Time collapses in an abusive relationship, doesn’t it? After a certain point of misery, you hardly even notice the time passing.
Strange as it may sound, a day in an emotionally abusive relationship may feel like an eternity, yet a year or five can slip by with little to show for it – except the expression of misery etched on your face, and your children’s growth.
You lose hope, and you lose connection with the outside world. It’s all about him: what he says – or doesn’t say – and the expression on his face when he looks in your direction. If he’s good at what he does – and, of course, he is, otherwise you’d have already dumped him on the Emotionally Abusive Man Scrapheap – you carry on obsessing about the relationship long after he’s out of your life.
Which means you lose sight of the World, and your life, don’t you? It’s weird how you stop feeling that these things matter.
I’m not saying there aren’t times – plenty of times – when you look at your situation and recognize how profoundly unhappy you are. I’m sure you do. But you accept it.
Please understand, I’m not blaming you. I’ve done it, too – Heaven knows I’ve done it – and I know just how it feels. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world. You hate it. You hate yourself for being in it. But there just doesn’t seem to be any real alternative. Money, fear, your children’s well-being, your own alleged worthlessness, or simply his ‘potential’ to morph into ‘Mr Wonderful’ are holding you back.
Short of the miracle that you’re holding back for, what you’d really like is support, compassion, and someone who could make sense of things for you – and make it all right for you.
Unfortunately, fairy godmothers and miracle workers are in very short supply, when you need them. My hairdresser – a miracle worker in his own sphere of competence used to carry a case that bore the sign: “I can only please one person per day and Today is not your day. Tomorrow does”. That applies to fairy godmothers and miracle workers, too – as you already know. (The true miracle worker, or fairy godmother, is not the person who does it for you, but the figure who teaches you to do it for yourself.)
The problem with vicious circles is that they really are vicious. There’s not much that’s tougher than living in an abusive relationship and waiting and hoping for your life to change for the better.
See, when you do that, you fail to register the very worst part of an abusive relationship.
Living with partner who doesn’t love you is a damaging thing to do. Living with someone who, you are forced to acknowledge, treats you with contempt corrodes your sense of self-worth. It’s a vile experience, no doubt about it.
But there’s something worse still, and that’s surrendering your personal power.
In order to stay in the relationship with an abusive man, what do you have to give up?
You give up:
- Your happiness
- Your own perceptions and judgements – he’s the one telling you how the world is, and you will bully you into believing him
- Your self-worth
- Your freedom
- Your spontaneity
- Your passions and interests – they’ll all be either wrong, or unimportant
- Your creativity
- Your identity – Tsunami Man, in his own humble opinion, has enough identity for two
- Your rights
- Your friends, and family
- Your joie de vivre – Rule 1 of Abuse World is: “There will be no joie de vivre” here.
Once you take that lot away, what’s left is a pretty thin life.
Have you had that experience of trying to live your best life around the misery of an abusive relationship?
I see that in so many of the women I work with. They manage to be warm and loving with their children. They even manage to share fun and laughter with their children. And things feel almost okay for as long as they can not look at the tsunami at the heart of their world.
But it’s not a life.
It’s a sign that their life has been hijacked.
From the point of view of an abusive man, that’s exactly as it should be.
An abusive man is the thief of your life, and your joy.
But here’s the thing, you don’t have to let him steal your life – even after he has left.
Most everything he tells you is untrue – because his inner world is a lie, although it feels true for him. And you, too.
But it’s a lie.
Don’t let it be your lie.
Do you notice that the difference between “lie” and “life” is just one letter?
You really can put the Life back into your world. All it takes is just one commitment to your own happiness.
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.
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.