Relationships are never always sunshine and roses. There will be fights, there will be disagreements. But a couple’s ability to work through conflict in a respectful, dignified manner is what marks the relationship as healthy.
Those who are emotionally and physically abusive will exploit this sentiment in an effort to portray their abuse as a natural part of life in a romantic relationship. They do not want to acknowledge that they do not have the coping skills needed for an honest, healthy relationship. Instead, abusers try to create a new reality where abuse is perfectly acceptable and any criticism of that abuse can be shut down quickly by the abuser accusing the victim of harboring unrealistic expectations.
The Normalization of Abusive Behavior
The worst weapon in the abuser’s arsenal after isolation is normalization, to convince their victim that the abuser’s behavior is nothing out of the ordinary. It is this need for normalization that drives abusers to isolate their victims in the first place, so that no one is giving a victim objective advice that the abuser’s behavior is not okay.
For abusers that are the jealous types, this tactic also serves the purpose of ensuring that their victim doesn’t go looking for anything/anyone better. If the abusive behavior is normal, then it can be expected elsewhere, so there’s no point in leaving.
This is a Form of Gaslighiting
For those that do not know, gaslighting is a pop-psychological term that describes how an abuser invalidates their victim’s point of view to the point that the victim begins to question their very sanity and perception of reality. Abusers will not only deny that the victim’s hurt feelings have merit, but they also go as far as to deny solid facts.
To portray the abuse in the relationship as normal or even nonexistent is the ultimate form of gaslighting. This gaslighting sets the precedent that the victim’s perceptions are skewed, that their interpretation of a relationship transgression is not a true transgression by objective standards. All of this is deliberate so the abuser is never held accountable for their actions.
You Do Not Have to Accept Abuse
The reality that your abuser doesn’t want you to realize is that you are not morally obligated to tolerate their abusive behavior, nor can that abuse ever possibly be placed in the category of normal “relationship problems.” Your abuser will do anything to portray your unwillingness to subject yourself to abuse as selfish, unforgiving, mean-spirited, and mentally unhinged.
However, the abuser’s inability to have any insight into their behavior is not your burden to bear. Putting a stop to their abuse is not the vindictive decision that they’re making it out to be. You’re fully entitled to live your life without being abused by someone who refuses to seek help for themselves. You do not owe it to your abuser to indulge their fragile ego. You owe it to yourself to live your life with dignity and self-respect.