How could you describe emotional abuse?

23 Apr 2013

How could you describe emotional abuse?  How do you describe the indescribable?  

And yet, there is a need to describe it – not so much to other people in your life as to yourself – in such a way that you get what it’s really about, and how it has played out in your life.  The simplest way to do that is to relate it to a common experience that most people are familiar with – like, say, a hangover. 

Have you ever had a hangover in your life?  Maybe you have experienced an alcohol-induced hang-over, or maybe you haven’t.  But you surely have experienced – and most probably still are experiencing – an emotional abuse induced hangover.  

Sadly, unlike the alcohol induced variety the emotional abuse hang-over is not something that will pass of its own accord.  

Why not? 

Because it overstimulates some parts of your brain, and it impairs the functioning of others. 

Think about it.  

First off, it stimulates your hopes and your fantasy, and it puts blinders on your reasoning.  

Something about him – and what he appears to represent for you –  raised your hopes, and altered the emotional balance of your brain.  

You saw a red flag or two, heard the odd warning bell, sensed that something was less than ideal… and you shelved that perception.  Maybe he drank too much, or was critical of his ex(es). Maybe he had a touching victim story – or an emotional wasteland – in his background, or else, a couple of behaviors or character traits that gave you pause for thought.    

No matter. 

You became hooked on him. 

He took time and trouble to nurture your habit – that’s the only thing about you that he ever seriously bothered to nurture.  He stimulated your neediness and dependence every way he could.   He fed your insecurities.  He cultivated your lack of self-worth.  He promoted your fear and your procrastination.  He fostered your lack of trust. He strengthened your lack of self-love. 

Inasmuch as he was capable of nurture, he nurtured the self-sabotaging aspects of you. 

How could that not impair your confidence, your motivation, your self-belief, your self-respect and your energy? 

Game and set to Mr Nasty. 

If he has his way, it will be “Game, set, and match”. 

How do you stop that happening? 

You reverse the damage

You understand that he has  triggered an emotional abuse hang-over in you that’t not going to go away of its own accord.  For as long as you carry on believing the kind of things he said about you, you’ll carry on feeling awful, and you’ll carry on  struggling.  

Emotional abuse doesn’t go away of its own accord.  



50 shades (give or take a few) of emotional abuse, 50 shades of psychological bondage. 

The difference being that we’re talking reality here, not some idiotic fantasy in which the heroine loves and cajoles her partner into stepping into his potential to be normal, and nice, and uncontrolling. 

Psychological bondage –  your psychological bondage – is something that works well for Mr Nasty.  It doesn’t work well for you.  But he isn’t going to release you from those ties any time in the foreseeable future.  Not even if he replaces you with someone else.  

He’s not going to release you.  

But there’s nothing to stop you releasing yourself.  There are just 4 ½ steps to getting an abusive relationship out of your system. 

One lovely client of mine, who has just started on Step 1, had a huge mind-shift.  She said:

“Finally, I get what really happened.  I see now that ending up in an emotionally abusive relationship was something that was going to happen.  And if it hadn’t happened with X, it would surely have happened with someone else.  Because of the beliefs I held at the time.  That realization, alone, means I don’t feel so much of a victim any more.  It makes it just a part of my life story.” 

Don’t wait for Mr Nasty to change his ways, before you change your life.  

There’s no happy ending for you that he’s ever likely to be a part of. 

Cutting the ties of that psychological bondage has to happen. 

When will you do it? 


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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