Intimidations. Threats. Manipulating facts. These are some of the tactics an abuser uses to maintain their control.
I know because I’m on the receiving end of it right now. Have been for over 7 years. It’s only getting worse.
Abusers are often the Sirens found in mythology: they woo their victims until they don’t know what hit them.
I think of a victim of abuse as a lobster in a pot, the heat slowly getting turned up, until they are boiled alive.
If you recognize the pattern I’m about to share with you, I strongly advise you to do whatever you can to get out of that simmering pot.
The Early Years
The love-bombing commences. The romance. The remembering of small details, the overflowing with thoughtfulness. The feeling that you are starring in your own Hallmark movie.
You’ve just entered the pot. The water is warm. It feels so damn good.
Sure, every once in a while the abuser will say something that gives you pause. But you are so in love with this person by now, you rationalize the pause away. You make excuses for some minor controlling behaviors.
The Middle Years
Welcome to life inside the pot that is now starting to feel very steamy.
Still, your Abuser is so good to you. Well, except when they’re not.
As the water starts to simmer, you find yourself feeling a little uncomfortable.
Because you’ve been in the relationship for a fair amount of time at this point, you’ve lost your way. Up is down and down is up.
Being in an abusive relationship is living like Alice down the rabbit hole. Nothing makes sense.
What’s worse, you don’t trust yourself any more. You’ve lost your inner compass, your sense of what’s wrong and right.
Besides, it’s not that hot in the pot. There are even days when it still feels good. So long as you don’t upset the Abuser who put you in the pot in the first place.
Abusers and Eggshells
Eggshells are delicate and can easily break. Abusers are the eggshells. Once we are past the love-bombing phase, it becomes the victim’s unspoken job to ensure they don’t hurt their “delicate” partner.
Well-worn phrases by Abusers are steeped in manipulation and guilt:
- If you hadn’t done __________, I wouldn’t be in such a bad mood.
- You are so naive. There’s no way you can do/handle ____________.
- I treat you like a child because you act like one.
You may be told what clothing you can and cannot wear. What foods you can and cannot eat. You may have a curfew, even though you are an adult.
Again, guilt is a weapon to keep the victim in place:
“I only do this because I care about you, and it’s my job to protect you.”
When I finally realized I was a lobster boiling in that pot, I did everything I could to get out of the relationship.
Abusers don’t like to lose. Especially ones without the capacity for self-reflection.
It’s years since I left my abuser. Years since I had to walk on eggshells in his presence.
Unfortunately, the attacks are still coming. When you have deep pockets and are an abuser, there are creative ways to continue bullying someone.
The price of freedom doesn’t guarantee the end of attacks.
But it sure beats losing your life to a boiling pot.
Freedom Over Eggshells
Looking back, I don’t recognize the woman I was with the Abuser. She was constantly walking on eggshells to please the Abuser.
Walking on Eggshells:
- never satisfies the abuser
- only hurts the victim of abuse more
Better to walk on those damn eggshells and be true to yourself.
When you realize that the abuser WANTS their victim to be fearful, guilt-ridden, on-edge, and gaslit, you start to wake up your inner compass.
So crack some eggs, walk with your head held high, embrace your beautiful self.
No, we can’t control what an abuser will do, but we are now free to live life on our terms.
2 thoughts on “Walking on Eggshells?”
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Thank you, Cathey!