Love is a funny thing. It stems from a deep and vibrant place. Yet for me, I think, I’ve muddled my understanding of what love is. It became something I had to choose every day, mixed in with Survival and Coping, Stubbornness and a misunderstanding of how to be Loyal.
Survival. Coping. Stubbornness. Loyalty. I suppose, in some ways, these are all masks I wear as needed. Whatever helps me to manage the stress and anxiety and find some way to function.
Since leaving, however, I find that I feel a little numb, a little paralyzed. A mask in each hand, perhaps even scattered out all around me, not knowing which one to pick up. Not knowing which one to use. Knowing that a healthy person doesn’t need so many, but that there is an inherent comfort to hiding that I am not quite ready to release.
Yesterday I started reading information about why people still love those who abuse them.
It’s startling to read an article and find so much that I recognize in myself, my actions, and my past. Habits and coping mechanisms that are well-understood in the counseling world.
This article on “Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving your Abuser” felt spot-on. But what I thought was most powerful, and very true, was their advice to friends and family on page 4.