Breaking the Addiction to Emotional Abuse

During my abuse recovery, I have questioned if I was possibly addicted to the emotional and physiological abuse that I endured daily for so many years. There are times when I question if I will ever truly be over the abuse.  There are always things that triggers my memory of my past life.  They do not trigger an emotional response from me so much anymore.   During the first few years of my divorce even a memory could trigger a panic attack or anxiety.  I am very grateful this type of response happens less today.

Also, I lived under continuous stress for so long it almost seems as if I was unable to live without it.  Almost as if my mind would create the stressful memories so I could feel the stressful feelings that once use to be a normal daily feeling.  When I first moved into my house after my divorce, it was so quiet it was like my brain couldn’t handle it.

Today, I must watch out for warning signs in other relationships.  I have found it was easy to attract certain types of people into my life because they exhibited some of abusive behaviors I had grown accustomed to.  Certainly I was not consciously trying to meet abusive people but feel the same types of emotions I had felt throughout my whole life.  For example, start working at a job that is continuously emotionally stressful with a manipulative & abusive boss.

Looking back now, it sometimes makes me wonder if I did not allow healthy people in my life because of some sort of addiction I had to those emotions.   Abusive people are certainly unhealthy and not good to have in our lives because of the stress they induce.  However, there was always drama and chaos and perhaps they kept emotions running high.   So in a very sick way an abusive relationship might be somewhat exciting even if that ‘exciting’ is really sick and unhealthy.

We have all been given those survival skills, fight or flight, and it is normal to be able to react when we are exposed to those types of situations.  I know those fight or flight trigger an adrenaline rush that gives me the energy to deal with what I have to.  However, it is not normal to feel those feelings continuously.  It makes me think I was somewhat addicted to that adrenaline rush?

However, I am not a doctor and I really cannot diagnose these feelings.  However, if you are in a situation where your life is crazy and your are living in hell every day for years, it might be hard to feel okay without it.  That crazy hell I lived in became my ‘normal’.  I has taken me a long time to make non-stressful life ‘normal’ and any sort of crazy hell ‘abnormal’.

After leaving my abusive ex-husband I have found I do not allow unhealthy people to stay in my life for very long.  It took me 10 years to leave my ex-husband and only 1 year to leave the next unhealthy relationship.  So I had to be extra careful, after being with my ex-husband, my bar was set really low and anyone looked good in comparison.

I am not sure if you can identify with these feelings but they are just some thoughts that have come to my mind.  Today I really do not want to live with daily fighting, drama and chaos.  I do not like to feel stressed but it is something I have to work on because occasionally I find myself engaging in a stressful conversation with a company who did something wrong or unethical.   These are things I have to work on trying to avoid.

4 thoughts on “Breaking the Addiction to Emotional Abuse

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  1. I don’t think we have a sick need for abuse/abusers in our lives – but there does seem to be a repeat of patterns. I took ten years to leave my ex, and only one year to kick out the next abuser. I believe that abusers are attracted to US. They somehow sense our vulnerabilities, and as you know, they CAN control their outbursts. They are always nice in the beginning, so it makes it more difficult to discern who might become abusive later on…

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    1. It took me 10 years to leave my ex-husband too. It only took me a year to leave the next abuser too. I often have joked that I made a 90% improvement. I suppose it isn’t very funny but I am grateful I recognize unacceptable behavior today. I even left a job where I had an emotionally abusive boss. Life is just too short to tolerate abuse in my life.

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  2. I left my abusive ex after 2 and a half years. I’ve always had negative people in my life. I do understand how you are trying to explain about the adrenaline rush. When I was with my ex I hardly ever got sufficient sleep, I thrived on the stress. It gave me fuel to stay awake, to do stuff I usually wouldn’t. I think what happens is that we program ourselves to accept the abusive behaviour. We begin to believe it is normal and we adapt. It is also taking me time to learn to enjoy the quiet peace of living alone. I think our abusive relationships also reflect our own inner thoughts about ourselves. So when we finally learn to love and accept ourselves, we choose our own well-being over trying to please a bully. Just watching what abused people put up with is mind boggling. Yet one cannot know or understand the true trauma and damage unless they have experienced it themselves.

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  3. I get it, I mean I was physically and emotionally abused as a child until high school. In college, I have had fights with my relatives that they would start over (at least to me) mindless things. I am still in college now and was with my ex for a little bit more than a year and friends with him for 4 and a half years. When I think about the past, I did not have that many close friends but talked to more people than I do now. I was also doing more things outside..like events. Maybe that is why I feel a bit incomplete. However, after I ended our relationship (bc he didnt listen much and was very selfish) he began to harass me in all sorts of ways. The interesting thing is I have been pregnant the entire time this harassment was happening (and he knows it). I have already seen so many therapists and psychiatrists (in the past) for my depression and anxiety. I know that my well being is important, but it is hard when you feel like you do not have that much. Yes, I have looked for support but alot of people do not want to deal with my problems, do not how to help me, or have tried to find me some support. Its a difficult case and I know it. I do not blame others for not wanting to take it on. I also dont have alot of housing options as a homeless pregnant college student and that sucks. It took me years, pretty much my entire life to leave the house of my relatives. I feel great, rich in freedom and my environment is just healthier (bc my school lets me live on campus..until the end of this year). However, leaving him permanently was so hard, probably bc that was a relationship of choice not circumstance. I know he has moved on, bc he does not like to be alone ..but has the nerve to continue to harass me and make others feel bad for him. I really wanted to help him, (in the beginning of our relationship he was still on drugs) and I cared about him. It sucks that I just saw a video on the news of him vandalizing a place of business. I felt like I was a great impact on him, giving him the chance to be better than his past, to adjust himself and straighten out his life. I know I can want that for him but he has to do it himself. It just sucks that I saw him doing better, and like me he had a hard time staying off the drugs (I have a hard time staying away from abuse). I hope can get through the rest of this year.

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