Groomed for an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

by Annie Kaszina on June 13, 2017

Were you groomed for an emotionally abusive relationship?  A lot of us were.  That’s why we stayed with an emotionally abusive partner.

A groomer works to paralyze you

If only we had been able to avail ourselves of our common sense – and a sense of self – we would have done something very different.  But a groomer works to disorient and paralyse you, leaving you with no choices.  So you tolerate what you feel powerless to change.

In this post we’ll be looking at the kind of grooming that abused women commonly experience.

This week I’ve experienced an “action replay” of the kind of grooming I experienced – even before my emotionally abusive partner appeared on the scene .   That replay at least made for a re-learning.  I want to share that re-learnings with you.

Richard Bach said“Learning is finding out what you already know, Doing is demonstrating that you know it, Teaching is reminding others that they know it as well as you do. We are all learners, doers, and teachers.”

Recently, someone from my early life has resurfaced, wearing the mantle of their highly abusive forebears, who are no longer here.

Wishful thinking would tell you that, when an emotional abuser finally shuffles off this mortal coil, their influence dies with them.  Unfortunately, wishful thinking habitually tells a whole load of lies. While unresolved feelings can play toxic games with a person’s mind Not uncommonly, a member of the next generation  (who  already had abusive tendencies)  steps into the abuser’s shoes.

I cannot say I enjoyed the experience of witnessing the next generation own the abusive role. Still, on the plus side, it has enabled me to see anew what I already knew – and share it with you.  Here are my re-learnings.

Re-learnings about being groomed for an emotionally abusive relationship

  1. Emotional abusers have an extraordinary sense of entitlement. They believe they are the Chosen Ones – chosen to inflict as much damage as it takes, in order to win whatever they want. When the chips are down, your feelings and your pain do not matter.  At heart, emotional abusers have a capacity for damage and destruction that we disregard at our peril.
  2. Emotional abusers may, or may not, have a sense of shame about what they do.  That depends on how far ‘gone’ they are. However, even if they do have a sense of shame, that won’t make them behave better.  Any emotional discomfort they feel becomes another thing to punish you for.
  3. Emotional abusers are very, very childish. They will always leverage the authority of a higher authority. This is why they trot out the line that goes like this: “Everyone is judging you negatively. Nobody thinks you deserve anything good.” That sounds slightly classier than saying, “I’m a punitive person and I’m feeling homicidally angry with you, so I feel justified in trying to inflict maximum damage by telling you that everyone else dislikes you as much as I do, right now.”
  4. Emotional abusers lie through their teethIf they know what the truth is – and that is a very big “if” – they also know that The Truth is far less important than Their Truth.
  5. Emotional abusers expect your life to be played by the rules of their games. These rules are so extraordinarily primitive that, most times, we miss them. Here they are: a) I play be my rules. b) You have to play by my rules. In fact, every time you don’t play by my rules, you lose another ‘life’. c) I can change the rules at any time, and I won’t bother to tell you, but Rule b) still applies.
  6. Emotional abusers take self-centredness to a level that the rest of us can’t understand.  Until you see that everything revolves around what matters to them, you will never understand how they can behave so extraordinarily badly.
  7. The game of emotional abuse only ever ends when they say it does. In practice, what this likely means is “never”.

Grooming teaches you to expect and accept toxic relationships

If, like me, you’ve been an emotionally abused woman, you were groomed to expect and accept unequal, toxic relationships long  before you met your emotionally abusive partner.  Or, to put it another way, you were quite familiar with the dynamic of emotional abuse.

None of this is remotely nice. But should it depress you?

Only if you choose to stay in their game, and play by their rules.

Now, it can seem as if you have no option but to play their game, by their rules.  But here’s the thing,however hard it’s been for you – however hard it is even now –  you have kept your humanity, your hope, and your loving heart where children, friends, and other loved ones are concerned.

You still want to do the best you can with your life – at least where other people are concerned.

That may be the one way that you have, at the moment, of being the best that you possibly can be.

Why you are not powerless, or paralyzed

You have been groomed and brainwashed into thinking that you are powerless.  Yet that has not stopped you standing by your own values. That’s impressive.

So, cut yourself some slack. You deserve so much more than a toxic relationshp.

Once upon a time, you were groomed  for an emotionally abusive relationship.  That may affect the way that you see yourself.  However being groomed for emotional abuse does not affect your fundamental human value.  Ditch the grooming.  Not your self-belief.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

rose April 8, 2014 at 10:13 pm

your posts are always very encouraging, thank you for all the sacrifice you make.Am a mother of 3girls and they have been witnesses to the violence and abuse in our home.Have i groomed them to go through the same?I left a few weeks back. How to prevent?


Annie April 9, 2014 at 7:57 am

No, Rose, you haven’t groomed them for abuse. That’s one worry you don’t need to add to your list. They’ve witnessed things no child should have to witness, through no fault of yours. But you left a few weeks ago, and you’re staying away – even though it’s really difficult for you – so that they can have a better life.

You’re giving them an experience of what courage looks like. So, that’s what they will learn.

And if you don’t feel courageous yet, that’s not surprising.

But it takes enormous courage to do what you did, given the circumstances you wre in.

Warm wishes,



S April 9, 2014 at 7:04 pm

What an emotional abuser is we all know who r suffering but kindly guide me to stay in the relationship n take control of situation , like avoiding him , n be brave as I am 60 yrs n it’s difficult to walk out , so how to stay under one roof without him not emotionally abusing me ,


rose April 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

S, my ex mother-in-law walked out when she was about 64! After putting up with what you’ve put up with, do you really want to even spend another second in that toxic environment?! Do you seriously believe that you can stay under 1 roof and have him not emotionally abuse you?! How many women left only to have the emotional abuse continue? I hope you see that you deserve better than to continue in that atmosphere.


Bette April 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Aww, hugs and nurturing to you Annie, for having been subjected to the history. Me too. I moved states away from the negative environs at age 17 and, believed, in my naivete’ that was the solution and there wouldn’t be “ugly” hearted people in the rest of the world. Nearly 40 years later and still dealing with them in the workplace….but no longer with Mr. “Numbers 1-7” going on two weeks! Thank GOD for your sharing this list to keep me mindful. The one at work….she doesn’t realize I’m getting to be quite the wise warrior when it comes to her kind of nasty. Kudos to you, Annie, keep your pretty chin up!


Utpala March 11, 2015 at 1:48 am

Annie,This article is so helpful, and comes at the right time. You are the best! From my Heart!


Annie March 17, 2015 at 5:18 am

Glad to help 🙂


Tiphanie June 14, 2017 at 8:18 am

So powerful. I am thankful for you! Always a gift to my life. 🙂


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