Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'

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11JB68

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Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« on: January 28, 2020, 12:26:59 AM »
This subject has come up a few times lately, both on the forum and IRL.
My uocpdh has never been physically abusive to me.
I have had several people tell me that he is in fact abusive/abusing me, verbally/emotionally.
On some level I know this.
Why is it so hard to see this got what it is?
Why is it easier to say, well if he was physically abusive, that would be crossing a line....?

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2020, 04:34:47 AM »
I agree with you. My h was emotionally, verbally, sexually, and financially abusive but he never laid a hand on me. I think he knew that I would have left then, no matter what. Because that would have made it totally clear to me what he was doing. Everything else seemed like I could be too sensitive, got it wrong, been due to my own short comings.

We all seem to be able to suffer a lot but there is a limit. And as long as that limit is not crossed we can continue to suffer.

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NumbLotus

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2020, 01:48:12 PM »
Honestly, even physical abuse can be the same. He just threw something at me, and it didn't even hit. Or it was only a magazine. He pushed me against a wall but that was all. He never actually hit me. You see how this works.

In fact, our society equates physical abuse with "hitting." So when a doctor does DV screening they usually ask "any domestic violence? He doesn't hit you, right?" Um, no. He's never hit me.
Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
Another lonely day, noone here but me
More loneliness than any man could bear

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blunk

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2020, 03:15:02 PM »
My BPDxh knew that physical abuse was my line in the sand, if he ever hit me it was over no questions asked. He never did, but would make statements like, I should just punch you in the face right now and get it over with.

What really helped me see the abuse for what it was was reading "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft. If you have not read it I would definitely recommend doing so, it was such an eye opener.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2020, 03:21:17 PM »
If I’m honest with myself I don’t think I would have left if my ex had hit me. I would have seen it as I did all the other abuse - something I pushed him to do or that he couldn’t help himself.

Many women stay long after they are hit for the first time. I don’t think the type of abuse has anything to do with why women stay or leave. I think women leave when they finally realize they don’t have to stay.

Edited to add - I think the only reason my ex didn’t hit me was because he thought that was my line. Had he realized it wasn’t he wouldn’t have held back. Abusers abuse up to the point they think they can get away with it. Their goal is not to make the victim leave, that’s the last thing they actually want, so they stay just in the side of what ever line they think has been drawn. This is why abuse always escalates, they slowly test where that line is.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2020, 03:25:24 PM by GettingOOTF »

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2020, 08:28:19 PM »
If you're uncomfortable with the term "abuse" for behavior consisting of a person treating you badly, stop calling it abuse.  But don't ignore it.  It concerns me when people seem willing to endure mistreatment on the basis that there isn't total agreement on whether that mistreatment is "abuse."

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11JB68

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2020, 12:14:38 AM »
Thank you all as always for your thoughtful, empathic, and thought provoking responses

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Whatthehey

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2020, 02:29:17 AM »
This is that frog in a slowly boiling pot scenario.  I excused - stress, pressure, misunderstanding - etc. for those manipulative, angry or passive/aggressive remarks that typify emotional abuse.  It wasn't until I left that I found the financial abuse.  I still struggle with why I didn't leave more than 30 years ago.  I am, or thought, I am a smart person.  I never thought I would tolerate that kind of treatment.  But I did subtly change my behavior to keep the peace. 

My therapist said the throwing of objects, banging on the bed or punching a hole is one tiny step away from the hitting and she called physical intimidation not physical abuse.  She also said it counted as abuse and was the precursor to real physical abuse.  After I left, I definitely felt the times where he could hit me and if not for public view - I would have been a victim.

Just now, I was going to write "true victim" instead of victim.  That is the labeling we have been programed to use.  Abuse is abuse and it should not be tolerated for any reason.

If only I had seen it earlier . . .

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2020, 10:00:54 AM »
A long time ago h threw some little things at me and kicked the stereo into the wall. It wasn't the first time he had slung things around but it was the last, because I called the police. To this day that is held over me as my bad behavior and not his, and my life ruining things did to him.
All I wanted then was for it to stop. Little did I know I'd pay forever. That was the "line", then. Don't throw things at me and sling things around. But hey, all else sure heap it on.

