Is it really abuse, or just someone having a bad moment, or bad day, or making a thoughtless comment?
How do you know the difference?
You know the difference because abuse is a PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR, not just a random nasty word or angry moment, an unexpected tantrum or blowup. A NORMAL person who has said something hurtful in the heat of a moment will recognize that fairly immediately or a short time thereafter when things calm, then (s)he will apologize and make amends. Most people will recognize and take responsibility for their behavior and / or it won’t be habitual.
But abuse is a habitual, chronic, behavorial abnormality that has at its core a desire to wield power over others, to reduce them, to make less of them, to make them less threatening to the abuser. Also, when confronted with abusive behavior, an abuser will blame the person (s)he abused for it, rather than acknowledging that they have done or said anything hurtful or wrong themselves. They will NOT take responsibility for their behavior.
One can’t accurately spot abuse until they become educated in recognizing it. If you can’t recognize it, you can’t protect yourself from it, and instead can spend needless time, effort and energy protecting yourself from people who really aren’t chronic abusers, but rather just someone having a bad day, or momentary irritation that they’re taking out on you. And dealing with that is a whole DIFFERENT strategy than dealing with abuse.
It may be important initially to spend far MORE time in learning to properly recognize abuse than practicing strategies for protecting yourself.
The truth is that abuse continues to thrive no matter what. There is, and continues to be, a small percentage of the population who are chronically abusive to others. If you are to live life fully, and throw yourself into enjoying life wholeheartedly, you can’t do that AND remain distant or aloof from every possible or potential abusive situation. Eliminating abuse from life is an unrealistic goal, unless you intend to remove yourself from all human contact.
Protecting yourself against abuse is simple. First, be able to immediately recognize it when it occurs, which is pretty effortless once you’re thoroughly educated in what it is. That’s the hardest part. But there are TONS of resources here to help. Many are listed and posted here on EscapeAbuse. Patricia Evan’s book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” is one of the best, along with “Why Does He Do That – Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft, and Dr. Irene’s Verbal Abuse Site. There are many books and websites you can learn from.
Once you can properly identify what you’re experiencing, you can begin to put to use whatever strategy seems most appropriate for dealing with it.
Trying to deal with abuse from an uneducated perspective is like trying to operate in one of those old, medieval suits of armor. They’re cumbersome, heavy, hot, restrictive, limit motion and visibility, and slow you way down. But being educated about abuse is like operating from inside of an invisible bubble of protection. No one knows it’s there, it doesn’t limit or hinder you in any way, but it’s abuse-restrictive because abuse just can’t get IN. It bounces off, it won’t permeate the bubble, it can’t get to you. It can’t reach you because you KNOW what it IS before it ever makes much intimate contact, and you can turn it away, or turn away FROM it.
You can’t eliminate abuse entirely from your life, but with good education first and then some practice, you can make yourself more impervious to it.
Written by ‘BamBam’
Edited by Admin