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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Measures to keep Abuse Out of Your Life

You can’t always keep it all out, but you can take some measures to reduce it.

• Keep a healthy self-esteem. If you define self-esteem as a composition of self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-care, it is easy to see how lacking in this department opens the doors to abuse. If you do not have enough acceptance, respect, and care for yourself, you’re less inclined to trace and reinforce boundaries to protect yourself and to guarantee that you’re treated with dignity. For someone with little self-esteem, any small gesture can seem grand. Why? Because it is still more than they would expect, more than they believe they deserve or are worthy of. This makes you an easy target for abusers. A lot of them know that they can easily have you falling for them by the mere use of flattery (or any form of 'breadcrumbing'). And that’s not all, blaming you for everything also works (filling you with guilt, shame, and also 'gaslighting' you). And even if your self-esteem was initially okay, they may be insistent enough to lower it to the point where it’s not. So chin up and keep it steady. Work on having and maintaining bulletproof self-esteem.
• Be vocal and assertive. You are not a mere recipient for everyone else to crap on. If someone is mean and nasty to you, you can call them out on it. Maybe not right away, and maybe you’ll need to choose your words and tone wisely, but you’re not obligated to passively take in whatever others throw at you and roll with it for an eternity. You matter, too. And by standing up for yourself, you set the example for others and show them that they’re not powerless to stop abuse.
• Adopt a “Do no harm but take no sh*t” philosophy. Okay, not so literally, but it serves as a guideline. If you’re a quarrelsome person who starts fights for no good reason, you automatically hand others a free pass to do the same with you. So don’t do this to others and don’t allow it to be done to you by others either. Train and develop yourself to be able to not take offense (childish insults and wild accusations say more about who makes them than about you) and to defend yourself only when necessary.

These are merely starting points that can help turn things around. If you aren’t already covering these aspects and are, thus, “attracting” abuse into your life. Not to signify that it is your fault, but that you’re not helpless in such circumstances.

See also: What is abuse?