ONE LESSON I LEARNED FROM VERBAL ABUSE IS THAT YOUR WORST ABUSER WILL ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR STRENGTH. Not because they want to give you props bc they sure don’t, but bc your greatness is so obvious they have to figure out how to put you down in spite of your gifts. I will give you an exampleà from my youth.
I was adopted by a couple who had no children of their own. I do not know why they had no children or why they adopted three strangers.. Questions were explicitly unwelcome. “Shut up Caroleena and stop asking questions. Everyone already knows how smart you are,” snapped the lady who adopted me said. She only had to say it once. The way I remember the experience of growing up with these people was summed up by the word NO. Everything was NO. NO-you can’t go, NO-you can’t have, NO–you will never be. She was an incomplete person who lived in worse fear than I did bc she lived in fear of me, the greatness I could obtain and the greatness she saw within me that shined. She wanted to extinguish that little light of mine. In order to try to jill it she had no choice but to acknowledge it. “You may be smart, but…” That’s how she began many sentences. She had no choice but to take in that which was an obstacle to her goal. Her goal was my destruction but to be duccessful she had to deal with the cognitive dissonance presented by the contradiction of what people said was good in me and her belief that overall I was bad. External messages she could not control (like my high grades in school) could not be denied and these messages were messing up her mission to hurt me. What could she do?
Abusers attempt to detach you from reality. They want you to believe some evident greatness is either not what it’s made out to be or is insufficient to compensate for the badness they want you to believe encompasses you. When you’ve got done greatness that cannot be denied, your abuser will try to discredit your strengths. If you hear a lot of–“you may be [insert positive attribute], but…” Then you know that what you’ve got going for you is do obvious even your enemies can’t deny it. In my case it was, “you may be smart, but you’ve got no common sense.”
Within verbal abuse is often praise if you recognize how Abusers distort the truth.