narcissistic marriages

Reactive abuse happens when a person (the victim) eventually reacts to the abuse that is happening to them.

For example, if someone has chronically demeaned, belittled, or criticized you, and you eventually lash out and yell at them – that’s reactive abuse.

Or maybe you’ve been physically hit, insulted, or sworn at –

And then, at times, you find yourself swearing at or pushing your partner.

People who engage in reactive abuse often have a lot of shame about these “abusive” behaviors because they don’t understand how they could do these things.

But the reality is, reactive abuse is a tactic used by the real abuser to further control, isolate, and confuse you.

The abusers say things like:

>You’re overreacting
>You pushed me too
>You’re out of control
>You’re so emotional

They use it as “proof” that you are unstable, crazy, aggressive, or controlling.


So they can claim that YOU are the actual abuser.

But reactive abuse is just that – REACTIVE.

It’s IN RESPONSE to someone else’s cruel behaviors.

Real abuse is unprovoked –

It’s based on power and control and it’s used to manipulate another person.

While reactive abuse is an attempt by the victim to protect themselves or get the abuse to STOP.

Have you witnessed (or experienced) reactive abuse?

If you’re looking to heal from narcissistic abuse or relationship trauma, I can help! I specialize in helping people heal from toxic, dysfunctional, or harmful relationships. Read more about my specialties and approach to the counseling process or book a free consult call today!

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About Me
Chelsey Brooke Cole is a psychotherapist, speaker, author, and coach specializing in narcissistic abuse and relational trauma. She is the author of If Only I'd Known! How to Outsmart Narcissists, Set Guilt-Free Boundaries, and Create Unshakeable Self-Worth.

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