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How often would this work? Suggestion in book- 'The Verbally Abusive Relationship.'

(48 Posts)
NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 14:39:57

This is just an academic/hypothetical question really, I'm not in a verbally abusive relationship at the moment.
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In this book by Patricia Evans, she said that if we want a verbally abusive partner to change, we could write/say something like this:-

'I will not be responding to you in the usual way. I'm not happy with some of the things I've heard from you. I want to have a really good relationship with you. I would like to see some changes in communication. In the past, I've tried to explain to you what bothered me about some of your behaviours. I do not feel that I have been successful. I assure you that I will be letting you know what I want and what I don't want in our relationship; I have limits and I will let you know immediately if you overstep them. I ask for your co-operation.'

How often do you think this will make a partner stop his abuse? It doesn't seem very likely to me. I don't think they'd take it well.

I suppose maybe it is a last ditch attempt.

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OhioOhioOhio Tue 30-Jun-20 14:42:04

I wish that had worked. Its rubbish.

5LeafPenguin Tue 30-Jun-20 14:48:44

You absolutely could say something like that. It might even work to stop what was happening in that moment, but the abuse would come out another way pretty quickly.

1235kbm Tue 30-Jun-20 14:52:03

The Evans book has a lot of flaws. In my opinion, it's excellent for showing you the mechanism behind emotional abuse. Emotional abuse makes you feel as though you are going mad and it involves a lot of crazy making behaviours.

Evans pulls back the curtain and says, 'Ta da! It's not you, it's him and he's doing it because of this.' Crucially however, what she doesn't say is, 'Now go! You can't do anything to make this better. Move on.' Suggesting things like couple's counselling and writing notes are for when you are in the fog of abuse and are still working on the relationship.

Ignore.

5LeafPenguin Tue 30-Jun-20 15:32:28

Agree with much of what1235kbm has written. From memory, she does talk about leaving and also quotes someone who stays but thinks she would have been happier if she'd left. But it does contain how to manage your abuse so it stops 'tips' like the above. These are (at best) temporary tactics not long term fixes no matter how much you wish they were. As I said above, the abuse simply pops out in another way.

The most useful part of the book is the descriptions of the behavior and how abusive it is, because it focuses on a method of abuse that's difficult to talk about/explain which isolates victims even more. I found it spoke to me more clearly than Why does he do that and would recommend it ( with the above caveat) for that reason.

NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 15:32:42

@1235kbm Good point. Like in an interview she said people could effectively mount an intervention, maybe with family on side, to go 'Oy, abuser, your abuse is not ok.' grin

She does say that women should leave, maybe mostly if they feel under threat of violence IDK, I haven't finished the book yet.

But I think she has maybe has a slightly old-fashioned view of marriage/relationships and thinks women should stick around far longer than we would think.

Also a lot of her suggestions are that when their partner is verbally abusive the woman should say 'Stop right there!' and stuff, which I don't think would work on the average abuser either.

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5LeafPenguin Tue 30-Jun-20 15:37:20

That can work. Doesn't fix anything but it can stop a freestyle rant on how you've been crap since the dawn of time in it's tracks ( which is actually a helpful thing to know and much better for you than listening to the full on version)

1235kbm Tue 30-Jun-20 15:47:12

An intervention?! I haven't read the book in a long time and don't remember that.

Interventions, notes, boundaries - you're pushing back against a tsunami. It's a complete and utter waste of your time and energy. You shouldn't have to ask your partner, who is meant to love and care about you, to stop being verbally abusive.

Abuse is a pattern of behaviour in order to dominate and control, therefore, writing notes isn't going to work to stop that.

5LeafPenguin Tue 30-Jun-20 15:55:47

I haven't read it for a long time either but I think the notes are so you can recognise a pattern of behaviour.

I can't remember the intervention though. If anyone is reading this because it applies to them, my very best advice is to read the sticky at the top of the thread and seek individual counseling for yourself to help you leave safely and tell someone in real life.

You can't fix it, you can't manage it ( it will damage you more than you think), you can't explain how it feels so they will stop it (even if you wish you could).

Tiny2018 Tue 30-Jun-20 15:56:00

It makes them angrier and more manipulative in my experience.

TorkTorkBam Tue 30-Jun-20 15:59:38

That would work with a person who very much wants to be lovely but for some reason has absolutely no idea whatsover of what that entails and is inadvertently massively rude, i.e. small children.

For an adult? Of course not. If they cared about you being upset they'd have worked out what to say and not say for themselves.

1235kbm Tue 30-Jun-20 16:01:55

Yes it does @Tiny2018 they don't like being challenged. They also find passive aggressive ways of punishing you for daring to call them out on their behaviour and, once they realise it's no longer working, they can escalate to violence.

NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 16:03:31

@1235kbm - I think it's more in some interviews she's said that. I think she's added to the stuff she says. I have her latest 'Controlling People' as an audiobook so will listen to that at some point.

