When You Still Love Your Emotionally Abusive Partner

20 Sep 2016

Do you still love your emotionally abusive partner?  If the answer is “Yes” then your feelings are conflicted, chaotic, and confusing.  You go round and round in circles inside your own head.

If you admit that you still love your emotionally abusive partner to other people, most will express their disbelief – and judgment. You should be able to pull yourself together, put on a happy face, be strong, get over it, find yourself someone better, and much else besides. Because they do not still love your emotionally abusive partner – and likely never did – neither should you.

The “Should-ers” of this world have all the answers to all of your problems – allegedly.

But all the “Should-ing” in all the world never put an emotionally abused woman together again, any more than all the King’s horses and all the King’s men did Humpty-Dumpty.

“Should-ing” is a thoroughly annoying habit which serves only to make the “Should-er” feel better.

How likely is it really that you still love your emotionally abusive partner?

How likely is it really that you still love your emotionally abusive partner after he has trashed your feelings over and over again?

There is every reason to assume – and understand – that you have a very powerful bond of codependency with an abusive partner. Since co-dependency is a very powerful emotion, you can be forgiven for mistaking it for love. After all, Love is meant to have the power to move mountains, etc. etc.

Love/Codependency just wants to rescue Mr. Nasty from himself – which would mean depriving Mr. Nasty of the choice to be who he chooses to be. I mean, really, how much of the time does Mr Nasty spend, walking around, saying,

“I just want to be a better human being. All I really want is to be a good guy, 24/7.”

Doesn’t happen, does it?

Nastiness represents an emotionally abusive partner’s power base, and his street cred. He is not going to say “fare thee well” to those in a hurry. So you might as well let go of all the wishing and hoping, sooner rather than later.

That brings us back to you. If you still love an emotionally abusive partner – or if you are trying to help someone else who does – you need to look at what that really means.

It turns out that “I still love an emotionally abusive partner” is a phrase that requires a little deconstructing.

What it actually means is both blindingly self-evident and yet may come as something of a surprise.

“I love him more…”

“I still love my emotionally abusive partner” means, “I love him more than I love myself.”

The reason someone “loves” an emotionally abusive partner more than they love themselves is this: they really do NOT love themselves. You cannot love yourself and allow yourself to suffer the kind of treatment that you experience in an emotionally abusive relationship.

The fact that you do not love yourself is down to nurture – or lack of nurture. It is NOT your nature. Parents may well have done the best they were capable of doing. But that is not necessarily the same as providing vulnerable children with what they most need.

Somewhere along the line, those of us who end up with an abusive partner had already learned that we could not really hope to be loved unconditionally.

Rather, we had learned that anything good that came our way was likely to be short-lived.  Plus, we could expect to have to pay a huge price for it.

Because we did not learn to love ourselves, we never questioned the idea that love had to be earned.  We never truly believed it could be otherwise – for us.

Because we did not learn to love ourselves, we were willing to believe that an emotionally abusive partner was “a wonderful man” – despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

Because we did not learn to love ourselves, we accepted that it was “different for us,” and our life had to be lived by far tougher rules than we would wish on anyone else.

When you still love your emotionally abusive partner it means that you are still looking for another person (actually the least likely person around) to make you whole.

You are already whole.

You are already whole.

But you do have to embrace your own wholeness. That requires you to love yourself exactly as you are now.

You probably are not perfect. However, you are good enough.  More than good enough. If you still love your emotionally abusive partner, you probably need professional support to get him out of your head. Your emotionally abusive partner does not need your love in any healthy, constructive way. But you do. If you catch yourself using that old mantra, “But I still love my emotionally abusive partner,” at least see it for what it is – a wake-up call, a reminder to love yourself enough to heal the past , so you can enjoy peace of mind in the present, and look forward to a great future.

Please share this post on social media, if you know someone who you think could benefit from reading this information.


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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