17 Signs We Are Used or Abused


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. 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.


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.