I realised how susceptible we all are to being abusive. Abuse is so prevalent, and so normalized, and often so easy to do, without being even aware of it.
But what of the men who were genetic fathers to these lost children? Male privilege absolved them of personal responsibility.
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.
When my self esteem was low, my relationships were abusive. Yet I always assumed that when my self-esteem was higher that my relationships would be healthy.
You asked… I’ve lived with a man for several years, and about a year ago we decided to “go poly”. It was the first time I realized that I didn’t have to put all my energy and effort into one other person, that I was allowed to care for myself and my own needs. Sadly enough, taking responsibility for myself … Read More
You asked… I read your response on anxiety with interest and foreboding. I am in an open relationship with my partner. I suffer hugely from anxiety, and although I try to take full responsibility for it, I fear that my initial – uncontrollable – reactions of fear and anxiety impact my partner’s decisions on how or even whether to move … Read More
I knew that my father had tried to divorce my mother a year before they adopted me. I knew that I was ‘her project’. I knew that he was never around.
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.
But it wasn’t about love, it was about power. About how far I would be willing to go. About how much abuse I might be prepared to accept.
As a crusader for this system, abuse was not my mother’s intent. She was an agent in an abusive system, whilst believing that it was the best thing for me.
Twenty years later those two people are now strangers and our story is one of the human condition, of love and tragedy. It was inevitable. And so I simply sigh, close the book and move on.
Coraline will give her eyes, she will sacrifice her unique perspective on the world, and lose herself to her other mother’s vision of herself.
I have a son and a daughter (with a man who is as far removed from being an asshole as it is possible to be). If either of them were ever caught up in a situation where they were the perpetrator or the victim of such a situation, I don’t know how I would contain my vitriol …or my guilt. Because in both positions, my children would be operating out of a place of low self-esteem. One who needed to feed their ego by taking power to control and manipulate. One who felt they were worth very little and that this was the only relationship they deserved.
Take responsibility for your feelings. You are in charge of them. But that’s difficult. Because we need to feel angry. We’re allowed to feel angry.
The guilt of who I am, what I have done is so shameful that I cannot face the pain. There is no point in holding someone who is shattered and worthless.
I don’t know whether the roaring was in my head or from his throat, but it felt like I had gone mad.