The Lesson You Might Be Missing

23 Jul 2013

missingsomethingimportantsmallIs there a lesson from your emotionally abusive relationship that you might be missing? Let me tell you what I mean. 

The thing in my life that nearly – so very nearly – sank me was taking lessons from my experiences: the wrong lessons. The thing in my life that has saved me has been learning from my experiences – learning the right lessons; the powerful, constructive lessons that have saved me, and continue to save me. These are the lessons I share you with you. 

On Saturday, I attended an event for Speakers. If you’ve ever listened to Speakers, you’ll have noticed they – all – have a story we can relate to, a story that goes from struggle to success and happiness. The stories people shared were P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L. 

There was the woman who had been sexually abused as a child, and the woman married to the increasingly violent man who ended up behind bars for the brutal murder of a business partner, just before he got round to killing her. There was the wealthy company director who had lost EVERYTHING he had ever owned. The man who’d left a cult and lost his entire family. The young man who came back from a background of addiction, and bulimia. The person with a brain injury. The woman with a major facial disfigurement who had to learn how not to spend her life trying to protect people from her perceived ugliness. 

Everyone had a powerful, moving story. 

I asked myself: “What’s mine?” 

Certainly, in that company, it was a pretty low-key story. Yes, it is a true story of rejection, emotional abuse, and self-loathing. Yes, in the past, it has damaged the living daylights out of me. For the longest time, it was a story of quiet, buttoned up desperation. 

Just now, I realized it was a story of something more powerful as well. It’s a story of giving up. 

The story of staying in an emotionally abusive relationship is always a story of giving up.  


Staying in an emotionally abusive relationship is alway a story of giving up. TWEET This

The trade we think we make is: “I’m prepared to give up on myself, in order to hold onto this ‘relationship’.” No matter that said ‘relationship’ is dead in the water – most likely, has been dead in the water, very probably since Day 1. 

Emotionally abused women give up on themselves. 

Every day, in every way, emotionally abused women give up on themselves, again. 

 Every day, in every way, emotionally abused women give up on themselves.  TWEET This

It goes with the territory. 

It’s been programmed into us. 

Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship will know this pattern well. It may, or may not, go back to childhood. But it’s certainly been a core feature of your emotionally abusive relationship. For some reason, you’re having a Near-Happiness-Moment, things are going quite well: you’re slipping into the fantasy that things could yet turn out. 

So, what happens? 

Your emotionally abusive partner sees you opening to a touch of trust, he sees the optimistic smile on your face and in he goes for the jugular. 

He “teaches you a lesson”. 

Do you remember that expression from childhood? Do you remember how it always meant rubbing someone’s nose in something nasty; as opposed to teaching them something constructive that would help to make their life happier, and easier? 

Your emotionally abusive partner “teaches you a lesson” alright. Over and over again. 

An emotionally abusive partner teaches you the same lesson, over and over again.   TWEET this 

But, here’s the thing, you learn the wrong lesson. 

Emotional abuse teaches you the lesson that is’s easier to just give up. 

You learn the lesson that it’s better, and easier, to give up now. 

Suppose you chose to take a different lesson from the experience. Suppose you opened your eyes to the fact that giving up now simply doesn’t work. The human spirit, even your repeatedly crushed and brutalized human spirit, doesn’t quite give up. 

Living as if you have completely given up doesn’t buy you any peace, or respite. If you’re not living in fear of his next rejection, you’re worrying about when the next bad thing will happen to you. 

Suppose you opened to the idea that you’ve channeled all your passion and energy into someone who takes pleasure in being a lost cause. You could learn the lesson that you got it horribly wrong. This is absolutely true; you’re the 1 woman in 4 who, at some time in her life, gets it horribly wrong. (Welcome to the sisterhood.) 

You can also learn the lesson that you have enormous energy and passion. You’re not broken. You can still use that energy and passion to transform your world. (NOT his, but yours – and your children’s.) 

I learned to give up. It was a stinking lesson, a lesson that never bought me any peace. It never does. Living in an abusive relationship means giving up on yourself, over, and over,and over again. It means trying to numb your heart, over, and over, and over again. 

Living in an abusive relationship means giving up on yourself, over and over  TWEET This

Learning, and re-learning, the wrong lesson is – believe it, or not – the hardest thing you’ll ever do. 

Isn’t it time for you to give up on giving up?



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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