The premise of the post Toxic People – Controlling Communication = Control was that toxic / controlling people are able to keep the upper hand because they are able to control the communication behaviors of their victim. By preventing the victim from getting external opinions, the abuser is able to maintain their high level of influence. This is very effective for maintaining control of the tone and to heavily shape the thoughts of the victim. However, it only works IF the abuser is able to prevent new information from entering or their abusive behavior leaving the confines of the relationship. Once an external opinion is thrust into the mix, their influence is diminished and the victim begins to regain power, control and perspective.
However, in many cases you can stop the verbal abuse very quickly letting the abuser hear what they are saying by recording their words and playing them back for them.
A recent example of this left me laughing out loud at just how quickly the abuse stopped. A female friend has been making some very positive situational changes in her life to which her soon-to-be-ex is opposed. He has a tendency to lose control when he’s talking and end’s up shouting, making false accusations and generally acting like a delusional person.
She just got sick of listening to his insentient crap and began to record the conversations. It has been going on for some time and he didn’t notice that she was doing it until this week. When he asked her what she was doing and found out that she has recording his abusive rant, he got angry and played the victim card “I can’t believe you would do that to me” to which she replied “I just want you to stop being mean to me in front of our children”. Then it hit him, she had been doing this for some time and he hadn’t noticed, he says “how long have you been doing this?” Her reply “long enough,” he’s been acting inappropriately for a very long time and she got a number of his abusive rants on record. He knows that his voice, his abuse is on tape so the rest of the world is now aware of the situation and of who he really is. What was once his word against her’s is simply now just his words on tape. And his words are actually kind of sad when you embrace the fact that this is a grown man acting younger than their 6 year old.
He’s stopped talking to her because he’s well aware that the world knows who he really is and that he is unable to control himself when he talks to her because abuse is such a big part of who he is. What was once a nicely controlled situation is now being controlled by the facts – he will act abusively towards her in front of their children because that is who he is choosing to be. I think this was a great solution for her because it stopped the abuse immediately once he realized everyone knew who he real was.