You’re not crying over spilt milk, are you?

21 Oct 2014

You’re not crying over spilt milk, are you?

A relationship with an emotionally abusive partner is guaranteed to leave you floundering in a sea of regret.   You regret what happened, and what didn’t happen, what you said and did – and what you didn’t say and do in your emotionally abusive relationship.  You regret what might have been and what can never be.  You can even end up regretting that you spend so much time regretting…  How can you possibly recover from emotional abuse when you are drowning in regrets.

spiltmilkMy parents often told me: “There’s no point crying over spilt milk?” Maybe yours did, too.

Nobody spends more time crying over spilt milk (and/or unspilt milk) than an emotionally abused woman.  Maybe yours did, too.

Even before I met my emotionally abusive husband that ‘proverb’ irritated the life out of me.


Because the subtext is so offensive.  What the subtext is really saying is: “Could you, please, stop going on about whatever it is that’s troubling you – because I don’t want to hear itYour misery is spoiling my day.”

It always struck me that there was something profoundly wrong with the spilt milk statement.  But it has taken me a while to realize quite what’s so wrong with it.

I guess you could look at proverbs as the precursors to Twitter.  They were a way to distil received wisdom into as few characters as possible.  (Most proverbs seem to come in way below the Twitter threshold of 140.)

The problem with counting characters – and proverbs/generalizations – is, of course, oversimplification.

That is precisely where the crying over spilt milk statement falls down: in reality we do not just cry over milk once spilt.  What really happens is that each time we focus on it, and start to cry about it, we spill that milk afresh.

How counter-productive is that?

Yes, what happened was terribly sad.

But it’s happened.

You know it’s happened.

There is nothing, at all, to be gleaned from going back over it, again and again.

It reminds me of a story told to me by the wasband.  In the course of his work as a physician, he came across a very old gentleman who had lost his wife, and was suffering with dementia.  This poor soul turned up frequently, at the surgery, looking for his wife.

Each time, the doctor reminded him, again, that his wife had died, and each time the widower had to mourn her loss, again.

The poor widower had no choice but to go through the same cycle again and again because of his dementia.

You do have a choice.

Each time you rehearse the sad story of hurt, humiliation and rejection by your emotionally abusive husband you spill that milk, all over again.

Simple as that.

That’s not your intention and you’re probably not aware that that is what you are doing.  But that is exactly what is happening.

The milk has already been spilt.

Nothing on earth is ever going to get it back into the bottle, or glass – or even the cow.

Once it’s spilt, it’s spilt.

Exactly like the potentially wonderful relationship you once thought you could have.

You can keep spilling that milk all over again, for as long as you let yourself.

But you won’t feel any better for it.  Nothing – least of all, you – will change for the better.

Maybe I’m clumsier than most.  Over time, I’ve cleaned up spilt milk, and water, wine, olive oil  (nasty) uncooked cheesecake batter, and Heaven knows what else besides.

It’s tiresome.

And Life goes on.

Your Life always goes on – provided you let it.

So, milk has been spilt.  It had already turned sour.  It was good for nothing.

Don’t go spilling any more.

There’s so much left for you to enjoy.  Why would you waste any more of your precious life spilling milk?



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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