Invisible Scars

Recognizing Abusive Tendencies

Abuse comes in many forms. Usually physical abuse is the focus in discussions. There are warnings about what to look for concerning physical abuse. Consequently, most of us are at least somewhat aware of the warning signs of physical abuse. Psychological and emotional abuse are discussed less often possibly because the scars are internal, invisible to others besides the victims. However, I would like to give consideration to the idea that due to the insidious nature of psychological and emotional abuse, those invisible scars run deep.

Through extensive studies it is known that abusers were usually victims of abuse first, where they acquired this dysfunctional way of relating to others. It is no different for psychological and emotional abusers, they too were once victims of the very same abuse that they then perpetrate. Sadly this is often, but not always, during childhood.

Due to the lack of visible scars some of us may have difficulty in recognizing ourselves as being the victims of this abuse. This is compounded by the fact that the abuser is usually a close family member, a friend, or even a spouse. Living constantly under such an oppressive individual can have a profoundly negative impact on our wellness which in turn affects our health. We should all be striving to have functional relationships with others. Healthy relationships are supportive, caring, and encouraging. They are the backbones that help us to be able to deal with the inevitable stresses we all must deal with in life. Dysfunctional relationships could leave one emotionally drained and unprepared to function optimally in life.

Some signs that a person may have abusive tendencies include:

  1. Being overly controlling

  2. Inability to accept no as an answer or difference of opinions to their own.

  3. They are manipulative.

  4. Inability to take responsibility for their mistakes and wrongdoings.

  5. They engage in gaslighting.

  6. They use emotional manipulation.

  7. They insult, condescend, and say demeaning things concerning their victims.

This list is not exhaustive but includes many of the tactics that are used frequently by psychological and emotional abusers. It is important to recognize the affect these people can have on one's quality of life. It is not simple to just remove them from the victim's life, therefore their abuse continues uninterrupted for years at a time, sadly sometimes for the victim's entire life.

If this individual is not very close to you, it becomes a simple solution to just remove them from your life. However in dealing with relatives and close friends this becomes more complicated. Firstly, knowing that this person most probably suffered as a victim of the same kind of abuse they are doing to you, may help you to remember them in your prayers. You may try keeping a journal. It gives you a non-judgmental place to vent and process your feelings. Additionally, it reminds you to love yourself so that you don't become bogged down. You can also minimize interacting with these individuals. Particularly if they refuse to acknowledge the pain they cause and make efforts to improve, limiting your direct interactions with them becomes almost necessary to protect your health and well-being. Keep in mind that if they consistently excuse their behavior and refuse to take accountability then it is not likely that they will sincerely make an effort to change even though they claim to love you. You can give their opinions less weight. Depending on how toxic they are, without being disrespectful you can just quietly train yourself to not put much stock in their opinions. They will have less of an effect over you. If you have any more tips for dealing with abusive people that you cannot remove from your life please share. You can share anonymously with me or in the comments section.




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