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Verbal Abuse in Relationships

Victim blaming is alive and well. Last week, actress and model Chloe Dykstra posted a personal essay via Medium, detailing the emotional and sexual abuse of an ex-boyfriend. She didn't name the man explicitly, but it became clear to fans and the media that she was talking about Chris Hardwick of Nerdist fame, with whom she had a three-year relationship that ended in 2014. Hardwick has denied all culpability for the abuse, claiming he was "blindsided" and "heartbroken" by Chloe's essay. Let's look closer at the Chloe Dykstra/Chris Hardwick story, and why, in the age of #metoo, it's so easy for abusers, and the media, to automatically blame the victim.
Applying the five stages of grief to the loss of a relationship, yes, even an abusive relationship, can help you to understand what you're going through and to guide you through the process. Grieving the loss of a relationship is a complex, messy process, and grieving the loss of an abusive relationship may be especially confusing. When thinking about an abusive relationship ending, people may think, "Good riddance;" and while a good riddance may very well be in order, it is not that simple a summation (Three Things We Need to Understand About Grief). If you're grieving the loss of a relationship, here's how and why the stages of grief can help you through the process.
Being in love with your abuser is painful and confusing. On the one hand, you may fear for your sanity, your sense of identity, and possibly even your life. On the other, you cling to the times your partner is loving and thoughtful, and feel that you're too in love to ever leave. You know he sometimes makes you miserable, but what about the times he makes you happy? Being in love with your abuser you is not unusual, and there are, in fact, logical explanations for your feelings.
Love bombing is the single most effective gaslighting tactic there is and it's anything but romantic. If you haven't heard the term before, you can think of love bombing as a breadcrumb trail of compliments, gifts and expressions of love, all of which make you feel safe and valued at the start of a relationship. Sounds ideal, right? It sure feels that way in the beginning, but what if you're actually being groomed for verbal and physical abuse? Here's how to tell if you are being love bombed and why you should take shelter immediately. 
If you're verbally abused at work, you may be surprised to learn that verbal abuse in the workplace is more common than you might think and it's a real problem. Not only is it detrimental to productivity, verbal abuse also undermines confidence and stunts career progression, leaving those affected feeling powerless. If you think you or a colleague are being verbally abused at work, read this for how to spot verbal abuse in your workplace, and what to do when it happens.
Trusting again after abuse in a relationship can be frightening, but there comes a time when you’ll want to open yourself up to others. You want to believe that the people you love won’t hurt you, but wasn’t trusting implicitly why you wound up being abused in the first place? Are you partly to blame for being susceptible to narcissists and perpetrators of abuse? This isn't a simple question to answer, but it is crucial to trusting again after abuse.
There is a growing awareness around coercive control, as well as umbrella terms like verbal and emotional abuse. This is partly thanks to the UK law that was passed in 2015 (carrying a prison sentence of up to five years for perpetrators), and also due to celebrities speaking out as part of the #metoo and #timesup movements. Although no such progress has been made in the US in terms of legislation, this is still a step in the right direction; it's the start of our cultures taking lesser-known forms of domestic violence more seriously and recognizing the devastating effects of verbal abuse (as well as other types of abuse). So what exactly is coercive control, and how does it differ from other forms of abuse in a relationship?
Whether it's abuse in movies or in our lives, overcoming abuse is no simple feat -- even abuse in the movies. A quality cinematic experience, or just lounging in sweats watching Netflix, can transport us to another time and place, it allows us to vicariously live through the characters we admire and adore. For some, it can be an even deeper connection, especially when we see a character suffer abuse in movies that we ourselves have personally endured. The following five protagonists suffer and prevail, overcoming abuse to reach the hearts of abuse victims everywhere.
Most likely, you will suffer a loss of identity in a verbally abusive relationship. The relationship will take you as far away from yourself as it's possible to go. Not only will you experience a loss of personal identity, you may even struggle to remember who you were before the abuse took hold. You will become a collaborator in the abusive process and the abuser will make you feel as though everything you experience is your fault, calling into question your personality and your motives (What Are Victims Responsible for in an Abusive Relationship?). So why does this happen, and can we ever unhook ourselves from it? Here's what I learned after my loss of identity in a verbally abusive relationship.
When in the depths of relationship abuse, you're probably considering how your abuser is sabotaging your life. While being proactive and optimistic are important and beneficial, understanding your circumstances is as well. Relationship abuse commonly consists of many abusive behaviors that are sabotaging to the victim's life, and while not all of the behaviors below may be the case for every abusive relationship, there are certainly many that may feel familiar for different cases. Warning, bleak reality checks ahead.