My Community

Development of CPTSD in Adulthood => Causes => Emotional/Physical/Sexual Abuse/Harassment/Violence => Topic started by: LittleBirdy on July 31, 2018, 03:05:20 AM

Title: Was this abuse? Or just a toxic person? (Possible TW)
Post by: LittleBirdy on July 31, 2018, 03:05:20 AM
So, like many here Iíve been abused my whole life. The thought that I could then find myself in an abusive relationship after I promised myself  to run for the hills if that ever happened makes me feel...I dont even know. My ex did things that were so subtle such as making me feel like nothing I could ever do would be good enough, making jokes that were hurtful then calling me too sensitive (never infront of others), making me feel like I was the problem and was alwyas being called too negative (though my friends never once said I was negative or depressing) and overall just making me feel like I was crazy. What baffled me is he knew exactly who I was when we started dating, but yet hated me for all those things in the end. He blamed his sh** behaviors on his depression and childhood but that doesnít excuse how awful he made me feel. Then he was charming again during the breakup talk, which was mutual but he said everything that I had wanted to hear because he always knows just what to say when it counts. Iím trying to process all this but itís hard. If it was abuse itís certainly not the type Iím used to, Iím used to clear cut verbal/emotional/physical. This was so subtle, Iím not sure what to call it. Abusive is a harsh label to throw at someone you know?  ???
Title: Re: Was this abuse? Or just a toxic person? (Possible TW)
Post by: Deep Blue on July 31, 2018, 12:18:32 PM
I would call it gaslighting.  Iíd also say he was a sociopath.
Title: Re: Was this abuse? Or just a toxic person? (Possible TW)
Post by: radical on July 31, 2018, 12:38:30 PM
if you feel uncomfortable about the word 'abusive' how about 'controlling'?

I've come to feel that it's okay to have expectations and bottom lines in relationships of all kinds and to communicate them.  if you need your partner to show some minimum of approval, acceptance, sensitivity to your feelings etc.,  that's good. 

I don't know about you, but learning I have these rights, and others have the same rights and negotiating to be happy and connected has been important to me and is healthy, imo.  We have the right to be treated with kindness and respect and to walk away, or increase distance in all our relationships where we feel we aren't.  People who grew up valuing themselves do this automatically, probably often without thinking about it much.  I suspect they are much less likely to get too close until they are sure the other person is consistently behaving this way.  If the other stop or becomes unkind and unsupportive etc., they respond to that, rather than letting it ride.
Title: Re: Was this abuse? Or just a toxic person? (Possible TW)
Post by: Phoebes on July 31, 2018, 04:21:51 PM
Hi, LittleBirdy- you are in the right place here and among friends who get this totally.

Please go easy on yourself about this. You were the kind, open-hearted person who didn't realize how this person would be. You didn't deserve that. 

One person who has helped me tremendously on youtube is Lisa A Romano. There are a few out there who really get it and have been so helpful for me in this area.

Title: Re: Was this abuse? Or just a toxic person? (Possible TW)
Post by: ah on August 10, 2018, 02:17:03 PM
I'm not well so this is short, my apologies...

I'd say everything you described above fits emotional abuse.
I've read some books that describe certain types of abuse as "covert" vs. overt abuse, and it makes sense to me. Violence is violence, it may be covert but that just makes it even more insidious than overt abuse that's physically visible.
I think there's a big blind spot in society re. emotional abuse. But the science shows it's real abuse and it's just as bad as other types of abuse, if not worse. Some research done recently shows that it may even be more harmful than physical/sexual abuse.

Here's a good book about it, specifically about emotional abuse in relationships: Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse Paperback / Shannon Thomas.