An Emotionally Abused Woman’s Million Dollar Question

by Annie Kaszina on December 30, 2014

Any emotionally abused woman’s million-dollar question has to be: “If a man is actually doing therapy work to heal himself and he fully admits his wounds, apologizes, and is willing to heal, then is that ok?  Or do emotionally abusive men sometimes just say that they will go to therapy and heal to please a woman?”   

What makes it the million-dollar question?

Because if you can – finally – trust him then it’s all going to be alright.  All the time, energy, love and whatever else you have invested in him is – finally – going to pay off.  And Love, Validation, and the Happily Ever After beckon.  Just like in the fairy tales.  Just like you always hoped they would.  End of…


You just choose Hopium Addiction over (harsh) reality, and hope the fairy tale will materialize….

worriedwomansma;;As someone who has worked with hundreds and hundreds of emotionally abused women and seen how situations play out, I know you ignore – or sidestep – (harsh) reality at your peril.

So, the emotionally abusive partner is doing ‘therapy work’, is that a guarantee?  Absolutely not.  Most emotional abusers don’t seriously commit to ‘therapy work’ – which is often way too short, or too superficial, to produce effective change.

He admits his wounds.  That sounds great.  But what does it actually mean.  Does it mean he’s saying: “Because I had a tough time of it, I have behaved badly.”  If he is, be very afraid.  Bad experiences don’t have to result in bad behaviors.  They’re not an excuse, or a justification.  They’re simply a – bad – way of responding.  It’s called Kick the Cat Syndrome.

Besides, he’s not the only one with wounds, is he?  You must have collected your ‘fair’ share along the way – quite a lot of them at his hands, or via his tongue lashings. How much does that matter to him?

We know that he is aware that you have wounds, too, because he is apologising.  Too many emotionally abused women have to learn the hard way that an apology or five do not a reformed character make.  Anyone can apologise when they’re in a tight corner and see a convenient relationship threatening to go down the pan.  He needs to do better than just say the words.  How is he going to make reparation?  What is going to be different long-term?  What proof do you have that it is going to be different, apart from the apology?

He says he’s willing to heal.  That’s nice, isn’t it?  However, there is a massive distinction between being willing to heal, and being willing to undertake the necessary healing work on himself.

Before anyone can heal, they need to take a good long look at themselves and go through a number of painful realisations.  Most emotional abusers wouldn’t say “No” to the pay-offs of healing, but they experience a huge stumbling block along the way: loss of status.  They get their feeling of power and – ironically self-worth – from the control they have over you and the situation  For most emotionally abusive men that’s a big ask.

“Is that okay?”  Don’t be fooled by the apparent banality of this phrase.  “Is that okay?” is not just a linguistic tic it’s the key to this whole issue.  What it reveals is the emotionally abused woman’s desperation.  Why would a promise, from a proven promise-breaker be okay?  Why would it be enough to nullify months – or more like, years, even decades – of bad and hurtful behaviour?  All this question really points to is how low the emotionally abused woman’s expectations are – and how serious her Hopium Addiction is.

“Do emotionally abusive men sometimes just say that they will go to therapy and heal to please a woman?”  Not exactly.  They don’t do it because they seriously want to please a woman.  They do it because losing their partner might be expensive – if they have to divide join assets – or else inconvenient: who else is going to service their needs and be the Cat for Kicking?

All emotionally abusive men follow the same script: “Darling, I’m sorry.  I’ll go into therapy and I’ll change.  We can still be happy together, you’ll see…”is the appropriate refrain in times of crisis.  I’ve heard this from many, many clients.  But when it came down to it, their partners didn’t change significantly.  Such changes as they did make were not enough to make the women happy.  The relationship was fatally flawed from the start. 

The emotionally abused woman’s million-dollar question is a bad question.  A bad question produces bad answers..  This million-dollar question is all about him changing to make the relationship right.  It’s the question of someone whose quality of life is not yet that important that she is prepared to take charge of her own life.  Regardless of what her abusive partner is saying, nothing good is going to come out of NOT taking charge of her own life.

Your quality of life should be worth a million-dollars to you.  If it’s not, you need to change things.

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