Sanctuary for the Abused
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
How Language is Used to Abuse
"Where the hell do you get off tellin' me your mama said I'm not what you need. If she knows it all, that's where you need to be" --Toni Braxton
If you are still in an Abusive relationship you probably have millions of things running through your head right now. Hopefully, you've left him and you're gaining back your clarity of mind.
Learning how an Abuser uses language to attack and dismantle your self worth can protect you from dating an Abuser again. An Abuser uses language early in the relationship to create or worsen your self esteem issues. His tactics get more devious as time goes on. If you're still seeing one of these guys, get out now. The longer you wait, the harder it is to repair yourself.
Some sites give advice on how to respond to abusive language. I do not. I believe all abusive language should be avoided by leaving the situation. In my mind, there is no reason to argue with an abuser, because there's really no way to win other than to say, "This is not acceptable. If you do it again, I am leaving." When he does it again and he will, leave and stay gone.
An Abuser Uses Language to:
- Create self doubt.
- Create dependency on him and his perception.
- Coerce you into questioning reality. ("crazy making")
- Attempt to make you feel small.
- Convince you your friends are untrustworthy.
- To bring you to tears.
- Ultimately turn your back on your world entirely.
Hallmarks of Abusive Language:
* Outright Language such as name-calling, put-downs or verbal assaults.
(yelling, "Slut!" or "You're a selfish whore!")
* Throwing your past at you.
("Remember when you f*cked up?" or "I can't believe you used to..." or "You should feel lucky I'd even date someone who...")
* Using others as validation for the Abuse.
("You're the dirt on his shoe." or "Your late grandfather would sure hate to see the liar you turned out to be." or "None of your friends care about you.")
* Using imagined others to validate the abuse by using "we", "they" and "everybody."
("Everybody thinks you're pathetic." or "We don't think this conversation is important.")
* Lies that directly challenge what you know to be true.
("You don't care about me." or "You're selfish." or "I was not at the bar last night." or "I never did/ said that" or "that never happened" or "Of course I love you, care about you.")
* Lies about you to friends/family.
("I told my grandmother you cheated on me." or "I told my mother you said..." or "I told everyone you...")
* Usually hints, never asks for information, avoids answering questions. Forces information from you.
("I'm supposed to answer that when you're just a lousy..." or "I know what you did last night. My friends keep tabs on you.")
* Constantly tries to threaten you into doing degrading things to "prove" your worth.
(Says he'll leave if you don't swear on a Bible or take a lie detector test)
* Constantly threatens to leave, hurt you or someone you care about.
("You wait until I find him. He'll never speak to you again." or "Open your mouth again. I dare you." or "If you cry. I'm leaving.")
Once an Abuser has demoralized you, there is nothing you can do to restore your relationship to the false glory it was in the beginning.
Using language, the Abuser tears you apart slowly, until you are so hurt and shattered you don't know which way is up or down.
Seek help and you'll discover your soul, mind and heart have been ravaged by a force stronger than even the toughest of women; the monster rotting the Abuser from the inside out. It is not your job to heal him. It is your job to heal yourself, especially if you have children who need a whole mother.
I say this often, it is never the victim's fault she was Abused, but now that your eyes are open and you realize you are being abused, it is your choice to stay or leave.
For your sake I hope you leave and never, ever look back.