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He has mistreated me on several occasions, but I still feel that I love him!

Apparently the sensible thing to do would be to stop loving those who mistreat us and even reject and/or repudiate them. From the outside, things always look simpler than they are to him who experiences them from the inside. Before we venture to make snap judgments or even form an opinion, it is worth considering why a person might continue to love the one who mistreats them.

  • When we know of someone who lives in abuse and tells us that he loves the one who mistreats him, we immediately think "he likes to suffer." But we have to analyze this a bit in order to realize that he did not say that he loved the abuse, but rather the person who mistreats him, who, very probably, does not fully perceive his abusive behavior as such.

  • But still, no one in their right mind is going to go looking for a person to be abused or get into a relationship with someone who is clearly an abuser.

So... How do we fall into an abusive relationship, without realizing it?

1. Irrational fears, such as the fear of being alone, alone, pressures imposed by society, (I am going to reach 40 and I have not married) or great needs (such as affection or belonging) are engines that move us to situations risky.

We lower our defenses, our expectations and we become less selective, letting through signs of danger that may be present in the daily behavior of the other. What are those warning signs; (mismanagement of anger, constant yelling, personality changes, isolation, low sociability)

It may be that we fall for someone who is "too good to be true", until we believe that someone who mistreats everyone will never mistreat me.

2. On the part of the abusers, and/or abusers, they are usually good at seduction and manipulation and wait until they know that we are hooked before showing themselves as they really are. In addition to this, they know perfectly well who they are going to choose (people with low self-esteem, manipulable, without criteria, whom they understand are easy to manage and control).

But once we realize that we are in an abusive relationship, why do we decide to stay there?

• For what you get from them and the price you end up paying.

Abusers are also good providers, offer a social life, or have personal talents. Narcissists can be extremely interesting and charming. Many people say they enjoy the narcissist's company and lifestyle despite the abuse. People with a borderline personality can light up your life with excitement (when they're in a good mood). Sociopaths can pretend to be whatever they want (for their own ends). You won't realize what they're doing for some time.

o But in this equation, what you have to pay to get what is not always valued.

If someone offered you triple salary and bonuses if you let yourself be mistreated, would you stay in a toxic work environment? right not?

• Fear of losing what you think you will find there (or what you have already found at a very high price).

Especially when you think that there is no possibility of getting a partner again or that "Happiness" in another place or from another person. It is as if the one who suffers the abuse thinks that being with the other person is like a kind of lucky break, a blessing (and abuse is the price to tolerate, endure).

This perspective is typical of people with low self-esteem.

Denial of abuse.

If the abuse is assumed as such, the next step would be to recognize that one lives in submission (which would remove all hope of freedom, producing great sadness). Then, the sensible thing would be to have to make the decision to leave that relationship, but that would mean losing what you feel you have. Then comes the denial.

Denial is a maladaptive strategy or defense mechanism to preserve the desperately needed bond.

Because there isn't much else to lean on/Resources for support.

Some people take on the task of looking for lonely people or even isolate their victims from all their important links, because they know that it is easier to manipulate and more difficult to escape, if you have nowhere to go.

If indeed your social life or affective networks are very small or null, it is logical that it will cost you much more work to get out of a situation of abuse, if the abuser is the only thing you feel you have.

Low self-esteem.

o If we learned in childhood that being mistreated was a problem caused by us being disobedient and ungrateful, it is very likely that we will not only feel inadequate, but will live in the shadow of guilt and shame when we try to set limits.

o Low self-esteem not only prevents you from thinking of a better life, but also makes you believe that you are not worthy of that life.

And then what is CO-DEPENDENCE?

The fact that a person has emotional dependencies is a very detrimental factor for himself, since well-being, tranquility and happiness no longer depend on him, instead depending on another person, placing an obstacle when it comes to expressing his feelings or wishes.

Emotional dependence is what happens when a person fosters a disproportionate affective bond that ends in addiction towards the other person, be it their partner, a family member, or even friends. In some cases it is more complicated to get out of this situation since that dependency can be fed by the other person, thus becoming a cycle.

We always tend to hear that phrase "She is my better half", claiming that one half is nothing without the other, when reality is not like that. Although it is true, in couple relationships one person comes to complement the other, but there is always a balance and this does not mean that all the burden must fall on one of the two, each person has endless abilities, skills , knowledge and even talents where it can surely fend for itself.

You can become independent again and for this you must know what the symptoms are, what could have caused it and finally apply the recommendations of the selected Therapist (Your clinical social worker, psychologist or your specialist in Mental and Emotional Health, so do not miss the second part of this article, which will provide you with excellent recommendations.

References :

  • "Can a relationship be saved where there is abuse? August 20, 2018

  • Barnett, O. (2000). Why battered women do not leave, part 1: External inhibiting factors within society. Trauma, violence & abuse, 1(343), 343-372.

  • Beck, U., & Beck-Gherseim, E. (1998). The normal chaos of love. Barcelona: El Roure.

  • Bosch, E., & Ferrer, V. (2002). The voice of the invisible. The victims of a bad love that kills. Madrid: Chair.

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