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the insiduous nature of abuse

Did you have one of those moments of shock and horror when you realized that the relationship you were in was unhealthy and abusive? Did you wonder how it was that you couldn't see it for what it was? How this happened? When it happened?

It really is not your fault.

Most abusive relationships do not start out that way. You don't head out on your first date, go to sit at the table only to have your date backhand you for (insert imagined slight aka excuse here). Chances are you didn't meet them at a party where they called you a stupid little slut that can't do anything right.I doubt that the day you started dating/having wild sex that he/she insisted that you stop seeing your friends, cut off your close relatives and hand over your dignity, self-love and confidence.

Many abusers are incredibly romantic and charismatic.

They listen and remember all those little things you say. You feel heard and understood. They orchestrate a flower delivery in which customers walking into your work each hand you a rose until you are standing there with dozens of flowers and tears in your eyes. They show an appreciation for your independence, your strengths, your talents, you sexuality, your looks, your everything.

Things slowly change. 

Divide then conquer: 

There is the slow erosion of your social supports. 

Little comments that take seed and grow.

That good friend of yours? "Wow, she really is hard on you, not supportive at all. She seems to find it hard to be happy for you, why is that? Every time you come back from (friend's name here) you are negative about us, can't you see she's manipulating you?" That coworker you like? "He said what? That is pretty rude, I can't believe he is so disrespectful of you. Didn't I meet him at the (business function)? Ahhh.. I see. Hmm? What do I mean? Well, he did stare at your cleavage a lot, I bet he is just hoping to score. He told some fairly sexist jokes. HE asked me what you are like in bed."

Slowly but surely he/she will drive away your social connections, typically in a way that will make you feel like it was your choice.If he/she is really good you will find yourself unemployed, or at a new job where you don't have any friends. Working from home, raising kids.

Crazy Making

Then comes the gas lighting. He/she will do things that you call them on, only to spin it so that you begin to doubt your perception of events. The previous isolation techniques already have you doubting yourself (how could you not see how horrible your pals were?). Now it is easier to convince you that YOU were the one that fucked up, not them. You started the fight, not them. It is your responsibility, not theirs. Your recollection of what happened is not quite accurate. They will remind you of past events that you also remember, with tiny variations from your memory-things you can't quite pin down. This will slowly increase until they are towering over you, fist drawn back one minute, and not ten minutes later denying that it even happened. And the crazy thing is, a part of you will wonder if you saw what you saw, if what happened really happened.

Huge Rewards:

Every time things get nasty between you there is a romantic, exciting make up time. Extravagant gifts, or romantic interludes. If you are a kinky slut like me, those make up times are hot scenes, incredible play times that are intense and focused on you. You may feel as if this IS LOVE!! So exciting! So romantic! So fucking hot to be treated like this! Some abusers will gift you huge trips, cars, jewlery etc. Some will woo you with intensity of focus, making you feel as if your every breath is of utter importance to them. Very harlequin romance stuff.Even the sex might be amazing.They might dangle rewards but never actually give them. You are supposed to go to rome together this spring...


By now you rely on them in some way that makes it seem impossible to leave. You might be relying on them financially. Maybe you live in their house. Have kids together? They likely have you believing you will loose your kids if you leave. Threats may have been made, you may now believe your very safety is dependent upon them.

BDSM and abusers

This is another fun toy for gas lighting. Those hot play times? They will slowly creep over the line. Your consent will be stretched, and he/she will convince you that it wasn't, not really. They will conveniently forget your hard limit. "What? I don't remember you saying cages were a no.. when was that? Way back then? Why didn't you say something? Of course that was not intentional!" They may wait until you are a big submissive mess from an intense play session, your defenses stripped away from you, and then say something hurtful. They may mark you in a way you can't hide, so that you will not go out, or start using only the toys/play/words/scene related activity that you hate, pointing out that YOU are the one that wanted to play. It is never THEIR fault-it's you.

You think isolating a vanilla is a keen trick? Isolate a submissive from the community AND isolate them from their vanilla social world.

Misc. Tricks

When you are ready to leave (and this will happen more than once in typical abusive relationships) They will be a changed person. They want relationship counselling, they will quit drinking, they will move mountains-just don't go. That reward stage might ramp up, they will seem like they REALLY heard you, don't you love them? They are changing for you!! Don't go, we can do this...After you capitulate things may get worse, fast. There may be a lull before this happens. Fear and hope will be with you at all times, further eroding your ability to think, eroding your confidence,.

So there you are... months or years into the relationship. A relationship where your emotions are kept on full tilt. (which by the way interferes with our ability to be rational and see things objectively). A relationship where you are lacking the social supports of others or the community. You might now be reliant on them, without resources. You doubt your own perceptions of sensation, events and even your own sanity.

Did you suddenly blink and realize this is the relationship you are in?

It really is not your fault.

International Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233UK Domestic Violence Helpline (24hr, freephone) 0808 2000 247