“Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-worth to be with them.”
Jade Willoughby donated this photograph to Save Wiyabi Project for a Domestic Violence Awareness Month image series. Jade is Ojibwe and Jamaican, from Whitesand First Nation in Ontario. She was just signed to Wilhelmina Models and now resides in New York City as a full-time model. Before this, she long dedicated her work and time to her community and has addressed violence and racism in a number of ways and settings. Save Wiyabi Project’s cofounder Lauren Chief Elk recently wrote a guest essay for Gradient Lair on Black and Native American women, and violence. (Click here to view other photographs similar to Jade’s involved in this project.)
It’s sad, it’s horrible and it is most certainly never, ever, EVER the victim’s fault. However having been in an abusive relationship and seen many more, allow me to point out some personality warning signs, because not enough people talk about what abusers actually do, and their actual strategies. These make it a little easier to identify them, though there is no standard case of abuse
Once you know the type it’s not hard to spot em in most cases:
- Tries to isolate you, says bad things about your friends and family, and if possible will try to put physical distance between you and your support network.
- Belittles you, this will begin after the honeymoon phase ends usually with casual or joking remarks about your taste, attire, appearance, capabilities and so fourth. They make your ego dependant on them. This tends to stem from low self esteem and fear of abandonment, they make their victim feel like shit so the victim’s ego is dependant on their approval making it hard to cut ties.
- Communication that is not only incessant but is insisted upon. They’ll throw a tantrum if you go out with your friends instead of answering their phone calls, my ex once called me 156 times in a night when I was going out for pizza with a friend.
- Accusations of things you clearly didn’t do: this is another way to make the victim feel insecure in the relationship.
- Accusations of being unable to take a joke when their playfully hurtful words or playfully hurtful actions are objected to (my ex used to bite me till I was in tears and then claim he was just kidding around)
- Once you are dependant on them emotionally they will continually threaten to leave to keep your behaviour in line.
- Using suicide as a threat to control the other party’s behaviour.
- Has a lot of exes, all of whom are dismissed as “crazy” or “soul destroyingly evil”
- Guilt trips you into sex.
tw: abusive relationships
trying very hard to exercise good judgment and self control when i really want to be a minx. i am confused about thiiiinnngs— are my impulses, even sex/flirtation-driven, good impulses? or am i being a bad decider?
goddamnit. At this moment it feels like the worst thing about the abusive relationship I was in is that he constantly attacked my “gut-sense” and made me feel like I always made terrible decisions. I am really scared to make the wrong choices… and maybe it’s actually that I’m just more scared to be reprimanded for them. But guess what?! he can’t reprimand me for anything anymore. I am my own person. It sucks how much he infiltrated my sense of self, even as I’m 2 months out, but at least I can be myself now.
The first picture keeps popping up on facebook… The second is the resulting conversation I had with a “friend.”
It’s disappointing that every time you try to call someone out on facebook, they resort to “Well you’re obviously trolling so i’m just going to ignore you.”
This is absolute BULLSHIT, folks. Men are (as a general rule) physically stronger than women - That’s not to say every single time, but in general our genetics favor men for physical superiority.
So if she pulls out a knife (because women are statistically more likely to use a weapon) you should just let her fucking stab you.
Why do we need a Men’s Rights Movement?
BECAUSE FUCKING FEMINISTS WOULD RATHER MEN BE FUCKING STABBED, HIT, CLUBBED, AND BEATEN THAN LIFT A FINGER IN THEIR DEFENSE.
You know, because of genetics. Interesting they pull that little card out when it’s convenient.
If your boyfriend/girlfriend ever utters these words:
"If you love me…."
"Do it or I’m leaving you."
"You’d do it if you loved me…."
"What I say goes…"
"I don’t want you talking to him/her."
"Why do you look/dress/ like that?"
"Change your clothes."
"Why can’t you be more like…"
"You don’t need any body else but me."
Please think long and hard about the relationship. The bolded sentences are some of the passive aggressive/manipulative phrases that abusers sometimes say to their significant other to get them to do what they want.
Don’t take their shit. If you ever feel uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form, let them know. If you feel like you can’t talk to them about how they’re treating you, it’s best to end the relationship. If they have started abusing you emotionally and physically, leave them.
- You are not obligated to stay with the person you’re dating
- You are not obligated to say ‘yes’ to your parter
- You have every right to say no
- You have the right to be single
- You have the right to a stress free relationship
- You have the right to a stress free life; don’t ever forget that.
Zimmerman was arrested AGAIN, and this time it was for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend.
And you people still want to call Trayvon a thug!!
Do you people not see this!?! All of America is delusional and white-washed!! Zimmerman is insane, and should have been locked up a long time ago, he’s a ticking time bomb, and will most likely kill someone else!
