Few things evoke a more reassuring sense of safety, stability, warmth, and comfort than going home. At home, we are afforded an escape from the hustle of the day.
But if there’s abuse in the household, what’s typically meant to be a bastion of unconditional love and support can become a hornet’s nest of hell. Intimate partner abuse often starts with subtle put-downs, gaslighting, humiliation, threatening looks or gestures, isolation and attempts to control the reproductive health of an intimate partner (for example, refusing to use contraception during intercourse) before it escalates to outright sexual or physical assault and battery.
An abusive person’s strategy is to dismiss, deflect, deny, minimize, and demean you.
This is so destructive because it can make you feel like you’re losing your grip on reality.
Domestic abuse makes you doubt yourself and crushes your self-confidence. Abusers will typically enroll those around you through a smear campaign.
A smear campaign is exactly what it sounds like – abusers try to destroy your name with your friends, family, or figures of authority. They initially do it to appear like the victim rather than the vicious monster they are. The goal of the smear campaign is to depict you as insane or unstable. They will say you are an addict, gold digger, thief, cheater, poor parent, etc.
By fabricating a sequence of falsehoods, exaggerations, half-truths, suspicions, and false charges about your conduct, abusers work to destroy your sanity and credibility.
The smear campaign is designed to ensure the abuser’s “truth” becomes the dominant narrative. The abuser desires to be right and maintain their status or standing.
Smear campaigns can be very effective at harming a victim because they make you lose your support system. In the onslaught of a smear campaign, victims often feel alone, scared, and unsure about what to do.
The smear campaign is often unwittingly facilitated by others who incorrectly label the victim impetuous. Often oppression is sanctioned by silence in cultures that perpetuate the collective trauma and blatantly allow misogyny, violence against women, etc. In this environment, family or friends will urge you to stay in an abusive environment and excuse bad behavior with statements like “that’s what men do” or “it’s not that bad.” This leads to the full-fledged estrangement of victims particularly if they attempt to speak out against an abuser, flee or protect themselves.
Abuse is about power and control. There’s a pattern of gaslighting, lying, and intimidation to coerce their victims.
This is determined by his values which define how he thinks. Don’t be fooled by any pretense that his behavior was caused by anger or alcohol. Listen to his attitudes.
Narcissistic abusers often have symbiotic relationships with empaths. Empaths typically strive to understand the experiences and feelings of others outside of your own and give, and give, and give, often to the point of exhaustion.
Abusers exploit, act entitled, and lack empathy.
Here are 12 sometimes subtle but key red flags:
1. Monologue instead of conversation
Narcissists will talk incessantly about their own experiences. On the first date, abusers can be charming or come across as charismatic and funny. You might feel a little hurt that there was no real interest or curiosity about you, but you may brush it off because you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings.
2. Overwhelming attention
A narcissist will be all about you. Narcissists will wow you with attention if they are interested in something you have or sense you can supply a need of theirs like hunger for control, money, or sex. They are experts at making you feel special— they may order for you at the restaurant, or immediately attempt to schedule themselves into all your free time because they “can’t get enough of you” but often what’s fueling that is satisfying their own needs.
3. Demands all your attention
Narcissists are experts at kidnapping all your attention. They will take up all your time, and quickly isolate you from your friends or activities you like to do. Domestic abusers love being the center of attention. They will do everything to make sure you are not distracted by anyone or anything else. They may start by playfully or sarcastically teasing you about your interests or actions.
Here are other signs to look for as they speak:
You deserve real love. Every relationship has ups and downs but you should never put up with someone who puts you down.
Here are 3 signs you’re in a healthy relationship:
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone. Here are compelling clips from Reese Witherspoon and Amy Schumer on their personal accounts of experience with domestic abuse.
Domestic violence statistics show that an abusive relationship can lead to death, even when a perpetrator appears to have moved on. It’s crucial to know the signs in order to protect yourself from a tide that can quickly escalate, leaving drama, trauma and irreversible destruction in its wake.
The best and hardest thing I ever did was leave. Staying in an abusive relationship stinks up every aspect of your life.
Reclaiming your life in the aftermath is not only a breakthrough, it will often lead to your best days yet.
You’ve got this!❤️