I've not got far enough into TVAR to see all of what she says, but she says that as well as being about 'Power Over,' abuse is based on projection. In the interviews I've seen/heard, she says the abuser basically doesn't see his partner as a separate person and thinks she should be his 'dream girl.' So he is pissed off if she does anything other than what he expects.

The intervention or whatever would be to assert to him that his partner is a separate individual/person with her own wants and needs that he should consider.

I don't know how often that would work with an abuser!

You shouldn't have to ask your partner, who is meant to love and care about you, to stop being verbally abusive.

True, that's a core part of what she says, that they aren't on the same page.

Yes, I can imagine that seeing the different types of verbal abuse laid out can be really helpful as it means women can recognize what's going on.

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Crystalspider Tue 30-Jun-20 16:03:54

Asking a verbal abuser nicely to stop is unlikely to work and probably and they would see you as more of a push over.
The only way to stop abuse is to take yourself out the relationship.

TorkTorkBam Tue 30-Jun-20 16:05:09

I think it is important to say something like that to yourself in your own head as a kind of contract with yourself. So, not to him but to yourself.

I will not be responding to him in the usual way. I'm not happy with some of the things I've heard from him. I want to have a really good relationship with him. I would like to see some changes in communication. In the past, I've tried to explain to him what bothered me about some of his behaviours. I do not feel that I have been successful. I assure myself that I will be letting him know what I want and what I don't want in our relationship; I have limits and I will let him know immediately if he overstep them. I will observe whether he then changes behaviour to give me what I need in a relationship.

NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 16:07:40

That would work with a person who very much wants to be lovely but for some reason has absolutely no idea whatsover of what that entails and is inadvertently massively rude, i.e. small children.

@TorkTorkBam She says part of their problem, 'temper tantrums,' countering, is because they're emotionally immature. That seems unlikely to me though, or only part of what is a type of torture.

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NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 16:09:28

@TorkTorkBam That's a really good suggestion of the type of thoughts women could approach the situation with.

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5LeafPenguin Tue 30-Jun-20 16:23:12

100% agree, 1235.

But extreme and continued verbal abuse is extremely damaging. A tool to make it stop is a useful one to know, even if you have to pay with pa later. The risk of escalation to violence is always there with abuse.

That's why you have to recognise it as abuse and may well have to leave to stay safe. Unfortunately abusers also seem to follow the 'I'm not leaving the house' strategy.

TomPettysTopHat Tue 30-Jun-20 17:40:09

It's a good book as others have said but I must admit I was highly sceptical about the suggestions you mention. For most I think it would just result in doubling down of the abuse.

It is really excellent in terms of identifying the different styles of VA though.

user12699422578 Tue 30-Jun-20 17:51:44

Kinda misses the point of what abuse is. Verbal assaults are just one tactic to gain/maintain/regain control. They are aware of the impact, that's why they do it. If one tactic ceases to be effective or available they use another.

And definitely misses the fact that trauma from non-physical abuse can be worse than from physical abuse. Non-physical abuse is certainly not abuse lite and I think it's fundamentally wrong and dangerous to put forward a narrative that suggests it is.

I don't think it's healthy or helpful to encourage people to continue "relationships" where they are positioning themselves in the role of rescuer or saviour for this abuser they are going to fix. It's all kinds of messed up.

ThePathToHealing Tue 30-Jun-20 17:52:45

If I had said that to my ex it would have been:

"No you don't, you're just trying to start an argument, I'm not going to argue with you"

Start slamming the cupboard doors and start a three day silent treatment.

My CBT therapist tried to get me to set boundaries, it just pissed him off in a multitude of new and exciting ways hmm

NoMoreDickheads Tue 30-Jun-20 20:18:33

Aah @ThePathToHealing , then you are 'supposed' to say 'Stop accusing me and blaming me right now!' Or 'Don't talk to me like that!' (pg. 140.)

And to the silent treatment 'I am feeling very bored with your company.' (pg 136) and leave the room.

It's not even funny but... grin
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Glad you've left your ex and sorry to hear there's ongoing bollox. sad

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JustBeingMoi Wed 01-Jul-20 11:55:13

I read this book. I've just left my abusive relationship, but i was and still am feeling very delicate. I remember that particular paragraph quite clearly, because it really made me worry that I was giving up on a realtionshop that could be fixed that simply. Of course it can't, and my rational mind knew that, but in my highly emotional state i couldn't see that very clearly. I think its could be quite damaging.

1235kbm Wed 01-Jul-20 14:45:40

@JustBeingMoi well done for leaving. I agree with you, many survivors in the fog of abuse are still looking for ways they can fix the relationship, so these 'tips' can keep them there trying or, cause it to escalate. I'm sorry it made you feel that way.

I hope you're ok.

NoMoreDickheads Wed 01-Jul-20 15:00:48

@JustBeingMoi So sorry you experienced that, and so glad you were able to leave. flowers Wishing you a good recovery.
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I was thinking last night that some of the suggestions could be outright dangerous. Answering a verbal abuser back- 'Stop right now!' etc etc, I imagine could lead to him responding with physical abuse for the first time or whatever.

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