What It’s Like To Still Love Your Abuser


Trigger Warning: The following essay details abuse and abusive relationships and may be upsetting to some readers.

Love doesn’t magically disappear in a day, although sometimes we wish it would. There is no off button, no magic spell to heal you instantly. No, of course not, because that would be too easy. It’s not easy, leaving someone you’re so madly in love with is hard, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s necessary, in order to become a stronger, healthier, you.

It’s the reason people constantly ask, “Why didn’t you leave sooner? You knew he was going to do it again.” Because you’ll never understand until it happens to you, and I pray to God it never happens to you. Don’t you think she would’ve left if she could? She couldn’t. No, not because she was stupid, but because she was naïve, she had such a big heart she couldn’t imagine someone was this cruel. She saw the best in him, no matter what. She saw the potential in him, to be a better person, a person who loved her, the person he pretended to be when she met him. She wasn’t stupid or dumb, she was full of a type of love some of us may never feel. Unconditional, pure, disastrous love, no matter how badly he hurt her.

She couldn’t leave because of him. Because he was charming, his apologies, and his promises always convinced her this time things would change. Even when she knew he wouldn’t, her heart screams louder than her brain, and then it’s game over for this round. He was beautiful, his eyes made her melt, she was putty in his hands.

He had her wrapped around his finger, and he knew it, too. He knew exactly how to manipulate her and keep her around. He was so good at it, he convinced everyone she was the crazy one. Like she somehow made it all up in her head, like the bruises on her face were simply her imagination. She loved him so much, she began to believe it, too.

Nobody can really make you understand how abuse can make you feel. It makes you feel inhuman, you feel like property. You feel small. And that’s exactly what he wants you to feel, that’s how he ensures you won’t leave.

Because it takes courage to leave. It takes the kind of strength you don’t know you have until you’re forced to use it. But once she found it, there was no going back. He took away every piece of her, he chipped away at her soul until she was unrecognizable. She didn’t leave as the same person she came. She left damaged, but stronger. She left confused but wiser. She left broken, but she made it out alive.

Don’t let her pride fool you, she still misses him, even though she wouldn’t dare say it out loud. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing how much she still wants him back. But she can’t bring herself to delete their photos yet, or even stop looking at them. She needs the reminder of how genuine her smile was in the beginning. She needs to see his big brown eyes still, knowing she may never see them again.

She can’t help but think about him before bed every night, and still, he’s the star of every one of her dreams, or nightmares. She still relives every memory, the good and the bad, until it all mushes together, and all she sees is him. She still can’t sleep if she’s not in his clothes, and God forbid one of his friends brings him up because she’ll listen for hours, hanging on to every word, praying to God that he still thinks about her as much as she thinks about him.

You see, love doesn’t always make sense, nor is it as beautiful as we make it seem, it’s messy and confusing, and tragic. It brings life to some people, and it takes others away. It leaves a nasty scar, yet still the craving for more. He tried to break her, but he showed her how to truly be strong, and that’s something he can’t take from her.