Emotional Abusers Just Love To Be Angry

24 Oct 2017

Emotional abusers just love to be angry, as the wonderful Cindy Lauper did not say – doubtless because she derived a lot more joy from celebrating good feelings than she would have from than focusing on bad ones.  Admittedly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Why would  emotional abusers just love to be angry?  Why would anyone just love to be angry? Especially when more and more evidence suggests that venting anger is not great for your health?

Today, I want to look at why emotional abusers just love to be angry, and how they differ from nice, decent, normal  human beings.

The strange case of the missing passports

Last week, I was away on holiday with my lovely partner.  Shortly after we arrived at our hotel, something very strange happened.  My partner and I both produced our 2 passports (they travel together) at the same time.  He had two… and I had two.

Now, this is decidedly not normal.  In fact, it took a little time to work out what had happened.

In fact, a year earlier, in Rome, our passports had disappeared from our hotel room.  We ransacked the room, and our belongings.  Then we had to speak to the police, go to the UK embassy in Rome (twice in a day) pay handsomely for temporary passports, and finally spend yet more time and money in the UK replacing the lost passports urgently. Tiresome as the whole interlude was, we went through the whole process with good humor.

We travelled several times subsequently, always using the same suitcases, and taking great care of our new passports.  Somehow, on this latest trip, our old passports emerged from a hidey hole in my suitcase – where I had never placed them.  (Not least because, as far as I can see, my suitcase has no hidey holes.)

Why had the passports suddenly deigned to put in an appearance when on previous trips they did not? I have precisely no idea.

What was fascinating, to me, about the whole thing was the way my partner responded.  He was surprised and amused.  We spent the next hour wondering how on earth it could have happened.

How would the wasband react?

At some point, I could not help thinking how the wasband –  aka the poster boy for emotional abusers who just love to be angry – would have reacted.  I have every confidence he would have had a field day. Here’s approximately how it would have worked. He would have…

#1 Distorted his face into Fury Set – broadcasting a warning of BAD things to come.

#2 Set about blaming me, and stating his own blamelessness.

#3  Gone on (and on – and ON) about the waste of his precious time and his precious money, as well as how I had destroyed his precious holiday.

#4 Rolled in the big guns – his favorite words – “always”, and “never”.  He might have started with a rhetorical question and answer, like,  “What is wrong with you? “You are such a waste of space.” Then he would have set about firing off his beloved “always” and “never” salvos.” You can never do anything right.  You always mess up.  I can never even go on holiday without you messing it up for me.  I always have to tidy up the mess you make.”

#5 Started citing the evidence – i.e. every instance of my hopelessness that he could remember -going back to the beginning of the relationship.

#6 Reminded me that nobody but him would ever put up with such a screw- up as I was.

#7 Questioned my sanity.

#8 Alternately ranted, belittled and extended the silent treatment for the next 36-72 hours approx..

#9  Added The Passport Affair to the list of things that he would use against me and the store of stories he would tell other people to make himself look good at my expense.

#10  Required apologies and full satisfaction of all the other aspects of his toxic truce conditions.

#11 Left me with a lasting terror of ever taking charge of anything remotely important again.

Such is the modus operandi of emotional abusers who just love to be angry.

Admittedly, not all do.  Some prefer to work the passive-aggressive angle.  However, they do so with the same intention and the same result – to make you feel like some kind of loathsome, subnormal creature.

The next question, of course, has to be, why?

Why do emotional abusers just love to be angry?

The answer is, to use one of the wasband’s favorite words, “multifactorial”*.  An abuser’s anger,

  • Makes him feel in control of situations. The wasband actually hated holidays because they deprived him of his professional status.  So, anger worked nicely to grow his stature in his own eyes.
  • Gives him the right to reproach you for failing to do your duty and run his life perfectly smoothly for him.
  • Scares the hell out of out of the person on the receiving end of it. This is important since an abuser always has to be the dominant person in the relationship.
  • Gives an abuser a game plan. Once he is angry, he has a clear idea of the shape of the next few days (or weeks).
  • Encourages him to tell himself his own victim story. Ad nauseam. The wasband’s victim story was all about how hard his life was because he worked his socks off – for me. But I couldn’t even be trusted to do one simple thing for him without messing up.
  • Serves to remind the abuser of how wronged he is in the relationship. In the wasband’s case, he had to contemplate, anew, just what a dreadful mistake he had made in marrying me – and how lucky it was for me that he had. (Nobody else was ever going to want me!)
  • Gives the abuser the opportunity to produce a gala performance featuring ALL his favorite speeches and behaviors.
  • Provides the abuser with endless, juicy, emotionally abusive pay-offs – at the partner’s expense.

What’s not to love, if you’re the kind of person who gets your (relatively) good feelings from spreading bad feelings?

When I said this to my lovely partner, he looked amazed.  Why on earth would anyone waste their life doing all of that stupid stuff?

How I was programmed to react

Back in the day, I would have had to apologise endlessly, of course – even though I knew, deep down, that something was profoundly wrong.  Plus, I would have hated myself -even more than usual – for my failure to stop those pesky passports playing hide and seek.

More to the point, I would have bowed my head and accepted the wasband’s “right” to feel, and ven,t fury – albeit not for quite as long as he did.

Anger (fury) was a “normal” response to most situations in my family of origin. My parents’ right to vent their fury at their (allegedly) cretinous, unworthy offspring seemed perfectly normal – at the time.  I always knew exactly where I stood, from childhood right through to the time when I finally showed the wasband the door.  I always stood one short step away from the dog house..

Now that my partner and I are back from our holiday,  the old passports are currently lying around the place.  (We wait to see what they will do next.)  Whenever we look at them, we shake our heads.  How did they do that thing?

More to the point, how have all of us survivors of emotional abuse managed to do that thing of not seeing that emotional abusers just love to be angry? How did we miss that that is how emotional abusers get their gratification.  You can take an abuse sufferer out of the toxic situation. But you can’t take the toxicity out of the abuser.

If this article resonates with you, please do share on it on social media so that other abuse sufferers  can find answers to their questions about an abusive partner’s anger.

*(And why did he love long words? Because they made him feel clever.)


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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