Ever felt completely powerless in a situation where you could not protect yourself?
I know this feeling since I have been in this familiar place before. This is like being in a prison where you cannot break free. You are holding onto the bars with all this force, desperately calling out for help, but no one can can hear you. This, I am afraid, is what it is like to be involved in a scenario with an abusive person whether it’s physical or emotional.
Abuse can occur in any aspect of your life. For many of us, it is being able to shield ourselves from these toxic scenarios. Little do we know whether a person can be abusive or not. Yes, red flags can be evidence, but this may not be enough for us to walk away for good. We only really find out when we get particularly close with the people in question. The moment they become comfortable, the mask comes off and the true colors remain.
When we first exchange words with someone who has the potential to be abusive, we are unable to recognize or interpret the signs. I and many others have not been educated in this. I am afraid that schools today do not teach us how to deal with toxic situations and identify who has good intentions or not amongst a plethora of things. This causes us to crash and burn instead. We learn the hard way through our mistakes.
Abuse does not begin during the first encounter. It can develop half way through and once the victim is completely immersed. The abuser scouts its victims and sticks their claws in when ready. Beware of the comments and especially the frequency. If an unkind comment is thrown your way, we respond accordingly and brush away. However, if this becomes continuous then this is not acceptable. No human being should have to tolerate this behavior ever.
What is not discussed often is the perspective of the abuser. How do they perceive the situation? We are not born to be abusers and neither is the abuser. Any unresolved incidents involving certain feelings can be carried through life. These feelings can be mirrored into their relationships with others. These feelings include a classic feeling of disappointment where the abuser has experienced disappointment in their own life. Shall the other person do something which doesn’t agree with them, this will trigger off these thoughts. This will instantly give them a so called right to hold this action against the other person. Abusers like to feel entitled, but no one is entitled; we all have to earn and work hard to earn respect. This feeling of entitlement can come from being given what they always wanted during their childhood. Low self esteem is very much linked to being in control and hurting others to make themselves feel better. This is short lived. The victim will catch on quickly and leave. Deadly high levels of jealously, which they describe as caring, can suffocate the victim and make them feel boxed in. I remember whoever I befriended caused issues, since when is it anyone’s choice about who I spend my time with? Yet this raises hairs for abusers, since this makes them feel insecure. As discussed, here are some of the many traits which cause people to be abusers.
Since they lack empathy, they have an inability to put themselves in the shoes of others so they are unable to see life objectively. Whenever they abuse, they will never stop to see things from your perspective. So please do not persuade them to adopt this approach as it will never happen. An abusive person can change, but only if they want too. This should not your responsibility. You could spend a very long time trying to achieve an outcome which may never happen.
What I have learnt is that whenever you are involved in a situation such as this, do not allow yourself to suffer in silence. Surround yourself with people who can help you. There are people who can support and guide you to leave this situation and move onto better things. Do not let the person who abuses you reduce you until you cannot do anything; especially before he or she gets physical. A few years ago, my ex and I were arguing in the car and he accused me of not caring about him and laid a hand on me. It was absolutely horrifying! He quickly said, ‘sorry baby’ and then said ‘you make me like this’ etc. For a good while after, I could not stop picturing the incident and we ended our relationship shortly after. The signs were so obvious months earlier, but I thought if I could change myself it would work. How naive could I be! You should never have to change yourself for someone. This is the sign that the person you are involved with is really not suitable.
My advice to you all is not to hang in a situation which is dragging you down. Your wellbeing is what really matters at the end of the day. The earlier you cut ties, the less damaging it will be to your own mental self. We cannot remain in an illusion and not face up to reality. The truth is we only get one shot at life and this can flash quickly in front of us. Focus on yourself and welcome the good into your life and flush out the negative.
By Caroline Peart
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