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    • #77503

      I left my abusive ex a few years ago and find the flashbacks and intrusive thoughts about him come and go in waves. They were really bad over the winter but then eased off loads for a few months which was great. I’ve just been struggling again with them for a few days, but they seem to have changed tone which is helpful but also keeps disturbing me in a different way so thought it might help to post about it on here as you all understand how it feels.

      What keeps occurring to me is how he absolutely played me. He crafted this image of an absolutely perfect boyfriend for me. I saw some pictures of him the other day and although it seems obvious and articles about abusers always say this, it hit me how he seemed perfect because he was literally just mirroring me and literally NONE of it was him or real AT ALL. A total Truman-show fake relationship whilst I had no idea and thought I’d finally met this great man. Ie. he’d find out I liked to go to a certain place or do a certain activity then he’d suggest that. I thought ‘wow how great to finally find a man who likes doing the same kinds of things as me!’ The first few months felt incredible.

      It bothers me still how he crafted this very full rounded 3d mask of a person that was extremely convincing. 90% of the time he was the perfect boyfriend but 10% he’d say or do something that seemed really odd or cruel and ‘out of character.’ Now of course I know this was the true him showing through and in time that cruel side increased a bit more each week.

      It’s just so sickening and chilling to know someone was willing to spend all that time with me and fake a persona and entire relationship knowing full well it was a complete joke and a lie and that he couldn’t actually have cared less about me? He knew the whole time that he was playing me and knew how absolutely devastating it would be when I found out and not only did he not care about that, he was clearly gleeful about it. That is a really sick and evil thing to do. He used to have this evil smile and laugh and would sometimes just laugh at me for no reason. Now it all makes perfect sense. When I look at the photos his eyes look dead and he has a fake smile.

      I was vulnerable when I met him and really just wanted, needed someone to care about me, be kind and loving and supportive. He was really good at pretending to do this at first and listen to me. His voice was like velvet, totally hypnotic and I loved talking to him for hours on end. I told him everything! I told a psychopath everything. How awful is that. I had no idea he was a psychopath and thought he was my lovely sweet man. I thought how lucky I was to find such a wonderful man.

      The other stomach-dropping aspect of all of this is that it means no man has actually cared one iota about me since my last proper relationship over 10 years ago, since my abusive ex was just faking it. I know it doesn’t mean I’m unloveable or anything but it’s hard to process how I could not meet any man that cared about me in a 10 year period, especially when women around me are often married so they managed to find someone. I guess half of their husbands are probably cheating though so it’s not as rosy as it looks on the outside. Still, one of the things that attracted me to my ex was that unlike the other men I’d met, he didn’t act indifferent and blasé and apathetic towards me. He was keen interested and (pretended to be) respectful. Why is it so hard to find good men who have empathy, are capable of love and actually care about a woman? The apathy of the men I met was depression-inducing. So much apathy and indifference is really hard to take. I guess with porn, prostitution, dating sites and hookup culture there is no need for men to bother being respectful and good to women any more as they can just get sex on tap and that’s all most of them seem to want.

      I know I’ve written about this several times before on here so sorry for sounding like a broken record. It does help to write it out. I could do with finding a counsellor since my last batch of therapy was only short and now I’m just alone with the memories replaying a lot and nobody to talk to about it.

      I still can’t imagine dating again, as soon as man starts talking to me asking me about myself I feel panicky and think ‘domestic violence’ and want to exit fast. It happened today in a shop. I wish men would interact with women as humans rather than always assume we are interested in them sexually or romantically.

      Well thanks for listening and I hope everyone is doing ok.

    • #77504
      Twisted Sister

      Dear Sunshinerainflower

      Goodness me, when I read this:

      …but 10% he’d say or do something that seemed really odd or cruel and ‘out of character.’

      Yes,exactly that. I dnt think I’ve come across such a parallel to my experience as that.

      Then the absolute confusion that follows these odd comments, blew my.mind over and over, just vile and shocking to realise who they really are, that had been hiding away all that time.

      I realise now that he thought I could ‘see’ somehow who he was, more than one can when they’ve been brain-washed about who a person is, except they’re not!

      It is shocking and horrible to really s3 inside when reality of who they really arefinally hits, ad the pain of discovery of it all being about him and never really caring about me or the children, not really.

