Feminism Fodder

Yes, this is abuse

Imagine this:

You are in a relationship. Maybe a few months in. You don’t really think you love the person. Especially since you seem happier doing your own thing. You decide there is no point in continuing the relationship. You talk to your partner about separating. They cry. And beg and plead for you to stay.

You stay.

But you are still not happy. You think you are staying because you care about the person. Not love. But care. And you don’t want to hurt them. Every time you mention a possible separation, they cry.

Until finally one day, you decide to take a step and end the relationship. It is going no where. You are not very happy. You want to be independent and free. You initiate the break up saying you want to focus on certain things in your life.

You partner is upset. They then realise you are socialising more after the break-up and are even more upset. They call you at odd hours in the night crying and sobbing one minute, verbally abusing you the next minute and calling you names. They threaten to hurt themselves and kill themselves. They tell you that if you don’t come back to them, they will end their life. They cut themselves and show you the scars. Telling you it will go further if you don’t get back together. They are unwilling to get help. They say you made them do these things. You made them feel this way. They are fine if they are with you.

Do you take them back?

What some people don’t seem to understand is that this is a form of abuse. The partner who threatens to hurt themselves and kill themselves is emotionally manipulating you. They do not need to have a history of physical abuse or sexual abuse. But there would have possibly been signs of other forms of emotional abuse. Like getting jealous if you spoke to members of the opposite sex and making a point in letting you know that.

By blaming you for the break-up and blaming you for them cutting or harming themselves, they are trying to make you feel guilty. And the problem is, most people do end up feeling guilty. You feel bad that someone you care about may kill themselves. And you worry that if they succeed, you will be blamed for it. And it is that guilt that makes some people take back the partner. Who in turn, learns that this is how they get their way and this is how they keep a relationship they want. Understandably, it is unlikely to be a happy one. But it is still on their terms.

Break-ups are hard for most people. You feel sad. You lose your appetite. Or you want to eat a lot more. You want to isolate yourself from others. You tend to sleep more or a lot less. All of these are normal reactions to grief and loss. But harming yourself is a bit of an extreme reaction. And harming yourself and telling your ex and blaming them is even more extreme. The perpetrator arguably has their own mental health problems they need to deal with.

What the partner who initiated the break up needs to understand is that it is not their fault. It is not their responsibility. The best bet would be to not take calls from the person making such threats. And if not, to call the emergency services and tell them you are concerned about your ex’s safety giving them the reasons why. That way, it is out of your hands.

I think it’s hard for people to understand this — that they in fact, are NOT responsible for someone else’s actions or feelings. Each individual is responsible for how they feel or behave. No one can make them feel or act a certain way.

The sooner we understand this, the better.

Note: The reason I haven’t used any particular gender here is because unlike physical abuse, this form of manipulation and emotional abuse can be perpetrated by both sexes.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

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No Comments

  • Reply
    Prateek Bagri
    July 6, 2011 at 12:57 am

    You are so right. Break-ups are hard on some people, without judging the consequences they exploit their ex-partner emotionally. It goes worse if the partner refuses to abide. Such manipulative measures; I hate them, no seriously.

  • Reply
    Prateek Bagri
    July 6, 2011 at 12:57 am

    You are so right. Break-ups are hard on some people, without judging the consequences they exploit their ex-partner emotionally. It goes worse if the partner refuses to abide. Such manipulative measures; I hate them, no seriously.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 2:15 am

    It’s interesting how some people resort to such manipulative measures after
    a break up…sometimes I think there are people who think it’s romantic but
    personally I think it’s a form of control and they would like the
    relationship to end on their terms rather than the other person’s terms.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 2:15 am

    It’s interesting how some people resort to such manipulative measures after
    a break up…sometimes I think there are people who think it’s romantic but
    personally I think it’s a form of control and they would like the
    relationship to end on their terms rather than the other person’s terms.

  • Reply
    R.Bit
    July 6, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Very well said. Emotional abuse is so much more likely to not be considered abuse. The guilt factor (of hurting someone) plays in so big that sometimes you don’t even realise you’re being sucked in. Break ups are hard and I think the responsibility of hurting someone’s feelings that you speak of is so true. Most people believe it’s wrong to put themselves first and so the emotional tussle goes on for a while – but without putting yourself first, there is no real closure or end and giving in to emotional demands doesn’t really help either partner does it?

  • Reply
    R.Bit
    July 6, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Very well said. Emotional abuse is so much more likely to not be considered abuse. The guilt factor (of hurting someone) plays in so big that sometimes you don’t even realise you’re being sucked in. Break ups are hard and I think the responsibility of hurting someone’s feelings that you speak of is so true. Most people believe it’s wrong to put themselves first and so the emotional tussle goes on for a while – but without putting yourself first, there is no real closure or end and giving in to emotional demands doesn’t really help either partner does it?

  • Reply
    The Lover
    July 6, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I’ve been there. It’s not so easy to not feel guilty especially when you see the other person break apart in front of you.

  • Reply
    The Lover
    July 6, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I’ve been there. It’s not so easy to not feel guilty especially when you see the other person break apart in front of you.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Exatly RBit! People generally tend to not put themselves first but in order
    to not hurt the other person, they end up in a dead end relationship where
    two people are unhappy. And in the end, a partner threatening to hurt
    themselves because of a break up is not necessarily more in love with the
    other person but rather has issues about wanting to be in control of the
    relationship and how and when it ends, or dependency issues. Either way, not
    healthy! And the sad part is, most people don’t actually see this as
    abuse…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Exatly RBit! People generally tend to not put themselves first but in order
    to not hurt the other person, they end up in a dead end relationship where
    two people are unhappy. And in the end, a partner threatening to hurt
    themselves because of a break up is not necessarily more in love with the
    other person but rather has issues about wanting to be in control of the
    relationship and how and when it ends, or dependency issues. Either way, not
    healthy! And the sad part is, most people don’t actually see this as
    abuse…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I understand that it’s not easy to *not* feel guilty but the bottom line is
    someone cutting themselves or threatening to kill themselves at the break-up
    of a relationship has issues they need to deal with. Today it may be you
    ending the relationship, tomorrow it could be someone else but they will
    react the same way. The common factor is the person threatening to harm
    themselves…

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 6, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I understand that it’s not easy to *not* feel guilty but the bottom line is
    someone cutting themselves or threatening to kill themselves at the break-up
    of a relationship has issues they need to deal with. Today it may be you
    ending the relationship, tomorrow it could be someone else but they will
    react the same way. The common factor is the person threatening to harm
    themselves…

  • Reply
    Priyanka Victor
    July 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    So true! How do we deal with something like this?! 

    I hurt worse for the guilt that the breakup itself. 

  • Reply
    Priyanka Victor
    July 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

    So true! How do we deal with something like this?! 

    I hurt worse for the guilt that the breakup itself. 

  • Reply
    nidsitis
    July 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Break ups are hard. On the one who suggests it as much as the other one. I wish sometimes that there would be no good guy and bad guy. But there is. And its upsetting. I love your insight into this. It was interesting to read. And I completely relate. 🙂

    Keep updating 🙂

  • Reply
    nidsitis
    July 6, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Break ups are hard. On the one who suggests it as much as the other one. I wish sometimes that there would be no good guy and bad guy. But there is. And its upsetting. I love your insight into this. It was interesting to read. And I completely relate. 🙂

    Keep updating 🙂

  • Reply
    Dheepikaa
    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for this post. The concept needs to be repetitively spoken about.

  • Reply
    Dheepikaa
    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for this post. The concept needs to be repetitively spoken about.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 12:01 am

    The guilt definitely feels a lot worse than the sadness over the break up
    Priyanka. Recently I’ve been dealing with a client whose partner is
    manipulating them in this manner and basically I think the responsibility
    needs to be taken off them and on to the person who is manipulating. I guess
    they can be referred for counselling and help themselves or even call the
    ambulance or police if they are threatening to kill themselves. The other
    thing I reckon is to not respond to calls or emails by the manipulator…I
    know it’s hard but it’s worth a try.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 12:01 am

    The guilt definitely feels a lot worse than the sadness over the break up
    Priyanka. Recently I’ve been dealing with a client whose partner is
    manipulating them in this manner and basically I think the responsibility
    needs to be taken off them and on to the person who is manipulating. I guess
    they can be referred for counselling and help themselves or even call the
    ambulance or police if they are threatening to kill themselves. The other
    thing I reckon is to not respond to calls or emails by the manipulator…I
    know it’s hard but it’s worth a try.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Break-ups are definitely hard especially the longer you have been with
    someone. And totally agree with you Nids that no matter who initiates it,
    it’s hard on both. Unless of course, one partner has already moved on! 😛
    Thanks for the lovely comment about the post… 🙂

