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It’s possible that I grew up equating love and abuse so much that they are permanently linked in my mind. My parents never said they loved me, but I did always assume they did. Maybe I think that if someone loves me it means they are going to abuse me.

So far in my life that is exactly what it meant.

But I have also been realizing that if someone was abusive to me before they ever used the word love, I recognized it as a red flag and dumped them. Immediately.

But once someone said they loved me, even though I didn’t love any of them, it seemed to be okay with me that they were abusive.Why did I stay with those men for so long? Their “love” didn’t obligate me to stay with them. It certainly didn’t give them permission. But I have done it over and over again.

Today RA and I had a big talk about that. He says that I am subconsciously attracted to it because it is familiar to me from my childhood. He said, “If you took a lineup of 5 men and three of those men were abusive (notice how he made it more than 50%?) you would choose an abuser every time.”

I feel like I will never forget him saying that to me. I can already feel it tattooed on my mind. Like the story about the girl being underwater and picking a boy who was also because it was all she knew.

It is so sad and tragic that I have done it without even being conscious of it. And that other people are doing it too. And now I always have to be on guard for it. I wonder how many times I do this before I stop trusting my own judgement and just give up on ever being in a relationship. I already feel like I am so close to being there.


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