      He could have left us to die, he didn’t care how I’ll we were, didnt lift a finger to help us be well and feel comfortable.

      Wouldn’t p**s on us if we were on fire yet to others he was the absolute best parent ever!

      What a joke. It was luck that we lived to tel the tale.

      Warmest wishes TS

    • #77506

      I understand how you feel too, I was groomed and raped and only realised this after a lot of counselling and truly believed he was my boyfriend. It’s hard to accept that the person we thought we loved never truly existed and that someone could hurt us like that, and makes us question our self worth and if we deserved it and all sorts of things we shouldn’t think and need to keep telling ourselves isn’t true, I also haven’t had a good relationship ever but I have met good men as friends so I do believe there is an amazing partner out there for all of the women on here. And I also feel like a broken record sometimes but I think when you’ve been through trauma talking about it over and over is the best way to accept it and get through it so doesn’t matter how many times you talk about it as long as it helps you feel better

    • #77507

      Thanks TS, it’s good to know others can relate.

      Yes it’s the cruelty of realising we’ve been tricked into thinking someone cares about us when in fact that very person is willing us harm. My ex was a psychopath with no empathy at all and I think it was all a game for him, to see what he could get. But he was so convincing, he seemed to kind and sweet and lovely at first. That’s the part nobody tells us about abusers, how wonderful they seem at first. And that is the worst part about them, because without that none of us would ever have got involved with one. It’s scary to know you had the wool pulled completely over your eyes and got brainwashed. (Detail removed by moderator).

      I guess the good thing is we did eventually wake up from the brainwashing and see them for who they really are. I’m not sure how women can date again after experiencing this, I fear it happening again. And yes we were all so lucky to escape, many are not and those statistics stick in my mind. Those poor women.

    • #77508

      Thank you blaa, I’m so sorry to hear you were raped. Solidarity and hugs to you.
      You’re so right, we just need to get it out even if it means repeating a thousand times. I saw a youtube video from a woman who’d recently escaped a psychopath and she reminded me of me when I first left, she kept repeating the same things over and over and was kind of incoherent but I totally understood her and how scrambled her thinking would be at that stage due to the trauma.
      My PTSD has definitely reduced since then thankfully but it’s still there and comes back in waves. For some reason this week I started getting memories and flashbacks again and I find myself needing to sit down and process it or hug a pillow as I suddenly feel so sad, shocked and lonely. There’s a particular evil about pretending to be someone’s number one supporter whilst actively doing everything you can to harm them and that is the part this week that my brain seems to be working on processing – the vast difference between who he pretended to be and who he was.

    • #77512

      “There’s a particular evil about pretending to be someone’s number one supporter whilst actively doing everything you can to harm them and that is the part this week that my brain seems to be working on processing – the vast difference between who he pretended to be and who he was.”

      That, SunshineRainflower is exactly how we all feel, written so well. Thank you for putting it in to words. Trying to convey how you feel and think is very hard, sometimes we need a helping hand. So thank you💞
      It’s good to read that you are healing. I suppose we will always carry the scars of this war with us forever, but given time the memories hopefully won’t be as invasive. I have a flat polished stone, I found it in with my ‘treasures’. I’m going to keep it with me to use to ground me in the future if I need to. Keep healing. Love and light IWMB 💞💞

    • #77513

      What helped me was that it was never personal. Your story could be my story and hundreds of other women’s story. Your abuser could have been my abuser. It’s not personal. Don’t take it personally. They are the criminals in all this. Many people are scammed every day in many different ways. Intellectual, rich, poor, old and young. There will always be victims and perpetrators. Our abuse is particularly painful because it’s a broken trust of the most intimate kind. Try to always remember to put yourself first. We shall heal, improve and learn from our experience while these sad men go through life with their shallow dysfunctional ways, never experiencing true love. They can keep their shallow little lives. I’ve got mine back and I’m I’ve got a lot of lost time to make up for. The best revenge is living a happy fulfilled life. And I intend to keep working on that. Good riddance to bad rubbish x

    • #77524

      Hello SunshineRainflower,

      You could have been describing my thoughts and feelings about my ex too.

