How NOT To Want What You Can’t Have

21 Mar 2012

One thing that makes it so hard to move on for all abused women, including Adele (who we met in last week’s ezine) is the legitimate sense of grievance we have.  We have been wronged, big time.  So, it would be nice to have some acknowledgement of the wrong that’s been done to us – usually, over and over again.

In most cases, family, friends, and even casual acquaintances are quick to acknowledge what a  jerk our (ex)partner really is.  (Although, admittedly, some abusers are better in the two-faced stakes than others, and manage to come up smelling of roses, even while they point the finger of blame at you.)

How come the acknowledgement of friends and family isn’t enough for us?

How come our own judgement isn’t enough for us?

How come we carry on living our life as if it were some kind of two-handed Greek tragedy with you and him constantly centre stage, while your supporters are relegated to the role of a chorus you barely listen to.  You hear what they say, just about, but it doesn’t really hit the spot.

It’s all about the craziness of Abuse World.  When Monsieur Jerk-On-His-Best-Behavior induced you into Abuse World, you took an unconscious vow to trust him first in all things.  Not that he  had ever proved himself to be trustworthy, but that’s another story.  He’s held you to your vow ever since.  And you’re still holding yourself to that vow.  In your book, it’s called “Loyalty”. If you’re not loyal – right through to the bitter end – he has a right to hate you… (In his book, it’s called something far less complimentary.  But let’s not even go there.) 

What a splendidly one-sided you contract you signed up for.

Sure you want gratitude and appreciation.  That’s only normal.  But here’s the thing: when you signed up to an abusive man, you waived your statutory rights.  He never told you that.  But, then, he wouldn’t, would he?  He was never going to take responsibility for your well being.

This week I bought a couple of dresses over the Internet.  They looked great in the photos.  I did a bit of fantasizing about how good I’d look in them.  Sadly, things didn’t quite pan out according to pan.  When I tried them on (one at a time), I looked woefully mumsey – not my favorite look, strange to say.  So, with minimal regret, I returned them.  The very best part of the whole thing, for me, was my statutory right to return them at any time. 

In reality, you have exactly same statutory right with an abusive man: you can return him to the stone under which you found him, at any time.  He doesn’t have to be a life sentence.  He really shouldn’t be a life sentence.

I’m guessing you wouldn’t keep a garment that made you look gruesome, any more than I would.  So, why would you keep a partner who makes you feel gruesome?

Do you keep him because you want something from him that he’s never going to give you?  Because you’re still telling yourself a fairy story about personality transplants and The Happily Ever After that will never come true?  Because you’re a staunch believer in the sanctity of misery?

Do you keep him because you think that, if you sacrifice your life for him for long enough, he’s bound to turn round and thank you one day – even though you know  he’s one of the most ungrateful men on the planet?

You know he’s not really listening to you, because he isn’t remotely interested in being attuned to your needs.  You’re not listening to him either.  He has told you – and shown you – exactly what you can expect from him.  But you keep pushing away at that locked door.

What do you really think lies on the other side of that locked door?

All the emotional riches you could ever want?

Or the Slightly Better Than Nothing lifestyle?

I think we both know the answer to that one.  If your abusive partner really were endowed with all the emotional riches you could ever want, how could he not want to share them?  How could he help himself?  He’d have to share them, because his heart would be running over with the milk of human kindness.

That doesn’t sound like him, does it?

Which leave you with one gloriously joyful, constructive course of action: consign him and his nastiness to the past – where he belongs.  Only when you do that can you start to take charge of your present, and look forward to a brighter future.


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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