Emotional Black Hole

He is an emotional black hole.

He just sucks in any and all emotion, his and mine.  He drains my energy.

He’s always cheerful, just like a little kid without a care in the world.

And no matter what he says, it’s all delivered the same way.  I don’t mean mono-tone.   I mean, “I saw a tractor on the road” is said exactly the same way as “The neighbor down the road died.”


“I love you and you mean so much to me” is said with just as much emphasis as “What’s for dinner?”

And no kind of emotion is ever discussed.  He never says (and I do mean never), I’m upset about… or, …. made me angry, or  I’m sad because…. or any other emotion that could possibly be expressed.  It just isn’t said.  At all.  Period.  Ever.

His mother has cancer.  One day he cried for a few minutes.  I put my arm around him to comfort him.  But in all the time his mother has had cancer, except that one time, he hasn’t expressed anything, except facts.  “My mom went to the doctor today….”  (And the day after I tried to be comforting to him, he acted like a jerk.  Just couldn’t take my compassion. see post.)

And when I express emotion – happy, sad, excited, whatever, somehow he pulls it away from me.  I get criticized, condemned, cut down.  Yes, it is in a very subtle, back-handed way, but the criticism is still there.

This isn’t exactly about emotion, but this is an example of how it goes:

One night, my daughter and I watched Men In Black.  I hadn’t seen it before and my daughter wanted me to see it.  He sat down to watch it with us, but my daughter didn’t want him to (she hates him because he has nothing to do with her), so I told him that just the two of us were going to watch it together.   He left the room.

Afterwards, he asked me if I like the movie.  I told him, yes, that Will Smith is hilarious.  He said, Will Smith is a prima donna.

In case you didn’t catch it, him criticizing Will Smith is his way of criticizing me for liking Will Smith, for liking the movie, and for watching the movie with my daughter.  His criticism actually wasn’t really about Will Smith.  It was a covert criticism of me.  I know it sounds far fetched, but trust me.  I’ve seen this kind of thing many, many times in him.

If I tell him about something I am excited about, he will find an off-hand way to criticize it, no matter what it is.

He sucks the energy out.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been around somebody like that, but if you have, you know what I mean.  I find it hard to explain, but somehow, it’s like they don’t give out.  They are there.  Maybe they are speaking or maybe they are not, but they are not giving anything.  And just their presence pulls away the peace and creates tension.

And then there is the stress of trying to protect myself from this emotional black hole, too.

It’s all very draining.

This entry was posted in covert abuse, emotional abuse, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Emotional Black Hole

  1. Paula says:

    I know exactly what you mean. It’s not far-fetched at all!!! Everything I was excited about would be turned and twisted into something ugly and vile. It was his way of convincing me I was bad if I liked bad things. Just stupid control and mind games that I refuse to play anymore. :(

  2. I’m in a position of trying to make sense of previous abuse and to understand its lingering effects. I didn’t actually realize I was experiencing abuse as it was happening, as I did not have your insight at the time. You articulate subtle tactics like this beautifully. It helps further my understandings, which helps heal.

    No happiness allowed. No excitement allowed. No enjoyment. So true! I experienced the same thing with success too, come to think of it. Any accomplishment was treated with indifference and even derision, like it was ugly, wrong, or inconsequential to have something I was good at or that might be a source of pride for me. I never got to celebrate the things I liked about the world around me or about myself. It is SO difficult.

  3. nolongerhappy says:

    Completely understand… i got laughed at recently for preparing ahead of time… who laughs at that!!

    • It gets ridiculous, doesn’t it!?!?!!!

      • nolongerhappy says:

        Extremely… i can’t even say how happy i am about work because that causes discussions about me being happier at work than at home…. i won an award recently and i didn’t even tell him until a few weeks later, only because i didn’t want anyone to poopoo on my success, imagine – i’m hoping i get strong enough soon to get out, wish the same for you.

