“I can’t be happy because of the past.”

01 Aug 2017

Why leaving emotionally abusive husbands is hard

When I left my emotionally abusive husband life was hard. Needless to say, he did everything he could to make it hard.  Of course, I couldn’t know that.  All that I did know – and repeated to myself like a mantra was this, “I can’t be happy because of what’s happened.” The unhappiness of the past precluded any lasting future happiness.

When emotionally abusive husbands realize that the game might finally be up, they pull out all the stops.  They really work that line that, without them, you have zero chance of happiness. After all, it is not in the interest of emotionally abusive husbands to lose their domestic staff, emotional punch bag, and social secretary.  Not to mention the convenience you represent as the lone – competent – parent.

Favorite “Don’t-Leave-Me” arguments of emotionally abusive husbands

“My” wasband fought hard to save his… status quo. Actually, he came up with some pretty powerful arguments including,

  • “I’ve been blind. I finally see how much I love and need you.”
  • “I’m trying to change, but I need you to help me.”
  • “I just want us to be a family.”
  • “Our child needs two parents.”
  • “It’s not too late for us to be happy together.”
  • “You’ll never manage without me.”
  • “Without me you will have nothing.”
  • “You’ll never find someone half as wonderful as me.”
  • “Nobody else would ever want you.”
  • “You’re a lousy parent.”
  • “You will live to regret this”.
  • “`You’re crazy.”
  • “You’re an inferior form of life and everybody will treat you that way.”
  • “You don’t deserve to have a good life.”
  • “You can never be happy.”
  • “If anyone has been abused, it was me.”

At the time, it all sounded so plausible.  God knows, I felt absolutely terrible.

How was I to know that these were not personal statements (okay, accusations) he was making about the state of our relationship?  Rather, he was simply running all of the programs that emotionally abusive husbands run when their status quo – or more correctly hatus quo – is under threat.

Programs that all  emotionally abusive husbands run

Programs that emotionally abusive husbands run include,

  • The “Complete Change of Heart Program”,
  • The “Mr Wonderful Comeback Program,
  • The “I Just Need You To Facilitate My Transformation Program”,
  • The “All Downhill For You, Now Program”,
  • The “Our Children Need Two Parents Program”,
  • The “I’m The Better Parent Program”,
  • The “You Are A Complete And Utter Failure Program”,
  • The “You Are Totally Inadequate Program”,
  • The “You’ll Never Find Someone Half As Wonderful As Me Program”,
  • The “Your Life Will Be Filled With Regret Program”,
  • The “Everybody’s Judging You Program”,
  • The “No Happiness For You” Program,
  • The “It Will All End In Tears Program”,
  • The “You Are Worthless Program”,
  • The “You Are Broken And Crazy Program”,
  • The “My Life Is So Much Better Without You Program” and, of course,
  • The “I Will Make Your Life Hell Unless You Do Exactly What I Want Program”.

After we had separated, the wasband used all of these programs to devastating effect. I reeled through my days – and panicked through the sleepless nights.- I was terrified of just about EVERYTHING.

In  reality, nothing much had changed.  The wasband just kept on doing what he had always done – albeit from a slighter greater distance.  Despite that distance, he achieved  exactly the same effect of immobilizing me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I could not see a way forward.  Yet, at the same time, I knew there was no possible way back – I’d already tried that one once. I knew that going back led surely to death by a thousand cuts.  Going forward, I reckoned, most  likely lead to near-death by a few hundred cuts…

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

The hatus quo of emotionally abusive husbands

What made the situation so hard was that I was a trusting, truthful kind of gal -actually, I still am.  Since I habitually told the truth, I naturally assumed that the man I loved most in the world surely did the same thing, too.  Well, you do – don’t you? – if you love someone. 

You do.  But someone who only wants to preserve the hatus quo has a very different agenda.  He loved the hatus quo he has created.  He feels justified in doing whatever it takes to preserve that hatus quo.  That is why an emotional abuser who has moved on (to his next victim) will rarely miss an opportunity to run the My Life Is So Much Better Without You Program”. For him, any chance to hurt and humiliate you ranks as a golden opportunity to do some harm.

That leaves you struggling with a LOT of problems.  It is devastating to have to admit to yourself that you have ended up with someone who has so little regard for you – and for the children you have had together, also, in all probability.

When the bottom falls out of your world 

You are left feeling not only that the bottom has fallen out of your world every which way. You ask yourself who on earth you can be for such a thing to happen to you. Plus, you try to work out what you can look forward to in the future.

And that is where the doodoo really hits the fan.

All the programs that your emotionally abusive partner runs are doodoo.  The biggest fan they ever hit is your concern about your future.  Each time you think about your future, you end up spattered, once again, with that doodoo.   It is a problem that every emotionally abused woman faces. Time and time again, I’ve seen how it happens to my clients and newsletter readers.

If that doodoo gets anywhere  that fan, it will keep on hitting it.

That is why it is so important to free yourself from your ex-partner’s verbal crap.  (As well as the verbal crap of the other people in your life who have taken the liberty to visit their own toxicity on you.)

As you already know, every time that verbal crap lands on you, it reinfects you with the same feelings of, shame, fear and unworthiness.  The abusive people in your life have already done you so much harm in the past.  Don’t let them steal your future.

Once you learn how to disconnect the fan from the power, and move the doodoo out of the line of fire, you are safe.   The doodoo cannot land on you anymore.  That’s when you become free to live your life your own way.  Once you do that, enjoying peace of mind and a life worth living become strangely simple.


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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