This post may be triggering for some.
I honestly have no idea where to even begin this post. I feel a little like I’m forcing it–well I definitely am. I keep navigating away from this, probably so I don’t have to slow down and process, integrate. What’s up in my system? Well, a lot. But an idea I’m playing with is abuse. What is abuse? Do we have a very good idea of it in our culture? I definitely don’t think so. I’m actually coming to realize that abuse is EVERYWHERE. We do it all the time, all of us. These subtle forms of manipulation are not typically called abuse, but they are definitely ways that we perpetrate against the people around us.
So it’s super simple to look at ways you have been perpetrated against and say “Look at that! I was abused!” but it’s not as easy to say “Whoa, look at how I perpetrated against that person.” Hint: You have done it a lot. And so have I. I have been looking at way a recent relationship was psychologically abusive. How manipulative it was toward the end. It felt good to finally name those parts. But then there was the denial of abuse, from several parties. It got me thinking that they may not even understand how wide of a scope abuse covers.
I found this broad definition on LoveIsRespect.org: abuse is a pattern of behavior used to gain and maintain power and control. This page on their site talks about some of the ways abuse can play out. Go ahead and read them, see where you have been abused. And also look at how you have been the abuser.
I have had a large number of incidences in which I have been the oppressor, or as most people have preferred to call me, the asshole. I am definitely a warrior woman, my responses can often come off incredibly strong. I have received feedback along the lines of “You eviscerate people with your words” and “You have a way of making people feel wrong about everything.” Wowza. This is certainly not my intention in these interactions, but I am not careful with my language sometimes, and when I’m not careful when I’m triggered, it’s riddled with abuse.
And the way my system is set up allows me to dive deeply into a relationship, to feel it intensely, to go all the way, quickly. And then when I feel overwhelmed with it, to reject it harshly. To push it away so aggressively must feel like abuse in another’s system. This flip flop is such a natural result of being raised in a home steeped in borderline personality. What else do I know? This has always been my reality.
I think these conversations around the language we use is so important. And knowing the definition of something is imperative if you want to dismantle it.