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The Invisible Violence in Relationships That Destroys People

The Invisible Violence in Relationships That Destroys People

Everyone feels mistreated by someone at some point in their lives. It can be a time being neglected or intimidated, or a time you were threatened by someone you cared about. It could also be being discouraged or criticized in a negative way. Maybe someone was indifference to you when you turned to them for help in a difficult situation. Perhaps you have experienced some, or even all of this.

Having any of the above negative experiences is not a minor thing. In fact, it reflects a deeper issue.

Not every type of violence is visible, and therefore some people may try to justify the way they have been treated. But make no mistake: just because it doesn’t leave a scar or blood, it does cause an intangible violence on a person’s psychology. Such violence is called Cold Violence.

The Cycle of Violence

An abuser won’t risk becoming abusive until they are confident that the other person won’t leave. Sadly, this is why cold violence is popular in a family, marriage, or romantic relationship. The feeling of being depended on can make the abuser more confident and therefore more cruel.

The first step an abuser does is to win the target’s heart

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      To win the heart of the target, an abuser will do things that seem like the only good person. Meanwhile, they will make the target’s friends and family seem like the enemy. Maybe they will emphasize how great they are while criticizing the target’s family. Or maybe they will make things up about the target’s loved ones to turn you against them.

      Then, the abuser will test the target’s limit

          They may shame the other person by neglecting, criticizing or intimidating them frequently, or telling the other person that they’re lucky to have him/her. This forces the target to depend more on the abuser, enhancing the belief that they have no one else but the abuser to rely on.

          Every time they accept the abuser breaking their boundaries, the abuser breaks further. The abuser knows how to keep them hooked so they won’t leave so easily. It’s always a cycle of building up tension, attack, then comes the apology and a honeymoon period of loving gestures. The honeymoon period is like a short break for the target to forget about their bad, and for the abuser to prepare for another round of attack on the target’s boundaries.

          The false sense of kindness drives the target to stay in the relationship

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            Once the abused person has accepted the abuser’s false kindness, they will begin to rationalize what their loved one does: maybe it’s just the way they handle anger, maybe they should accept their true personality like that, or perhaps they should change, or maybe one day their loved one will change.

            When the abused person accepts the abusers’ behaviors, this starts the cycle over while pushing further into their boundaries. For this reason, violence doesn’t tend to start until the abuser is confident of their control. The false sense of dependency drives the abused individual to stay in the relationship while becoming oblivious to what is happening. This only encourages the other person to continue with the abusive behaviors and become more controlling.

            After being with the abuser for some time, the abused person has lower self-esteem and confidence. They feel that they can no longer find anyone else to care about them but the abuser. The fear of being abandoned makes them hold on to the relationship.

                The Invisible Wound

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                  While people may begin to feel that the relationship will eventually improve, it will only continue to be painful and chaotic. It’s always an imbalanced relationship. One person accepts all the negative behaviors from the other, while the abuser ensures the abused is on their best behaviors. While the abused person will hurt, their pain will be physically invisible.

                  It can be worse than physical wounds which can be seen because when you see someone who is physically wounded, you’ll ask how they’re doing or may suggest ways to heal the wounds. But when the wound is invisible, others will never know how painful it is. The wound may keep bleeding without getting a fix.

                  A wound that can’t be seen can last for so long that it damages a person’s life. The abused person will lose confidence in themselves. And they will never be happy staying in such relationship.

                  Breaking the Cycle of Violence

                  If you aren’t sure whether you, or someone you know has fallen victim of cold violence. Check for these behaviors of an abuser:

                  • Insists on having his or her way and won’t compromise
                  • Has outbursts of anger
                  • Criticizes you or people close to you
                  • Is possessive
                  • Threatens you in different ways

                  Anyone who has done one or all of these things to you or someone you know is possibly a cold violence abuser. To end the cycle of violence, take the following steps.

                  Stop engaging in those damaging behaviors

                  Abusers want your attention. When you stop engaging or responding to that behavior, they fail to control you.

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                  Even if this results in them sending you hundreds of texts or phone calls, know you don’t have to respond to everything they say or do – this is not rude, but one way to protect yourself from being hurt again.

                  Cease all communication with the abuser

                  Getting rid of these people doesn’t mean you’re too weak to face them, it only means you’re brave enough to stand for yourself and let them go.

                  It’s not easy to end a relationship, many choose to stay even though the relationship is sad and unfulfilling. But it’s necessary to leave an unhappy relationship. Read my other article to find out how to end a bad relationship: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

                  Don’t fight alone

                  You need someone to help you that is not the person you’re dealing with (the abuser). Be open to share your feelings with someone close to you, maybe a friend who you’ve known for long time, or a close family member. Even if the person you turn to is someone your abuser turned you against, they will understand and forgive you once they understand what’s happened.

                  Find someone who truly thinks from your perspective and will help you organize your thoughts and help you rebuild your own boundaries so you know how to deal with the issue.

                  Tolerate No Violence

                  No one should waste their time and energy on someone who only wants to break them down to lift themselves up. If you recognized yourself or someone close to you in this article, please reach out to someone for help. Even though it can be hard to recognize cold violence when you’ve been in a bad relationship for so long, there is hope and happiness to be found.

                  No matter what you have been told. No matter what you have been made to believe about yourself and the people you once loved, you matter. Cold or not, no violence should be tolerated.

                  Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

                  More by this author

                  Anna Chui

                  Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

                  The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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                  Published on May 4, 2021

                  How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

                  How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

                  They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

                  In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

                  How to Spot Fake People?

                  When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

                  Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

                  1. Full of Themselves

                  Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

                  Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

                  2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

                  Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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                  It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

                  3. Zero Self-Reflection

                  To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

                  Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

                  4. Unrealistic Perceptions

                  Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

                  A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

                  5. Love Attention

                  As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

                  6. People Pleaser

                  Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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                  Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

                  7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

                  Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

                  8. Crappy friend

                  Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

                  It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

                  The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

                  How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

                  It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

                  There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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                  1. Boundaries

                  Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

                  2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

                  Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

                  3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

                  If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

                  4. Ask for Advice

                  If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

                  Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

                  5. Dig Deeper

                  Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

                  Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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                  6. Practice Self-Care!

                  Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

                  Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

                  Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

                  We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

                  More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

                  Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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