Missing Out on Life Because of Verbal Abuse
Have you ever noticed how an abusive relationship makes you miss out on life? While thinking about what to write for this week's post, I became fixated on the fact I never got to see George Carlin perform live. I had the tickets, I was ready to go, but at the last minute, I decided to back out. It may seem insignificant, but missing his show over 10 years ago triggered an internal change that bettered my life. I learned to stop missing out on life, and it's all thanks to my narcissist.
How Verbal Abusers Make You Miss Out on Life
On the day in question, I patiently waited for my boyfriend to come home from work. I was bubbling with excitement to see a legend perform, but deep down, I knew I wasn't going to the show. I tried to tell myself this time would be different, but I knew exactly how it would all play out. Unfortunately, my gut was right. I missed out on life because we did not go to the show.
Here's how it went down. He purposely came home late, so we would leave late, so we would sit in traffic and miss the show. This wasn't the first time he'd pulled this trick and others like it. Any time we had plans that he didn't want to be a part of, he would start a fight to get me upset because if I got upset, I would be the one to cancel dinner plans, cancel the movie tickets, and cancel the thing he didn't want to do. Because if I canceled, it wouldn't be his fault, and he could play World of Warcraft until he fell asleep.
When he came home late, of course, I was upset. I had been waiting for this day. Without traffic, the show was almost an hour away and my anxiety was on high just thinking about it. I knew I could have pushed the issue and got us to that show, but it didn't feel worth it. I didn't feel like pushing it. I didn't feel like arguing because, after years of abuse, I was too tired to fight. I made an excuse like I always did and told myself I could see Carlin the next time he came around, but this time, the joke was on me. Carlin passed away shortly after the show.
I Was Afraid to Face the Fact I Was Missing Out on Life
After Carlin died, that night haunted me, but after years of reflection, I realized it wasn't the show that was eating away at my heart. It was the line, "I didn't feel like pushing it." This was the ghost and the fact that Carlin died shortly after reinforced the ghost's power. I didn't want to "push it" because I didn't want to face the consequences of standing up for myself. If I did, that would mean honest conversations with myself and my boyfriend that I was too afraid to endure. Ultimately, it meant I would have to acknowledge how toxic the relationship was and how much self-work I needed to do to move beyond this miserable place. It would mean acknowledging his verbal abuse and how much of my life I had already sacrificed to someone that didn't care about my needs, my feelings, or my future.
Everyone's story is different, but here are some patterns I've found in my past relationships that caused me to miss out on life.
- Fear: You're afraid to talk to your partner about your feelings and needs because they will gaslight you, yell at you, or blame you for creating conflict.
- Avoidance: Your partner refuses to share his or her feelings and won't provide a space for open communication because he or she consciously or unconsciously wants control.
- Disregard: Your partner doesn't acknowledge or honor your story and won't work with you to move beyond triggers. Your partner may simply refuse to talk about feelings in general.
- Inability to compromise: You miss out on important life events or activities because of disagreement or don't bother asking because you fear your partner will undoubtedly say no. He or she may also blatantly tell you not to do something.
- Repetition: This isn't a one time issue. This happens all the time to the point you only leave the house to go to work or leave with your partner for errands and occasional events. And the thought of making plans causes serious anxiety.
No relationship is perfect, but a healthy relationship means open communication and compromise. If your partner doesn't want to go to a show--no big deal. Phone a friend, ask a family member or go alone. The red flags should start to show if you're unwilling to make those calls or the other person inhibits your ability to go at all. But the biggest takeaway is that phrase about pushing it. If you feel you have to "push it" to get your thoughts and feelings across, it might be time to take a step back and assess your relationship. Because if you have to push it, you don't have an open line of communication, and you're not in control of your choices.
Move Beyond Verbal Abuse and Stop Missing Out on Life
I know it can seem daunting. I know you think your partner is the one. I know you believe he or she will change. But the people that truly love us will never stop us from living our best lives; they won't make us miss out on life at all. I'll leave you with some advice from a former professor who helped me move beyond abuse. Think about human behavior. Look at any example of change in the world and think about what it takes for a human to change his or her ways. For a significant shift, it usually means a life-altering event. And sometimes even that doesn't create a real, substantial change.
Change means constant inner work connected to external resources that foster growth. For me, it took years of abuse, years of missed life events and years of pain for me to love myself enough to leave and live the life I always dreamed of. If you don't see it through your partner's actions, it's time to stop believing his or her words. And if their words are causing you to suffer in silence, it's time to walk away.
How has relationship abuse caused you to miss out on life? Share in the comments.
Carnevale, J. (2019, August 15). Missing Out on Life Because of Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2019/8/missing-out-on-life-because-of-verbal-abuse
Author: Jenn Carnevale
Our third and last child was a senior in high school, my spouse at the age of 52 decided to go back to graduate school taking 6 months of FMLA. He tried two primary care physicians for a note with not success, however he went and sat in the office of a prior psychiatrist that I had seen, refusing to leave until he was able to get the note that he would need to be off work to care for me 24/7. YES HE WROTE THE NOTE AND I WAS NOT EVEN HIS PATIENT. He was a high school music teacher, so I was ordered not to leave the home for anything because his students, colleges & administrators were told I was sick. I never saw my daughter play, softball, soccer, sing, dance....