Episode 24: Does Your Relationship Have Abusive Dialogue?
Listen to these examples to see if this resonates with you. I talk about scenarios where abuse may not be noticed and I give you phrases you can use to set boundaries.
Today is going to be a part two. Last week we talked about emotional and verbal abuse. And as I got comments rolling in new people that wanted to work with me, people who needed to talk about their experiences, I found that we need to go a little more in depth of what those things look like actual kind of examples or words or phrases that are used, so that we can see if this is our situation. Because the main goal is to be in the truth.
When we accept the truth, we can do things different. When we see reality clear, it gives us the opportunity to choose into our own personal healing. And we can't change anybody else. We can't even change a circumstance we can't make our kids do something different, our spouse do something different our job or our friends, if we are not healing ourselves. So this is all about looking at your own personal situation. If these things resonate with you, and if they do, are you ready to change the dynamic?
After I recorded last week's episode, I came across this quote that went right along with what we've been talking about. And I posted about it on social media with a caption, but let me read the quote to you. It says abusers don't abuse every day, they have good moments, days where they do the right things, moments where they say the correct words, when this happens, the key is to remember that it is just an abuser having a good day, but still an abuser based on all the other days. And that was by Shannon Thomas, out of South Lake counseling.org.
So in my post, I talked about this, if you have a glass of water, and you offer it to somebody, and then you put in a few drops of poison, and you hand it to them, are they going to drink it? Most likely not because there is poison in there. So they're going to say, No, this is poisonous. There, I'm not drinking that. You may say it's just a few drops, though. And still they're not going to want to drink it. It doesn't matter how much you put in there, if you dropped poison into it is now poisonous, the whole thing, the whole glass of water. So we need to look at our relationships like this.
Are there drops of poison in your relationship? If there is, you might want to think about getting a counselor so you can talk about it. It's very important to stay in the truth of what our reality is. If there are days of abuse, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, which includes manipulation, dishonesty, neglect, blame shifting, name calling, addiction, betrayal, etc, then the few good days should not erase the truth. So that is what we are in a lot of the time. And we look at and go okay, but there was some good days. We talked about this last time about that the graph, where there's all these green lines of all the good that they do. And then in between, there's these these red lines of where they say or do abusive things.
If there is abuse, if there is poison, then the relationship has poisonous aspects. Now, when I'm talking about things like this, and we're talking about abuse, and you're recognizing it in your relationships, I am not saying that all relationships should end in divorce. Absolutely, I did not want that for myself. But that was the fact because what I do believe is that it's important that both people choose to doing the work so that those behaviors can stop. And that way a good relationship can form and move forward, and then you'll be happier and healthier. So that's the goal is to be healthy and happy.
If you have a partner that does not want to do the work and you are constantly trying to change them or pull them forward. If they are not going to jump in and be side by side with you. At least in my case. That's where I chose to get divorced. But the goal is is that as we recognize these things that we've been doing, this dance that we've been doing our whole lives, or at least for years with our spouse, that have not served us that we no longer want a part of it's time to change those things. So let's talk about some different kinds of scenarios.
When somebody is emotionally or verbally abusing you, a lot of the time it is as if they act As though their life is more important than someone else's. For me, this is a red flag. For example, if your partner calls you or text you, and you are too busy, so you don't answer it, or you don't see it, what happens? How do they respond? Abusive action looks something like this. They will either call you multiple times in a row, they will spam text you over and over and over, or they will act irritated and totally be put out that you haven't responded within minutes. By doing this, they're trying to make you feel like you've now done something wrong by not meeting their immediate need.
What that really says is more about them, the way they are seeing you, if they are treating you like you should be at their beck and call that anything they need should matter more than what you are doing. They are not seeing you, as an individual person with an actual life that may be busy or be doing something different. It's more of someone that is there as a servant, somebody to wait on them, and respond to everything they need and desire. So when you don't, they act as though that you are the worst. They may degrade you or yell or Stonewall, so not talk to you. They might not return your calls when you go to call them back, just to punish you that you were not there for them at the right time. And now they pretend that you are the one that hurt them by your actions.
This is seeing you more as an object, not a person with a life that you are living. They don't see you as someone that is busy or doing something for themselves or other people. They don't assume Oh, she's probably busy. They rather act like you should have dropped everything and everyone to respond and meet their needs. They believe that this means you love them. And that just doesn't work. Because we can't bend over backwards for that person every single day. Because even if we do that one time that you don't grab the phone within 30 seconds, and you are blasted with words, actions or inactions, then all of a sudden they fly off the handle and this behavior is abuse.
