Saturday, September 20, 2014

More Context and Talking About Difficult Things

This is a thing I've been meaning to post about for a while now, but it's difficult to discuss. Yes, I know I'm super TMI a lot on my internet public spaces but even I have things I don't like to talk about sometimes. :P But I think this will help provide even more context to some of what's happened in my life over the past year.

I've mentioned how a) intentions don't matter and that actions can be classified as abuse regardless and b) I feel that some of the ways my husband treated me were abusive. It might seem weird that what happened with... ok, I really hate continuing to refer to him as a 'friend' so we're going to go with Jerkface... So yes, it might seem weird that what happened with Jerkface blew up in ridiculous and public ways and I pretty much would prefer he would stop existing (*bink* just gone.. nothing violent, I just wish one of those sci-fi time travelling things where you could erase someone would happen), and that I'm still good friends with the Husband and I still love him. How can I call both men guilty of abuse and condemn one and not the other? From the outside, it does seem hypocritical, but it's not like issues of abuse are EVER black and white. On the other hand, I find it hypocritical that I've mentioned that I feel that Husband abused me and people nodded in solemn and sympathetic agreement, but many of these same people went out of their way to justify Jerkface's behaviour and argue against my anger at him for mistreating me in blatant and damaging ways. So, y'know, whatever.

Intentions don't matter when categorising behaviour as abuse, but the attitude of the abuser towards the abused DOES matter. A lot. I haven't discussed the specifics of Husband's behaviour, because it's difficult and also it's not that important. I believe that he truly loves me and cares about how he affects me and, most importantly, is truly regretful of the ways he's hurt me. In essence, I believe the abuse was, for all intents and purposes, accidental. That doesn't make it less harmful, and my decision to separate and give myself space from the Husband was absolutely the correct one. Where things will go from here, I don't really know yet, but I won't condemn him as a bad person because I know deep down that he isn't. He can be careless and thoughtless. He can think he's doing the correct thing in a situation when he isn't. And he can find it difficult to admit he's wrong. But I've known him for nearly a decade and a half, and for much of that we've been in a relationship together. I probably know him better than anyone else. That he truly loves me and cares about my wellbeing has never been in doubt.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. The difference between how Jerkface and the Husband made me feel overall is massive. Jerkface spouted a lot of things to placate me, said all the right words and then did things to hurt or provoke me anyway. He didn't care how he affected me at all, only that I was complacent under his control. When I wasn't complacent, I was punished. There was no regret, no real care about my wellbeing, only blame, manipulation and control. If there WAS regret at his actions and how they affected me, it was never expressed TO me. And that's why others have a hard time believing his intentions were anything but good. Because he said all the right things to them so they would accept he was just trying to do right by me, that he was trying to be a "good friend" but just didn't know how (bull fucking shit). But the fact that he never, ever would say sorry or take responsibility for how he made me feel to my face is damning in and of itself. I had to pull teeth to even get him to admit he "felt bad" that he hurt me in between all the guilt, blame shifting, and everything else. I was never a person to him. I was a thing, a toy that he could mindfuck to make him feel better about himself. I know this to be true. I will never accept his actions as accidental. I will never be okay that anyone else does. And I definitely will never stop being angry at anyone who believes he's a worthwhile person to have in their life. I don't have to be, cause I don't have to forgive anyone who would treat me that way and anyone else who enabled his behaviour in any way at all.

But I'm getting ranty and off point. So, why do I feel the Husband behaved abusively towards me?

Because his anger and frustration were often directed at me in ways that were unjustified, so that I have felt the need to just appease him so he calms or shut up and apologise so he'd stop. This was never physical, just verbal, but it was at its worst just before and just after the separation. It's one of the main reasons I had to leave.

Because he often phrases things in passive aggressive ways designed to make me feel bad. "YOU left ME so yadda yadda guilt guilt guilt." I think we all are guilty of this behaviour in some ways sometimes. I know I am. I'm not saying this in and of itself is damning. It's childish mostly, but also it's a strongly repeated behaviour on the Husband's part and still can be. I tolerate it less than I used to, and call it out if I can.

Because it felt like his behaviour and mood always worsened the more I became functional and independent, as if his role as my support was being threatened and I had to stay sick so he could continue to take care of me. I was always being dragged back down into my mental illness. I think this is something I've discussed here before, but my psychologist had to make me see why this was problematic and why she describes our relationship as codependent.

And because I feel that some of the ways he treated me "for my own good" helped me stay feeling "crazy and out of control". Such as physically restraining me so I wouldn't self-harm. It took hanging out in spaces on the internet for those of us who are neuroatypical and have experienced abuse to realise that this really isn't okay. And it's still the most difficult thing for me to discuss.

My real point with all this is simply that I've experienced a lot of abuse between the Husband and Jerkface, and that allows me to compare and contrast intention, attitude, and amount of harm caused in a lot of ways that no one else but me really can. I don't hate the husband and I'm not angry at him. Treating someone badly sometimes doesn't make you an irredeemable piece of shit automatically, and that I still want the Husband in my life makes sense to me, even if for now we also need a lot of space and time from one another.

When you've seen the intensity of my anger towards Jerkface and anyone who's defended him and see that I am STILL extremely angry and STILL hurting all the time, understand there's a lot of rational context surrounding it. I'm an emotional person. I'm often giving in to my emotional whims. But that doesn't make me wrong to be angry nor irrational in my hatred of someone who deserves it. I'm not "hanging on" to my emotions, nor am I refusing to move forward. If anything, I've done nothing BUT move forward from the utterly disgusting shit I had to deal with earlier this year. I am healing, though it will continue to take time. But I refuse to let go of anger that I feel is wholly justified.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Emotions have no moral value, and to judge others for their emotions is a privilege. If my anger makes you uncomfortable in any way, you are the one who needs to figure out why and rethink things.

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