When you aren’t sure about whether your partner is abusive or not, it can be incredibly difficult to see the pain they are causing your children. I had no idea the extent of damage that was being done by my husband. It took me a long time to see the abuse for what it was. He was the epitome of covert passive aggressive abuse.
Early into therapy, my therapist told me to look for signs in me and our kids. Here are some of the signs to look for:
As an entire family, you work to not upset that parent.
When that parent is in a bad mood, everyone pays the price.
The kids constantly disappear when that parent is around.
No one feels safe having open conversation around that parent.
The kids don’t feel comfortable inviting friends over.
That parent’s thoughts and opinions matter more than anyone else’s.
Everyone keeps their opinions to themselves around that parent.
In essence the family starts using the grey rock method instinctively, for the purpose of survival and self-protection. Grey rock is where you become non-reactive to the abuser. You become boring to them in an attempt to not gain their attention. You try to become non-existent in their world.
My boys and I were doing that long before I ever heard the phrase grey rock. It was how we were living on a daily basis.
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