You know a person by their actions—not just their words
Wouldn’t you say that holds true? Someone may say they want to help you move, for example. But if they don’t actually help you move, their inactivity is a far more telling indication of their attitude toward you than their unfulfilled promise—even if their intention may have been genuine.
Of course, there are genuinely good reasons for people not to put their money where their mouth is. Perhaps your friend hurt their foot? There goes their intention to do some heavy lifting on moving day. It happens, and it doesn’t mean your friends are trying to hurt or manipulate you.
But when it comes to toxic personalities—like narcissists and sociopaths—this principle of words and actions not lining up goes into overdrive. It stops being an occasional circumstance of life, and becomes a strategy they use to manipulate and control you. We call this process gaslighting.
Pretty much everything an abuser says is a lie at some level; well-considered manipulations of their target.
It is how they drive you insane.
It is how they make you stay, and even care for them.
The duality of meaning in everything that an abuser says is the ultimate power play. It makes you question your own memories, observations, and opinions. Your confidence and self-esteem will be shattered by this process. That makes you less able to take ownership of our own life and, in turn, more susceptible to the abuser’s manipulations.
Learning to recognize the hidden messages in abusive communication is paramount when you are trying to empower and free yourself from a toxic person’s influence.