Abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain and maintain power and control. And, it is more prevalent than we think. In fact, the likelihood that you have either been mildly abused or engaged in mild abuse is high.
If that sounds shocking to you, go back to when you were a kid or teenager. Is there a chance you engaged in a pattern of behavior to mess with another kid? That’s an example of mild abuse. And, the chances are high that you were that other kid at some point in your life.
Abuse is prevalent wherever there is plenty of insecurity (hence, the teenager example). The higher the insecurity, the greater the chance people display bully behavior. And, when they display bully behavior frequently, they become bullies for the long term. We’re naturally wired to think of physical or sexual abuse when we think of abuse. However, there are plenty of other means – digital, emotional, and mental. And, it isn’t easy to realize you are being abused in these forms. It is like the story of the frog in boiling water. You start with mild abuse and the pattern of behavior escalates.
It isn’t easy to spot this. And, it is hard to end it because you fear for your happiness and well being. The longer you’ve been in the pattern, the harder it is. It is also confusing because it always uses love or care as a front – “I know best.”
But, know this – if you are in a relationship where you walk out of most interactions feeling worse about yourself, it is time to walk away. And, if you find yourself feeling helpless because of another human being, again, time to walk away. Most abuse is disguised as love. But, remember, love means respect – in action, not just in words.
And, if you’ve identified yourself to be in such a situation, get help – either find a therapist or find places online that offer professional help.