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  • Writer's pictureDana Arcuri

Are You in an Abusive Relationship?

Updated: May 28

Are you in an abusive relationship? It could be with your partner, spouse, friend, parent, sibling, relative, or co-worker/boss. Or the perpetrator could be a complete stranger. (Gang stalking, harassment, etc.)

In toxic relationships, the abnormal, violent, abusive behaviors can appear normal. This is most likely the case if you were raised in an abusive family. The abnormal has become your "new normal" in a dysfunctional family unit.

It’s common to be blinded and unaware of how abusive your situation is, until you wake up from the fog, gain credible wisdom, and walk away. Education, knowledge, and setting boundaries are vital for your trauma recovery process.

Most people who are scapegoated don’t realize the ongoing trauma that they’re experiencing, until later in life. Simply stated, psychological abuse, narcissistic abuse, and the toxic family enmeshment are not on your radar. Back in your early days, you may not have heard of or known about those types of abuse.

Oftentimes, we don't recognize abuse because we have never been taught how to recognize it, we don't speak about it, and because our abuser told us not to. We may have been threatened, bullied into submission, or silenced by them. We may have no idea what help there is available even when we try to reach out for help.

Some trauma survivors and victims of violent crimes may feel guilty or toxic shame for not leaving the abusive relationship sooner, and that they didn't spot the signs. How could anyone know if they were never told what to look for?

No judgment here. We didn’t know what we didn't know, especially as children, teenagers, and young adults.

The top ways to move forward in your recovery process are to educate yourself about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), signs of psychological abuse, and signs of narcissistic abuse. Gain facts, wisdom, and knowledge in effort to understand what you’ve been through.

In effort to support you and build awareness about abuse, here are some signs of an abusive relationship:

  • GASLIGHTING - The perpetrator does something abusive, denies it, and exclaims you are crazy.

  • PROJECTION - They accuse you of doing and saying things that you haven't said or done. They accuse you of exactly what THEY are saying and doing to you.

  • LOVE BOMBING - After they hurt you, they claim their undying love for you. They make empty promises about your future together. They are all talk. This is how they attempt to manipulate you. The end result is they turn your life into a living nightmare from hell.

  • PATHOLOGICAL LIARS - The abusers are chronic pathological liars, deceivers, and demonic. Manipulation goes hand in hand with their cunning tactics.

  • GUILT TRIPPING - At first, they may be charismatic, try to charm you, or buy you gifts. Out of nowhere they flip the switch. The perpetrators have a bag of evil tricks. They will go to great lengths to guilt trip you, blame you, and dump toxic shame onto you. Then they may try to confuse you, create fear within you, or demand that you stay loyal to them. This isn't love. It is abuse.

  • DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE - If the perpetrator is narcissistic, sociopathic, or has a personality disorder, they may have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona. One minute they're syrupy sweet. The next minute they are a raging violent lunatic! They will provoke you, argue with you, accuse you of being insane, and do everything in their power to control you. Their goal is to make you powerless and helpless.

  • NO REMORSE - One subtle sign of abuse is they have zero remorse. Even if they use a lame excuse or say they're sorry, their actions remain as toxic as ever. If they don't have improved behaviors, it is a red flag of manipulation; not remorse. In addition, they are not empathetic, nor compassionate towards you.

  • CRITICISM - Abuse and criticism go hand in hand. The perpetrator will harshly judge you, condemn you, and say rude remarks to you. There will be cruel name-calling. They habitually belittle you. It's typical for them to lash out at you and put you down.

  • SILENT TREATMENT - In abusive dynamics, it is common for the perpetrator to give you the silent treatment. They may ghost you unexpectedly. They may block you on their phone and on social media. You feel like you are walking on eggshells. (If you are the survivor of abuse and you ended a toxic relationship, your silence is a totally different story. For you to be safe and feel safe, it's necessary to not respond to the abusers. By all means, do what you need to do to heal your trauma.)

Another red flag is that they will use invalidation to emotionally abuse you. Here's typical remarks they may say to you:

  1. "You should feel lucky to have me in your life."

  2. "Don't be so sensitive."

  3. "It's really not that bad. Stop whining!"

  4. "It doesn't bother anyone else. Why are you so upset?"

  5. "Well, life isn't fair. Get over it."

  6. "Just let it go."

  7. "You are such a drama queen (king)."

  8. "You need to forgive and forget fast." (Religious gaslighting.)

Here is an important fact. Just because you don't have bruises, scars, or broken bones, it doesn't mean that you were not abused. Verbal abuse is when someone uses their words to assault, dominate, ridicule, manipulate, and/or degrade another person and negatively impact that person's psychological health. Verbal abuse is a means of controlling and overpowering another person.

Are you in a toxic relationship or abusive environment? Mental health research has proven that you cannot heal trauma when you are in an environment that thrives on trauma. It's like continuously hitting your head against the wall and not expecting to get a headache.

You are fighting against the grain and exhausting yourself, while gaining nothing but more trauma that you will need healing from. Habitual abuse can lead to compounded trauma and Complex PTSD. When it is a repeated pattern of abuse, it is most likely Complex PTSD. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk says, "The body keeps the score." Stay tune for my upcoming YouTube video. It is about the dire consequences of narcissistic abuse and how it wreaks havoc on your body.

The Bottom Line: You cannot heal in the same environment and the same toxic relationship that made you sick. It will impact your gut health, brain health, immune system, central nervous system, mental health, physical health, and every aspect of your life.

The top ways to move forward in your recovery process are to educate yourself about NPD, signs of psychological abuse and narcissistic abuse. Gain facts, wisdom, and knowledge in effort to understand what you’ve been through.

Once you awaken to the truth of all forms of abuse, learn how to set boundaries. Have the courage to end the cycle of abuse. You are so worthy of caring, safe, respectful, and genuine loving connections. ❤️

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