How NOT To React To An Emotionally Abusive Husband

15 Sep 2015

How not to react to an emotionally abusive husband is one of the most important lessons you will ever learn. It’s also the thing that will have the greatest effect on your quality of life, peace of mind and, even, your finances.

Please understand, I’m not talking about how not to react to his hurtful comments and bad behavior so that you can:

  • be a latter-day saint
  • rise above everything and forgive him
  • heal him through your love and devotion
  • get to the end of his nastiness so that he can finally release his long-repressed Mr Nice

There’s a lot to be learned from Gertrude Stein who might have said: “A pipe dream is a pipe dream is a pipe dream.”

This is reality and your survival we’re talking about.  You can have a great rest of your life provided you start to get him right – or a pretty miserable one, if you don’t.

The good news is that you, like every other emotionally abused woman, are capable of getting it right.   

The thing is:

There is often a huge gulf between what you know with your head, and how you react – emotionally.

That’s what we’ll be looking at today.

Many of my clients are in the throes of divorcing an emotionally abusive husband.

The process of divorce from an emotionally abusive husband is guaranteed to be even more crazy-making than staying with him.

That is quite deliberate on his part.

It doesn’t mean that he likes you. (He doesn’t like anyone much, so why would he make an exception for you?)  

An emotionally abusive relationship is a co-dependent relationship, remember?

He’s the power-broker in your emotionally abusive, co-dependent relationship. So, what he really LOVES to do is yank the chains – and watch you ‘dance’.

Replacing you may or may not be something he wants to do.

Splitting the family assets is definitely something he does NOT want to do. 

When did your emotionally abusive husband ever believe in 50/50??

The is the background you must take on board before you can get to grips with how NOT to react to an emotionally abusive partner.

An emotionally abusive husband is a creature of strategies.   When he switches from one behavior to another, from Mr Nasty to Mr Nice – you get confused: he does not.  He always has his eye on the prize.

This is where the rules of engagement come in.  There are his rules, and your rules.

Your rules are all about being nice and civilized and amicable, and getting to some kind of peaceable co-existence – even if you are divorcing him. His rules are about winning.  He’s not a man who believes in the win-win.  He lives by the rules of Genghis Khan.  Victory depends on someone else being defeated.

Guess who that person has to be? 

Normal rules apply to normal people and normal situations.

Normality matters deeply to you, and you want to live by those rules.

But does your emotionally abusive partner?

You stand to lose out massively if/when you assume that he will honor your rules.  (Assumptions, rules, and contracts are all hugely important issues, and too big for this article.  I go into them, at length, in my book, “Do You Choose Your Dog More Carefully Than Your Husband?”)

This week, I saved another client from what would have been the divorce settlement from hell.  Nice lady that she is, she was doing everything absolutely right – except of one thing: she was hoping and placing her trust in him abiding by the normal rules of normal people.

He, on the other hand, was well on the way to legalizing a situation that would have left her stressed, disempowered, and financially insecure.

Lawyers will tell you how they’ll fight your corner for you.  I’ve heard that time and again from clients, and friends.  Mostly, that’s not how it pans out. Their agenda is to implement the law (and get paid); not to safeguard your sanity and optimize your future.

When you’re going through a divorce and trying to secure your financial security, and that of your children, you need someone who can show you how to protect yourself, and ring-fence your life.

When I left my emotionally abusive husband I didn’t know any of what I now teach, I played by the best rules I knew – and I lost out significantly.  Now, I make sure that my clients don’t lose out like that.

You cannot afford to let your emotionally abusive husband take you for another ride.

You can’t afford simply to react.  You have to take control. If you’re struggling to divorce successfully and you’d like help, drop me an email.


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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