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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 a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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                  Last Updated on April 8, 2020

                  11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

                  11 Things Overachievers Do Differently

                  We all know some overachievers: supermoms who manage to get online degrees between cleaning, cooking, and taking kids to practice; students who write 10-page papers when the directions call for 4; managers whose resumes look more like pages from the Guinness book of Records.

                  How do they do it all? How is it possible that one person can graduate at the top of their class, found an orphanage in India, run 30k marathons, write a best-selling book, travel all over the world and learn to speak Mandarin Chinese while having a full-time job?

                  What’s the secret of an overachiever? Here’re 11 things overachievers do differently that you can learn from.

                  1. They Know How to Manage Their Time

                  It’s pretty simple actually – you can never become an overachiever if you don’t know how to organize your time efficiently.

                  The great thing is that overachievers are ready to share their knowledge and time management talent with the rest of the world. Read The 4-Hour Workweek or The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

                  2. They Don’t Spend Hours Watching TV or Playing Computer Games

                  Mostly because they have better things to do, like exercising, reading, spending an evening with their family or volunteering to work in the local soup kitchen. Their philosophy is simple – the world is full of wonderful things to try, explore and experience. Watching TV is not one of them.

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                  3. They Are Obsessed With Perfection

                  Imagine Steve Jobs’ work approach and you’ll understand the level of perfection and painfully high standards that overachievers set for themselves and those around them. Often it pays off (especially if they focus on just one domain). But sometimes compulsive over-striving turns into a sure-fire road to disappointments and unfinished tasks.

                  Learn how to strike a balance: How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up

                  4. They Know How To Inspire

                  Overachievers learn quickly that it is much easier to achieve goals through collaboration (and especially delegation). So they know how to inspire, encourage, persuade and motivate people around them. Even though they often drive their team crazy with their stubbornness and perfectionism, people quickly follow under the spell of their enthusiasm and greater vision.

                  Learn these 10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively.

                  5. They Set Clear Goals

                  The term “overachiever” itself implies that they know how to achieve goals. That is kind of hard to do if your goals are vague, unclear and lack specific deadline, which is why overachievers educate themselves, read goal-setting books, and think about the best way to approach a new task.

                  Although, it’s worth mentioning that overachievers usually use their time management and goal-setting skills towards competitive, “I want to kick butt” type of goals rather than self-improvement, mastery goals.

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                  Take a look at these tips to help you set clearer goals: What Are SMART Goals (And How to Use Them to Become Successful)

                  6. They Are Organized

                  It’s hard to imagine a disorganized overachiever, isn’t it? Their great organizational and planning skills usually serve three main purposes: keeping track of time, keeping track of progress and keeping track of achievements.

                  This hasn’t been confirmed by scientific research yet, but overachievers might actually get a “runner’s high” from crossing tasks off their to-do lists, and making new to-do lists.

                  Here’s How to Organize Your Life: 10 Habits of Really Organized People

                  7. They Try to Avoid Failure at All Costs

                  Some psychologists believe that overachievers place their self-worth on their competence, driven by an underlying fear of failure. Rather than setting and striving for goals based on a pure desire to achieve, their core motivation becomes avoiding failure. This may explain the fact that overachiever beat themselves up for even little setbacks and seemingly-insignificant mistakes.

                  But be aware that having a strong fear of failure can wrek havoc your productivity. So the best thing to do? Learn to conquer the fear: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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                  8. They Love Awards

                  Who doesn’t love them, right? True enough, but unlike most people who like to feel acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts, overachievers are bent on collecting ‘awards’, be it university degrees, spelling bee prizes or unusual destinations.

                  While loving awares isn’t bad, it’s even better if you’re driven by internal motivation instead of external ones which could be quite uncontrolable or unstable: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It).

                  9. They Don’t Understand the Concept of Work Hours

                  Don’t get surprised if you receive a work-related email anywhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. It’s something overachievers usually do and you weren’t the only one. At least 20 more emails have been sent during these hours to other people. The concepts of over-achieving and working overtime usually go hand in hand.

                  The downside of this is an imbalnced life, which may need to problems in other aspects of life including health and relationships. A better way is to Achieve a Realistic Work Life Balance.

                  10. They Rest

                  Overachievers might often be labeled as “workaholics”, because they often ignore bodily signs of hunger, fatigue and even a full bladder, hoping to finish just one last little part. This doesn’t mean that overachievers don’t know how to disconnect and relax.

                  True that they tend to work in the highest gear, but they also have enough sense to give themselves time to rest and recharge. Of course, they do it in their own overachieving way, preferring climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or hiking through the Amazon jungle to lazing on the beach.

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                  11. Overachievers Continuously Educate Themselves

                  A great quality that most overachievers have is the hunger for knowledge. They surround themselves with bright people. They know how to listen, and most importantly, they get tons of mentoring.

                  Despite the fact that overachievers want to excel at everything they set their minds on, they are humble enough to admit that to get on top of their game, they need help. And they are willing to pay someone to push, coach and guide them.

                  You too can learn How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

                  More Tips to Help You Achieve Success

                  Featured photo credit: Nghia Le via unsplash.com

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