This is actually not how healthy individuals act. So if this is happening to you, think about how you wish your partner would see you. How do you wish they would respond? If you're wishing that they would just see that, hey, I have stuff I have to do to and my life can't totally revolve around yours. And I'm not there for your every need being met. I still love you that has nothing to do with whether I love you, there might be some things that you can do on your end to change this dynamic. Because what happens is we've been doing the same thing for years on end. So how do you change the pattern? Again, I'm not suggesting that divorce is the answer for everybody. I'm opening your mind to changing what has always happened or what you've always done.
This is kind of an example of creating and holding a boundary for yourself. This can help you change you in the situation. Because remember, you can't change him, and only he will get to decide to change his own patterns. But what will you do if he doesn't? So here's kind of a possible scenario or conversation.
"I have noticed that I no longer want this type of situation to happen. I can see how I have enabled this by believing I somehow can keep you happy or change your mood if I respond at your every whim. I am now learning that really isn't true. I've been acting super codependent trying to make sure you don't get mad or upset. So I'm going to work on changing that in myself. I would love it if you worked on it as well and learned what you are doing in these situations that is not healthy. These are the things that are no longer going to be okay with me. And I realize it's gonna take time for us to figure out a new pattern, but I'm hopeful that as we work together, we will be able to grow together and feel happier."
So then you can say "when you call or text me and I don't answer, I would love if you assumed that I'm living my life and I'm busy at the moment. I would like you to think about me and not what I'm not doing for you. Thinking about me looks like my wife must be doing something right now personally, I will try again later or I will realize and know that she will get back with me when she can. I will not be mad at her because she is an individual with needs, wants desires and goals. I can take care of my own needs."
Here's another one "when you text me a question and I don't answer you right away, It's actually considered abusive behavior when you send me comments like seriously, or I can see where I fit into your schedule. Or blast me with Hello question mark next text Hello next text Hello. Sending one word or one line or text is abusive. It implies again that you don't see me as a person."
This is going to be hard to do I know because we get so used to doing it. And if it's happening to us we have let it happen. We have run to them with their every need. We have called them back over and over to them to try to make sure that they know that we care about them and that we love them but it does not work. When someone is acting this way they are not seeing you as a person, but rather your job is to meet their needs in the exact moment they want you to. This is manipulation and a form of gaslighting. So is this something you're experiencing? If it is, you might be feeling your heart race a lot and feel like oh no, this is scary, I feel uncomfortable, I'm feeling a lot of fear.
But if you are experiencing this, this is a good chance for you to start learning the tools you need, in order to change the pattern that you've accepted up to this point. You have to be the one that's ready to stand strong, regardless of how he responds. You could go on to tell your partner that as this happens, you will kindly call them out, as soon as you recognize it happening. Kind of like, okay, so I really want to try this thing. I am not liking the way we are communicating, I don't feel good when you text me this way, or call me a certain way. So I want to try this. And I know it's gonna be hard because we're used to doing this. And I recognize that so I'm not expecting perfection on this. But as I notice it happening, I'm going to start kind of calling it out so that we're aware.
So you might say, "Oh, hey, I'm noticing you are expecting me to do something for you at this exact moment. I am busy doing something else right now, I can talk to you later about that." If they continue with their verbal or emotional abuse tactics, you can say something similar to this is where a boundary is, "I will not be responding to you until you see me as a person and not your servant. Do not text me or call me incessantly for me to respond. That is abusive behavior, I would be happy to talk with you at a time that works for me and you. And only if you can remain calm and respectful."
This is a boundary. It is awesome. You're allowed to say it. You're allowed to stand up for yourself. If somebody is not respecting you and they are treating you that you are less than, that you owe them something, the problem lies with them. It does not lie with you. So if they don't like this, if they don't jump in to say, you know what, okay, this is hard to hear. But I don't want you to feel that way when I text you. I'm just thinking, I'm joking, I'm just thinking that it doesn't matter. Or I'm thinking, she's not doing anything, she's just at home doing nothing. Well, this is a chance for you to change that and say, yeah, and I'm not actually doing nothing. I have things that I'm doing because I'm living my life.
So if he is willing to recognize that, that is great. And you guys can be on the road to learning new tools, and new ways of communicating. But if they don't, this is where the truth of who they are choosing to be comes out. This is the hard part. This is the part that kind of gut punches you and you think I can't believe I wanted to find this out because I really wanted to know that he was gonna choose me. And it's really hard. And I'm really sorry, if the truth for you is that he doesn't know how to change, he doesn't choose to change.
