Going into a New Year is a great time to take a new look at what has held you back in the past. In this article we shall look at three key problems when you need to recover from emotional abuse. Having been there myself, and spoken to hundreds of other women, I know that those problems can appear infinite and insoluble. However, that is never the case.
In reality, the difficulties you face come down to just 3 key problems. Get a handle on them and you will get a handle on your life.
Key Problems When You Need to Recover From Emotional Abuse #1
Key problem #1 lies in distinguishing bet ween the urgent and key problems you face. Sadly, when you are trying to rebuild your life, there are bound to be a number of urgent problems that you will face. They will consume you totally if you let them.
The fact is, your abusive partner will do his best – as he has always done – to blind you to key problems by creating urgent problems for you. When I was divorcing the wasband, just like any other emotionally abused wife, I faced any number of urgent problems. They included getting a fair financial settlement (or as close to fair as I was ever likely to achieve) creating a meaningful, independent income and doing the best by my child.
The Dish Towel Issue
Needless to say, those problems felt overwhelming. But, of course, there was more as well. The wasband had trained me to panic and feel powerless in the face of difficulties. He believed in a Straw-That-Breaks-The-Camel’s-back approach. So, he would add to my stresses and strains whereever possible.
Hence, in the middle of very difficult “negotiations” over the finances, he suddenly made a major issue of the dish towels (UK tea towels). Admittedly, I should have laughed and said, “What kind of moron makes an issue of the dish towels?” But that was not how I was trained to work.
The Dish Towel Issue threw me into a tailspin, consuming my already depleted energies and making it even harder to pursue my agenda. The Dish Towel Issue was just one of many ploys the wasband used. Other issues included,
- Threats for the future.
- Comments to mutual friends etc.
- Things he said to my daughter that he intended to get back to me.
Still, even the Dish Towel Issue felt incredibly urgent – although, in reality, it was profoundly unimportant. When you try to free yourself from a toxic partner they will throw up every kind of “urgent” issue they can to paralyse you . In my case, those dish towels made me take my eye off the ball, distracting me from the 2 key issues that follow.
Key Problems When You Need To Recover From Emotional Abuse #2
This stems from the fact that human beings are story-telling machines. Here, too, the Dish Towel issue is instructive. When the wasband sent his demand – through the lawyers!! – for “his” half of the dish towels (with which he had only ever had a nodding acquaintance) I did what we all do; I spun a story about it. I spun the “What-A-Monster-I-Was-Married-To” story.
I needed to spin that story because I needed proof. Before I could feel justified in admitting to myself – and the world – what I already knew – I needed proof that he was a domestic monster. Unless I had incontrovertible evidence that he was a monster, then I had no right to complain about his behaviour. The Dish Towel issue created another dilemma; was it, or was it, not incontrovertible evidence?
However, behind the Monster Story stuff, lay another story – which every last emotionally abused woman I have ever met shares – the “What-Does-It-Say-About-Me?” story.
If a dog bit you, I doubt that you would ask yourself,
“What does it say about me?”
“What-Does-It-Say-About-Me? What kind of horrible human being does that make me?”
Rather, you would argue that the dog had the issues.
When an emotionally abusive partner snaps and snarls that reflects on their temperament, not your failures as a human being.
Going back to my Dish Towel example, if I allow myself the luxury of not making the issue about me, I can then ask, “What does it say about someone that they can get thoroughly nasty and vindictive about a pile of dish towels?”
Now “What does it say about that person…?” is a great question. It helps you to see, at the very least, that something about them is decidedly inimical to peace, goodwill and quality of life. That, in turn, brings you on to another great question,
“Why would I even want this person in my life – given how they routinely show up in my world? “
And that brings us on to,
Key Problems When You Need to Recover From Emotional Abuse #3
Problem #3 hinges on what you believe about yourself. To say that it is hard to make good major decisions about your life when your self-belief is in tatters is a monumental understatement. Yet that is what every recovering emotionally abused woman tries to do.
“I have to sort out my life before I can possibly move forward and I need to do it right now – even though I think I’m a pathetic loser whom nobody could ever love.” Is a fool-proof formula for agonizing immobility.
People can always pick themselves up and rebuild, no matter how down they are. However, before that can happen they do need to stop telling themselves their own personal Inferiority Story.
What you believe about yourself is the single thing that will have the biggest impact on your recovery. So, that is the most important place to focus your energies. Not to mention the fact that once you free yourself from all the anguish and anxiety, you will have a LOT more energy to devote to building a rewarding life. Make this the year of your big, leap forward.
Never feel that you are not equal to resolving the 3 key problems you face when you need to recover from emotional abuse. You always have all the resources that you need to turn your life around. However you are only human. You may need help to access your resources.
If you struggle to do this alone and would benefit from working with me to speed your recovery in 2018, then 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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