Learnings from a Navajo Wedding Vase

19 Feb 2013

So, you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship.  What can you learn about relationships from a Navajo Wedding Vase? 

Quite a lot, it seems. 

Not that I knew the first thing about Navajo Wedding Vases, until I cam across this blog post by my good friend Jane Bennett. (http://www.theexpatpartner.com/living-abroad-relationship-pitfalls-a-navajo-vase/)

Jane explains the point of the Navajo Wedding Vase very eloquently. It’s all about how healthy relationships work, and two people getting their spiritual sustenance from the same source. It’s about co-operation, and mutual consideration. Otherwise, one party – or both – will go without, and end up parched. 

Does that sound familiar, at all? 

I tried thinking back down the years to my wedding. Had the emotionally abusive wasband and I had to deal with a Navajo Wedding Vase, how would it have gone? 

Given that, on our wedding day, the then husband was about as loving as he was ever going to be, here’s how I think it would have gone. 

  • He would have taken control of the vase, and the situation. He would probably have done so on the grounds of superior qualifications, practicality, wisdom, strength… or even gender! (“Men are just better at these things than you are, Annie. I learned all about this at medical school!”)

  • He would have made the decision about when, how, and how much I could drink.

  • He might well have prioritized his own needs over mine.

  • He would have laid the blame for any waste of water, technical hitches, or other problems, on me. (Isn’t it interesting how emotionally abusive men always know that there is blame to be apportioned, and none of that blame ever belongs to them?)

  • The story of my shortcomings in this scenario would have been dredged up endlessly throughout the course of our marriage.

  • He would totally have missed the inherent value of the vase: a true cynic, he knew the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

  • He would have decided there was nothing he could learn from the vase – he lived in a world where things could always get worse, but he dismissed any possible improvement as “unrealistic”, a fantasy for the feeble-minded (like me). 

Sooner or later – most likely, sooner – I would have discovered a small pile of pieces where the vase used to be, and he’d explain: “It was just a piece of s*it, it fell apart in my hands.” 

An abusive man is someone who treasures nothing, and breaks everything you hold dear. 

The Navajo Wedding Vase suggests that in all societies there are good men, and good relationships, as well as bad. 

Would there be people, in Navajo society, who had a hard time? It seems highly likely, doesn’t it? 

But that vase is a commitment to the good. 

That’s something you don’t see an emotionally abusive man ever make. 

That’s why the “Darling-I’m-So-Sorry-I’ll-Be-A-Good-Boy” routine is guaranteed to end in disappointment… where you’re concerned. 

What else should we learn from the Navajo Wedding Vase? 

  • That there are good men out there, who will treasure your wellbeing and happiness as much as their own.

  • That consideration and co-operation are realistic expectations.

  • That being controlled means you will go without. And there is always another way.

  • That the World is a far richer, more varied, and happier place than an emotionally abusive relationship would lead you to believe. An abusive relationship is just one possibility – and a pretty awful one at that.

  • That you probably need to keep telling yourself there really is much, much more in the World for you. But you can’t just sit and wait patiently for it to drop into your lap. 

An abusive man will never make you feel precious. (Bless him; he wouldn’t know ‘precious’ it if came up and bit him very hard on his nether end.) 

You have to start treating yourself properly: you’re precious.

 Think Navajo Wedding Vase.


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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