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Feeling like my abuser was two different people?

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Feeling like my abuser was two different people?

Postby Roseredpinball » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:54 pm

Does anyone else have experience with this? And if so, how did/do you cope with it? When I was a child I was abused by my significantly older brother (to give an idea of how much older he is than me, when I was five he was starting college.) And yet, despite the constant criticizing, scrutinizing, teasing, and yelling and occasionally hitting, he did have his moments of tenderness as well. There were a few times when my brother was nice to me, when he played with me, made me laugh, and acted protective of me. Because of this, I had and still have mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, I hate him for what he did to me. On the other, I do have some fond memories of him as well and care about him. I really wish I didn't, it'd be easier if I simply hated him. And what makes it more confusing is how, now, he's a much different person. He's still kind of a prick at times and judgmental, but he doesn't hurt me anymore, he's generally a lot nicer than he used to be, and acts more warm towards me. So now, it really feels like he's two different people. Like the man, the abuser that he used to be, was someone else, and the person he is now is a different person. Rationally, I know this isn't the case but that's how it kinda feels. Honestly, it's kind of frustrating.

I know some might say "well, he was just manipulating you, trying to control you. Those acts of kindness when you were a child were just him manipulating you." And maybe that is often the case, in other abusive relationships. I genuinely don't know. But for me, I don't think that was the case. I mean, yes, he definitely did do some manipulative things to control me, such as withholding affection and through intimidation and corporal punishment. I acknowledge that. But I also think that those occasional moments of affection weren't faked. I think they were real. My brother had a lot of issues, particularly anger issues. He didn't purposely plan ahead of time to abuse me and how he was gonna do it. I think, more so, it was a heat of the moment thing. He would get angry and lose his temper and then he'd lash out at me. Some of it was probably done purposely, to punish me, but a lot of it I think was just him being unable to control his rage. That doesn't excuse it, though. Still... that's my dilemma. I hate feeling ambivalent towards him, as I said, it'd be easier if I simply just hated him. But, I don't. And, I'm not sure how to deal with these feelings. It'd help to know I'm not the only one who feels this way towards their abuser and that I'm not crazy, lol. If anyone else has been through a similar situation or is currently going through such a situation, please, tell me, how did/do you cope with it? Tysm, I wish the best of luck to all of us in healing from our abuse!
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Re: Feeling like my abuser was two different people?

Postby realityhere » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:27 am

What matters now is how you feel when your brother is present. Pay attention to both physical reactions and mental thoughts. Uneasy, because he's unpredictable? Wary or cautious, because you don't trust him? Find yourself avoiding conversation subjects that has triggered him in the past or can trigger him easily?

He may have learned as an adult to handle the anger issues he had as a teenager or he may not have. His life path will certainly reveal which. Has he ever apologized to you for his abusive behavior? Your ambivalence seems to indicate that he hasn't and you wonder why he's this nice guy now.

Have you ever expressed to him about how his past abusive behavior was hurtful to you? If not, maybe it's time to have that conversation with him. How he reacts will be a strong tell.
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Re: Feeling like my abuser was two different people?

Postby quietgirl2538 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:44 pm

I shared to my therapist in a safe setting how I still held hurt and had anger towards my sister who is now an adult as I am too. The hurt from her doing what she did, hit me, take advantage of me monetarily, etc., still happened and it bothered me enough to not feel close to her even as she acted like she loved her little sister (me). I couldn't feel the same way back. So with slow and taking my time and when I was ready, I approached the subject. I asked her about our interactions from the past. She denied them and said if they did happen she forgot and please forgive her. I see her as a coward. I think that what she did was so bad that it almost can't be forgiven. But I do want to forgive her if she is truly sorry and feels bad for hurting me. As it is, it's swept under the rug and I resent her even more. I won't approach her anymore about that, but I don't trust her and in a relationship trust is essential. She did this on her own, to have me not trust her. This is how our relationship will be from now on. I've resigned myself to this fact, that she won't acknowledge the truth for whatever reason(s) and I decided I will still have her in my life. That's my own take on your dilemma. I thought sharing my own life and the way I dealt with it can give you a picture of how things CAN turn even when we want the best for us and the other person. I wish you the best.
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