Is This Second Nature To You?

22 Jan 2013

If you’re an emotionally abused woman, it’s become second nature for you to tell yourself you don’t matter.

How could it possibly be otherwise?

Your emotionally abusive partner spent a lot of time teaching you that you don’t matter – to him, and to The World at large. (It baffles me how Mr Nastys everywhere can be arrogant enough to imagine they could be The Spokesman for The Whole World, but that’s another story…)

You may well have had parents and/or siblings who gave you that message before Mr Nasty was even a tear in your eye.

Whoever you learned it from, they gave you – and you swallowed whole – the belief that you don’t matter.

Just in case you’re protesting mildly: “It’s not that I think I don’t matter. I know I do matter. Just not enough. Certainly not as much as other people…” What you’re saying is simply a slightly different way of wording the belief that you don’t matter. Honestly. Feeling that you matter is an absolute: if you have a child, or a pet, that child or pet matters. Period.

When you tell yourself you don’t matter, whether or not you are conscious of doing it, you’re reinforcing a message that does you no good, at all. It makes for a very vicious circle. The more you tell yourself you don’t matter, the more you believe it, and the more the people who populate your life will be inclined to treat you that way.

Today, let’s look at some of the ways in which you give yourself that message:

  1. You keep yourself on the back burner. Everybody else’s needs, demands, and agenda take precedence over yours.
  2. You settle for people showing you less consideration than you’d like.
  3. You settle for being less than you know you are capable of being.
  4. You don’t cherish – and develop – your own gifts and talents.
  5. You don’t make time for yourself. You may invest a lot of time in doing things that are meant to make people judge you less harshly, but you don’t consistently ring-fence time for doing the things that give you pleasure, and nurture your soul.
  6. You don’t eat as well as you know you should – most of the time at any rate.
  7. You probably deprive yourself of sleep, leisure, or exercise.
  8. You don’t take time out to have fun.
  9. You don’t invest in your own emotional well-being. That’s on the “One Day” pile.
  10. You don’t take the time to dream.
  11. You don’t put a high value on your happiness.
  12. You don’t spend time focusing on creating your future. But you do spend massive amounts of time and energy reliving a damaging past.
  13. You don’t spend time focusing on what’s good about yourself.
  14. You don’t really listen to your own needs, wants, and requirements.
  15. You spend more time worrying about how Other People – starting with him – will judge you than you ever do giving yourself credit for so many things, starting from just keeping going. 

That list may be exhausting, but it’s not exhaustive. It’s just there to give you some idea of what you’re actually doing.

Perhaps you still think that mattering is something that you have to earn, by working hard in your emotionally abusive relationship: if you toil away for enough years at the pit-face of Self-Sacrifice, one day, you’ll finally be awarded your “%$firstname$%, You Matter”, badge.

It doesn’t work like that.

When you start to believe you matter, most people – except for The Nasty Tribe – will embrace that belief, too.

See, Life has this strange quirk that it takes emotionally abused women the longest time to understood: Life rewards proactive behavior. Think about it. Think outside the box of your experience with Mr Nasty. You’ll see that it’s true.

Isn’t it time you gave yourself the green light to get proactive about creating the life you want for yourself?



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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