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why miss an abusive person?

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I've noticed that in post-breakup mode a lot of people tend to still struggle with emotional pain despite practical reasons for why they shouldn't. For instance, if someone was abused...instead of rejoicing at their freedom, they will still mourn over the loss of this person who did nothing but humiliate and disrespect them. If they were cheated on, they still want the lover who betrayed their trust back...and face further and further rejection and humiliation. When they come here looking for solace, there isn't much to say other then the practicalities that state that they are now in a better place then they would have been with an abusive person. They can't separate their emotions from what is best for them...but shouldn't their emotions naturally result in wanting what is best for them? I mean, people don't take pleasure in pain, or do they?

My question is...why do you think that people still miss someone who treated them terribly?

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I know what your saying but, I don't have any answers myself. For some reason I know in my mind it is better to be alone than with an abusive drunk. Then again I miss all the times we had together when she was not "drunk". I guess in the persons heart they are having troubles seeing the obvious because of feelings. I don't know and I would say that this question would have a different answer by different people. That is if anyone actually CAN answer this question.

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why do you think that people still miss someone who treated them terribly?


I think they remember the "good times" , see things through rose-colored glasses, or are simply in denial that a person they had put so much hope into could treat them so badly.


In the case of victims of abuse, it might be Stockolm Syndrome at work.


Emotions are not something that can be rationalized away. People just need to feel them, and to let grief take it's course before they can heal.



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Because despite treating you terribly, that person was still a part of your life. It is only fitting you would miss them on some level.


And usually abusers don't start being abusive from the beginning. A lot of people miss the person they knew before things turned so ugly.

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I suppose it can be seen as a type of Stockholme Syndrome. In many cases, the abuse becomes routine. Development of a relationship between abuser and abusee sometimes becomes inevitable (completely different to the relationship they already have). Bah, Hubman's right...this is so difficult to answer.

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All of you make interesting points. Perhaps when people are attached to one another...there is a degree of delusion about who the other person is. They might construct positive characteristics and place them onto the abuser despite the fact that they never were really there. The victim focuses on the percieved/imagined "good" traits of the abuser and also has hope for the good to one day somehow triumph over the evil in that person. Also, when people choose to fall in love...they fall in love with the person for the person, so that includes the good and bad. Although that doesn't completely account for the times we fall out of love with people because experience taught us that person is bad...so its still something I dno't know the answer to. What makes us so attached to one person but less attached to another? I think thats connected to why whether or not the person makes us happy is sometimes relavent to propelling us to leave and sometimes not relevant at all.

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I think they remember the "good times" , see things through rose-colored glasses, or are simply in denial that a person they had put so much hope into could treat them so badly.



I think Bella makes a really good point here. I do think we tend to put the SO in a place above everyone else. I think we also long for the days before we saw the darker side of that person. My case was a verbally abusive drunk.


I think we do put someone we allow into our lives on a pedestal. It is entirely possible that we do this subconsiously and when everything comes crashing down at the end. It is hard to see the trees thru the Forrest. It is hard to pack away feelings and memories of someone you care about that quickly. I guess that is why sometimes we focus on an abusive ex.


Although it is also a possibility that it is a form of Stockholm's syndrome.

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I can say from my personal experience that the reason it hurt so much to leave an abusive person out of my life is because she wasn't abusive 100% of the time. We did share some times that, at the time, I really cherished. She wasn't a bad person, just very sick and showed no signs of being helped. The whole situation was making me sick as well, so I had to do what was best for me and remove myself from it. Very painful but also a very strengthening and growing experience.

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Complex question and I don't know all the answers. Will add an observation of mine though.


I think a lot of it has to do with holding on to old hopes and also defense mechanisms at work which protect our own images of ourselves.


It is horrible to face that someone else has hurt us.

It is even more horrible and disruptive to face the harm we have caused ourselves.

Choosing that mate: your choice.

Choosing to stay too long: your choice.

Choosing to overlook a lot of bad times for 'good' times: your choices.



Holding on to the past is a way of protecting one's self image. IMO. And sometimes that is an intelligent instinct to keep a person from breaking down or not being able to cope with the enormous reality and powerful emotions all at once.


People progress as they are ready.

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I also think it has to do with remembering the good times they had with the abusers, and wish it was always like that. They almost live in denial of the bad things they did, and just purposely remember the good instead.


The mind is powerful, and can often work against our own best interests... if we let it.

