Emotional Drama Is an Abuser’s Smoke and Mirrors
Emotional drama is not love. It is manufactured by the abuser during the initial attachment period. Emotional drama allows the abuser to use smoke and mirrors to disguise their true intentions. They want to place you under a false-love spell. The abuser overacts the “love” they feel for you. They want to monopolize your time. The abuser, maybe literally, says “Look at me! Look only at me! I am so in love with you that it’s making me crazy. I can’t bear to be away from you!”
When the emotional drama starts, then the piece of us that feels alone and vulnerable screams to our good sense: “Oh My God! Will you loosen up? This person sees the beauty in you. They want to be with you. And they can’t live without you!” How flattering is that? For those reasons and hormonal ones, it is easy to mistake an abusive person’s strong emotional attachment toward you as caring lovingly and deeply for you.
Possessiveness and jealousy are but a stone’s throw away from “I can’t bear to be away from you!” Initially, during the dating period, your mind easily overlooks the craziness of the abuser’s false-love spell and may make you feel safe and loved. And when the abuser’s possessiveness and jealousy show their dangerous, vindictive sides, the ability to make an excuse for any behavior revs up. it s easy to think, “In time, those jealous feelings will go away! I’d never hurt them and I am definitely no cheater!”
Those feelings never go away for the abuser.
You see, the abuser uses you to extend his or her control over their world – the unreal, controllable world that resides only in their mind. Rational people know that many of the events in the world are beyond our control. However, in the abuser’s fear of losing control over their life and their Self, they refuse to believe “shit happens” and prefer to believe “someone caused this to happen to me“.
Learn the False-Love Spell
Abusers use a false-love spell, but we now know the formula for it. It is documented by scientists to explain how people fall in love. Granted, the subjects in the study were maybe deemed emotionally healthy before participating. But what happens when a predator uses the same formula to entrap you?
Abusers mimic you imperceptibly unless they want you to notice a similarity, they get to know you, they seemingly fall in love with you and then they begin abusing you. The process looks eerily similar to this portion of an article from YourAmazingBrain.org:
How to Fall in Love
- Find a complete stranger.
- Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.
- Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.
An abuser’s “Look ONLY at ME!” stage mimics staring deeply into your eyes. The revealing intimate details of your life stage occurs when the abuser is completely involved in learning about you (and empathizing with you and/or claiming to have had many of the same things happen to him or his mother, sister, etc.). The love at first sight? Well, imagine a seasoned predator looking for prey they know from experience they can manipulate and you’ve got the complete stranger qualification all wrapped up.
What Happens When the False-Love Spell Works
But for some reason, the falling in love part takes on a different meaning for abusers. I can’t say whether or not the abuser ever loves you, but they certainly know how to make you love them, and that is where the trouble begins.
When an abusive person grabs hold of your love, that person can brainwash your loving mind and control you like a puppet. They do that to make you an extension of themselves. They want you to do what they would do if they were you. … Yeah, read that again.
Your purpose as their puppet is to help them control their world. The abuser defines how you should act by imagining themself as whatever role you’ve taken on. For example, if you are an abuser’s girlfriend, the abuser expects you to act as they think they would act in your place. Maybe the abuser thinks, “I would wear red underwear on Wednesdays if I were my girlfriend.” When you don’t wear red underwear on Wednesdays, you are not behaving as you should, Now the abuser’s threatened worldview causes her to abuse you. To get you back in line. To turn you into them so you will do what they would do if they were you.
That underwear example seems trite and silly. However, as abuse victims know, abusers lash out at the smallest things and the reason for their tantrums is not always known.
Abusers Are No Smarter Than You or Me
Abuse may follow the formula of love but it stops short of feeling the love, commitment, and beauty that love provides in healthy relationships. Abusers are conscious or subconscious manipulators, period. But before you start thinking that a whole subsection of society figured out a complex scientific experiment before the rest of us, consider car insurance companies.
For ages, car insurance rates have been substantially higher for males aged 25 and under. The group takes more chances and gets into more accidents. That fact means that they’re a greater risk to insure so it costs more to insure them. It’s a money thing.
However, that fact about car insurance company rates was in place way before scientists showed that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain controlling impulse control, does not fully develop until about the age of 25.
Car insurance companies are not in the business of brain research any more than abusers are in the business of love research. Some things people simply learn by observation. Your abuser observed you and many other relationships before they successfully baited you into being their puppet.
Discovering Abuse Can Take Time
Your body’s initial love hormones settle down eventually. However, the memory of that intoxicating love can cause you to stick by your partner’s side, to wait it out. You’re sure the abuse is a fluke (if you notice it as abuse). Meanwhile, the abuser’s nasty comments and behaviors kick in full force. You’re partly in disbelief but mostly angry and hurt.
This is the prime time to end the relationship. Memories of sweet love only count for so much. The falling in love stage is relatively brief. But the abuser’s control and manipulation of you will last a lifetime if you let it.
Cut your losses as soon as possible. Although it may not feel like it during the breakup, remember that you get to experience the beautiful feeling of falling in love all over again in the future with the wisdom to pick up on abusive behaviors more quickly than before.
More about falling in love:
[Editor’s note: the page describing the “How to Fall in Love” study at YourAmazingBrain.org is no longer available.]