They shed light on frequently ignored abusive behaviors, such as gaslighting and manipulation, with far-reaching consequences for relationships.
A lot of people have red flag behaviors that in some cases may be even considered abuse that people tend to ignore or overlook. Some common behaviors include gaslighting, manipulation, isolation, passive-aggression and verbal or just emotional neglect. What makes the situation frustrating for victims is that they are frequently downplayed or ignored. These underlying behaviors can have detrimental long-term effects on most relationships. u/akand_1 asked the community, "What is abuse and people don't realize it" Here are 10 of the most eye-opening answers that people had to provide.
Messing with someone’s sleep. u/catlike_gag_reflex. Oh yes, one person I was with would intentionally keep me up when we had a disagreement when I needed to go to sleep to get up to work the next day to support us when I was the only one doing it. u/TheHuntress1031. My ex did this and used to shout at me to wake me up all the time (if I had drifted too far over or something) as I'd go to sleep earlier whilst he was up to 2 a.m. gaming and it really makes you crazy in the end. Constantly waking up in a panic thinking there was a fire or something. I slept very deeply at the time because of the medication I was on and one night I decided not to take them and realized the reason my legs were constantly sore was because he would kick my legs hard while I was asleep. u/randomrainbow99399
Invalidating your feelings by making it about them and how you hold them accountable is upsetting them. u/SunflowerGirl728. This is my mother’s default whenever she doesn’t like what I’m saying “Oh I’m sorry I’m the worst mother in the world and your childhood was terrible," that’s not what I’m saying and you know it. u/SheepPup. Nah! you want to nip that behavior in the bud, you agree with them, but you do it in a kind, over-the-top way. She wants you to argue with her. "It really was, but thank you so much for the apology, it means so much to me that you're willing to change," this will kill that behavior. u/Halospite
Neglect - neglect IS abuse. u/ZenythhtyneZ. Neglect is not one event, is a pattern of behavior over a long period of time. People over-emphasize the first years mainly because they are the scariest and worst at sleep deprivation. A cigarette is 7 minutes, no baby died in 7 minutes. However, not changing a diaper for so long would be hard for even a psychopath to do. I think neglect is more visible in toddler to main childhood years, when kids require attention, but also kindness, guidance and interest from the parent. This is where neglect becomes clear, a child knows if the parent has no interest in them as beings and just keeps them clothed and fed. This is traumatic, knowing you have no power, no value and no ability to negotiate your life with your parents. It teaches you to stop existing and to make yourself invisible and parents are more than happy to have a child that does and says nothing, as such a child is never a nuisance. In addition, childhood neglect might just be the highest precursor to adult suicide according to recent studies, because the person never erased this view of self and adult life will enforce this belief > nihilistic depression > why not just disappear? u/Competitive-Rush1057
Manipulation under the guise of caring for what happens to you. u/First_Catch_3919. Love but with conditions. My stepson's dad is this way. "If you tell me you're having fun at your mom's house it means you don't love me." He can't celebrate his joy unless it's with him. u/SnatchAddict. That’s what my mom would do too. Now I know better but my sister and my brother still hold onto it 20 years later. My sister has no contact with virtually everyone and my brother is hesitant to talk to anyone but my mom. It’s disgusting what she did to us. Sadly I’m the only one who got help and it shows. u/DragonessAndRebs. My mom did this to me. If I was spending time with her, she was happy. If my mind was anywhere but on her, it would lead to hours of me being lectured/yelled at. Activities I got in trouble for included studying or spending time. I’m 29 and occasionally have to relearn maths. u/WIttyBonkah
Yelling. Years of walking on eggshells will damage a person's nervous system. u/OhSoSoftly444. My parents did a lot of yelling and now that I have kids, it’s wild how that has become my reactionary default move with my own children. I hate that I do it. I work really hard not to do it. And I find myself apologizing to my children more than I would like because I internalized that yelling is the normal response to children acting up. Even knowing cognitively that it’s not a healthy response doesn’t change what I default to because that’s what my parents defaulted to. I’m getting better. But before I had kids I had literally never yelled at anyone in my life. I considered myself to be very patient and thought gentle parenting would be pretty easy for me based on my normal demeanor. But the way you’re parented sneaks up on you. And I want my kids to be better than me. u/ACasualFormality
Basically, abusers will poke and prod their victim so much that their victim has an explosive reaction. The abuser will then use this reaction as justification for their abuse or to further manipulate and gaslight the victim. u/HuggyMummy. There seems to be this pattern for one person to stonewall the other and refuse to respond even about important matters that require collaboration. Then when the other party reaches the end of their rope and yells or becomes verbally hostile, the stonewaller points to it and claims abuse. Yelling looks like abuse from the outside, but stonewalling about important things like parenting decisions, shared finances, etc is abuse that flies under the radar. u/BatmanandReuben
Mothers who treat their sons like surrogate boyfriends/husbands. If their sons DARE to have a girlfriend or get married, these women act like they're being cheated on. u/Drink-my-koolaid. Ew yes. The mother of my most recent ex was like that with both him and his brother. That woman is an absolute psychopath in other ways. Glad I got out without major harm. u/ravi972. I had no idea this was a thing. Until a friend of mine brought it up when I was venting and it was glass shattering to me and my significant other since that's exactly what their parent does. Major changes came after that, but they were just very eye-opening. u/Sarah68mu2.
Sibling rivalry that goes unchecked by parents. Man, I can't believe how common/ignored sibling abuse is. Neglectful parents plus unruly children are a recipe for disaster. u/One-Sandwich5588. My brother graduated with twins who got valedictorian and salutatorian. My brother and his friends made jokes about how when they got home, their dad would push one of their pictures higher up on the fridge than the other one. Later, he found out they pretty much did do that and it was a pretty real issue they dealt with their whole lives. u/RichardBottom
Continuing certain behavior after the person you are affecting has (repeatedly) asked you to stop. But-I’m-Not-Touching-You-ism is a short route to abusive behavior. u/Mullet_Police. Like calling someone abusive names even though they know it upsets the person. Then you're the bad guy for being mad. u/craving_asmr_247. When somebody responds to “I don’t want to talk about that” with “But I was just going to say.” (or “I’m allowed to talk about it” or something along those lines), you should end the conversation and leave immediately. Somebody who breaks one boundary will break all of them. u/ChaoPescado. Agree, but it can also be abusive to shush down a conversation. Which makes it hard to judge sometimes. u/Broken_Husband
Tethering a dog outside to a stake all day every day with a chain. u/WellHungHippie. Keeping a bird in a cage its whole life as well. I heard of someone who did that, the bird was in its 50s and kept in a dark room 24/7. Its only interaction was having its food and water refilled once a week. These animals have the cognitive abilities of a 3-year-old, if not more. I was surprised by how affectionate parrots could be. They cuddle, give you kisses, preen (clean) you, ask for pets, and more. It’s heartbreaking to know that people end up locking them away to live out their days in closets and garages and never interact with them, and they end up pulling out all their feathers from sheer boredom and loneliness. u/beachcola