Selective Perception

Written by on October 12, 2012 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 4 Comments

You can put it in black and white. You can write. You can text. You can email. The covert abuser will see what they want to see and ignore the rest. When you get your response you will look at their written reply dumbfounded, wondering if they got your message, wondering if you even sent it. You check through your phone, your email, and yes, it’s there. In black and white.

Makes no difference.

You can verbalize it as clearly as you can. You can speak it, shout it, whisper it or scream it. The covert abuser will hear what they want to hear. When they respond back to you, you wonder if they misheard or if you used the right words. You turn around to see if they’re speaking to someone behind you, because clearly they aren’t responding to what you said.

Doesn’t matter what you said or how you said it.

You’re not crazy. But attempting to communicate with a covertly abusive person will make you feel crazy. If they did not engage in any other form of manipulation, this one type of abuse is enough to make you feel crazy if not eventually drive you crazy.

They goad you into believing you’re having a real conversation or a real argument. Things are being discussed. Feelings expressed. But it has nothing to do with working things out or expressing genuine emotion. It has to do with wearing you down, confusing you, side stepping relevant issues by entangling you with irrelevant ones, punishing you with cheap shots, venting their general frustration because you are not treating them like the center of the world they know they are…and so should you.

You are invisible. You as a person don’t exist. People who manipulate see objects to manipulate, not real people to relate to.

Therefore, what you say doesn’t matter. What they want does. In their life, it’s the only thing that does.

In your life it’s a different story. What you say does matter, because you matter. As long as you know that, you’ll be all right. You can retain your sanity, because you realize the craziness is theirs.

And then you can make decisions that empower you. Sometimes that means stepping out of their sphere of influence physically. Possible or not, it always means dropping them emotionally and psychologically. The covert abuser resents that the most and will resist it, but your sanity and peace of mind demands it.

Which one will you give in to?

With peace,
Demian Yumei

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. She's a long time traveler on the healing journey and has a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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  • 15 Jessica says:

    Yes !! This has been my experience for two plus years with my husband and we are now in divorce proceedings.

  • DemianYumei says:

    @15 Jessica   Hi Jessica! Welcome to this blog and to regaining your sanity! Best to you in your divorce proceedings. May it give you the freedom you seek.

  • Toto2 says:

    Excellent post!!!!  You’ve just described my eldest sister, the keeper of the family myth, the protector of the narcissistic siblings! Thank you!!!  It is absolutely crazy making to talk to her and this explains it well.  I can stop trying….  Ah…

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