Abuse comes in all forms. Unfortunately, many people only think of the abuse that presents in the physical form as being dangerous. The truth is mental abuse is just as harmful to a person as physical and sexual abuse, and often is accompanied by one or the other and sometimes both.
One common type of mental abuse is reactive abuse, it is also often called “gaslighting”. It is when an abuser makes the abused doubt their memories, sanity, and reality. By making the abused doubt themselves, the abused believes everything the abuser tells them because they begin to believe they are crazy and that they can trust the abuser to tell them what is really happening.
What Reactive Abuse Looks Like
Reactive abuse can be hard to notice at first, but if you constantly feel like you remember everything that happens with a certain person in your life differently than they later say it happened, that person could be reactively abusing you. You may know for a fact that your boyfriend got home last night at 9pm, but later when you ask him about it, he says he was at home at 7pm.
When you insist that he was home at 9pm, he will likely tell you that you are mistaken and that you must just be confused. He may even try to say “you know I got home at 7pm because we ate at 7:15pm.” He will say anything that will make you doubt yourself and since he tells you “I have no reason to lie,” you start to doubt your own memories of the night.
Once the abuser realizes they are having success and re-shaping your memories and reality, they will start to push it further and further. Soon you will feel like you are losing your mind and think that they are the only person you can trust. Once you trust their recollection of events, they know they have you where they want you.
Find the Help You Need
If anything you just read made you think of someone in your life, you may be suffering from reactive abuse and you are not alone. This is a very common form of mental abuse and many times people will deal with it for years before realizing something is wrong. At that point they already doubt themselves so much they may not even seek help or leave their abuser.
You do not have to suffer in silence and if you feel like you are being abused, there’s a good chance that you are. The first step is removing yourself from the abusive situation if possible. You can get help from several different sources. After you get out of the situation, you will still need help to repair the damage that the reactive abuse has caused.
Talking to a therapist is a great first step towards healing from reactive abuse. If talking to a therapist in person seems like too much for you, there are several ways that you can talk to a professional online. If you need medication, there are many websites that will even match you to a doctor who will provide you with a prescription and have the medication delivered straight to your door.
Always Remember That You Are Not Alone
There is no better time to reach out for help than today. It can be hard to heal from reactive abuse, but with the right care plan, you can do it. Reach out for help so that you can talk to someone today. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you will be on your road to recovery.