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LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: Why, after 20 years, did I let my abusive ex back into my life?

Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following email from a reader whom we’ll call “Camille.”

When I was 16, I began a relationship with a guy that was 20. I met him through a mutual friend. We began a relationship that was volatile and tumultuous.

I was a senior in high school. I would get out of school midday on a work program, but instead of going to work, I would go to his house. He would force me to have sex with him, steal from me, and physically abuse me. He would call me and apologize and I do not know why, but I would always go back.

One day he called me and told me that he wanted to take me to eat at one of his friend’s house. I drove to his apartment. He led me up the way to his “friend’s” house. As we approached this apartment building, he went to open the door. I thought this was strange but it was his friend so I paid it little mind.

Next thing I know he was slinging me in the VACANT apartment and proceeded to beat me like he never had. That day he also stole a necklace from me that was a gift from my mom.

Told my mom

When I returned home, battered and afraid, I shared with my sister what had happened. She told me that I needed to tell my mother.

I told my mother and she proceeded to take me to the police station but when I told her that I went to him every time she stopped in her tracks. Nothing further.

She changed my phone number and told me not to give it to him. So I didn’t. I went to college and that was that.

I had a long-term relationship in college and went on to marry a man I met later — both relationships were unfulfilling.

Reconnected on Facebook

Fast forward 20 years.

Now I am 36 and Facebook is the new thing. My sister told me that she saw HIM on this site.

I pondered for some time then contacted him. I thought that maybe since I suffered from his abuse at such a young age and disappeared without closure, that I needed to let him know how he affected my life and relationships. My excuse was that I wanted an apology.

So I embarrassingly contacted him.

I fell for it

The way that he was talking really threw me off. It made me think that he was the same person. I should have kept it moving. But he started sweet talking me into his realm again and I fell for it.

He eventually moved in with me and my kids. Forming relationships with my kids and being affectionate to me.

He was always talking about plans for “our” future. How we were going to do this and that. I got caught up into his nefarious activities…he continued the abuse … both physical and emotional … only to find out that he was scamming me and planning a future with a woman that he dated that I always felt he loved.

I knew he was wrong for me

Five years of my life … gone … just like that. I’ve made some bad choices as it relates to him, but I don’t understand how someone could be so cruel.

What bothers me most though is that I knew he was wrong for me. I never felt that his feelings were real for me, but he promised me he was a changed man and I wanted to believe him.

I made him leave my house last Thursday. He charged music on my debit card Monday. This is so unbelievable to me. I blame myself and that is what hurts most!

Donna Andersen responds

I would guess, Camille, that the question that bothers you the most is, “Why did I let him back into my life?”

The answer probably is that you still felt a betrayal bond with this man.

The man exploited you when you were young. “Exploitative relationships create betrayal bonds,” writes Patrick J. Carnes, Ph.D. “These occur when a victim bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her.”

Even though you had moved on with your life, you likely did not address the real emotional pain that the man caused you. So even though 20 years had passed, the betrayal bond was still in place.

And that’s why he was able to talk his way back into your life.

I strongly recommend that you read Carnes’ book, The Betrayal Bond — Breaking free of exploitative relationships. It explains how the bonds form, and contains worksheets for helping you recognize and release them.

It’s work that needs to be done for you to recover fully.

The Betrayal Bond is available in the Lovefraud Store.

 



5 Comments on "LETTER TO LOVEFRAUD: Why, after 20 years, did I let my abusive ex back into my life?"

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  1. bluejay says:

    Camille,

    In time, you will recover from this very bad man. I’m so glad that he is out of your life. These people are incapable of bonding with anyone. Don’t waste your time trying to figure him out. The way that he thinks and operates is foreign to us. They are all users, taking advantage of all people (friends, spouses, relatives, etc.), having zero remorse over their actions. Try not to be hard on yourself. Instead, take very good care of yourself. Thankfully, we are not like them.



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  2. Jan7 says:

    Camille, YOU should be so PROUD of yourself for leaving this evil guy!!

    Embrace that hon, it is not easy to leave a abuser BUT YOU DID IT!!! You left him!!! Standing ovation for you…Bravo!!!

