Has your emotionally abusive relationship taken over your life?

29 Jan 2013

Has your emotionally abusive relationship taken over your life? 

Living life – or, more correctly, trying to live life – as an emotionally abused woman is about as easy as trying to live with a family of elephants permanently parked right at the heart of your living space. 

An emotionally abusive relationship fills all the space available. 

Consciously, or unconsciously, an emotionally abusive man leaves you very little space to tiptoe around at the margins of your own life. The cost to you is huge. 

In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, ordinary people had to queue for hours to buy basic foodstuffs. The regime made every aspect of daily life as time and energy-consuming as possible. 

It was done for a reason: to keep the population powerless and passive. 

It was a strategy that worked pretty well, overall. 

It’s exactly the same strategy your abusive partner has used with you. 

Never underestimate how good he was – and, likely, still is – at exhausting you, undermining your confidence, and keeping you in survival mode. 

There’s a huge difference between surviving and living. 

My emotionally abusive ex-husband ticked all the survival boxes. He kept me in survival mode – he did that more or less deliberately, and he was, himself, a Second Generation Concentration Camp survivor. 

I learned an awful lot about survival, and survivors, Survivors have my deepest respect. All survivors, and that includes emotional abuse survivors, have been to some very dark places in their lives. 

And surviving is not living. The skills you need to survive do NOT help you to live in less dark and awful conditions. 

In order to have a life worth living, you need to transition from survival skills, to the skill of Living Your Life. 

Survival skills include: 

  • Living at subsistence level – financially, emotionally, and psychologically.

  • Accepting more or less intolerable conditions.

  • Focusing on just about getting by today.

  • Feeling powerless to change things – other people hold the reins of power in their hands, and aren’t going to let go any time soon.

  • Minimizing your own needs and wants – survivors get by on next to nothing.

  • Putting happiness on the someday/one day pile. (One day, and someday, are not days of the week.)

  • Undervaluing your gifts and talents, as well as your own worthiness.

  • Feeling fearful and under attack most – if not all – of the time.

  • Underachieving. You know there’s more – even much more – that you could do, be and have.

  • Failure to self-actualize. It can feel like there is a bullet-proof glass wall between what you could do and what you’re actually doing to move your life forward. 

Do you see what I mean? 

Being in survival mode has its place. The problem is, it also has a downside: it can lead to learned hopelessness. As David MacRaney observes in the wonderful; “You Are Not So Smart” 

If you feel like you aren’t in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in.” 

That’s exactly what happens to women who lose themselves in an emotionally abusive relationship. Leaving the relationship doesn’t mean they automatically find themselves. Too many of them survive, only to let learned helplessness limit their emotional, and/or financial life. 

If this sounds like you, here’s one thought you MUST hold on to: 

If helplessness can be learned, it can be unlearned. 

To find out how you can un-learn hopelessness, and harness the energy of happiness CLICK HERE:


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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