I read the following statement in a narcissistic abuse recovery group I’m in and it was the most accurate thing I’ve read:
“He’s not outright mean, but every interaction with him is unpleasant.”
What a lot of people don’t realize is that it doesn’t need to be super intense for it to count as abuse. It’s a lot more petty than you think.
The thing about manipulation is that it’s a lot of small things that add up to big things.
Manipulation can be incredibly petty.
What do I mean by that?
It could be something as small as eating your favorite snack that you bought for yourself. While on the outside it seems like it’s no big deal, it’s meant to. The things they do are done to make sure that you’re not comfortable. This could also be a form of reactive abuse. They do these little things hoping they can get you to freak out so it makes you look like you’re crazy.
It could be refusing to help with the laundry or always making you late.
In my own experience, I would be running around the house trying to get everything ready to. Getting myself dressed, getting my son ready to go, packing lunches and checking that the diaper bag was stocked. All the while my ex would be sitting on the couch yelling at me to stop nagging him and he’d be ready to go when he was ready.
Then when it was time to leave, he’d finally get up and get dressed.
While this seems annoying and not abusive, it was consistent. And when I say consistent, I mean daily.
This is why I am so passionate about the fact that physical abuse isn’t the only form of abuse.
In fact, I would argue that covert abuse, like what I’ve been talking about here, is more prominent.
I’m not saying that every annoying thing your partner does is abuse, but I am saying that if it becomes a pattern, it very well could be.
Pay attention to the patterns.
When it comes to abusive partners, it doesn’t always look the same. It could be overtly, obviously abusive tactics. Or it could be more covert, subtle tactics that no one but you sees.
When we think of abusive relationships, we picture a fat old white guy in a beer stained white tank top in a house covered in amber glass bottles. While that may be true in some cases, it’s important to recognize that not all abusers look like that.
Some abusers are charming and have an air of kindness. The manipulation is never meant to be seen in public. They’re the ones who have it all together and it’s the partner who’s crazy.
You’re not alone.
So if you’ve experienced this, please know that I see you. I hear you. I validate you.
I understand the frustration.
I also understand the justification for why you’re just overreacting. You’re not.
You’re having a natural response to a very uncomfortable situation.
Don’t stay where you don’t feel wanted.
Your energy is expensive. If they aren’t willing to pay the price of respect, then they can peace out.
If this resonated with you and you’re ready to take the next step, I highly encourage you to grab my free Confidence Course. This five day course teaches you, in less than 20 minutes a day, how to build the skill of confidence.
Why is this important? As you build your sense of confidence and self worth, it becomes easier to recognize when someone is manipulating you.
That’s why confidence is the greatest weapon against your abuser.
Click here to grab it!