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
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
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
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.
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.
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