In this article, we will answer the question, ‘Why am I attached to my abusive boyfriend?’. We will look at some ways in which you can seek help and proceed forward in your life.
Why am I so attached to my abusive boyfriend?
People often find it difficult to detach themselves from an abusive partner. Some reasons for that could be:
- You are in denial about the abuse
- You are unconsciously repeating a pattern of abuse from earlier relationships
- You are trying to be empathetic and considerate
- You need to work on your self-esteem
- You are projecting your insecurities onto him
You are in denial about the abuse
Denial means that you know that what is happening to you is wrong but you choose to not validate its intensity or you rationalize it.
Sometimes when you are too attached to someone you fail to understand whether that attachment is a healthy or unhealthy one. In the name of love, you might let go of serious red flags in the relationship that might have been showing up for a long time or right from the beginning of your relationship.
Know that this is not ‘love’. ‘Love’ does not cause harm ever, love understands, supports, uplifts, and empowers. ‘Love’ does not demand, love gives unconditionally.
Being in denial that what you considered to be an ideal relationship with a person you idolized has now turned into ugly can be difficult but is essential for your well-being as an independent individual.
You are unconsciously repeating a pattern of abuse from earlier relationships
The kind of attachment style we have in our current relationships is, to a large extent, a reflection of the kind of attachment we learned from and developed with our parents in childhood. Relationships in teenage, young adulthood, and across the life span do have an impact on the kind of perception you build about what is acceptable and what is not. You form an identity that dictates how you wish to be treated and how much you can stretch yourself in a relationship to be accommodating.
If there has been an incident or multiple incidents in life where the person has suffered abuse of any kind, there are high chances that it has repercussions on the development of trust, integrity, sincerity and willingness to commit in a relationship. Without consciously realizing they tend to repeat the same pattern of abuse or acceptance of abuse in consequent relationships.
It is important that this pattern be recognized and broken in order to achieve true happiness.
You are trying to be empathetic and considerate
Often people feel sorry for the guy they are with and in the attempt to be loving, supportive and empathetic towards their partner, they accept their fate as an abuse victim.
Know that tolerating harm that is directed towards you does no good to anybody. You are not helping him come out of his psychological struggles as an abuser by bearing the wrath he is throwing at you. If you really wish to be empathetic, choose yourself first and help yourself get out of the situation. If you then wish to, you can look at ways in which you can provide or offer support for him to become better. Only if you wish to.
You need to work on your self-esteem
Statistics do indicate that the reason abuse victims deal with abuse for long is because of their low self-esteem issues. Low self-esteem drives the person to accept whatever little good is being done to them while completely ignoring the huge amount of harm caused on the other side.
It is important that you work on yourself, try to become more self-aware, and realize if you are depending on him for your emotional needs. Do you feel like your entire life would fall apart if this relationship falls apart?
You are projecting your insecurities onto him
Connected to the point of self-esteem, projecting your insecurities onto him and letting him feel like you are at his mercy could be a reason why you are so attached to your abusive boyfriend.
If you are insecure about yourself and have unresolved issues from your past, please get help and work on yourself so that you know what you deserve.
How can you help yourself?
You can surely help yourself out of an abusive situation with your boyfriend. Some things that you can do are:
- Work on yourself
- Seek help from a support group
- Report violence to law enforcement agencies
- Consult a psychiatrist
- Seek mental health therapy
Work on yourself
Very often when people fail or take time to notice the red flags in their relationship and really understand that they are being abused it is because of a lack of self-awareness and relationship management. For this, it is crucial that you work on yourself before you let
Learn and practice self-love. It is a difficult journey but a very rewarding one. Become aware of yourself, how your past traumas affect you, how do you carry your pain, and how patient you are with yourself in the journey of healing from trauma. Self-awareness helps a lot in relationship management too. Learn to set healthy boundaries in your relationships. Know that your self-worth is not dictated by anybody else but you. Therefore, there is always a chance to remedy how you view yourself.
Seek help from a support group
Support groups provide the much-needed social and emotional support required to sail through an emotionally difficult period of suffering. It is good to feel belongingness with a group of people who share your pain. Support groups are highly suggested and are definitely helpful during the recovery process.
