Most times we hear about abuse from the angle of what’s done to us. How do we know we are abused? What are the signs we are used or abused?
We’ve got a 21st-century lexicon of terminology created to describe what they’ve done… We’ve got the new language to talk about what that person did and said to us, to use to determine if we’re used or abused. – Words our mom’s and grandma’s didn’t have.
Relationships are said to be “hard”.
People say relationships take “work”.
In my experience: when it’s right, it’s easy
and bad behaviour or feeling bad is never part of the equation.
These are meant as proof that what they’re doing is really abuse.
We call it love bombing, ghosting, Hoovering, idealizing, devaluing, discarding… They belittle us, lie to us, cheat on us, take our money, order us around, they make us cry, they do stuff that makes us mad, they break promises,it seems like they like to hurt us, they throw things at us, and so much worse and sometimes so much more indefinable.
The problem with this view-point is, it makes their behavior the problem.
Isn’t the real problem that we’re miserable?
Isn’t the Real Problem That We’re Miserable?
In friendships and work situations and in love… normal people stay. Normal people try when things are tough. And try more. That’s what normal, amazing, gorgeous humans are wired to do. It’s what we’re taught to do. There’s nothing wrong with us. There’s everything right with us.
We can’t recognize the horror – the mortuary of a mind that sits inside a predator sociopath’s head until we see it in particular and stark contrast to normal. We don’t see it until “normal” isn’t working to change any of the problems between us. — That’s normal. It takes as long as it takes.
Read 5 Ways To Disarm A Love Bombing Sociopath
A Definition of Abuse Based in How we Feel Rather than What They Do
The tell-tale signs of abuse, or being used by someone who cannot love show up in more reliable ways than in the behaviours of the abuser. We can call them a narcissist, a narc, a narcopath… by any name they’re behaving as a sociopath and the fact is, abuse and predatory dynamics show up in messages from our bodies and in our emotions immediately. We just don’t always recognize them.
The sooner we recognize these unfamiliar and confusing signals for what they are, the better chance we have of exiting a bad situation much, much sooner.
Here’re signs we are used or abused:
1. We Feel Like We’re in a Movie:
This relationship, finding this person, life with this person feels lifted out of reality in the best way! Out at a restaurant, a party, even going grocery shopping with them feels like we’re living out scenes from a movie.
Read You Know He’s A Con Man If…
2. We Feel Like We Can’t Live Without Them:
Much to our own surprise, we feel we’ll die without them. In a dramatic figurative way… and kinda literally. We feel panic at the thought of never seeing them again.
It happened like this: I sat a few feet from the con man. We’d known each other three days. I knew he had to fly back to his own country in a few months. At the thought of his leaving a surprising sense of panic that I’d never see him again roiled up from the pit of my gut… Surprised by a creeping dread rising to take me over, I pulled in a breath to ask, “When’s your ticket back?’” He paused, looked up from under his lowered brows, then uttered a date barely two weeks away.
Tsunamis of emotion crashed together in my body. Profound all-consuming panic that I’d never see him again hit up against knowing this was an absurd way to feel, and a third thought: wondering why I panicked. But I got no answer. – Before I could get myself together, his voice, low and dark came through the fog, intimacy slicing my skin and dripping into my bones, “You’re afraid you’ll never see me again aren’t you?” Unrecognizable fear ran through me, all I could do was try to look normal. I felt small. There were no words I could say. I willed my head to make a single nod. I surprised myself again when a barely voiced, “Yaaaaaaa,” dribbled from my mouth on the one wisp of air left in my lungs. We were married four days later. He didn’t take that flight.
3. We Feel Confused:
We feel foggy. We wonder if things are what we think they are. We rationalize, make exceptions or excuses for their behavior and for how we feel. We change our ideas about what’s “okay”. We bend our idea of what a relationship “is” from what we thought before we met them.
When is “bad” bad enough to trust our gut and our feelings over their behavior?
Read 6 Diversion Tactics Used By Sociopaths, Narcissists, and Psychopaths to Manipulate You Into Silence
4. We Feel Disconnected – Communication is Spotty or Painful:
We feel stupid and like we’re a bother for trying to talk with them. It’s rare we talk together about anything real. Conversation sticks on shallow or it’s only about household things. It’s texts that fizzle into emojis and arguments. We’re ignored – sometimes for days at a time. They blame us for why they won’t talk to us.
5. We Feel Shut Out – There Are “Mystery” People:
We feel compartmentalized. While we build the relationship we’re hitting roadblocks… in the form of attention they give to other people. They explain a person they message late at night as a “friend” or say, “she’s my sister” or an “ex” that won’t leave them alone. – But something seems wrong. We sense there are secret “others” or that we’re being kept a secret. Some block us from their social media, and rage if we post photos of us together.