      “…but 10% he’d say or do something that seemed really odd or cruel and ‘out of character.” This is so true. I look back and remember being shocked at things he’d say that were cruel or disturbing but I just
      glossed over it as he was so wonderful and attentive in every other way.

      The only thing to do is use this ordeal we’ve experienced and never ignore red flags again. My gut instinct was always screaming at me but I put ear muffs on. And now my mind is totally screwed as I try and make sense of what happened.

      From now on I’ll never dismiss my gut feelings or any red flags.

      Take care x

    • #77527
      [email protected]

      after alot of time through horrible dreams to recalling it all i now see him as from the first two years he was acting the part of a different person. i see him now like two separate people. it is mind bending though to even sit here right now and get my head round it all. we will never fathom these men i have given up trying i just know in my heart theyre not worth my energy. it isnt personal this is a personality type a (removed by moderator) or a machaveilian – evil people with only there own self to think of – i would never want to have this personality type. im so glad im a softy at heart – i can feel compassion and i get alot of comfort in helping other people, im even still a wee bit niave – im glad he didnt rob me of that and i know its not that easy maybe my mind set for dealing with this wrong x*x much love diymum

    • #77528
      [email protected]

      a devious manipulative selfish character xx

    • #77693
      Twisted Sister

      So so true KIP

      It’s not personal, no, completely impersonal.

      Which is another mind-blowing aspect of it, that no matter how personal their attentions and cares seem,they are not, they are a contrived way of trying to hook someone.

      Tactics,all tactics,horrible sick tactics.

      They are this person to everyone, whether they are hiding it or not, they operate from the same place with everyone, and it does help with the pain to realy know this.

      Warmest wishes brave battlers..keep battling on!


    • #77731

      This really resonates with me. I was single for over 10 years when I met my ex. Happily so. Never thought I’d meet Mr Right and really didn’t mind. He was introduced by a friend on messenger because he needed some help from an organisation I was involved with. We spoke over messenger for three months. For hours. I felt like I loved him before I even met him. I told him everything. My hopes and dreams, my fears. All the while he was encouraging me to trust him, he was storing all that away to use against me. He seemed so kind and genuine and I feel like a fool.

      We lived together for over a year before we moved away and the abuse started. In the last few weeks before my house sold and I left my City job, a few red flags appeared, but I put my doubts down to moving stress. Besides, everyone thought I’d met this wonderful man and was leaving to live the dream.

      I don’t think I’ll ever trust my own judgement again.

      • #77752

        Landy your experience is so much like mine. It’s spooky how many of these relationships follow a pattern. Almost like there’s a
        Course or something that they’ve all done!

    • #77746
      Twisted Sister

      Oh dear Landy

      Horrible. So sorry.

      I don’t think I’ll trust mine again either.

      I don’t see how someone can be discovered for who they are really.

      Did you do the freedom programme? I found it so helpful for seeing the signs, and actually helped me to see the person behind the mask better.

      It at least means you become aware of the abuse tactics of the characters of the dominator. Easier to pot then in future.

      Warmest wishes TS

    • #77753

      Hi TS

      No I didn’t. I got offered it, but only during working hours in a town 45 minutes away from my job. It just wasn’t doable. In any event, I don’t plan to ever be on a relationship again. Once bitten and all that…

    • #78144

      I’m like you @Landy, can never see myself in another relationship. The thought of kissing someone else, never mind the s.x part is horrifying to me. I have to, no I want to love me, before I can love anyone else. I’m not sure I feel love for my immediate family now, everything is emotionless. 🤔

    • #78370

      SunshineRain Flower,

      I know exactly how you feel. My ex emotionally abused me on and off for (detail removed by moderator). The first (detail removed by moderator) he was amazing, my soulmate, but he increasingly showed his true colours as time went on. He would have a go at me when he would make me cry, hated it, would threaten to walk away or leave me whenever I cried. All escalated to the point he finally physically assaulted me. He gave me 3 days to think about whether or not I wanted to be with him before he broke up with me himself. A few weeks later I decided to report the assault to the police. They arrested him. I just found out he denied the whole incident. How could I have fallen in love with this person who cares so little about me that he would accuse me of being a liar? I gave him everything, and he has taken everything from me, including the truth now. He completely fooled me.

      I hope it helps to know you are not alone x

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