Who puts an emotionally abused woman first?

22 Oct 2013

If you’re like most emotionally abused women, nobody puts you first.  There’ll be people who love you dearly, but you probably don’t really feel their love.   Please note,  I don’t include your emotionally abusive (ex)-partner in that number. 

If I know anything about you, I’d say you have a deep-rooted pattern of putting yourself last.  And if ever you do come across someone who wants to put you first, you’re not above doing an undignified sprint to the back of the queue (line) before you even realized what you’re doing!  It’s almost as if you can’t help yourself.

I see it all the time – emotionally abused women who are ‘going to’ focus on their own needs, wants, and dreams one day.  They’re certainly not planning on doing it any time soon.  They’re too busy taking care of everybody else’s wants, needs, and demands.

Putting yourself first goes right against the grain for an emotionally abused woman.

You’ve been taught all about having to EARN love and affection.  You’ve lived the You-Can’t-Have-It-Until-You’ve-Worked-Your-Socks-Off-For-It lifestyle long enough to know a few things about it.  You know from bitter experience that:

  • You can never work hard enough
  • Your reward is NEVER forthcoming
  • It’s a hellish way to live
  • You end up chronically starved of the good feelings you need

Now, this should be enough to lead you to throw your hands up in the air, and announce  – very loudly – to the World, at large, that you’re through with living your life at the back of that queue. 

But that’s not what happens, is it?

What you’ll probably do is keep on… keeping on with the same strategy that doesn’t work, because you still carry the belief that you’re doing the best thing you possibly can.

Only in Abuse World.

In Abuse World being invisible, putting yourself last, and working your socks off for the odd, stale crumb of synthetic love and affection is a strategy.  Whether it actually works better than any other strategy is uncertain.   In an emotionally abusive relationship, you’re going to get punished anyway; punished for what you do do, and punished for what you don’t do.   

The real question is not how you tolerate an impossible scenario, and stay in your emotionally abusive marriage; the real question is how you extricate yourself – safely, and lastingly.  

You can’t hope to do that until you start to take your own needs, wants, and feelings S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y. 

That means not worrying too much about what your emotionally abusive partner is going to think and say about you.  As you already know, he’s not going to think, or say, anything good.  That’s not how he operates. 

It means actively pursuing what is most helpful and therapeutic for you. 

It means not delaying your healing till that mythical day, ‘this year, next year, sometime, never’ when you’ve finally sorted out all the other areas of your life, his life, your children’s lives, and maybe your co-workers’ lives, and friends’ lives, as well .

Have you ever noticed how, when you’re not at the top of your game, everything looks and feels harder?

Putting yourself on the back burner all the time means that your life is a whole lot harder than it should be. 

I know that Certain People


have accused you of Being SELFISH.

Any time you ever thought about yourself  you were told that was because you were selfish. Right?

So, answer me this one question:

Who is the most selfish person you know? 

Your answer does need to be based on the evidence. 

Who is the person you know who:

  • Is least available to their family
  • Shows the least regard for other people’s feelings, and
  • Spends an unconscionable amount of time blowing their own trumpet (out of tune!!)

I think you’ve got it.

Putting yourself on the back burner is a great way of putting yourself at risk.


self-destuuctionBecause it alerts all abusers, and takers, for miles around that there is a space, at the centre of your life, that they can fill.  What’s more, they’ll get endless ‘perks’.  If it’s not obvious to you what I mean by ‘perks’, just ask yourself, what didn’t  you do for your emotionally abusive partner?

Isn’t it time you got off the back burner (where you’ve been getting a singed nether end for way too long) and started to focus on YOUR life.


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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