Ever wish you could send the email you REALLY want to send to your boss? But you can’t afford to quit?

Ever fantasised about walking out on your dick of a partner? But there’s the mortgage/rent, kids/dogs, etc. And a pandemic.

An abuser could be your partner, your boss, your parent, your friend, your colleague. If you have to be in regular contact with someone and you can’t exit the relationship, what can you do?

In the next few posts I’m going to explore common abusive behaviours and the motivations behind them. The more you understand what’s going on, the better choices you can make.

Today, let’s start with a general overview.

1. Their behaviour IS designed to get a result – BUT they might not realise it.

People do things for a reason, even if that reason doesn’t make sense to you – or them. Usually it’s to get or to avoid a feeling. It could be to get the pleasure of:

  • security
  • power
  • attention
  • affirmation
  • significance
  • entertainment
  • sexual thrill

Or to avoid the pain of:

  • loneliness
  • insignificance
  • inadequacy
  • guilt/shame/regret
  • anxiety
  • boredom

Yes, they may be making you unhappy but it may not be because they enjoy it. They’re trying to avoid their own unhappiness. This is why abusers do not react well when you point out that what they’re doing hurts you. You make them feel worse.

2. Emotional Immaturity – They CAN’T do better (yet)

Age does not equal emotional maturity. In fact, the older someone becomes, the harder they are likely to cling to familiar behaviour.

Frequent conflict with others is a sign that someone has not yet learned to handle their emotions. Their emotional reaction creates the abusive behaviour.

Criticism, other people’s expectations and even different viewpoints are common triggers of conflict.

Passive measures are as effective a way of imposing your will upon someone as arguing, so pay attention to:

  • ignoring
  • ghosting
  • stonewalling
  • avoiding
  • walking out

If someone is avoiding you, they may well be avoiding a conflict they don’t know how else to resolve.

Perhaps they were never taught, perhaps they were hurt when they tried before. Self-protection through emotionally abusive behaviour became the solution.

Maturing enough to behave differently would have to be worth the pain of admitting they’re wrong. People don’t often volunteer for extra pain.

IMPORTANT:None of this is about YOU. Abuse is a response to inner stresses that aren’t your responsibility to resolve. You CANNOT help an abuser, heal them, guilt them or reason them into changing unless they want to.

You CAN take responsibility for YOUR response. Reject guilt and shame: they want you to feel that way so you will comply and make them feel better.

– To be continued in the next post.

Image by Natálie Šteyerová from Pixabay

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