Co-dependents Anonymous is a worldwide running support group that an abuse victim could consider. There are many other groups for abuse victims, domestic violence victims that you could reach out to for social support.
Report violence to law enforcement agencies
We first need to understand that abuse is abuse regardless of the intensity or method of abuse. Know that the kind of abuse you are facing cannot be compared to anybody else’s. Your pain is valid even if you do not have proof to show at the moment, or if you do not have scars on the body to show how intense the abuse is. Verbal abuse and microaggressions like constant mocking, cussing, etc cause a huge impact on the mental and emotional health of the victim. Justice needs to be served where it is due, so do not give it much thought before taking it to the police.
Causing harm to individuals, be it physical, mental, emotional, financial, or any other way is unlawful. One should definitely seek help from police officers or NGOs working towards protecting the rights of individuals who can guide you further to lawfully charge the abuser with the crime they committed.
Consult a psychiatrist
A psychiatrist can make a diagnosis of any mental illness or disorder that might be triggered because of the abuse. Even if there is no mental illness, the psychiatrist can guide you on how to cope with the abuse. If you are already on medication for some disease/disorder the psychiatrist can make sure that the side effects of the medications are minimal and balanced out with medication to reduce the already existing side-effects. Medication is an important part of recovery and going to a professional should not be delayed.
Consulting a counselor/ psychotherapist is essential in mental health issues. This, most often, goes hand in hand with medication based on the severity of the struggle the person is experiencing.
A counselor can help you navigate your pain and perception towards past traumas and alleviate current emotional struggles triggered by the abuse/ difficult experience. The counselor can also help you to make a decision on whether you should leave the person or try to work on the relationship.
At some point, couples counseling might also be suggested to help your abusive boyfriend reflect on his actions and be a better contributor to the relationship. Both your joint emotional struggles can be helped by learning better ways of communication and adaptation to external triggers.
A counselor can bring in newer ways of perception, help the person to emote better while engaging in healthy boundary-making. The counselor can also help the person eradicate irrational thoughts and beliefs that inhibit the person’s well-being. The counselor and the client, together, also work on and construct healthier coping mechanisms against stressors for the client.
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In this article, we answered the question, ‘Why am I attached to my abusive boyfriend?’. We looked at some ways in which you can seek help and proceed forward in your life.
Frequently Asked Questions: Why am I so attached to my abusive boyfriend?
What causes someone to be an abuser?
It is important that we know that the person who makes others suffer is also suffering somehow but he takes out his suffering in unacceptable ways. Some reasons why someone becomes an abuser are as follows:
Need for power and need to dominate others around him/her.
They do not feel their needs are ever met.
They have a narcissistic personality disorder or some other mental illness which prohibits them from understanding what they are doing wrong and how they can change.
They had a rough upbringing where abuse was normalized and they do not know how to treat anyone better.
They have been an abuse victim and have strong decisions about inflicting that pain on others because they did not make peace with their past.
What are the effects of emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse can be as worse as physical abuse but does not get the same treatment as physical abuse does. The act of emotional abuse includes cussing, mocking, gaslighting, invalidating partner’s emotions, ignoring partner’s concerns,
An emotional abuse victim’s brain actually goes through changes after experiencing the traumatic events. Emotional abuse needs to be given attention to because its effects go unnoticed because of the absence of scars and physical features of abuse.
Some effects of emotional abuse are as follows:
Chronic physical pain and diseases
Insomnia and other sleep struggles
Poor self-care regimen
Poor emotion management
Fear of trusting anybody in general especially anybody new in their life.
Attacking thoughts and negative self-talk
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Inability to take care of one’s own self
Inability to be an efficient caregiver to children and elderly parents
Exhaustion due to overworking and juggling multiple responsibilities.
Feeling that their opinion does not matter.
Having tendencies to belittle themselves.
Invalidating their pain and emotional challenges.
Rejection of their potential to do better, thoughts, and ideas.
Poor faith in their ability to financially be independent and secure.
What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.