Does Your Emotionally Abusive Partner Boggle Belief?

13 Jan 2015

Is your emotionally abusive partner’s behaviour mind-boggling?  Does his mind-boggling behavior make it even harder to recover from an emotionally abusive relationship?  Do you find yourself asking: “Why on earth would anyone in their right mind do that?”

Not that I’m suggesting that he’s in his wrong mind.  If, from where you stand, his behaviour looks a tad weird – or worse, congratulations!   Despite all the mind-games he plays, and his constant attempts to erode your idea of how normal interactions between people work, you can still spot  Weird when you’re on the receiving end of it.  But ‘weird’ doesn’t mean out of his mind.  All it means is that – for his own reasons – he chooses to behave strangely.

Why does he do it?

Great question.  Provided you apply clear-sightedness to answering it.

The knee-jerk response a lot of women have to an emotionally abusive partner’s weird behaviour is to make it about them:

“Okay, so he decided to sleep on the living room couch instead of in our nice, big, comfortable bed… because of something I did that annoyed/upset/hurt him.  How awful does that make me?”

Admittedly, there IS something quite weird going on here.  But do you have to own it?  Let’s run through this scenario again.  Sure, we could have used plenty of other more – or less passive – aggressive scenarios: the actual scenario doesn’t make a huge amount of difference.

What we are talking about, here, is the clear mismatch between situation and response: he’s peeved, therefore he does something  UN-ADULT.

My father was one of six children.  His parents were immigrants who struggled financially and – although he would never have admitted it – didn’t have a lot of time or patience for their kids.  They reckoned that providing their brood with a roof over their heads, food, clothes on their back, an education, a religion, and a Superego the size of a mountain, was  adequate parenting.  Job done.

girlwithwormsmallGarnering attention in that household was, I imagine, a challenging task.   One sibling dealt with the problem as best she could, seemingly, by resoring to drama.  When peeved enough, she would announce: “I’m going down to the bottom of the garden to eat worms.”

To each their own.

Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment that you should be putting on a Pity Party for an emotionally abusive partner because he had brutish parents and  A Hard Time growing up.  Most probably he did, although maybe he didn’t.  Either way, it’s not terribly important because the chances are that you had a hard time growing up, too.

Just think about it for a moment: growing up with inexpert parents  is probably one of the times when you need the most life skills but actually have the fewest.  Most of us have been there and muddled through the best way we can.  So, no special consideration on that score for Mr Nasty, please.

What I am saying is that your emotional abuser, like my worm-ivorous aunt , has some strange ways of responding to situations.  Especially when you consider that she was under 10, while he has detoured past the Age of Reason.  Without actually stopping off there.

Mr Nasty indulges in mind-boggling behaviors because they get your attention and trouble you emotionally.  He knows that.

Would an adult do what he does?

Err… No!

Just suppose that there was a real issue – as opposed to a fabrication he can use to let off steam, and leave you with 3rd degree burns: an adult would talk about it, with a view to working through it, and re-establishing H-A-R-M-O-N-Y.

Not your emotionally abusive partner.  From where he stands, boggling your mind is a much better option:

  • He totally wrong-foots you, so that you lose sight of the big picture.
  • He puts himself centre stage.
  • He gives free rein to his spiteful inner child.
  • He shatters whatever intimacy there was between you…

My aunt’s worm-eating initiative didn’t pan out too well for her.  Her family did what they did best and ignored her.  She never realised there could be any other kind of relationship dynamic and went on to marry an emotional – and quite possibly physical – abuser.  One daughter followed in her footsteps – as regards the poor choice in men.

At present, your emotionally abusive (ex)partner’s mind-boggling behaviors are working relatively well for him – inasmuch as they give him the attention and the sense of power and control he wants.

He Is free to do what he wants, of course.

Anyone is free to be an idiot. That doesn’t make being an idiot a brilliant option.

You can’t stop him behaving in weird ways.  It’s his prerogative.

But you don’t have to let his incursions onto Planet Weird diminish you.  Instead of letting your emotionally abusive partner boggle your mind, you want to stay focused on what is precious to you – and your children, if you have children.  You can always recover from emotional abuse no matter how much he tries to boggle your mind.


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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