Spotting Emotionally Abusive Behaviors Part ii

19 Oct 2013

Emotionally abusive partners have a real talent for making you feel small. One thing all emotionally abused women struggle to understand is that their agenda is totally different from your agenda. They don’t want you to have what you want: they want you to have what they want. Ultimately, what they want for you, is an endless series of negative experiences. 

Emotionally abusive men have worked out that it’s just not in their interest for you to feel good about yourself. Any abuser worth their salt will ask you:

“Why do you have to make everything about you?” 

But the truth, for an emotionally abusive partner it is, that everything has to be all about them. – everything has to revolve around them. That’s why, when something happens that could give you a legitimate satisfaction, they do their very best to spoil it for you. 

Perhaps nothing illustrates this mechanism better than a story I read, this week, in a UK tabloid.The formidable, veteran ‘screen siren’ Joan Collins recounts mentions the occasion when her then lover Robin Hurlstone declined to escort her to Buckingham Palace to receive “a mere OBE”. He wasn’t impressed with anything less than a damehood, he said. 

He wasn’t so dismissive of Collins’ OBE because he had received far greater Honours himself. He was dismissive because it was something that she had achieved

According to rule 7 of the Emotionally Abusive Man’s Handbook: 

“Any success your partner receives needs to be diminished at every possible opportunity. For her to enjoy the satisfaction of having her worth recognised can only be harmful to you. Therefore any pleasure, or satisfaction, she could enjoy needs to be shattered into tiny pieces. If you do not adhere to this rule, you risk you risk seriously undermining the balance of power in the relationship. Under no circumstances is she to be allowed to view herself as your equal.” 

No emotionally abusive husband I’ve ever heard of leaves the Emotionally Abusive Man’s Handbook lying around. But every last one of them sure as heck adheres to the same rules. 

When you’re with an emotionally abusive man, you soon learn that one of your key roles is massaging his ego. 

That ego needs an awful lot of massaging. 

Seemingly, you can never massage it enough. 

(If you were to draw up your ideal job description, according to an abusive man, it would probably read: “She can never be too, rich, too attractive, too compliant, or spend too long massaging my ego.) 

Understandably, this may come as something of a surprise to you. You do everything you can to make him feel as good as possible, You do sterling work massaging his monumental ego, and yet, it’s still not enough. 

An emotionally abusive partner lives in a world where good feelings are in short supply. He has to have complete control of that supply. As he sees it, any good feelings that you have means you are depriving him of something that is rightfully his

It’s pretty crazy, of course. But then, nobody ever said an emotionally abusive relationship is a sane relationship

if you think for a moment of what Christmas, Thanksgiving, holidays, Birthdays and other ‘happy’ events are like with an emotionally abusive partner, you’ll see that that makes sense. 

Some of the events my wasband always pulled out the stops for were: 


  • family holidays
  • Christmas
  • Easter – although less so than Christmas
  • my birthday
  • our anniversary
  • Valentine’s Day
  • our daughter’s special days 

In case US readers are wondering whether he made an exception for Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving was only spared because it wasn’t something that was on his radar – it’s not a UK celebration. All in all, the wasband was a very committed, and industrious killjoy, who usually managed a gala performance for Bank Holiday, Royal Weddings, and even bog standard weekends. 

It happened time and time again. He was remarkably predictable in that regard. 

Yet, I never understood it. I never saw what was really going on. 

Because I couldn’t imagine the way his mind worked, because I couldn’t conceive of how anyone could deliberately set out to spoil good times, I always thought that something must have happened to upset him. Instead of realizing the simple truth: the thought of his family enjoying a happy occasion brought out the worst in him. 

An emotionally abusive partner takes it upon himself to create the emotional climate that you live in. 

That climate is typically overcast, stormy, or worse. 

Unbelievable, but true. 

killjoyAt some point, you are going to have to go through a radical ‘debrief’, you’re going to need to stop thinking like an emotionally abused woman, so that you can start to enjoy the rich experience of happiness that is readily available for you – once you leave Mr Killjoy to visit his venom on himself, and kill his own joy.


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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