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Old 08-07-2012, 12:43 PM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 1,912,338 times
Reputation: 3140

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I have heard it so much:
Q: Your mother abused you all your childhood -- physically, emotionally, spiritually....
A: I know. But I loved Mother -- I still do.

Q: Why don't you leave him? He doesn't respect you, he keeps all the money, he stalks you....
A But I love him!

Q: Your wife hits you. She purposely publicly embarrasses you. She throws stuff at you. You worry that you may lose control and strike back....
A: But I love her.
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Love. What kind of love?

love (Babylon English English dictionary)
v. have great affection for; feel a passionate attraction to; be fond of; hug and kiss; have sexual intercourse with; like a great deal, be enthusiastic about

n. passionate attraction; fondness, affection; enthusiasm, interest; one who is loved; object of one's enthusiasm; score of zero (in tennis, etc.); term of endearment (i.e. "sweetheart")

WordNet 2.0 Dictionary
Noun
1. a strong positive emotion of regard and affection; "his love for his work"; "children need a lot of love"...
2. any object of warm affection or devotion; "the theater was her first love" or "he has a passion for **** fighting";...
3. a beloved person; used as terms of endearment... ....
Verb
1. have a great affection or liking for; "I love French food"; "She loves her boss and works hard for him"...
2. get pleasure from; "I love cooking"
(synonym) enjoy
(hypernym) like
(hyponym) get off
(derivation) passion
3. be enamored or in love with; "She loves her husband deeply"... ....

Wikipedia English The Free Encyclopedia
Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection —"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". Love may also be described as actions towards others or oneself based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

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Because I had no love whatsoever for my abuser from toddlerhood until far into adulthood, I cannot understand those who are able to love their abusers and am totally nonplussed about such expressions of love. From my point of view, I think that such persoons may be confused about what love is -- or is it I who is confused about love's definition?

Years ago, based somewhat upon Koine Greek definitions of love, I decided that there are four basic definitions of the term.
  • Unconditional love (deep sense of affection that can take a beating and keep on ticking. To hold one in high regard.
  • Neighborly love (active care for one nearby when action is called for)
  • Sensual love (sensual desire)
  • Friendship (virtuous, affectionate love with a strong sense of equality and familiarity)
  • "Natural" love (I include love for someone because they are of the human race; love for someone in spite of their lite negative actions -- actively loving them anyway.)
  • Neighborly love (active care for one nearby when action is called for)

Okay. My questions, to those who understand such persons -- or are such a person -- what kind of love do you think people have for their abusers?
Are the abused fooling themselves, in order to feel more "normal"? In order to feel better about themselves? Because they have not yet worked out the problems of abuse?
Do such persons truly love their abusers with an (according to my definitions just above) uncondition love or friendship love?
Are they really altruistic?
Or do they fall into my bottom three definitions of love: Friendship, "Natural," or Neighborly?

(As an adult, I finally understood that my love for my abuser was no greater than Neighborly love.)
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:24 AM
 
Location: Sol System
1,494 posts, read 2,943,031 times
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Personally , I'd say they are rather needy. I fail to see logic in constant forgivings of abusive persons. Maybe they keep thinking of pre abuse periods , and in doing so , subconsciously long for those times. I dealt with my ex who was emotionally unstable , she was supposed to take meds for this , but didn't. She explained a childhood trauma that led to this , and we grew closer. In the interim , her psyche became more detached from reality , as she began accusing me of incest/infidelity. I stuck with her until one night she drew a knife at me , after my cousin came over and she thought it was another love interest. Since then , I have no desire to pursue another relationship.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:21 PM
 
24,839 posts, read 33,294,203 times
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I remember back to my 8 though 9 year old days saying I hated my father and will be glad when he was dead.

I am 41...he has been dead almost 20 years.

I still feel the same.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Earth
48 posts, read 86,405 times
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Loving ones abuser is no less than Stockholm syndrome, the victim of any form of abuse goes into this mode of survival -- a coping method if you will. The abused become so formulated to abuse that the only way to cope is to deny it and to conform to it. It's unhealthy but abuse plays tricks on the mind and damages you in many ways and the only way to break free from that is to wake up from Stockholm syndrome and escape it.

The person they know, whether a family member or loved one (a partner) might have not always been abusive and that is a very confusing thing for a victim because they can't possibly grasp in their own mind as to WHY the person they care so deeply for would be hurting them... and so the victim blames themselves and goes through a course of guilt and shame. You will often hear victims say, "I deserved it." "It's my fault." "I don't blame him/her." "I still love him/her."

The abuse pushes the victim into a corner and makes them feel less of a person and more like someone who is undeserving of all love and affection. They begin to feel as though anything that comes to them is what they deserve, whether it is harmful or not. They take and they take and they hurt and they hurt. It's a dangerous cycle.... and when their life is threatened, they continue to mend and shape with the one who is causing all of the pain because they're afraid to escape it -- in fear of what will come after. Cutting all ties with someone who is relative, is also very hard to do for a victim.

I am a survivor of all forms of abuse and actually help fellow survivors. This is nothing but a reality to me.


What kind of love do you think people have for their abusers? To me, it's not love it's more of being brainwashed into thinking it's love. It's nothing but dysfunction and possible Stockholm syndrome.

Are the abused fooling themselves, in order to feel more "normal"? In order to feel better about themselves? Because they have not yet worked out the problems of abuse? Possibly. I know that for years I kept in silence about my pain and still to this day do to a certain degree. It's not to benefit the abuser but rather, to not focus on where my wounds are. Depending on a victims situation as well, it could be to protect themselves OR they might still be held down by the one who is causing the abuse. For me, I find it easier to ignore my pain although that is unhealthy.

