“I Know What You’re Going To Say…”

by Annie Kaszina on April 9, 2013

When Emily said: “I know what you’re going to say”, it threw me.  I hadn’t the faintest idea what she would say next – let alone what I might say. “I know what you’re going to say” is often used as a pre-emptive strike.  The person saying it is anticipating either: “I told you so”, or else, “How could you be so stupid?”  

Having been ‘SO stupid’ in more ways than one in my life, I’m not a fan of blame and judgement.  Making another person feel even worse about something serves no useful purpose.  Unless you’re an emotionally abusive man, of course.  In which case, making you feel bad creates a LOT of leverage. 

Emily had come to me to work on her business direction.  She was bright, confident enough, and she had a rich, full life.  She was in a happy relationship, and had supportive parents.   

Now, 3 years on, we were having a catch up.  Her happy relationship had ended, a few months before the wedding, over the issue of children: her partner had wanted them, she did not.  It was when I asked her about her relationship status that she said: 

“I know what you’re going to say.” 

“After Mel, I had a rebound relationship”, she said.  

You can see how it happened, can’t you?  She was feeling bruised, lost, lonely and vulnerable. 

Guess who happened along? 

Mr Charming – alias Mr Nasty.  

Under other circumstances, Emily might have seen him coming.  But she was feeling low and hurting and, first off, he oozed charm from every pore.  He tripped her up on a slick of freshly oozed charm.  Doubtless, he promised her the earth.: 

“No children, darling?  Of course not.  For you, I’ll cheerfully have a vasectomy… Tomorrow, if you like… And to prove how much I love you, I won’t even bother with an anaesthetic.” 

Okay, so that’s me being facetious!  But you get the picture.  He made it his business to find out what she wanted to hear quick smart, and he said it.  

Do you think Emily fell hard and fast for his charms? 

Of course she did.  

A few months down the line, Charming, now firmly ensconced in her home, has turned into a… controlling crazy-maker.  Emily, who’s never been afraid of anyone before in her life, is always watching her back; she’s terrified of what ‘Charming’ might do.  

Emotional abuse had never been part of her world.  It’s not something we’d ever worked on together.  But she had come to a talk of mine, and enough of the red flags I’d talked about had stuck in her mind for her to have some kind of mental compass.  She got out. 

Naturally, he made it as hard as possible, and terrified the living daylights out of her. 

Among the risk factors I’d mentioned that predispose women to fall for an abuser was being on the rebound.  Emily already knew that.  But, like most of us, she had believed it wouldn’t happen to her… for whatever reason. 

The bottom line is this: 

Bad men happen to vulnerable women who are not vigilant. 

Sure, that’s not how it happens in Hollywood – allegedly.  In Hollywood (provided you’re extremely thin, young, and beautiful) you can be as miserable as you like, and Mr Wonderful-In-Every-Fibre-Of-His-Being (Mr WIEFOHB) will come along and rescue you.  In fact, it’s almost as if the more miserable you are, the more you deserve Mr WIEFOHB.  

It goes without saying that Hollywood’s version of reality is much more appealing than mine.  Hollywood creates some wonderfully powerful fantasies, but it doesn’t take any responsibility for the casualties

Emily, today, is a wiser woman than she was.  That old belief that she needed a man to be happy has gone.  These days, she is man-free.  She loves the life she has created for herself.  She has no need of a man, and no particular desire for a man either.  If someone comes along, he’ll have to be quite exceptional, and slot neatly into her existing lifestyle, for her to even consider him seriously. 

When she told me this, Emily did not say: “I know what you’re going to say”, which left me free to say what I was thinking, without feeling maddeningly predictable.  What I said was: 

“I’m truly sorry you had this awful experience.  But it’s wonderful that what you learned from me enabled you to recognise what was going on, and get out fast.   At least, you learned the lesson quickly, instead of having to have your nose rubbed in it, again and again.  And it’s great that you have reached a place where you can be really happy, without a man in your life.  When you’re in that place, you become a magnet for the right man.  Keep enjoying your life and it will just happen.” 

Rebound relationships are seriously bad for your health and your sanity.  Don’t let one happen to you. 

 

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