Updated: Nov 13, 2020
The first time I realized I was being abused happened during an unexpected time and in an unexpected place. I was in graduate school for mental health counseling, and one would think that I, of all people, would be able to figure out that I was being "abused." I didn't find out in my church ( that is a whole 'nother topic for a whole nother day, cause, whew chile!). I didn't find out while in the classroom, or while reading books, and I didn't find out through family members or friends. I knew at the time, "something wasn't right"; that's what I kept telling myself. But no...it was way more than that. I was being abused. I was at my clinical site for internship. I was actually mid year into my practicum and I remember walking down the hall to speak to a student. I was assigned a student for counseling and I needed to go and physically get them from their classroom. While on my way to the classroom, there was a presentation that was being presented by one of the social workers in the school. The Social Worker was doing a presentation on "Abuse In Relationships." I thought I was going to just stroll on by, and pick up my student, but what I saw on the powerpoint screen stopped me in my tracks and I found myself glued to the screen. The social worker had "signs youre in an abusive relationship" on the powerpoint presentation and my eyes glazed over. I kept looking at the screen in disbelief because every single one of those "signs" was my current lived experienced. Although the auditorium was filled with middle school students, I swear this women was talking directly to me.
I had every single one of those signs. I was in an abusive relationship and didnt even know it.
Now what I wished happened...we won't get into that. I will say I am thankful that I learned of the signs. It might have come from an unexpected place, however I am still thankful.
So here I am...7 years later....out...partially free ( another discussion for another day), and I look forward to being that "unexpected place" for anyone else who decides to peruse through my Healer's Hub. If you want to know some signs...you're welcome to read on. If you want to know how to get some additional help with navigating your "situation", feel free to contact SYP or visit www.therapyforblackgirls.com for a licensed mental health practioner.
Here are some tell tale signs your are being abused...or you're in an abusive relationship. When I say relationship, please do not limit this to only intimate partners. These type of tactics can take place while on the job, or in your everyday relationships with family and friends.
1. You are LovedBombed
If you meet someone and they tell you sweet nothings, and you feel like youre on top of the world, and nothing you do or say is wrong or could ever be wrong, and everything is perfect.
Something is not right....because nothing on this side of existance is perfect ( only the Soverigne One). Arguing is not healthy, and fighting is not healthy, but disagreement is healthy and if you never disagree its called love bombing and its an illusion. Its fake.
2. Your "person" makes attempts to isolate, control, manipulate, or frighten you. Everyone deserves to have their feelings and wants acknowledged. If you feel you never feel heard and you are consistently disregarded...something is not right.
This can be a tricking one to spot, expecially if you are dealing with a narassitic personality disordered person is indirect in their abuse. The point is...does this person say things about you and to you ABOUT YOU that you dont like? Their response can be that you are "too sensitive" or "you need to lighten up" or "Im just joking." However, no form of belitting is moral. Its evil. If it doesnt build you up...if it tears you down...it is not healthy. It is abusive. Say not to deregotary pet names, someone making fun of you or making you feel uncomfortable.
4. Patronzing, Condescending, Embarassing. None of these are okay. Remember "they have to build me up. Gas me up." No one is allowed to tear you down. No one!
5. Controlling. ( There are so many facets to this!) If your "person" tries to always monitor your whereabouts, gets upset if you dont text right away, monitors your phone and car, and emails, your bank account, your gas tank, your savings, you journal, your plans... This is not okay. (We'll get into how this is overlooked within religious settings later. Not today, chile. Not today.)
6. Gaslighting! - If someone wants to deny your reality. Run. Away. Fast.
No seriously. This is one of the worst things a person can do to someone else. This happens when you KNOW something to be true, but the other "person" denies it. Items can go missing around the home, also. This doesnt have to be a verbal form of abuse. This can be tangible.
7. Communication hell hole. - If someone always makes things more complicated then they have to be - chances are they are doing so intentionally. Moving the goal post, dehumanizing, minimizing, demanding, "forgetting/ sabetaging".... whew. Theres a long list. Its extensive.
8. Disregards what you hold dear. I love the saying "is anything sacred anymore?" If you're dealing with a person who just doesnt give a care about what is VERY important to you...you could be dealing with a sociopath, but you could also be dealing with simple abusive tactics.
9. They blame you, or shame you...for anything and everything.
This is one tactic that is crazymaking. If one doesnt stick up for themselves they can easily start to believe the lies. ( Dont believe the lies. Write down your truths and stick to them).
10. Lack of accountability. ( If they refuse correction of any sort, youre dealing with a dangerous person and you need to consider your next moves. You need to learn how to navigate or leave, but just tolerating it is not an option if you want to stay healthy!
If you want more information on how to deal with toxic people or what to do after identiying abuse, feel free to reach out to SYP. We hold workshops,classes, trauma informed and theraputic yoga offerings, and other resources.
Just know you're not alone. And identifying it is just PART of your recovery.