The 1 Thing That Stops You Healing From Emotional Abuse

26 Oct 2016

10 Things That Make Healing Harder

If you have been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you have every possible justification for feeling bad. At least, that will ring true for you  – if that is how you look at what you have been through, and what you make your experience mean.

Some time back, I wrote an article looking at 10 things that stop you healing.  Briefly, those things were,

  1. Your bad habit of punishing yourself for everything that happens.
  2. Treating yourself like your own worst enemy –as opposed to your friend and ally.
  3. Depriving yourself – of good feelings.
  4. Living in the past – that is not seeing beyond what is already your past history.
  5. Being easily frightened – especially by your abusive partner, your thoughts of inadequacy, and The Future that you imagine.
  6. Giving up on yourself – telling yourself that you’re broken and “it’s all over, for you”.
  7. Procrastinating – finding all the reasons why you cannot start to do what you know you should do.
  8. Telling yourself stories about how awful your future has to be – which given that you are not a clairvoyant does not sound like the best use of your time.
  9. Comparing yourself unfavorably to anyone and everyone. (It’s a fantastic way to put yourself down.)
  10. Taking everything  way too serious for your own health. (When did you last lighten up and really take time out to laugh?)

Now, those ten things are just as true as they ever were. However, we can still go a little deeper.

The 1 Thing That Stops You Healing From Emotional Abuse

Underpinning all of these things lies just one key consideration, your feelings about yourself.  The fact is, one of two things has happened, either

  1. you stopped believing that you matter, or
  2. you never really started believing that you matter in the first place.

Whichever way it has happened for you, the result is problematic. It means that you live your life as if you don’t matter.  In fact, if that is true for you, as you read this, you could even be thinking to yourself, “Yes, but you don’t understand, Annie. I don’t matter.”

“I don’t matter.” Is certainly something that I have heard from a lot of women – and said myself in the past.

It is a great way to exclude yourself from all the good stuff that your future, and your  present  have to offer.

Besides, there is little else that can make you feel quite as bad as telling yourself that you don’t matter.

Of course, an emotionally abusive partner will always tell you that you don’t matter – he has everything to gain from doing so.

But what have you got to gain by telling yourself – and believing – that you don’t matter?

You could argue that telling yourself that you don’t matter means that, at least, you “get in first”. Your emotionally abusive partner will not have the same power to hurt you – if you have alreadygot in first” and hurt yourself. Allegedly.

The Real Reason

However, there is a flawed logic in that kind of argument. The real reason why your Mr Nasty’s harsh words hurt so much is that they are a statement of what you already feel and/or fear about yourself.  If you did not entertain feelings of that kind about yourself, he could tell you that you did not matter to him, and you would think,

“Get out of here! I really don’t have to take that from anyone – including you, you pig ignorant person.”

Instead, every time Mr Nasty says something that is horribly – deliberately – hurtful, you accept it as your truth.  You ask yourself,

“How can he say that about me?” Then comes the unspoken subtext, “When he knows how much it hurts me, because I really feel the truth of his words.”

Healing starts when you stop owning his words as your truth.  He may said something hurtful.  But you don’t have to believe it.

However, in order to stop believing his words, you will have to find something healthier to believe instead.

A healthy belief is one that focuses on your own value.  (Yes, I just said, “Your own value”.  This is something you really are going to have to start embracing.)

You need to treat yourself with love, respect, and care. Until you do that, you are not going to feel very much better.

When You Don’t Think You Can Heal

Women contact me all the time and say that they don’t think that they can heal. They see the endpoint of healing – being free of all the hurt, and the judgements. However, they think that there is a magic route to healing which has to do with them becoming someone quite different from who they already are.

The reality is rather different. Change occurs when you embrace the person that you already are. Not only is that person already good enough but you have to do that, in order to find the strengths and qualities that you already have. Then change happens in a heartbeat.

Last week, I was working with a wonderful client who had been giving herself an ear-bashing – because she could not work miracles in other people’s lives.  She and I looked together at the scenario of her “failure” with fresh eyes. Then  I asked her what she thought about herself – in that scenario.

“Brilliant!” she said. “Absolutely brilliant.”

Nothing had changed except the light in which she chose to see herself.  All that I had done with her was, quite literally, to enlighten her.

Healing is about becoming enlightened. It means, finally, seeing the light. When you see that light, it lifts the burden of misery off your shoulders. It blasts away those dark beliefs about everything that you are not – according to Mr. Nasty. It enables you to see that who he is, and how he behaves, is not a reflection of who you are.  He is his own can of worms. You can be your own support system.  But here’s the thing, if you’ have tried to ‘do’ your recovery by yourself, and it hasn’t worked as well as you would like, then you probably need some help. If that sounds like you, get in touch.


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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