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Break-ups are definitely hard especially the longer you have been with
    someone. And totally agree with you Nids that no matter who initiates it,
    it’s hard on both. Unless of course, one partner has already moved on! 😛
    Thanks for the lovely comment about the post… 🙂

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Welcome to this space Dheepikaa! I agree too…emotional abuse is not spoken
    about as much as physical or sexual abuse but it is just as prevalent and
    important. Do keep visiting! 🙂

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 7, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Welcome to this space Dheepikaa! I agree too…emotional abuse is not spoken
    about as much as physical or sexual abuse but it is just as prevalent and
    important. Do keep visiting! 🙂

  • Reply
    sidthegnome
    July 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I once had an ex do all of this and then get angry and stalk me, to the extent that I had to leave all my friends and quietly move to the other end of Perth. It sucked and it is abuse, but when someone threatens to kill themselves if you leave them it is so hard to take the risk that they will actually follow through on the threat.

    I think the worst thing about my situation above was that several people said to me: “oh that’s just how guys react when they get dumped. He’ll stop soon enough.” As if it is ok and justified!?!?

  • Reply
    sidthegnome
    July 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I once had an ex do all of this and then get angry and stalk me, to the extent that I had to leave all my friends and quietly move to the other end of Perth. It sucked and it is abuse, but when someone threatens to kill themselves if you leave them it is so hard to take the risk that they will actually follow through on the threat.

    I think the worst thing about my situation above was that several people said to me: “oh that’s just how guys react when they get dumped. He’ll stop soon enough.” As if it is ok and justified!?!?

  • Reply
    Itisnu
    July 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I agree to the fullest !

  • Reply
    Itisnu
    July 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I agree to the fullest !

  • Reply
    Bikram
    July 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    you are so very right.. and i feel that its better ot move away, I am a person who if turns their back never look back ot me that person is dead what hapens to them none of my business anymore …

    Lovely post I could relate to this so very much …

    Bikram’s

  • Reply
    Bikram
    July 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    you are so very right.. and i feel that its better ot move away, I am a person who if turns their back never look back ot me that person is dead what hapens to them none of my business anymore …

    Lovely post I could relate to this so very much …

    Bikram’s

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

    That must have been horrible to have to go through Kirby…especially moving
    away from all you love. Recently had a client who was being harrassed this
    way by an ex and got blamed by everyone for breaking up with the partner and
    making them threaten to kill themselves! Oh the guilt the poor kid had! It
    is not okay and it is not right for other people to justify such actions.
    Such people need help.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

    That must have been horrible to have to go through Kirby…especially moving
    away from all you love. Recently had a client who was being harrassed this
    way by an ex and got blamed by everyone for breaking up with the partner and
    making them threaten to kill themselves! Oh the guilt the poor kid had! It
    is not okay and it is not right for other people to justify such actions.
    Such people need help.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

    And yet it’s hardly spoken about, eh Nu?

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

    And yet it’s hardly spoken about, eh Nu?

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Exactly…if someone breaks up with you, it sucks and there’s no doubt about
    that. But you eventually move on. but I think that’s the difference between
    people like you and me and controlling people…ones who want to be in
    charge of when the relationship starts and ends…and if it isn’t on their
    terms, it’s not right.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 8, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Exactly…if someone breaks up with you, it sucks and there’s no doubt about
    that. But you eventually move on. but I think that’s the difference between
    people like you and me and controlling people…ones who want to be in
    charge of when the relationship starts and ends…and if it isn’t on their
    terms, it’s not right.

  • Reply
    Maddie
    July 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    So very true. I could totally relate to this post. And to add to it, it is not only about people who are in love, even friends do it. The dominant one usually has a complex and resorts to such behaviour. You don’t notice it until it becomes toxic and there is no other way but to cut out that person from your life.

  • Reply
    Maddie
    July 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    So very true. I could totally relate to this post. And to add to it, it is not only about people who are in love, even friends do it. The dominant one usually has a complex and resorts to such behaviour. You don’t notice it until it becomes toxic and there is no other way but to cut out that person from your life.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Welcome here Maddie! Oh yes, I’m sure there are friendships where this occurs too! And yes, the best option is to recommend the person get help and if they are not going to listen to that, to cut them off from your life. Hard but true.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    July 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Welcome here Maddie! Oh yes, I’m sure there are friendships where this occurs too! And yes, the best option is to recommend the person get help and if they are not going to listen to that, to cut them off from your life. Hard but true.

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