An abuser’s verbal weapons 

Continuing on about family harm, this week I am going to expand on minimising behaviour and the use of children as weapons.

Minimising behaviour is when a partner will abuse the victim using the previously mentioned tactics and then use phrases like “I was only joking” or “stop taking everything so seriously”.

This behaviour causes the victim to question themselves. It causes them to doubt their own critical thinking, leaving the victim feeling confused, embarrassed, out of control, trapped and thinking there is no way to respond without being hurt or harmed.

This behaviour often happens over a long period of time. It is often after the bond has formed in a relationship. Earlier, the abuser will use techniques like “love bombing” to gain the victim’s trust. Love bombing is when the abuser is the “perfect” partner in the early stages of the relationship.

Using children as weapons is a common tactic. It includes using phrases such as “if you call the Police, CYFS (Oranga Tamariki) will get involved”.

This causes the victim to fear authorities may take children if police get in volved. This is simply not true. In fact, when Oranga Tamariki get involved in a family harm situation, their preference early on is to work with the family. Exposing children to further family harm is more detrimental than calling.

I cannot be more clear about this.

If you hear a neighbour in distress, be that good neighbour and call police. Don’t let an abuser use children as weapons.

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