During this process, I realised how susceptible we all are to being abusive. Abuse is so prevalent, and so normalized, and often so much a function of our gut reactions that it is easy to do, without being even aware of it. Worse still, it’s even easy to abuse when you are trying to help someone.
The powerful emotional link that binds families who grow up together often manifests itself in curious ways when adult adoptees meet their biological families. Yet as common as it is, few want to touch it because–well–incest. But this issue needs more awareness, and not only because according to recent reports it’s on the rise. Also because I believe that it’s a fertile ground for a particular type of abuse.
If you are not at the centre then don’t shit on the person whose been hurt – your job is to support them. If you yourself need support in order to do that, bitch to people who are less affected by it; comfort in, dump out… On a macro scale don’t give more burdens to those who have been oppressed. Don’t expect compassion from those who have been dumped on. It is not their job to show it.
Many abuse victims like me, have also demonstrated the same behaviours which can be tagged as emotionally abusive. Yet they are not abusers themselves. Why? At what point does hurt become abuse?
I can understand of course, why that always has to be the line in our culture of legal, illegal. Ethical, unethical. But language both drives and is driven by, humanity and culture. Defining polar opposites of ‘yes and no’ means simply by their definitions these opposites are reinforced. Of course they do exist but as with everything else… they exist on a spectrum. Our positions of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are only two binary values in a world full of grey.
Yet emotional abuse is incredibly damaging, perhaps in part because it cannot be recognised and dealt with in the same way. Emotional abuse gets swept under the carpet because it is supported and perpetuated by society as a whole.
These are the piercing secrets we whisper to one another in our late night conversations, in those moments of vulnerability, before putting our metaphorical masks on again. Life is a game. A game driven by our kinks, our fascination with power and objectification.
We are programmed as human beings with a biological reaction called ‘disgust’ and as a society, have reinforced this through any number of mechanisms to be able to live together. It’s part of the reason why so many stories of abuse remain untold and why many abusers can go on abusing, sometimes over decades. Abusees become disgusting by their association to abuse. Their stories are often doubted, shunned or dismissed as inconsequential.
We undermine our children’s powers of consent because we know better the repercussions of their desires. Which mother might not consider a threat or worse, to prevent something which we could conceivably justify as ‘for their own good’? Where is the line?
I met my biological father when I was 21. An adoptee, desperately seeking the face for an identity she had yet to form. Our meeting was hidden from my adoptive parents and facilitated by my biological mother who had yet to realize the reality of the man who was my father. The man who would become my rapist. And as …
I went to university in Plymouth. Home of Ritzy’s nightclub, Plymouth Pavilions and sailors. Sailors are notorious for their promiscuous habits and it seems very unsurprising to me now, that my biological father was a sailor. I was headed back for the second year of university; away from the trauma of meeting my father for the first time, to more, …
At the time I didn’t know there was such a phenomenon called Genetic Sexual Attraction; if I had, I might have been able to intellectualize what was happening. But I doubt it. Because at 21 although legally an adult, I still had the naive mind of a child. A child who simply wanted love and acceptance, and who’d been searching for it her whole life.
- Page 1 of 2