Once you understand that you do not cause abusers to be abusive, perhaps you can also understand that there is nothing you can do to have control over getting an abuser to see or understand what he or she is doing, to understand how hurtful it is to you, or to understand your point of view. There is no way of having a rational discussion. When someone is deeply attached to having power and control over another, they don't want to understand or work it out.
Abuse comes from feeling very powerless, from not being able to handle fear, loneliness, heartache and helplessness over others. Abusers want to have control over getting others to do what they want so they don't have to feel their painful feelings. Trying to talk things out is often the last thing they want to do. They just want to win — to have their way. 5 Ways Couples Can Recover From A Fight
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However, there are things you can do to avoid being a victim of verbally abusive behavior. (Physical abuse is another matter. It is imperative to find a way to leave a relationship that is physically dangerous to you or to your children.)
Patricia Evans, in the above-mentioned book, states that what abusers really want is connection. Because they are so disconnected from themselves — from their own feelings and from a spiritual source of comfort and guidance — they are desperate to connect with another person. But for them connection is more like ownership, rather than authentic connection based on mutuality and caring. 10 Signs Your Marriage Is In Trouble
When you engage with an abuser through explaining, defending, trying to understand or complying, you are giving the abuser what he or she wants — some level of connection. It's important to recognize that, while you are never causing an abuser to abuse, you might be feeding the abuse with your response.
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If you are in a relationship with a verbal/emotional abuser and you are not ready to leave the relationship, you might want to try not connecting at all with the abuser when there is any level of abuse. By completely disengaging from any abusive interaction, or at the most saying an incredulous, "What?" (which Evans recommends in Controlling People) and then disengaging by singing a "happy song" (a simple song that you sing in your mind to stop thinking about the interaction), you might have a chance of stopping the cycle of abuse.