Clean pain and dirty

14 Jul 2011

The past few days have been monumentally difficult.  My beloved partner is in Intensive Care and, for the moment, I’ve had to postpone some private client appointments.

I’d like to share with you a couple of replies I’ve received to the emails of apology I’ve sent.

One said:

“I wish your partner a quick recovery.All the best to you and your family.When you can, please call me.”

And another wrote:

Dear Annie,

First things first. Take care and the time you need. Be present for your loved one.  You have offered me plenty already and I can review and take care to do some learning on my own.

Stay well.

With love,

Their emails lifted my heart.  Certainly, I appreciate their generosity – they didn’t become clients so we could focus on my needs; they have their own urgent needs and challenges they want to address with me.  But being able to reach out like that, when they have their own troubles is a sign that, no matter what they have been through, they still have hearts filled with clean, healthy love.  That’s why, I am sure they will heal their lives.

In this time of huge emotional turmoil, I plan to continue working as much as I can around hospital visits because, in the end, the only way I know to get through the bad times is to keep an open heart and give love.

Of course, there is love… and love.

Unfortunately, the love you have for an abusive man, and the ‘love’ you share with an abusive man, is not the kind of love that will get you through the bad times.

If anything, it is the kind of love that will drag you through bad times aplenty.

So what’s the difference?  Is not all love equal?

I don’t believe it is.

Dirty love – that is the only kind of love that can exist in an abusive relationship – has a compulsive, crazy-making quality to it.  It is a love that wants from the loved one rather than for the loved one.  An abuser wants power and control over your emotional world, and you want from him the thing which he will never give, which is love, untainted by ugly, negative, destructive feelings.

So, your burning need becomes to get something from a abusive partner, rather than give to him.  I’m not suggesting for a moment that you don’t give massive amounts of yourself to an abusive partner.  But you do it in the hope of getting a pay-off or, more correctly, perhaps, a “fix” of love and validation.

Loving an abusive partner erodes you, to no useful purpose.  That love does not warm your heart, or his.  As one woman wrote to me:

“He texted: ‘I love you I always will and I am sorry that it will not work out between us’. For the longest time when he said those three words I would hold on to them so desperately.  Now because of your help I see that is what he wanted me to do: he wants me to build up his ego, so he tells me he loves me.”

Loving an abuser empties your “love tank” without filling his. (Loving an abuser serves only to top up his “power tank”.)

Casting your pearls of love before swine is a very bad idea.  All that happens is that they pass through the swine, very, very slowly. Eventually they emerge, at the other end, looking rather the worse for wear, in need of a thorough clean.

An abuser sullies all that he touches most intimately.  It is the nature of the beast.  When you have spent time loving an abuser, your inner world ultimately emerges looking rather the worse for wear, in need of deep cleansing and polishing.

Clean love is a very different matter.  Clean love doesn’t drain you; it sustains you.  It is something you can give freely and generously from a full heart.  It lifts your spirits; it does NOT lay you low.    It is love you bestow on a worthy object.  It is love that comes back to you, freely and generously.  It lights up dark times.

The difference between clean and dirty love and is that clean love wants for you, not from you.

It is perfectly normal to want love from a partner.  But it is not normal to keep on trying to get love from an unloving partner – the words “blood” and “stone” spring to mind.  Inevitably, the love you have for him will become tainted with hurt, anger, and rejection.  That dirty love becomes a toxic mixture of love, and hate.

Your abusive partner never wanted the best for you.  He wanted everything he could possibly get from you, while giving as little in return as he possibly could.

At some level, you’ve known that for a long time.  But that hasn’t enabled you to kick your hopium addiction.

But here’s the thing: although your love for an abusive partner can only ever be dirty love, you never lose the capacity to give clean love, generously.

You just think you do.

Dirty love will destroy you.  But clean love really will heal you.


I foresee having many more insights to share with you through this difficult time.  I may not publish articles in the order in which I write them, but I will share with you what I can, when I can.

I’m also aware that my clarity comes and goes a little, so I hope you will be patient with me.  Sometimes, later articles may throw more light on the earlier ones, but my purpose is to honor the clean love I share with my partner, and share insights I hope will serve you.  Believe me, it takes a leap of faith, and courage, on my part to open myself up like this.   I was taught – as you, too, were probably taught that expressing emotions would lead, in short order, to some kind of punishment.  But I’m also learning that silencing deep emotions serves no useful purpose.  It only keeps us locked in the prison of emotional abuse inside our own heads.


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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