…. BUT HE’S SO NICE TO ME –
the rest of the time!
PREVIOUS: Direct abusers
Dr Irene’s great Verbal Abuse & Recovery site
See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
COVERT ABUSE (CA) – Emotional, Mental & Spiritual
• Emotional abuse is one of the most under-reported types in the US today. Blatant emotional cruelty may be noticed by others, & definitely felt by the Victim (V) – even if they ignore or excuse it .
For ACoAs – it’s regular abuse in small doses, which the abuser uses so they will be easily overlooked, as they gets woven into the fabric of the relationship.
In China this is a form of torture – Lingchi – called “Death by a thousand cuts“.
Typically the V. will say : “It’s not all bad, You don’t know him the way I do. I know she loves me. When something goes wrong it’s really my fault. He didn’t meant it. She’s just under a lot of pressure. I don’t want to miss out on the good things we have together. He needs me. It’s only because she’s in pain” ….
• Sneaky Perpetrators (P) are also full of S-H & FoA, but they hide it better than Vs. They also think they’re unique, so different from others that they don’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Yet they actually have a lot in common with all other Ps, sharing similar thinking & behavior patterns.
While they may never lift a finger to physically injure anyone, the psychological damage they do to others, with it’s long-term scars, are much harder to heal. Victims are threatened & terrorized emotionally when they try to object to how they’re being treated. A major result is that they don’t believe they have a right to identify themselves as victims, or to admit their mate, adult-child, friend, relative, boss….is actually abusive.
• TO outsiders, emotional abusers (E.A.s) don’t stand out – they usually present themselves as decent, successful, calm. They have a talent for creating an image for the public that contradicts how they are behind closed doors. They use public venues to have an adoring audience & as an outlet for their ‘better’ qualities (at work, church, politics….) —
— but will take out their emotional sickness on those who are closest, most vulnerable & most dependent on them. In general, Ps needs a safe place to let their dirty hair down where no one will judge them, hold them accountable, object or leave!
TO their families, they’re often controlling, self-absorbed, hypercritical, compulsive, childish & mean-spirited. What’s so confusing is that this type of abuser is actually BOTH. But the abusive side always wins out in private.
• Covert Abusers are passive-aggressive, which means they show their anger (aggression) sideways (passively) by withholding information, deliberately stalling, being stubborn, sulking, and/or not trying their best. They ignore reasonable requests to put in a reasonable amount of effort into their closest relationships. They pick partners who are push-overs with low self-esteem, who find it easy to make excuses for the other person’s terrible behavior.
EXP: Ps will make you choose an action that affects you both (dinner, movie, trip….) & then blame you because they didn’t like it or it didn’t work out. They also may deny that you asked them for their opinion or input in the first place, accusing you of being controlling. You get set up! Altering another’s reality is abusive.
FORMS of Cover Abuse
Brainwash: using systematic & often forcible pressure, coerce someone into adopting radically different beliefs from their own
Crazy-making: to throw someone mentally or emotionally off-balance, making them easier to control (not trust their own thoughts)
Divert / Evade : change undesirable topic to something illogical, irrelevant or crazy
Gaslight: psychological manipulate someone into questioning their own sanity (not trust their own memory or observations )
Grooming: prepare or train someone to become submissive for a particular purpose or activity
Guilt-tripping : shift blame, act sincere then retaliate with silence, word twisting & circular conversations
Playing the Victim : act like they’ve being injured by any request for communication or responsibility (MORE…)
NEXT: INDIRECT Abusers (Part 2)