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How can I forgive an abusive ex boyfriend?

(7 Posts)
poshsinglemum Sun 13-Sep-09 10:14:03

Some of you may know the story about my abusive ex. (Not dd's dad.)
To cut a long story short he was very controlling especially concerning food. I became anorexic and very mentally ill under his ''thumb''. I had to drop out of University from a course I loved. I felt almost like I was possessed by him and that my true personality was squashed.
He did apologise about five years ago after we had split up five years before that. He admitted that he was controlling but also said that it had taken a failed marriage and two kids to realise what he had done to me! It did soften the blow although I felt that he wanted me to feel sorry for him because he had lost his wife.
I thought that I had dealt with the pain but ten years on and I realise I am still very angry with this man and that I am very angry with myself for staying with him so long.
In retrospect all the signs were there- he isolated me from friends and family, ridiculed my hobbies and beliefs, even my good school grades etc. Effectively brainwashed me.
I need to deal with this anger and try to forgive him. I feel like I would be a much happier person was it not for him and I do have a tendancy to blame him for a lot of my ills even now. Ridiculous I know. I am strting cognitive behaviour thereapy soon. hopefully this will help.
Has anyone succesfully forgiven an abusive ex. If so, how?

catsmother Sun 13-Sep-09 10:31:59

I hope your upcoming therapy helps you. I suspect that what you really need to work on is forgiving yourself for being fooled and controlled by this man (not a criticism, it's common for nice normal people to wonder where they went wrong). Once you realise it was his problem and not yours, I bet you won't feel the need to forgive him (some things are unforgivable IMO) ...... hopefully though you can forget him.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 13-Sep-09 10:35:34

If he is not the dad of any of your DC it might be better to have no contact with him at all - after all, it isn't necessary. He mistreated you because he was a nobber. Maybe he's grown out of it, maybe he never will, but it wasn;t your fault. And you don't have to forgive him, just kind of draw a line under him, hopefully the therapy will help you do this.

MissisBoot Sun 13-Sep-09 10:37:47

I don't think you need to 'forgive' him.

Therapy will help you deal with your emotions around this and help you accept why your behaviour and blame is related to him and experience you suffered.

Snorbs Sun 13-Sep-09 10:53:03

I absolutely agree with catsmother. Aim at forgiving yourself. You made a mistake in getting involved in an abusive relationship; a mistake that thousands of other people have made. Once you were in the abusive relationship you found it difficult to leave - again, thousands of people in abusive relationships experience the same difficulties.

You have learned from that mistake and, I'm sure, are a lot more aware of abusive behaviours and how to avoid people who exhibit them. I'm sure you are not going to make the same mistake again.

I found that when I was getting over the abusive relationship I had with my ex, once I got to the point of being able to forgive myself, forgiveness of my ex no longer mattered. It's not important to me.

Take care!

poshsinglemum Sun 13-Sep-09 11:29:58

Hi all. Thanks for the replies.

You are right in that I need to forgive myself. I am actually incredulous at my own emotional stupidity but after a lot of reading I am starting to see why I stayed with this man;

1. I was very young (16) when he started chasing me and therefore I was naive.
2. in our school it was important to have a boyfriend on order to be accepted socially which made it harder to leave him.
3. I was very flattered by his attention. As well as being a knob he could also be very charming.
4. He was using tactics that belong to the emotionally abusive which
5. I was at avulnerable stage in my life with a lot of turmoil surrounding peer pressure and family issues. I needed a ''rock'' and he was probably attracted to my vulnerabilty.

I have not seen him for ten years.

silentcatastrophe Sun 13-Sep-09 11:40:37

Yes, it's YOU who's important! People do talk about forgiving abusers, and often in a religious context. I don't agree with that, but you need to work on taking the pain away from yourself and to learn and understand that what happened to you was not your fault. One day you might look at him and see him as nothing more than a flawed, pathetic individual for whom you have no time or energy.

With the right help and support you will move on with confidence, and understand that you will not allow that kind of behaviour again. It will not be an issue.

If you are in therapy and learning to express your anger, really, it will diminish.

For the most part, in my own situation, I almost don't want to talk any more about what I have been through, though right now, the whole thing has raised its ugly head, but this time I'm not the victim.

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