If he has the ability to attack a person whom he is in a relationship with and is holding his child, what leads you to believe that he didn’t kill some random black kid that he has no connections with whatsoever???
I’m so fucking done, these people get dumber and dumber by the day.
Blocking and diverting: Blocking and diverting specifically controls interpersonal communication. The verbal abuser refuses to communicate, establishes what can be discussed, and withholds information, thereby preventing all possibility of resolving conflicts. Blocking may be accusatory; however, its primary purpose is to prevent discussion, end communication, withhold information, or “win” an argument. Through diversion the topic is changed, often turning the tables on the partner so she must defend herself on an unrelated topic. None of the abuser’s diversions answer the partner’s question or concern in a thoughtful and considerate way. The abuser blocks her attempts to gain information or open communications by diverting her from the issue with accusations and irrelevant comments. Often the partner does not notice that the original topic is no longer the topic. She has been diverted.
Underloading: The ways that RIGHT TO KNOW are violated are when we are not given clear information, as in underloading[.] In underloading, the abusive partner gives us too little information so we are off-balance and have shaky confidence about what we are learning; or the person has left and it is only after they’re gone that we realize we don’t know any more than before we asked them a question. At these times it requires the receiver of the information to assume or draw conclusions about the meaning of the incomplete information. This is also a time when mind-reading comes into play. In order to survive this walking on eggshells, the receiver of the incomplete message or silent treatment must use past references to know what the sender of the message might intend.
Withholding:When a man refuses to empathetically listen, validate, or share information and emotions, he’s destroying the core of what sustains an intimate relationship. He’s withholding. For a relationship to be truly intimate, it requires mutual and empathetic listening, validation, and sharing.
In the 6-page letter my former partner gave me after I terminated our relationship, in which he provides a summary of our relationship and his experiences in it, he has this epiphany: at the times he didn’t want to talk to me or share information about something, he could have-should have exercised his right to say, “That’s none of your business.”
I don’t know if this is yet another bit of bad advice from his mom or his seemingly inept therapist, or if this is a discovery he came up with on his own; either way, asserting it as a “solution” to his discomfort with talking about certain things, sharing, or otherwise revealing more about himself than he is used to shows me not only how far away he really is from acknowledging how his choices and behaviors destroyed this relationship, but also how much more abusive he could have become had I not ended things when I did.
Now, he’s not wrong: he does indeed have the right to say, “That’s none of your business.” Sounds good in theory, but there are a number of things here he is failing to follow up on regarding how that would play out in practice:
“That’s none of your business” is a statement people use to quickly shut someone else out;
- It violates my right to know;
- It denies and rejects my interests or concerns;
- It lacks empathy;
- It steals power: he takes authority over me to decide for me what is or is not my business;
- It is a conversational shut-down technique, which thwarts communication;
- It functions not as an emotional boundary, but a wall;
- It expresses hostility: the other is an enemy or threat;
- It is underloading, which is abusive: I do not learn anything and have to operate on assumptions, which immediately turns into being attacked for “jumping to conclusions”, “filling in the blanks”, “making assumptions”, “being judgmental”, “putting words in his mouth”, etc (which is blame-shifting and diverting);
- It is blocking, which is abusive: he controls communication, and therefore prevents conflict resolution. Continuing to make attempts to resolve the conflict immediately turns into attacking me for “not letting things go”, “dragging things on forever”, “never giving him a break”, “wearing him out”, etc (which is blame-shifting and diverting);
- It is diverting, which is abusive: what and why I wanted to know something becomes the controversy and puts me on the defense. This immediately turns into attacking me for “being so defensive”, “not letting things go”, “asking too many questions”, “having irrelevant interests/concerns”, “changing the subject”, “failing to make him comfortable opening up”, etc (which is blame-shifting and diverting heaped on blame-shifting and diverting)
- It is withholding, which is abusive: it destroys trust and prevents intimacy, the relationship cannot survive. This immediately turns into attacking the relationship itself for “being unhealthy”, “being toxic”, “being bad”, “it should have ended earlier”, “he wants to leave”, “he can’t handle this”, “there are too many problems”, etc (which is diverting and coercive);
- It arouses greater suspicion: what is he trying to hide?
- It prevents me from being able to make informed decisions for myself;
- It manipulates to what I can or cannot give informed consent;
- It prevents me from getting to know him (a ha, we may be onto something….);
- It forgets that I can say, fine, I think it is my business, so if you don’t like that you’re better off with someone who doesn’t care about this as much as I do.
Off the top of my head, these are only some of the many consequences launching a statement like “That’s none of your business” can have in the context of an intimate relationship, but let’s pause on those last few for a moment.
