Last week, I touched on emotional abuse and pointed you to an article for more information. As I mentioned, verbal and emotional abuse are often erroneously categorized as “not real abuse.” Friends, it’s real. The words are real. The pain from being the target of lies, manipulation, and verbal battering is real.
It’s usually quite subtle at first. It might be a backhanded comment. You know the kind: “Those jeans don’t make you look too fat” or “at least dinner isn’t burnt this time.” Thanks? You’re left a little confused: was that a compliment or an insult? There’s usually a dig in every comment, a veiled threat or insult. The self doubt starts to set in…If you don’t initially recognize these types of remark for what they are, they will continue and worsen until they’re outwardly cruel and not even mildly veiled. If you’re in a non-marital relationship with the ability to end it easily and you see these things in your partner, this relationship is not for you. Note: (If you’re married, it is more difficult to leave and we will discuss a safe plan in an upcoming post. Seek immediate help if you are in danger). If the person isn’t respecting you now, the disrespect will just worsen.
Inch by inch, your would-be abuser will cross the healthy boundaries of your relationship. You say “no” to something, big or small. They’ll keep at you, persisting to try to change your mind. There’s encouragement: “Come on, you should go back to school; you’d make a great teacher!” And then there’s someone being disrespectful of your boundaries and working to change your mind: “Come on, baby. Let’s have sex. You know you want to.” Someone trying to change a firm, healthy decision you’ve made for yourself is disrespectful of you and your boundaries. Once someone like this gets a toe over the line of your boundaries, it’s much easier for them to get their whole foot across and before you realize it, your boundary has been wiped away completely by their words and actions.
Abuse can start slow and like a lobster, you don’t know you’re in hot water until it’s too late.
Treatment like this wears away the layers of who you are until you become unrecognizable to yourself. You feel insignificant, invisible. Stand your ground now. It will be easier to end a a new relationship than to try to leave a well-established one that’s steeped in abuse and control.
Speaking of control…please return for my next post where I’ll discuss the control and manipulation aspect of abuse. And please remember, you are not alone. If you see yourself or a loved one, coworker, or friend in these words, this doesn’t have to be your (or their) life. I almost didn’t survive to tell my abuse story. Don’t let that you be.
As always, visit the links below for immediate help: