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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 September 12, 2019

                  12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                  12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

                  Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

                  While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

                  What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

                  Here are 12 things to remember:

                  1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

                  The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

                  However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

                  We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

                  Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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                  2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

                  You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

                  Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

                  Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

                  3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

                  Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

                  Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

                  4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

                  Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

                  No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

                  5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

                  Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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                  Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

                  6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

                  Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

                  Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

                  Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

                  7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

                  Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

                  Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

                  And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

                  8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

                  When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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                  Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

                  9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

                  Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

                  Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

                  Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

                  10. Journal During This Time

                  Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

                  This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

                  11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

                  It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

                  The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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                  Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

                  12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

                  The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

                  Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

                  When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

                  Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

                  Final Thoughts

                  Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

                  Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

                  More About Finding Yourself

                  Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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