128: Abuse Can Be PETTY!


I’m in a narcissistic abuse recovery group and someone in this group said the following statement.

“He’s not outright mean. But every interaction with him is unpleasant.”

What a lot of people don’t understand is that some abuse is “big” acts of violence, and other abuse is “small” acts of pettiness. It’s all valid, but if we don’t take the time to recognize what’s happening, we’re going to get sucked in.

This is how a lot of people get away with it because it’s more covert. And it’s little things and what a lot. And just because it’s not intense and big does not mean that it’s not abuse.

The thing about manipulation is that it’s a lot of small things that lead to the big things.

Manipulation can be incredibly petty. It can be something as small as purposely eating that snack that you got yourself and you were so excited.

While that seems like it’s no big deal, when it’s a pattern, it is a big deal. This could also be a form of reactive abuse, where they do a bunch of little bitty things that all of a sudden cause you to react in what looks to be an irrational way.

In my own experience, I would be running around the house trying to get everything ready to go stuffing things into a diaper bag, rushing around, trying to get everything together, only to be completely ready to go and my ex would be sitting on the couch playing on his phone.

When I let him know it’s time to go, he’d yell at me to stop nagging and then take his own sweet time to be ready. By the time we got there, we were at least a half hour late. Sometimes we were so late there was no point in going at all.

While this seems more annoying than abusive, when it is a consistent pattern, it becomes a problem. This is actually a pattern that I did not notice until my mom brought it to my attention.

Recognizing that it’s these little things that can lead to these big physical things is where these problems really occur. I am not saying that every annoying thing your partner does is abuse. But what I am saying is to watch for patterns.

When it comes to abusive partners, it doesn’t always look the same. It could beobviously abusive tactics, or it could be like the covert ones.

When we think of abusive relationships, we picture this old white fat guy with a big old beer gut and a stained wife beater tank top with a bunch of amber bottles in his hand slurring over his words. Some abusers most definitely match that description. A lot of abusers are actually the complete opposite. They are kind of smart and charming. They are clean cut, put together and would seem like the most kind, successful person that you can think of.

The manipulation is never meant to be seen in public.

If you’ve experienced this, you are so not alone. Please know that I see you and I hear you. I believe you and I validate you. I understand the frustration.

You deserve so much more. As someone who was in a relationship that started out very emotionally and mentally manipulative and then abruptly turned physical, please do not wait for it to become physical before you get out.

Your energy is expensive. And if they aren’t willing to pay the price of respect, then they don’t deserve you.

If this resonates with you and you want to begin your journey to healing, I highly recommend you check out this playlist on YouTube. This is a curated list of videos that breaks down exactly how to start your journey to healing.


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