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The following quote assumes that the abuser is male and the abused is female but, as we know, neither of these may be true in a particular abusive relationship - both may be female or male or the reverse gender roles may be relevant. I know that I have been, in the past, both the abused and, in different relationships, the abuser (a fact of which I am not proud, for which I can thank behaviour learned as a child and I hope I have learned how not to be abusive ever again) and my abusers have been female in some relationships and male in others.

ETA: Also, when the quote says "partner", bear in mind that the abuser might be the abused's parent, friend or boss, not only their SO.

The defining characteristic of any abusive relationship is one partner’s constant attempt to control the other, including her experience of her own subjective reality. The abuser dictates how she’s feeling (“Get off it, you’re not so sick, I had the same cold a few days ago and I was fine”) or what she’s thinking (“You don’t actually like those people, do you?”) and manages to imply, to make her believe, that she is the problem. If she would only get it together and start behaving like an adult, things would be great. The abused partner on some level knows that something is off, something is wrong, that she’s possibly even being destroyed, but she contorts her mind to believe what the abuser tells her. She disconnects her own instincts. He’s also telling her that he loves her, and if she starts paying attention to what her body truly knows – that she’s in pain, her partner is full of it – then her whole life comes crashing apart.

Taken from the following article about rape (so trigger warnings apply):
how not to be a ‘legitimate’ rape victim | Justine Musk (sic)


Aug. 27th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
You may want to check out two books I've been reading lately (I've been having to deal with issues from my MIL who appears to be going extremely bipolar or just plain over the top narcissistic since my daughter was conceived, I have apparently become evil bitch who actually wants to be treated with some form of parental respect):

Toxic Parents
Emotional Blackmail

Both are by Susan Forward.

It may help you in your issues with your mother.

After watching how much my MIL tries to twist my husband around her and will emotionally abuse the crap out of him in an attempt to get what she wants (which is unrestricted access to my child without having to ask. To put things in perspective, she tried to grab the baby out of my arms when she was only two weeks old, "sprang" a baptism on us without our permission (her sister is a minister), and freaks out at me any time I just tell her I want her to *ask* first, claiming I'm trying to keep her away from the baby), I'm hoping he'll read through them.

It is hard to admit when you have received emotional abuse from a parent, my husband is still at that stage where he can't believe that what he gets from her is abuse, plain and simple.

I'm glad that while you have had to put up with the abuse, you're able to view it in a more objective perspective at this point and know what she's doing. Some people never get there.
Aug. 28th, 2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

P.S. I have updated the entry to mention the bit about "not only partners are abusers".

Edited at 2012-08-28 02:37 pm (UTC)


Nat S Ford
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