“No one else will ever want you.”
It is as though he has taken a branding iron and seared the words into your soul. Rather than reject them and recognize that the one who speaks is both cruel and a liar, you find yourself teetering on the edge of self-doubt, pondering the words, allowing them to resonate and take root – undisputed.
“Why would he say something so hurtful? He must see something that I don’t see in myself. What if I am truly unlovable, a loser, a failure?”
It is a heartless deception. Should you allow those thoughts to simmer, apart from a proper understanding of the abuser’s agenda, you may begin to accept and even believe the lie, if for no other reason than the one spewing the slander also has the audacity to tell you that he loves you. It is somehow easier to accept that he is sincere than to believe that he is deliberately trying to hurt you – and therefore doesn’t really love you at all. That option is just too painful to entertain, and that little crack in your broken heart allows his hurtful words to seep in.
What you need to know is that, if he can get you to believe his lies, they keep you bound to him. You will actually begin to see him as someone who is patient and even benevolent. He is willing to tolerate your presence, to put up with you in spite of your many, glaring inadequacies. He graciously gives you an opportunity to improve yourself when he is fully aware that you are a pathetic, throw-away creature wholly unworthy of him.
What a guy.
The moment you give his assessment of you the smallest measure of credibility, you begin to give him the power to define who you are. In a gallant effort to demonstrate loyalty and submission and perhaps earn his love, your actions may in fact reflect an assumption that his truth is the truth. The moment you set out on a mission to convince him that he is wrong about you, you actually give credence to all the terrible things he says. You put stock in the false identity that he has chosen for you.
Recognize that his words are deliberately designed to cut and crush and cripple. There is not a trace of love – or truth – woven among them.
“You don’t know what you are talking about. ”
“How can you be so stupid?”
“I don’t need you; you need me.”
“There is something seriously wrong with you.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
“You are worthless.”
“I don’t know why I even put up with you.”
His words tell you that you have nothing to offer, no rights, and no value. He has you imagining that there must be some unknown quality you lack that leaves you somehow unworthy of him. Yes, those things he says are intended to drive you to contemplate how truly ashamed you will be should this relationship thing fail. He is doing his part to blind you to the truth, for you are undeniably special and desirable, and you also possess everything you need to survive and thrive without him. It is important to him that you never come to understand that truth. He must keep you down, preoccupied with his never-ending madness, and groveling for his approval.
It may be a many-years-long struggle to get past whether his words feel true to a place where you can assess whether they are true, and I am certain they are not. Then, as hard as it is, you will have to acknowledge that the things he says are not grounded in any misunderstanding; those terrible things he says to you are intentional slanders and lies. Not only does he not care if you hurt, he wants you to hurt, because your pain gives him a strong, demeaning grip on your life.
In order for you to beat back the lies, you will have to fight to remember who you really are and all the things you have to offer. Grieve the knowledge that those words should have never been spoken, they were never deserved. The words were treacherous – consistent with the nature of the one who spoke them.
Let’s look at this a different way. What are some of the things you might expect a loving husband to say to you? How about something like…
“You are the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“I adore you.”
“I am a very lucky man.”
When I was separated from my abuser, he would occasionally call me late at night, when he knew I would be in bed. When I would roll over to answer the phone, he would always start off with a warm “hello” and begin his late-night conversation with something benign only to quickly escalate into a tirade of injustices and offenses he claimed I had committed against him. In my sleepy stupor, I would try to defend myself, reason with him, believing I could convince him of the sincerity of my intentions. He would usually conclude his assault with an impassioned flourish of un-tempered anger and hang up on me. And, I would pull my pillow close to my chest and cry myself to sleep, wondering where I had gone wrong, why he was so intent on hurting me and considering whether there was an ounce of truth in the midst of all the malicious things he said.
Of course, all those things he said were just lies. He knew I was not sleeping around. I was not selfish or unfeeling or stupid or arrogant or lazy or dishonest or suspicious or unforgiving or any of the other words he used to describe me. No, the sickening truth of it is that the man had almost certainly been strategizing for days, assessing my vulnerabilities, planning his attack, bent on emotional annihilation. His schemes included a mountain of different ways to keep me doubting my worth and my sanity in the hope that I would break under the weight of it all.
When I finally saw the truth about the nature of the man who was my husband, it was devastating. Yet that realization allowed me to shift my focus and receive the tender affirmation from my Father-God who came alongside to strengthen me, reminding me of my true identity and my worth.
In the years following the divorce, there were moments when I could still hear the echo of my former husband’s shameful prophecy: “No one else will ever want you.” But the day came when God brought love my way, and I am free to love and be loved.
You cannot afford to allow yourself to be swept into the deep darkness of your abuser’s lies. Do not let him keep you from seeing all that you have to offer and becoming all that you wish to be. Look back, look within and remember who you are. Then look forward and choose to live a life consistent with your true identity. Hear the words of affirmation from the One who knows you and proclaims, “You are special. You have value. You are loved.”
Know that your abuser’s denigrations can only hold you captive for as long as you choose to believe them, and the man who spews them is a liar whose words rise straight from the pit of hell. There is no good reason to remain in the same household with a man who treats you so.
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