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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

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Sexual Narcissists

The term sexual narcissist describes a narcissist who thinks they are incredibly gifted in the area of sex.  This attitude makes them feel entitled  to anything they want in that area, no matter the pain & suffering it may cause their partner.  So long as the sexual narcissist gets what he or she wants, that is all that matters.

There are some signs that show you if you’re involved with such a person.  Some people are guilty of such behaviors from time to time, but when the behaviors are a constant, that is a big red flag that your partner is a sexual narcissist.

In the beginning, the narcissist is extremely attentive, flirtatious, & complementary.  Granted, this is sort of the norm in any relationship.  However, narcissists take it to an extreme, leaving a victim swept off their feet.  They also stop this behavior suddenly & with no explanation, leaving their victim confused & willing to do anything to regain the narcissist’s attention.  This makes the victim easier to control, which is why they behave in such a manner.

Once the newness wears off, the victim’s sole purpose is to please the narcissist.  As a narcissist becomes comfortable in the relationship, their focus changes from being this perfect partner to “What can I get from my victim?”  Any degrading or deviant fantasy the narcissist has is demanded of the victim.  Nothing is off limits, even if it causes the victim physical or emotional suffering.  When the victim protests, the narcissist shames the victim for being a prude, immature or not loving the narcissist.  Sometimes they get violent & force their victim into doing what they want, & other times they use manipulation & shaming to get it.

The victim is not allowed to have needs or wants.  At this point, the narcissist’s mask is off.  The victim knows that he or she is there to please the narcissist.  The victim also is learning that his or her own needs & wants mean nothing to the narcissist.  In fact, victims are often ridiculed for having their own wants & needs.  Sexual narcissists think of their victims as inhuman, without needs or wants.  How can a thing, an inanimate object have needs or wants?  It’s ridiculous.  All that matters is the narcissist’s needs & wants.  The victim’s are at best shrugged off, at worst mocked.

Narcissists are more focused on their performance than their partner.  Since narcissists are so deathly afraid of criticism, they focus on avoiding it at all costs.  This behavior extends to the bedroom.  They often even focus more on how they’re performing than their partner.

Many sexual narcissists engage in extremely unhealthy sexual behavior, such as pornography or infidelity.  Your average person realizes there are unhealthy sexual activities, & avoids doing them.  They also realize they can enjoy sex with their mate in many ways without going near any of those unhealthy boundaries.  Narcissists however are different.  Nothing they want is wrong or unhealthy in their minds.  If someone is hurt or offended by their actions, clearly that person has a problem, not the narcissist.

If you’re involved with a sexual narcissist, the best advice I can give you is RUN!  They’re dangerous to your emotional health.  If you do as they want, your self esteem will be obliterated because of the degrading things the narcissist forced you to do.  If you refuse, they will destroy your self esteem by making you feel like the most awful, unreasonable & ugly person in the world for not being a willing victim to their depraved ways.  They’re also dangerous to your physical health.  They frequently get sexually transmitted diseases from their cheating ways & infect their partners.

Rather than deal with such dreadful outcomes, if at all possible get away from this person!  Protect your physical & emotional health!

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About Coercive Control

Narcissists clearly are experts in the area of controlling.  One lesser known tactic they use is called coercive control.  It is most commonly known to happen in romantic relationships, but it also can happen in parent/child relationships.

Coercive control doesn’t always involve physical violence, yet victims wonder if they don’t obey the narcissist, will it turn violent one day?  Fear is a great weapon, & those who use coercive control are well aware of that fact.  Often without so much as touching their victim, they instill a deep fear in them.

There are other signs of coercive control that people need to be aware of abusers using.

Intimidation is a big red flag.  Towards the end of my first marriage, my ex was trying to intimidate me by punching things other than me.  After, he would tell me how lucky I was he was hitting the walls instead of me.  Other forms of intimidation can include showing weapons, blocking you from leaving the room or standing over you in a way as to make themselves look much bigger than you.

“Minor” violent acts.  I hate to use the word minor with violent acts because it sounds like it’s trivializing violence.  That isn’t my intention.  What I mean is acts like pushing, holding you in place or even pinching hard.  These are so called minor violent acts.

Using threats to control.  Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide or hurt your child or pet in order to get what they want fall into the category of coercive control.

Micromanaging a victim.  When someone controls things like how you dress or how you wash the dishes, it makes you easy to control because in time, you feel as if you must ask your partner for permission to do everything.   Some parents continue treating their adult child as if they were young children in need of their guidance well into adulthood.  This is known as infantilization.

