The Rules for Being Emotionally Abused

30 Sep 2014

“How could he do that to me?” is a question emotionally abused women always ask themselves. And me. Underlying their question is the belief that there is no good answer.

They’re right, of course.

But then it’s not about goodness, at all.  Goodness has NOTHING to do with it.

And it’s not just about your emotionally abusive partner.  It’s as much about you, too.  Chances are,  the relationship would never have happened in the first place- and certainly never have lasted if you hadn’t ‘bought into it, by accepting his rules.

This week, I went way outside my comfort zone and took part in a Stand Up Comedy workshop.  Contrary to my worst case scenario, it was BRILLIANT. The guy running it, Tim Dingle, insisted on giving all of us attendees the card reproduced here:



Reading those rules made me think…  About the Rules for Being Abused.

As I see it, those rules would read like this:

Tolerate more ill treatment than is required.  Learn less than is normal. Deny what you see. Relinquish your own strength.  Live in fear.

Don’t dare even to breathe your fill. Breathe fast, shallow, cautiously.  Follow; never lead.

Silence your truth.  Defer to your abuser’s ‘values’. Cry. Suffer. Accept. Endure.  Expect to be dominated.  Settle for worthlessness. Aim for invisibility.  Keep small.   Get less than you need. 

Exude fear.  Abandon your dreams.  Dismiss your hopes.  Disappoint others by your passivity. Dream small, and anticipate failure.  Don’t Act. Stay blocked.  Don’t change a thing. 

It goes without saying that you would rather live by the Rules for Being Amazing Amazing.  But maybe you don’t believe that you can.  Sure, you can find reasons why it’s different for you.   But, actually, they’re not reasons, they’re justifications.

Justifications stink.

Your emotionally abusive partner is the King of Justifications.  He really is.  Just think of Justification #4 in The Emotional Abuser’s Handbook:

“I wouldn’t have thrown my toys out of pram and behaved like a complete a**h*le, if you…  hadn’t forgotten to iron my socks/objected to being used and rejected/had That Look on your face.

Justifications stink.

If you’re still struggling with justifications, instead of embracing the Rules for Being Amazing, then you need help.  Simple as that.

You can be AMAZING every day.

You can learn to be amazing, and happy every day.

But you will need to let go of the justifications that are keeping you out of your Amazing zone.


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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