Does this sound familiar? Once again, it sure did for me. I was ALWAYS wrong! (Really?). I have not experienced life’s tragedies or it’s hardships! (That’s good isn’t it?). I’ve still got both my parents, I don’t know how it feels without them in my life! (And I’m thankful). I don’t know ANYTHING! (Hey, I passed my subjects at school, I can’t be that dumb, surely?). I can’t even get a full time job! (No, I have a child to work around … but I was a supervisor where I worked and highly respected by my colleagues). I can’t cook, I’ll burn the house down if I tried! (Maybe if you let me, I could learn). I can’t clean the house properly! (His way! And you could help you know, just saying). I can’t drive a car! (Um, Yea I can. I have a car and have been driving since I was 18).
My god, I could just go on and on. “Everything” I did was wrong and, even though, I deliberately tried to be knowledgeable and sympathetic, nothing was up to his standards. Simply nothing I did was right and he could ‘do it better’. Nothing I said or experienced was anywhere near good enough for his counter comparison. Just a little praise. Just a little compassion. If I’m sick, I don’t want to hear about when you had the flu. If I roll my ankle, I don’t want to hear about how you hurt yours, playing football at 14yrs old. When my beloved parents pass, I don’t want to be told ‘oh, now you know how I feel’ (I don’t even think I would have got a hug of support). I’ve already heard your “stories” and your ‘I’m better than you’ and the ‘You know nothing’ over and over and over again. Compassion, love and respect are not hard to show if you love someone, right?
Unfortunately, I’m now constantly disappointed in myself because my ‘coping’ mechanism for this particular tactic has turned me into an overbearing ‘know it all’ that always has to be right (although, I apparently know nothing). Anxiety makes my brain switch into overdrive and in order to get through the day and sleep at night, I need clarity and peace, knowing I’ve done my best to be as perfect as possible all day. Panic attacks ensure with a rage I could never explain, when I do or say something wrong. Just a never ending reminder about how stupid I am and how I can never do anything right.
Constantly listening to the ‘I know this, I’m older than you’ or ‘I know, I’ve already experienced this’ genuinely turns into physical pain. All, and any conversation turns into his point of view on any issue. It’s totally forgotten that “I” had the issue to start with, and he continually played the victim. Sadly it took me a long time to stick up for myself and I, constantly, got spoken over the top of and, eventually, I just stopped speaking.
Now I internalise almost everything, because deep down I know it’s my issue and I need to solve it. As I’m used to doing. Yet another truth of a domestic violence situation! People genuinely start believing that they are stupid and not capable of making everyday decisions or actions.
Learning how to make mistakes, and not be overwhelmed with the consequences, is still extremely difficult. As is, asking for help or accepting offers of help, from anyone. There’s always the issue of ‘Now you owe me’ or ‘when I did this, I did it better’ or lastly ‘you didn’t do it the way I said, this is the right way to do this’. Their way is the only way and it’s always right. Follow the slow and condescending manner in which tasks are explained (or else), because clearly I’m stupid and can’t do anything for myself.
I think when your needing to change your entire personality to survive each second of your day, is abuse. Also, if your constantly being told your wrong and/or stupid, that’s when this tactic becomes abusive. You’re moulded into someone who believes they know nothing and can’t do anything right, or without them (dependency!). You believe this. Your world crushes in all around you, and you can’t do anything right. You can’t ask for help (it’s family business only). Eventually, you stop trying. Getting constantly yelled at for being yourself, you naturally become someone else (a stranger!).
Don’t allow someone to take your knowledge, kindness, passion or compassion. Your being!
THIS IS ABUSE!!!
If you, or anyone you know, experiencing this abusive tactic, please, I need you to seek help. Talk about domestic violence and let’s help each other.
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You may feel alone, but everyone loves you and wants what’s best for you. L