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Why Do I Love and/or Miss My Abuser?

Is something wrong with me?

Nothing is wrong with you if you love and/or miss your abuser. There are any number of reasons why you could be feeling this way, and I will share some examples with you. But please know this is not a comprehensive list and you are still valid if your reason isn’t listed, if there are multiple reasons, or if you don’t even know the reason.

  • Abusers are not always abusive. There are usually good moments with them. Thinking about the good times, it’s easy to wish there were more of those.

  • They may say they love you. Especially if you were a child when they started abusing you, you may believe if they love you, it’s terrible for you to not love them back. You may believe you have to love them, especially if they are family.

  • You may miss the idea of what they could add to your life, such as how great it could be to get love and care from a parent or have a supportive spouse backing us up. Even if the abuser stopped giving you love, care or support (or never gave much of those in the first place), the idea of receiving those from someone society says you should is a powerful one.

  • You may be going through something difficult, and think that your abuser would help you through it if they were there (or just wish they would). This might be because they have helped you through things in the past. It may be because you loved or still love them, and know you would help them, and like to think or hope they would do the same. It may also be that an abuser told you how weak, or stupid or helpless you were, and made you dependant on them. If things are tough, this may seem like confirmation that you need them - but that’s what your abuser wants you to think.

  • You may blame yourself for the abuse. This might be because you believe love is powerful enough to make them do better and stop abusing you, if your love was just “stronger,” or “purer,” or in some other way “better.” There are many movies and songs that talk about how wonderful and powerful love is. You may think if you just “didn’t do that thing,” the abuse wouldn’t happen. If an abuser wants to abuse, they will find an excuse.

The truth is that loving your abuser, whether you are still being abused or the abuse has stopped, happens to a lot of people. And missing them, after you’ve gotten them out of your life, is a normal thing.

These feelings do not mean something is “wrong with you” and do not mean you are saying the abuse was okay. They do not mean you “asked for” the abuse, or “enjoyed it.”

They may mean that you are going through the process of grieving. This might be about grieving the loss of what was good in your relationship with your abuser. Or the loss of what you wish that relationship could have been. It may be more about you, such as grieving the loss of who you might have become if you had not been abused.

It’s okay to love and/or miss your abuser. Feelings are complex, especially when dealing with family members, or people who have seen you through dark times or seen you at your most vulnerable. What is important is that these feelings do not invalidate the trauma you have suffered. They do not mean you have not been abused, or that your abuse is your fault, or that you wanted it to happen. Your abuser was wrong. And even if you love and miss them, what they did was not okay. And the only one to blame is them. You and your feelings are valid.

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