Power Dynamics in Abuse

The Logical Heart Knows Best

What gets really confusing and frustrating when you are the “non” in a relationship, the non-abuser, the non-personality disordered, or the emotionally healthier person, is that because you keep the higher ground others outside of the relationship, just don’t get it.

You have maintained healthier boundaries, so all they know is mostly what the unhealthy person has communicated. If you have ever been in a relationship with abusers and personality disordered people, you are familiar with the chaos, drama, distortion, lies, and all the manipulative, defensive ways they behave in order to preserve their sense of themselves so they can maintain power and control, no matter the cost.

If you’re not familiar with coercive, covert abuse and control or personality disorders, manipulation, and defense mechanisms, here are some informative sites.



Much of their behavior is covert, coercive, and kept behind closed doors, so it becomes their word against yours. And usually, they are very vocal and can be superficially charming, and are highly skilled at psychological manipulation. The manipulative tactics can leave you reeling so much that you wonder what’s real? Because the more you try to make sense of it all, discuss the issues, the more irrational, illogical, and convoluted their behavior. It’s called crazy-making behavior.

You’re left wondering what just happened and all you want to do is get away from the high conflict person. Because there’s no winning for anyone. There’s no reasoning with them because they have no insight and you can’t make them aware. Unless they reach a breakthrough point where they are open to help, there’s only so much you can do.

Usually the healthiest thing is to limit contact or go no contact. Otherwise, you’re left walking on eggshells. If you stay, you are sacrificing your life to their pathology. So no one is happy. Oh sure, there are happy times in between and you briefly believe there’s hope, ah fooled again, a perpetual game of cat and mouse.

Typically, it becomes difficult to disentangle yourself, especially because you’re a compassionate person and can see all the positive aspects of the unhealthy person. You truly love them and want the best for you both. It’s even harder because they manipulate you in so many insidious ways that you’re not even aware of it (fear, obligation, guilt, plus isolation) eroding your self-worth and trust in yourself. If you’re fortunate, you somehow manage to break free enough to see the truth.

Typically, you grew up among personality disordered, abusive, psychologically unhealthy people and you believe that it’s the norm, because it’s all you’ve known. Though you’re puzzled because you don’t behave like that and wonder why you’re so different. You think it’s just you, that you’re mistaken about it all, you’re wrong. You blame yourself. This makes it exponentially harder to extricate yourself.

It’s not your fault!

Others who haven’t lived your experience are not aware and end up being inadvertently hurtful towards you. That saying, “There are 3 sides to every story, your side, their side, and the truth,” is not accurate when there is abuse. Those who are abusive have mental/emotional health issues and their stories are not reliable and are not fully based in reality and inherently need to be weighed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

But that’s not what happens. In fact, the abuser often manipulates others through smear campaigns trying to turn others against the “non”. And the abuser creates chaos, drama, and trauma, passing the damage to others. The fallout continues for generations.

The power dynamic is that the abuser is threatening, hostile, deceptive, coercive, and will do whatever it takes to satisfy their need to feel better about themselves, to feel powerful and in control. I guess in spiritual terms, it’s the ego or fear in full force at the helm, driving the abuser’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The non-abuser wants to keep the peace and is shell-shocked to boot. The abuser remains in power unless the non-abuser goes no-contact or the abuser miraculously sees the light, becomes responsible and seeks help, and rapidly improves.

We can have compassion for everyone. There are good reasons why abusers behave in unhealthy ways. But we don’t have to sit back and take it. We have to love ourselves just as much as we love others. We have to set boundaries, try to have a healthy relationship, and if that doesn’t work, we have to save ourselves.

That’s not what we’re taught, though, especially women. We’re taught to be understanding, sacrificing, and compliant. Providing the bulk of emotional and household labor in society, it’s expected of us. Patriarchal society demands privilege and entitlement, treating others as possessions, employing objectification/subjugation of others. Patriarchy is still the norm.



The person who’s been abused is not on equal footing with the abuser. The person who’s on the receiving end is a victim and it’s not just awkward for the victim to encounter the abuser, it is threatening and traumatizing. (This may not be the case if the abusive person has made amends, is remorseful and their actions 100% show they are no longer abusive).

So say if you’ve gone no contact with an abuser and have had law enforcement involved in the past because of their violence with criminal felony charges, then encountering the abuser is not just an awkward moment for the victim, it is traumatizing.


