As a young male I find it quite troubling to watch examples of violence against men in popular culture depicted as humorous. In many sitcoms and movies, scenes are regularly shown where a man is threatened or intimidated with violence by a girl’s father. Other situations displaying women slapping their boyfriends or husbands are also routinely illustrated, and don’t get me started about all the Lorena Bobbit jokes I hear.
I don’t want to fail. But I find it increasingly hard to keep myself together mentally, emotionally and physically in the midst of his abuse.
Crazymaking confuses, causes paranoia and makes you doubt your perceptions. Crazy makers do this on purpose because a weakened victim is easier to control.
Types of verbal abuse range from full on anger to forgetting on purpose. Even the silent treatment is a type of verbal abuse! Verbal abusers use several other sneaky tactics to abuse and control their victims, too. Recognizing the types of verbal abuse is the first step to overcoming its effects and regaining your mental health.
Things abusers say and do are designed to control you. Whether abusers say and do these things knowingly or unconsciously, the result is the same: you feel lower than dirt, or become afraid and intimidated. In your weakened state, your abuser finds it much easier to gain power over you.
Originally I titled this “What I Cause” to reflect the feelings my abuser wanted me to assume. It worked for many years. He said it was my fault he blew up in rages, my fault he calmed down and used all his strength to revert to a position of protector, the one who had to clean up my mess.
Blame causes the victim to believe the abuse is their fault. The abuser claims, “You made me do that!” and “I wouldn’t lose my temper if you …!” Don’t believe it. If you were powerful enough to “make” them yell at you, then why aren’t you powerful enough to “make” them be nice to you?
“I Cannot Control You” is the missing key for people setting boundaries in abusive relationships. I cannot control you, but I can control me. So if you are acting like a jerk, I get to decide if I’m going to stay around you while you act that way…or not. Boundaries for abusive relationships help you keep the sanity you still have.
This example of verbal abuse includes threats, name calling, and discrediting of the other parent. This dad doesn’t care that his daughter is “Twelve, or eleven, or a child….” (just in case he had her age wrong!). He’s more concerned that she’s a “thoughtless little pig” and that he had to make an “ass” of himself to get to a phone to call her.
The teenager tells his dad that she’s like this even when he does everything she asks. I get the feeling that the father isn’t new to this abuse himself. He makes excuses for his wife, he gets slightly angry with his son when he says, “You don’t treat your kids like this!”, and begs his son to lend him the money instead of lending it to the step-mom. The teenager does it because his dad asks his to. But when he gives the money to his father, I want to cry.