“How do I beat the abuse that still runs in my head?”

28 Dec 2011

Catherine wrote to ask me how she can beat the abusive programming that’s still running in her head.  Here’s her story in her own words:

I’m a hairdresser, and 3 years ago a gentleman sat in my chair and I slowly and cautiously fell in complete love with him! He asked me out for months before I would give in and even when I would go out with him and completely enjoy myself, I’d avoid him and try desperately to avoid my overwhelming feelings. It’s been a year now that we have been in a relationship. He consistently broke my walls down with such patience and understanding.

He has stepped in as a great figure in my daughter’s life. I truly could not ask for a better man and I am going to sabotage it. I go through waves of emotion. For a period of time I will accept us, trust him, trust us, connect with him on an emotional and spiritual level. We are soul mates. Best friends. We lie in bed giggling like school girls! Then I freak out and start pushing him away. I battle terrible thoughts. I don’t trust him, I don’t trust us.  

I have every reason to marry him and I so badly want to…but I can’t. I can’t mentally handle someone getting that close. I am haunted by terrible thoughts that are not only sabotaging my amazing relationship but my peace of mind I tried so hard to obtain. I do not want o live without him but I don’t know how to live with him.  

Please help me. Please point me in a direction where I can beat the cycle of abuse that still runs in my head. How do I stop going back to that place and detach myself from those desperate feelings?”

Obviously, Catherine is fortunate.  She has found a good man, who is loving and accepting of her.  Unfortunately, she has not completed her healing journey yet.  So, her partner may be loving and accepting of her, but she is not loving and accepting of herself.  She has not yet learned to trust herself completely, and therefore she cannot fully trust him. 

The old demons, that we all know, still hold sway in her head.  So, it doesn’t take too much for her to slip back into the old abused mind-set.  

Catherine is blessed enough to have a whole new start waiting there for her.  She’s also wise enough to know that, unless she can undo the old, destructive thinking, she may well sabotage her own happiness. 

How worrying is that? 

I can’t say for sure whether an emotional abuser consciously plans it that way, although I have my doubts.  But, one thing I know for sure: 

Emotional abuse is the curse that keeps on working… 

Until you finally do the work to break it. 

Time alone won’t do it.  

Months, and years, after you leave an abusive relationship your own mind can still be a prison cell. 

What do I mean ‘a prison cell’? 

An emotional prison cell has walls of fear, and self-doubt.  It has a window of shame, a tiny, opaque pane of glass through which you view the outside world.  You sleep on a bed of blame and shame.  You wake most days to the alarm bell of catastrophizing. 

(Maybe the time of year is leading me to a flowery turn of phrase.) 

But here’s the thing: if you fall into catastrophizing, anxiety, telling yourself how awful you are, blame or shame, then you are not free.  Your abusive (ex)partner is still visiting his nastiness on you.  

If you find it difficult to hold on to good feelings for any length of time then, whether you are still in the abusive relationship, or whether you are out of it, you’re surely not over it.  

It only ends… not when the fat lady sings, but when you feel free to live fully, love safely, and laugh wholeheartedly. 

Is that really possible for you? 

Yes, it is.  

If you give yourself one gift for 2012, why not make it that one?  

Start, right now, to believe that it’s your right to live fully, love safely, and laugh wholeheartedly.  

You’re entitled, for Heaven’s sake. 

You’ve done your time.  

You’re a human being. 

You have equal rights with everybody else. 

Sure, I know you’ve been telling yourself a story about your unworthiness.  But that’s what it is: a story.  A sort of fairy story in reverse.  It goes like this: 

“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess, named Clare de Nil who lived in a kingdom not a million miles from here.  Her parents taught her to be responsible, and work her cotton socks off to earn love from the time she could totter. She grew up feeling responsible for all the care of the kingdom and everyone in it.  The years passed, and the princess hungered for love.  (Well, she would, wouldn’t she?  She was only human. And she’d never known unconditional love.)  She, also, felt her biological clock was ticking away furiously. 

“One day, as she walked sadly by a stream in the castle grounds, a frog called out to her.  “Princess”, it called. “Over here.  Look at me. I’m not really a frog.  I’m a Wonderful Man in disguise.  I’ve had a few addictions in my time, but you can make it your mission to

fix me.  See, I’ve had such a bad time.  I met this wicked witch who didn’t understand or appreciate me.  She turned me into a frog.  Only kiss me, and I’ll turn back into a handsome prince.  You’ll be lucky to have such a wonderful man as me.  You can have my babies.  You can take care of the day-to-day running of the kingdom, to my high standards.  I’ll take charge of the money, and perform all the public duties, so you can stay in the background, and be my shadow.  And I‘ll be loving and supportive, provided you’re absolutely perfect and don’t let me down the way other women have done. I do have a bit of a foul temper, and my own issues.  But that’s okay.  Provided you don’t trigger them, we’ll be cool.  And if you do trigger them, what happens will be all your fault.” 

What do you think lovely Princess Clare de Nil did? 

That’s right.  She married him. 

And what should she have done? 

Taken him to a nice lily pond far, far away, and deposited him there with the other pond life, perhaps?

Prepared a nice little sauté of frog’s legs a la Parisienne? 

Feel free to supply your own answer. 

But we both know that princess was you, and me.

We married our frog.  We served our time, in exile, in a dark pool of stagnant water… 

And we forgot who we were.  We forgot that we were princesses. Clare de Nil forgot her beautiful name and became Cinderella. (By the way, you might like to know that ‘Cinderella is almost an anagram of ‘clear denial.) 

Like Clare, we forgot our beautiful nature and became drudges.  We forgot that we deserved better.  

We settled for the odd insect – or whatever it is that frogs eat. 

When we left the relationship, we carried on just the same. Different pool of stagnant water, perhaps, but the same lousy diet, and the same lousy soundtrack inside our heads. 

The effects of emotional abuse don’t just fade away of their own accord.  Things only change when we change, when we step out of our emotional prison. 

I changed, and left that prison behind me.  Now I help other women to do the same.  

After my recent 4 week Quick Start Program, here’s some of the things that people said:

“Thank you for the amazing class… I felt like it was completely for me and what my issues are.  Even though I know it isn’t true.  It was that useful to me.” 

“I want to continue on with you as it is of great value for me at this time.” 

“Everything you say is right on target and I really see a future when I hear you speak.” 

“Working with you this way has been wonderful.” 

“I really like your very kind but direct approach to healing.” 

There’s never been a better time to liberate yourself.  I spent too many years barely alive, feeding my hopium addiction habit, delaying happiness for another year, and another.  So have you.

You can’t keep deferring happiness and hope it will just happen.  You can’t starve yourself of everything that makes you a vibrant human being and hope to have a sense of who you are. You cannot have that which you are not prepared to claim.

And claiming it is so much easier than denying yourself.  You know what hard work that is.

Do you want to restart your life, and your happiness in 2012? Do you want to live fully, love safely, and laugh wholeheartedly?  If so, then I urge you to check out my New Year New Start Quick Start Program.


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.

Leave a comment

The 5 Simple Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse

Over the next 5 days, I'll send you some lessons and tips that I've found have really helped women to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Starting with the basics.

Connect with me on Instagram

Want daily reassurance and inspiration? Sign up to my Instagram account. @dr_anniephd