If you are still in physical proximity to the abuser, you continue to be on guard and filter what you do and say in case it may get back to the abuser. You are fearful of retribution, even if what you’re saying is factual. It happened to you, but you keep quiet to stay safe, to protect your loved ones too. So you are still held hostage and can’t speak the truth. You keep the peace as best you can.

If you do move far away from the abuser and finally feel free, then express your truth/your boundaries, hoping to help others in similar situations. Others who are triangulated by the abuser or who may have “fleas” https://outofthefog.website/what-not-to-do-1/2015/12/3/fleas may lash out against you, saying you’re being mean by speaking the truth.


Those who continue relationships with abusers often get triggered and sadly have crazy-making behaviors themselves. It’s hazardous territory. Even if you’ve gone no contact, you still get drama from others who are still in contact with the abuser.

There’s backlash.

Shame makes us want to cover everything up, bury it, so maybe we can pretend it’s not there. It seems easier to tell ourselves it’s not that bad, they can’t help it, or lie to ourselves saying we’re staying spiritual and above it all, make excuses, enabling them. Codependency. We’re afraid to do what we know we should’ve done years ago, but just weren’t strong enough yet.

In the meantime, the hurt continues.

I believe in spiritual activism. Sure you can view this as Maya, illusory, a dream, but what’s wrong with trying to create a happy dream, like Marianne Williamson and ACIM mention. At the core of abuse is a disconnection from love and spirit. Fueled by insecurity, feelings of abandonment, guilt, and shame. A deeply rooted wound that needs healing.

All the abusive tactics are an attempt to fill the emptiness, to save themselves from the things they make up in their minds that threaten them. They try to control the outer world to keep them safe because their inner world is mistaken.

How can we ever get better and heal our society then? Silencing the victims is not a solution. Yet demonizing the perpetrators isn’t either.

There has to be a way to expose everything and attempt to fix it. How can a perpetrator get better if we don’t hold them accountable, yet they need healing, love, and compassion as well. Shaming helps no one. The truth is threatening because we live in unconsciousness and denial in order to dissociate and cope. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Some spiritual teachers espouse that “There are no victims.” And other traditions say that everything is a projection and that what you are experiencing is a reflection of you, your subconsciousness, and unconsciousness.

When you are trying to disentangle yourself, these concepts make it even more confusing. I would blame myself even more. These concepts can help you re-frame your experience after you’re out of the abusive situation, helping you to heal, though.

There’s also this idea that we teach people how to treat us. Well, that doesn’t happen when the other is not open to being taught. Your best option is to end the relationship.

Abuse is a deal-breaker. Doesn’t matter if in the spiritual realm this is all temporary and it’s really a reflection, a part of you, whatever. That doesn’t help you when you’re trying to have peace, health, love, and joy in a hostile environment. Yes, it’s good to remain nonreactive, but to stay when it’s hurting you is illogical.

Once you increasingly become aware of the abuse, it’s only common sense to try and hold the abuser accountable, and if that doesn’t work, try to leave.

I tried everything I could think of to change myself, to keep the higher view, to try these techniques to help things get better. Nothing worked. It wasn’t within my power.

It’s true that the only person you can change is yourself.

Sure, your loving energy and therapeutic communication help, but it won’t magically stop the abuse. And codependency, trying to make life easier and less stressful for them, walking on eggshells only prolongs the sadness of it all. (You end up feeling like part of you is dying and you’re doing it to yourself by staying). And when you come clean, they only want to hurt you more.

I’d rather risk my life trying to leave than to stay. Only trouble is that if children are involved, you’re also risking their lives by leaving and maybe the abuser’s life as well. Petrifying.



It isn’t an easy thing. You have to really convince yourself and have faith that love will prevail.

Thankfully, there’s so much help these days. The internet has been a godsend. So many loving, helpful, healthier people to connect with. So much invaluable information. With all of this help, it seems that abuse will rapidly become a distant echo from our past. When we know better we do better.

That’s my hope! 😀

Grateful every day for the life I have now!

If I can do it, there’s a great chance you can too ❤️

Here are some other helpful sites!







Michelle Miyagi
Hi! I was an RN, BSN in mental/behavioral health for 27 years. Now I'm helping empower caring people like me to prioritize themselves by maintaining healthier boundaries for more freedom, peace, and joy. I am also active in Long Covid advocacy.

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