You Don't Have to Hate Your Abuser
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
I know it feels like you have to hate the person who has hurt you the most, but what if you don't? I want you to know how common this is. It's difficult sometimes to finally realize that a person who was supposed to love and care for you not only didn't do this, but also hurt you in irreparable ways. Even with this knowledge, we can't always bring ourselves to stop loving that person. It may feel confusing, strange, or even wrong. Know that it is always possible to love someone, but know that their presence in your life isn't for the best. You deserve love, safety, and respect. These things are essential and things that love alone cannot make up for.
Why Does This Happen Though?
You'd think it's pretty straightforward. I'm hurt by someone so I must hate them. Nevertheless, we know by now that humans are anything but straightforward. Even after abuse, we can continue to love and long for those that have hurt us. So how does this happen? TheHotline.org suggests:
You remember the "good times" before the abuse.
You empathize with the other person's difficulties or trauma.
Staying and loving someone was a way for you to survive.
You detach from the pain because it's too hard to cope with.
You feel like this person has given you what you deserve.
You believe you are helping this person, 'fixing' them.
While there are many other reasons why this may occur, I want to remind you that it is a normal part of the healing process. Hatred is not required for you to know that you deserve better treatment from others. Just like it's not required for you to forgive your abuser either. I always tell clients, try to move away from 'shoulding' yourself as this just places self-blame and unrealistic expectations on yourself.
The Hotline. "Why Do I Love My Abuser?" Retrieved from https://www.thehotline.org/resources/why-do-i-love-my-abuser/