Emotional abusers tend to look for people with no (or flexible) boundaries, a passive personality, Empaths, Fixers, etc. They love it when their victim lets them get away with the abuse. They love it when their victim is willing to isolate and abandon all friends and family for them. They love it when their victim doesn’t say “no” or accepts all of the blame for any problems in the relationship.
So, if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, how do you go about surviving or beginning the process of removing yourself from the situation? Below are 10 things that may help you begin to set boundaries and act with more authority in your life; putting an end to the emotional abuse.
A worksheet of these techniques is available here
- The “3 C’s” Rule– Cause, Cure, Control. This is a mantra to tell yourself every day or as many times as it takes to believe it. “I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it and I can’t control it.”
- The 51% Rule– It’s not selfish to consider your own needs more than the abuser’s needs. Even if it’s just a little bit more, that’s okay. It’s not selfish, it’s survival.
- The 50% Rule– You are responsible for your own part of the relationship. That’s just 50%. Not 60, not 80, not 100.
- Boundaries– These are guidelines and limits that you establish and learn to hold for your own physical and psychological safety.
- Get Support– Here are a few resources for finding therapy, support groups, and crisis text line. Surround yourself with those that understand and care about your situation.
- The Clean Up Rule– Similar to the 50% Rule, this rule says that each person in the relationship is responsible for cleaning up his/her own mess. No enabling, no saving, no fixing for the other person.
- Grey Rock Detachment– This is a method of communication that makes oneself seem boring and uninterested(-ing) to the abuser. The idea is that a bear in the forest will mess with what it thinks to be food only until it realizes that it is just a grey rock. In communication with the abuser, sometimes it is best to “play dead.”
- Documentation– This is key. If you think you may find yourself in a court case someday or to simply remind yourself of what the abuser has said or done in the past. Keep written logs, take screenshots, keep voicemails, etc. Some apps can help with this!
- Medium Chill– Like “Grey Rock,” this communication technique is about putting on an air of neutrality when engaging with the emotional abuser and refusing to engage in their chaos. It might mean that you respond with “okay” to everything they say. The abuser will most likely become angry and emotionally dysregulated. You remain “chill.”
- No Contact– The most finite of techniques, this is the act of cutting off all communication and relationship with the abuser. You may choose to reengage at a later time but only at your own discretion and time of choice.