Today, I saw this article posted on Facebook. It’s a worthwhile read and does a great job of identifying many traits of abusers that may often fly under the radar. After I read it, I took a look at the comments on the Facebook post and found one that read:
This is a good article in some ways, but I did kind of think unless the guy is Jesus incarnate, he won’t make the cut.
And that makes me sad.
Abusive people are tricky. They have an uncanny way of imperceptibly shifting your view of what is normal until finally your own version of reality doesn’t match up with real life. They are exceptionally gifted at making you feel guilty for their actions, and one way they do this is by making their victims feel as though they are being unreasonable by holding to a certain standard of expected behavior.
Listen to me: you are not unreasonable.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect absolutely zero physical violence. None. Zip. Zilch. It is not normal for someone to physically harm you in reaction to ANYTHING. This also includes things that may not hurt but are intended to frighten you, such as refusing to let go of your arm.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to be able to handle any concern you have over their behavior. Refusal to listen or angry outbursts are not normal or acceptable.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect acceptance of a differing opinion. Normal people do not feel threatened when someone else’s thoughts are not the same as their thoughts, but for a manipulator, this is a sign that his control is slipping and will trigger frantic scrambling to get you to “come around”. Don’t come around. You are entitled to your own opinions.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to be truthful. Period.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to treat other people with common courtesy. All other people.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect and insist on respect for any personal boundaries you have set. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect to be treated as an equal.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect communication without yelling, berating, or belittling.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to own up to and take responsibility for their own actions.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect autonomy over your own self and your actions – including what you eat, drink, wear and do, who you spend time with and where you go, what job you hold, etc.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to deal with any negative fallout resulting from their own actions without shifting the blame or expecting you to come to the rescue.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to take the initiative on any personal change they want to enact without requiring your involvement.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect for your own needs to be given weight and value.
It is absolutely reasonable to expect someone to take no for an answer.
Finally, it is absolutely reasonable to set and adhere to standards of expected behavior in others.
To a healthy person with healthy relationships, all of these seem to be plain common sense. To someone in an abusive relationship, any of these can seem almost sacrilegious. They are not. Please, please take the time to really look over these and let them sink in. If anything mentioned here makes you uncomfortable, that should be an enormous red flag that somewhere, something is seriously wrong.
You are equal to and have just as many rights as every other person on this planet. Always remember that.
You are not unreasonable.
Listen to me.