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Old 06-19-2019, 02:23 PM   #24 (permalink)

Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,555
I think it's important to distinguish emotional abuse from being a jerk. I've known plenty of people who were jerks (no filters, no impulse control, limited ability to empathize, not reflective etc) but who weren't abusive, just ... very limited in their capability for healthy interpersonal interaction. (One of my brothers is such a person). I understand abuse as behavior that is sustained, that attacks the target's sense of integrity and self-worth, and that is maintained even when the abuser knows or ought reasonably to know that their behavior is harmful.

I'll never forget the highlight/lowlight of my experience with marriage counselling - when ex was talking to me in the session just like he normally talked to me, reminding me in a very reasonable way that I was insignificant, that being married to me made him want to drink and that he didn't really care what happened to the marriage because I was so defective (exhibit A: I was such a mess that I didn't even realize what a writeoff I was). To me this was same old same old, but the marriage counsellor started crying and managed to choke out "you should never, never speak to anyone like that!".

In that moment I realized, hey, maybe this really is bad. Maybe it's not just me. Presumably the marriage counsellor has seen just about everything so if she thinks this is unacceptable ...
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