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How do you block out the mean-spirited, degrading comments by someone you love?

Updated on March 19, 2008

the paradox of abusive love

It seems such a dichotomy that someone can be abusive through mean comments or even teasing. In other words, the one you love, and who loves you is showing that love by putting you down. Incongrous isn't it? Hardly the stuff of love. It is certain that those who have not experienced love, will never be able to define it.

Some persons will put up with the most outrageous behavior of loved ones, simply because there is love between them. but is that love? Is there really love between them? A better question might be, do you like yourself? Do you feel like you don't deserve to be put down by anyone, let alone the person who supposedly loves you? If you have put up with it for awhile and the partner continues, despite your protests, what are you getting out of the relationship? Is it recreating an earlier time for you when the abuse seemed familiar to you, and though you never figured it out, it is visiting you again?

Oddly enough, it seems that human beings are comfortable with what they know and what they are used to, even though it may be annoying and even threatening, it is difficult to change patterns we have grown accustomed to.

Notice, I haven't mentioned the abuser. that is because if youi ask someone to change and they don't do so, in spite of the discomfort it is causing, that person is making a statement clear as a cloudless day. " I hear you but you aren't as important as my desire to continue taunting you, therefore, the problem is not me, I am the important one and I choose to taunt you."

Children have a tendency to think globally when interacting with others. Hear me, tend to me, put up with me, love me. The world revolves around me. And we do allow for this. But at some point, at home, at school or on the playground other childrens wants conflict with the child's desires and he/she learn to negotiate with others successfully. But the child does learn and adjusts accordingly. The world may be still his/hers, but with acceptable, competing interests. In time, they appreciate that others are unique and share the same competing world. It's all right.

A small group of children, however, find this concept totally in conflict with their own perception of how the world works-or how the world should work. These kids take alot of energy to deal with,from adults and children alike. It seems they demand all the attention, defy the rules and question them at every turn, manipulate the other kids, and adults if necessary, in order to get their own wants met. They constantly push the boundries and woe be to anyone who stands in their way.

What has this got to do with unwanted abuse? If this person abuses you it is probable that others have not escaped their special attention. Is it love when someone acts childlike and taunts you above your objections? It tells you that this person has picked up on something about you that tells them you will put up with outrageous behavior. It tells me that this is a manipulative person who cares little for your feelings. Taking advantage of you is a game that may offer relief from boredom. Whatever it is, it certainly does not speak of love, of caring for another, or holding another in high regard. It may be a sign of mere childishness or something more.

We cannnot change others. Others may seek to change, often when it is too late and the injured party is convinced it is just another manipulation. Chances are, that is exactly what it is. For some, unfortunately, life will be completed according to the same familiar script. It goes something like this:

" I don't understand it. I have all this love to give and I still can't find anyone." The truth is, many have come under the spell of those seeking the childhood days when love came unconditionally from family, especially mom and dad. They seek a love that is directed entirely towards them, as if what they do in life or their special looks grant them special status. " I am special. Treat me so and we will get along fine." Because of your love for me, I can treat you any way I want with impunity."

There are, of course, variations to these themes.These" special" people are usually not ameniable to counseling, preferring to dominate the therapist, and when they get bored, move on to the next counselor, relationship, or latest feel-good technique. They may be seen in dating sites on the internet. Some go for years and never find a favorable suitor. Often they will have had several hundred responses to their profile and use automatic responses to avoid actually communicating with someone.

Meanwhile, it is important that you not stay a part of the abusive pattern. Friends are very helpful when you need someone who will listen and not judge or tell you what to do. A pastor, priest, or classes are good. They teach normal ways of relating with others without manipulation or exploitation. It is good to have observers see exactly what is happening. It is important that you make changes, as it is for everyone to grow and change, but it is up to you to decide what those changes are. You are lovable because you are human. Treat yourself well and expect acceptable behavior from everyone you have frequent contact with. Would you put up with abuse from a perfect stranger? Of course not.


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    • donotfear profile image

      Annette Thomas 

      8 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Wow, this is really good. And true. Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

    • solarcaptain profile imageAUTHOR

      mike king 

      9 years ago from california


      I enjoyed coming back and reading your response to my hub. You have an excellent handle on the dynamic and an excellent way of putting it into words. I like the way you relate the experience to yourself, I suppose because I had to stop at one point and recognize that something had to change and it turned out to be me. Well, my own children have helped me through patience and kindness. I learned too late the person for me isn't available anymore and I only seek friendships now, which is good. My brothers and sisters, well, I told them all that I love them but could not be around the ego displays, sudden angry outbursts, childish posturing, pouting, accusations, and crazy making. That was eight years ago. I,m not surp;rised in the least that they have made no attempt to contact me. Wjhat made my decision final was their failujre to notify me that my brother had passed away. Then they informed his wife and grown kids I didn't want to come to the funeral.

      Thank you again, you have great style, those you are helping are indeed fortunate. I'm certain they are aware of it.

      (this blog will be appearing in technorati as a favorite)

    • tudsanee profile image


      9 years ago

      I like it.

    • solarcaptain profile imageAUTHOR

      mike king 

      9 years ago from california

      /excellent hub interesting reading.


    • profile image

      Mayra Mejia 

      9 years ago

      Sally this is a great post. Going through the process of wanting to change, I learned to begin to look at other people as mirrors of me because it was the only way I could take responsibility for what I experienced. I found that the things I judged and criticized in others tended to present themselves often enough in other people to annoy me. Whenever I felt fearful there was surely someone around to capitalize on my fear. I eventually figured out that in order to stop these things I needed to release the negative energy that was attracting and binding me to those individuals. I found that it all started in childhood and that all the resentment and anger I felt toward those who did me wrong had become my point of attraction throughout the course of my life. Therefore I continued to relieve the same situations with different people except that I was not aware of it. I always blamed them. Through the process of compassion and forgiveness of all the people that hurt me as a child and as a teenager including my parents and my family, I began to shed the negative layers responsible for the pain that continued to disguised itself and haunt me in so many different ways.

      And it wasn't that I was condoning the actions, but that I was learning to forgive the person because without forgiveness you can't move on or break the ties with your past. If we can't learn to forgive others, we can't forgive ourselves. As I went through this process, my interactions with people began to change and even those who seemed angry and nasty to me before would light up the minute they saw me because I stopped judging people, because they can sense when we do that out of bad habit and they act accordingly. There are people who thrive on instilling fear in others because they sense the fear in another and our job is to heal our own fear in order to muster the strength to stand up for ourselves and send the message to others that we are not afraid because they don't have power over us. When we believe this people can sense it and they will know they don't have a game with us.

      I think that suffering is one of our greatest teachers and people come into our lives to teach us what we need to change and heal. Although I do not condone abuse, I believe that it brings about the lesson of owning our personal power and until we do, we can't get away from the situations that show it to us because the lesson has not been learned. And running away without healing yourself to take back your own power and stand on your own two feet will only recreate the same situation in a different place with a different person.

      I think that change becomes easier for us when we begin to shift our thinking to realize that life is always for us, teaching us to help us live happier and healthier lives by making us stronger. But when we blame, resist, and resent change is not possible. It is always important to take whatever action we need to take in the moment to protect ourselves, but after the fact reflect on the situation and see how we can heal that part of ourselves to help us stop from repeating the pattern again.  


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