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BeautifulCrazy

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2020, 09:27:42 PM »
I very very very highly recommend the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans.
If you want to understand what non-physical abuse is, and whether it is happening to you, this book has excellent descriptions and makes it very clear.

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11JB68

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2020, 12:37:47 AM »
Thx bc, I'll look for that one

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Lauren17

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2020, 02:26:02 AM »
I struggle with this too. The word has such a stigma attached to it. I’ve never said it out loud. Only here, in this safe place, where everyone understands and no one can see me.
I struggled to see how Why Does He Do That applies to my situation, because it focuses primarily on physical abuse. I agree with BC, The Verbally Abusive Relationship was an eye opener.
“You held me down, but I got up.
Get ready, ‘cause I’ve had enough.”
-Katy Perry

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GentleSoul

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2020, 03:42:18 AM »

Abusers abuse up to the point they think they can get away with it.


I very much agree with this. 

It also shows that if the abuser claims they have no control over their behaviour that it this is a lie. 

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11JB68

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2020, 11:45:10 PM »
I can't seem to find this book in a local library.
Can't buy it online or in my Kindle due to privacy issues...
 :wacko:

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2020, 12:22:47 AM »
What about a regular bookstore? ....at least, we still have some here....
I used to have these in paper hidden in my locker at work. Like you, I couldn't DL them on Kindle or buy them online for the same reason. He has the Kindle/Amazon account. I have an Amazon account, too, but it isn't bound to Kindle.
I can't really remember them. It was ages ago. I remember not being able to jive with the Lundy Bancroft. I don't remember if I had the Patricia Evans. What I DO remember is a Rachel (maybe?) someone or other, something about borderlines, but it had scenarios and sample phrases in it. I LOVED it and used it to build my MC and no JADE.
I never had heard of this stuff and I had no idea what to do or how to employ it.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2020, 12:49:49 AM »
I like "Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay."

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guitarman

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2020, 09:21:12 PM »
Defining my uBPD/NPD sister as my abuser and that I am her target of abuse has radically changed how I think about her. Abusers are all about power and control.

I used to believe that all her behaviours were because of a mental health condition and that we should just tolerate her because she can’t help herself. To my knowledge she has never been diagnosed with a personality disorder. She doesn’t believe she has any mental health issues and that it is everyone else who is mentally ill in our family. She is the only one who frequently threatens suicide.

So it has been a dilemma for me to define her behaviour as either mental illness or abuse. Maybe it is both? I still don’t really know.

What has helped tremendously is watching the videos on YouTube by the counsellor and author Kris Godinez. Her YouTube channel is called “We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez”. She specialises in Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and shows how targets of abuse can cope better.

What I have learnt is that I need to always stay calm and look after myself first. Only I can do that. I can’t change anyone else’s behaviour I can only change my own. I care about my sister but I can’t cope. She needs long term mental health support but won’t access it.

I will probably need long term support for myself and I’m OK with that.
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace." - Dalai Lama

"You don't have to be a part of it, you can become apart from it." - guitarman

"Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can." - Anon

"If it hurts it isn't love." - Kris Godinez, counsellor and author

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BeautifulCrazy

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2020, 09:55:10 PM »
I got my copy at a used bookstore. I saw several copies at a thrift store too after I bought mine.
I read my copy on breaks at work and have it hidden under the seat in my vehicle.

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capybara

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2020, 11:56:48 AM »
I agree that "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" identifies so many of the behaviours that many of us have lived with.

I also found "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by Lundy Bancroft and Jac Parissi incredibly helpful. It identifies four problems that make partners toxic: immaturity, addiction, personality disorder, and abuse. So it treats personality disordered behaviour as separate from abuse, but still toxic and in a lot of ways, overlapping. It is entirely focused on male-on-female abuse, so if that is not your situation, it may be less helpful.

I actually don't agree with Bancroft and Parissi that male-on-female abuse necessarily  comes from sexism or patriarchy. I think like others have said above, it is about control and power for the individual. Still a really good book, though.

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Free2Bme

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Re: Coming to terms with the word 'abuse'
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2020, 03:37:25 PM »
11JB68,

Can you have a trusted friend purchase resources for you to avoid privacy issues? 

 I had to do this as I was constantly being watched by H.  So stressful to have to hide things (books, journals, etc.) from those we are trying to recover from.