Do You Have To Walk On Eggshells With An Emotionally Abusive Partner?

16 Sep 2014

Everything has a purpose;  even an emotionally abusive relationship.  That’s what I choose to believe.  Not least because it serves me far better than any other belief I’ve yet found – or heard – about emotionally abusive relationships.

So, what could possibly be the purpose of an emotionally abusive relationship? 

You might well ask.

When I was in one, I could never have found a good answer.  Still, if you want to recover from emotional abuse, it’s vital to have a good answer.

Fortunately, having been in recovery from emotional abuse for quite a while now and, further, being blessed with a healthy relationship with a loving partner, my vision now extends far further than it did back then.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship – as are all the emotionally abused women I speak with – because of an extraordinarily high threshold for putting up with a lack of regard,  trying to make the best of a toxic situation, and settling for crumbs of affection (on a good day).

Nwoman-yellingow, I’m not suggesting that you sit there like Little Miss Perfect and never communicate to your emotionally abusive partner your unhappiness about the way things are.  If you’re human, there’ll be times when you can take no more and you calmly state – or less calmly SHRIEK – your frustration.  But the bottom line is this:

For as long as you stay in an emotionally abusive relationship, you’re TOLERATING living within lousy parameters.  Let me tell you what I mean by lousy parameters.

This weekend, by British standards, I’ve covered a large number of miles, and spent a huge amount of time at the wheel of my car.  (By the standards of other countries, it was probably no big deal but, hey…!)  My partner has sat beside me through hours and hours of tiresome traffic jams and my (not particularly brilliant) driving.

Now, you know exactly how things go with an emotionally abusive man.  When anything ‘goes wrong’, someone has to be scapegoated.  That person is, most frequently, going to be you. (Although most emotionally abusive men are quite happy to spread the bad feelings further afield, also, provided doing so won’t harm them in any way.)

Irrespective of all the inconvenience of sitting in traffic for hours on end, my lovely partner and I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Why wouldn’t we?

We were togetherWe were happy.

When I was still tethered to Mr Nasty, if I’d been told that it was possible to enjoy quality time with a partner when you’re stuck in traffic, I’d have struggled to make sense of it.  I’d have wondered what was wrong with these people, that they didn’t feel appropriate anger, frustration, and a need to be clever during, or after, the event.  I’d have wondered how you can possibly be happy with someone when the situation is not right and, THEREFORE, that someone is bound to erupt at any moment.

An emotionally abusive partner’s mission statement – inasmuch as he has one – is always: “make things harder!”

So, you never have a potentially bad situation with him.  He has a rare genius for identifying that potential and exploiting it to the full.

Why would he not spoil a perfectly good weekend – if he possibly could?  

Why would he not spoil a perfectly good… anything, if he possibly  could?

Since, from his point of view, there is rarely a satisfactory answer to these questions, the only thing for him to do – as a right-minded, high functioning emotional abuser – is to spoil things.

eggshellssmallWhich means, you get used to walking on eggshells.  You may not know exactly when the ax will fall next.  But you know for a fact that it will fall.   On your head.

That belief becomes so ingrained in you that it becomes your map of the world.  You expect to live in a world of punitive, angry, judgmental people.   And because you expect it, you accept it.

The reality is, you don’t have to walk on eggshells – either with an emotionally abusive partner, or anyone else.  An emotional abuser will always explode into blame and venom, sooner or later.  He will always exhibit hurtful behaviors and say cruel, inexcusable things.  That’s just what he does.

But don’t, please, imagine that everyone functions more or less the same way.  They don’t.

An emotionally abusive husband is a total psychological waster.  He’s someone who throws away perfectly good eggs, so he can chuck the eggshells all round your feet, and then blame you for treading on them.

That’s weird.

It may be his kind of ‘normality’.  But it’s still weird.  Do NOT let it be your normality.

An emotionally abusive husband regards the shell is the best part of the egg.  He loves to keep you walking on eggshells.

You don’t need to do that.

There’s always a way of relating to him – inasmuch as you have to relate to him – without walking on eggshells.  You don’t want to waste any more time walking on eggshells when you could be using that time, and energy to rebuild 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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