He Made Her Pizza!

29 Jul 2014

dog in manger There are a few things you need to understand about Little Johnny Manger, who we spoke about last week.

He’s the guy who makes such an unpleasant bedfellow – your unpleasant bedfellow; that’s something really important to understand.  But he’s also pretty smart.  His emotional age is DEFINITELY a single figure, and most probably a fairly low one, at that.  Put simply, his emotional age multiplied by a factor of 12, would come in at…36, max.

From which we can deduce that, emotionally speaking, he lacks a certain maturity.

What he doesnt lack, however, is a degree of sophistication.

There’s a client of mine who is AMAZING.   Actually, she’s a typical client: she’s an amazing woman, a ferociously quick learner, and she hasn’t the faintest idea of how strong and resourceful she is.   After years and years in an emotionally abusive marriage, she’s decided the time has come for her to recover from emotional abuse.

Her emotionally abusive husband could win an Oscar for his Little Johnny Manger performance.  And he’s shrewd.

Sarah my client has stopped playing his game, by his rules.

She’s not fighting with him.  That serves no useful purpose, at all. Instead, she just keeps saying to him, quietly and firmly:

“Look, Little Johnny, I’m just not prepared to tolerate that behavior.  You’re a big boy now, so I’m not going to attempt to cart you off to your bedroom.  However, I will leave you to the Naughty Boy chair so that you can think about your behavior.”

Little Johnny M has been spending quite a lot of time, sitting in his Naughty Boy chair, wondering why he’s not got an audience any more.

And he doesn’t like it.

He may not know quite what is going on.  But he sure as hell knows that he doesn’t like it. And because he’s a bright boy he realizes that it’s down to him to change the situation.

He needs to bring his partner-mommy back into line.

How is he going to do that?

By showing her how nice and caring he is!

pizzaiismallSo, he’s gone to extraordinary lengths.  He really has.  Why, just the other week, when she was out all day, she came home to find that he had cooked her a pizza – and left the kitchen reasonably tidy.

Little Johnny Manger was saying, in his own inimitable way:

“Look, Mommy, I’m such a good little boy. I can play nice.  Now, you’ve got to play Good Mommy for the foreseeable future.”

Little Johnny Manger is smart.  He knows that sometimes he has to renew his License to be a Bad Partner.

Pizza’s pretty powerful stuff, right?

Sarah just smiled – inwardly.  She thanked politely him for the pizza – which was welcome at the end of a long, hard day.  And she wasn’t fooled, or overwhelmed by gratitude.

He made her pizza.


If he made her pizza every night for the rest of her life, would that be enough?

First off, he won’t.  That’s not going to happen.  Second, is pizza enough to make a relationship good enough? 

What do you think?

Sarah has happiness in her sights now.  She’s experiencing more happiness than she ever has before.  For the first time ever, she understands how she can  enjoy happiness irrespective of Little Johnny Manger’s behavior.  Pizza is not all bad – although a diet of wall-to-wall pizza has to be seriously bad for your health.  But what Sarah wants is lasting happiness.

Is that likely to be on offer with Little Johnny Manger?

Sarah’s not holding her breath.  She has a newly acquired taste for happiness now.  Pizza is a poor substitute for happiness.

Sarah’s not prepared to compromise on what she wants and deserves, anymore.  That’s what has made Little John Manger sit up and pay attention.

What are the learnings you’ll take from this story?

There are so many you could take: like how little Little Johnny M feels he has to do to ensnare his wife, all over again; or how Sarah is not falling for that heady cocktail of hope, misplaced optimism and a smidgeon of willingness to please, anymore.

The real lesson is how much Sarah is changing.  She’s changing so quickly, and so radically that she still can’t quite see what’s happening within her.  She would never have believed it could happen.  Which only goes to show that, for years and years, she underestimated herself woefully.

If you’re wondering whether you can really change, let Sarah’s example be a lesson to you.   Don’t lose further precious time and energy underestimating who you truly are.


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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