How Do I Handle My Emotionally Abusive Partner Leaving?

by Annie Kaszina on October 14, 2014

bigquestionmarksmall“What is wrong with me, Annie? Why can’t I just recover from emotional abuse?” writes Karen.  “He’s gone, but I can’t laugh, smile or find joy. Please give me some advice on how to handle this craziness when they finally leave your life and you’re forced to deal with yourself and your emotions. I thought the happiness would come right back when he was gone.”

Logically, it doesn’t make sense, does it?  Mr Nasty, the emotional abuser who has blighted your life for so long finally takes himself out of your misery… And the wretched man leaves a mountain of misery in his wake.

You’d think that once the agent of your misery, rejection, and humiliation takes his dark cloud elsewhere, THINGS – that is your emotions – would just sort themselves out of their own accord.

Once the thorn – or, more correctly, thornbush – in your side has departed, Life, and your feelings should just sort themselves out, shouldn’t they?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.  That thorn(bush) in your side has left you with a nasty infection, or two.

First off, the repeated trauma you’ve experienced has reprogrammed the way you think, and the way you feel – about yourself and the world.

Then you have to take into account your emotional abuser’s intention: he wanted to leave a legacy of unhappiness behind him.  And he has: he’s done a good, deliberate job.

You have to understand that your psyche is NOT a bath tub.  It’s not quite as simple as him pulling the plug out when he leaves so that all the dirty water just drains away.

The net results of being with Mr Nasty are:

1)     You’ve not just lost your self-worth, you’ve lost sight of who you are.

2)    He’s created a new Normal for you.  It’s become your Normal – with him or without him.

Your emotionally abusive husband has left, but you can expect him to keep coming back at regular intervals.  Think of him as some kind of unpleasant meal that keeps repeating on you.  Chances are, he will.

That’s one aspect of the problem.  The other is even more important, and that is how you keep his nastiness alive inside you.

self-loathngOne thing common to ALL the emotionally abused women I have ever worked with is their judgemental, punitive, self-loathing.

Yes, that’s quite a mouthful and, maybe, when I put it that way, it will give you pause for thought.  Every emotionally abused woman I have ever met gives herself a hard time – the whole time.

She does it on autopilot.  Without having the first idea that’s what she does.  For her that is “NORMAL”.

Her “Normal” is profoundly dysfunctional.  And profoundly destructive.

Perhaps the worst part of it is that she has no idea how costly that “Normal” is in terms of her quality of life.

To give you a thumbnail sketch of how it works:

  • She feels powerless; so she lets other people – not just her emotionally abusive partner – control her.
  • She feels worthless; so she underachieves.  Frequently, that translates into either not working, or earning (far) less than her skills and abilities should dictate.
  • She feels unlovable; so she settles for crumbs of emotion, and bad relationships.
  • She feels hopeless; so she dismisses hope for the future – and sees her past, with Mr Nasty, as rosier than it is/was.
  • She feels paralysed; so she lacks the energy and drive to transform things.
  • She feels cynical; she tells herself the whole world thinks and behaves like Mr Nasty.
  • She feels like a victim; so she spends her time stuck inside her own head, and her own past.  Victimhood is a prison.  The price of leaving it is letting go of your victim story.

Besides all of that, most emotionally abused women were actually trained to abuse in their family of origin.

With all of that going on, recovery won’t just happen of its own accord.

That’s not the same as saying “it can’t happen”.  It absolutely can.  Every week I help clients make that shift from Victim to strong, empowered women who believe in their own worth.  As a result their income, self-worth, and quality of life skyrocket.

But the shift doesn’t happen, magically, of its own accord.  The bad feeling state Mr Nasty has left you in has WAY too much momentum for that.

Shift happens when you do the work to transform your mind-set.  That work doesn’t have to be difficult, or slow, or painful.  It’s simply a matter of taking the right steps, in the right order, with the right support.

Your emotionally abusive husband triggered some pretty toxic emotional states in you – or, more accurately, he left you with a whole minefield of toxic emotional states to navigate your way through.

You can learn to clear those mines safely.

That’s what emotional abuse recovery is about.

It’s the best way to handle an emotionally abusive partner leaving, or staying, or doing cartwheels across the floor, or anything else.

It’s all about you learning to do the thing you probably tell yourself you cannot do: liketaking charge of your emotional state and changing it so that you can love, trust and believe in yourself.  Finally.

You CAN do it.

Previous post:

Next post: