Abusers “Forget” That You Are Your Own Person
If your partner orders you around and demands you meet their requests, then you hear verbal abuse. Patricia Evans, the author of the best verbal abuse books, says that when someone makes demands of you, the person has forgotten that “you are a free person, and if he wants something of you, he must make a courteous request.”
Another way of saying that is your abuser forgot that you are not an extension of themselves (you are not their puppet). It is not your job to tend to their needs or desires, and if they need help they should ask nicely. Unless his arm is about to be cut off or something like that, every request should be relayed to your ears with a non-sarcastic “please”.
I knew a female soldier who said she would not say ‘please’ because she “wasn’t going to beg anyone for anything”. I wonder how she’s getting along with others these days…
How My Husband Uses Ordering And Demanding
When my husband orders me around or demands certain behaviors of me, it is his way of directly controlling me. In the past, ordering and demanding worked well for him because his other threatening and unnerving behaviors had accomplished his goal of scaring the resistance out of me. I was in “shell shock” much of the time, and it was easier to do as he said than to expose myself to another round of abusive anger, threatening behavior, and all the rest.
He loved to take me to parties when he knew I was in this state of fear. While there, I felt compelled to laugh at the jokes he made about me while fetching his beer and fixing his plate before my own. He would brag, saying things like, “This is how home-trainin”’ works!” as I brought him another drink.
When the fear effect wore off a little, he wouldn’t have to do or say too much to put me right back in the state of being his willing sheep.
How to React to Ordering & Demanding
Patricia Evan’s suggestions for responses to ordering and demanding include “Who are you giving orders to?” or “I don’t follow orders!”
You could say, “Stop giving me orders!” but that statement doesn’t feel right to me in this situation. Attempting to stop someone from ordering you around by ordering them to stop doesn’t sit right with me.
*Remember that these statements are to help you feel better and detach from your abuser’s antics. They do not guarantee that your abuser will stop abusing you, nor do they protect you from further abuse. You should fill out a safety plan so you know what you will do if things get out of hand.
Based on the book The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans, ISBN 1558503048, Adams Media, February 2003, and my experiences with verbal abuse.