The Reason Why An Emotionally Abusive Partner “Has You at Hello”

by Annie Kaszina on October 31, 2013

hellosmallMany, many emotionally abused women tell me that their emotionally abusive partner “had them at Hello”. It was, they say, love at first sight. Other emotionally abused women say of their emotionally abusive husband, “I didn’t like him at first. But he was do keen on me that I… kind of let myself be frog-marched into the relationship.” 

Okay, so they don’t actually use those words. But that is the sense I get, time and time again: because he wanted it so much, they agreed to it/caved in to it. 

Thereby setting a pattern – a seriously BAD pattern – for the life of the relationship. 

In case you’re wondering, we’re not dealing with two different types of response, here. Even the women who say it was “love at first sight” will normally acknowledge that their very first, intuitive response was not a “Wow!”, but a “Yuk!” 

After that initial “Yuk”, their conscious mind got busy, and set up a dialogue that would cost them dear. Their conscious mind started… well, bullying, actually, their poor Unconscious, asking:

  • “What do you mean, “Yuk”? He looks good/ he smells good/ he’s got a good job/ he has decent table manners/ he doesn’t have a freak sign hanging over his head.”
  • “What is wrong with you, girlfriend? Who are you to be so picky? When was the last time you had a queue of men waiting outside the door for a glimpse of you?”
  • “Listen, you’ve already got your place booked in The Last Chance Saloon. You’re in serious danger of dying a Sad, Old Single. Is that what you want?”
  • “Have you lost your mind? Compared with the previous guy, this one looks like Prince Charming? He earns a living. He’s got all his own teeth. He doesn’t have a drink/drug problem. He’s bright enough to spell his own name…” 


The guy didn’t appear in your life wearing a Government Health Warning tee-shirt. So, you measured him against your internal, mental bar – which was set reassuringly low, so as not to exclude anyone remotely possible – and you said: “Why not?” 

After all, it was only your life, and your happiness, we’re talking about. 

The result, as you already know, was that you ended up with Some Kind of Ghastly. Or, if you prefer, you ended up with one – or several – of the 50+ Shades of Revolting. 

We could talk about him all day. But I don’t intend to. 

An emotionally abusive partner becomes an emotionally abused woman’s ‘specialist subject’. She can – and often does – talk about him till the cows come home. 

The sad thing is that talking about him doesn’t help an emotionally abused woman to learn anything about… herself. 

So, let’s take a look at you. 

Why did you do it? 

Why did you settle for a Nasty clone? 

The short answer is that you had low self-esteem. You did not feel good about yourself. 

Now, I know that you may well object to that. I’ve heard so many emotionally abused women say that they were flying high when they met their emotionally abusive partners. 

I both believe them – I felt the same way – and dispute the accuracy of their perception. 

Let me use my own story as an illustration of how this works. 

When I met my emotionally abusive husband, I was flying the highest I’d ever been. What this meant in practice was that I could see a sort of future for me. It was a moment in my life where my feet were not chained to the ground. I had a sense of my own potential. I had friends, and a sense of achievement. Other people had made it clear to me that they believed in me. 

All good stuff as far as it went… 

But did it go as far as having a strong sense of my own worth? 

Did it go as far as having positive mind-set? 

Did it go as far as knowing how to bounce back from difficulties, and keep myself happy and upbeat?

Did it go as far as saying; “You know, I’m not prepared to take responsibility for your feelings.  So, lovingly and respectfully, take a hike.  You are history.”? 



The mind-set I learned at my parents’ knee, so to speak, was very different. I learned that: 

  • Men are allowed to behave as badly as they want, and women have to appease
  • There was a natural hierarchy, and my place was at the bottom of it, because I was young, and a girl
  • I had no power to change the status quo
  • The World was an unsafe place – especially for a girl
  • The World was fully of nasty people
  • I lived on shifting sands. Things could look one way, one day, but if the Opinion-Makers-in-Chief changed their minds, things could look totally different the next day – or even the next moment.
  • I learned that being on the receiving end of anger, negativity, and criticism was a normal part of life. In fact, it was there – allegedly – to save me from myself.
  • I learned that bad things happened – rather a lot – and the best thing I could do was just bow my head and accept them
  • I learned that my vision and my opinions were worthless.
  • I learned that Love and Approval had to be earned. Earning them was always going to be hard work. Every day, pretty much, I had to start over.
  • I learned that I would always be judged – and most likely always found wanting.
  • I learned that I didn’t matter, my feelings didn’t matter: it was okay for me to hurt and disregarded – my job was just to get on and deal with it, without making any fuss.
  • I learned that nothing good will ever last very long, at all.
  • And I learned that loyalty was a one-way street. I was meant to be loyal, but shouldn’t expect loyalty. 

Doubtless, there was more as well. 

My parents didn’t consciously set out to make sure I had an unhappy life. They’d grown up in a world where all of those beliefs held sway and they were, in their own way, teaching me the best of what they knew. 

yuksmallThey taught me how to live life with the blinders (blinkers) on. 

Still, if they’d tried – intentionally – to ‘groom’ me for an emotionally abusive relationship, they couldn’t have done much better. 

Not that they were trying to groom me for an emotionally abusive relationship. They didn’t have a clue what an emotionally abusive relationship was. They had no idea that their natural habitat was an emotionally abusive relationship. 

Nor did I. 

I actually thought I was free, and wise, and self-determining. 

And then along came my emotionally abusive partner. He quickly saw that I ticked all the boxes. So, he knocked me off my feet – why ‘sweep’, after all, and risk pulling a muscle, when a good, hard knock will do the trick? 

After that, everything unfolded exactly as it was intended to by everyone… except me

That was my story. I’m guessing it’s very much yours, too. 

Your emotionally abusive partner had you at “Hello” because, like me, you had a huge sign pointing directly at your head that read: “Emotional Abuse Ready”. 

And you didn’t even know it was there. 

How could you? 

That was then. What needs to happen now is for you to change your beliefs about yourself, so you stop thinking like an emotionally abused woman, and STOP being a magnet for emotionally abusive men.

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