Never can say goodbye…?

28 Feb 2012

 Are you struggling with the “G” word?  Struggling to say “goodbye” and mean it?  When is the last word finally final?  When do you say, “I’m through with trying to get that abusive man to listen to what I’m saying?” – and mean it?

Is it:


a)     when he actually listens

b)     when you get bored

c)     when he comes out with something hurtful, and you simply shrug your shoulders and say, indifferently: “Yeah, yeah.  Whatever.”

d)     when you realize going round that loop is giving him a ton of pleasure – and causing you pain

e)     when you realize your life is waiting – and your abusive partner is the dead end blocking you from moving in the direction of your own life.


a)     Wrong.  This is the fantasy option.  In the fantasy, he drops his Mr Nasty

mask and is transformed into Prince Nice.  Sadly – having just googled it – I see that the personality transplant is simply another urban myth.  So, that scuppers his chances of being the first recipient of one. Besides, what makes him more deserving than anyone else?

b)     If only.  The one thing that man is mindful of is your threshold for boredom.  That’s why he’ll throw differently painful things into the mix, to keep your attention fully focused on him

c)     YES!!  That will be the day that you realize what he says has nothing to do with the reality, and everything to do with his callous agenda.

d)     Absolutely.  Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face this one: your unhappiness feeds his feelings of mattering. In other words, your unhappiness serves to make him feel good.  That may not be nice or reassuring to take on board.  But it is true.  Self-deception will never set you free.  It won’t even keep your spirits up for longer than about 5 minutes.

e)     Too true.  Your life has been sitting twiddling its thumbs – as we say in the UK – from the moment he first irrupted into it.

Why is what an abusive partner thinks about you is so important to you?  He’s clearly far closer to being your worst enemy than he is to being your best fan.

Why should it matter so much?

The conventional answer is: “Because I love him.”  That is, at best, a partial truth.  NOBODY has said they disagree with what I wrote in “I Love Him, I Love Him Not” a couple of weeks ago.  Nobody loves an abusive partner’s verbal (and physical) violence.  You love the fantasy that he is not.  And you keep it in your mind, like the size 0 dress at the back of your wardrobe that you last fitted into when you were 12, before you hit puberty properly.

So, if you don’t love him, unconditionally and wholeheartedly, what is all this about?

It’s about your lack of self-worth.  (That may not be the first time someone has mentioned it to you.  That’s because self-worth is really, really important.)  You don’t value yourself, and are relying on him to do that for you.

In most cases, we commit to a trade very early in the relationship – we don’t have to, we just think we do.  We say to ourselves, about our partner: “He needs someone who will really believe in him, someone he can trust, to heal his pain.  My love will do that for him.”  The trade – which he never agrees to – is that you do it for him, and he’ll do it right back for you.

But he doesn’t do that for you, does he?  Not least because he never actually agreed to do it. The relationship was, always, about his needs, and his feelings.  He may have listened to you, quite carefully, at the start.  But that was him gathering information he could use against you, to control you, once he’d put a resounding stop to the ‘honeymoon period’. 

You’re still waiting for him to honor his side of the bargain.  You’re waiting for him to thank you, and acknowledge all that you’ve done for him.

That is the only scenario in which you envisioned experiencing self-worth.

And it’s not going to happen.

Think about it.  If you were going to learn to drive, I’m guessing you probably wouldn’t choose as your teacher someone who crashed all the cars he ever drove, has a string of drunk driving convictions, drives without insurance, and hasn’t even passed a driving test.  An abusive partner is, generally, someone who is similarly disastrous in the relationship department.

“Goodbye” really is the best word to say to someone like that.

What’s the solution?  Learning to value yourself.  Learning to make informed and intelligent choices about who you allow into your world.  Learning to treat yourself like you matter.

In case you’re wondering…  That’s not selfishness.  That’s self-preservation.



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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