How Your Inner GPS Falls Victim to Verbal Abuse

July 16, 2019 Jenn Carnevale

What is your inner GPS? Some call it intuition. Others call it a "gut feeling." No matter the label, we all have an internal GPS that guides us. But what happens when your inner GPS is recalibrated to someone else's objectives? This recalibration is the result of a verbally abusive relationship. The abuser will work their magic to undo our self-trust and put that trust into their hands. When this happens, we feel as though there is no place to turn, and the minute we get lost, the recalibration begins.

Your Inner GPS Is Recalibrated by the Silent Signs of Verbal Abuse

Growing up, my inner GPS was intact, but its calibration was incomplete. I knew yelling, name-calling, and put-downs were clear signs of verbal abuse, but I didn't realize abuse could also manifest in passive ways. No one taught me that a person could completely break you down without ever raising their voice. No one taught me about gaslighting, blaming, accusing, and circular talk.

I remember the first time my ex-boyfriend cheated on me. The word "first" reveals how deep the manipulation went. He came clean and acted like it was no big deal. I was devastated by the blow, but it got worse. He blamed me. He politely pointed out my flaws and behaviors that lead him to make that choice. He kept telling me I was "crazy" for getting upset and that I was "remembering things wrong" when I'd bring it up after the initial conversation. The more he calmly talked, the more I believed him. Why? Because he convinced me this was love. My inner GPS was recalculated.

This is what the verbal abuser does. They slowly, quietly plant seeds of self-doubt into your heart and mind. Slowly and quietly the seeds grow. Now, when you ask your inner GPS for guidance, the landscape has drastically changed. You become lost and slowly dependent on your abuser to guide your way. You rely on them to recalculate because you've forgotten how. I knew I wasn't crazy, yet something in the back of my mind kept telling me to stay. Something kept telling me he was right.

As time passed, the relationship continued to grow more toxic, yet his tactics became less noticeable. He would use circular arguments to confuse me, he would implicitly accuse me of infidelity to remove the onus from him, and he would gaslight me every time I pointed out a misstep on his part. The seeds were planted. I was lost in a forest that had been growing for years. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't find the way back to myself. How did I let someone recalibrate my GPS without ever knowing?

Recalibrate Your Inner GPS to Avoid Abuse and Manipulation

How do we break free from someone that is trained to talk us back into the relationship? It starts with self-confidence and knowing you aren't crazy. I'm here to tell you, you aren't. I thought I was crazy. I thought it was my fault until I started doing something about it. I began writing down my thoughts and feelings and dated them to track events. I kept a list of his comments and patterns because I needed to know I was right. I needed to know I wasn't crazy with hard evidence before I walked away. It's almost as if I had to catch him in a lie on my terms before I could walk away. 

But that feeling of wanting to be right and the need for more evidence came from fear. Deep down, I wanted to believe he would change. That was my Achilles heel. It's easy to think the person will, but if you are in a relationship with an abuser, he or she will do anything to keep you around, subdued, and looking for a way to keep the peace. Your abuser won't change; he or she will only work harder to change you.

I broke free because of friends and mental health professionals who reinforced my evidence. I knew it was time to get away once and for all, but I needed help finding that strength. At the end of the day, I continued to believe something was wrong, and I'm glad I was able to finally trust my gut. Your internal GPS always knows. It's a big leap of faith once you decide to leave, but once you get far enough away, your inner GPS will begin to recalibrate.

APA Reference
Carnevale, J. (2019, July 16). How Your Inner GPS Falls Victim to Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 17 from

Author: Jenn Carnevale

Find Jenn on Instagram, Facebook and her personal website. She also produces the podcast: Someone Needs to Hear it: Rewriting Our Narratives.

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