Monday

Coercion and Threats - Are You Being Treated Like Less than a Partner?

They have signed documents that they really didn't want to.  Stood before family and friends and told lies about their abusers' threats behind closed doors.  Dropped charges against their partners for fear the next episodes of abuse might send them to hospital beds or worse grave yards.  Some have even felt compelled to stay in relationships because they believe their abusive mates might commit suicide if they leave.  Victims who have spent years being trained to react to their abusers' coercion and threats feel like backs are up against walls whenever an issue arises.  The abusers win and they lose.  In many victims' minds, there is no way out.  So when an ill-equipped advisor suggests things like:  "Forgive and forget...Just do what he asks...Don't make a fuss.  If you just listen to her, maybe she won't have to make any threats..." this well-meaning loved one is simply pushing the victim further and further into his or her mess.  Most likely, the individual has done more than enough to comply to an emotionally or physically abusive partner's requests.

"You won't get in trouble, just do it!  If you don't I'm leaving you and the kids.  You think the last time I hit you was bad...don't make me hurt you again!  You just don't listen, do you?  So what's it going to take to make you do what I want?" the abuser might say.  Sometimes charm works on a victim and so he or she might suggest one's partner do something for him or her followed by a veiled threat with a smile on his or her face or a supposed joke made.  "Sweetie, I really need for you to do this one thing for me.  You know we need money to get the car fixed..to buy the kids some stuff.  I don't need any more headaches and I'm sure you don't want any," the abusive gentleman cautions.

A victim may have once repeatedly put his or her foot down on some things, but in time this person starts to lose the battles.  Fear takes over.  Worry sets in.  Children must be protected.  A job is needed.  Whatever a victim values the most, the abuser is going to use what he or she knows to his her advantage.  No one wants to be viewed as the difficult one, uncaring, disloyal, etc. in a relationship.  Unfortunately, you are all these things and more when you give into the demands of an emotionally, unstable manipulator especially when his or her requests will inflict damage on your mental well-being, reputation, credit report, respect with loved ones, put you at risk of being terminated from a job, cause illness, and more. 

A victim must take back his or her power!  Of course, there are consequences and nervousness will rise up for every time you refuse to do what a controlling partner says.  Fighting and winning aren't always easy.  Yet, what is more important the victim's freedom or the abuser's desires?  Seek the necessary support system for yourself or someone you are attempting to assist.  Re-learn how to say no--establish boundaries and stand by it.  No matter what gifts, sex, charm, or anything else is given, recognize that if you don't look out for you, who will?  Find safety for you and your children if you are in a relationship like this.  Disarm your abuser!  The less tools he or she has to use against you, the more empowered you will be.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Socially Sweet, Privately Cruel Abusive Men, When Mothers Cry, Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, and other books

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God didn't put you with an abusive mate. Your flesh did.

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