I want to give credit where credit is due. I did not come up with this graphic on different types of abuse and certainly, this is not all-inclusive, but this is one women’s example of abusive type behaviors that she experienced. (The original post can be found here: Elisabethklein.com). I tend to be a bit hesitant on using personal examples in my own blog for several reasons:
- For those of you who are not in an abusive relationship, reading about isolated examples singled out from the entire picture, may create some difficulty in seeing behavior as abusive. When writing about an example, I often consider whether that example, a part extracted from the whole, will come across sounding petty. Typically, the behavior being discussed, like one single piece of a 1000 piece puzzle, is just a glimpse of the overall picture. As such, that leads to my second point.
- I remember reading the examples in Leslie Vernick’s book and thinking “That’s it??” I have to balance out my concern that my own situation, which was far from the worst of the worst, somehow minimizes other more dangerous situations with my realization that many more women are likely to be in the same situation that I was. I was accused of this by my ex-spouse once and while I know this was an attempt to minimize his own abuse, I am cognizant that things could have been far worse. As an ER nurse, I have seen it first hand.
- My attempt to create boundaries and maintain a buffer-zone can be hindered by talking about my situation and giving examples. There have been times when communication from my ex-husband clearly indicates he has read my blog post and is reacting to its contents.
- My children. I am always aware that what goes on the internet stays on the internet. I have made every attempt to keep their relationship with their dad free from any strife that occurs between the two of us. I am aware that there is always the possibility of them finding my blog someday. My intent on writing on this blog is not for exposure, yet that is an unintended consequence of writing based on personal experience.
I find her own personal examples as helpful though. There is something about this graphic that hits home. Though it is a small sampling of some fairly specific behaviors, it is recognizable. As I read her examples, I mentally checked off the behaviors that I too experienced and found my own situation to easily have at least 75% commonality. The predictability and similarity of abusive behavior have never ceased to amaze me. Like following a playbook, abusers exhibit an almost universally common behavior. If you are a victim or close to one, you will look at the list of behaviors in this woman’s wheel and recognize them as familiar. As I said, it is not exhaustive, but it does show a common pattern.
Remember that abuse is an effort to gain and maintain control over another person. This can be done through coercion, manipulation, power moves, and other psychological “games.” It can exist in all or just some of the realms as listed in the outer ring of this graphic. Besides the possibilities within which this behavior can be exhibited, there are different degrees to which this control is attempted.
Reading this is a good reminder of behavior that is not just abnormal, it is wrong and it is abuse.