Have you noticed abusive behaviors that have become normalized by society? You’ve got company. Someone recently asked a popular online forum: “What abusive behaviors do we accept as normal?” Here are THEIR top-voted responses. Do you agree?
1. Using Therapy Speak to Demonize People
“Using therapy speak to try and demonize anyone who inconveniences you as an abuser,” explains one. Countless individuals in the thread agree with this manipulation tactic.
Another contributor says, “I was friends with someone like this. She was one of those chronically online, everything-in-black-and-white, my-way-or-the-highway people. She would always say things like, ‘My therapist said x is y z,’ and label everything and everyone using therapist speak, making them sound like the worst people imaginable.”
2. Withholding Life Skills From Your Children
If you withhold life skills from your children to keep them insecure and dependent on you, that’s abusive behavior. Someone admits understanding, “Wasn’t allowed to learn how to drive. I wasn’t allowed to keep track of my own money. If I ever wanted to leave the house alone, I’d be pelted with stories about all the horrible things that could happen to me. I didn’t really start becoming an adult until my mid-20s.”
3. Helicopter Parents
Similarly, helicopter parents — who are super controlling and won’t let their children make age-appropriate decisions make this list of abusive behaviors we accept as normal.
4. Using Guilt to Manipulate Loved Ones or Those Around You
An unfortunate number of forum members can relate to someone they love using guilt to manipulate them. For example, one person shares, “My grandmother(99) can send my mom (80) into such darkness with a swift and stinging comment. I hate to see it, and it is absolutely abusive.”
5. Calling Your Partner Names
Do you, or do you know somebody who curses out their partner and calls them vulgar names? One notes this behavior often happens in arguments, and a sad number of people believe and accept this is normal behavior for couples. It’s not.
6. Encourage Others Destructive Behaviors
This is a big one in the world of substance abuse, “Encouraging someone when they have destructive behaviors.” Nobody wants to get high or drunk alone. For example, someone who says things like, “But you’re so much fun when you’re drunk! Come on; it can’t be that bad. Just have one beer. You don’t have to stop. You can just cut back, right?”
7. Living Through Your Child
Living vicariously through your children is an abusive behavior that society has accepted as the norm at beauty pageants, sports, dance recitals, and even child acting. One elaborates, “Putting the pressure of huge expectations on a child and then telling everyone that all of these dreams are the child’s dreams even though they’re yours.”
8. Not Allowing Your Kids to Feel Their Emotions
Not allowing your children to show unhappiness is a popular answer in the thread. A user clarifies this with an expression I grew up hearing, “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
9. Taking a Kid’s Door
Taking a kid’s door off the hinges as punishment creates privacy and control issues for life. A user validates, “Deny your kid any semblance of privacy, and they will become excellent at hiding things from you. It’s a power-play punishment, not an instructive one. At least not in the way parents hope.”
10. Denying Lunch Breaks
As someone who spent far too many years of my life in the restaurant industry, this is a big one. While numerous people explain it’s illegal, others explain that they understand this, but it doesn’t stop it from happening.
11. The Silent Treatment
Several people acknowledge the use of the silent treatment as a form of abuse they’ve experienced as children from their parents. And subsequently in their unhealthy adult relationships.
Somebody elaborates, “I was in a relationship with someone last year who gave me the silent treatment over so many different things that skyrocketed my anxiety and led me to disregard any of my boundaries completely so that I wouldn’t get ignored again.”
12. Parental Alienation
Parental alienation is one of the worse offenses on this list for parental abuse. “Telling lies to children about their other parent. It screws with kids’ heads because they are 50% of that other person,” a forum member expresses. “Also, making the child be a mediator between parents because they’re so immature that they can’t behave like adults.”
13. Controlling Someone’s Finances
Controlling someone’s finances so that they are entirely dependent on you is abusive. Someone confesses, “I thought people were very aware this is a type of domestic abuse.” However, many didn’t realize that was a sign of domestic violence.
14. School Bullying
As someone who was bullied every day for three years of my junior high school experience, I can relate to many in the thread who volunteer that school bullying is abuse that society accepts as part of growing up. Countless folks agree with one who says, “We all know that bullying is abusive, but schools never treat it as such, and neither do parents.”
15. Forcing Physical Affection
Three examples of forcing attention are outlined as abusive behaviors. Firstly, forcing children to hug and kiss relatives when they don’t want to. Second, one states, “Not only as a kid. The same works for adults. If I arrive late at a party, I don’t want to kiss everyone. Some people consider that impolite or asocial.
It’s even more impolite to kiss some people and skip others.” Finally, someone explains that it is not entirely the same, “Forcing your animals to let others pet, kiss, and snuggle them. If they’re hiding, please don’t drag them out and make them be social.”
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.