Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, March 01, 2021
Phrases Abusers Love to Use
Bullies all seem to have read the same phrase book. Compare notes with other victims of other bullies and abusers and you will think they're describing your life and the things that you get to hear on a regular basis.
"You make me feel …."
I can not make you feel anything, nor am I responsible for anything that you may be feeling. If I am doing something specific that bothers you, then be specific and we'll discuss what I am doing and why you respond with those feelings.
If you want me to make you happy, forget it. It is way beyond my capabilities to orchestrate your emotions.
"You never .."
Never is a big word. Do you mean that out of the 7354 mornings we have woken up together I have not once made you a cup of coffee? Do you mean that out of the 7475 days that we have been married I have not once listened to anything that you have said to me? No? Then please define "never".
"You always .."
This is just as bad as "never". Both are absolutes that are impossible to address in any realistic way. It is also a highly offensive exaggeration that is designed to put you on the defensive.
"You don't understand me"
For a bully this is a classic cop-out that is part of the "blame shifting" package. For a narcissist it is a deeply held belief.
Let's start with the common bully. By telling you that you don't understand him it implies that you are not performing up to scratch. First of all there is the underlying demand that you must understand him fully and secondly there is the silent accusation that you are failing and need to try harder. The onus has shifted from him squarely onto you.
I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time fully understanding myself sometimes. It is unrealistic to expect someone else to always understand you. They are not in your head. They are not in your heart. They have not lived through and assimilated your lifetime's junk.
If someone doesn't understand me it is either because they simply cannot relate to my experiences and inner processes, or it is because I am doing a lousy job explaining. One is the result of their own life experiences and the other is the result of my ineptitude. Neither gives me cause to hold them responsible.
When it comes to the narcissist, the same rules apply - you cannot understand anyone 100%. However, the dynamic is a little different. The narcissist believes that he is so unique and special that nobody can possibly understand him. He believes that this is a large part of all his life's problems. He is surrounded by inferior beings and it gets really tiring to have to constantly stoop to such a low level just to maintain a source of supply. However, he is such a magnanimous superior being that he exercises immense tolerance and patience, despite the perpetual frustration and despair it causes him.
Finally, when he is saying, "you don't understand me" what he is really saying is that you are not allowing him to get away with something, he is feeling cornered and he just wants you to shut up and let it go now.
"You don't care"
This obviously also includes, "you don't love me" or "you don't love me as much as I love you" and a host of other phrases that are designed to make you jump to assure him that he is wrong.
Pure emotional blackmail and a really nifty catch-22 for you. Unless you now go out of your way to try to disprove the statement, you will in fact have proved it. It is a real "damned if you do and damned if you don't" set up.
Even if you give it your very best but slip up on the smallest thing, you have proved him right. You can't win, so why twist yourself in knots in the first place?
Love is an emotion or choice for the giver and an act of faith for the recipient. How does anyone prove an emotion? - This is exactly what they want you to realise, because then you will also have to conclude that the only way to prove it is by your actions - lots of them - all the time - to perfection. Exactly what they want.
"You provoked me" along with "you made me …"
The saddest thing about this is how often it works. The victim gets turned into the abuser and the abuser gets off without an ounce of accountability. The victim even ends up apologising for causing the abuser such agony that he was forced to abuse her in the first place.
- "Oh honey, I'm so sorry that I made you hit me".
- "Oh daddy, I'm sorry that I made you so mad that you hurt your hand on me".
- "Oh darling, I'm so sorry I hurt you so much you went and had an affair"
"I have the right "
I know that there are female bullies and female narcissists as well, but this particular stock phrase seems to be more pronounced in the male persuasion, mainly because they have the odds on their side before they even begin.
We live in a male dominated world and although it is slowly changing, the attitude is deeply ingrained. As men, they automatically believe that they have certain irrefutable rights, like the right of ownership and dominance over women and children. Unfortunately many religions support and encourage this view, or are interpreted to support it by the very same males who stand behind the pulpits. - One of their rights being to interpret and enforce religious precepts and principles.
So having this "God-given" right to total control, it is no wonder that they believe they have the right to say what they want, demand what they want and do what they want.
While bullies may still have some hope, the narcissist is way beyond it. If he is religious, then he honestly believes that he holds a favoured position with God and that when he speaks, it is as good as God Himself speaking.
The main purpose of invoking these different rights is very simply to strip you of all yours, or at least to convince you that you had none in the first place. He now has absolute power to control you and you can do nothing - because it is his divine right. Are you going to argue with God?
If you are living with this particular dynamic, please google "christians and abuse." It may salvage both your sanity and your faith.
Tied in with this absolute right, it would follow then that phrases like, "you're lying" or "you will" and "you won't" come so naturally to them. Right along with these come all the religious scriptures that they have at the ready, all bringing you instruction directly from God himself that you are to submit to, obey and all but worship the man in your life, whether dad, husband or boyfriend. I have even seen brothers using this against their sisters.
I am not anti religion. I am however anti abuse and exploitation in any shape or form.
These claims to rights are no more than base-level manipulation, blackmail and the abuse of power in order to exercise dominance and control over the life of another.
I have focused on men here and therefore need to reiterate that they are not the only guilty ones. I have in fact seen women come into power and become more abusive than any male I have ever encountered. I have also seen abusive mothers and abusive wives, so I am certainly not excluding the female gender from this evil.
Abuse is not gender specific, it is power driven. The thing that makes it worse with men is purely these supposedly inbuilt rights that they believe are genetically encoded and therefore absolute. The structure of most societies sadly supports this as well, making men far more prone to being abusers than women.