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My ex spent two years winning me over with an overflow of love, caring, respect, fun and support. I honestly thought I found my soulmate and I married him.


He manipulated things then and when things started going wrong, convinced me it was my fault (our first apartment sucked, he couldn't keep a job, car got stolen, etc). Then he turned hateful and I was convinced that if I just tried hard enough, I'd get the wonderful man I married back. He would give me glimpses of that person when I pleased him enough, so I thought I would get there someday.


But the bad side only got worse and worse and he made me feel worse and worse for "driving" him to acting so badly.


When I ended it, it was really hard to give up and realize that I was wrong. He wasn't who he pretended to be. I had wasted 5 years of being controlled and abused for nothing. Its a bit hard to give up the dream of having your soulmate and its hard to give up that illusion that that soulmate could come back.


Best thing I ever did though.

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I think, for me at least, the "good" times were so intense and exciting that I miss that intensity, that "high". I have no idea why it's so easy to block out the bad. I got back in touch with my ex very recently and the poop that was spewing out of his mouth finalised this chapter in my life. I should NEVER have gotten back in touch with him, b/c I know how he is. But in the back of my mind, I truly hoped he was moving forward in his life and doing well for himself. I know there had to be a teeny bit of good in him somewhere, and I suppose I kept holding onto that. I now comprehend that will never happen and he truly never will change. The mind is a crazy, crazy thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was with a very abusive guy who verbally inuslted and cheated on me with alot of women.. I did feel like i missed him when i broke up with him but now when i look back i look back and feel puzzled as to why i was so crazy about him. If i ran into him today and he walked up to me i would just make believe i dont know who he is.. i wish i never met him..

He was very nice at first and then became abusive,, i just got sucked into it beause i couldnt understand why he wanted to treat me that way....

at least i know now its better to be alone than be abused.

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people can have lots of events in their childhood that teach them the wrong things... if they were abused as children, or lived with watching abuse in their parents, it is what they know, and what they are familiar with, and maybe they don't know any better, think that is just the way a relationship should be, and don't know any better...


and there are complex psychological reasons for this... it is very common for trauma victims to keep returning to the source of their trauma, to try to gain a sense of control and mastery over the problem... so they keep acting out their trauma and pain again and again, not realizing the key is to break out of that cycle, rather than returning again and again to a dry well, or the source of their problems, not the cure...


so no, they don't LIKE to be abused or in pain, it is much, much more complex than that, and they need support and education, and frequently therapy, to learn how to break this cycle, and get what they need for themselves...


and abusers are very very skilled at alternative abuse and rewards, and manipulations, to lure their partners back in, telling them they have changed, then as soon as the partner is back, the cycle starts again... so it is a complex interaction, and ANYONE with an abuser partner should just leave and not look back... second chances with abusers, where they are 'behaving' themselves and wooing their partner back, or just shams and manipulations to get what they want...


an abuser can sometimes change, but usually only if they get lots of therapy, and move on to another partner who will NOT tolerate any kind of abuse, and draws the lines for them, and keeps them within those boundaries.

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  • 2 months later...

That last part is not true. An abuser will only stay with a person they CAN control. If they are with a person who understands whats happening and doesn't go for it, the abuser will leave (or be left) and find someone who will let them treat them the way they want to. No one person is going to keep an abuser "in check". To say that would give someone the wrong idea and another reason to stay.

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I like the part about abusers being very skilled manipulators - lordy, when I think of the all-night talks, and the intense expression of remorse, when it was all just manipulation, it makes me feel ill now.


Objectively, I know I'm better off without him in my life, but I think mostly I miss the person I was before I met him.

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It's called Stockholm's syndrome. You feel badly for someone who abused you because they really make you feel that way, trust me.


They tell you all the time about how cheated their lives have been, how the world owes them things, and honestly, with my abuser, he was completely useless on his own and couldn't do even the smallest thing for himself. I felt sorry for him and was always doing everything for him. Not only for him, but for me to shut him up so I could have some peace and quiet. You feel like they have to be 'looked after' and somehow it's your job, and it's also 'your problem' that they have had such a 'hard life', etc. It's really a form of manipulation and abusers are very skilled sociopaths on many occasions.


In cany case, I didn't feel badly after I walked for the last time. I felt exhilirated, like my soul had been freed. When someone misses someone abusive, it's because they are confused and used to the way their life has been going. They aren't sure how to live anymore, or what's normal.


Unless you've been through it, it's very hard to understand.

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