The Choke-Chain of Emotional Abuse

27 Aug 2012

This week one reader wrote to say; “You are teaching us how to love.  Thank you.”  Needless to say, I was deeply touched.  

Those of us who end up in emotionally abusive relationships do so because we know little or nothing about being loved well.  We know plenty about Attachment, Love’s ugly, much, much needier step-sister – an emotionally abusive relationship is a crash course in Attachment.  But we know next to nothing about being loved well, not having had that experience.  (And yet we find it in ourselves to love our children far better than we were ever loved.) 

I hadn’t set out to teach what Love is, only how to heal from emotional abuse.  But the more I do this work, the more I realize you cannot truly become the best and highest embodiment of yourself without understanding what Love is – and what it means to you. 

And, of course, I’ve discovered a great deal more about Love along the way, since becoming my own person. 

Attachment is a choke-chain around your neck.  Love creates the space and time around you that enables you to grow and discover gifts you would never have believed you had.  

You need to know this stuff.

Why would you want to carry on being so much less than you truly are? 

Your negative beliefs – and your partner/sneer-leader’s negative beliefs constantly tell you about who you can’t be, and what you can’t have.  Amen.  That doesn’t make it true. 

Your future holds whatever you choose to focus on and work towards.  

I’d like to share with you a fairly graphic quotation from one of the more irreverent people I’ve come across in the field of personal development, Matthew Kimberley, who says:

“You can’t control the volume, quantity, or colour of the shit that will get thrown at you from the minute you arrive in this world, incontinent and bawling, to the moment you leave, similarly afflicted. You can control, however, whether you’re going to clutch a shovel and get stuck into breaking out of the gargantuan piles or ordure, or whether you’re going to don a snorkel and just about survive while the crap piles on in ever-increasing bucket-loads.”  

You only have to commit to digging your way out, and you can transform your life.  

You can always be bigger than your problems.  

When you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, you constantly commit, and recommit, to the opposite: you commit to being smaller than your problems.  You commit to settling for what you do NOT want, and putting yourself second to an overgrown toddler, with a nasty streak, whose emotional toilet training is… well, pants! 

And the best of it is, you call(ed) that “Love”: 

“Yes, but I love him” (read: “Yes, but, I’ve become curiously attached to the choke-chain around my poor little neck.”) 


Besides, each time your emotionally abusive partner yanks that chain, it serves to remind you that “relationships are hard work”.  Well, they have to be, don’t they?  My guess is that that little  piece of ordure -as Kimberley would put it – was a powerful part of your experience growing up. 

That’s a belief we’ll be looking in the next post.


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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