It’s not been a year since several people admonished me for continually educating myself about abuse, both how to learn what an abuser is so to avoid them, and to learn the effect 47 years of abuse has had on me so I can grow stronger.
There are a lot of people an abuse victim needs to cut from their lives, those are just one type.
The reason in this case is that these types of people will hinder your recovery. They are not actually well-meaning, and, as in my case, they will ultimately out themselves as some level of abuser. In my situation I refused to comply, and a few of those people chose to actually unfriend me and now no longer speak to me.
This is an abuser tactic. If you don’t do what I tell you, I won’t like you anymore. It sounds, to the uneducated person, like the person is just being petty, but to the educated person it is known to be an exercise in power. A good, non-abusive friend or family member would never do something like that.
I am forever grateful I did not listen to those people. Fortunately I was already educated enough to know they were either clueless or, in the cases of those who felt that was enough to no longer be my friend, actually abusive at some level.
This past week I’ve been mulling over an article on the results of child abuse. I was severely abused by my parents before I even met my ex. This article was spot on to what will happen to the child when he or she reaches adulthood. Hint: You’re pretty F*d up.
1) Insecure attachment. Check. I spend hours of every day, especially when I am with a friend, considering how I’m going to f*ck this up and they are going to walk away.
2) Undeveloped emotional intelligence. Check. I honestly cannot walk off my emotions, or hide them from my face even if I’m trying.
3) Impaired sense of self. Check. My parents (especially my mother) made sure I knew just how stupid and inept I was. They made sure I always knew I’d never measure up whether by their direct words (my mother) or their actions (my father).
4) Lack of trust. Check. While I like to think I’ve remained trusting I realize that the more friends I lose over walking away from their faith and their god the less I trust anyone.
5) Difficulties with boundaries. Check. Again, would love to say I’ve got this one but I don’t think that when you’re depressed and need to talk and you talk yourself out of calling or texting your friend for fear of taking up their time or of being rejected is actually a healthy boundary.
6) Choosing toxic friends and partners. Check. Yeah, pretty sure I do that. Becoming aware of this is probably the number one reason many abuse victims never marry or never remarry. It’s difficult to know what’s good when you’ve always been taught that evil is good.
7) Dominated by fear of failure. Check. I do not know how I get out of bed each morning. Really. With all the failures facing me today, and some are truly real, I don’t even know how I function. I barely get my footing and another failure comes my way which I am not prepared for. I don’t know how to recover and depending on the severity of the failure, it will take me days, possibly months, to get over it…Ok, more like years. And who wants to add to that by taking chances?
8) Feelings of isolation. Check. (See note above about boundaries)
9) Extreme sensitivity. Check. I do believe I’m improving in this area…then I f*ck up and hurt someone and that’s the end of that. I will concede that work is helping in this area. Because the people there are being their real selves (even the a**es) I am subjected to so many different personalities that are not happy-clappy, I am finally learning to deal with them and not take offense and even stand up for myself. Does it still hurt? Hell ya. But I prefer to think the pain proves I’m still human.
10) Conflicted. Check. Though the conflict isn’t as intense as it once was, that pain and desire is still there. Fortunately I have made myself strong over the past several years, so it’s easier.
By learning these things about myself and where these ideas came from I can actually work on changing them. I can’t change something if I don’t know the reason for the problem.
When people tell you to just give it over to their god, when they tell you thinking on these things is enslaving you and making things worse and that if you just moved on everything will get better, they do not care about you. I’ve concluded from running into this too often that they are either an abuser themselves, or they are entirely uncomfortable with the knowledge you are attaining which could be because they feel threatened by your empowerment or because they themselves are in an abusive relationship and they do not wish to acknowledge it.
Educate yourself. It really is power.