Do you feel like “the bad guy”?

12 Oct 2009


Yesterday I was talking with a woman whose abusive partner has finally left.

Now, in an ideal world, this would be cause for celebration; women would hold “Thank God he’s gone!” parties, cards of congratulations would be sent, you’d be able to buy appropriate celebration cakes… In short, there would be public and private jubilation.

In practice, as we all know, it isn’t like that.  In practice, as an abused woman, you feel like you are drowning in a sea of fear and anxiety, and all you have to hold on to is a fragile splinter of self-belief. 

You worry that you will never be able to manage without him, that you could be making the biggest mistake of your life.  (Rest assured, the mistake – if such it was – was starting a relationship with him; not finishing it.)

You worry about being “the bad guy”.  If he makes a better relationship next time around, then that will prove that you were “the bad guy”.  Allegedly. 

You worry how people will judge you; especially if you had the misfortune of being with one of the superficially charming members of the breed. 

I’ve said many times that abusive men are far more likely to be believed by other people when they are lying than are abused women, when they are telling the truth.

Generally, this is very upsetting to abused women because they desperately need validation from other people.  They need that validation because they have been so thoroughly programmed by an abusive partner to believe that there is nothing good about them. 

Sadly, that programming does not up and leave when the abusive partner does.  If only…

Think about it for a moment: when your abusive partner finally ‘takes himself out of your misery’ the chances are that you are at rock bottom.  Logically speaking, who is likely to be more convincing?

Or, to put it another way, you have been living with an emotional vampire.  By the time he finally leaves, he has been feeding off you for so long that he has sucked you dry.  Who are other people going to prefer to identify with?  Remember these are the people who like to believe that nasty things don’t happen in their cozy little world, but only in foreign places far, far away.

The abuser will often present as a picture of physical and mental health – and why wouldn’t he, given all the transfusions he has had from you?  You, on the other hand, are a shadow of yourself; physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

There are lots of ‘nice’ people who cross the street so that they don’t have to speak to someone who, they have discovered, has cancer.  It can be the same kind of reflex with abused women.

Equally, it can happen because the 'street-crossers' belong to some kind of organization that believes the sanctity of institutions (like marriage) far outweighs the well being of individuals.

If that is their belief, there is no way that you can ever change it.

In fact, the bottom line is you can never, ever hope to persuade anyone of anything they don’t want to believe.  (Not even abusive men can really do that; they can undermine you, totally, but brainwash you as they may they can never completely silence your own beliefs and convictions.)

Maybe the ‘nice people’ will see you as “the bad guy”.  That is what is known as collateral damage. 

You cannot change their minds with your powers of persuasion.  You cannot change their minds, so the most useful thing you can do is to let go of trying.

Work on yourself. 

Grow your own certainty about the rightness of your decision.

(For the record; you made absolutely the right decision.  Not only will you never regret it but, as time goes on, you will be more and more delighted that you had the courage to make it.)

As you grow your belief in your own decision, so you will grow in stature.  When that happens, other people realize that you are “the good guy” without you having to do anything to persuade them. 

But, then, you wouldn’t anyway.  Because you will have stopped caring.  You’’ll have, as they say, bigger fish to fry; you’ll be focusing on more important, and constructive, stuff going on in your life that what they think.

If you want help in shifting that "bad guy" complex fast, then sign up for the Accelerated  Healing Journey Teleclass Program here.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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