What I Learnt from being in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

By Holly Lochinger,
updated on Apr 9, 2018

What I Learnt from being in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Holly Lochinger was in an emotionally abusive relationship for three years before she was able to see if for what it was. Now she’s a Life Coach specialising in assisting people in reconnecting with who they truly are. Here’s what she learnt on her journey to empowerment

For the last three years I have been in an emotionally abusive relationship. I agreed to marry this person. But not out of love – out of fear. He made me do things that I never wanted to do. He got inside my mind and pre-empted the script he wanted me to act out.

From the very beginning of the relationship I was completely infatuated with him. I fell for him hard. I was needy and clingy and wanted someone to love and want me the way I did them. Against my better judgement, I poured my heart and soul into him, projecting as much love into us as I possibly could. Deep down I always knew this was one sided, but I didn’t care. I was in love.


He was very confident, charismatic, intelligent and ambitious. The polar opposite of other guys I had known. We met at university initially, but had reacquainted over social media several years later. He was a very likeable man, the sort that most people automatically warm to.

As I began falling for him more and more, I always instinctively felt that something was not quite right but I couldn’t place exactly what it was. In hindsight, I now know that he was manipulating my every thought and feeling from the start.

He knew all of my insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams. He would encourage me and always pick me up when I needed a boost. When he wanted something from me he would be super sweet but would drop in subtle triggers that he knew would play on my emotions. Reverse psychology was his area of expertise.

We moved into together very quickly. At first I thought everything was great. My life was unfolding exactly how I wanted it to. Although within a matter of months our relationship completely shifted. The saddest thing is that I blamed myself. I thought it was all my fault. He happily sat back and allowed me to believe this, whilst also fleecing me financially and in every other way he could.

This was the cycle; I would show him love and affection, he would reject me, I would get angry and upset, he would then apologise and tell me how much I meant to him. He would explain how he had never been this close to anyone and that it was difficult for him to express himself the way I did. He had been that way since a child for various reasons. I would feel sorry for him and then feel guilty for having got angry in the first place. Then I would try even harder to make things right and do everything I could to please him.

The majority of our relationship was like this. Round and round we would go. I completely lost myself and my own identity of who I truly was. I became like a zombie just going through the motions. At one point it got so bad that I considered throwing myself onto a train track. It was then that I knew things had to change.

I hated my job, I hated everything about my life, including me, and so what did I do? I began meditating again, I prayed and I surrounded myself with personal development resources that I knew would help me reconnect with my true self. Even though I was still living with him, I gradually detached emotionally and mentally. I began seeing everything more clearly.

woman sat on rock

Fast forward 18 months later. By then, not only had I changed my entire life, but I also found the strength within me to break free from his control. I can honestly say that this was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but also one of the biggest breakthroughs of my life. I found me again and with it so many valuable assets that make me who I am today.

Living in a state of confusion and losing my own mind for so long only came about because I had not questioned my feelings or explored them in any great depth. All that time I thought I was acting out of love, but it was fear. It was fear of being alone and not being loved. He knew this and switched his charm on and off accordingly. This enabled him to control and manipulate me to great lengths. I was his puppet on a string.

Being in true essence with our emotions is not always easy, but still very possible. For those of you who are in need of clarity and discernment, these are the pearls of wisdom I have obtained:

  • A person’s actions will always speak louder than their words. Actions demonstrate a person’s true intentions.

  • When someone asks something of you or you feel pressure to make a decision do nothing. Step back and give yourself time to gain perspective. If doing something provides you with no real benefit or genuine emotional contentment such as joy and happiness, it is most likely not a good idea.

woman with tea

  • When feeling low, think about the cause. The same applies when you are feeling happy. Start tracking your emotional states and try to identify emotional triggers around you, whether that be people or circumstances.

  • Doing things you enjoy daily such as reading, meditating, or having a bath, are ways for you to stay in connection with who you truly are. It also gives you clarity about what you desire moving forward. Without joy and enrichment, life loses all meaning.

  • Your intuition is a sense of knowingness that you cannot logically explain. It may be subtle but if you feel its presence, never ignore it.

  • Never fight or ignore an emotion. It is there for a reason so acknowledge and respect it. Fully embrace it to understand its true meaning/message by asking yourself; who, what, why, when, where and how?

  • Never be afraid to express what you are feeling. As a human being you have every right to tell someone how their actions are making you feel. If they truly care for you they will listen to you and do something about it.

Holly Lochinger is an empowerment coach who specialise in assisting people in reconnecting with who they truly are.

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