Paradoxical thinking

Today I’d like to share this post, I Can’t Stand You (Please Don’t Leave Me), about the thought process of an abused person.

“An abuse victim’s thought process is a paradox as her mind waffles between extremes  – a simmering resentment toward her abuser juxtaposed against a desperate, if destructive, addiction to him.” (Hurt by Love)

Oh, how very true!

It all feels so twisted in your mind, how you can’t stand the abuser, yet don’t feel you can live without them. You hate them one minute and then desperately try to convince yourself (and others perhaps) how much you love them.

It’s so challenging when you want to be accepted and feel you are worthy and lovable, yet you live with a person who on occasion, allows you to believe those things, and then rips it all out from under you in a split second.

It becomes a dance of sorts — one, two, three; one, two, three. Only it’s much more confusing and often results in your toes being stepped on — hate him, love him; hate him, love him. It’s the dance of paradoxical thinking which leaves you spinning with dizziness.

If you are living with abuse in your life, please know there is something better for you. There is help to get out, to stop the crazy-making, and be able to live a truly fulfilling life.

01 dancingimages

 May you find the strength to break free of this type of thinking in your life, and the courage to create your own dance steps full of love, peace and worthiness.




12 thoughts on “Paradoxical thinking

  1. Thanks for the posted link. Your post and the linked post describe so well where I am right now. I don’t feel so alone knowing others understand.


    1. I’m glad you stopped by, Anne! Yes, it does help to know we are not alone and that others have felt and experienced much of what we have.



    1. I’m glad you are finally becoming free from a life of abuse. The tug and pull of this kind of life becomes wearisome. May you find peace and comfort in the Lord during this time.


  2. What specific words of advice would you give to a woman involved with a man that’s ex wife claims was abusive. But to me he seems kind, caring and gentle? Did he change, or did she cry wolf? Who do I believe?


    1. Read Lundy Bancroft’s book, “Why Does He Do That?” It will help you learn about the different types of abusers and red flags to look for. Not all abuse is overt, loud, physical or even verbal. I spent decades struggling with why I couldn’t be a good wife to my husband, why was everything I did somehow wrong. He never yelled, never hit me or called names, but somehow from a smart, confident woman I became someone who was stupid, incapable, a bad person, feeling lower than low about myself … it must be my fault, he’s so wonderful. Everyone says so. He’s involved with church, community, kind, caring and gentle … with everyone except me. In public, he treats me courteously, like everyone one else, calling me his lovely wife, praising this and that about me. Then at home, if I say, do something that displeases him, he’s cold, harsh and mean in the blink of an eye. In a quiet tone that drips disdain or rolling his eyes in contempt, he makes it clear how wrong and what an idiot I am. I spent years walking on eggshells, trying to keep the mean man from coming out. Crying at my inability to be enough, do enough to make him happy with me at home. I blamed myself, what was I doing to turn the nice person to a nasty, cold person? It took my grown daughter one day saying to me gently, “Mom, emotional abuse is still abuse” and two counselors confirming it … And some days, when he’s being nice (the cycle of abuse), I still don’t always believe it. I don’t want to believe I’ve spent decades of my life with someone who treats me this way. I’m slowly learning I’m worth better treatment. I deserve repect.

      So your boyfriend may be the real deal and the ex just spreading lies … but you need to educate yourself on the red flags of abuse, if you are in relationship with this man. How does he talk about his ex? His other past relationships? Does he take responsibility for things that went wrong or is it always someone else’s fault?

      Best advice I can give. READ Lundy Bancroft’s book!!!

      Patricia Evan’s The Verbally Abusive Relationship is also very helpful. I didn’t read it until recently as I never considered the husband as verbally abusive. (No yelling, name calling, etc). Verbal abuse can be subtle too.

      Both of these authors have websites with much helpful info free. But the books are worth the price and consolidate the info in a very understandable way.

      Educate yourself so you can be sure the man you’re with is every bit as kind, caring and gentle as he appears. My husband’s appearance to the outside world and to me while dating was the same. But it took me too many years wasted to see the truth.

      I hope your boyfriend is the real deal, but I think maybe you have doubts or have things that trouble you about him or you would be able to be confident that the ex is lying. Listen to your gut. I’ve spent years ignoring mine and the price … losing who you are and your self worth … is not worth it.

      Take care. I’ll pray for you and the wisdom to know the truth about the man in your life


      1. Thank you, Anne, for a well written response! I lived in your shoes for 20 years and it didn’t end once he left. Things got worse and very ugly while being separated and eventually divorcing.
        Yes, abuse can be subtle and not all about yelling, screaming and hurting someone physically. The emotional roller coaster you ride day after day leaves you spinning with doubts and fear.
        My boys still deal with the ramifications of their father’s abuse.
        I’m so grateful to God day after day that he brought me out of that situation and today I live a healthy, happy life free of all the crazy-making that once filled my life on a daily basis.


        1. I wish I did. I still am gathering up my courage to leave. Don’t know if I can do it or or not, but every person of importance in my life is confirming that they’ve known for a long time that this marriage is destroying the person I was. That they will continue to support me if I stay, but they really feel I need to leave for my own mental, emotional and spiritual health. And it’s not like anyone has pressured me … no one said anything about my leaving until I told them I was thinking of doing it for my own sanity. That I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and have regrets, having wasted more decades even after knowing it wss abuse all those years.

          It’s just that I know no other life now and the great unknown is almost more terrifying than the devil I know. And he knows something is up and he’s being nicer than he has been in years lately … and I *want* to believe it’s real, even if it’s not.

          I pray for strength and courage each day. I wish I’d left years ago. So I do have my answer. I just need to take that leap of faith.


          1. Anne,
            I’m sorry for not replying sooner, we were out of town.

            I am praying for you dear sister to find God’s strength and courage to stand against abuse in your life. That first step out in faith can be the hardest thing we do, but the most important thing needed if we are to keep our sanity and not completely lose ourselves in the destruction of an abusive marriage.

            I had my answer for years also but was also too scared to leave, but I can now say that there is life on the other side — healthy life. And although it has taken me years to truly find healing and find myself again, it has happened.

            Cling to the Lord with all your strength and when it runs out you can be certain He will carry you, and He will bring you through.

            You are in my prayers.



          2. That’s ok. Life is busy !
            I just started reading Mending The Soul bu Steven Tracy and it’s really speaking to my heart. I have not experienced childhood abuse, thank goodness, but the principles of domestic abuse are the same.


      2. I just happened upon this post from two years ago and was reading the comments. Little did you realize, Anne, that you were replying to my ex’s girlfriend! I didn’t know at the time but found out later on she was commenting on here anonymously and it turns out, it was my ex who actually showed her my blog! Crazy, huh?! Turns out she had lots of doubts and concerns, but after answering her questions never heard from her again. I have prayed the past couple years that she chose to listen to her gut and get out of that relationship. I really felt bad for her especially having kids and possibly getting sucked into the crazy-making she would have experienced with my ex. I hope she found the courage to leave..


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