At this point, you have a choice to make, do you go back to how these things were just so you don't have to stand up for yourself. Because it feels easier, right? Feels easier to give up your own freedom in your personal life. It feels better to settle at times, just because then you don't have to do the hard stuff. And he might be mad. The hard part too is sometimes we don't even think they're gonna do it. Oh, I could say that stuff to my husband. And there's no way he's going to do any of that he is so hard headed. This is never gonna happen. So it does fall on you on what you want to endure? How you want to be treated?
Do you hold consequences and move forward with asking them to attend counseling? Now when I say counseling for them, I'm not actually even talking about marriage counseling necessarily. Even though at one point, I know that will be beneficial. I'm talking about personal counseling to see why they treat you the way they do. Why they see you that way as not an equal partner that has a life and why they feel they can even say those degrading words to you. Because those words are abusive, and then maybe have counseling after that, if they can get to the bottom and want to heal show that they want to heal what they've done in the past. You want someone to learn and you want to learn as well, healthy communication without a passive aggressive undertone.
Counseling would validate that what they're doing is in fact abusive. So that might help you see it clear and know that you're not crazy. And the way you feel is real. Your partner may not even realize that they're doing this and that it's even bad. They may have grown up this way. They may think it's joking, they may make light of it. They may say you're too sensitive. But that's not true either. This is something that they're acting like and it's time for them to change it. If they decide to see the truth they will be shocked at their years of mistreatment and pride and they will want to do what they can to change. They will want to change.
If their narcissism tendencies are really strong, they will not want to admit they were wrong. This is another red flag you should watch for. Someone humble who truly wants to be a good person will let down their pride and ego. They will do what it takes to love you in a way that is healthy, if they can only see themselves and are unable to see other people who have a right to live their lives and be free, and they only want people to cater to them, everyone and everything is always putting them off, they are irritated by others easily, then they are blame shifters. They are using negative patterns and behaviors, abuse to show and pretend that nothing is their fault.
It's always because someone else did or didn't do something for them. They like to blame their personal thoughts, feelings and actions on other people. But we cannot take on other people's actions. Are you taking responsibility trying to make someone happy? Think about this for a second. Do you walk on eggshells around your partner? When you hear the garage door open do you panic for a second? At either, what mood will he be in? Or do you look around frantic to see if everything is in its place to not take tick off? If you answered yes to those or felt something similar, you are in a controlling and abusive situation. You are also acting highly codependent. Which means taking on whether or not he is happy. So how is that actually working? Does it work? Can you control whether he's in a good mood or not just by creating the environment he thinks he wants?
Well, the answer is no. And you know that you cannot make someone Okay. We all have to learn to do that for ourselves. The other harm that this does, the kind when we're coddling someone, or enabling someone to treat us badly or treat our children badly, we're enabling abuse. It teaches our kids that they are responsible for others feelings rather than making their own lives happy. What happens is when they can't actually achieve that, they form a belief that they're not good enough, that they did something wrong, that they didn't do something, that they did something or they didn't do something or said something that caused their parent to be abusive.
Is that true? If your child is crying, did your child's crying make their dad so angry that he punched a wall because they were not quiet? No, your child is going to cry, laugh, run around the house, make messes and none of that gives another person licensed to act out. Your spouse punching the wall is because he alone does not know how to manage his own thoughts and feelings. That is all about him. It's nobody's fault, but his own with how he reacts to life. Life will not and cannot be perfect for each and every mood for an individual. So you are not required to make his life so perfect that he will never get upset because he will anyway.
This is key right here. If he wants to be angry and need someone to blame, he will look for anything and anyone to criticize. If it's you, he will look to you and find something that is wrong. He moved his glass. You are too slow. You are a terrible driver. You are the worst mother because your kid threw a tantrum in the store. You burn the dinner as you were feeding your infant and reading a book to your toddler. Everything you do will be twisted and turned to how you make his life terrible because everything didn't turn out perfect. This is probably a lot for some of you to hear. This feels heavy. This feels scary.
Because if you're in the situation, and you are feeling those pains of this sounds just like my life. First of all, I am so sorry, that that's what you're in. And second, I am with you. There are so many that have experienced or are in your experience that you're going through right now. You are definitely not alone. There is hope to move through this with or without your partner. You can do this, you will be okay. It's scary. But there are tools to help you. There are counselors that can help you, I can show you. So if we go back to any of those scenarios, and maybe your spouse doesn't punch a wall, but maybe they Stonewall you which means they go in their room and they don't talk to you for days, or they slam the table or they they are mean to you or the kids because something didn't go perfect.
