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Transferring Blame Many abusers blame their partner for their anger, irritation, or insecurity.  Telling the victim that the abuse is her fault confuses her and puts her on the defensive.  An abuser may accuse the victim of the very actions done by the abuser himself. (This can be very “crazy-making.”)  Some blaming phrases include:

It's all your fault.

You're just trying to pick a fight.

If you weren't so...

Faultfinding

Most statements that begin with the word "you" or “always/never” signal abusive faultfinding and criticism.  Faultfinding veiled in help or advice is abusive.

You’re always so….

Why can’t you just…?

You should just let me do that.

Intimidation

Intimidation can come through words or actions that threaten or imply harm or loss.  It is designed to control and gain power through fear.

Insulting and Labeling

Insulting names and personal “labels” are abusive, as are demeaning sexual references.

Dingbat, air-head

Slut, bitch, broad

Stupid, ugly, fat

Selective Memory

Abusers may “conveniently forget” or alter the facts.  This selective memory can be used to deny, twist, and rewrite reality (this is also “crazy-making”).  Selective memory is signaled by statements such as:

I don't know what you're talking about.

I never said that.

You're making that up.

Commanding

When a partner commands or demands instead of respectfully requesting, he denies the worth and independence of the victim.

Lashing Out

Lashing out at someone is never justified.  Angry verbal attacks, yelling, raging, and temper tantrums can be effective ways to intimidate and control others.

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