Are you experiencing verbal abuse?
Are you allowing yourself to call it what it is?
Or, do you make excuses for it, justify it?
When you call your partner on it, does s/he say you're too sensitive?
Do you really believe that?
You don't set out to be in a difficult relationship, but, you're often set up for it early in your life.
When you have lived with chronically difficult people in your early life, verbal abuse can feel somehow "normal." That's sad, but true. The same is so with emotional abuse, which is often far less obvious.
Outbursts, attacks, and accusations are more overt than the private demeaning, degrading, and diminishing remarks, and silent seething treatments of emotionally abusive partners.
It takes healthy doses of self-respect, courage, conviction, and strength to express and maintain strong boundaries in the face of verbal abuse. It takes that strength to clarify express, and maintain strong boundaries in the face of your abuser. Most people need help to do this successfully.
Yes, your abuser! Most people who are being abused don't recognize it as abuse. They are so used to nasty, thoughtless, and invalidating behaviors because they are familiar from their childhood. That home life can set you up to not recognize the abuse. You have learned to make excuses, rationalizations, and justifications for them:
"S/he is under a lot of pressure right now."
"S/he doesn't mean it. If you only knew what s/he has been through."
"I'm not a good (sensitive, thoughtful, considerate) person or I wouldn't be so annoying, irritating, or frustrating to him/her."
"I'm such a scatter-brain. I can't remember things right. I'm so lucky to have someone like him/her to keep me self-aware. S/he always remembers."
Do any of these sound like your self-talk? It's time to ask yourself if you are actually accepting verbal and emotional abuse, while making excuses for your abuser, and rationalize and justifying unhealthy behaviors.
You have thoughts, feelings, needs, and wants, and you are entitled to them. When you recognize and validate these within yourself, you are on the way to recognizing verbal abuse and emotional abuse...and to stopping putting up with it!
You need to learn new, effective strategies to create healthier dynamics in your relationship with a Hijackal™.
Hijackals™are chronically difficult people who hijack relationships, for their own purposes, while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control. Bingo right? That's what's going on in your relationship...and making you feel small, unworthy, and powerless...and that is emotional abuse!
Hijackals have predictable patterns that are demeaning, dismissive, diminishing, destructive, and damaging to you.
They engage in verbal abuse without even thinking about you or your feelings for a second. It's all about them getting their needs met. It's all about them having power over you in some way, at all times.
You don't think they have power over you? But, they do if:
- You worry about what they'll think
- You're concerned about pleasing them all the time
- You avoid doing anything to upset them...even telling the truth about something.
- You make excuses for their outrageous, inappropriate outbursts and demands
- You somehow think you deserve their wrath, their blame, their put-downs.
- You put up with their threats.
If those things are true, they do have power over you...and you're giving it to them. It's time to recognize the verbal abuse, and stop tolerating the emotional abuse. It's time to take back your personal power, and stop the crazy-making.
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, The Relationship Help Doctor, specializes in working with the partners, exes, and adult children of chronically difficult people. She calls them "Hijackals™: people who hijack relationships for their own purposes while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control. Hijackals traffic in guilt, blame, uncertainty, and emotional abuse. Author of sixteen books, Dr. Shaler works with individuals and couples worldwide using Zoom®.
If you are ready to put an end to the chaos, pain, resentment, and fear, she knows how to help you. Start with a free one-time half-hour consultation. You'll be so glad you did.