The 7 Hidden Rules Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

14 Jun 2016

Just suppose there were 7 hidden rules of an emotionally abusive relationship. That would go a long way to explaining why so many  good, intelligent people get hooked into exactly the kind of relationship they really don’t want.

The statistics tell us that 1 in 4 women will undergo domestic violence. Chances are that significantly understates the numbers of those who “only” suffer mental and emotional abuse.

So why does it happen?  Why does it happen, even in these relatively ‘enlightened times’?  And why does it happen to the rich and famous no less than to anyone else?

The 7 Hidden Rules of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Hidden Rules Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #1:  It doesn’t just happen.   We become abused women and learn to settle for an abusive relationship because we were taught to settle for less. Mostly, emotionally abused women were taught by parents, or other carers, to settle for Less than we deserved or needed:

  • Less love
  • Less respect
  • Less care
  • Less consideration
  • Less support
  • Less encouragement
  • Less quality of life

Most of us were programmed, from a young age, to believe that that Less was all we were going to get.  That belief that your lot in life was Less was never your fault.  However, it became the Achilles heel that you didn’t even know you had.

Hidden Rules Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #2:  Whatever goes wrong is always your fault.   When you learn that you are not that important, it becomes second nature to accept blame for whatever happens within a 10-mile radius of you.  You tell yourself that the horrible things your emotionally abusive partner says must be true.

Hidden Rules Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #3:  You let your abusive partner off the hook.  Whenever you find an explanation for his bad behavior, you’re actually giving him – and yourself – a clear message that he is NEVER accountable for his own behavior.   Colluding with him  has nothing to do with compassion or love. What it does do is send a very clear message that  it’s okay for him carry on abusing you  – because you will just suck it up.

Hidden Rules Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #4 : You keep on throwing good love after bad.   You tell yourself that your love is the alchemy that will one day transform your emotionally abusive partner and turn his dross into gold.  All you need to do is just keep waving your magic wand as hard as you can and, some day, the magic is bound to work (if your arm doesn’t drop off from exhaustion first).

So sorry to dispel another cherished hope, but  an emotionally abusive relationship really doesn’t work that way.  You know how the more you do for other people, the less they bother to do for themselves?  And the less grateful they are? Well, that is exactly how it works with Mr. Nasty?  Why, on earth, would he bother to work at the relationship, when he can leave that stuff to you? 

Hidden Rules of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #5 Keep believing that he is wonderful – no matter what.  Sure, if you believe that he is wonderful, then you have to believe that you are awful.  Most of the time he acts like a complete jerk.  Yet that doesn’t stop you believing that he is wonderful and lovable. You, on the other hand, do everything you possibly can to be loving, caring, understanding, and supportive, and keep the peace, but that doesn’t stop you believing that you are vile and horrible, and nobody else would ever want you.

REALITY CHECK, PLEASE!  If it looks like a jerk, talks like a jerk, and acts like a jerk, it is a jerk. It’s that simple.  Every single jerk, since the beginning of time, has come with a guarantee which reads: 
“This jerk is guaranteed to make you as unhappy as you have ever been in your entire life
.  He will never change or improve to make you happy.” 
That guarantee is the only thing he will ever honor where you’re concerned.

Hidden Rules of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #6 Always, always focus on him.  It’s all about him, isn’t it? You are so convinced that he needs to change, that he is perfectible, and a fine human being whose light is largely hidden by a dung heap, that you completely and utterly disregard yourself.  You’ll be happy when he
You’ll be able to grow and thrive emotionally when he…  You’ll defer having any good feelings until you can bestow them on him first.

Think about it for a moment: abusive men don’t do selflessness, and they certainly don’t defer gratification.  They want their emotional payoffs and they want them NOW, toddler style .

Hidden Rules of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #7 Hand him control of the relationship from the get-go.  Even  if you don’t like the way he does things , you let him know that you are prepared to accept whatever he dishes out, regardless.  Once you have handed him control of the relationship you have two choices:

  1. Ignore everything you see that you don’t like
  2. Ask him to change and take your wishes into account.  Then, when he fails to do so, back down.  That will work for him – although he may need to share his feelings with you by throwing a hissy fit. You may not like that behavior, but just remember Hidden Rules of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship #3.

Now you know the 7 Hidden Rules of an emotionally abusive relationship.  Hopefully, bringing them to your attention in a slightly brutal way will help protect you for the future. Now, you need to learn how to treat yourself like you matter, that, when you are ready, you can create the great relationship you desire.

Warm wishes for your healing and happiness,

Annie Kaszina


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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