When Somebody Keeps Trying to Cut you Down
‘Power over others is weakness disguised as strength‘
I’ve met a number of people who have found themselves involved with an emotional and psychological ‘Chopper’. A Chopper is a person who sets out to find weak spots (or makes them up) and engages in a warfare of criticism and mind games to weaken the other. A chopper will fortify their own weak sense of self by cutting down someone else’s. This manipulative and abusive behaviour is insidious – often creeping up slowly and gaining strength over time. If you are involved with an emotional and psychological Chopper, by the time you realise what you’re dealing with, you may not have the strength to leave.
There is likely to be a time where the Chopper perceived you to be ‘better’ and then they set about eroding this. Whilst some Choppers are obvious, it’s often the covert/passive aggressive approach that leads to them criticising you, all the while portraying themselves as the victim of the story. They’ll often deny both what they’ve said and the fact that it is inappropriate and accuse you of being oversensitive for good measure.
Examples of Chopping
- “You think you’re better than me. You’re so superior.” You may start to believe that being intelligent or achieving is a ‘bad’ thing because it makes other bad about themselves. The next thing you know, you are downplaying yourself.
- “You’re going to cheat on me eventually. I can’t trust you”
- “You’re not as clever as you think you are you know”
- “When I first met you, you were slimmer/curvier/sexier, now you make no effort, you’re lucky that I still find you attractive”
- “I prefer a woman with bigger breasts / a better body / white..” and you are everything but the stated preference.
- “I don’t know if I could be in a serious relationship or love someone that did _________” Fill in the blank with something really banal and trivial, like dropping things or not being a good driver, but it is something that you might do from time to time.
Unhappy with themselves and simmering with resentment, anger and frustration, they say that you ‘make’ them feel bad about themselves and so in turn, they deliberately say and do things to relieve that feeling. In my opinion, this behaviour is more about their own relationship with themselves and I’d wager that this is not the first time that they have used this behaviour to prop up a fragile sense of self worth. Don’t internalise it; you are just someone else that they’ve swung their axe into.
Choppers have a complex framework of truth and honesty which means that they give themselves license to be ‘honest’ (without respect) while at the same time telling lies. The Chopper latches onto your own private thoughts about you and they figure out where to ‘chop’. If you’ve shared anything with them that represents a previous hurt or any fears, this will become the bull eye of where to chop. Even if some of the things that the Chopper says are not true, if they tap into your fears, you may start to believe the lies or start to internalise every critical comment from them and changing to please them.
When you apologise for being who are you, you are letting somebody else tell you who you should be and internalising that who you are right now is not good enough. Let’s look at this logically. You were good enough to begin with, and now supposedly you are not. Hmmmmm, really? In all likelihood, the confusion you experience comes from trying to please someone who will never be pleased. You are believing the projection that you are not good enough, when it’s highly likely that whatever they are chopping at you for is really about them. They’re chopping at you because they’ve been chopped at for the same thing, or they’re chopping at you because rather than hone these qualities in themselves, they’d rather knock them out of you.
Let’s be clear – this is a form of abusive relationship.
Whether you have good self-esteem or not so good self-esteem, the moment you find yourself on the receiving end of being verbally mistreated, find yourself experiencing Gas Lighting and doing the Egg Shell Shuffle so as not to set them off, it may be time to think about and execute your exit. No explanation. No justifying. No reasoning with the unreasonable and no analysing the death out of something that does not deserve it. Never agree with someone who is running you down and taking chunks out of you. They’re wrong.
If where you are now leaves you feeling less than, somebody else is capable of loving and appreciating you without attacking the very essence of you. Stop agreeing with their treatment of you, their behaviour isn’t about you. You could be the most perfect person to ever walk the Earth; it won’t make a difference. Sooner or later, an emotional and psychological Chopper chops everything good out of their life. Don’t let them chop the you out of you.