The 10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face are not nearly widely enough understood. They are not fully understood by the sufferer. Still less, are they understood by Other People who imagine that an emotionally abused woman should
a) Respond instantly and appropriately to all free advice
b) See “sense” to order.
c) “Get over it” quickly enough not to test Other People’s patience, an
d) Dive into a new, successful relationship in a – proverbial – heartbeat.
Some day we really must institute National Make Other People Happy Day. Until that happens – and I, personally, hope to be spared that outrage in my lifetime – recovering emotionally abused women will do much better to focus on making ourselves happy. You do that when you understand and honor your own feelings first.
But before you can do that, you need to keep those toxic problems firmly in your sights. So, here are they, in no particular order – as per the talent show formula.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #1 Feeling they are The Only one.
An emotionally abusive man will work hard to build a wall of isolation around you. He’ll alienate you from friends, and family, he’ll do his best to make you feel you just want to hide away, and he’ll try to convince you that you are “different” – i.e. “worse/weird”. Other People, may not intend to, but they have a nasty habit of reinforcing that belief.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #2 Feeling unsafe.
An emotionally abusive man always keeps his sniping skill perfectly honed. That means that you are always a target. Making yourself as invisible as possible helps to some degree – but only some of the time. The lesson you’ve learned is that it is always safest to do nothing. That’s not true. The outside world is not a shooting range. Besides, moving targets are harder to hit. You will never feel safe until you move away from people who use you as target practice.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #3 They don’t believe they can have a life without him.
It’s true. I can’t think of a single fairy tale that recounts how the lovely, sweet, girl/princess wakes up to herself. No fairy tale heroine that I know of realises that she’s married a beast, and cheerfully divorces him. Still less does she then a) fall in love with her own wonderful qualities and b) find the man who will adore her for her unique human stature. That means it is up to us and our daughters to start writing and living, that fairy tale. So we can teach the world – and ourselves – a worthy fairy tale for the 21st
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #4 They don’t know who they are.
Nothings compares to an emotionally abusive relationship for making you forget who you are. Losing your sense of identity is huge. It becomes a BIG drama. After all, if you don’t know who you are, how can you possibly lay claim to any worth. Having been there and done that – without remotely enjoying it, I have acquired this simple philosophy: life is about you finding your own meaning. That means discovering, for yourself, who you are.
When you leave an emotionally abusive relationship, you’re a blank slate: a slate that has been wiped clean. But here’s the thing, you no longer have to have quarrels, conflicts, and humiliations written on that slate. Instead, you’re now free to write on it everything that makes you unique and valuable. It affords you plenty of space. You need to include everything that makes you, YOY – your frailty, your courage, your sensitivity, your strength, your sense of humor, your fears, your gifts.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #5 They’re living in a Victorian novel.
(Victorian novels are BIG on doom and gloom.)
All emotionally abused women are TERRIFIED of two things – a) ending up on the street, or b) starving, in a garret, with only a manky moggy for company. They forget all their skills and abilities. Instead, they tell themselves: “He is the only source of financial security in my world. So, without him, I’m doomed.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #6 They wear labels.
Labels on clothes aren’t all bad. Labels on people are horribly limiting – especially when they are malicious labels pinned on you by a toxic person. It’s too easy to let your labels define you. You’re a person who’s been through some very tough experiences. Emotional abuse is a very tough experience, indeed. But you are so much more than a label.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #7 They think the future will only ever be more of the Same-Old Same-Old.
Life always changes. Only an emotionally abusive relationship never changes – not really. When you are with an emotionally abusive partner, it is Ground Hog Day, over and over again. That’s why, once you get Herr Ground Hog out of your bed, and out of your life, you are free to change, grow, and embrace the future.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #8 They have long since stopped having fun.
In an emotionally abusive relationship, fun is never on the menu. Living with an emotionally abusive man is as enjoyable as sharing your bath tub with an alligator.
Every time you laugh, and feel joy -even if it’s only for a moment – you break the cycle of abuse, and see past the tunnel to the light that has always been there. That light is not going anywhere. It is just waiting for you to move towards it.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #9 They’ve given up.
Technically speaking, that’s not entirely true. Emotionally abused women live as if they had given up on life, and on themselves. But there’s always an ember that, with just a little help, will rekindle the fire. The trick is to focus on the ember not the ashes.
10 toxic problems all emotionally abused women face #10 They tell themselves the WORST stories,
They tell themselves stories all about being old, and worthless, useless and ugly, and fat. Even if we overlook how wantonly cruel that is, we still need to ask ourselves,
How BORING is that?
You wouldn’t sit through a film where the characters repeated the same depressing lines over and over again. And yet… We’ve all done it – starting with me. Telling yourself the same untrue and unkind story over and over again is a total waste of time. So, here’s something that will help.
Now, I’m not saying this is the most sophisticated technique in the world. it isn’t. In fact, it’s far from ideal, but… If you slapped yourself on the wrist every time you went into self-abuse mode, you’d soon start to modify that destructive self-talk. Even someone who is prepared to put up with a sore psyche will, likely, draw the line at giving themselves a sore wrist – for no good reason. Which do you think is likely to have effect on your long-term well-being; a sore wrist, or a sore psyche?
If you recognise yourself in these problems, that is an important learning. Here’s another one:
Your problems are NOT who you are.
Problems are merely issues that have attached themselves to you, for the last little while.
However long that little while has been, you can still detach yourself from those problems, so you can get much, much more out of your life.
Promise yourself you won’t put it off any longer. If you have been struggling on your own unsuccessfully with the ten toxic problems all emotionally abused women face, then do yourself and your family a favor – get the help you need. You really don’t need that toxicity in your life any longer.