One Woman’s Journey to Recovery from Emotional Abuse

03 Feb 2015

despairing womansmallLisa was doing that emotionally abused woman thing and blaming herself for everything.    She found me over the Internet – although, in reality, we only lived about 70 miles apart. She was in one of the darker circles of Hell.  She wanted to recover from emotional abuse, although she had no idea how – or even if – she could.  Her whole life had imploded.   She was drinking and smoking too much, and she’d tried to kill herself several times.

Even by the standards of my coaching practice, she was in a very bad way. In her family, physical violence and emotional abuse had been the norm.  She’d married a man who was emotionally and physically abusive – just like her dad, in fact.  It had happened for all the usual reasons: she was young, naïve, defenceless, disempowered and, above all, hungry for the love she’d never known.

Not that you’d ever have guessed that to look at her, of course.

What the outside world would have seen – and still sees – was a bright, engaging, attractive woman, with a multitude of talents and considerable natural authority.

Predictably enough, Lisa only saw herself through the distorting lens of her abusers.  She saw herself as an ugly, stupid, worthless failure with HUGE  mental health issues.

It’s hard being bright and caring and doing the best you can, only to be constantly told you’re a worthless waste of space.

Lisa shouldered that burden womanfully and kept going, for as long as she could, for the sake of her children.

And then she met a man at work who showed an interest in her!

An  I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T  in HER!!!

If she’d had a working predator alarm in her brain it would have rung furiously.  But, of course, if you’ve been brought up in The Abusive Kingdom,  your predator alarm hasn’t been properly wired up.

It didn’t turn out well.  That was never going to happen.

By the time she found me, Lisa didn’t know what she wanted, except that she wanted out of the pain, and the shame, and the awful feeling of having destroyed her own life and other people’s.

Where do you start with someone who is that distraught?

We started with my Ultimate Emotional Abuse Recovery Program. She listened to it over and over again, night and day, when she was driving, when she was doing the ironing – even at work, I think.

She started to make sense of her life.  She started to really understand that other people’s behaviour was not her responsibility.  She stopped blaming herself, and hating herself.

She started to make changes.

I never actually met her until recently when she came to a very small, invitation only, event in my home.

She’s a happy woman now.

She has a wonderful relationship with her children – she was estranged from one of them for years. She has an active social life, a circle of good friends, and a good relationship with her family of origin.  She has finally fulfilled some dreams from her girlhood years.  She works, and she is just starting to go in a new, rewarding direction following a long-term dream she’d long since stopped daringeven to dream.  She’s man-free, and perfectly happy to be man-free.

She remembers being ‘a mess’.

What’s different, now, is that she has ‘a compass’ as she puts it.

That’s what made her journey back from Hell not only possible, but quick – having that ‘compass’; knowing which roads to travel, and the dead ends to avoid.

She left those dark circles of Hell behind her within months of starting on her journey of recovery.  She’s been moving forward ever since.  Sure, she has her ‘wobbles’.  But they’re wobbles.  She can handle them.  She has her internal ‘compass’ to keep her safe, and protect her from falling into the abyss.

When she was hospitalized for suicidal depression, her Mental Health team did precious little to help her see beyond her ‘basket case’ label.

Hell is a place we all know.  We’ve all been there.  But it’s a staging point along the journey, along the journey to recover form emotional abuse. It doesn’t need to be the final destination.

As Lisa’s story shows, you can always recover from emotional abuse.  There is always a way back from Hell.


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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