Sigmund Freud delineated the human psyche as three distinct levels of the mind: the preconscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind.
The preconscious mind manifests in our preemptive thoughts that have been untouched by logic and awareness. The conscious mind manifests in our awareness, our thoughts, and our emotions, a state of mental processing and rationality that stabilizes the urges of the Id. The unconscious mind manifests outside our conscious awareness, portraying as emotions we are not aware of such as anxiety or depression.
The three levels of the mind can be applied to love. Our cravings and desires come into awareness when we encounter new partners, and we become unaware of the dark sides of new relationships because we remain in the conscious phase of being in love. We fail to acknowledge when our relationships go awry because we become unaware of the instabilities and negativity that happen until it is too late.
Staying in an abusive relationship can be compared to drug addiction. We experience positive or negative reinforcements, such as being “punished” for speaking the wrong words and behaving in ways unexpected or being “rewarded” for obeying the “rules” and behaving in ways we are told.
When we are “rewarded”, our bodies experience spiked levels of dopamine that continue to make us crave for more “rewards” from our abusers. This system of give and take ultimately results in those abused becoming desperate and blaming themselves while trying to win the love of those who take advantage of them.
Abusive relationships all tend to follow the same pattern, where those maltreated are enticed by the charm of their abusers to the point where they begin to idolize and worship them. They are then disrespected and devalued, and ultimately discarded and destroyed, leaving the mind confused and desperate to hold on by any means possible without fully understanding why.
Common fears that prevent victims from leaving their abusers, resulting in endless intrapsychic battles, include the fear of what could potentially happen to them if they leave, the belief that fighting for relationships equates to strength and love, the shame that comes with admitting failure when a long-term relationship ends in divorce, the low self-esteem that comes from the constant mental and emotional abuse toward the self, and the blinded love and infatuation that comes with holding onto an image of the abuser that no longer exists.
Sadistic relationships often correlate with obsessive affection, with the obsession stemming from lack of closure, or rather lack of closure with ourselves. Even when our partners lay out the specific reasons why they longer want to be with us, we refuse to accept the truth, and instead, hold out for the answers that align with what we want, pressuring and convincing our partners to give us second chances.
The quote, “We want what we cannot have” continues to hold true when we pursue those who no longer want us.
When abusers walk away rather than vice versa, our minds automatically point toward self-blame and guilt. We blindly see their departures as signs that we have done something wrong and that we need to take action to repair the relationships.
We are left with constant thoughts and doubts about the flaws we possess that have forced our partners to walk out.
We are left with extreme self-hate and negativity that plague our minds to believe that we deserve to be abused.
We are left with resentment toward ourselves for not having been strong enough to persist in a life-threatening relationship.
We are left confused and entrapped in a mind-warp where we continue to justify our pain.
We are left with the deceit of no longer knowing who we are.