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A Secret

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Amy Jo

So I've been, somehow, not idolizing but seeing my abuser in like flashbacks where he is good and great and attractive--At first it was in my nightmares until I got on Prazosin, but now I'm....seeing it in reality, like I remember how he used to really believe in me, how we got along (I got along better with him than anyone in my family)and yet he's the one that abused me. What is happening
I don't think there is a monopoly on how one should feel about their abuser. Some forgive, some don't, some hate them, some still love them. Just look at people in domestic abuse, yet the abused often still loves their abuser, they just don't want the abuse part.

Memory is very tricky... though regardless what memory does, how you feel is something you get to choose, for the most part.
The worst abuse is that which comes from people we love and trust. The mind plays funny tricks. You rationalize the abuse, separate it from the caregiver, etc. Perhaps there were "good" or likable things about the person? They were still an abuser and it can be difficult to rectify the different feelings. I don't think you are the only survivor who has been through this. Good luck.
I understand what you're saying, Amy Jo. I have and sometimes still do experience cognitive dissonance with regards to my abusers. What makes it so much harder is if they come across as genuinely nice people. Abusers are often masters at maintaining a convincing, charismatic front for the general public and they are usually very selective about whom they abuse. They rely on others disbelieving their victims to continue doing what they do.

They manipulate; they are conniving; they gaslight; they make their victims feel disempowered and like they are going crazy with self-doubt. Abusers almost always give just enough to keep their victims believing they are good and to keep their victims dependent on them, and then choose their moments to utterly demoralise, debase and destroy their victim. They systematically condition you to believe that you are the bad person, not them, and that shatters self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

And the human brain finds maladaptive ways to cope with that as a result - and one such way it can find ways to cope is to romanticise the abuser because it's easier to do that than to confront what they have actually done to you. This is especially easily done if the abuser was a romantic partner who did have romantic and kind moments with you. That's all part of their tactic to keep you where they want you, though. If it was genuinely kind, they would not have counteracted their kindness with abuse.

When you have been fed nothing but manipulative lies that distort your own sense of self, it's very difficult to see through that and it's even harder to believe that you were the victim when so much blame and guilt has been issued from the abuser - which is why talking about it and therapy is so important, so that the neural pathways are repaired and your sense of self is restored to a much healthier level.

Good luck with everything. *offers gentle hugs*
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