The Subtle Abuse of Expectations

abuse-quoteThe worst thing you can do to another is leave your expectations of them unspoken. Assuming someone wants to try to do right by you, not telling them what they need to do and then punishing them when your expectations are not met is hypocritical. You are lying by omission. Lies by omission are worse than outright lies, because outright lies can be detected much more easily than hidden lies.

When I feel I’m being deceived, I usually take one of three actions. If I have no strong relationship with the deceiver, I will usually walk away. If I’m in an equal relationship with the deceiver, I will confront them with my suspicions, using candor to either clarify their motives or show them what they are doing. But the third case, the case in which I’m in the power of someone who is being deceptive, is the hard one.

When someone you are dependent on is being deceptive, there are a few things you can do. First, you can be candid about your need for them to give you the truth. Sometimes, people are deceptive because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, or because they want to avoid conflict. Letting them know that you honestly want to know what they think may be sufficient to make them become open with their thoughts and expectations.

Sometimes, someone will have preconceptions of you based on the opinions of others or a first impression, and will then ignore the facts or selectively interpret them. When confronted with bias, I try to be open about my own perception of any inaccuracies. If someone is accurately pointing out a problem while ignoring the positives, I try to acknowledge the problem but point out the mitigating factors or the balancing positives.

The worst life situations I’ve gotten myself into have been ones where my instincts told me I was dealing with someone who had made up their mind about me, but I soldiered on for the good of my family, in a false belief that I could turn things around. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that life is too short to stay in negative situations. No matter how much positive thinking or detachment I practice, damage is being done to me, and that damage will take its toll.

The damage of subtle abuse comes out in negative emotions, lack of ability to trust others, and emotional suppression in attempt to prevent further damage, which leads to further internal damage. If you don’t have supportive people to help you back to emotional health, it’s easy to go into a downward spiral. If the people who claim to love you aren’t prepared to help you deal with the effects of mental toxicity, they may attack you, making things worse.

Every evil thing done to you that you suppress and ignore will come back to you. The subconscious mind is wired to learn to avoid pain, and it can’t distinguish between real danger and danger to the ego. Subtle abuse trains you to react to further subtle abuse with either fight or flight. Unfortunately, those who love you often have a fixed image of you and if you deviate from it, they will abuse you for it.

The only way you can help heal a loved one’s emotional scars is by accepting those scars and the anger and pain they cause in the one you love, and loving that person anyway. Make your encouragement positive, be patient, and remember that damage incurred over a long period will take time to heal.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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