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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Notice that much of what we 'do' generates no valuable results...

In my opinion the subject should really be, "how do you get (stay) emotionally and physically away from the person while keeping yourself SAFE on every level. I am VERY worried that he might not be totally loving and accepting of your decision to eschew your relationship. Please be VERY careful how you handle this decision (which I believe you've already made but have yet to action). Make a plan. Consider the worst case scenario. 

Be Careful!!!!

Thanks Mike :) I will, I promise

Many of us feel we are disloyal when we drop a disastrous relationship.  I had a surrogate daughter who helped me through the first year after my husband's suicide, but there was a strong element of "I should have known better" in eventually breaking contact with her.  She counted on my sense of obligation to her and took outrageous advantage, especially financially.  I could not afford this, and eventually moved halfway across the country, in part to be free from her. 

Loyalty is not a good thing all the time.  Accepting the fact that the relationship is bad for you, and probably bad for him as well, is the first step.  Follow that up with a rational attempt to make new friends who will not be users, as I did when I joined the Ethical Society of St. Louis.  (The disastrous relationship had been in central California, which tells you how far I ran.)  There are secular organizations all over the country, although perhaps not as large as ES.  Try the Meetup web site and get to know people in a safe neutral place, reserving knowledge of your home address and phone number for those you find you really can trust.

Good luck to you!

Your words are so wise Barbara :) I'm glad that you too have learned to get away from abusers. That is hard considering that we (women) are generally taught at a young age to care for people, and not ruffle any feathers...welcome to TA!!!!

I cant offer any advice to why...all i can do is tell a story of friend of min. She was constantly drawn to this one guy who beat her Even stabbed her in the arm once with a small knife. I was constantly getting her out out there had a few fights doing it too. Be live em the sicko didn't look perfect when i got done and i can't honestly say i regret it I DON'T However after enough fights constantly getting her out of this situation or that one I finally had enough. I cant stand it when a guy raises his hands to a woman let alone beat or stab her. Although I will admit the time he was trying to flush her jeans down the toilet was funny in a sick way i guess. He eventually drove her to the point of being in a mental hospital. All the advice i can offer is stay away he's not worth it and obviously you are better then that. Also that only when drinking thing..it's just a cop out   

One of the major parts of the constellation of causes that contributed to my own clinical depression was a sick relationship with a woman. A relationship I was deluded into thinking I could make better. I wanted to marry her and, as kind of a gender twist, she was the one who was stringing me along. When I finally got some counseling (which was through Lutheran Family Service and was not at all faith based at my request), I got this great advice: "A good and healthy relationship generally starts out by just happening, not because someone is trying to make it happen. The period after you get married is harder as you become more familiar with her quirks and flaws. If it's not working before marriage, the best thing is to walk away and keep looking."

Yes, I agree with that. The thing is I'm not trying to get back with him like that. I'm trying to come to terms with MYSELF, and why did I let him take so much of me. It's more that I am trying to understand my own psyche better. I didn't realize this until after I wrote the original post, through self-reflection. It's really about gaining a different perspective, now that I am an Atheist and I think about everything differently, I thought maybe by writing him and seeing how he talks to me, I'll better understand what drew me to him in the first place and be more "self-aware...".....I know it probably doesn't make sense, but to me it does, lol....

BTW I'm glad you got out of that relationship. No one can "fix" another person. They have to "fix" themselves.

I think contacting an abusive party in order to better understand oneself is like trying cocaine again in order to better understand your addiction. Reopening contact with an abusive person (unless it's, for example, to expose their abuse to the world) is very ill-advised, because these relationships are quasi-addictive in nature.

What would have been the downside of not doing it?

Personally, I found the "why did I do that?" question only useful if it helps convince myself not to do it again.  Self-analysis has its limits.  First question is how do I avoid the self-destructive behavior.  If you need to know why you did it (I had a long, long list), get an objective person, whether professional or not, to talk it out with you.  Otherwise, just say "OK, I did something stupid there" and move on.  Even geniuses do stupid things occasionally; why should you and I expect to be perfect?

@Alan, yah, been there done that, got the t-shirt. Thankfully (and happily) I am now OUT of all abusive relationships. A lot has changed even since I posted this discussion...

The sad thing truly is that there are SOOOOOOOO many women who don't speak up, and don't know how to tell someone how they feel. And if they do speak up, and they aren't respected for it, they don't know how to walk away. I blame Christianity for teaching women to be submissive. I also blame society for perpetuating this throughout our culture that women are taught to be doormats. You see it even in the Disney movies!!!!! It starts young. And unless you have a strong female role model in your life, you don't learn, unless you are taught.

What has been SO hard for me to come to terms with is how this one man never did treat me poorly, at least as I perceived it at the time. That's partially why I think I need to understand what he did and how he did it. He got inside my head, and I need to know if it's because of something HE intentionally did, or something I created in my own mind. Or both? I don't know. But when I receive his response letter, I feel certain that it will hold the answers I'm looking for :)
they don't know how to walk away. I blame Christianity for teaching women to be submissive.

Christianity teaches forgiveness. Which is good sometimes. But Christianity teaches that forgiveness is ALWAYS right and that ANYONE can be saved, and radically transformed by the blood of Christ. All Mr. Liar has to do is say the right magic Christian words, and the woman just has to accept that he's changed, even when nothing's different at all.

And Disney? They're always doing that thing where the woman stays with the man even though she doesn't like him or he's a jerk, and she's able to change him in the end. Beauty and the Beast is notorious for this.

It sounds like you're being smart about this, and keeping him at arm's length. One thing to remember is, if you don't know how he got inside your head, if you don't know what it was that gave him such power over you, are you sure he won't do it again?


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