24th February 2016 at 10:11 pm #10371
I have been coping and being strong and not breaking down since the Autumn when everything happened. Sometimes I get urges to seek out and repeat – on my own terms or of my own volition – people and situations associated with abuse. My husband ‘lost it’ and pushed me down the stairs, tried to strangle me – and we are living apart but see each other a lot because we have a child. We are friendly, strange as it may seem. I sometimes wish to provoke him into hitting me ( I do not, however) so that I can feel definite about what has happened – ‘this time I will really take on board his abuse’ – which although I mainly am certain about what he has done, sometimes it still feels unreal and unlikely. Many many years ago – ironically starting a relationship with my now husband was what ‘rescued’ me – I had a boyfriend who I did not leave for (detail removed by moderator) despite him beating me and degrading me. Young and naive then, I suppose now I would see it as his predilection for sadistic sex but back then it didn’t seem like a ‘thing’; it was painful, humiliating and not consensual. I went back and back and felt that I deserved it, that it showed he cared (w*f?) and lived for the moment – which I now find grotesque – when he would kiss me on the forehead after he had finished with me, and laugh and ruffle my hair in a paternal way. The unhealthy urges are to try to contact him – Facebook is a mgic thing – and provoke him to make the story pan out differently this time, or if the same, to make my reaction to it different, not be hurt by it, to not feel anything this time. I know this is crazy. I told no-one about this for (detail removed by moderator) years. It would be a form of self harm though which I have also resorted to recently. Cutting doesnt always help though, even in the immediate term. I have been very speedy today, full of ideas, efficiency, activity – I deadheaded the window boxes in the dark. I don’t know what to do now as my speediness is getting tired and a sort of self aggression is creeping in, and I feel my mood is going to plummet. Letting off steam here is probably healthier than prodding a lion with a stick, prodding a former abuser into abuse. I’d welcome anyone’s thoughts. Thank you.
24th February 2016 at 10:46 pm #10374SerenityParticipant
Hi Tower of Song,
Good to see your name again.
I think there was a thread about this subject a year or so ago, and a number of women expressed similar, so don’t feel like you are alone in feeling this way.
I think it is a type of trauma-bonding: you are tied to the abuse, it’s all you’ve known for so long, it is your ‘norm’ and, however much pain it causes you, sometimes the devil you know, and all this.
Also, much has been written on here about the chemical oxytocin being produced in the body during trauma, which is also produced I think in love situations and I think the body and emotions get very confused. Plus, Stockholm syndrome- the identifying with your abuser, and feeling a responsibility and even attachment to him- it’s all relevant.
Earluer in the year women also wrote ( on the old forum) about ‘cognitive dissonance’ or a parallel / dual reality with abusers. On the surface, they might appear very nice and quite harmless, so that you question your own sanity and memory. Did you imagine it all? Were you just in a bad place? Maybe he isn’t as bad as you thought he was? Maybe you exaggerated? Etc etc…
This is because abusers- very scarily- can actually don the most believable mask, a lure you in to thinking that they are such nice and benign people. This is why they can fool a lot of people on first knowing them, convince their kids that they are nice after all whilst engaging in post-separation abuse towards the mother, etc.
It is a complete head f—-. You almost want them to hit you again and say horrible things all over again, so that their actions will verify your reality. You want them to prove who they really are, to confirm that yes, you were right and aren’t going mad!
However, Tower, I worry about your continued and apparently friendly contact. Even if it is surface friendly, and you say fir the sake of your child, if things are too cosy, I worry that he will either suddenly turn again, or he will start to a use in subtle and covert ways which will trigger you and cause you deep wounds all over again.
I have gone no contact with mine. He has no intention other than to cause me great damage. If you need to be in contact with your ex, then I would advise keeping it very superficial and formal. However, they have ways of getting under your skin and making you divulge more than you want, and make you vulnerable all over again.
Is it not possible to go no contact?
You have justifiable anger towards him, and I am also worried that you might want to retaliate to purge yourself of those feelings, which might put you at risk.
24th February 2016 at 11:04 pm #10378
I want to acknowledge your valuable reply but I am going to respond at greater length tomorrow. My speediness is wearing off and I think I might sleep. But I do want to respond as you say so many thought provoking things.
Good night for now. It is good to have understanding out in cyberspace!
27th February 2016 at 1:15 pm #10581
I would find it difficult to go no contact now. It would have been hard to start with but probably what I should have done. Now with time having elapsed since the big incident it would be almost impossible I fear. I know I am at risk of little by little normalising or minimising but I also have to bear in mind that he is trying, he is getting help and this could have been a watershed heralding a new time for us.
I recognise the phrase ‘cognitive dissonance ‘ and also the way the survival system after trauma can suggest that replaying or redoing the original trauma can make sense of it, redefine it, create a different outcome, or just confirm something. I know this happens in my traumatised mind. So it is hard to know which reality is the genuine one.
I don’t know what I will do long term. I really don’t. I do know that provoking or revisiting or contact other people who assumed me long ago would be stupid behaviour.
27th February 2016 at 1:17 pm #10582
*abused* D**n you autocorrect
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.