“What if this isn’t really abuse?”
“It could be worse, right? It’s not like he hits me.”
“Maybe she’s right. Maybe I’m overreacting.”
Let me help you here.
It IS abuse. Truly. You’re just not comfortable with that word yet because it’s a lot to process… and because you’ve been conditioned to justify and minimize your abuser’s behavior just like they do, as well as absorb all fault and responsibility.
Breaks and bruises heal. The effects of emotional, spiritual, financial (et al) abuses root much deeper and take much longer to understand and heal. Someone might never lay a finger on you, but they can and will do unbelievable damage through quiet, subtle control and manipulation—all kinds of tactics!—that will take months and years to get a handle on. We can’t assume everything must be okay just because there’s no physical violence.
And they aren’t right. They just want you to second guess yourself and hang onto doubt and anxiety, because that keeps you feeling unstable and vulnerable, which is just how they like you. That’s how they get their kicks. It’s how they maintain a sense of power and control. Not to mention, you’re not overreacting. You’re reacting quite reasonably to an overwhelming amount of bullshit, games, and a hellish environment.
It’s just that that word, abuse, makes so many people uncomfortable.
We don’t want to think it. We don’t want to say it out loud. Other people don’t want to hear it.
But it shouldn’t be taboo. I’m tired of using “safer” and “softer” words to talk around ABUSE. Screw everyone else’s comfort.
Abuse is abuse is abuse.
*Optional empowerment assignment for today: Grab a journal and start a new entry. Place that word, abuse, across the top. Write about how you’ve always interpreted the word, but also what it means to you today.
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