How bad does it get before we gather the clarity and courage to go?
As bad as it needs to. It takes as long as it takes.
There’s nothing wrong with us.
Read 9 Signs You Are An INFJ: The World’s Rarest Personality Type
6. We Feel at Arm’s Length:
We think we know them and their life, but we feel like somethings missing. We don’t really know all of it. We might not know where they live exactly or what they do for work exactly. There’s a pattern – even a pattern of uncertainty, or abrupt changes in the time we spend together.
We’re not sure where they drive off to when they leave us. We see him or her only late on Wednesdays and sometimes Friday night and only at our place. He talks about us getting married, but… it stays out of reach. – Or we live in different towns, or different countries.
7. We Feel Ganged-Up On:
We’re left hung out to dry. If arguments and conflicts come up they might side with others against us. Others in our family or theirs side with them against us. Their family or so-called friends sabotage our plans or our efforts to bring family together or to fix problems in the relationship. – We’re sucker-punched by it every time.
8. We Feel We’re Not on Solid Ground:
We feel sad, and stupid for wanting to know normal things like when they’ll be home. Or when we’re really going to meet. We suspect they aren’t where they say. They say it’s a meeting they’re running off too, but… They say they’re going out-of-town for work, but… She said it was a trip to see her mom, but… it feels off and we feel bad.
It’s like we’re constantly stepping out for the next stair and… nothing there.
9. We’re Not Fulfilled – Intimacy is Absent, Exaggerated, Forced or Conditional:
The bond doesn’t deepen as the days go by. We have sex… but it starts to feel impersonal, sad or bad and lonely. Or – They won’t have sex with us and they get mad if we try to heat things up. They tell us they can’t be intimate (for some reason) and that we want sex too much. Or they go overboard and sex is “too much” with them. Maybe they force us. Maybe they video us. – Maybe we’re pretty sure they’re doing it with someone else.
We feel despondent and desperate to please them in the absence of real intimacy. We start to substitute small things as signs of big closeness and as a sign that they do love us after all. – We start to think we’re super-loved by them when they do something super-small – like take the garbage out.
Read 9 Ways to Identify that Sociopath, Psychopath, or Narcissist in your life
Tiny things take the place of intimate depth. We try harder, cook better, bake more, wash better, make more money, hurry faster, give again and again. This is normal. There’s nothing wrong with us. – Nothing changes except we feel more and more alone and sad and worthless.
We feel ashamed, hurt, isolated, alone when they come at us in sex on overdrive. Drugs might come it to cope with the sexual scenarios. We try to convince ourselves dominance and ropes or sex only on Wednesday afternoon’s, or only if we’re “good” is okay. – We try to convince ourselves that one thing they want to do… is okay – when really, we don’t like it and don’t want it. We feel stranded on an island of pain floating further and further away from love – and further and further from our life as we know or want it.
Sometimes the greatest lies are told in silence.
10. We Feel Torn:
Pulled in many directions we float – almost out-of-body – trying to collect the pieces. We’re caught between our partner and our kids, between our partner and our parents. There’s a panic, a lump pf nausea in our gut, trying to bring things into focus, into line. We try to meet the regular needs of our kids, work, family and at the same time we feel out of step with our partner – and everything else.
We try to figure out the indefinable needs of our partner, try to resolve the rough bits and to make things look happy and great to everyone else. We feel we’re failing. We feel we’re sinking. We’re agitated and anxious. We hope no one notices.
11. We’re Uneasy – There’s Fighting and the Silent Treatment:
Bottom line – we’re afraid and apprehensive, cautious about how we approach them. If we ask where they went or if they’ve got $95 dollars to pay the cable bill the roof gets blown off the house with their indignant anger. Ask why they came home so late and they don’t talk to us for three days. Wonder out loud why the gas tank is already on empty and we’re treated to rage from hell. – Sometimes even certain words we use make them angry.
Emotions and feelings are messages from our body and mind. The meaning we give them leads us to safety or trouble.
Read Silent Treatment in Relationships: How To Know When It Becomes Abusive
12. We Worry About Getting Things Right:
We feel like we might get something wrong and upset them. Certain “rules” or patterns have fallen into place and seem expected. We feel we can’t break the rhythm that’s been set, a routine that caters to them. Maybe they tell us what to wear, or not wear. Where to go, or not go. When we can talk to our mom or not to talk to our mom. Maybe… they get physical or make threats.
