Before abusive relationships of any type occur, there is usually some type of intimidation at work in the early stages of the relationship. Whether it’s with a coworker, a friend or a romantic partner, if you’re beginning to feel worried about your opinion being heard or being able to stand up for yourself, chances are you’ve been experiencing the spirit of intimidation.

Nothing saddles you with more confusion and fear than when you lose your voice, your power to speak up and fight back. Healthy relationships allow for disagreement and the exchange of opinions. You should be respected and free. When you’re caught in a relationship where you are intimidated, feeling controlled and scared of voicing your thoughts, you know it’s time to break that spirit of intimidation.

Fight The Fear

Not every dysfunctional relationship started out with plans to go wrong. Sometimes, we feel intimidated by someone who is not really trying to scare us; it’s just that something about them triggers a reactionary fear in us. We begin to cower. Then, they dominate more.

If this happens to you, learn to fight the underlying fear first, and to do that you have to identify why you feel fearful or nervous with that person. It could be their voice is loud, or their mannerisms are imposing. It could also be that they remind you of someone or of a scene from our past when you first felt demeaned or intimidated.

Not all people who comes across in an intimidating manner mean to be intimidating. Careful analysis of the situation and the person’s motives will help identify whether you are in a relationship that can be redeemed.

Speak Up

You cannot hear someone’s heartfelt thoughts if they don’t voice them. This is true when you are dealing with an intimidating person; they can’t see what you’re experiencing deep inside in an encounter with them. If it’s a coworker who always belittles you or a relative who finds a way to put you down, it’s time to speak up about how their behavior makes you feel.

You have the right and the reason to do this: it’s good for your emotional health and theirs as well. People who comes across like a bully don’t always intend to do so. They need feedback as to how their behavior comes across to others. Some will welcome this feedback, and others won’t. But what matters is that you regain your voice.

Your voice is your power. It’s time to speak up and speak out about the things that have been troubling you in this relationship. When you do, the response of the other person, whether positive or negative, is not the crucial thing here. What is important is that you treat yourself with love and respect, as God would want you to treat others.

Draw The Line

Before you can draw the line in the sand as to how you expect others to treat you, you do have to answer that very question first. Do you believe you deserve to be spoken to respectfully? Are you ready to require that others treat you with a baseline level of civility and respect, even if they don’t agree with you or like you? This isn’t about whether you want people to like you or flock to you in adoration. This is just about basic human decency, courtesy and grace. If you’re ready to be treated with that, then you’re ready to draw that boundary line.

Some relationships will not welcome your honest feedback and your candid thoughts. Some will get hostile and even more intimidating if you try to do this, as they are not used to you requiring respectful treatment of yourself from them. If they can’t abide by your new rules, by your “new voice,” then you may need to draw the line and let go of that relationship.

Breaking Free

If you ask people who wound up in terribly abusive relationships how they got there, most of them would indirectly allude to their voice getting snuffed out over time. Their ability to speak up and speak out against abusive treatment was eroded over time. Don’t let that happen to you. God wants us to walk in freedom and love. He sets the captives free. We need to cooperate with His plan of liberation from fear and abuse. He wants us free from the spirit of intimidation.

You may also be interested in The 7 Must-Haves For A Healthy Relationship

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