Are You Falling For An Emotionally Abusive Man’s Lies?

by Annie Kaszina on April 15, 2014

Are you an emotionally abused woman who’s struggling with feelings of not being loveable, and worthwhile?

If you are, it’s only to be expected. Why would any emotionally abusive partner want you to feel loveable or worthwhile?

What could possibly be in it for him?

An emotional abuser’s  power over you depends on keeping you feeling as low as possible… And maybe feeding you an occasional crumb of love and/or approval from time to time.

From which, in your naivete, you conclude that the negative stuff he tells you must be true, mustn’t I? Because why would anyone who says they love you be so mean…?

This week, I was remembering a lovely client of mine called Ian. Ian was my client a long, long time ago. Almost another lifetime ago. I was a physical therapist at the time and … still married!Mr Yuksmall

Ian was a table tennis champion. He was so good that, despite being right-handed, he’d sometimes play matches left-handed, just to challenge himself. When he first walked through my door, I didn’t warm to him; he was tall, lanky, and he had a grating, nasal voice. I was defensive, fearful, and shamefully judgemental back in those days. (Being judgemental was something I’d learned from my family of origin, as well as the wasband.)

Over time, I revised my opinion of Ian. He was a good guy. Not perfect, but good, and on a mission to become the best person he could be. He had a few goblins (if not bona fide demons) of his own to contend with.

Ian gave me a precious gift that I’d like to share with you:

When he was playing table tennis, Ian was in the zone. But at other times he could be plagued by self-doubt, and worry about what people would think of him. But Ian had enough courage to put his fears out there, and he did so one day to someone who said to him:

“Look, there’s something you need to know. Any time you walk into a room full of people, there may be as many as 10% who will judge you on first sight. They could judge you for anything at all, your physical presence, the way you dress, the way you speak, the color of your eyes. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. That’s about what’s already rattling around in your head. It’s got nothing to do with you, at all.

“Another 10 -20% will instantly warm to you. Again, that’s just the way it is.

“The remaining 60-70% will be fairly neutral.”

That piece of knowledge let Ian off the hook; and it improved my quality of life. I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

When you’ve been around an emotional abuser, you’ve been taught that EVERYONE (past, present, and future) has nothing better to do than judge you and find you wanting.

That’s not true.

Maybe 10% take against you because of who they are. Unfortunately, the emotional abuser(s) you’ve had the ‘closest’ relationship(s) with belong in that 10%.

The fact is, they’re miserable snits [no typo] on legs.

Think about it. Sunny, they ain’t.

That leaves another 90% of the population, who will react differently. It’s just a question of sniffing them out, so you can start to associate with the right kind of people for you.

There’s one thing Ian didn’t tell me – because, like me, he didn’t know it at the time. The more you take charge of the way you present yourself to other people, and the way you train them to see you, the greater the percentage that will actively like you.

Think about it. It has to be true, doesn’t it? Just think about your emotionally abusive husband. Some emotional abusers are consistently horrible people: Nasty in private, and Nasty in public. But most aren’t. Most ooze charm (icky charm) in public. And because they give the message that they deserve to be liked (when, actually they don’t) most people respond favorably to that message.

If they can do it, without being truly nice, you can do it, too. Rather better. All it takes is for you to stop believing Mr Nasty’s propaganda, and allow your good qualities to shine.

And if you’re not sure you still have them. Don’t worry about it. The more you put them out there, the stronger they’ll become. Even you will end up convinced by the evidence.

Oh, and one more thing. When Ian shared that story with me, he couldn’t know – and would have been too modest to imagine – that he was sharing a gift that would carry on rippling out to thousands, and thousands of people.

Just suppose some gift you bring to someone – that you’re not even aware of – is doing the same thing, and rippling out to hundreds and thousands of people, you don’t even know about?

Chances are, that’s exactly what is happening.

 

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