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Is Your Relationship Toxic Or Abusive? 4 Covert Tactics That Trap You In An Abusive Relationship

Written by: Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Lisa Sonni

Relationships are meant to be a source of joy, love, and companionship. However, finding oneself in a "bad" relationship can be immensely confusing and emotionally painful. Many individuals may question whether their relationship is toxic, abusive, or if their partner is a narcissist. Differentiating between toxic and abusive relationships can be challenging, especially because victims of abuse often struggle to recognize the signs. They may have mistaken the toxicity for normalcy, held onto hope for change, or fallen for the empty promises of their abusers. It is crucial to guide individuals toward seeking clarity and education to discern if they are trapped in an abusive relationship.

A depressed woman clutching her forehead in a dimly lit bedroom

Is it abusive or toxic?


Understanding the distinction between toxic and abusive relationships is vital. While toxic relationships may feel unhealthy and draining, they might not necessarily involve patterns of abuse. On the other hand, abusive relationships are built upon a consistent pattern of abuse, wherein one partner manipulates and dominates the other through power and control. Victims of abuse frequently report that they were unaware of the abuse until it was too late, leaving them feeling trapped and unable to leave. Hence, acquiring knowledge about the language and tactics of abuse becomes essential in order to identify warning signs early and break free from the cycle. Have you experienced any of these four covert tactics of abuse?


4 Covert tactics of abuse


Identifying control in relationships may seem straightforward to most individuals, but covert abusers employ insidious techniques such as Coercive Control. This form of manipulation and control involves the abuser's efforts to dominate and control their victim through isolation, intimidation, and indirect threats. The impact of this type of abuse can be devastating, leaving the victim feeling powerless and trapped.


Gaslighting is another tactic employed by abusers, involving emotional manipulation aimed at distorting reality and undermining the victim's sense of self. It goes beyond mere lies or differences in memory. The abuser denies and twists the victim's reality to the point where the victim questions their own sanity. Gaslighting leaves the victim feeling confused, anxious, and disconnected from reality. Abusers manipulate their victims into believing they are responsible for the relationship's problems, making them stay and attempt to salvage a relationship that is ultimately beyond repair.


Financial Abuse is another insidious and covert tactic employed by abusive individuals to exert control and maintain power over their victims. They may restrict access to money, control finances entirely – which are more obvious forms, or sabotage the victim's financial stability, get upset at small transactions, constantly question your spending, making you account for every penny spent, or guilt you for making necessary purchases. By doing so, the abuser aims to create dependency, leaving the victim feeling trapped and helpless.


Have you heard of Emotional Blackmail? It is a manipulative and insidious tactic used by abusive individuals to control and manipulate their partners. They exploit their knowledge of the partner's vulnerabilities and insecurities to gain power over them. Examples of emotional blackmail may include threatening to harm themselves, withholding affection or love, or constantly criticizing and belittling the partner. This form of manipulation aims to instill fear, guilt, and a sense of responsibility in the victim, making them feel trapped and unable to assert their own needs or boundaries. Can you relate?


Understanding abuse tactics


Understanding the tactics of abuse is only the initial step towards breaking free from abusive relationships. Survivors of narcissistic abuse require practical tools and strategies to reclaim their lives after enduring such trauma. Education and self-reflection serve as the foundation for this journey. A valuable resource for those seeking guidance is "Narcissism Unmasked: A Survivor's Handbook of the Common Narcissistic Abuse Tactics," which provides practical tools and strategies for breaking free from abuse, regaining control, and rebuilding a new life.


Break this cycle


Living in a toxic or abusive relationship can be immensely challenging and bewildering. Therefore, it is essential to educate oneself about the language and tactics of abuse to recognize warning signs early and develop effective strategies for self-protection. Narcissistic abuse, in particular, inflicts deep and lasting scars on survivors. However, by gaining knowledge and equipping oneself with practical tools and strategies, it is possible to break free from the cycle of abuse, reclaim one's life, and construct a new future free from the clutches of abuse. Remember, healing is a journey, not a destination. If you are struggling to understand your abusive relationship or toxic partner, I am here to help you gain insight and facilitate your healing process for a transformative change in your life.


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Lisa Sonni Brainz Magazine
 

Lisa Sonni, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lisa Sonni is a survivor of domestic assault and narcissistic abuse, and her first hand experience led her to where she is today ‒ a certified Relationship Coach specializing in abuse education and trauma bond recovery. She helps clients from all walks of life overcome challenges stemming from traumatic partnerships. She is the author of the Trauma Bond Recovery Course, The Trauma Bond Recovery Journal, and Rebuilding After A Trauma Bond: A Self-Love Journal, as well as a popular content creator known as Stronger Than Before across all social media platforms.

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