Signs of Subtle Abuse in Communication

What is abuse?

Abuse is a behavior that stems from objectifying human beings - feeling entitled to control and hold power over someone. Objects are cold, static, emotionless, and can be manipulated. Objects are not vulnerable, humans are. If you try to fit a living being (yourself included) into your ideas and disregard their real experience, you’ll probably hurt them. Living beings are meant to be related to - and not be used to fulfill one’s needs and expectations.

If you’re not sure whether you can spot abuse and self-abuse, here are some common examples. We invite you to notice the sensations in your body as you read them and take pauses if you want to.  

Here is a list of the most common abusive language patterns we noticed in our relationships:

  • perfectionism - humans are flawed and make mistakes. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation that can never be fulfilled.
  • passive-aggressive comments; indirectly expressing anger, judgments, and demanding others to be different:
  • What did you do today besides wasting time on Instagram?;
  • [seeing your friend eat another piece of chocolate] Ahh, is this how you plan to lose your belly fat?;
  • Of course, you can’t take the trash out, you have been so busy playing video games all day, etc.;
  • implying the person doesn’t know what they’re talking about:
  • You have no idea about real violence;
  • If you had attended that retreat, you would know what “truly embodied” means;
  • Oh, so now you’re a tantra specialist?
  • spiritual bypassing, guilt-tripping others for having lower consciousness/vibration:
  • Be careful which wolf you’re feeding;
  • I sense some really negative energy here;
  • You’re lowering your vibration by acting like a child;
  • dismissing experience:
  • So this is what you’re so sad about??? It’s nothing!;
  • Sorry, I can’t deal with your shit right now, I’m having bigger problems;
  • lecturing:
  • You really need to own your shit;
  • So according to Marshall Rosenberg, your anger is communicating unfulfilled needs…;
  • Your way of expressing anger could be much more constructive if you…
  • labeling:
  • You aren’t a hot-chick type,
  • You’re rather the girl-next-doorish;
  • You’re the smart one;
  • You don’t have high chances of succeeding in science, do you?;
  • sarcasm:
  • Yes, sure you’re the best girlfriend ever;
  • name-calling:
  • You’re stupid;
  • You’re a loser;
  • You suck;
  • You’re fucked up;
  • You’re the spoiled kid;
  • [also said in a friendly-like manner]: You silly; You lazy ass;
  • shaming:
  • Do you really want to go out dressed like this?;
  • Just don’t cry in the movies again!;
  • criticizing and humiliating:
  • Who do you think you are to say that?;
  • I would never do what you did;
  • Look, your nipples are sticking out, wtf???;
  • Don’t be such a cry-baby…;
  • accusing or blaming:
  • If only you expressed your needs more openly, we could have such great sex;
  • You work so much that it’s impossible for me to connect to you;
  • You can make a problem out of everything;
  • assuming to know what the other is feeling/ thinking:
  • You’re just angry…;
  • Of course, you’re disappointed and you’re not owning it;
  • You’re just jealous and you can’t even admit that.

And the list of behaviors:

  • prioritizing performance and productivity over well-being:
  • perfectionism;
  • should-ism;
  • playing with connection/disconnection:
  • making one’s availability and openness dependent on other person's compliance;
  • shutting down communication when not getting what one wants;
  • manipulation:
  • playing nice in order to get what you want;
  • praising someone so that they’re more willing to do what you want them to do;
  • playing small in hopes of being taken care of instead of asking for help openly;
  • patronizing:
  • being apparently kind or helpful but hiding a feeling of superiority;
  • public embarrassment:
  • making jokes about someone at their expense;
  • exposing their secrets.
  • provocation.

How many such sentences have you heard in your life? Do you sometimes think that way about yourself? I certainly have. And I think it’s a vicious circle: we experience subtle abuse as children, internalize it as hostile self-talk, and, consequently, end up performing those forms of abuse on the people we care about. This blog post is meant to inform you and be mindful of your language use and what behaviors are more harmful than helpful. Read about self-abuse in this month's newsletter.

Written by
Jura Glo

I’m a certified NARM Practitioner and a former Radical Honesty Trainer with over 9 years of experience working with individuals and couples globally.

I specialize in addressing trauma-induced relationship dynamics and am known for my ability to cut through superficial issues to focus on what truly matters.

My efficiency in identifying core problems and implementing solutions, coupled with my commitment to psychological and emotional safety, underscores my approach, characterized by full transparency and authenticity in my work.

Where to start?

Book a free assessment call to find out if and how I can help you improve your life and relationships

Book a free assessment call
Have you worked with me before? Book a single session