You likely have no idea who you are because insidious acts of emotional abuse are often inflicted unintentionally. However, in quiet moments of self-reflection, you may wonder if you have acted in hurtful ways towards your partner. Domestic violence shelters determine who is a perpetrator and who is a target, in part, by noticing whose life has gotten bigger and whose life has gotten smaller. In your partnership/s, who is shrinking and who is dominating?
When you tell me my experience isn’t real, you are abusive
That’s not what happened!
I remember it correctly, you don’t
You do it wrong
I do it better
I didn’t say that
You don’t want that
You didn’t say that
You’re having a breakdown
When you react with emotional aggression, you are abusive
Get out and never come back
I hate you
I can’t wait till you’re gone
Your brain is fucked up
I wish I was with someone else
When you insult and humiliate, you are abusive
Put your grown-up pants on
Stop being emotional
You make people feel badly about themselves
You’re too sensitive
You don’t know how to act in social situations
You’re having a midlife crisis
When you overly control situations, you are abusive
We have to do it my way
Move over, I will do it
Give it to me, I will do it
I don’t want that, I want this
We have to go here, do that
I don’t care how you want to do things
Your way is wrong
You have to eat this
You must do this
I will spend whatever I want
When you explode in anger because your partner made a request or set a boundary, you are abusive.
When you tell your partner what they are like and what they should do, you are abusive.
Healthy expressions of anger are necessary, but reactive, emotional aggression is not healthy.
Violating a partner’s privacy is not healthy.
Attempts to control a partner’s life are not healthy.
You may think you are “helpful.” You may think you know better. You may believe your way is right, but these beliefs and subsequent actions do not leave room for body autonomy. I get to be in charge of my body. It’s ok for me to set boundaries even if you don’t like them.
To you, I say never again. Find your anger somewhere else.