Ever been in an unhealthy relationship where you felt like you were acting in a way that was nothing like you? Are you yelling, throwing things, lashing out or isolating yourself from others? If so, it’s likely you are suffering from reactive abuse. Here, a closer look at what define this type of abuse, plus the signs and tactics to look out for.
This type of abuse happens when the person that has been abused, either physically or emotionally, can no longer take it and lashes out. They might scream, hit, throw things, and even spit on the abuser. Then, the abuser uses this response to blame them for all the problems in the relationship, and so the cycle continues.
Reactive abuse is used the most by people with narcissistic personality disorder. Because narcissists will never take the blame for anything, they will do everything they can to pin the problem on the other person in the relationship. If they can get you to react, then you have just solidified in their mind that you are crazy and unstable and the cause of all the problems. Often, they will lie to others so much about you that they start to believe their own lies.
Common Tactics of an Abuser
- Placing cameras in the home and even go as far as editing any footage that might make them look bad.
- When you react, they will film it as “proof” to show others.
- Will edit text messages and emails so that their side of the story looks plausible.
- Get family and friends involved to try and “calm you down.”
- Before a big event, they will treat you poorly so that when you show up together, they look fine and you look unhappy.
- Make you think you are so crazy you obviously need medical help.
How They Create Reactive Abuse
Baiting is the first way. They will do anything to promote a negative emotional response from you. This is how they gain control. They will do things like:
- Begin an argument out of nowhere
- Be extremely passive aggressive
- Use every insecurity you have about yourself against you
- Ignore and lie to you
- Upset the kids and then blame it on you
- Threaten anyone you love in your life
Gaslighting is psychological manipulation and is used to get you to question your own sense of reality and sanity. Here are some examples:
- They say they were joking, but really, they weren’t. They just want to not be held accountable for the horrible thing they said to you.
- That your insecure if you think they are cheating on you.
- That something didn’t happen the way you think it did, because they want you to forget about it.
- That you must be losing your mind, because you are the crazy one….at least that’s what they want you to think.
- They never did or said what you remember them doing or saying. They are trying to wipe from your memory any wrongdoing of theirs.
Projection is a combination of blame-shifting and gaslighting that distracts you from what is really happening and gets you to blame yourself. This may look like:
- They claim your always accusing me of things so you must be doing it yourself.
- They claim that you are always nagging them or putting them down.
- The biggest one being…if you hadn’t had done this or said this, I would have never reacted that way.
All of these things will make you feel crazy, insecure, and unloved. If you have someone in your life that is bringing out the worst in you, you might want to start surrounding yourself with different people. If you have been in a relationship like this for a long time, it will take disconnecting from the person and time to heal as reactive abuse can make you question your own sanity.
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