Financial abuse.  An abusive partner will keep their mate in the relationship by destroying their credit, spending all of their paychecks or refusing them all access to the couple’s finances.

Isolation is another form of coercive control.  It’s no secret that abusers isolate their victims.  Isolation makes victims easy to control by limiting the information & support they can receive from outside sources.  Abusers may claim their victims’ friends or family aren’t good for them as one way to isolate their victims.

Sex is a very commonly used method of coercive control.  Abusers may violently rape their victims of course, but that isn’t always the case.  Many use shame, saying things like, “Any other woman in the world would do this one little thing for me…” or, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.”  They also may be very good lovers at first to get you hooked on sex with them, then in time, they suddenly lose interest in having sex with you.  When you practically beg them is when they have power over you.  They use the opportunity to tell you what they want from you that will make them regain interest in sex.

When things like this happen, it’s not easy to identify these behaviors as abusive at first.  Abusers get worse gradually, to build a victim’s tolerance to abuse.  This is probably why so many victims stay… it happened so gradually, they didn’t even realize it was happening.  By the time they did, they felt unable to escape.

If this describes you or someone you know, please get out NOW!!!  These behaviors are all signs of a potentially violent person!  Protect yourself & stay safe!  xoxo

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Hard Times Happen As You Heal From Abuse

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

The above saying is so incredibly true when it comes to healing from abuse.

Anyone who has experienced any type of abuse knows that healing from it isn’t easy.  In fact, it may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life.  There will be times you want to give up & just forget everything that happened.  Other times, you’ll want to curl up in your bed & never get out again because the pain is overwhelming & so depressing.  Yet other times you feel like you can’t think about anything but some traumatic, horrible experiences, even though you would love to think about something, anything, else.

Awful times like this are, unfortunately, a very natural part of the healing process.

When these times come, I want to encourage you to keep pressing on.  The results will be worth it when you make progress in your healing.  All progress, even baby steps, is good when you’re healing from abuse, after all.  Do whatever you know to do to help you heal.  Or, if you don’t know what to do, then talk to God.  He wants to help you, so let Him!

Whatever happens during these incredibly trying times, don’t give up, Dear Reader!  I know it’s hard & painful, but don’t give up!  You can & will get through these times.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Be especially good to yourself too- do things that make you feel good.  Pamper yourself.  Splurge on that yummy milkshake or latte.  Snuggle up in your favorite blanket or get soft, cozy new pajamas.  Watch your favorite movies or tv shows.  Self care is always important, but especially so during the hard times.  Don’t neglect to take care of yourself!  xoxo

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“Why Didn’t You Tell Someone?”

When victims of abuse first tell their story, people often ask why they didn’t tell someone when it was happening.  They figure it couldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t even tell anyone.

 

This thinking is incredibly faulty!  Nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Abusers of all types have some things in common.  One of those things is they love secrecy.  They don’t want people to know what they are doing to their victim, so they threaten & scare their victims into silence.

 

Some abusers tell their victims things like, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your child/parents/sibling.”  Others beat their victims upon finding out the victim told someone what the abuser has done.  Narcissistic abusers usually aren’t so obvious with their intimidation, but they value secrecy nonetheless.  When I was growing up, my mother used to scream at me when she thought I was “airing our dirty laundry” as she called talking about her abuse.  She would shame me for needing to talk about things, like there was something incredibly wrong with me- everything she did was completely normal, I had no right to think otherwise or talk about her behind her back.  I stopped talking.  It wasn’t worth the screaming & berating.

 

Then sometimes if we tell, people either don’t believe us anyway or they think we’re exaggerating.  When I was a teen & told some people about my mother, no one believed me.  One school guidance counselor said “it didn’t sound so bad.”  When my mother threw me into a wall, I went to my friend’s parents’ home to see if I could stay with them.  Her father laughed at me.  26+ years later & I still don’t get the joke.

 

Reasons like this are why victims don’t tell someone when the abuse is happening.  We’re terrified the abuser will follow through on their threats or hurt us in some way, or afraid no one will believe us.  As painful as staying quiet about what’s happening is, it’s easier than facing the wrath of the abuser or apathy of someone we turn to for help.

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Comparing Experiences Isn’t Good For Victims

Many victims of abuse downplay what they have been through.  Maybe you’ve even done it yourself, saying things like, “What I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what you did!”  “At least my mother didn’t beat me!”  “It wasn’t so bad…” “My uncle only raped me that one time, & he was drunk…It wasn’t really his fault..”

 

The simple fact is though, that abuse is abuse.  There is really no point in comparing your situation to someone else’s.  Yet, victims do it often.

