Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, April 09, 2018

How Abusers Break You Down

Here are some of the tactics abuser's use to hurt you... to take you down and keep you there. How many do you recognize?

Verbal Assaults: Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation. Blowing flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

Domination: The abuser wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

Emotional Blackmail: The abuser plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, the "cold shoulder," or use other controlling fear tactics.

Gaslighting: The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. You know differently. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity. It is this act of abuse which makes you begin to think you are crazy or losing your mind.

Unpredictable Responses: Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.

* This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what's expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person's next outburst or change of mood.

* An alcoholic or drug or sex abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

Abusive Expectations: The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs. It could be a demand for constant attention, frequent sex, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person. But no matter how much you give, it's never enough. You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don't fulfill all this person's needs.

Constant Chaos: The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others. The person may be "addicted to drama" since it creates excitement.


REMEMBER: Your abuser may be MALE or FEMALE!

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shared by Barbara at 12:06 AM



This describes my 6 year marriage to a "t".
But I got out and I am working my way to healing.
God bless this supportive and informative site.

5:12 AM  

If you were raised in this type of environment you may not even be able to identify it as unhealthy. Anxiety reactions are now "normal" for you and you may have no idea that fear does not have to be your response when someone calls your name or asks you "Do you have a minute?"

It wasn't until decades into my life that I realized that this was what was happening. Fear, which caused me to constantly react in order to keep the peace, (when there was no true peace to be found because with these type of people, they MUST cause strife) was my automatic response. One of the symptoms of abusers/psychopaths is that they are easily bored and all the things from this article are simply ways that they relieve their boredom. Others in their life are simply playthings. Their brains do not feel love or compassion, it simply is not processed.

10:41 AM  

From the book "Take Back Your Life Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships." Pg. 255 "Her self-esteem was quite low. This is typical of most cult members, and growing up in such an environment is devastating for children. One psychologist who evaluated Ganga said, "She seems to have been persuaded that she must try harder to be good in a way that ignores her own basic needs of nurturance." This chapter is on families and children born or raised in a cult but this is the result of being in any abusive relationship.

One of the grossest things is that for the vast majority of us who are in horrible relationships that don't SEEM horrendous from the outside is that nobody even believes that you were abused, so none reach out to help you and in many cases blame you or include you in the blame.

I'm so sorry for all of us. I'm so very sorry.

11:14 PM  

I'm so relieved to have finally found a site that discusses the issues I live through EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE.
My husband & I have been married for 6 years and together for 10 years. Up until about a year ago he was the center of my world. He was the best husband I could've ever asked for. Until drugs came into the picture. Crystal Meth to be exact. Drugs ruined my marriage. I'm still in shock at how much he's changed, the man I married has vanished. Just about everything described above fits him perfectly. The first time he slapped me was because I "woke him up the wrong way" to go to work. I still have no idea what he meant but I had a busted lip in 2 places to show for it. I have no family anymore, I've been out of work for a year but I'm desperately trying, he blew up the motor in my car & never replaced it. He controls the $ and I get maybe $20 every few days but now since we argue all the time and he either slaps, kicks, punches me in back of my head(already busted it 2x), throws his drinks on me, spits in my face, calls me every horrible name you could think of and some I never heard, taunts me by hovering over me and steadily pops me on the face or whatever he can get to. When I've finally had enough, I try to fight back which is stupid I know but I can't help it. I end up getting hurt worse. We have a 8 yr old pit bull in the house that's already skittish and he has bit me 2 separate times during our fights. 1st time I had to have my pinky nail removed and 25 stitches, 2nd time which was a month ago he bit me in the stomach. The worst pain I've ever felt in my life. My hubs refuses to get rid of him. Says he's doing what hes supposed to do, protect his master.
Before the drugs he always said if that dog even attempted to bite either one of us he would be gone immediately but now he keeps him locked up in the spare bdrm with 1 bthrm break a day. Also, he hasn't bathed him in over a year so he smells like death. But he calls me "inhumane" for wanting to have him put down. Where's the logic?
He lost the best job he will ever have yesterday because of his tardiness. Before drugs he was always early, especially to work. He blames that on me. I should've woken him up earlier. His biggest and most used complaint is "you don't help me anymore". Help you do what? He's never home, he leaves me here for days with no money, no food, no transportation and wants me to help him?
As of right now I haven't eaten since 7am yesterday morning, he was only home for about 10 min and refused to get anything. I don't have any friends because I gave them up when he wouldn't go anywhere with them. My family is gone. I have no one to call for help. I'm 33 years old and I feel like I'm 50. I live in the back bedroom to avoid him but he just comes back here to slap the bejeezes out of me for no reason, won't say a word. I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. I don't know how I'll get to work if I get a job. I don't know how to get a vehicle without a job.
I really feel like I'm losing my mind. I stare at these 4 walls day in & day out with no one to talk to but myself. I used to be so outgoing and fun and social but now for the past year I've barely walked out of this house. Im terrified for my future, I'm terrified for my husband. I know his goodness is still there but he refuses help or counseling, he says its me more than it is the drugs.
What can I do? What are my options? I'll take advice I can get.

12:22 PM  

Run like hell...there are shelters for abused women out there...find one and start your life over again

2:30 AM  

Most of the people I used to call friends do this to me n take advantage of me

11:03 AM  

Agree with above. Sweety you may feel alone but you aren't alone. He's got you right where he wants you. Alone and isolated but he won't win. Call the shelter and go . You are in a incredibly dangerous situation!!

