Do they Know They’re Being Abusive or Hurtful?

Do they Know They’re Being Abusive or Hurtful? do they know they’re being abusive or hurtful?

One thing you will undoubtedly ask yourself when you’ve been subjected to any kind of abuse, whether it’s verbal insults or physical harm from those close to you, is whether they are aware that their actions are hurtful to you. You want to understand if that person, loved one, or friend who called you names genuinely understood the impact of their words or if it was merely an unintentional slip of the tongue. This is a complex question with various potential answers, but today, we’re going to explore two perspectives: when they are aware they are doing it and when they are unaware or doing it unconsciously. In this discussion, we’re not focusing on labels; instead, we’re examining the behavior of that friend, partner, or neighbor across the street.

Scenario 1: When They Know What They’re Doing

In many cases, those individuals know what they’re doing, and they are aware that their behaviors are hurtful. This awareness can manifest through various forms of manipulation and control, despite knowing the detrimental effects of their actions on you. They aim to fulfill their selfish needs and are willing to go to great lengths, even if it results in causing harm. For instance, an emotionally abusive partner may employ tactics like gaslighting, intentionally distorting or denying reality to make you doubt your own perceptions.

Despite being fully aware of the emotional distress this causes; the abuser continues with such behavior to maintain their control and dominance over you. Many abusers seek power and control over their victims, which may be rooted in a desire to feel dominant, superior, or to compensate for their own feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Additionally, they may lack the empathy to understand how you feel when they engage in those hurtful actions, or they may sadistically enjoy what they’re doing. This deliberate choice to prioritize their own desires over the well-being of others highlights the conscious and intentional nature of their actions.

Picture someone at the core of a forest, knowingly casting shadows over others, strategically using trees and branches to manipulate the surroundings for their personal advantage, fully aware of the harm caused, purposefully exercising control and manipulation to instill an atmosphere of fear.

Scenario 2: When They Don’t Know They’re Being Hurtful

In other cases, those close to you may not even be aware that their behaviors are hurtful to you because you’ve never expressed yourself or communicated your needs. They might have become accustomed to calling you names in the form of jokes or ridiculing you as part of your day-to-day interactions, and because you’ve never asserted yourself, you’ve unintentionally become the doormat.

Some people, particularly parents or those influenced by cultural norms, may also engage in hurtful behaviors, such as making you feel overly responsible or exerting excessive control over your decisions and actions. From their perspective, especially with parents, they genuinely believe they know what’s best for you and are acting out of care. However, they may not fully grasp that their control can be hurtful, viewing it instead as a form of protection or care for their children.

Then, when you don’t follow along or end up making mistakes, they scold you and label you a rebellious child. But all this started because they cared about you; they wanted the best for you. They may have encouraged you to maintain that relationship because, to them, children don’t thrive in a single-parent household, and in their eyes, marriage is eternal. They persevered through tumultuous times in their own relationship, and they want you to do the same and stick to that abusive relationship.

They may not acknowledge that you’re in an abusive relationship or that you’re being emotionally abused; they’ve never heard of it, and they think you’re just making things up. They don’t know anything beyond that; they are simply innocent.

This is an example of those around you who may not fully grasp that the consequences of their actions are harmful. They believe they’re acting out of care, but those aspects of care are like daggers to your identity and your wellbeing.

Imagine someone wandering through a forest, unknowingly casting shadows as they move, lacking full awareness of the impact and downplaying the darkness, considering it a normal part of the environment.

Scenario 3: Do you Know You’re Being Hurt? Where are You in All This?

The two scenarios are like the ‘uncontrollable’ aspects of our environments, and at times we cannot do much about them. We cannot do much to change our parents, friends, or abusive lovers, but there’s one thing we can definitely do: understand if our well-being is being affected by our actions.

We can stay here all day long or all year long, wallowing or blaming our parents, our friends, our children, or even the universe or anything we can blame for what’s happening to us, but that will simply keep us stuck with the pain.

We can be ‘good’ or ‘compassionate’ and say that they don’t know they’re abusive because they had an abusive past or they have a torrid history or it’s because of their culture or any ‘valid’ reason that paints their abuse as not something for which they should be responsible for. Or we can also be ‘extreme’ and label them in all kinds of ways, like they’re satanic, vampires, devils reincarnate, narcissists, psychopaths, and they need to be punished, or karma will get them, or everyone needs to know about them and they need to be exposed.

But my simple question is this: What are you doing to yourself, to the hurt, to the pain you’re feeling deep inside? Where are you in all this? Take your time to really reflect on what you’re genuinely responsible for in this present moment. The pain may have been caused by someone who knew what they were doing or by someone who didn’t know, but the fact of the matter is, or something that is clear is, you’re in pain, and that’s where you need to focus. Don’t bother so much with why they did it, even if you think it will offer relief; instead, focus on the pain they’ve already inflicted. When you focus on them, you’re avoiding taking full responsibility for your present life.

In conclusion, we may ascertain whether they knew or did not know what they did, but that is not a viable solution to your healing. Even if we have that knowledge, we still have to come back and heal the wounds that are already there. Our role is to understand our part in this; we need to take care of ourselves and recognize when things are hurtful so that we can protect ourselves from those who don’t know and those who know the harmfulness of their actions. Our job is to be great guardians of the precious life we have or the gift of life that has been bestowed upon us. When we do that, we will not be taken advantage of, and we will be fully aware when something feels amiss in our relationships, knowing the next plan of action.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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