12th April 2017 at 7:24 pm #40776SunshineRainflowerParticipant
I’ve been feeling down today because I feel desperately trapped in the cycle of abuse. I don’t have children yet and for years have hoped to meet and fall in love with a good man and start a family with him. The problem is all except one of my relationships have been with men who later turned out to be abusive, the last one being by far the worst – a violent psychopath.
The worst thing was when I met him he seemed absolutely lovely and I CONSCIOUSLY chose to date him because of all these good qualities he seemed to have even though I wasn’t as attracted as I normally would be at the start of a relationship (he acted gentlemanly, open minded, attentive, respectful, non-sleazy, consistent with communication, reliable, funny, calm and stable with some shared interests and hobbies). What I didn’t realise was that he was pretending to be those things. Over time he started to say things that seemed completely at odds with his character but which I now realise were his true character – misogynistic, violent jokes about women for example. He ended up being controlling, manipulative, aggressive, a pathological liar, a cheat, gaslighter, physically rough and sexually abusive and joked about killing me. The relationship with him has caused me a huge amount of harm and pain. I feel it’s ripped open all of my wounds which I thought I’d healed.
I had an epiphany the other day when I woke in the early hours – that I always look for men who ‘will get on with my brother.’ Then I realised what I really was doing was subsconsiously looking for men like my brother. I remembered that my brother had abused me as a child – emotionally, physically and one sexual incident I can remember. My dad and uncle are also creepy and violate boundaries with female family members frequently. It’s like abusive, sleazy and dominant behaviour is somehow familiar and normal to me now. It’s as if I’m subsconsciously attracted to abusive men. I guess it is the subconscious looking to repeat old family patterns to ‘put right’ the past but of course it never works, we need to heal these old wounds before we can attract healthy relationships.
I have had so much therapy for depression and anxiety and felt really healthy last year when I started to date again, I’m devastated at having such a horrendous relationship when I had so much hope. I have referred myself to counselling for sexual/domestic abuse which I think will help to target the specific wounds I need to heal, but I’m worried time is running out for me and by the time I’ve healed I’ll be too old to have children, if I ever do heal.
Sorry to sound so self pitying. I’m trying to work through these issues and be honest with myself so posting on here helps. Sometimes I wonder about going down the single mother route on purpose just so I don’t have this added pressure, because I think it’s making me accept even worse behaviour from potential partners because I’m so fearful of running out of time to have my own family.
Any thoughts and advice would be great, thank you. It would be great to know that other women who have been abused went on to heal and form healthy relationships with good men after healing.
13th April 2017 at 7:48 am #40799Peaceful PigParticipant
Hi sunshine, I really get what you’re saying about feeling predestined to repeat the cycle of abuse. It’s devastating after all the time and courage it takes to face an abusive childhood to then subconsciously attract another abuser. I still feel so vulnerable and unable to risk any relationships because I don’t trust it not to happen again. Yet I do find certain unhealthy behaviour coming from newer friends or in my workplace and it’s so disappointing. So I can’t reassure you (yet!) that healthy relationships are possible but I do have healthy, close, loving relationships with my children and I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do that. So the cycle is broken for them at least. I’m very lucky to have my children, I knew the pain of thinking I couldn’t have them and having miscarriages, so I never take them for granted. But I have to live with the responsibility of having them with their father and all the experiences he has put them through. I think having children without a man is a perfectly valid choice. If you lack support it’s hard going parenting alone, but not as hard as trying to parent with an abuser.
16th April 2017 at 4:16 pm #40997SerenityParticipant
I think attending counselling specifically focussing on domestic violence / abuse would be very helpful. My DV counsellor went into my family of origin, and we discussed my relationship with my family during my childhood and present, and how this impacted on my relationships.
I wonder if it might also help you to attend a Freedom or Pattern Changing course, both of which help you to recognise the signs of a perpetrator and where you can discuss your worries in a safe environment.
17th April 2017 at 1:47 pm #41053SunshineRainflowerParticipant
Hi Peaceful Pig and Serenity thanks for your replies, they are much appreciated.
I’m on a waiting list for a local course about domestic violence so that will hopefully help, plus waiting for counselling. I think I just feel in so much pain and turmoil right now that I want it all to go away and I want the help now because I am in a bad place and my family is abusive too so I don’t feel very supported. Part of me wants to go back to last year before I met my abusive ex and all this came to light, I was in blissful denial and felt like things were going ok and that I was moving forward in life. But on the other hand I knew deep down that I had worrying issues with my family and relationships so I think that maybe the universe sent the abuser my way as a way to force me to confront all these issues and painfully wake up out of my denial.
I just feel very scared and alone. Last year all sorts of dodgy men popped up out of the woodwork at my gym, local cafe etc, it’s like they can sense my abusive past and see me as a good target? Thankfully I have dodged them all and no longer have any of them in my life apart from family members, but I worry about my judgement in future and knowing if someone could turn into an abuser or not as they are so good at hiding that side of them for quite a while at first.
It’s so strange and scary how my ex seemed the opposite of an abuser when I met him, he seemed so normal and innocuous and sweet compared to the crazy awful men I’d met before him. I was feeling so happy to have dodged all the ‘bad egg’s that when I met him he seemed like a breath of fresh air! He didn’t love bomb me in the usual sense either with gifts or declarations of love, he just seemed keen and interested in me in a respectful, friendly positive way at first, until the abuse gradually started which I minimised away or he gaslighted me so I was unaware of it at first. It’s still hard to fathom that this ‘cute guy’ on those first few dates turned into a monster, my brain still struggles with the cognitive dissonance. I guess these men are incredibly skilful at tailoring their mask to be whoever the woman wants whether it’s gentlemanly or respectful or fun or intellectual or sporty etc etc. Like spiders catching flies in a web. The only sign was a gut feeling early on that something was off about him which I sadly I talked to him about and he skilfully convinced me I’d got him completely wrong and that it must be my own anxiety about relationships and that he could help me! I hope that I will know not to make that mistake again.
I think dating sites are a bad idea for me as they seem to have a high proportion of these predators on them plus it’s hard to get a gut feeling from online interaction, plus you don’t know anything about them, only what they choose to share and if you get too nosy asking to meet their friends and find out more about them you can look a bit crazy yourself and put normal people off? I don’t ever seem to meet nice normal single men out and about but I have decided that my focus now very much needs to be on me and my recovery plus sort out my housing and support network.
Thanks for all your help 🙂
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