Trying to understand her emotionally abusive husband is something every woman tries – and fails – to do. She fails because she can’t understand how her emotionally abusive husband (or partner) can possibly be the way he is. Because she is loving, loyally, and deeply committed to the relationship, she believes that he must be, too. After all, at the start they had a connection, didn’t they? He really ‘got’ what she was about, and he couldn’t do that unless he was like that, too, right?
The evidence would suggest that – when it comes to emotionally abusive husbands – the emotional logic of their long-suffering wives is completely and utterly wrong.
But then the clue has to be in the phase ‘emotional logic’. There is always a logic to emotions, I believe. However, that doesn’t mean that it has to be the logic you believe.
In fact there may well be a big difference between logic, and Wishful Thinking.
Both play a part in the way you view an emotionally abusive husband.
Your emotional logic dictates your norm as regards the way you behave towards someone you love.
The emotional logic that has shaped you has taught you that the correct way to ‘do’ love is to earn it. (I’m always fascinated by the fact that emotionally abused women with much loved pets never, ever expect those pets to earn love. The pets just have to exist!) But you learned early on that you’d have to earn love because that was the way it was in your house.
(Of course, the unspoken corollary was that – no matter how hard you worked – you’d never earn enough brownie points to enjoy lasting, unconditional love.)
Wishful Thinking dictates that your emotionally abusive husband must be working from the same template of the world as you are.
Wishful Thinking has a one-track mind.
That one track tends to be the wrong track.
The point is, an emotionally abusive husband may well have grown up in a similarly emotionally deprived background to yours. However, that doesn’t mean that he necessarily sees the same solution to the problem that you do.
‘My’ wasband grew up in a home that was more emotionally abusive then mine. This was truly sad, and I did my very best to heal him. Of course, I couldn’t do it. However, I thought that if I gave him industrial quantities of what I knew I needed, that would have to do the trick.
Because he was looking for something else: he wanted to feel loved. But he wanted to feel powerful a whole lot more.
That was how the world worked, according to his template: the person with the most power in his world won.
So, thinking that I could heal him by giving him the thing I most desired – which I was too damaged to be able to provide selflessly for as long as it might have taken – was pitifully wrong-headed.
Loving and honorable, and well-intentioned, yes: but, still, totally wrong-headed.
And this takes me back to a trip the wasband and I made to Sicily a long time ago. We found, to our amazement, that the wasband was remarkably Sicilian in his looks, and build. (This came as something of a surprise since his entire family were Eastern European, for many generations.) However, since his build was quite Sicilian – short and wiry – we decided it could be a good opportunity to buy him some long trousers that wouldn’t be… way too long for his short legs.
Into the shop we trotted. I did the talking because I speak fluent Italian. The shopkeeper pulled out several pairs for the wasband to try on. The wasband duly tried them, but none of them fitted around the waistband.
The shopkeeper thought for a moment and then said, approximately:
The answer doesn’t matter. The question is a thing of beauty.
What is your emotionally abusive husband really; a fake nice guy, or a fake horror? Inside that changeable exterior who’s really trying to get out; Mr Nasty, or Mr Nice?
You’ve always told yourself that the person inside your emotionally abusive husband who wants to get out of the closet once and for all is Mr Nice. But suppose that’s just your wishful thinking? Suppose it’s actually the closet Mr Nasty who wants to be out there 24/7 strutting his stuff?
What mileage is there in the relationship if that is the case?
How do you tell which one is which?
Let’s put it this way, my lovely partner is Mr Nice. Inside his Mr Nice there’s a lot more niceness always ready to get out. There is NO closet Mr Nasty in there looking for expression.
Inside every emotionally abusive husband there is a well-spring of Nastiness. Whether or not you want to believe it, you absolutely know it. That’s one of the things that is causing you such pain. You can’t change what’s inside him. You can only change what’s going on inside you. Don’t waste more of your precious life looking for the qualities that your emotionally abusive husband doesn’t have.
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.
The 5 Simple Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Over the next 5 days, I'll send you some lessons and tips that I've found have really helped women to heal from narcissistic abuse. Starting with the basics.