It can be any outburst of any kind, where somehow you are now at fault for doing something or not doing something. All of this behavior is about him. It's his to own. You don't have to carry the burden of this any longer. It's been long enough that you believe this was your job. So if today you are starting to feel different. If today you have had an aha moment, truth that pierced your heart that said, Oh wow, I think this is me. If your eyes are all of a sudden wide open to realizing that you have been in this and you didn't even realize it. This is actually great. Because today is the day to choose something different. A different way of believing.
This is now about healing you and becoming strong and stable. You will no longer need to own his behavior or emotions. You will only own yours. So I want you to close your eyes for a minute. I want you to take two big deep breaths in and out Now say to yourself, I will no longer live the way I have in the past. I forgive myself for not knowing. And I love myself for trying the best I knew how to make someone else happy. I am a good person. I was trying to be a good wife. I see different now. I don't know how to do it. But I want to try. Today I will move forward learning how to be healthy and happy.
Now with your eyes still closed. Imagine in your mind you gathering up all of his stuff, his blame his shame of you, his mean comments, his texts, his negative requests or ways he has treated you anything you can think of. And you can do this again after this podcast, you may have to do it several times to remind yourself none of this is yours. But as you look in your mind, and you gather everything that really is his everything he's put on you everything he said to you. Anything it that is mean that isn't loving and respectful. gather everything up.
Put all of those things in a container, or in a suitcase or something where you can put it all in there. And visually in your mind, imagine you giving his stuff back to him to be carried, you will no longer be carrying it, you have carried it long enough. It never was your burden, yet you tried to hold it and support him. Today, you will let him own and carry it on his own. Imagine it resting heavy on his shoulders, and let it. Let him feel what you have been holding for him. Let him take accountability for his own actions and behaviors and his life. Letting him feel it fully will be the only way you will get to see the truth. Will he own it? Will he apologize and learn how to be better? Or will he blame even more ridicule and treat you with disgust?
You need to know if he wants to treat you right. You need to see and find out where his willingness to carry his own weight in the relationship is. You really do want to see a need to see clear if he wants the family enough to do the hard work to change and be different. Now if this feels scary, I want you to know that I've seen many who have wanted to change, who ended up feeling so much better and happier as they learned the right coping skills. It feels better to show love then contempt. And so even though they're so used to manipulating, deceiving, blaming, being mean, saying rude comments, when they do their own work, they can see you clear. They can see other people clear, and they are so much happier.
Now I've also seen even more people that don't want to choose into doing their personal work. They complain and blame for as long as their partner will allow it. They don't want to see themselves for all they have done wrong. Instead of looking at it as a way to be better, they look at themselves shameful. And hold on to this pride that so hard that they get worse. The lie is that if they look at the truth, they will be so overwhelmed with what they have done, and don't know how to sit with an uncomfortable truth. So they'd rather lose everything and blame the spouse then come humble and submissive to God and learning from a counselor or some other trusted professional.
These are important things to know. It's really a hard place to get to, but at the end of the day, it just all of a sudden gets so old, somebody's treating you badly. You finally just say Okay, seriously, I don't think I'm as bad as you say. I don't think I'm as dumb as you keep telling me I am. I don't think I'm a bad mom. I think I'm awesome. I think I'm doing a good job. Yeah, I made a mistake over here or Yeah, I yelled at my child when they made a big mess. I get that I get that I have things to work on. But I am a good person and I am always trying to help our family.
At what point, when will it be enough? When will that mocking text, that passive aggressive attitude, those looks of disgust like somehow You've ruined everything because you didn't come to their aid in the very moment they wanted. When is that enough? When does that light inside of you that fire that says wait a second, I am worth it. I am good enough. And I cannot any longer let them tell me that I'm not. Usually someone who is abusing you emotionally or verbally, they want to always remind you of the things that you're doing wrong. Because this keeps you in a place of control. And this keeps you not wanting to see them clear or leave because you think you deserve nothing better. I want you to challenge yourself in those thoughts.
A person who cares for you and loves you wants to treat you with love and respect. They do not want to belittle you or harm you or make fun of you. All of those things, those projections onto you that you're terrible, are all about them and how they feel about themselves. They're going to act like they feel like they're the greatest, and that you're lucky to have them. But that's not the truth. A person who is confident and kind and loving and sees the world with clear eyes would not treat someone else in this abusive way. Okay, so there's other abusive War Tactics as well. So let's talk about a few others.
