I became an Atheist almost 2 years ago now. When I realized that my faith held no answers for me, I started to re-find the answers to ALL of life's questions. I started to look at myself, and my past totally differently. I have had to re-learn everything it seems....everything. How to think, how to solve problems, how to reason, and who I am as an atheist...

I do believe that emotionally, I stopped maturing around the age of 15. Maybe younger. You see, when I was 15, I fell in love with a man, and I thought he loved me too...but he only used me. Some people would consider what he did to me statutory rape...whatever he did to me, he fucked me up - bad. Although I graduated from high school, was sent away for college, had many boyfriends/lovers in between, this one man, was THE ONE who's arms I always ran to. I believed for so many years that we were "destined" for one another. It made sense. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school, had so many social and cultural similarities, it seemed almost like an arranged marriage type situation. I was the girl around the block that was made for him, and he was made for me.....

But he is a sociopath. I know this about him. He has been messed up on drugs since I met him (when he was 20). He has been in trouble with the law, and in and out of prison.

He was recently released from prison, and court ordered to attend a treatment program to help him integrate back into society. One day, I felt the urge coming on...I called. I left my name and mailing address with the officer. She passed along the message......

A few weeks have gone by. Then, today, a letter from him came in the mail. My heart jumped...I opened it. He talked about being excited that he will soon be able to go to church, and play in the band. He is a musician. He talked about him having a real problem with authority, and that if he gets an asshole parole officer then he will likely get sent back to prison. Then he says, "pray for me." See, last time he had any long conversation with me, I was a devout Christian.... He told me that it has been good for him to not have a "woman to worry about." He got locked up for assault and vandalism related charges on an ex-girlfriend. He has a long history of severe violence against women when he's drinking...

My memory seems to be fragmented. It's as if I only remember the good things about him. And I can easily brush aside the fact that he has brutalized women on multiple occasions and left them for dead. He even eluded to participating in murders up on the mesa, (of women) but never told me the details.

Why do I still "feel" something for this man? You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

I really really really want to understand WHY I feel the need, after 17 years, to connect with this man again?

Why do I keep doing this? It is an illness. I want to know how to stop being this way...

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AND.......I'm in love with someone else. It makes NOOOO logical sense. What the fuck is wrong with me??

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.

RE: Although, if he has been that violent, I personally think you should avoid him even if his words seem sweet.

You are right Ari. That's why I don't understand why there is a part of me that is forever drawn to him. It's insane....I KNOW better!!!! I don't need him, and he has never done anything to deserve my respect...ever. I just don't understand why he has such a strong hold on me...is it BECAUSE he started having sex with me at 15 years old? Is that why? Was that really statutory rape? I certainly wasn't the only girl I knew that was with an older man......it is very confusing as to why, WHY, after 17 years, I STILL haven't broken free of him. I want to know whatit is that I need to do to let him go, once and for all.
Why do I still love you When all you did was break my heart?
Why do you still have me
When you kept me in the dark?
What is it that keeps me from just walking away?
Why do I always go back when there's nothing left to say?
You had me....all of me for so so many years
You caused me many sleepless nights, and many painful tears
I hate that I still feel like you have a hold on me, when all I want and need is to be set completely free.
Free from every person who would ever hurt me or use me
Free from people who abuse me, or intentionally confuse me.
Why do I still reach for you, as if you had anything good at all?
Why? After all these years did I even make that call?
Why can't I reconcile the damage that you really did? Why do I think you loved me? When I was just a kid?
I don't know. I don't care. I just want to erase you from my mind.
I just want to let you go and never try to rewind.
I want to forget you. I don't want to love you...anymore.

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.

Thank you john :) you are so right...

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.

Yep. You make it simple. It is simple isn't it? It should not be hard. At all.

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.

Daddy issues

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.

Rescue Fantasy

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.

The Challenge

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.
(Source)

That was very helpful Gallup. The goggle search (first article) especially....

Quote:
Awareness

In order to attract a man who is not abusive, it will be important to let go of what the ego mind has come to associate as familiar and therefore safe. This could mean that repressed emotions will also have to be released.

As these emotions are released, the type of man that a woman is attracted to will change. This process can be assisted with the help of a therapist, healer, trusted friend or a coach for example

Also, I think you were right that I was seeking closure, curiosity,self blame.....

Also, of those items you listed, I think "The challenge" was how I felt when I was 15. It gave me a sense of power to feel like he wanted me. At least at first.....

No, I don't love him. I love a fantasy that I created in my mind about him. But that fantasy is not reality. I'm not even sure that I know what love is. There is a man that I love, but I wish I could love him more....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.

Was it really statutory rape? If he raped me then why don't I feel that way? Why can't I remember anything about when we DID have sex? There's only a few flashes. I don't remember HOW he had sex with me. Why? I have so many questions that I don't know what to do with. 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 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. 

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