that he would change. I'm seeing now, that while that probably made things worse, he probably still would have been this way. One of his oldest friends told me once after we got into a fight and I was upset that after he met me all he could think was "I wonder how long before they start fighting", because apparently he has fought with every girlfriend he's ever had.


I'm not sure if there's a question here. I'm just really struggling with how I'm feeling about all of this. When we started talking about reconciliation once he gets his life back on track and then he started with the "I don't know how good we are for each other" bit, I mean, really? I'm actually pissed about that now. I wasn't good for him? I may not have been perfect, but I was a good girlfriend. I supported him financially for 4.5 years and stood by him through all sorts of anxiety and depression, not to mention bad behavior. I'm really struggling with the fact that even though when I spell this all out and really see it for what it was, I'm still in love with the guy and I'm heartbroken right now. I know that is sick and unhealthy, but it's how I feel. We've been apart for 6 months. He texted me yesterday and told me I needed to "move forward". I know he's right. I was just hoping he could change and we could be different together. Is this someone that could ever change? I feel like he is saying we're not compatible. Move on. Was it really just me? Will he find someone that he will love enough to not treat this way?

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sorry to hear about this.


It's weird how this works.


Maybe a part of you still wants to prove to him that you're a human being, and worthy of being treated like one.


That's how I feel with my ex at the moment. I'd never experienced anything like it before we went out, so I wasn't really prepared with how to deal with it. It's weird. I still have a lot of love for him.


And telling you that you should move on. Well, I would listen to him. He doesn't sound worthy of your love. Stay away from people who compartmentalise their lives. It's not fair on you, or your self esteem.

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You're not sick and unhealthy. The relationship was a long one, and even after all he did, you'll probably love him for awhile.


I wouldn't plan on him changing, and in terms of compatibility I think only a masochist would work for him.


It's not you. This is his loss, his problem. The good news is you don't have to deal with it anymore.


Take care of yourself. You'll make it through.

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I'm sorry to hear you're going through this, but actually also glad to hear you're out of the relationship. Given his history and his escalating behavior I think it's nearly inevitable that he would have or quite possibly in the future will turn physically violent as well. Unless he gets his stuff together and goes in for some serious soul-searching and therapy. The fact is you're probably a bit like a lobster, my therapist used this analogy back when I split from my ex who was emotionally abusive. In the beginning you put the lobster in regular water, it thinks no problem. It heats up gradually and the lobster doesn't really get it's in danger until the water is boiling and then it's too late, it's cooked. A lot of abusive relationships are like that too, in the beginning you don't feel or see anything wrong. There are often red flags, but they're often small or don't add up with what else is there or you just don't see them. So you sit in the water, because for the most part it feels pretty good. Only over time it gets harder and harder to be in the pot and then you're in agony and it's too late to have any hope of escape. And all you can think about it how good it felt in that nice cool water you started out with.


You love regardless and you thought you had someone who was sane and capable of normal love. By the time you discovered he wasn't it was sort of too late. All you can do now is acknowledge that you love him, but he is a basket case that needs some serious therapy and he's not a person you should have in your life for any reason. The guy is a ticking time bomb and you're free of him before he explodes beyond repair. Go through the grief and loss, allow yourself to feel the anger and then let it go. Work it out in therapy, in the gym, in journaling, however you need to and admit you may love him, but you don't have to live with him and you don't have to put up with his abuse. Or anyone else's. Loving someone doesn't mean you let yourself become their punching bag: emotionally, verbally, literally. In the end you have to love yourself just a little bit more than you do them and you walk. It's rough at first and I can guarantee your biggest upset is going to be when it really hits just how much you put up with, but keep moving through that. The other side is a sort of bored indifference to him and then a deeper understanding of yourself and the vow never to let it happen again. If you've done your work it won't, you'll seek out emotionally healthier people and you'll be fine.


He won't change unless he wants to change and no, his pattern is likely set. He'll be good to whoever else he dates at first, then the anger will creep back in and frankly it's likely to be worse and worse over time. Not better. You didn't do anything, but love someone who is frankly damaged emotionally and mentally. And unfortunately who refuses to recognize that it's on him and instead has to try and project the blame on to others. Those types of people never recover, they never get better, they just get more dangerous the more they become convinced they are the victims and others cause their violent abusive natures.


You did good getting out, now keep going and go NC on him forever. Even if he says he's going/getting therapy your only response should be a "Good, keep going, never contact me again please" then shut him out for good. If he's really in therapy he'll understand why and if it's a ruse to come back at you then it will have failed. Such people usually just aren't safe to trust again. Not when they act like he does where he tries to imply you caused his anger and his actions. You didn't. Nothing you said or did would ever have made a difference, ever. It's all on him.

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Thanks, Paris. Wow, what you wrote has really hit me. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face right now. I don't know how I've been in such denial about this. I actually feel physically sick that I spent 5 years of my life loving someone who was never going to really be able to have a real, stable relationship with me. I'm now 41 and have probably wasted the last childbearing years of my life hoping this guy would get it together so we could settle down and have a family. And that was never going to happen. He actually asked me to marry him right before he left, but with all the fighting I said "no, go get your life on track. there is no way I could marry you when we're fighting so much and things are so unstable." I feel like such a fool for staying so long. I feel like such a loser for giving this guy my heart. I'm an awesome woman with so much going for me and I deserved much more than this. Do people like this ever realize what they are and do they ever feel remorse? Or do they just keep putting the blame on others? I know he's in therapy, but I'm wondering if it ever hits them that they completely mess up other people's lives. I want him to hurt as much as I do right now.

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I think, inside you know the truth....


Yes, he'd go at you again, like he has in the past. Nothing with him has changed. There's been no time for it to.. and im sure you know he has not looked into anything like therapy, has he?


What's going on with you right now is you're so used to him being in your life, it's like a drug. You're finding it very hard to 'let go', but inside you know you must...

This is normal for a while, as you go thru stages and emotions after a break up. You feel alone, lost, you miss them dearly, you wonder.. what if?

Then, you go thru more emotions of sadness, denial, confusion, anger, etc. This comes on in waves, until you can 'accept' the fact it is over...


Yes, you were a good gf, but because of these issues, things between you didn't work. Yes, you know as you've heard from other's that he's a nasty fighter and has done the same with his other ex's too. Therefore, this is who he is.

Nothing YOU can do about it and nothing you can do to change him.


Just time... time for you now to work on YOU. To accept what has happened and in time- a few months, you will see the reality of it and admit it wasn't good for you- a very unhealthy relationship- i'm sorry.




One day at a time.

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