Imagine this. Someone is getting abused by their partner, be it physically, emotionally, mentally or even, financially, and this goes on and on and on for a very long time. And then something snaps in the person who is getting abused, and they retaliate and stand up against their abuser. Shockingly, the moment they do this, the abuser claims that the victim is being abusive towards THEM, and not the other way around.
They have completely flipped the table and reversed the situation and so now, the victim becomes the abuser, and the abuser becomes the victim. And that my folks, is reactive abuse, in a nutshell.
Shocking, enraging and so unfair, isn’t it? Makes your blood boil, right? But unfortunately, this is what happens to so many people out there, who are still in the clutches of their abusers and are tormented by their abusive actions.
What Is Reactive Abuse?
Reactive abuse is a major part of the manipulation, and psychological abuse by the abuser, when they claim that their victim is being abusive towards them, whenever the latter tries to protect themselves and take a stand against them. For the abuser, this is the perfect plan to undermine and abuse their victims more.
When you are constantly abused by someone, there’s only so much you can endure and go through. In the past, you might have tried to tell them that how much they were hurting you, and how their toxic actions were gradually taking a toll on your mental health, but all they do is dismiss you off by calling you over-sensitive and weak.
Listening to this over and over again breaks you down more and after a point, and you find yourself scared and brainwashed to even acknowledge that what’s happening to you is horrible.
Related: What Is Reactive Abuse
You go through this day in and day out, and then finally, one day you snap and let go. You scream. You shout. You insult them back. You even give them a punch back, if they are being physically abusive towards you. You finally take a stand for yourself and hold them accountable for all their toxic mind games and vicious actions.
Now before you think that you have finally changed the power dynamics and have taken control of the situation, your abuser takes advantage of your reaction, and claim themselves to be the poor, hapless victim of your “abuse”. They use the situation and your emotions as “proof” that you are crazy and unstable, and that they were the victims of your abuse for all this time, not you. They hold all of this against you and go on to brainwash you more about how you are abusive towards them.
You are still reeling from everything that is happening, and before you can stop yourself, you find yourself trying to talk to them about what went wrong, and try to make things right. But the abuser knows exactly how to play you, and by this point, they are having a lot of fun emotionally tormenting you. They don’t care about making things right, nor do they care about the reasons behind your outburst.
Reactive abuse makes them hold the “proof” in front of you, and with the help of it, they keep on tormenting you, just because you found the courage to stand up to their abuse. They keep on saying things like “you don’t understand me at all!”, “you only care about your own feelings. What about my feelings?”, “I will have to walk on eggshells around you from now on”, “you are like a ticking time bomb”, and the best yet, “I didn’t scare you. YOU scared ME!”.
While they do all this, you start questioning yourself, whether they are indeed right, and you are wrong. Whether you are the problem, not them. Whether it’s you who has got it all wrong and you were just misunderstanding them and their intentions. You fail to realize that your abuser is really the ticking time bomb, not you. You are the one who has to walk on eggshells, not them. You are so deep in the throes of their reactive abuse, that you start to hold yourself responsible for all the things that are going wrong.
And just like that, your abuser has reversed the roles and has painted you as the “abuser”, and themselves as the “abused”.