How an emotionally abusive relationship breaks your heart

12 Oct 2013

knowitallssmallMost people just don’t get what an emotionally abusive relationship does to you. They tell you to leave your emotionally abusive partner. From where they stand, on the sidelines, it’s very easy to think clearly, and offer ‘good advice’. 

They feel very comfortable stating what’s obvious to them. No matter that’s it’s not obvious to you, the victim of emotional abuse. They tend not to be interested in what you’re thinking. They’re unlikely to be tolerant of your fears, doubts, and the attachment you still feel towards an emotionally abusive partner. Since your thinking, as an emotionally abused woman, is so muddle-headed, they don’t need to listen to you. You should be listening to them – as they see it. 

Everybody always knows best for an emotionally abused women, don’t they? They have all the answers to your problems. 

Unfortunately, if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, your life – and your feelings – are out of control. You know that. What you don’t need is other people pointing out to you how feeble-minded they think you are. They’re not telling you anything you don’t already feel. 

Telling an emotionally abused woman what she should do doesn’t make it any easier for her. It only ever makes it worse. 

So let’s take a look at what’s going on for emotionally abused women when they realize the relationship is unhealthy. 

First, they go into denial. That’s a very usual – even normal – response. But it’s not a helpful one. Denial is all about not wanting to admit to yourself that you’ve made a lousy investment in your emotionally abusive partner. 


Then you start to compute everything that you have lost. This is really painful. You’ve lost your hopes and dreams, you’ve lost the person you thought was the love of your life, you’ve lost the shared future you’d hoped you two could have together, you’ve lost your identity as defined by the relationship, you may stand to lose out financially, and you have lost the security – you thought you had. 

Sadly, there’s more besides. 

You’ve been hurt, betrayed, rejected, and humiliated by the person who was meant to love you most in the world – as you saw it. It is as if eveything you ever thought you knew about love was wrong. 

It’s incredibly painful to have to admit to yourself (and the world) that the person who was meant to be the closest to you, has so little regard for you that he treats you like his worst enemy. It’s devastating to have to admit it to yourself. 

At this point, you don’t realize that his rejection of you – and love, and intimacy – is simply a reflection of his own (nasty) beliefs and values. You imagine it is about you, and this breaks your heart. It takes a while, and some helpful input from experts in the field, before clonessmallyou understand that he’s off on a Power and Control jag. (An emotionally abusive man is someone who has made a lifelong commitment to living on Planet Bully.) 

Your abusive partner lives by one simple rule: 

I have a perfect right to hurt those closest to me as much as I want – and need – to, in order to maintain complete power and control over them.” 

That’s S-C-A-R-Y. 

And toxic. 

If you’d known that from the get-go, you’d have said:

Holy moly, I do NOT want to be with a freak like that” (or words to that effect) and you’d have run for the hills, or eaten enough garlic to empty half the county, or… You get the picture? 

You fell in love with an emotionally abusive partner because you thought that he was someone with whom it was possible to have a loving, lasting relationship. 

That’s what he wanted you to believe. (Even he was too canny to present to you as the freak who gets his kicks out of making his partner miserable. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Because your emotionally abusive partner has becomeyour world, you confuse him with The World. You get frightened that he is just like everyone else – he’s told you, often enough, that the whole world thinks the way he does.) 

That’s why emotionally abused women end up thinking that everyone behaves like an emotionally abusive partner, when the reality is a little different: 

All emotionally abusive men behave like their emotionally abusive partner is their worst enemy. 

All emotionally abusive men use love as a tool to hurt, humiliate, and depersonalize their partner. 

All emotionally abusive men are interchangeable clones – maybe not in appearance, but certainly in behavior. They are very different creatures, altogether, from good men. 

Which leaves you needing to learn two things: 

  1. How to tell an emotionally abusive man from a paid up member of the human race – that is, a decent, respectful, caring human being; and

  2. how you learn to stop thinking and feeling lithe way you have in your emotionally abusive relationship, so that you can take up your rightful place – confidently – in the real world where good things happen to good people. And good things – and good people – will happen to you.


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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