Why Emotionally Abusive Love Is Not Real Love – 12 Key Differences

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by Annie Kaszina on October 11, 2016

Emotionally abusive love is different

Emotionally abusive love is a weird thing.  You have a hunger for the Happily Ever After – quite possibly because, thus far, you have not had too much of the Happy in the Here and Now. So, when someone comes along promising lasting love, you embrace the possibility – even if your very first impression of that person was not altogether perfect.

If necessary you revise – downwards – your opinion of what someone needs to be like to be perfect for you, so you can sign on the dotted line of the Happy Together Life Contract.

At least, that is what you think you are doing. However, because it – he – looks like such a good prospect, you don’t bother to check out the small (and not so small) print.  That is unfortunate because – fairly soon after the ink has dried on that contract – the relationship you have together starts to become less happy.  In fact, it takes a nosedive – actually, the first of a very long series of nosedives.

What has really happened is that you have got yourself into a toxic love relationship with an emotional abuser. Unfortunately, you were not to know that. How could you have known? Given the high levels of ignorance and tolerance of toxic love – otherwise called emotionally abusive  love – that exist in our society.

So, let’s look now at 12 things that let you know that you are in a relationship of emotionally abusive love – not healthy love.

12 Emotionally abusive love versus real love

#1  You tell yourself you cannot live without the other person. 

You tell yourself that – for whatever reason(s) – you cannot survive without him. However, the reality is that your emotional health, happiness, and self-worth are all going swiftly down the pan as a result of being with him. In a healthy, loving relationship, you might not want to be left without the other, but you do not fear that his absence would destroy you. It would not. Emotionally abusive love, on the other hand,  says that you can be miserable with your abuser or else, totally destroyed by his absence.

#2 You feel fearful most of the time.

It is perfectly reasonable to feel fearful when you live with an emotional abuser. You never know quite what an abuser will do next but you can bet that it will be thoroughly nasty. However, it is not reasonable to live your life from a place of fear. A loving relationship is not one where one partner has to fear the other. However, fear is a big component of emotionally abusive love.

#3. You feel under attack most of the time.

Again, that is perfectly reasonable – inasmuch as you are in a crazy situation, and you are under attack most of the time.  In a loving relationship, it is unthinkable that one partner would subject the other to constant, deliberate attacks.

#4. You have to be the caretaker of your partner’s feelings.

It’s your job to keep him from feeling hurt, angry, frustrated, or depressed. Curiously, you have to protect him from his own feelings, but he is free to attack and/or disregard yours. Supportive behaviour, in a loving relationship, requires both partners to walk beside the other in difficult times.  Emotionally abusive love dictates that you must constantly “carry” your abuser.

#5. You have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for your partner’s behaviour. 

If he behaves badly it must be your fault. Love does not mean never having to hold someone accountable. It means saying, “I love and value you, and I love and value myself.  So, I don’t condone bad behaviour. You will have to do better in the future.”

#6. You shoulder the blame for anything and everything.

Now, that may well feel normal to you. (It certainly did to me, for a very long time.) Nevertheless, that is thoroughly toxic. Anyone who constantly goes around shrieking, “It’s your fault! You’re to blame!” as an emotionally abusive partner does, is unpleasant and vindictive. Emotionally abusive love is thoroughly vindictive and unpleasant.  Healthy love is not.

#7 You mistrust yourself.

You share your partner’s belief that you are feeble-mind and incapable of thinking things through for yourself. Chances are, you have been undermined so often by your Crazy-maker in Residence that you can’t think straight when he is around. Bu that says an awful lot more about your environment than it does about your mental processes.  Being around a Crazy-maker is crazy-making.  Emotionally abusive love exists to undermine you, whereas  healthy love will support and encourage you.

#8 You lose your voice. 

An emotionally abusive partner could not be less interested in anything you have to say. It is dismissed, out of hand, as being of no consequence. Emotionally abusive love is all about the controlling monologue of the abuser. Healthy love values your contribution and sees you as being equal.

#9 You dread being abandoned.

You may well have a past history of abandonment – or else, you may never have been truly accepted and cherished by your family of origin. Either way, you have a – needless – fear of  your partner’s abandonment  The reality is that he abandoned you a long, long time ago when he stopped treating you as a precious human being (if, indeed, he ever did). Emotionally abusive love, at best, blows hot and cold. Healthy love is constant.

#10 You need to make your partner happy and whole.  

When you got together with your emotionally abusive partner some very interesting things happened, at the non-verbal level. Above all, you agreed to do all of his emotional “dirty work” for him.  Facing up to your own difficult feelings requires a certain courage. He dumped all of his difficult feelings at your door, for you to deal with. His can of worms became your can of worms – while your own can of worms was not just your own to deal with but, in his eyes, “disgusting”. Healthy is not about offloading like that. But emotionally abusive love gives an abuser the right to fly dump forever after.

#11 You are always running on empty.

Loving does mean giving. Healthy love means receiving also. Emotionally abusive love means giving without return in the vain hope that you will, one day, reach the mythical tipping point that will change everything. There is no such tipping point for an emotional abuser. They are – in more ways than one – a bottomless pit.

#12 You give up on yourself.

Emotionally abused women have a mountain of unused – or underused – talents and abilities. An emotional abuser works on the principle that “this relationship ain’t big enough for both of us” and therefore someone must go without.  Guess who agrees that they had better sacrifice themselves? Healthy love believes in sharing the good things –even in bad times.  Emotionally abusive love requires you to give up on everything that matters to you.

If you have become enmeshed in an  emotionally abusive love, then  that is sad but it does not have to be life-defining.  Abusers do not change their way. The  partners they abuse can, and do.   If you need help in breaking away from from the cycle of abuse, get it touch, and let’s talk.

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