This post deals with abuse, and could be triggering for some readers.
Words can be abuse.
There is often a misconception surrounding what abuse is. Did he hit you? Where are the bruises? The reality is there are other forms of abuse and words are absolutely one of them.
Words can be spoken and they can be used in various forms of communication such as emails, text messages and social media. Unbelievably, they have even been used in the message on a bank statement when funds were transferred.
But they are only words I hear you say. It can’t be that bad right?
Watch How to know if you are dating a narcissist. Post continues after video.
Dr Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist, explained: “Anyone who has ever been harmed by words over months or years or decades recognises that they are the strongest and most harmful psychological weapons of all, and the invisibility of the scars and wounds caused by these words means that survivors often do not get the validation, support and the guidance that they need to heal.”
This verbal, emotional and psychological abuse is motivated by a desire or need to dominate and control a woman (predominantly), and it is often worse when the woman leaves the relationship.
But it wouldn’t happen to me or anyone I know…
In Australia, women who experience coercive control are, on average, mature, accomplished, university-educated women. Similarly, of the men in Australia who have killed their partners, a large proportion have been middle-class and well respected with little to no criminal history. The result of this is that some women don't even recognise that they are victims in the first place. Abuse does not discriminate.
In my work helping clients navigate their communications, I have seen countless examples of women receiving communications that contain scary nonsensical tirades, baseless accusations, reverse the victim and offender, gaslight and intimidate.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing this, here’s some advice I give to my clients.