The opposite of abuse is respect. Abuse is the destructive intention to ruin, and respect is a tending energy to build. If you could see into the diagram of someone's mind when they are verbally demeaning or degrading you, you'd find that their circular representation of themselves is large and entitled and that they have shrunk your circular representation. The abuser is operating from a perversion in the mental assignation of value. Abuse can escalate from emotional and verbal to physical, so if you intuit danger, do not attempt to work on this situation and get out. If the devaluation is subtle and non-physical, you can try to shift this dynamic by simply not accepting the reduced estimation of you as true.
Ask questions and more questions, because you have moved from being a soft, absorbing, sponge into a reflective mirror surface. The abuser can only learn by having their erroneous perceptions reflected back. This is why it is most important to understand the distorted interpersonal mental map under their demeaning talk.
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This is a twisted undercurrent. Love should not hurt. Only the unloving things we do in relationships hurt. If you were psychologically parented in an unhealthy overly criticized way, or if your essence as a person was not properly valued, it then is easy for subtly abusive romantic relationships to slip in under the radar. Unconsciously the harsh or negating treatment feels familiar. Learn that healthy love supports and enhances a person's self-esteem and self-worth. The lover should want to give, and the map of you in their mind would be ample and growing.
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Conversely, an abuser love wants to constrict and keep you small, often out of their own sense of inferiority cloaked in aggrandizement. Like a disgruntled teen who cannot find their place relative to a parent they overly depend on, an abusive person is oppositional-defiant and both anti-life and anti-love. Respect is a pro-life energy that supports creation. Respect is the loving force that can nourish to flourish. Why stand amidst someone who blocks the sun you need to grow? Verbally abusive people act out of emotional weakness with the falsely entitled belief that they deserve to take up more proportional space.
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