Two Little words that will Make You Hold Your Head Up High

26 Mar 2018

Previously, we looked at the two little words that make you feel like a victim.  This week, it seems only right to look at the two little words that will make you hold your head up high.

What an emotionally abusive relationship teaches.

An emotionally abusive relationship teaches you to hang your head in shame.

Obviously, it serves the abuser’s purpose for you to hang your head in shame.  That way, you spend your time looking down – both literally and metaphorically.   Down at the ground and down on yourself.  Clearly, that does not help you.

When you are in a black hole, looking down just makes that hole look deeper, darker and more inescapable.

As a general principle, when something is not working for you, it pays to do something different.  Not necessarily the opposite. Simply opting for the opposite can be a knee-jerk reaction that only leaves you differently stuck.  What will serve you best is to see things through different eyes.

When you are in a black hole, whether or not you choose to look up is up to you.  But what is really important is to think about what might lie beyond that black hole.  That is where those two little words come in  that will make you hold your head high.

Those two little words are, interestingly enough, almost the same words that can make you feel like a victim.  The difference lies in the word order – and an extra “o”.  Last week’s words were “to me”.  This week, I invite you to look instead at “me, too”. Once again.  In the context of your own emotional life. Sometimes, salvation lies in the detail.

Sometimes, salvation lies in attention to detail

“To me” thinking serves two, unfortunate purposes.  First, it triggers feelings of shame and second, it triggers intense feelings of isolation and powerlessness in a given scenario.

“Me, too”, on the other hand, stands for a powerful statement of connection.  Especially in the context in which it has been used most recently.  The #MeToo movement has, for me, been as much about transcending individual shame as it has been about outing disgraceful attitudes and behaviors.

Needless, to say, the “me, too” concept applies just as much to the abusive “intimate” relationship as it does to the workplace.  Not that I am suggesting that you choose this moment to go public. That is likely to  require running a gauntlet that you really don’t want or need to run right now.  But I am, very much, asking you to embrace the “me too” concept in your own life. Here’s why.

All emotional abusers seek to isolate you.   In my book, the term “emotional abuser” includes Narcissists, coercive controllers, and physically violent partners since they all, ultimate violate your sense of yourself as a worthy, equal human being – seek to isolate you.

All emotional abusers, of all ilks, seek to isolate you in two ways,

1)  by alienating you from friends, family and anyone who might value you and

2)  by estranging you from your sense of yourself as someone who matters to others.

That is why emotional abusers resort to such tried and trusted childhood lines, as “Everybody thinks that you are…” and “Nobody likes you. (Or, at least, they wouldn’t if they knew what I know about you.”

Emotional abusers seek to disconnect you from others

Every human being craves connection and struggles with disconnection.  That is why we find it so hard to separate ourselves from an abusive partner.  Vile as that person doubtless has been to us, they have ensured that they are the only person through whom we believe we can “redeem” ourselves.  That was the ultimate purpose of those disgusting lies they tell you like,

  • “You’ll never find someone as wonderful as me.” and
  • “Nobody else would ever want you.”

An emotional abuser does everything in their power to disconnect you from the world so that they can be your world – and use you in every sick way that they choose to make themselves feel better.

Those two little words, “Me, too” are all about you reclaiming your connection with the human race, and with everyone else who has experienced what you have, too.

In all my years of working with emotionally abused women, I have heard so many tragic stories – tragic in the sense that beautiful, amazing human beings have been emotionally trashed by unworthy“partners”.

Of course, those stories vary from woman to woman.  But here’s the deal.  It has happened to an awful lot of us.  I in 4 women, at least, statistically speaking – but quite probably rather more than that, as well.  Until very recently, women who had “only” experienced verbal, emotional, abuse probably would not have sought the help that would have led them to be counted in the statistics.

You are one of many, many women who share similar experiences

Even if we stick with that 1 in 4 statistic, that represents an awful lot of US.  I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop right now.  It is by no means full, but there 8 are women here.  That means that, in all likelihood, at least two of US have experienced vile treatment at the hands of an intimate partner.

Obviously, we are not having a cozy chat about it.  Nor am I about to introduce myself and say, “I’ve been through X, Y, and Z.  How about you?”  (There are better times and places for people to bare their souls than when they are minding their own business, doing their shopping and enjoying a coffee.)

However, there is still a level at which we would know each other’s deep hurts, if only the to open up was right.

Things we share

Some of the things, that we Me, too’s share, include,

  • Being called all sorts of vile names by our partner.
  • Being made a joke of to other people.
  • Being labelled useless and worthless.
  • Being rejected – both emotionally and sexually.
  • Being badmouthed to our children.
  • Being attacked and humiliated in front of our children.
  • Being violated emotionally and sexually by our “intimate partner”.
  • Being told that we were lucky to have someone… who constantly criticized and blamed us.
  • Being threatened.
  • Being treated as inferiors.
  • Being let down and betrayed – and then being blamed for it.
  • Being intimidated so often that we have a very easily triggered cower reflex.
  • Being so humiliated that we often feel like giving up on ourselves and life.
  • Being made to feel unsafe so often that we wonder if we can ever feel safe again.
  • Having our trust betrayed so badly that we feel that we could never trust again.
  • Feeling frightened for our mental health and our life.

Has that – and quite possibly, more – happened to you? Me, too.

Do you belong in the 1 in 4? Me, too.

“It” – that is an emotionally abusive partner – has happened to me and to 1 in 4 other women.

Have you ever thought how many women there must be out there  – including celebrities – whose “intimate” partner experience has been similar to yours?  It puts you and I in the same category as Tina Turner, Rihanna, Halle Berry and J.K. Rowling, to name but a few who spring to mind.  All in all, that is a pretty class group of women that we belong to.

Your abuser did everything possible to make you feel like a human reject.  But, in reality, you share your experience and your feelings with 1 woman in 4.  Me, too.

You went through all of that and you are still standing (if only just, on a bad day). That is no mean feat.






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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