  4. Zoe says:

    I completely get this! Just last night I was telling hubby about how my best friend got roped into being the team mom for baseball and she wasn’t happy about it. I thought it was a funny story actually. He turned it right around. Well that’s her own fault, she’s gullible and if she’s going to let people walk all over her, I don’t want to hear about it. HUH?
    Why can’t we just share a laugh and move on? Why would this be a cause for anger to spew from his mouth and make him leave the room???

  5. CrazyAsALune says:

    Nice to find the perfect description to my husband of 23 yrs behavior. I was focused on narcissism (covert) but the experiences of others dealing with PA personalities seems more precise especially the crazy making feelings the PA induces. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I didn’t see it and put up with this abuse for this long. My journey with the PA personality started when I was diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Part of the treatment was to look into the stress points of my life. At first I was perplexed at HOW I could be stressed considering I felt like I was doing what I wanted in life. Part of it was that my body was peri-menopausal and another part was adjusting my diet a bit. Jump ahead 6 months from my adrenal fatigue diagnoses into a diagnosis of potential ovarian cancer. I had a hysterectomy as it was the only way the doctor’s could tell if it was cancer or not. During this time my husband was fired from his job (PAreggresion got in the way here too) so we ended up spending a LOT of time together and this is when I noticed something was totally OFF! The PA personality was FULL BORE and my eyes flew wide open. This was in November of 2012 and since then I’ve been educating myself, taking care of myself and noticing the nuances of his PAggressiveness everyday. I’m sickened (literally) at the level that it’s at and amazed at my endurance (ignorance) of the behavior. The adrenal fatigue is directly related to my being TIRED of his crap and my hysterectomy symbolizes me giving my power away to others. I’m grateful there wasn’t any cancer and now I can put my focus to healing myself.
    I’ve spent the last three weeks trying to embrace the fact that PA is abuse and after hitting up on this blog has helped me to accept the situation as ABUSIVE. Fully and completely, without a doubt it’s abuse.
    To add to the PA picture, I confronted (God, don’t do that) my husband about a separation (don’t do that either) and he went bolistic! He screamed and yelled (guilt trippy comments) and went into the garage and kicked and threw crap around. I went upstairs to help my daughter with her homework and she asked me what the hek was going on and I honestly answered that I didn’t know. He kicked a few more things around and then it became very silent. I started to get scared as I’ve never seen him do this before. I went downstairs and he was sitting on a kitchen stool staring at the wall. Because I was scared I called a friend who ‘waited in my bluetooth’ as I went to see what was happening. When I asked him (my husband) what was wrong he answered ‘who’s on the phone?’. I lied and said I wasn’t on the phone ( he knew intuitively) and he repeated the question. I started to get pissed at the weird behavior so I told him that if he didn’t knock it off that it was going to be the police that was on the phone. He proceeded to get up an venture into the dark tv room and lay on the floor. Of course the next day he acted as if nothing happened. The story is deeper and more complex but I’m sparing the sorted details. My question to the group here is: Have you known passive aggressive behavior to turn aggressive? That behavior scared the daylights out of me and I’m still walking on eggshells over it. He’s never mention a word and is living life as if nothing happened and I’ve had enough! I HAVE to take action for my mental and emotional health not to mention my 15year old daughter who is about to lose her mind as well. I feel sooooo raw. Much more healing to do. So, so sad for all involved.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I completely understand that emotionally abusive situations do directly affect one’s physical health and I think it is so great that you realize this and are addressing it.
      Your husband’s reaction to a separation seems to be very, typically passive aggressive! Don’t you just love how they act like nothing is wrong afterwards? My husband does that so often!
      I know you didn’t ask for my opinion on this, so forgive me, but my suggestion to leaving would be to get it set up for yourself to leave. He won’t leave. He won’t help you leave. You will need family and friends to help out on this one and you will have to do it without him involved in any way. And I wish you well in that endeavor. (I’m one to talk, though. I haven’t left yet.)
      Anyhow, I’m answering your question about aggression in a blog post. So stay tuned! :}
      Keep me posted on how things are going for you.
      And thanks again for your comment.

