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How can the person who said he loved me be abusive?

We would like to share some thoughts from one of the women from our Support Group. She is separated from her partner but he is working hard to try to honeymoon her back. She speaks honestly about separation, grief and rebuilding. We are appreciative of her sharing:
Its almost impossible for me to get my head around the idea that the person who I loved and trusted for so long, could be so abusive.
I keep trying to find reasons / excuses for his bad behavior. I know its wishful thinking that he would change – and of course he wants me to think that.  Somehow there is this strong drive to get things back on track again. So what is the motivation to be with someone who is so mean to me?
The honeymoon stage is also abusive and I know that – but it’s so much nicer than the other stages – at the same time it forces you to lower your defenses so that he can get a foothold in. I’m very aware of what my partner is doing – it’s just hard to not want to imagine that maybe he might change.
A friend of mine was doing research into attachment theory and she said that when you become attached to someone there is actually a chemical in your brain that keeps you in a state of being connected to them. This chemical is what makes you feel “in love” when you first fall in love and so uncomfortable when you separate. She even gave the the amount of time it takes to get free of this chemical.  I just keep telling myself that there is no logical reason for why I feel so attached to him. He adds almost nothing positive to my life. It’s really all about him. I don’t think he would ever be able to help me reach my goals and if he did, he would rob me of any feeling of satisfaction that I might have.
He doesn’t see how his behavior had an impact on us as a family – other than he knows he “blew up his life”. He is also not ready to admit that he used his outbursts to control me.
Right now he is being very nice to me, even in our last heated argument he did not become abusive but kept himself in check. Now I know that he could turn on a dime, he can be nice today and horrible tomorrow.  At any given moment he could call me and accuse me of stealing or yell whatever nasty thing pops into his head.  I see him as a big id – just running around doing what he likes when he likes.
When he sees that he is wrong he walks away from what he said and excuses his behavior as “I was upset” or “you pushed all my buttons” or lately he has been saying “when trust is gone in a relationship, that’s what happens”.  Somehow it is always my fault.  So right now I’m watching all this unfold and doing my best to not ride a roller coaster ride with him. I have my own plans set and I’m moving that forward.
This is an exciting time and a scary time as I take these steps forward. I do not know what the future will bring – but I do know that I’m making decisions that will support me in the long run and if they don’t work, I can make another decision. I am not going to let his cycle stop me for doing what’s in the best interest of me.  This is likely the first time in my life that I’m making decisions in my own best interest.  That’s actually huge.

 

4 responses to “How can the person who said he loved me be abusive?”

  1. Crystal says:

    Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about the honeymoon period and having your hopes back. It is crazy and confusing. But again, it’s a cycle. I got tired of being my Ed’s toxic waste dump. We are separated. He emails me. Somedays up to 7 emails. Some are very nice and some are nasty. It’s a bait. It’s like a vortex that you never wanna get sucked into, never again…

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Your description of how emails are part of the cycle is very helpful. We hear this a lot from women. With texting and email and voicemail, ex’s can cause havoc in so many ways.

  3. Maria says:

    Hi, thank you so much for all the information; I just wanted to add my own experience in terms of emails through which my ex used to get my attention and energy. We’ve been living apart for a long time, on and off; some days he would get drunk and write critical or abusive emails out of the blue, even if we hadn’t talked in days and our last conversation had been amiable. It was always so weird, as if his interaction with me was only going on in his head; he was trying to involve me in this drama that I hadn’t created and wanted nothing to do with. Other times he would write loving emails in the same fashion, out of the blue; I used to put it down to alcohol.

  4. Karen says:

    This is such a helpful comment. Thank you for posting it. An abusive man does continue with the Cycle of Abuse (Honeymoon, Tension, Explosion) whether you are there are not. When women notice this, it helps them to get clear that HE has the problem and the woman is not, in any way, causing the abuse. The abuse continues whether you are there or not!

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When Love Hurts