Recently a redditor asked users “What is abusive, but not widely recognized as abuse?” Here are some of the users’ best submissions.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
When someone consistently undermines your interests and goals and mocks you for them.
They think that the constant stream of affection and positive reinforcement makes them good parents. In some cases, it’s because they themselves had tough parents. But children who are overpraised often grow up to be nightmare human beings.
This is kind of specific, but forcing kids to eat massive amounts of food. My mom did that to me a few times – one time, she made me eat all of the rice in a big rice cooker bowl (about three or four cups of rice, measured when it was uncooked). I was nine at the time. It was not pleasant.
If your significant other doesn’t consent to having a baby, that’s extremely abusive, whether it’s poking holes in a condom or not taking birth control intentionally.
I used to work in various care settings and it happened all the time. I’m not referring to things like violence or shouting, I mean things like people asking “can I please have a cup of coffee?” only to be told “no, coffee time is at 3 o’clock”… or “can you please unlock this room so I can take a shower?” and then being told “no, I’m too busy right now”. These may seem like minor things but they mean everything if you’re being held somewhere 24 hours a day for an extended period of time.
It happens every day all over the world but it’s something that’s almost never talked about.
Children being asked to choose between their parents or being asked to judge which parent is right in a quarrel.
My step-grandpa made sure to put everything in his name after he married my grandma, including bills. He was so controlling that eventually she didn’t know how to pay bills anymore since she was never aware of what was happening with their money. She could never leave him because if she did she wouldn’t have anything to her name or even know how to take care of herself financially if she did.
Saying that other people are “enabling” your bad behavior to cut them off from you.
Repeatedly pressing things on you after you’ve specifically said no.
Making sure all of the people you’re friends with are also friends with them.
Too many times I have seen people joke about horrible ex burning the other’s clothes or stuff. If you want to dispose of gifts like teddy bears or old pics that’s one thing. Destroying your ex’s computer desk and monitor will land your butt in jail for a week and get you a DV charge. At least here in California.
Heartbreak is not an excuse to be a terrible person.
My mother does this on a regular basis about big, small or totally irrelevant stuff. At first I didn’t think much of it but after a long time it started to make me not be able to make decisions properly because I was always told my decisions were wrong. It took a lot of time to come to the conclusion that even if my decisions are wrong, they’re MY decisions and I’m learning from my own mistakes.
When your manager keeps asking you to do “extra favors” on your own time (without pay), such as:
Picking up his dry cleaning on your way to work or getting the take-out lunch he ordered from a restaurant while you’re on your own lunch break.
My stepmom is like this. I did not ask her to buy me furniture. She shows up at my apartment with a Rooms to go truck, knowing full well that I just bought new furniture. She was livid by my “I didn’t know you were going to do that” reaction.
She still, to this day, holds it over my head. I’m ungrateful because she spent thousands on new furniture that I never asked for. People take her side because they don’t know her behind closed doors.
“You’d be nothing without me.” “If you break up with me, I’ll kill myself.” Constant begging, especially when it’s female on male. More attention needs to be raised about both female on male abuse and emotional abuse, because they’re both incredibly dangerous.
Reading your significant others private correspondences, hacking their social media accounts, hell even reading their diary without their permission.
If you do this, it is abuse. Sure, people will say “but what if you suspect something?” Dude, if you suspect your significant other is lying to you and your first instinct is to go behind their back rather than deal with the issue, just end the relationship, it’s not going anywhere good for either of you.
And if you try to go behind their back by impersonating them online, catfishing them, etc., that is abuse. If someone does this to you, end the relationship. Get out of there. Get DIRECTLY out of there. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, get out of there.
I’m a reasonably attractive (via typical western beauty standards) female & get catcalled or hit on all the time. I used to complain about it to my ex who would always get upset, but not at the creeps who were being creepy. It was always my fault. “You obviously have to be walking a certain way or smiling a certain way to make them think it’s okay.” One time he accused me of making eyes at the lead singer of Flogging Molly in the middle of a mosh pit. I didn’t know it at the time but that is emotional gaslighting/abuse/manipulation, whatever you want to call it. By the time I left him I was at the point where I couldn’t/wouldn’t wear anything but baggy clothes, no makeup, barely brushed my hair, because any form of trying to look/feel pretty was seen as me trying to get attention from other men.
Parents forcing their children to partake in extracurricular activities only to live vicariously through them and get extremely upset when they don’t perform to the best of their abilities.
There aren’t a lot of people I enjoy getting tickled by (actually only one person, my significant other). Otherwise I’m flinching and moving away from you. Yeah, I’m laughing and saying no and struggling like a normal person, but what I’m wanting to do is punch you in the face and kick you so hard you’ll stop. Unfortunately, I have too much self control. Unfortunately I can’t make myself hurt someone else over it.
That’s the thing though, isn’t it? If I hurt someone, I’d look like the bad guy. Tickling— its all just fun and games, right?