When somebody cheats on somebody, sometimes they want to blame their spouse. So they might say something like, well, you were not available, you're not meeting my sexual needs. Or you were emotionally distant so I needed to reach out to somebody else to get my needs met. Does that actually sound right? Are you responsible for the actions of someone else? Is it really your fault that your spouse reached out to someone else for comfort? That is not true. You are not responsible for somebody else's actions, just like they are not responsible for yours.
We've talked about that we talked about in the last podcast about when I cut my husband's ties. It was crazy moment. Even though I felt crazy because of him, It was because of me that I cut those ties. I take full responsibility for that. So we need to look at ourselves and know that we're responsible for us, and that we are not responsible for someone else. If they say something like if you can't keep the kids quiet. If you can't keep the house clean. I can't be nice and happy. Is it your job to make sure the environment around your spouse is perfect all the time? If he is sad, mad, extra angry when it comes walking in the door at night, Is it your job to frantically shushed the kids and make sure all as well, so he is happy? And really will it even make him happy?
Again, this teaches the kids that they are in control of whether dad is happy or not. This also shows them that even if they are awesome and quiet, and Dad still gets mad that it's their fault, and they will never be good enough. That doesn't sound right. It took me a lot of learning and understanding to accept that I in fact, was being abused. And this is what mine looked like. When someone can look at you, so my spouse, in the eye, smile at me so lovingly, and tenderly reach out and hold me as he said how much he loves me and that he would never do something like I was asking if he did. "I would never" and then lean in for a kiss. I was being abused. He was lying and acting as though he was so awesome.
When he was in the middle of three online affairs that I didn't know about at this point, yet I could still feel that he was lying, I told him he would need to leave or go to rehab. I've shared that before. In that moment. He professed his innocence. He told me I'm sober and you're crazy. He told me in that moment, your inspirations are wrong. And then if you get on medication, I will stay with you. That's what he told me. As I've shared before, when I found a secret life, he did not know that I did. That same day, I found that he read me a note that night, which I've talked about, and he read off a list of all the things that were wrong with me. The first thing he said was that he is sober. And I better not call him a liar one more time.
How is that possible? Right? It's the same day, I found everything. I found his history screen from the day before of his actions sites he had visited and online personal sessions. That same day, he told me I was the one that was crazy. But I found the truth. That whole situation and the way he lied, manipulated was gaslighting, deceiving, trying to make me take on the responsibility of why things were so hard? This is abuse. When there are good things mixed in with the toxic behavior, it makes it hard to discern what you should do. So many times I would think, Oh, good, he gets it. He's choosing me. Maybe he's remembering how much we love each other, maybe he can see that he doesn't want to lose me. And then I would be shocked and disappointed all over again, when he threw in the abusive behaviors.
These are all different tactics, that people who want to abuse do. They may not know any other way, but that doesn't make it okay. Doesn't matter what kind of upbringing they had. It doesn't matter what kind of trauma they've experienced, they are responsible for their own thoughts, feelings and actions. They are responsible for getting the help that they need. They are responsible to be a loving and kind human being to their spouse and family. This is not too much to ask. You are not deserving of being treated badly. It doesn't matter what you do or what you have done. It does not give anyone the right to be mean.
So as we close, this is some really deep, heavy hard things. If this is your circumstance, please please please reach out and get some help. Get some counseling so that you can see what is happening. I was shocked. Remember, I was shocked. I had no idea that I was being abused. So it's okay if this is shocking to you. It's okay if you are a strong professional woman that has so many things going for you. This does not make you stupid. This makes you loving and kind that you've been living in a relationship that you thought you could somehow save. This also shows you what things you need to work on to be a healthy person. if you want to be able to move forward and find some peace in your life.
I want you to also be careful not to shame yourself. Like, how could I have done this? How could I have stayed in this? We do not know what we don't know. When we get that piercing truth that pierces our heart or our mind or soul that says, Oh my gosh, that's me. That's when you finally are waking up to something may be different than you thought. That's the new awareness. That's where you can go, Okay, I didn't know before. I think I might need to learn some new things. There's nothing wrong with that. That's growth. That's awesome. You can't know what you didn't know. But now that you do, you can do better.
So I'm going to challenge you to take the time this week to really process what you're in. Think about learning how to state what you actually want to your spouse. Think about getting a counselor or if you have one talking about the specific things in your session. Think about if you want to work with me, or if you want to do my six week program, look at it online on my website, see if that's for you, and feel what God wants for you. He knows what your next step is. I'm here for you if you decide you need to talk. Please get the help you need, please reach out. Form a support system of those around you who get it. Look for those people because there are people all around you who have done this who have walked your path before. Sending you so much love. I know you can do this. You're not alone. And please choose into doing the work to heal you and I'll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai