The thing about being in love with your abuser is that you can’t leave them.
The shadow of them is always hanging over you. No matter what you do, no matter where you go.
You might see someone with hair like them, or hear a sentence of their favourite song, and there you are again. Back to the moment when they loved you, or well, seemed to love you. Or maybe you go back to the moment when everything started going wrong. You search for them on every social network you can think of. Your search history is filled with pathetic attempts to look for them. You hope to find them one day again, and fall into the cocoon of their hug, even if it strangles you.
The thing about being in love with your abuser is that they don’t leave you alone.
They are there in that nasty little voice in your head. The voice telling you to shut up, no one wants to listen to your stupid opinions anyway. They are there when the nasty voice in your head asks, are you really going to eat that? Have you even seen your waist recently?
They are there when you feel scared that the people around you don’t like you and they are only hanging out with you because they pity you or because they want something from you. They are there when a single angry word from the mouth of someone you love feels like a rejection, like the beginning of a breakup speech.
The thing about being in love with your abuser is that they leave pieces of themselves in you.
You can feel their presence when you apologize every time you ask somebody to listen to you or help you out with something. They are right there beside you when you reply defensively to something that was never an accusation. You see them in your reflection whenever you wear the shirt of that band they loved.
The thing about being in love with your abuser is that you hate yourself for it.
Every time you think of them seeing you again, maybe wanting to talk to you, maybe wanting to apologize and get back together, you feel a happy glow.
And every time you think like this, the happy glow is replaced with a feeling of disgust that hangs around you like your personal noxious cloud.
It makes you feel wrong. How can anyone possibly love someone who hurt them more than anyone else had? How can anyone miss the person who broke them down, shattered them into a million tiny pieces and walked away, apathetic to the mess they created?
The thing about being in love with your abuser is that you think you’re being too harsh in your judgement of them.
You fear that maybe you were the one who was doing the abusing. You are terrified that you only think of them as an abuser because you know that you’re the bad person and that you can’t come to terms with it. That you’re pointing the finger at someone who is obviously the victim, they had to deal with you after all.
The thing about being in love with your abuser is that when you talk to them again, you cannot think of any of the reasons you had cut them out of your life. You can only think of their smile, their beautiful fingers, the way they held your hand, and how their lips felt against yours.
You can only think about how it felt like to be their confidant. How good it felt to be the person who they liked, the person they trusted. You can only think of how it felt when they would talk to you about anything and everything. How good it felt to be in their special little circle.
But here’s the thing about being in love with your abuser. You have to let them go. Every step you take, every decision you make, has to lead you away from them. You have to create a barricade between them and you. And you have to make this barricade with the help of people you love and who love you back. You have to find people who hold you when you are paralyzed with the fear of your abuser.
You have to find good, kind people who remind you every day what love feels like. Who show you that love isn’t just giving and giving like an endless well and being questioned when you finally have nothing left to give.
“Do you even give a shit about me?”
“Yes of course I do, can’t you see that?”
Love is feeling safe; love is knowing that you can trust the other person to not use your weaknesses against you. Love is knowing that you won’t be hurt on purpose by someone. Love is not just words, but actions which reflect the words being spoken.
Love doesn’t hurt. Abuse does.