The Two Sides of Avoidance Within Verbal Abuse
With verbal abuse, avoidance may be present with the abuser, the target, or both, depending on the situation. This tactic has two sides that can be helpful or harmful based on the contributing factors. Avoidance in verbal abuse is common.
Avoidance as a Coping Mechanism for Verbal Abuse
As a victim of verbal abuse, I grew up learning how to avoid conflict and minimize confrontation as much as possible. I tried not to draw attention to myself or do something that could create a disturbance within my family unit. This dynamic was the start of my people-pleasing characteristic. I was consumed with ensuring that no one was mad at me or that I wouldn't do something to upset another person. This was me using avoidance as a verbal abuse coping mechanism.
I spent many years trying to feel accepted by others and those close to me. Unfortunately, I didn't know at the time that no matter what I did, I couldn't get the approval I sought from verbal abusers.
I carried this coping mechanism into adulthood, giving me unhealthy relationship habits to use at home, school, and work. Unfortunately, avoiding conflict became a downfall, allowing others to continuously treat me poorly. I never stood up for myself and invited others to use verbal abuse against me.
Avoidance as a Verbal Abusive Tactic
On the other side of the coin, avoidance is a damaging verbal abuse tactic that many abusers use on others. This approach can make an individual feel unworthy, especially when someone close to them dismisses their feelings or needs.
I recall multiple situations where someone in my life avoided my requests at home, school, or work. Even after repeated conversations, I quickly realized these individuals used avoidance tactics to dismiss my needs or feelings. This way, they could ignore me, and I would placidly retreat without incident.
Recently, I've been in a situation where someone is avoiding me despite my efforts to be cordial and friendly. This relationship was cut short by the other person ignoring my communication requests repeatedly. To this day, I still cannot determine why this person is avoiding me and refuses to reciprocate. It's taken me a long time to accept the fact that someone who is avoiding seeing or talking to me is actually saying something very clearly.
Facing Avoidance Without Verbal Abuse
Now, I still use avoidance when I face conflict and am unsure how to proceed. It can be helpful for me when I need to gather my composure in private. However, I also need to recognize that it shouldn't be my go-to response and can encourage others to treat me poorly.
Changing unhealthy patterns takes time and doesn't happen overnight. Every day, I try my best to make better choices and build healthy relationships. I still make mistakes, but I am quick to realize them and try to correct my actions when I can. I don't want to be in a position where I need to avoid conflict in unhealthy ways or if someone continues to use avoidance against me.
I understand that not everyone will like or agree with me, but I am okay with that now. I know that my friends and family love and accept me for who I am rather than me continuously trying to gain their approval. I also hope that one day, you will find the support and love I found in my close circle.
Wozny, C. (2023, November 23). The Two Sides of Avoidance Within Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2023/11/the-two-sides-of-avoidance-within-verbal-abuse