The bottle.

I was cleaning a bottle that originally contained marinara sauce to fill it with something else.

As I began to peel off the label, I realized it was a good metaphor for how victims become conditioned to believe they are worth nothing.

First the abuser gets under their skin just a little.

A little bit of doubt is placed, such as: Your arms are too fat for sleeveless shirts. My last girlfriend ‘always’ asked me to dress her. The sound of your voice ‘grates’ on my nerves.

The victim can laugh it off externally but sooner than later, she stops wearing those kinds of shirts and “asks” him what he thinks of the way she looks, etc.

She begins to fill her mind with the toxicity that the abuser generously shares.

When the abuser is sure that the victim knows her place, he digs a little more. More esteem is pulled away.

More self doubt, such as: Did you really think that person was your friend? How many times have I told you, all your friends are shallow. I am the only one who cares. You want to apply for a promotion? Don’t you remember you told me last year that you were happy where you are? So, you were lying? I never took you for a liar!

She convinces herself that she IS happy where she is. After all, he keeps talking about marriage and babies and he wants a “proper wife.” His last wife thought she was “all that.”

She stops looking for advancement.

More self doubt.

This scenario plays out daily.

Any self esteem she has left, is sniffed out by the abuser. He NEEDS to be sure he has full control.

He is patient.

She gets more compliant.

Soon, her friends start staying away because he controls her and they are all “uncomfortable” in his presence.

He uses this to prove that he is the only one to sticks by her.

He sees her now as completely under his control.

Can you see how this happens?

Do you know anyone in this situation?

Are you in this situation?

Always on your side,

Indrani

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