Emotional abuse has many facets. Passive aggression is a primary weapon.
When someone knows in their gut that something is wrong, yet they are made to feel foolish when questioning the situation, they are likely facing passive aggression.
Two Signs of Passive Aggression
- If someone in your life does not validate your feelings, that is wrong! Feelings are not facts – but feelings are valid.
- Often one partner will begin to ostracize another from family and friends. This slowly damages long-term relationships.
Below is a journal entry that I wrote after I left my marital home. This passage illustrates these two signs. I finally see what it was like to come to the realization of the damage that I had allowed to occur in my most treasured long-term relationships.
May 6th, 2015
Immediately, my sister came to help me set up my new place. She is the best. During my marriage, I lost contact with my roots. My core values got diluted. I laid my ‘self’ aside in hopes that if I changed enough, he would find me worthy of his love and kindness.
It was during these desperately lonely days and nights that Jesus grew to be my all-in-all. I felt I could never leave the marriage. I am a Christian. I believed that I needed to try harder to please my husband and things would get better. The Bible says submit. The church said stay. Together, we have four sons who I never wanted to drag through the hell of a broken home. I came to depend on Jesus. My husband could not come between my First Love and me, although he pried me away from others who would offer me care. I became dependent on him for human care. Jesus indeed met all my needs, yet He refused to heal my marriage.
I can see now.
I honored my husband’s authority over my life. I allowed his lack of respect for my uniqueness. I accepted the damage to the foundation of who I was designed to be. I began doing things that did not line up with who I was or what I truly wanted. It is obvious now. I allowed my husband to pull me away from my family of origin. They were a threat to his power and control. I suppose they might have been a light to the darkness he was creating. In their presence, he ran the risk that I would begin to see what he kept hidden.
Every time my family approached me about an extended family event, the same tactic was rolled out.
He would state, “Let me think about it.”
It always took way too long for him to reveal his decision. I was frustrated that I was never permitted to say how I felt.
I wanted to respond, “Absolutely, we would love to!”
My parents would offer to treat us to fun trips and holiday get-togethers. I desperately wanted to go and bond with my family. I wanted my children to connect with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. To me, a family is of great value. My husband did not invest in relationships. He resented my desire to stay close to my family.
He criticized the deep desire in my soul.
I always felt obligated to ask his permission. He always said, “I’ll think about it.”
Frequently he would say “No, we should bond as an immediate family.” My extended family didn’t understand. He explained that is because they believe in divorce. He made them look bad for wanting to spend time with us rather than grasping the value of us bonding as a family.
I never explained his position well to my family, I wasn’t on board with him. I ended up looking like a fool. I never stated what I needed to be whole. I simply wanted close ties with my family. I was ashamed of my wishy-washy response. In the end, he aways accused me of not supporting him!
He claimed my loyalty was to my family before him. He would find fault in who they are and how they live. I believed it was God’s will for me to put my husband above all. So, I did. Eventually, my family asked us to join them less and less. I hated to have to say, “No.” I resented having to come up with some explanation as to “why” in an effort not make my husband look “bad.” I always took the fall. Yet, he always accused me of making him the villain.
I know now.
He hurt my feelings.
He damaged my relationships with my family.
My soul was grieved.
Yet, I would cover for him. No matter how painful it was for me. My heart longed for him to approve of me.
My soul continued to grieve…
I hear it now.
What about you?
- Are you with someone who criticizes the people you love?
- Are you with someone who makes you question yourself?
- Or are you with someone who values the person that God made you to be?
Pay attention to your soul.
Is it grieving?
If you are identifying with what I went through, it is time to get well.
You are not serving God or your family by staying in a place where someone is suffocating you emotionally. Trust God. Begin taking steps to safety. God created you for a purpose. Do not bury the talents and visions that He intentionally placed within you. Find a place where you are valued.
Start by downloading FREE Soul Work Journal Spend time with yourself and with God. Get into a community. Define what matters to you, set up boundaries and keep them. Trust God if you need to make a radical move, find comfort in His word.
I offer a free 30-minute coaching call and would love to see if we are a good fit to help you move into a healthy future.