Physical abuse is apparent and damaging, emotional abuse often referred to as invisible wounding, and its effects are as harmful. And just because there are no physical signs of violence, the perpetrator can easily deny when confronted.
Emotional abuse is nothing to joke. It tends to happen subtly, gradually and over time. The victim might not even recognise that they are experiencing violence. The hardest thing about emotional abuse is that the wound and scars are on the inside; no one sees the pain you have to endure; the pain is one that only you can feel. That there are no physical signs does not mean that the abuse is not happening.
Emotional abuse involves making threats and attempts to control how and who the victim interacts with, in the external world. One of the reasons perpetrators tend to manage the victim’s interaction is to make sure that they are not exposed.
Other manipulative behaviours like denial of incidents, consistent blaming, gaslighting and minimisation can make it difficult for the victim to lead a healthy and fulfiling life.
We all have a little voice at the back of our heads; so we inevitably incorporated into our inner dialogue disparaging commentaries as a result of being consistently exposed to negative comments about ourselves. Over time, we internalise these negative messages which play a massive role in how we see ourselves and cause us to doubt our abilities and value, stripping us the confidence required to emancipate ourselves and lead a fulfiling life.
Regain Control of Your Life, By Standing Up For Yourself
Standing up to emotional abuse is something you must do for yourself, be aware that you will be met with resistance because the perpetrator desperately seeks to maintain power and control. You are the one to finally say enough is enough with the willingness to take a bow and walk away, but this would require courage and determination.
The first steps are “a restored believe in your worth”. The belief that you matter, and are deserving of being treated with dignity and respect. These beliefs will not only empower you with courage but the determination to be assertive, stand up for yourself, set healthy boundaries and enforce consequences.
How to Stand Up for Yourself
1. Assess the situation to determine if the actions are deliberate or not by clarifying without attacking or reacting with emotion.
2. Calmly explain your perspective and avoid using accusatory or antagonistic words. The responses you receive will tell you all you need to know.
An average person who seeks a genuine and mutually beneficial relationship with you will consider your perspective for the simple reason that their actions affect you negatively and seek restitution and restoration of the relationship. At the same time, a bully or a narc will unleash on you a full dose of their anger. They will go as far as questioning the sanity of your mind and the audacity you have to tell them in some way that they are flawed. Now you have the (response-based) information you need to work.
What to Expect With a Narc
You will be invalidated and compelled to back off.
You will be required to accept a different and false account of the incident.
You will be expected to believe that you imagine things.
You will be made to feel guilty.
Expect to be reminded of every single thing they have done or bought for you. You will be termed ungrateful.
Expect to have your reality watered down to the extent that you will doubt your instinct.
If somehow out of desperation, you get a third party involved to hear your perspective and help straighten things out, this is what you have just done!
You have tampered with their false persona. You were supposed to help manage or protect that perception the world to have of them. You have just caused sinned. The perpetrator will scream BETRAYAL!!!
Further Reactions to Expect
- Expect the height of narcissist rage and revenge.
- They will be painted black, cook up stories and convincingly make accusatory statements against you so much that you end up looking like the devil and unable to receive the help you desperately need.
- Also, because they have carefully sold their false persona, people will often struggle to believe you, as who you are saying they are and how they are known are entirely different and extremely opposite.
Now you are on your own. Left to fate to continually be at the receiving end of their anger, rage and revenge. “But you do not have to empower them further with your passivity and silence, and you can stand up for yourself.”
Use Your Voice
Your voice and words are powerful. When backed up with action can be insurmountable. We are likely to see every declaration we make come alive. The power our voices carry is the reason why they seek to silence their victims and cause them to lose it, so they never have to face any form of resistance from their victim. They also take steps to mess up with the victims thought process, causing them to doubt themselves. This step is significant because “your thoughts become your beliefs which translate into words, and then action!”
Other Steps to Consider
- Even though it might seem easier to go with the flow in other to avoid potential or further conflict or keep the peace, never stop being transparent and express yourself honestly and openly.
- Avoid bottling up negative emotions. It can, at the start, be terrifying expressing yourself confidently. do it anyway.
- Each brave step we take, however small, helps us grow in confidence.
- Train people to treat you righty by respecting yourself. You teach people to know what they can or cannot do with or around you.
- Create boundaries and consider enforcing consequences,
- Be willing to walk away.