Please help: Why am I attracted to abusive men?

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 25 Sep, 2023 06:07 | 2 mins read
Stressed woman. PHOTO/Print
Stressed woman. PHOTO/Print

Hi Achokis, I’m a single mum in my late 30s. I was in an abusive relationship that ended three years ago. I met another guy, who I have been seeing for the last one year.

He wants to marry me and though I was initially excited about it, I’m developing cold feet. This is because I find him very controlling like my ex. I’m afraid to get into an abusive marriage.

Why is it that I’m attracted to such men and could it be that I’m projecting my fears from my last relationship into this new one? Please help!


Relationships can sometimes be very tricky. Someone once said, “We are born in relationships, hurt in relationships, but also healed in relationships.”

There’s a possibility that the effects of your previous relationship might be hindering you from going forward in your current union. An old adage goes, once beaten, twice shy.

So yes, you might be projecting your fears from your last relationship into your current one. You need to be sure that you are not just punishing this guy because of what you experienced with your ex.

Did you go for counselling after breaking up with your ex? Being in an abusive relationship leaves one seriously wounded and suffering from self-esteem issues. You are crippled to the extent that you can’t see the future objectively. That’s why it’s important to go for counselling to help deal and heal the effects of that abusive relationship.

On the other hand, you might just be right that your current relationship is just like the last one. Look back in your past relationship and compare it with this current one. Are there any patterns that you see in both unions? What red flags in your current relationship have reminded you of your last union?

Watch for red flags

If you see clear patterns, some similarities with the last relationship, then you may need to stop. You cannot afford to enter into an abusive marriage.
Have a discussion with him because, he might not be aware of the things he is doing. You might just be the one who will point them out and he might stop. Many couples disregard having a few therapy sessions to know the other person before committing to the relationship.

Have some self-reflection

Based on our emotional and psychological needs, there’s a tendency for us to seek certain things, which we think we can find in a relationship. We may have grown up with a low self-esteem, or craving for acceptance because of the rejection we suffered. When we enter into a relationship, we look at what we missed growing up.

That makes the other person take advantage of you, or you enable them to control you. And so, the issue may not necessarily be with the men, but you who attracts them. So, take a break and seek therapy for yourself before venturing into another relationship.

- The writers are marriage and relationship coaches
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