Have You Cut Your Emotionally Abusive Husband Loose?

by Annie Kaszina on April 14, 2015

Have you cut Mr Nasty Loose?

GoodbyesmallMary wrote to say: “I am happy to say that I’m quite detached from my emotionally abusive husband’s continuing antics and will continue to be true to myself.”

When Mary started working my program, her emotionally abusive husband was on top form. After endless soul-searching, she’d decided she had to divorce him; and he was doing everything in his power to drive her crazy.  He was playing all the mind games, making dire predictions about her future without him, pleading poverty, trying to poison the children’s minds, stalling with the lawyers – you name it, he did it.

(He was obviously a straight A student of The Abusive Man’s Handbook!)

Mary was really suffering. Like all emotionally abused women, she had a vision of how things should go, and how ‘normal’ people behave.  She was struggling to come to terms with the baffling notion that any emotionally abusive partner is a complete and utter conformist. The problem is that emotionally abusive partners conform to the norms of the Abusive Kingdom (detailed in The Abusive Man’s Handbook), while they deliberately flout the norms of adult, civilized behaviour.

Mary’s husband was hell-bent on conforming to the rules of his peer group, and liberating his vindictive, attention-seeking, spiteful, tantrum-throwing nasty inner infant.

He was giving Mary the message, loud and clear, that she could divorce him if she chose  – provided she had enough stamina for the very long, painful haul he would make sure lay ahead.  She could divorce him, but he was not prepared to tolerate her detaching from him.

In short, he was going into Pain-in-the-Butt-on-Steroids mode.

That’s why she started working my program.  It was a last resort. Like most emotionally abused women she didn’t expect much good to come of it.  It was all about seeing if she could reduce the bad at all.  She wanted out; she didn’t know that over was a real possibility.

Emotionally abusive men all have the Pain-in-the-Butt gene

Emotionally abusive men have, at the very least, the Pain-in-the-Butt gene*.  That isn’t going to change. You can divorce them, but they’ll most probably keep on doing what they do best, on the timescale that is most convenient to them.

You can’t change that.

What you can change – and need to change, if you’re going to enjoy life to the full without them – is the way you respond to their bad behaviour. You need to be able to detach from it, like Mary. There’s no point wasting any more of your life asking yourself: “Why does he do that? Is he ever going to change? What have I done to deserve this?” or “What is going on in his brain?”

An emotionally abusive partner is just a man pursuing a plan: an idiotic, childish one, to be precise.  But it works for him.

When you detach, he doesn’t get his pay-offs. But, more to the point, when you detach, it becomes like looking at someone else’s toddler playing up: not your problem.  So, like Mary, you can enjoy peace of mind – even when he is doing his best: “Look-at-me-I’m-horrible” routine.

Everybody has to have their claim to fame.  If he wants to make obnoxiousness his, who are you to stop him? But, by the same token, who are you to take the blame for his obnoxiousness? You didn’t look at him and say: “I can see this man has a talent for being beautifully, consummately obnoxious, and I want to be the wind beneath his grubby little wings?”

You mistook him for something he wasn’t.

You’re entitled to peace of mind

You’re entitled to peace of mind. You’re entitled to detachment from his obnoxiousness. However badly he chooses to behave, you’re still entitled to peace of mind.  But you do have to make the effort to claim it for yourself. He’s never going to meet you half-way.

Divorce and detachment are two separate things. It’s perfectly possible to divorce and still not have detachment.  Detachment is the key to your happiness and peace of mind. Even if for some rare but compelling reason you really can’t divorce, you can still work towards emotional detachment. One lovely client who truly could not divorce her emotionally abusive husband had some hilarious stories to tell about the way she detached – and got him to detach from her!

However difficult your situation may feel, there is always a way through. Detachment will liberate your energy so you can find your way through. Detachment will leave you free to experience the normal, joyful emotions that barely exist inside The Abusive Kingdom. Detachment will empower you to see yourself as you truly are – as opposed to the no-hoper your emotionally abusive husband tells you that you are. Detachment will transform your life.


* An emotionally abusive husband is  likely to continue as pains in the butt long after you leave him. Violent partners may well become even more violent.  Never underestimate the potentially life-threatening risk a violent partner represents. What this means is that you have to divorce and detach from men with a capacity for violence very carefully indeed.

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