13. We’re Feel We’re in the Wrong or We’re the Problem:
Feeling it’s our fault leaves us feeling like we don’t fit in – even in our own home. If we bring up the troubling thoughts on our mind, they tell us we’re imagining things – and that we’re the problem. Or they say if only we’d trust them things would be okay. If we’d stop questioning them everything would be fine. They tell us, because we’re so suspicious we’re ruining everything. We feel worse, nothing is resolved, we feel less and less “at home”.
I got these absurdities from the predator who hijacked me for a US green card: I can’t have sex!! Sex takes away my creativity. – And: Don’t touch me!! It makes me remember being beat. – And: You want a husband who lays around all day and makes no money? I can stay home! I can be a lazy guy! – And: My father never cheated with other women, why would I?! – And: It’s not good to be on social media, a private life should be private. – And: What money???!!! I don’t have any money!!!
14. We Feel Like They Don’t Care About Important Things In Our Life:
We don’t feel supported. We feel things we care about don’t faze them. Things in our lives we’d expect the person we’re dating or married to have an opinion about seem to never hit their radar. We get no response, or an odd reaction when our goldfish or our mom dies instead of any level of compassion.
We might get a blank stare, or a shrug and a grumble that doesn’t fit the circumstances – leaving us feeling like we’re falling through air. The fact is, our concerns and problems irritate them and put them on the spot. Sociopaths cannot relate to, feel or understand the feelings we have. – They truly don’t care. And these are clear signs we are used or abused.
Read Sociopaths Hate Us – When We See What They Are
15. Things Aren’t a Two-Way Street:
We feel let down and like the only one “giving”. Things are one way for them and another for us. We feel like we don’t count. They can use our car or take our money to go meet someone for lunch, but we can’t freely borrow their iPad let alone their car (if they have one.) – When they do use our things they “adopt” them as if our Kindle or book bag is now theirs. We do their laundry or stop by and feed their dog, but they’re unreliable or absent for us.
Their birthday is a big deal, ours is not – usually, we get nothing on our birthday from them. We’re tending to their needs – and it seems expected, while they ignore our needs – unless – by reciprocating they get: money, access to others to use, or a place to live, or something else they want.
16. We Feel We’re Being Lied To:
Things aren’t adding up. When they say certain things there’s a lurch in the pit of our stomach that floats up to shimmer in the back of our mind: somethings not right. (And then sometimes they say the oddest things, that make no sense like: “You only think you love me. If you knew who I really was you wouldn’t love me.”)
Read 6 Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied and Ways to Help
17. We Feel Like We’re in a Nightmare:
We know we have no idea what’s going on. This is like nothing we’ve ever known. We’re scared out of our gourd. We’ve done what people do in relationships and tried, and tried and nothing has changed except now we’re in danger, scared and terrified. – Now, instead of feeling, we’ll die without them, we feel we’ll die because of them. We know they could kill us.
Confusion, Exclusion, and Fear Add Up to Danger and Signal We’re Being Used
These feelings signal this person isn’t into us for a normal or genuine reason. We’ve been put in a box for their personal use or gain and “normal” is never going to happen. Confusion and self-doubt are effects of the emotional or physical assault.
These feelings signal our “mate” has a life they keep us from. They more than likely have a past or current life we know nothing about. They may be married, live with someone, have children we don’t know about. Have habits that are destructive, criminal records or behavior that’s considered a crime – or behavior that if it isn’t considered a crime – it should be.
Having these feelings within a relationship or friendship indicates our friend or partner is a narcissist (NPD). Or – A much more serious danger: an antisocial psychopath – known as a sociopath – commonly known as a scammer, or con man or con artist. Sociopaths cannot have genuine relationships and only bring inevitable harm.
Trust Our Gut – Our Instincts Have Real Meaning
We don’t have feelings for anything. They are proof. Proof we’re being used, disrespected, deceived and worse – which means the person we’re involved with is using us and has no genuine feelings of care or love for us. – This is not because of us – it’s because of them.
Our feelings are the proof. There’s no more proof needed.
People like this cannot change. A sociopath wouldn’t want to change if they could. This is a situation that will only escalate in harm and danger to us. It could be said these aren’t relationships, but an invasion or take-over for the convenience of the user. – A crime of deception. We’re being used.
Trust our gut. We don’t have these feelings without reason. Stand up for our lives. Give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We’re worthy and deserve all good things in life and love.
Here’s to REAL True Love and Happiness!
Time to thrive!
Written By Jennifer Smith
Originally Appeared On Truelovescam
Printed With Permission
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