It’s Your Story of Recovery From Emotional Abuse, Too

05 Aug 2014

limitssmallFiona Everywoman  couldn’t take any more – that’s why she contacted me.  She’d been married to a difficult, emotionally abusive husband for a lot of years, and she had hit rock bottom. She’d done EVERYTHING, she believed in marriage and the two parent family, but…

Fiona Everywoman is not her real name, of course.   But, in a sense, it could be.  Inspiring and unique as her story is, it could also be the story of Recovery from Emotional Abuse of every  woman who’s been brought to rock bottom by an emotionally abusive partner.

Fiona’s marriage, and her family, just weren’t working. Her husband was a conspiracy theorist:  he blamed her for setting the children against him when, in reality, he drove them away them with his domineering, angry attitude. He blamed her for everything.  Fiona E was an emotionally abused woman who blamed herself for the conflict in the family, failing as a wife, a mother, a woman, and being a poor excuse for a human being.

It was touch and go whether she would even work with me. She had, as she said, ‘tried everything’ and got nowhere. She’d managed to get her husband to agree to marriage therapy, but he’d quickly decided it ‘wasn’t for him’.  She was the one who needed it – in his humble opinion.  Therefore it was only right and proper that she should attend marital therapy, alone. When the therapist had done his or her work, then Fiona would be A Changed Person and the marriage would work. Fiona’s husband, on the other hand – being without blame – was entitled to sit on the side-lines, casting one stone after another, while he waited for her to prove him right.

Small wonder she felt half crazy.

If anyone ever lacked self-belief, Fiona Everywoman did. To paraphrase an old expression, Fiona E was surely not at school the day that basic self-belief was given out.

She didn’t feel she had a right to a life. She didn’t believe she had a right to happiness. She couldn’t believe she was entitled to have anyone believe in her, or help and support her.

The list of what she DIDN’T believe went on, and on.

But, for all that, Fiona is a listener and a thinker.

As I listened to her, a picture emerged of the true woman – despite the enormous load  of abuse, negativity, rejection, and criticism she carried. When I described to Fiona the woman I saw, and how her life could be different, she asked:

‘Do you think so? Is that really possible for me? Isn’t it too late? Are you sure it’s me that you’re talking about? I don’t think I have the strength…’

And so began our coaching journey. Every week Fiona E brought a rucksack of fears and doubts to the process.

Every week she told me what she couldn’t do. Every week, I proved to her that she was so much stronger and wiser than she thought she was. And every week we ended up chuckling together at the way she confused her husband and undermined his power by – quietly –  refusing to let him control her.

Things have changed massively for Fiona E. over a period of weeks.

naughtystepsmallHer husband is still in the picture. But the picture has ceased to be a life-size portrait of him. Instead, the picture is a happy, harmonious family portrait, of Fiona and the children. At the moment, he is off in one corner of it – looking a tad sulky. If you were to look carefully at that corner, just behind him you’d  see the Naughty Step – his Naughty Step. He’s been spending a fair bit of time on the Naughty Step lately, and he’s none the worse for it.

As for Fiona E, instead of dragging herself through the days, hating herself and hating her life, these days she is so HAPPY. She’s discovering who she really is, and she is fascinated and delighted by the process, rather like a child with a brand new toy.

She’s constantly discovering that she is way stronger, wiser, and cleverer than she ever thought she was. Her sense of self has undergone a total makeover, and she’s loving it.

In the last couple of months, Fiona Everywoman has changed beyond anything she could ever have imagined possible.

It happened because she is a woman of extraordinary potential, and herein lies the learning. Fiona E truly believed she was the most pathetic woman on the planet; Mrs Undeserving.  She got that wrong!

She had no idea of her own gifts, strengths and resources.

The massive transformation is happening because she already had everything she needed – barring the self-belief. That’s what we’ve been working on, and she’s responding beautifully.

In a nutshell, that’s the story of the remarkable Fiona E.  It’s her story, but it could be yours, too. Because there is no doubt that, in your own way, you are as remarkable as she is in hers. The only thing that gets in the way is your lack of self-belief.

That lack of self-belief is an Everywoman thing.

Which means that, just like Fiona, you can overcome it, too.


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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