Do such persons truly love their abusers with an (according to my definitions just above) uncondition love or friendship love? Once again this is all depending on the situation and what type of abuse this is. Some might be brainwashed with an idea of who their abuser really is... thinking that he/she is really sweet despite their abusive behavior... often denying the fact that the abuse even happened, deeming it unimportant. OR the victim has in their mind that they can change them. The love to them they feel is real, and they have a passion to try and see the good in their abuser. It's more complicated than a simple word.

Are they really altruistic? They're weak and submissive, usually placed into this mindset from their abuser.

Or do they fall into my bottom three definitions of love: Friendship, "Natural," or Neighborly? It's a dysfunctional form of love. It's not really love but their abuser more than likely tells them those three little words, that for a moment in time... makes the victim feel as though they truly are loved.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:15 PM
 
2,399 posts, read 2,759,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VelcroQueen View Post
Can we talk about loving our abusers (while the abuse is continuing)?
I like how you see defining love to be important.
IMO, Love is a verb: hoping & striving for what's best, through trial & error.
To forgive, is to give self/others the ability to go for ward.

I've read that anger is often sadness that you don't feel the right to feel.
If you stuff it or deny any feeling... it WILL find a way to express itself (sometimes via dis-ease).
I think there's an intuitive personal difference between feeling feelings & letting them move on... & clinging to them as if they were your identity.
I came across an exercise for this: deep breathing - when upsetting feelings come up... imagine them as clouds & your breath as the wind, to move them or not.

I think it's also important to define abuse.
I believe we all receive & give abuse - or what could be considered abuse.
Sometimes, we're inconsiderate to others & sometimes others are inconsiderate to us.

I've found that it's humbling & helpful in forgiving & loving, to realize the universal human potential in all of us. I don't like to think of myself has possessing qualities similar to some people who act in horrific ways, but the reality is that I'm human too. I may not express my feelings in such damaging ways, but there are times when I have felt & acted upon all kinds of feelings.

It doesn't take the hurt away completely, but it can help in healing, to understand why people abuse.
"Every event is preceded by an event." Yes, we have choice, but it's greatly influenced by circumstances that are not our choice.

So... I think to act in loving ways is to feel love inside yourself.
To act in resentful ways, is to feel resent inside yourself... eating you up inside (sometimes literally).
Loving involves doing what's best... which may mean keeping boundaries up with abusive people.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:21 AM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 1,912,338 times
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Thank you, everyone, for your answers. This has been a good "read" for me at I work on the issues. I will answer more fully later -- in a little pain right now and hoping sleep will help.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:41 PM
 
13,049 posts, read 16,087,687 times
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VelcroQueen....I think people "love" their abuser for a variety of reasons....sometimes the abuser wasn't always like that, so the abused still loves who he/she USED to be.....sometimes they've got it in their mind that this is as good as it gets....sometimes they are deathly afraid to say they don't (fears of repercussions should anyone tell him/her)....sometimes they really believe that he/she will change, and become a better person....especially when the abuser almost always apologises profusely after his violent outburst, and promises he/she will change....The abused person usually has had all their self esteem stripped from them, and they confuse love with loyalty to the one who professes to care for them....it's a sad state of affairs, for sure.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:23 PM
 
Location: FL
1,727 posts, read 2,242,759 times
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Thank you for starting this thread. So far the answers you've received have been interesting.
It's interesting to see people who don't love their abusers speculate about why people who do love their abusers feel the way they do.

There may be a couple of replies by people who might have some inkling as to what it's like from the perspective of someone who really does love their abuser. Not sure. Just guessing that some might have an idea.

My father was verbally and emotionally abusive (from my point of view) for most of my life. He still is verbally abusive. I am fortunate there were only 1-2 incidents that could possibly defined as physical abuse. Nevertheless, the verbal abuse is painful in it's own way. It was directed at my mother, my sisters and my brother. I think my mother and brother got the worst of it. But, I know I experienced my share of humiliation and belittlment (is that a word?).

Now he is 81 years old and in need of a great deal of family participation when it comes to his care.
He is still quite verbally abusive. He has even been a bit abusive (by my standards) toward his hired caregivers.

All that said. I love him. I don't like him much of the time, but I do love him. What kind of love? The unconditional kind. Perhaps the neighborly kind as well. I don't have a lot of fuzzy feelings about him. He wasn't that kind of Dad. But, when I'm not angry with him, I manage to remind myself that we all have our issues. Dad is no exeption.

Another post above shared some definitions about a few things. One of them was Anger. I've also heard/read that anger is an expression of fear and/or frusration. My Dad has always been an angry person. It seems to me that definition of fear and frustration seem to fit his anger perfectly.

I don't give him permission to mistreat people. I haven't just turned the other cheek. I've called him out on his behavior (now that I'm an adult and spending a great deal of my time and energy caring for him).
He truly does not get it. He doesn't understand that his behavior is wrong. But still, when it seems appropriate I do take a stand and let him know his behavior is not acceptable.

We have had some awful moments over the past years, but despite his abuse of my mother (when she was alive) and his abuse of my brother, myself and my sisters (still to this day), I still love him in some way and I cannot imagine turning my back on him.

Now, if his abuse had been physical, I do not know if I would still love him...
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:48 AM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 1,912,338 times
Reputation: 3140
Having been a recipient of all forms of abuse from Mother, other than sexual, I think the worst was the emotional stemming from verbal abuse and deliberate neglect based upon disdain. Verbal abuse strikes at the hearts of so many abuses! I could not say that verbal abuse is any less than physical abuse. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:14 PM
 
13,049 posts, read 16,087,687 times
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Just as bad VelcroQueen....maybe sometimes worse
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