If there is one life code you should know like the back of your hand, it is how to beat emotional and psychological abusers at their own game. I did a video on the cycle of abuse, and how you can spot an abuser before they get to you. You can check it out here. By understanding the cycle of abuse, it is easy to spot an abuser before they abuse you. And if you are able to spot a potential abuser, you can easily beat them at their own game. In this post, I will give you a few simple tips to help you understand abusers better and beat them at their own game.
The disclaimer here is that these tips may not work 100% of the time especially if you have been in an abusive relationship for a while. But they are guaranteed to work if the relationship is still in its early phases and you can already spot the signs of abuse. They have worked for me a few times, so take note. They are really easy and are based on the premise of self-control. Beating emotional and psychological abusers at their own game is like undoing every move they make on a chess board.
#1 Abusers are not as confident as they come across. More often than not, the reason abusers are successful in abusing you is that you are unable to spot their fake confidence. If you have watched the video (link above), you will understand why. They literally bombard you with so many compliments at the beginning, such that you can’t help but swoon over them. Well, don’t get carried away with swooning. Pay attention. Watch out for snide comments about the success of others. Listen to what excites them – the success or the brokenness of others? How do they react when someone they perceive as better than they are steps on to the stage?(Note: This person could be your friend, colleague, relative etc. It could even be you in certain circumstances). If you watch closely enough, you will see an abuser cower slightly when they perceive someone stronger is in your life. Then they will immediately follow up with a barrage of snide comments that are intended to downplay the achievements or persona of the other person. At this point, smile and do nothing.
Yes, you read right. Don’t stand up to defend your friend, relative or colleague. Hey, the comments may even be directed at you, but you don’t need to let your hair loose just yet. This is a game of poker. You simply cannot reveal what you have. This principle is called “stooping to conquer”.
#2 Once the abuser believes that you are easy prey and the time to walk all over you has arrived, he/she will begin to poke at your identity and the things that they once complimented you for. Remember when they called you “intelligent and beautiful”, you will suddenly become “dull with ashy skin and breakouts”. Remember when they said your sense of style was on fleek? You will suddenly become “cheap and slutty”. Now, this is where many people get confused. They assume silence is the answer to these thinly veiled insults. But nah… Surely you don’t want to lose your cool at this point but you also don’t want to keep quiet. What you want to do is destabilize the abuser by simply saying…”I am surprised you feel this way about my…(sense of style, intelligence, job…etc). You said just last week that you were impressed by it.”
Now at the point, the abuser will look very confused and try to understand what you are doing. They will immediately realize that you have been paying attention all this while, and will reprogram the strategy – they will either skip to the next phase which is to take unveiled pokes at your identity by comparing you with other people or their exes, or they will revert back to the compliment stage where they distract you with exaggerated notions of yourself that you need not believe. Do not fall for the latter and if they proceed to the next stage, here is what you do.
#3 Abusers know that comparison is what breaks a person’s spirit. Being told that you are not as good as your friend, your colleague or even your partner’s ex can have you in mental hell for some time. So they use this tactic very carefully. They can make a passing comment about how Sally cooked spaghetti better than you do, and from there, it graduates to outright statements like “Nelson is a better provider than your broke ass”. Now the abuser at this point is looking for emotion. The abuser wants you to lash out at the comparison and bring hell up from the darkest abyss of your soul. And I bet you, you will want to rouse all the madness within yourself in response. But take deep breaths because this is what breaks the relationship.
Look impressed. Yep. You read that right. Look impressed as your abuser makes the comparisons. “I should call Sally and ask her for that Spaghetti recipe” or “Wow! That Nelson must have been quite the guy. Why did y’all break up?”
This will throw your abuser off course completely and the confusion you will see on his/her face will be absolutely laughable. Don’t laugh. The situation might get volatile. Simply finish whatever you were busy with, pick up every last thing you own if you are not in your home and leave as amicably as possible.
The abuser will at this point go back to the drawing board, ready to either restart the process or terminate the relationship. Irrespective of the decision they make, you have ONLY ONE option – delete their details, block them completely and act like you’ve been hit with the spell, Obliviate where they are concerned.
Then pour yourself a glass of wine and pat yourself on the back as you say to yourself “You’re doing great sweetie”.
P.S: this post stayed in my drafts list for two and a half years. I dated an emotional abuser and I conquered. I hope you do too!