9:00 AM  

Just staggers me! There are evil people out there and their numbers seem to be increasing. Once again Scripture is right - that "in the last days men (and women) will wax worse..."

5:26 PM  

Thank you for this article. The abusive expectations paragraph is exactly my situation. Constant demands to relieve his constant boredom. It's exhausting and ruining my health. Outsiders think I should be "tougher" and just handle all the other kinds of abuse as well. It makes it hard to think straight.

Thank you so much for this site.

8:54 AM  

GO STRAIGHT POLICE!!! When he's not home back a bag. Take pictures of any and all marks he's inflicted on u. Walk or run to station. Call police tell them ur situation and have them meet u somewhere close to give u a ride. Tell police everything. About physical and mental abuse. Tell them about his drug use. I'd even tell them about his neglect for the dog. It's animal abuse and it's another charge against him. Does he even feed the dog??? If so than that clearly states he treats an animal better than his wife. YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS. He will NOT change for the better. The harsh truth is that u have to accept that. I know from experience how frightening this is and will be for u. PRESS CHARGES AGAINST HIM AND FOLLOW THRU W THEM. The police can protect u and direct u to shelters. I know how torn u r between who he used to be and who he is now. I know the fear of him retaliatIng that u feel. I know guilt u will undoubtedly feel for pressing charges. Keep reminding yourself that he is not the same man u once loved. I know this from experience. I put my son's dad away for 2 years for domestic violence. Now I know ur thinking that's not long enough and u fear hell come after u when he gets out. Use the time he's away to ur advantage. Use it to get ur life back on track. Use the resources that shelters offer u in accomplishing this. Use it to save money and move out of state if u need to. So that he'll never find u. Don't leavea trail. Change ur name if u feel it's necessary. Make a good life for yourself. The kind of life u deserve. Be sure to get therapy. And join domestic violence support groups. There u will find that u r NOT alone. My son's dad is also a meth addict. Which made him even more frightening. He would disappear for days. He would start hearing my voice and hullucinating. He believed I was in the next room of whoevers house he was at at the time having sex w multiple men. He wld then start to text me and call me w these crazy accusations threatening my life. He also thought I was hiding the walls and attics of wherever he was as well. I could never convince him of the truth that I was home or at work or at park playing w our son. He truly believed these things even after he sobered up he still believed in his heart that what he saw and heard were real and I would be punished in the worst way when he came home for doing these things that I never did. Meth destroys a person beyond repair. And no account of faith and hope will change a man unless he want to change. Your life is too valuable to wait or waste it on someone that may or may not change. Believe me I waited and hoped for three years that he would get help and change before I realized it would never happen. His violent behaviors, choices and drug abuse we're always someone else's fault. Mainly mine. And still are to this very day. I didn't want want my son growing up w that kind of example being set for him. And I certainly dIdnt want him to witness his father beating me up mentally and physically or his drug abuse. My heart truly goes out to u and I willcpray that God gives u the strength u need. Please save urselff cuz U R WORTH SAVING. Go to the police and press charges. In the ling run u will be glad u did. I promise. God bless you

3:21 AM  

I'm sorry you're going through such horrible things. I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend of 7 years and I want to get away now before it's too late but I'm so scared to lose him. I try to tell myself that he's not worth staying with but then something pulls me back to him. We don't live together and we don't have kids, so you would think it's easy for me to leave but it's not :( we use to be happy, traveled out of town and spent time together. But now everything has gone to shit. He calls me names, he's choked me, pushed me against large objects. He tells me he never wants to get married or have kids. So why am I here????? I don't know. I need help myself.

11:45 AM  

Same here. The only thing that seems to force an abuser to change is peer/social pressure or pressure from authorities. I was isolated just like you and suffering like crazy.
He tried to blame me for a heavy beating (not the 1st time btw) that 'I caused' by standing up to him and asking him (politely) to stop disrespecting me by barking orders at me and calling me every possible name you can imagine for not doing something he wants and exactly how he wants.

Took 3 police visits after he near broke my nose and my legs and kicked me on the head. One thing is that where I live, police (and courts) are prone to take the abusers side, thinking that the woman must have caused it somehow by provoking the man or attacking first (that's what he said to the police, of course). However, his plans to throw me out with no money for 'harming him and his business' by reporting him, after I helped him in any way, brought most of the money in for several years and then after quitting 9-5 jobs for career growth reasons supported him in his business greatly and helped negotiate several bigger deals, didn't work out exactly as he wanted, as the police didn't agree that after 5 years together I deserved nothing more. At the moment we still share the house but I feel much safer now. Hopefully now we will have a business relationship because the police asked him to be reasonable and if any physical abuse happens, I will do my absolute best to get him in jail. There you go.

11:32 AM  

I'm so sorry u r going through this

9:13 PM  

I am going through the same thing. I've been with my boyfriend 5 years. He used to be a great man. Caring . thoughtful. Loving. Now he is on heroin and very evil and hateful. He tells me hes not attracted to me because I dont wear mini skirts or sexy panties or sexy bras anymore. And the reason I dont is because he has taken away my self worth. He calls me fat. Cunt. Worthless. A bad mother. And much more. I dont feel comfortable even being naked around him because of the hurtful things he says and now I believe it all. I feel like our stories are so similar. Can I ask what town u live in. I have no friends either. No car. But I just got a decent job so now I have hope. Hope for a future. I need a friend. I am 30 , I live in California. Do u also? Again I am very sorry u r going g through all of this. I know it is devastating.

9:21 PM  

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