  6. Laura says:

    Oh my goodness I remember this sort of thing happening All. The. Darn. Time!! After I left my husband I ended up getting a book called Emotional Vampires or something like that…it’s on Amazon. It’s a pretty good read, but I’m not quite finished. It’s a bit of psychology for the lay person and very easy to understand. The author knows his vampire metaphor is a bit absurd, but it also has some truth to it. As I read it I think to myself…HOLY COW!! This is some of what I was living through and it’s there in black and white. I get it now and I see how my ex was “draining me”. Anyway, if that helps at all I figured I’d mention it.

    I remember early in our marriage when I would be excitedly telling my husband (now ex husband thank God) about something and he would interrupt me and say: “are you done talking yet?” or “Are you going to keep going on and on about this?” I would’ve only been talking for 30 seconds, possibly one minute, hardly going on and on, but that was his way of undermining me and letting me know that I was not important.

    I know what you mean about the emotional black hole. I eventually learned to keep everything to myself for fear of being criticized or being told I was babbling, and after a while I didn’t share anything with my ex at all. There was no point. Now that I am in a healthy relationship I have to work to remember that it is ok to share details about my day and talk about things I am interested in. I lived the other way for so long I am having to re-learn how to communicate, but it is so worth it. You know what? I don’t ever get criticized for what interests me. Go figure.

    • I think I’ve seen that book on Amazon. But I haven’t read it yet. I do need to, just to better understand the situation and to better help myself.
      You know, I got married thinking we would SHARE life, not realizing that I would end up hiding so much of my thoughts and desires and experiences from him!!! UGH!
      I am so glad that you are in a healthy relationship! Sometimes I try to imagine what that would be like, but I can’t! I find myself thinking, the next next guy probably won’t like this about me, or I’ll have to change that about me. Isn’t that insane! Anyhow, I do hope to be in a healthy loving relationship one day. It is so encouraging to me that others who leave bad realtionships do find good relationships! :}

  7. Peacelily76 says:

    Wow! I have just experienced this with an EBH (emotional black hole). Met him at work last year, he seemed full of energy and a little arrogant. Little did I know that behind this facade was a woman and three children who had been suffering under him for 13 years. By autumn, she had thrown him out of the family home and then things started to go downhill for him. I didn’t know the truth and I felt sorry for him, took him under my wing a bit, gave him advice, tried to boost his confidence. He flirted with me madly on email and messenger, a red flag I now realise. I started to feel a little uneasy but dismissed my gut feelings about his behaviour. He was always so calm and nice, even when he lost a court case to have access to his children. Still I was a friend to him, still he flirted, was charming, likeable. He would text me any time of the day or night, pouring out the latest episode of drama, not considering that I might be busy or sleeping! And he never started his emails or texts with, “Hi, how are you?” as if asking me would drain him. Well, now I know it would have done. Six months down the road, having watched him trawl through online dates, take me for granted and not reciprocate my friendship, I decided to just drop him. I got four paragraphs of “sorry”. I told him it had felt like a one way street and he had left me with a muddy gut feeling that all was not ‘right’. I also told him that I didn’t want to get sucked in any further. Well, funnily enough, I never got a response to my message. He has moved on to a new supply to feed off. He is a huge child and I’m not going to be his babysitter. God help the next woman who falls under his spell.

  8. Irene says:

    Thank you for you post. I googled emotional Black hole because I thought I was in one. But after reading your post, I realize that he is the emotional black hole. After two and a half years of marriage, I had the marriage annulled because I finally had the courage to stand up for myself. It sounds so crazy to talk about it. People you finally have the courage to share with look at you and wonder what’s wrong with you. But it is real emotional abuse…an emotional roller coaster. And it slowly wears you down…It tears you down… It eats away at you until there’s nothing left. I think that’s part of the goal…To control you. I am so grateful for your words and your courage. I hope you were stronger and have found your own way to deal with it. God bless.

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