“Have you ever asked yourself these questions?”

by Annie Kaszina on February 5, 2013

If you’re a woman who’s ended up in an emotionally abusive relationship, you’ve probably asked yourself a lot of questions. 

You need to know that not all questions are equal.

Some questions are useful.  Some are not.

“How could I be so stupid?” is not a useful question – not least, because of the presupposition that you’re stupid.  Ending up in a relationship with an emotionally abusive man doesn’t make you stupid.  It just tells you that relationships weren’t your Specialist Subject.

“Why me?” is not a useful question either.  It tends to trigger your self-criticism and self-blame.  Worse still, it kicks you into victim mode.  It’s absolutely true: as an emotionally abused woman you have been on the receiving end of a lot of unpleasant words and behaviors.  No way did you deserve what happened to you.  And, for all that, “victim” is an ugly word, and an ugly label.

When you’re a victim, you need healing to come from the outside in.  You need Other People to acknowledge how hard it’s been for you, and extend their compassion to you.  Mostly, Other People aren’t very good at that.  They have a very low threshold for compassion, and advice.  (Don’t they just love to offer you their advice?)  As often as not, they attach a price to their ‘compassion’.  The price of their compassion is that you stop talking about and reliving what you have been through, ‘pull yourself together’, and become more as they would have you be.

You’ve been at the mercy of an emotionally abusive man; you don’t want to live at the mercy of Other People’s expectations, surely?

Useful questions include:

  • “Why was I attracted to him?  What really led me to have a relationship with him?” 
  • “How did I get into this mess, in the first place?”

Maybe he was cute, and keen, at the start.  The real question you need to answer is: “What was going on in my inner world, at the time?”

“What was going on in your inner world?” 

  • How good about yourself did you really feel?
  • How confident were you about being able to create a good life for yourself, by yourself?
  • What did having a good relationship mean to you?
  • What did you understand by love?

The simple fact of life is this: emotionally abusive men naturally gravitate towards emotionally vulnerable women.  

An emotionally abusive man will change your world for the worse.  What he actually does is turn up the volume on your pre-existing negativity, until it is at full blast.  Until he almost deafens you.

When you’re feeling deafened, when you’re experiencing that degree of (emotional) noise pollution, it can be incredibly hard to think straight. 

You know to walk out of a physical environment where the noise is too loud for you. 

What do you do when that deafening environment is inside your own head?  Chopping your own head off is not an option, after all.

You simply cannot afford to leave that radio station playing quietly in the background.  See, the sound level may be tolerable to you.  You may be able to tune out.  But emotionally abusive men are like bats (or if you prefer vampire bats); their sensitivity to Radio Negativity is amazingly acute.  Leave Radio Negativity playing away in the background, more or less unnoticed, and it won’t be long before another abusive man will come along to turn it back up to full blast. 

First, you must learn how to turn the volume down to a level at which you can hear yourself think – and, more importantly, feel.  Second, you have to learn to change the station.  

You don’t normally subject yourself to listening to radio stations you absolutely cannot stand, do you?  You don’t have to do that inside your own head, either. 

Don’t wait any longer.  Change the station, now.

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