Clearly every of these consequences relates to control; but preventing me from getting to know him prevents me from being able to decide for myself not only if he is someone I even want to be with at all, but in what ways and how much I am willing or not willing to compromise, negotiate, or make any of the other usual efforts to sustain a romantic relationship. And preventing all that is seriously manipulative, and seriously abusive of power.
In some ways, I’m in awe, really, that he would make any kind of argument in favor of being more controlling, more withholding, more abusive– but of course, this is not what he thinks he is doing. My guess is he thinks he’s asserting his boundaries. Everyone is allowed to have them, fine. I don’t care about that. But something akin to “I’m just not telling you, nyah-nyah-nyah” does not contribute to growing a healthy, mature, intimate or even enjoyable relationship. He has had his girlfriends who didn’t care to know his business, and there are plenty more out there who wouldn’t just the same; there was and still is no need for him to demand of any relationship that it provide him with the sensation of being known without having to tell.
And when you get into an area like sex, which I will tell my readers now is what this is all about in our case, it just plain and simple isn’t right– yes it’s capital-w Wrong– to decide for someone else what they do and do not have a right to know before becoming and while being involved with you. Remember I said I agreed he does have the right to say, “That’s none of your business”; moreover I’ll even add that he has a moral obligation to say it if that’s what he truly believes. But someone who says to me, “That’s none of your business”, especially about subjects relating to my/our sexual life, has to be willing to hear me reply, “Well then, see ya later pal, cuz I don’t do relationships like that.”
So the ironic thing is, I wish he did say, “That’s none of your business” from the very start, on every subject he truly felt he didn’t want to talk about, and I wish he would have repeated it as often as necessary until the day I would stop trying to gently explain to him why I feel something is my business (in the beginning, I used to do this), or why being in a relationship is all about sharing your business with someone else (I used to do this, too), because then I could have said not just you’d be better off with someone who doesn’t care about this as much as I do– because he’d argue and argue in disagreement whenever I said that– but I’m better off with someone who doesn’t block and withhold. I guess I always knew that deep down inside, but the crumbs I was thrown here and there made me keep trying.
It looks to me now like that’s what he was going for: he wanted to be with me, he wanted us to have a relationship, he just wanted it without the costs and risks of opening up his whole self, and without me having the confidence and power to leave him if I decided he wasn’t the right person for me. Had he said, “That’s none of your business” every time he wanted to or felt like he “should”, I would have decided (and not just supposed) right-quick he is not my guy, no way, no how!
(But that’s what power and control is about, isn’t it. Getting the most of what you want for the least expense and trying to keep it as long as possible. Emotional capitalist-consumerism. Yuck.)
Really, it’s just sad. He didn’t want to lose me, so he did everything in the book to try to “keep” me, which is exactly what is written in the book on how to lose me. I’m just very, very sorry that the lesson he learned from it all was not how to build a relationship better, but how to destroy it faster; not how to become a more trusting and trustworthy person, but how to become more closed and suspicious; not how to become more transparent, but more opaque; not how to become an intimate partner, but how to remain an enigma.
It scares me how often people will try to use a tactic like this to either shut their partner down or to keep others from knowing what behaviors go on in a relationship.
Huge huge huge relationship red flag, whether you’re the one in the relationship or a close friend/family.
I fucking hate it when people say the woman is stupid for staying with her abuser and it’d be so easy to leave.
NO IT ISN’T.
7 years later it’s still a possibility I consider. That 70% window doesn’t really close. No matter how far you move (3,000 miles, then another 1,000), or how different your life becomes. Staying in one place sometimes feels like a slowly accumulating weight.
I guess I never really thought about it that way before.
People who blame the victim can literally just go into space without a helmet
Anonymous asked: I can't tell if I'm in an abusive relationship or not. My husband is very jealous and all sort of things and he shows many of the examples of an emotional abuser, except I am very much attached to him and am afraid to leave him. Sometimes he tells me he would kill himself if I left him and sometimes he tells me I can just leave him if I want to but I don't feel like this is an option for me. I don't know what to think
Here’s the thing, you can love an abuser and an abuser can love you. That doesn’t make what they’re doing okay and it doesn’t mean you should stay together. Any time you have doubts that’s a huge red flag.
The majority of the relationships I’ve seen that were abusive the abuser threatened suicide. They never actually did it, it was just a way to manipulate their partner into staying with them. If they do have a history of suicidal tendencies you can call the police and they will take care of it. That’s really as much as you can do. If they do hurt themselves, it’s not your fault.
I just want to reiterate that, nothing that your partner has done, is doing, or will do is your fault.
Yeah, why would you damage your own “property”?
Well, he tried…