 

Many victims of psychological & narcissistic abuse were abused mentally but not physically or sexually.  They often believe because there was “only” mental abuse, it wasn’t so bad.  Psychological abuse doesn’t leave visible scars, which means many people don’t think it’s as bad as physical or sexual abuse.  This is completely untrue!  All abuse causes pain & damages a person’s mental health.

 

Often abusers have their victims completely convinced that they are so incredibly unworthy, that they don’t even deserve sympathy, understanding or pity for the pain they have survived.   The lower a person’s self-esteem, the easier a person is to control, so obliterating self-esteem is a very preferred tool of all types of abusers.

 

Also, narcissists love to blame their victims.  It doesn’t matter if you were absolutely 1,000% not responsible for the problem, they will still find a way to blame you.  One year while working in the yard with my husband, he dropped a very heavy log on my foot, which broke my toe.  My mother blamed me for him dropping the log on my foot!

 

Narcissists love to flaunt to their victims that they care about someone else’s suffering & not yours.  If you experience the exact same thing as someone else, the narcissist will offer sympathy for that person while simultaneously letting you know they couldn’t care less about your problem.  For example, in 2010, one of my cats passed away suddenly.  Within a couple of days of losing her, my parents’ neighbors’ small dog passed away.  My mother shed tears over the dog’s death, telling me how wonderful she was.  Yet, when I told her about my cat, she responded with “Oh well.. at least you don’t have anyone sick anymore” then she changed the subject.  This type of behavior makes a victim feel like anything they experience isn’t a big deal, yet what other people experience, even if it’s exactly what the victim is going through, is worthy of sympathy.

 

Narcissists also are professionals at invalidating their victims.  After enough invalidation, you learn that you don’t deserve any validation.  Nothing that happens to you is a big deal, & everyone else is much more important than you are.

 

If any or all of this sounds all too familiar to you, you need to know something.  Dear Reader, what you went through was bad.  The worst.  No one should have to suffer any type of abuse!  There is no comparison between you & anyone else.  Every situation is different, & every person is different.  It’s completely unfair to say someone else had it worse than you because of those differences.

 

Instead of comparing, how about validating your experiences to yourself?  It’s OK & even healthy to admit that they were bad.  In fact, if you hope to heal, then you need to admit & accept how bad things were.  Once you do that, you can grieve or get angry or whatever you need to do to process what happened to you.  Acceptance is an important first step.

 

If you’re having trouble validating your experiences, try thinking about things from a little different perspective.  If someone you love came to you & told you their story that was just like yours, would you tell the person it was no big deal?  Would you tell that person someone else had it worse, so they need to just get over it?  Or, would you hug the person, say what they experienced was wrong, & try to help them cope?  Guessing you would do the right thing & be there for that person.  If you’d be good & understanding for someone else, then why can’t you do it for yourself?

 

If you’re having trouble being that good to yourself, then I would urge you to start praying.  Ask God why you aren’t being that good to yourself.  Let Him help you to see what the problem is, & help you to fix it.  Also don’t forget to ask Him to help you to learn to validate yourself while you’re at it.

 

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Recent Revelations

Recently, I had a rough evening.  I had a nasty flashback to start with.  It was something I remembered, but I hadn’t thought of in a while.  A few hours later, I went to bed & had nasty nightmares.

 

As miserable as this experience was, it had a purpose.

 

The experience in the flashback & the nightmares showed me that there is a VERY common thread in my life with those who have abused or at the least mistreated me.  The abusers may have done different things to me, but they all believed that I was supposed to be their personal punching bag, obey their wishes at any personal cost to me, sacrifice anything for any whim of theirs, & take any abuse they dished out with a smile.  And, anyone I told their behavior was unacceptable acted the same way- as if I had a problem for being upset about their actions.

 

When this occurred to me the morning after the whole experience, something clicked in me.  No normal human acts this way!  While I already realized it, it really hit home to me just how messed up abusers are to think such things & act this way towards those they abuse.  How can anyone think that it’s OK to abuse & there is something wrong with victims for calling an abuser out on it?!

 

My point is that although you probably know this already, I wanted to remind you, Dear Reader, that NO ONE has the right abuse you!  You have every right to speak out, to set & enforce healthy boundaries, to stop the abuse, & to call out your abuser!  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse just because some sick person thinks you do.  You have rights!  Never listen to an abuser who thinks you should tolerate anything they dish out with a smile.  They are WRONG!  No one has to do that.  No one.  You deserve better than to be abused!  Never doubt that!  If you don’t believe me, remember, God thinks so to.  He loved you enough to send His only Son to die for you, so you could become His child.  Do you really think He would be OK with you being abused after that?

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