Were you groomed for an emotionally abusive relationship? A lot of us were. That’s why we stayed with an emotionally abusive partner.
A groomer works to paralyze you
If only we had been able to avail ourselves of our common sense – and a sense of self – we would have done something very different. But a groomer works to disorient and paralyse you, leaving you with no choices. So you tolerate what you feel powerless to change.
In this post we’ll be looking at the kind of grooming that abused women commonly experience.
This week I’ve experienced an “action replay” of the kind of grooming I experienced – even before my emotionally abusive partner appeared on the scene . That replay at least made for a re-learning. I want to share that re-learnings with you.
Richard Bach said: “Learning is finding out what you already know, Doing is demonstrating that you know it, Teaching is reminding others that they know it as well as you do. We are all learners, doers, and teachers.”
Recently, someone from my early life has resurfaced, wearing the mantle of their highly abusive forebears, who are no longer here.
Wishful thinking would tell you that, when an emotional abuser finally shuffles off this mortal coil, their influence dies with them. Unfortunately, wishful thinking habitually tells a whole load of lies. While unresolved feelings can play toxic games with a person’s mind Not uncommonly, a member of the next generation (who already had abusive tendencies) steps into the abuser’s shoes.
I cannot say I enjoyed the experience of witnessing the next generation own the abusive role. Still, on the plus side, it has enabled me to see anew what I already knew – and share it with you. Here are my re-learnings.
Re-learnings about being groomed for an emotionally abusive relationship
- Emotional abusers have an extraordinary sense of entitlement. They believe they are the Chosen Ones – chosen to inflict as much damage as it takes, in order to win whatever they want. When the chips are down, your feelings and your pain do not matter. At heart, emotional abusers have a capacity for damage and destruction that we disregard at our peril.
- Emotional abusers may, or may not, have a sense of shame about what they do. That depends on how far ‘gone’ they are. However, even if they do have a sense of shame, that won’t make them behave better. Any emotional discomfort they feel becomes another thing to punish you for.
- Emotional abusers are very, very childish. They will always leverage the authority of a higher authority. This is why they trot out the line that goes like this: “Everyone is judging you negatively. Nobody thinks you deserve anything good.” That sounds slightly classier than saying, “I’m a punitive person and I’m feeling homicidally angry with you, so I feel justified in trying to inflict maximum damage by telling you that everyone else dislikes you as much as I do, right now.”
- Emotional abusers lie through their teeth. If they know what the truth is – and that is a very big “if” – they also know that The Truth is far less important than Their Truth.
- Emotional abusers expect your life to be played by the rules of their games. These rules are so extraordinarily primitive that, most times, we miss them. Here they are: a) I play be my rules. b) You have to play by my rules. In fact, every time you don’t play by my rules, you lose another ‘life’. c) I can change the rules at any time, and I won’t bother to tell you, but Rule b) still applies.
- Emotional abusers take self-centredness to a level that the rest of us can’t understand. Until you see that everything revolves around what matters to them, you will never understand how they can behave so extraordinarily badly.
- The game of emotional abuse only ever ends when they say it does. In practice, what this likely means is “never”.
Grooming teaches you to expect and accept toxic relationships
If, like me, you’ve been an emotionally abused woman, you were groomed to expect and accept unequal, toxic relationships long before you met your emotionally abusive partner. Or, to put it another way, you were quite familiar with the dynamic of emotional abuse.
None of this is remotely nice. But should it depress you?
Only if you choose to stay in their game, and play by their rules.
Now, it can seem as if you have no option but to play their game, by their rules. But here’s the thing,however hard it’s been for you – however hard it is even now – you have kept your humanity, your hope, and your loving heart where children, friends, and other loved ones are concerned.
You still want to do the best you can with your life – at least where other people are concerned.
That may be the one way that you have, at the moment, of being the best that you possibly can be.
Why you are not powerless, or paralyzed
You have been groomed and brainwashed into thinking that you are powerless. Yet that has not stopped you standing by your own values. That’s impressive.
So, cut yourself some slack. You deserve so much more than a toxic relationshp.
Once upon a time, you were groomed for an emotionally abusive relationship. That may affect the way that you see yourself. However being groomed for emotional abuse does not affect your fundamental human value. Ditch the grooming. Not your self-belief.
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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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