It’s not weird to miss certain things about a situation that was, on the whole, painful.
It’s not unusual to miss a person who hurt you more than anything else.
Our memories and attachments are often complex.
Sometimes, being abused was the most attention we got, positive or otherwise— and that was preferable to the emptiness and yearning of being ignored or neglected.
It’s very common for victims of sexual abuse to be confused about sensations they experienced in their body while they were being abused.
Especially if we were living lives that didn’t include a lot of physical affection or pleasure, our nervous system may not have known what to make of some of what we experienced while being abused.
Later on, our mind may not have known what to make of the fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse don’t use physical coercion s their weapons of choice— but often gaslight their victims into believing that the victim had in fact “seduced” perpetrator.
Even as adults, we can have mixed feelings about people who we know, on the whole, were abusive to us.
We may be attracted or drawn to someone we know was toxic for us— even after a painful relationship has ended.
We may have mixed feelings when someone who abused us moves on with their life, experiences milestones like getting married or having children, or dies.
It would be much easier if we humans were wired to think in black and white terms about people with whom we’ve been close.
But we often don’t.
Painful memories and knowledge may be entwined with stimulating or even comforting memories and knowledge.
Some survivors of abusive relationships even experience regret about how a relationship ended, or guilt about their role in how the relationship played out or ended.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, you need to know you are not crazy— and you’re not alone.
It doesn’t mean it was your fault that you were abused or victimized.
It doesn’t mean you “asked for it.”
It doesn’t mean you must want it back, or that you have a fetish for abusive relationships.
It means that trauma often scrambles our wiring when it comes to attachment— especially if our early attachments weren’t all that positive and stable to begin with.
Many of the distorted beliefs that trauma survivors develop about themselves stem from how we interpret things we experienced and felt in certain relationships.
When we get distance on an abusive relationship, it can be easy to feel stupid or complicit in our own pain— and others sometimes implicitly or explicitly reinforce those feelings.
We need to be super clear about the fact that human emotions and relationships are always complex and frequently paradoxical.
Missing a childhood abuser, at least in some ways, is pretty common among survivors.
Wanting a parent who abused or neglected us to apologize or approve of us in adulthood is VERY common among survivors.
You’re not weird and you’re not bad.
And missing aspects of a person or relationship does not mean that we need or want that person or relationship back.
We can feel what we feel and still be realistic about what we need to heal and protect ourselves.
Always, always, always come back to accepting WHATEVER you are feeling with curiosity and compassion.
Always, always, always come back to meeting the kid who you once were, and who you still carry around with you in your head and heart, with radical acceptance and care— no matter what they’re feeling.
Always, always, always remember that what you FEEL is not “wrong”— it’s just what you feel— but that DOESN’T mean it must be acted upon…or that it’s the final word on “who you are.”