Thursday, May 22, 2014

If You Truly Care About Me, STOP Blaming Me (Or Excusing the Abuser)

Abuse is a scary, strong word. A lot of people have trouble accepting it of someone they like, care about, generally respect, etc. Abusers are often charismatic, engaging, and well-liked, and hide their abusive nature extremely well except to those they are abusing. The thing is that abuse comes in many forms and falls on a spectrum of behaviour. Even if the person doing the accusing doesn't show bruises and scars, even if they seem generally 'okay', you SHOULD take their accusation of abuse seriously. Psychological abuse is subtle, difficult to prove and easy to rationalise and minimise, and can be extremely devastating with very few outward signs. Even if the term 'abuse' is too strong and upsetting to even contemplate of someone you know, if someone accuses them of any level of controlling, manipulative behaviour, even if you can find legitimate and 'reasonable' excuses for that behaviour, DO NOT underestimate the effect it has on the victim. Call it whatever makes you comfortable, but never brush it over as not serious, as you will only contribute to the victim's harm.

Part of manipulation and control involves invalidating the victim's feelings, confusing them, and turning the tables so they take the blame onto themselves instead. This is called gaslighting, and is a common and very subtle manipulation technique. If someone has realised this was happening to them and is brave enough to claim so, the LAST thing you want to do is doubt them, continue to invalidate their claims, stay 'neutral' as to the hurtful behaviour, or rationalise or make excuses for the other person in any way. Abusers get away with abuse because there is still a strong culture of victim-blaming and so many myths about abusive behaviour and how it manifests are prevalent. Your friend/relative/acquaintance/whatever could never be 'that guy', he is someone else from some other race/socio-economic status/country/area/etc. How could someone so caring and likeable ever treat someone else so cruelly?

Thing is that those are the strongest traits of an abusive personality type, because they are often very concerned with their image in the eyes of others and gaining allies to justify and continue their behaviours.

I couldn't even finish writing all this, it's so exhausting. Above are a lot of really great and not too long links that contain much of what I wanted to say, or close enough.

I'm so tired and exhausted making myself believed, defending my feelings/viewpoints/behaviours/etc. I am TIRED of fighting with people who even support me and do care that I'm hurting that this is more serious than 'acting out', who tell me that my anger is intense and difficult to respond to, that I should just move on and let it all go. Many are surprised at my actions, that I've been holding onto this for so long... well, there is a good reason why.

Important Things:

"When people take a neutral stand between you and your abusive partner, they are in effect supporting him and abandoning you, no matter how much they may claim otherwise."

I know this topic has been super divisive and confronting for many people I know, because they know both parties and feel that 'taking sides' would be wrong, no matter how much I am hurting and obviously and painfully so. Because of the silence from so many when I've spoken out, I've felt abandoned and ignored and like I AM unable to trust my own perceptions of things. You don't have to hate the person to hate the behaviour. You don't have to confront him (though he will never learn consequences otherwise), but acknowledge that my feelings are real, valid, and there is a reason I'm hurting. Or even say hi, I know you've been having a rough time.. how are you? Any sympathy or acknowledgement will help someone from falling further into misery and depression.

"... and because he does not take responsibility for how his actions affect you, he is also leaving wide open the possibility, which you cannot ignore, that whatever he did can and probably will happen again-- thus increasing your anxiety, fear and depression. A non-abusive partner who cares about your comfort and need to feel safe will listen to you and never ever do again what scared you NO MATTER HIS "PERSPECTIVE" OR WHAT HE "MEANT" TO DO. A non-abusive partner will not argue with you and defend himself: if you say something he did hurt or scared you, a non-abusive partner will take you seriously and agree to immediately stop doing what threatens you, period. ONLY AN ABUSER WILL JUSTIFY OR DEFEND HIS "RIGHT" TO CONTINUE THREATENING YOU."

I asked many times for the person in question to stop certain behaviours that were hurtful, triggering, and painful for me and asked for easy common courtesy to negate my negative emotions, such as upfront honesty and simple, basic explanations. He never did, and always justified his actions as necessary for his health and so he never felt responsible for causing me pain. 
So whilst I accept that non-communication might be triggering for you, I do not feel responsible for being the trigger. Nor, given the context, do I think it's fair of you to try to tell me I'm responsible for.
And that further discussion isn't really necessary because we've already discussed non-communication and I'll tell you if I'm about to intentionally not talk or address something for a period. But that even if I don't, if I'm acting in a way that I'm comfortable for myself that it's not something I will take responsibility for.
Exact words. He never warned me, as promised. Never. My feelings, emotions, reactions were NEVER important to him one tiny little bit, even though many of his controlling actions were 'for my own good' (another classic abuser mentality trait).

"Deep emotional distance is often an indicator that there is no turning back in a relationship, that on an unconscious level your partner has already created an alternate private reality. Once this has happened, they also stop consulting you about creating a joint reality that serves both of your needs. The recognition of an emotional separation is often very painful and is frequently accompanied by feelings of shock that are similar to those people feel when they are notified of a death. “Suddenly, he wasn’t there anymore.” There’s a feeling of loss. It’s as if someone with whom you had dreamed your whole future has, without your quite knowing it, been taken away."

This is from the withholding link above, and is one of the most important to me, because this by far was the technique he used to control me. He went from amazing, supportive, and understanding friend to distant, controlling abuser in a day. It was shocking and traumatic how quickly the dynamic between us changed and I was lost, confused and unable to keep up. He used my vulnerability to silence and non-communication (triggering to me because of my strong social anxiety) as a weapon, withholding explanations, communication, his presence. He'd cut me off, never discuss things, refuse to listen and ACTIVELY ignore me if I stood up against him in anger. His reality now was the only one we were operating under and mine was a creation of my anxiety and mental illness and turned into manipulating me to take all the blame for our problems and to apologise, state I would change, beg for his forgiveness and patience while I sorted myself out, etc.

I have every reason to believe he that even if it wasn't consciously, it was a very purposefully created situation. THIS:

was literally a day before these:

I RANG TO WAKE HIM UP BECAUSE HE SAID IT WOULD. And the next day, I couldn't get ahold of him and freaked out and he starts giving ME crap about not assuming he doesn't care, etc. etc.

Also, there was a night I was feeling extremely unsafe and felt I might harm myself (intention to die, yes), and I messaged him about it. It goes as follows:

I messaged him half an hour after he said he was going to bed and wouldn't talk. I fully expected him to not see the message at all, because I was so used to his non-communication and ignoring me by that point. But later that night he called the cops on me and I spent a very, very long night in the ER. Perhaps he worried he pushed me too far finally, but he never rang me to see if I was okay before ringing the cops and he never even spoke to me during or barely even after the whole incident. It wasn't about caring, it was about not actually letting things go too far. It was all about everything still being in HIS control.

There's a lot more, but this is long enough.. and I figure I'll just be shouting to the wind once again.

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