My dad never said “I love you” or hugged me unless he had made me cry or yelled at me. In my head it meant that i was not deserving of love or affection unless I had done something wrong. (This might fall under some kind of emotional abuse, but I’m not sure). It really has changed the way I handled friendships and relationships, and definitely is something I am constantly working on even now.
You are constantly bullied at school, and have no friends. Then, when you tell your mother, she says, “Just be yourself, and people will like you.” I WAS being myself!
Then decades later she sends you a letter saying she knew what you were going through, and all you can think is, “And yet you did nothing.
Talking bad about them every. Single. Time. To your friends. It doesn’t matter how severe, it paints an image to the others and THAT ingrains into their minds.
“Oh he can be such a slob” “Oh he never remembers anything!” “He’d forget his head if it wasnt attached to his shoulders” “of course not! You know how he is HAHAHAHA”
Like damn. Let your kid breathe and have a good first impression with people. First impressions are everything and they probably don’t even know what a real one is like until school where they aren’t near the parents.
Standing as close to a person as possible, moving closer every time they move away, refusing to stop and denying you’re doing anything wrong and that the other person is being rude because they’re just trying to talk to you and you’re making it difficult. You don’t need to be less than 10 inches away from someone to talk to them.
Teasing people when they don’t want it. My uncle teased me, even when I was little, and when I was like 4, I broke down crying saying “I can’t take it anymore!” 4 year olds shouldn’t be saying that. I honestly don’t like how my mother says “He teases to make friends” Ugh.
My parents, as a general rule of thumb, never cared about anything going on with me unless I was getting low grades (<90% in their books.) It’s a rough one because it’s the absence of caring as opposed to a concrete action. It’s messed up.
These medications are potent and come with side effects and, according to some research, permanent consequences such as eye tremors and poor motor skills. These effects may be worth it for a child who truly needs the treatment and could not otherwise lead a normal life, but giving them to children because parents and teachers just don’t want to deal with a “difficult” or energetic child is abusive.
I’ve seen a significant increase in family law cases involving these medications (one parent wants the meds, the other does not) and the described symptoms these kids are suffering is heartbreaking.
The fine line between having a boss who gets upset for a particular reason and them just going off on a power trip makes this difficult to comprehend at times. I’ve worked for such an asshole and have contemplated suicide because I felt worthless and trapped and didn’t know if my career was more important or if I should just quit. It is so easy to convince yourself that YOU are the idiot who can’t do the work given to you. Even worse, I experienced his straight after school so I was young and impressionable. I even cried in front of him once. He once got upset while we drove to a meeting and yelled at me and told me that he wanted to stop the car and drop me off on the middle of the highway. All of the time, I kept thinking he was right because he’s senior and he’s the boss. It’s abuse. I’ve since learnt that I am a smart intelligent kid and because of him, I decided to go back to school. I just completed my Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering last month and I could never be happier.
People who went through a bad relationship, discovered that they’re, “addicted” to being treated like crap, then need to tell everyone in their lives how they don’t deserve to be treated like crap anymore!
Like, tell everyone. Constantly. As if they’re the Magellans of Trauma theory. So much so that if you don’t 100% believe them or care to constantly listen, then you’re also a potential negative Co-Dependent in their life.
In a workplace where every single member of your “team (I’ll use that term very loosely) organise a night out, or an event and you are the only one who is always left out.
Being told by a work colleague “I’m sorry I didn’t invite you to my house warming because one person in the “team” wouldn’t feel comfortable with you there.”
Having a boss who wrote you up for something that a completely different department did to his computer. I got the blame because “you should have known this was going to happen.
Getting into trouble for someone else’s mistake, having proof that you did NO wrong, but still getting yelled at for it. The other person actually manipulated everyone around her so she looked like the golden child. When my evidence was shown, I was told “so you went to all this trouble to prove yourself innocent, that just shows what type of person you are” and STILL them not believing me.
Not being invited to participate in the yearly Kris Kringle….the only one in the whole team who wasn’t.
I don’t work there anymore… and I now work at a place that everyone is happy I’m there.
Workplaces…they totally suck if you are the one that all this is aimed at… and you’ve done nothing wrong.
Lots of things in emotional/verbal abuse.
Coercion. One small example: “If you have sex with me, it’ll show me you love me. Why don’t you want to have sex, don’t you love me?”
Belittling the feelings of others, all the time, over everything. “You’re just overacting, it was just a small thing, you’re so stupid if you get hurt by that.”
Manipulation. “I’ll kill myself if you don’t stay with me.”
Maliciously making fun of each other. “Hahaha look at his ugly face, you could never get a girl, mate, look at you! You’ll die alone, hahahaha.” This is particularly common, and is often brushed aside as a form of “humour”. Sometimes people are genuinely being funny and are okay with making fun of each other, but often times than not, a line is crossed.
Parents requiring children to fill and satisfy their (the parents’) emotional needs. This one is a bit tricky, but sometimes when parents are depending COMPLETELY on their children for emotional support, it can veer towards abusive, especially if the children are young.