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    • #84979

      My ex is on my mind all the time again and the only people I know who will understand that are the women here.

      For some reason my mind keeps replaying various memories from the relationship again, mostly the (fake) ‘nice’ times.

      I think my brain still cannot totally understand how this person was able to create such a convincing false persona and create such a seemingly normal relationship with me.

      I felt so happy to have met a seemingly lovely, normal, cute man who lived near me and wanted to be in a relationship. My ex before him was long distance and all the men I’d dated in between I either didn’t feel anything for or they ended up being players.

      It still feels terrible that my abusive ex was a faker, because he seemed like pretty much everything I’d been looking for until of course I realised he was an abuser. I know they do that, they fake it but he seemed so normal, so calm, so kind and sweet and great at first? Things like, making dinner together, him doing the washing up, us watching tv together. I thought it was a normal relationship and since I’d struggled to ever maintain a relationship before and had mostly only managed to have short term romances, that felt huge to me, like an accomplishment. And then a devastating b**w when I realised it was all completely false. Like someone telling you you finally got an A in an exam after years of getting Cs and then saying ‘actually you failed.’

      I think I need to re read the last of abusive things he did to help my mind remember. I know this is PTSD, it’s so difficult to cope with sometimes.

      I’m waiting to hear if I’ll be getting some specialist Ptsd help, I really hope so because a lot of the time I still feel trapped in the past, going over it all. I feel kind of guilty though because he was never super violent like many abusers. I also feel like my doctor thinks I’m an attention seeker.

      I know this post is similar in content to many others I’ve posted here but I guess that’s the problem, it’s like my brain has wheels spinning and it’s hard to move past this stage. My brain just can’t seem to fully process that I was in a relationship with a violent misogynistic psychopathic abuser, the cognitive dissonance between that fact and the man I thought he was is huge.

      I can see now how there were a lot of red flags that I glossed over as more of his personality was revealed, and I clung to the times he was ‘sweet.’ I think it’s because my whole life the main thing I ever wanted was to meet a good, kind, attractive man to settle down with. My abusive ex was the first man I actually saw myself settling down with until he started to act increasingly strange so I know I will have subconsciously been desperate to discount the red flags because to see them would have ended the fantasy and plunged me into instant pain.

      I can see now that my whole life was geared towards being attractive prey to a psychopath, because the traits I thought were attractive in men are actually mostly traits of psychopaths (I just didn’t realise that at the time). Like the typical bad boy type. Also because my family have always been focused on looks and always praised my looks so I grew up thinking the way to attract a man was with my looks. This is exactly what happened – all the men I’ve dated admitted at various points that they were with me because of how I looked. None of them cared about me as a human being, cared about my talents or skills or hobbies or interests or goals. So I was just a body and a face to them and easily replaceable. There’s nothing flattering about that. But I feel partly responsible because I feel like I attracted men like that because I was putting that thought out into the universe, that my looks would be what attracted someone? I know I need a complete overhaul of many of my views to sort of recalibrate my mind to have healthier views so that I don’t keep repeating the same painful patterns.

      It’s been a few years and I still feel in shock. It seems to happen in waves.

      Sorry this is a bit stream of consciousness, I just had to share this and get it out especially with people who understand. Thank you for listening.

    • #84982

      I think you’ve really rationalised your situation very well. The way you recognise the cognitive dissonance etc. I read lots of books and could tell you all the tactics that were used on me. But it took many years for my brain and my feelings to catch up. I needed to completely rewire my brain and my though process. Going over all the good times is your brain trying to work it all out. The first few years were hell for me. I would be stuck with intrusive thoughts every minute, even my sleep was affected but as time went on these intrusive thought got less and less and the periods of calm got longer and longer. It’s a very long process we have to go through. The right therapy is invaluable. Doing good things that you enjoy and slowly building yourself back up. Being kind to yourself and never ever accept any blame for the abuse. These men choose to abuse us. No matter how they’re first attracted to us. Many look for perceived weaknesses or vulnerability I believe. Our kindness, our ability to forgive, naievity. PTSD brings its own problems and it definitely comes in waves for me. The effect of Abuse is something we are never really totally free from, I think we just learn to live with it with help and time x. The Body Keeps The Score is a good book. Mind over Mood. Living with the Dominator. I found that knowledge is power x

    • #84994

      You did right to post. So few do understand except the women here I find.

      So much of what you describe resonates deeply. KIP puts it all perfectly. Not only do these people prey on people who they think might have certain weaknesses, making them easy to manipulate, but some of them probably think they are being genuine. They are attracted to you for certain qualities that you have that they do not possess themselves. They are so good at faking it and do convincing because they don’t truly possess the qualities that we fall in love with. They just mirror our own qualities or they become adept at listening to what it is that we say we are looking for and they become it in order to reel us in. They have to get our confidence high first otherwise who would stay with them? They make us fall hopelessly in love to manipulate. They can’t keep the charade up forever. The need for power and control is too much. It’s hard to think there are people out there capable of doing this. It’s so cruel and callous to promise a future and to make a lie of everything that you had. It’s sick and no matter how hard we try we cannot fully understand these people. They are wired differently. Healthy people don’t hurt people in the ways they do. It takes a long time for the heart to catch up with the head. That is why these people are so dangerous. The effects they have are lasting and this is why CC is a crime even though it’s so poorly understood and put into action. You understand your situation well but it doesn’t make it less painful. Just know we are with you x

    • #85060

      Thank you KIP and BeautyMarked.

      It really helps to know it takes ages but gets better, because sometimes I feel scared that I’m trapped in this ‘wheels spinning not moving forward’ mode. It’s awful having him on my mind all the time, and also I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve been ‘missing’ the good times again. I didn’t think several years on I would ever feel that but it seems my feelings cycle around.

      When I say missing I don’t mean I want him back or anything, I know he is a psychopath and it was all fake, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling sad that I no longer have the aspects of the relationship that I really enjoyed in my life.

      It does feel a relief to admit. I miss the early stages of the relationship, the honeymoon period because it felt like the best relationship I’d ever had. All the things my exes didn’t do he did and I felt so lucky at first.

      It’s also still a struggle to think ‘him?’ ie how on earth can such a seemingly sweet and normal man be a psychopath? Unfortunately his false persona was extremely nuanced and convincing. I feel fortunate that he clearly got bored, tired or fed up putting it on so that cracks started to show quite soon. I know other women said their exes acted normal for years before they saw through the mask.

      I know that I was ‘vulnerable’ to him because:

      – I was desperate for a relationship having been single for years and been exasperated at meeting so many men over the years who didn’t even have good hygiene or who were openly awful, married etc
      – I thought I wanted to have children and was scared time was running out
      – I knew men on dating sites preferred women in a certain age bracket and I was no longer in that age bracket = fear
      – I grew up thinking that finding a good man was my main goal in life
      – I grew up with a warped view of what good men are like
      – I was doing ‘repetition compulsion’ and was subconsciously looking for a man who was similar to an abusive family member

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