Cutting of contact with an emotionally abusive ex

05 Apr 2016

 Cutting of contact with an emotionally abusive ex is never easy to do.  There are always compelling reasons – some real, others that just feel real – why you need to stay in touch.  If you have children in common then you will, likely, need to have some contact with him for years to come.  The reasons cited for maintaining contact become a tad ‘shaky’ when there are no shared young children.

Reasons for failed cutting of contact with an emotionally abusive ex include: 

  • “There are things I have to do for him.” This could stem from a whole spectrum of concerns from “I’m worried about him, and how he will cope.” to “I have to sort out all the documentation for the divorce, because he is never going to.”  

The whole point of detaching for him is so that you don’t have to do anything for him, ever again.  

He is his own liability.

You need to take that on board.  Even if he threatens to go to hell in a handcart, that doesn’t make him your responsibility.  He’s trained you to be terrified about what he might do next.  Until you let go of that fear, you will always be in his power.

As regards practical things, like the process of divorce, you really don’t have to enter into a personal exchange with him. You don’t need to talk to him, and you certainly don’t need to meet up. The most you need to do is use the appropriate legal channels to keep him on track. 

  • Maybe he’ll see the light and we can still be together.” Right! 

Because, all of a sudden, his Emotional Intelligence will soar to dizzy heights! It will be like discovering that your battered family saloon car suddenly the most beautiful Ferrari engine under the hoot (UK bonnet) Finally, you can zip down the Highway to Happiness, together, at 140 miles per hour.


The giving and receiving of Happiness was never hardwired into an emotional abuser’s personality.  It never will be. The man is a pain machine.  NOT a love machine. 

  • “I don’t want to annoy him. That would only make things worse.” Superficially reasonable as this may sound, in reality it is completely and utterly WRONG.  

If this is painful to read, I can only apologize – and appeal to you to look at the facts.  If that is how you think, then you are working on two very human but misguided – and quite possibly dangerous – notions:

  1. it’s your job to keep him sweet and,
  2. you have the power to do that. 

If you had had that power, then he might have been emotionally abusive once or twice.  But then your Preferred Superpower would have kicked in, and he would have been wall-to-wall Sweetness, Light and Romance.  

  • “I want/need to know what is going on in his life.” No, you don’t. You’re curious.

Taking a keen interest in what’s going on in his life is actually just a kind of self-harming.

You want to know how he is getting on without you?

Not a good idea.

Bearing in mind that the man is a cold-blooded reptile, he’s not going to be sobbing his heart out into his lonely TV dinner.  Chances are, he’ll do just fine, and rapidly sink his fangs into the next victim’s neck.

What’s the likelihood of you using that as the dreaded “It-must-be-my-fault” stick, specially designed for beating yourself up?

This is your chance to break free of the misery that springs up all around him.  Whatever he chooses to do really doesn’t matter.  You have a chance to be free and create your own wonderful life, like my client, S.  When S. stopped focusing on how he could be like that, everything that she didn’t believe could improve much was transformed. Her relationship with her children improved dramatically, as they became happier, too.  Her levels of happiness and confidence soared. Before long, she became financially secure, in her own right, because she was well paid for doing work she loved.

Do NOT “engage and enrage” 

Cutting of contact with an emotionally abusive ex really is the best – and wisest – option.  It’s time to let go of the seductive – and impossible – fantasies of rewriting the relationship. If you haven’t already read Gavin de Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear”, you really have to. His insights will be very precious to you.  In Chapter 8, he talks of Jackie who:

“… knew that “maybe” is sometimes perceived as “definitely”… and that people who don’t hear you, don’t hear you.  You get to the point that it doesn’t help to keep trying.  In fact, it makes matters worse… If you tell someone ten times that you don’t want to talk to him, you are talking to them – nine more times than you wanted to.  If you call him back after he leaves twenty messages, you simply teach him that the cost of getting a call back is twenty messages.”

De Becker also notes that every contact you have will earn you another 6 weeks of harassment.

Engaging with an emotional abuser (and or physically violent man) reminds him of his own power over you and may well make the situation even more dangerous for you than it already was.  Counter-intuitive though it may sound, Gavin de Becker, a world authority in his field, warns again the “engage and enrage” principle.

If you do have to be in contact because you have young children together and you have to manage shared childcare arrangements, that still doesn’t mean you have to have a ‘relationship’ with an abusive ex.  Arrangements can be made via email, or text, and communication can be limited to the specific topic under discussion.  That is as much as you need to do.  Especially in the early days – and years – of your break-up.

Cutting off contact with an emotionally abusive ex is the best thing you can possibly do for yourself. Your future happiness depends on it. One key unspoken Law of the Universe is this: “You can’t have an emotionally abusive partner or ex-partner in your life, and be happy.” Don’t ever feel you’ve failed because of the cutting of contact with an abusive ex.

How women go about cutting off contact with an emotionally abusive ex can have massive effects on their mental health, their future happiness, and their children, as well as their finances. Please share on social media to make it that little bit easier, and safer, for women who are facing with that predicament.







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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