If abuse is mentioned, we always think of the physical abuse. However, there is another story, which doesn’t leave visible wounds, cannot be seen by your eyes at first sight. We might think, that this one hurts less then. However, unfortunately, this is not the case. Psychological abuse can hurt the same way, can make deep wounds. Also, coping with it and processing it can take a lot of time and effort of the “victim”.
But what do we mean by psychological abuse within a relationship?
I consider in this category all those things, which are not based on mutual respect, equality and acceptance.
When for example your partner believes, that they have the right for certain things, therefore they can afford themselves pushing you down for their own good. If they think they have the right to always be in the centre of attention, they will do that even if they damage you with that. They start quarrels to ensure they have your full attention. In these cases, maybe in the beginning you still feel that they are not right, but a psychological abuser is the master of manipulation. And this conversation can result in you saying sorry. Because maybe it was really your fault, you start to feel. Maybe you are the one not paying enough attention to them. You say sorry. But you feel that something is off… They calm down, as they got the attention needed, what they “deserved” based on their opinion, but you somehow still do not feel good, even though things have calmed down. What’s more, you can even feel yourself insecure, lost and frustrated.
Is this a familiar story?
Another characteristic feature (amongst many others) of the psychological abuser partner is pushing the other person down. Actually, their own issue comes from a very low self-esteem and self-confidence very down in the deep; which they would never face or admit of course. Therefore, when they (think they) see the other one being better in anything, they start the process and the attack. Criticising, giving unsolicited advices, telling you how you should do things, starts to share their “huge experience”. Which maybe doesn’t even exist, but this does not hold them back in “them knowing better”. They present these “knowing-betters” so confidently that they easily make you uncertain.
You indeed can start to feel that you are a no-one compared to them, you are not worth a thing. They exactly want you to think that.
They want to feel being better even than their partner, using their fake self-perception, their fake self-confidence. In the meantime, your own self-confidence, sense of self-worth, your self-love decreases and decreases….
It is very important to note that these psychological abusers can seem to be very nice for the first sight. From the woman’s angle, when you meet such a man, he is the most confident of all, he is a complete gentleman, nice, kind, supportive. For the first sight… As this is also part of the manipulation, they are well aware how they need to behave, what they need to say, how they can make a good impression on the woman. Everything for the purpose.
They scout the victim and when it is done, reality comes forward. Reality in this case is that everything you thought about him, is a lie and actually all the opposites are the truth.
The psychological abusers are not able to care about anyone else, but themselves. The focus of their whole life is on themselves. Even if this doesn’t seem to be the case, it is just part of a pinpoint manipulation.
This self-focused view of life will surface eventually on the long-run (or even on the short-run, depends on the person). And then the woman stands there, not understanding the situation, as this man was not like this before! This man did everything for me. What happened? Then the woman starts to doubt herself, maybe she did something wrong. The man strongly confirms this. However, the truth could not be farther from this.
The stone-cold truth
What can be almost even frightening as well in this psychological abuse story is that the abuser can be seen very differently from outside of the relationship. I mean, they treat their partner as a piece of mud – humiliating, breaking and using them for their own purpose -, while amongst the friends they can be the best person ever.
It is because the abuser plays this manipulative game mainly at home, with their partner. They can be cute and nice with everyone else. In these cases, if the woman starts to complain to the friends about the way the man behaves at home, how he treats her, maybe they wouldn’t even believe her. As the friends don’t know that they only see a well-planned, well-composed manipulative mask from the man.
The woman can easily be left alone in these situations. She can grind within herself, whether it is really her sitting with her back to the TV, whether it is really her fault that her life turned out to be this way, having a partner who ignores and hurts her.
My answer is that yes and no.
For a reason you attracted this man in your life; a subconscious program running in the background wants you to be hurt. But this is not your fault.
You only need to realise this and solve the situation. No-one deserves to be treated this way. No-one should stay in a psychologically abusive relationship as a life sentence. You also deserve happiness, you also deserve to be loved as you are, free of any games, manipulation and abuse.
See it clearly if you are in such a situation – and do something against it. Either on you own, or either by reaching out to a professional person, who can help you in this.
Quitting such a relationship can be very difficult. I see on my clients as well, who come to me with this topic. All the facts, evidences scream to you to escape, run away as far as you can from this, however it takes a lot of effort from them actually doing it. Maybe they wouldn’t even be able to do it alone. As actually the psychologically abusive man starts another real attack when the “victim” would like to quit this situation. It hurts his ego, he feels that he can lose his “nourishment”. But this is not your issue, it is his only. It is no-one’s life purpose to be the “nourishment” of others.
But you, dear “victim”, you need to believe it. You need to believe that you are worth more.
Maybe you need to hit rock bottom, when you say: “I am done, that was it, I will not take this anymore! It has come to an end!” When this feeling is already there, keep yourself up to it, as the promises and counter-attacks of the man will still find you for a good while.
Feel you own strength, feel your own power and do not go for less, do not give up the fight for yourself!