- May 01, 2016
- 6 minute read
- by Staci Gray
Abuse is repulsive. The hurt and pain one human being can cause to another is unfathomable. And worse... abuse is a choice. Abusers choose to be abusive. They crave power and control and will use any method imaginable to conquer their targets.
It’s invasive. It violates innate human rights. It destroys innocence. It’s just horrendous…
And I especially loathe intimate partner abuse. Intimate partner abuse takes a formerly confident, strong person and turns them into someone they no longer recognize. And it’s just sickening how it evolves.
It starts off seemingly innocent… we get lured in by their charm, charisma, and their infatuation with us.
Abusers put on an incredible show. And as the object in their performance, it feels good to be admired by someone that’s caught our attention.
We naively think that the way they look at us, the words they say, and how they treat us is love. Somehow they convince us that our heads and our hearts are safe with them – that they can be trusted and they will protect us.
Smoke ‘n mirrors is an understatement.
Abusers initially come across as confident, independent, thoughtful, and generous people. And in my experience that couldn’t be further from the truth. They are actually insecure and selfish. They are incredibly fearful of losing power and control over anything and everything that touches their life.
Sadly, their fears are so deep-rooted they feel threatened by anyone and anything they can’t control.
You may have experienced this.
In the beginning, things were great. You were pursuing what you wanted in life and believed this relationship would make things even better. They seemed to be the whole package – great personality, tons in common with you, and future aspirations that would make for a great life together.
Slowly over-time things started turning south.
It started off with little things that didn’t seem like big deals at all.
Because of his reactions or feedback about certain things, you start…
Saying no to things you previously would have said yes to. You modify your eating or sleeping preferences because of him. You change your schedule to accommodate his. You change where you live because of him. You change your friends or how often you see them because of him. You change your wardrobe or your make-up because of him. You change your job because of him. You start or stop personal interests because of him.
Eventually these small things turn into big things. What initially seemed like simple requests to make him happy, turn into unrealistic demands.
Not realizing that we are chasing a moving target, we keep bending over backwards to make him happy.
Unfortunately, his demands aren’t stemming from a place of genuine love for you and the relationship.
In the heat of it all, we don’t realize that his behavior is motivated by fear, jealousy, coercion, manipulation, control and power plays. It’s stemming from his own personal fears that have nothing to do with you or the relationship.
However, by this time your head and your heart are enmeshed. You care about your partner and want him to be happy. You want to build a loving relationship with this person, so you’re willing to acquiesce to their requests.
You keep chasing this rabbit down every trail and hole imaginable. But then, you start to experience the crazy-making stuff.
He begins belittling you. He begins getting upset over things that seem insignificant to you. Or he instigates a disagreement for no apparent reason. He interrogates you. Demands to know your every move. And the end result of all the madness is usually never pretty.
He’d twist things to make you look at fault and him the innocent one. And to keep the peace, you’d give in.
With the volatility of the relationship, you first lean in with an attempt to “fix it” and get things back to how they were. But eventually with the crazy getting crazier, you start retreating in your own head and heart. Which intensifies his outbursts because he fears losing control of you. He vacillates between charm and threats in attempt to gain back a power position over you.
Because you don’t think like an abuser, you’re completely confused. Confusion keeps us trapped. We start walking on eggshells and giving into the twisted realities to keep the peace.
This is why intimate partner abuse turns formerly confident, strong, and high-energy people into timid, insecure, and reserved people.
While in an abusive relationship, the manipulation and coercion is so incredibly mind-fucking we lose our connection to ourselves in the process. When this happens, the only person available to help is the person causing it because he’s strategically strained all other relationships and influencers that could possibly help.
He then shames you for feeling down – as if something is wrong with you. And in many ways, we feel as if something is wrong with us. Why am I not happy… what happened to me?
Intimate partner abuse is betrayal at its finest because abusers choose their targets and have a master plan of coercion that is disgusting.
Whether his actions are conscious or subconscious, they are his actions nonetheless.
Your abuser chose you. He then convinced you to fall in love with him. Once he had your head and heart, he started twisting things so you doubted your own intuition. The web of lies and half-truths swirling around were manipulated in such a way that makes you the enemy. Now, you’re not only confused – but you don’t trust yourself anymore.
So, not only has your intimate partner betrayed you. The abuse makes you feel as if you’ve betrayed yourself. The feelings of inadequacy and shame are overwhelming at this point.
I’ve heard story after story of how eerily similar abusers tactics are. It makes my skin-crawl. The madness and betrayal of intimate partner abuse must end. And it starts with awareness and healing ourselves from the abuse we’ve experienced.
A huge component to healing from abuse is self-empathy. We must forgive ourselves for allowing someone to belittle us, attack us, and undermine us. We got lured in and we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
If you’ve read this far, you may choose to look the other way, but you can no longer say that you didn’t know.
Stop experiencing intimate partner abuse. Stop witnessing intimate partner abuse. Let’s end the betrayal and madness altogether. Choose to heal yourself so that you can feel good and be happy about the life you’re living. If you need some guidance or inspiration, join our tribe and read the ebook.