We most certainly don't choose the feelings we have for people we have a connection with. If my dad were to kill people in cold blood and was sent to prison, I'm sure I'd still feel at least a slight connection with what I've experienced with him from the past. You can't forget the better days when you are happy with someone even if they do shocking things. I'm sorry that you are going through this, but just know that what you feel is something many people seem to go through. It's cognitive dissonance because you are getting good feelings for the man you had gained bad feelings for. Although, if he has been that violent, I personally think you should avoid him even if his words seem sweet.
Sociopaths can be incredibly charming. Having no real empathy or any other emotional connection with people, they put all their energy into learning how to manipulate people. And since they have no scruples, they do it with impunity. Don't beat yourself up for getting sucked in, but do take care of yourself.
That almost certainly means staying the hell away from him.
Gotta pick your people well, you know? You're affected by the people with which you choose to surround yourself. How has surrounding yourself with this person affected you? Well, by the sounds of it, it hasn't worked out well for you, has it? So that is a thing that we will not be doing, yes? We would like to be in a better state, wouldn't we? Yes. So we will surround ourselves with better people. This person is troubled and does not sound very intelligent (turns to gods in times of trouble it does). We do not want to be troubled, and we are intelligent. Brains are powerful things, easily cut and molded by outside things. We must choose those things carefully. We will not allow the strong outside things that we do not want to affect us to do so. We will cast them out and wish them the best. We will choose which inside-creating outside things will be allowed in ourselves. We have the power to do this. We need only to exercise it, again and again and again, until we become very good exercisers of the power to shape our reality.
Why do I still "feel" something for this man?
I'm noticing your choice of words here. You feel 'something'. Is it love? Do you still love him? Maybe, but I doubt it. More likely you loved him once, with a depth made possible by the innocence of your childhood, and now you still remember that feeling.
I really really really want to understand WHY I feel the need, after 17 years, to connect with this man again?
There's so much it could be, so I don't know. Maybe it's curiosity. Maybe it's desire for closure of things left unresolved. Maybe you blame yourself. Maybe you feel a need to help him. Maybe it's a combination of these and other things.
Why do I keep doing this? It is an illness. I want to know how to stop being this way...
You're talking about it while acknowledging and examining your behavior. Not a bad start.
You feel compelled to reconnect with a sociopathic rapist, drug addicted, alcohol abusing, convicted felon with a history of severe violence against women (possibly including murder). You don't understand why. But you understand that reconnecting with him is unwise.
So you're attracted to an abusive man. What does Google search have to say about that? A little homework may be in order, but luckily you're still the world's top expert on Belle Rose. You'll figure it out.
From one result I found on Google:
Why Do Some Women Date abusive men?
In Too Deep
Most abusive relationships don’t start very early in the relationship, otherwise any sane woman would run for the hills because there is no emotion investment yet. The abusive nature starts small, like verbal abuse and escalates. By the time the physical abuse starts, they may have been dating the guy for a long time. This can make breaking up difficult due to the heart break and fear of being alone.
An absent or abusive father may have inflicted scars in her psyche that causes her to view the abusive man as similar light as her father. Causing the association that absent or abusive of a man is a form of love. This causes her to crave his attention and approval. To gain the love of this man in a way makes her feel as if she has achieved the love and approval of her father. This is the weight a father carries by being the first male influence of his daughter’s life.
Coined from one of Freud’s early theories. She feels that he can be fixed. That by staying involved long enough, that he will see the error of his ways. This provides her with the feeling that she can be the one woman that could change this man. Making her feel unique and special.
Clearly a extreme case but in a way a abusive relationship is a form of a challenge. This causes her to feel that this man is more valuable than other men because a happy relationship with him is harder to achieve. Similar to how value is placed on a lot of real world items, in which the rarer or harder the item to achieve the higher the value of that item.
These are some of the reasons why some women like abusive women. To overcome this issue of being attracted to abusive men. It is important to understand why such decisions are made. So that you know where to look within yourself and what needs to be corrected.
I want to be a better person, and stop looking backwards, but there is still so much pain and confusion surrounding this man who had me for so many years. he stole my innocence. I'm trying to find that innocence. I want it back. I want to look forward to my future. I just don't know how to get closure for what this man did to me for so many years.
I don't know either, Belle. All I can suggest is that you arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Visit your local library and check out books about survivors of abuse and different coping strategies. Or try Googling some concepts, like "how abuse victims get closure" and so on.
Was it really statutory rape?
Yes. The youngest legal age of consent in any U.S. state is 16.
If he raped me then why don't I feel that way?
Rape generally brings to mind the horrific image of an unwilling victim and use of violence (or the threat of it). In such a case there is obviously no consent.
In a statutory rape the victim may be absolutely willing, but the law has determined s/he lacks the emotional maturity (is too innocent) to give consent. It's less obvious, but even in this instance there is no consent, at least according to the legal statutes.
It has become something I need to face head on and gain some kind of understanding. I just don't know how to go about doing that.
I think you do. Learn as much as you can. You've done it before with other aspects of your life, such as learning a new skilled trade or finding out about unions. This is a different and more difficult subject, but the approach is the same.
If you don't have the knowledge yourself, seek expert advice, either in person or in print. It may take months or years, but you're an intelligent woman and I'm positive you'll figure this out and get some peace of mind if you keep at it.
But where I grew up no one ever told me it was rape. His parents didn't want him around me when I was young, so we always were together in secret. After I turned 18 they never said anything more about age...if it was rape then why did no one intervene? Culturally it was not out of the norm. When I think about it really hard, I remember his parents saying I couldn't come around and I thought it was my fault. I remember one day his older brother saw us together and he stared long and hard at him and he told him he couldn't see me. I think maybe his family was concerned. But I didn't understand it at the time. I have lately been remembering fragments of it all. I always thought there was something wrong with me.
Teenage pregnancy is very high in NM. It is not uncommon for the father to be much older. I don't know why it makes a difference but it does. Only about 2 years ago is the first time anyone has ever told me that he raped me. It is really confusing.