    You are taking back your power!!! You have found Lovefraud…this site is incredible library full of unbelievable knowledge of what you endured, how to heal & a great place to vent & find support. YOU ARE NO LONGER ALONE!! We are all here for you.

    I think every victim has regrets about dating/marrying a abusive man, ignoring the red flags & for staying for so long…regret is one of the hardest things to accept….I “wasted” 12 years & 4 more trying to divorce the crazy man even though my first impression of him was he was a tornado…second time I thought he was Crazy not crazy in a fun way but CRAZY! I ignored my gut and the marching red flags that danced around him every time I was with him.

    I had zero interested in dating my ex h but he pushed my boundaries over & over to get his way…..I had zero interested in marrying him…but he pushed my boundaries over & over to get his way. I had zero interested in staying married to him the first year I wanted to leave him but I stayed 11 more. The wasted time is just that wasted but you are young, you have so many new chapters to write in your book of your life so dont give this guy any more of your time by thinking about those wasted years. Set your new life goals and start fresh.

    The one thing I do NOT regret is leaving my ex h…ZERO REGRET!! You will get to this point too.

    NOW is the time for you to reach out for more help so that you dont get sucked back into his evil con game when he starts to come back around. Reach out to your local abuse center for free counseling and free women group meetings they really do help to set your mind free, dont be embarrass or ashamed to do this you will find that it will be one of the greatest gifts you will ever give yourself.

    You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 365 days a year (USA 800-799-SAFE) to talk with a free counselor and they can also give you the local abuse center numbers. Also ask your local abuse center if they have an out side counselor who is extremely knowledgable with domestic abuse. If you are tight on money ask the counselor for a “sliding scale” price..meaning they will adjust their hourly fee to fit your price range.

    One of my biggest regrets is not getting a restraining order against my ex h….I would HIGHLY encourage you to do this with the help of your local abuse center. Dont feel bad for him…this is one of the best things you can do for you and your children’s safety now.

    You are going to go through all of the grieving emotional stages just like if you had a death in the family. Your emotions will be all over the place from denial, sadness, rage, mad etc. You are not alone during these times come here & vent on a post, call the abuse hotline. Plus when you get to these very emotional times look at sites like psychopath free & lovefraud…read, read, read to open your mind up from your abusers mind control & brain washing (literally) that your abuser did to you to keep you under his grips.

    Donna Anderson (Lovefraud) also has a life coach program for a minimal fee so that is another great option for help via the phone. Her free videos located at the top of this page are a great way to see how this evil man sucked you into his con game. Donna has done a wonderful job provide so much info on her site so take advantage of all of her hard work…she truly cares about each and every victim that finds their way to her site. In addition her books are excellent, her book list is located at the top of the site also.

    Do a search on lovefraud up at the top for:

    1) No Contact Rule (FOLLOW this asap)

    2) gas lighting abuse

    You are going to come out of all of this stronger so just be kind, loving & patient with yourself on your emotional days.

    Wishing you all the best!

    Take care



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  3. catnoch says:

    Camille:
    If this is any consolation, my mother married my Dad a sociopath and was tormented by him her entire life. I often felt bad for my Step Dad who had to contend with her ramblings of my Dad. I believe she never got over him. I am sure he was a very sexy man and very persuasive.

    As a child I never understood how she would talk about him constantly. I know now she was obsessed with him and never got over him. Fortunately she was with my Step Dad when he came around after 10 years or perhaps we may have experienced the same fate as you.

    Sometimes we just have to play a scenario out until we get it out of our systems no matter how damaging.

    Your road is clear for a better future. All the best.



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  4. dorothy2 says:

    Watch the movie Dangerous Liasons, it’s what they do. Spathtard was very subtle in his manipulations for the most part and certainly not overtly sexy (most people find him weird and creepy) but he knew how to get what he wanted for sure. In retrospect, I didn’t just get tangled in his web, I flung myself into it……unknowingly none the less.
    I think these “relationships” are very addictive because they appeal to very primal needs and desires. Like any adfiction, they leave a footprint in the brain and being in contact with them in any way risks a relapse if you don’t have the awareness and education to be able to really see what’s going on.



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