Why You Need to Get into Your Head More 

13 Aug 2019

Having a relationship with a toxic, narcissistic partner does not leave you as it found you. Rather your abusive partner identifies every anxiety, every low feeling that you ever had and magnifies it.  .Especially if you did not receive all the love and care you needed -and deserved – from your family of origin, then you hoped, and intended, that the intimate relationship of your choosing would heal old hurts through present happiness. Instead, it only increased your burden of trauma.  In this article we need to look at why getting into your head more is an essential key to safeguarding yourself from toxic people.

If, like me, you ended up in a relationship with an abusive, narcissistic partner, the chances are high that you too (like me) had already experienced a degree of emotional neglect at the hands of an abusive, narcissistic parent or two.

As adults we replay childhood scenarios

We don’t have a great deal of personal power as children.  So we tolerate and survive a difficult environment the best way we can. But as adults we replay childhood scenarios with a view to changing the outcome.

I’m not suggesting that we take up with a partner who – consciously – reminds us of an unloving – or insufficiently loving – parent, or other abusive family member. We simply take up with someone that we connect with at a very deep level – not knowing that that level is, actually, the level of past trauma.   We take up with that partner hoping and believing that by living out a happy, loving life with this partner we can become whole.  And make our partner whole. Because we already know that they have their own issues, issues that will heal a loving relationship.

If only…

One of the things that everyone needs to learn from an abusive relationship is that a hungry heart can play the most unfortunate tricks on you.

Why Love is not “all you need”

There is a vast mythology about the redeeming Power of Love that we are probably all guilty of tapping into.  “Love is all you need.”

The all too human temptation is at assume that the people that we choose to love must love us back, in the way that we want to be loved.  Especially if that didn’t work for us in childhood, we are determined to make it work in adulthood.

So, when someone says the “L” word to us, our Hope factory goes into overdrive. The plot of a thousand movies and books colors our expectations and… our rational brain shuts down.

This is why it becomes so important to get into your head more. You cannot fully understand why an abusive person treated you so badly or how to keep yourself safe in the future until you get into your head more and harness the power of your thinking brain.

If it feels like the jackpot, it most probably isn’t

At the start of an abusive relationship it is as if someone comes into your life and offers you the jackpot. Great as this may feel, this should set alarm bells ringing.  Something that is too good, too soon, will likely turn out very bad indeed. So, this is the time when, instead of rushing in headlong, you need to step back and appraise the situation rationally. Just because it lifts you out of feeling bad about yourself and your life that doesn’t mean that it will work out well in the medium or long term.

Nothing good happens when a person disregards what their own head and the available evidence is telling them.

Abusive partners don’t show up with a spreadsheet

Abusive prospective partners don’t turn up with a spreadsheet in their hands, listing their red flags and notifying you of the percentage chance that these red flags have – individually and collectively – of creating a very poor outcome.  Nevertheless, there will always be clues.

The job or registering the red flats is yours.  It is your life that is at stake, after all. Don’t let a hungry heart get in the way.

The problem with a hungry heart

Having been there and been as much of a pushover as anyone else, I know how insistent – and irrational – a hungry heart is.

On the other hand, we both know the kind of damage that the urgings of a hungry heart can produce.

That is why you need to get into your head more.

Ideally, you would have listened to your intuition in the first place when it offered you one of its unfathomable, “Just don’t go there” warnings.

However, even if you dismissed Intuition’s warning, you still have a good chance of getting yourself out of the relationship before it is too late, provided you engage your head, meaning your thinking brain.

If something jars, pay attention

Even when they are at their most charming and romantic, an abusive, Narcissistic swain (no typo) is still not entirely convincing.  There is always something about them that jars slightly.  There may be the tall-ish story about ongoing friendship – and even shared living accommodation – with an ex.  There may be the odd inappropriate remark or behaviour around other women. There may be their deep interest (read forensic curiosity) about your previous relationship misfortunes. There may be the rush to have you all to themselves. There may be bizarre mood-swings, strange little – or big – lies, or moments of surprising rudeness. You may get a fleeting feeling of being smothered, controlled or played.  It could be a certain fondness for his own voice or victim/hero story.  There will be something.

When that something shows up, Hungry Heart will rush in to explain your concern away.  Not uncommonly, the formula for minimizing or dismissing a concern – that will turn out to be all too well founded – starts with a “Yes, but…” as it does in that hardy perennial, “Yes, but I love him…”

That is when you need your head to kick in and,

How to harness the resource that is your thinking brain

1) Validate that troubled feeling.  Instead of working on the principle of dismissing your own spontaneous feelings/wisdom/intuition unless you could make it stick in a court of law in front of a jury of your peers, you want to say, “Hmm! This is important. I don’t yet know why I am reacting this way but this is important.  So, I am not prepared to shout these feelings down.”

2) Ask yourself if you can trace the beginning of that feeling back to any particular moment or event. Once you get into the habit of tracing effect back to cause it becomes quite fun as well as being hugely useful.  You start to feel less disempowered and overwhelmed by bad-feeling feelings than before.

3) Focus on the particular scenario Inasmuch as you can trace the feeling back, ask yourself what was it about the specific scenario that troubled you as in, “I feel a tad smothered by the way that he is moving this relationship forward.  Ok, that suggests to me that I don’t feel ready.  I don’t feel ready yet because I don’t feel safe and it doesn’t feel right. That needs respecting. Is this scenario the stuff of red flags?”  If you google any doubt you have on the internet, you will likely get some sound advice.

4) Take the appropriate action.  Tell Hungry Heart to keep quiet while the grown-up You keeps you safe.  If the appropriate action is to walk away, then do it, knowing that you are doing yourself a service.

When you put your head at the service of your Intuition, instead of using it to fight your intuition, you take back your power to make good decisions for yourself and keep yourself safe. Use your head. The future You will thank you for it.


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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