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Why Do You Love An Emotionally Abusive Man?

by Annie Kaszina on August 26, 2014

Why do you love an emotionally abusive man?  What keeps you from walking away, at top speed, once you start to see that you’ve got a BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free)  –  Mr Hyde as well as Dr Jekyll?  What makes it so hard to walk away from a relationship which, at some level, you already know is a disaster?

This week, I’m sharing the reasons why I believe you love an emotionally abusive man.  Those reasons are based on my own experience and the experience of many, many clients over the years. I’m guessing that some of them may well be the same reasons that led you to love an emotionally abusive man.

But let’s start where you probably would not – with a very necessary disclaimer. You did not fall in love with an emotional abuser because of stupidity, feeble-mindedness, or any of the other charges you later level against yourself. You ended up in that relationship, as I did, because you truly did not believe that it could ever turn out half as badly as it did.

On the other hand, chances are that, where your partner was concerned, you were a sitting duck.

  1. What drives a fundamentally sane, intelligent person into the arms of an emotionally abusive partner?
  1. A reservoir of pain together with a deep hunger for love and a profoundly human vulnerability.

Once you have surrendered your heart to Mr BOGOF, it becomes even harder to walk away than it does to stay. So, you walk through the long, hard path of emotional abuse.  Alone.

Still, you tell yourself that the deterioration of the relation is somehow your fault. It would never have happened if you had only been lovable enough. Allegedly.

Two people. Two different agendas.

The truth, of course, is every different. The truth is that two people met up who had two very different agendas.

You wanted the Happily Ever After – and were prepared to work incredibly hard to get it.

He wanted,

  • Power and control.
  • Someone to take care of all his creature comforts.
  • Someone to vent his bad feelings on.
  • Someone to manipulate.

Mr BOGOF wanted a relationship in which it was okay to exercise his talent for mental cruelty.

Nothing you ever did could have justified that emotional cruelty.   What happened was simply was what was bound to happen when you are stuck in a confined space with a predator.  The predator went on the attack and kept going for your jugular.

Not your fault.

However, undoubtedly your misfortune.

It happened – to you – because the emotional conditions were right for you to love an emotionally abusive man.

Here are the reasons why it happened to me. Check out for yourself how they resonate with you.

It happened – to you – because the emotional conditions were right for you to love an emotionally abusive man.

Here are the reasons why it happened to me. Check out for yourself how they resonate with you.

Reasons why you love an emotionally abusive man

  • Emotional abuse was the ‘map of the world’ I knew from childhood.  I was taught that the world of my childhood was the way The World was. Abuse world was, allegedly, as good as it got.
  • I grew up in a world where Other People had important opinions.  My job was simply to live by their opinions.
  • I was led to believe that I didn’t matter –either as a unique human being, or family member.  My role was to compensate, serve and/or bring kudos to my parents.
  • I was taught that I was not naturally loveable.  Quite the reverse.  What I learned was that I would always walk in the shadow of negative judgment.
  •  I learned that loyalty was a one-way street: I had to give it; but I could never expect it.
  • I was taught that others had the right to visit their anger, frustration, and fears on me.
  • I was trained not to have needs, demands, or even personal dreams and aspirations.
  • I was taught that I had to Earn the Right to any kind of consideration.  Earning that Right was some kind of skill test I had to pass – but never could.
  • I was trained to believe in a rigid and unchanging hierarchy: men, came at the top, women lower down, I came lower down still.
  • I learned that my world was filled with hostile, negative people who were out to treat me badly, and do me down.  Without a man I couldn’t possibly survive.

All of that taught me to see the world and myself in a pretty toxic way.  Maybe you, too had a similar experience. Having such a bleak vision of myself and my world made it really important for me to find someone who was prepared to take me on.  

With the benefit of hindsight, I know that I made a really misguided choice to keep on working at making my BOGOF relationship work out.

But when you love an emotionally abusive man, that is what happens – you make misguided choices. It’s unfortunate.

However, let’s do what emotionally abused women rarely do, and look at the good stuff.

One amazing thing comes out of all of the misery of an emotionally abusive relationship. Your determination NOT to visit on your children the same pattern of negative beliefs that you were taught.

In the end that can only mean that you have proved stronger than you could ever imagine. You have not let yourself be broken by all the toxic programming you have experienced.

That is amazing.

Especially when you think how vulnerable and defenseless you often feel.

What’s more, you have chosen not to perpetuate the garbage that you  learned somewhere along the line.  That tells you something profound: deep down, you know that that view of the world is wrong.

When you love an emotionally abusive man, the experience may hurt you deeply.  However, it will not break you. Hold that thought.

 

 

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