Okay, I think this might be a tough one…but I will give it my best shot.
Part 1: The Upside of Abuse
Waaaiiit!! Don’t go yet! There really is an upside (at least for me…and hopefully others as well.) Most of us who have been abused are extremely intuitive (almost psychic!) Afterall, we have spent a good portion of our lives trying to read people as quickly as possible (how is daddy feeling today? what can I do to not get hurt?) In fact, just by a quick glance at your face and body I can readily detect how you feel and, to an extent, what type of person you are. I know if I can make a particular joke to you and if you’ll think it’s funny or obscene and annoying. This is very useful for all of life’s little transactions. If I know how to interact with you to get the best result, not only will I be happier, but so will you! A strange gift from such a tragic situation.
We are survivors! It takes strength and courage to survive abuse. As children, there is no way to escape it. We are stuck in the situation and must endure. I mean, sure, we have our issues…but who doesn’t? Even people who never experienced abuse have their shit…it’s just a little different. And, I am always amazed when I think of not only who I am today, but who my sisters and my mother are after everything. Strong, competent and steadfast people are created by surviving.
Part 2: The Struggle
Now, the fine line I find myself experiencing throughout my life. Although I’ve come to terms with what has happened when I was a child, there are definitely continuing issues I experience as an adult. It took me a long time to figure out that I don’t have to be with someone who is abusive. I went through boyfriend after boyfriend after boyfriend…after boyfriend…(lol…I’ve had a LOT of boyfriends.) Finally, I had figured it out…I found myself a “man”friend. A man who didn’t call me names, who didn’t leave a mark on my body, who was genuinely loving and caring…so, what’s the big deal? What’s this fine line all about? Well, I think that someone doesn’t necessarily have to be abusive for me to find a way to be abused. OMG WTF?!?! (When I was thinking about this I was laughing out loud because it’s so absurd! But true!)
Let me explain (from a personal perspective because I can’t speak for everybody):
I have developed certain thought patterns rooting back to childhood. These include, but are not limited to the following. 1) This [abuse] is how a man expresses love and care to me. 2) If I can change how I [insert anything…act, dress, think, speak, feel, etc] and then this won’t continue to happen. These thought patterns are disturbed. They served me once upon a time in my life in order to protect me. (Bless my mind for all it has done to help me survive.)
So, my point is, that even when I am in a loving and nurturing relationship, I can find a way to let that part of me who is so used to being hurt come out and play. In the last relationship, this loving person was struggling with his own issues, and wasn’t sure if he wanted to be with somebody. It went back and forth like this:
“I WANT to be with and live with you!”
“I DON’T WANT to be with and live you!”
“Ok, I want it!”
“Nevermind, I don’t!”
Oh boy, was that ever painful! It hurt so badly to be going back and forth like that…he loves me, he loves me not! Well, that little part of me said, “He MUST love me if he’s hurting me!” So, yeah, I’ll stick around! And that, everybody, is how I can find that fine little line and suffer pain and hurt from someone who is loving and caring.
(It’s sort of like magic how we can end up in places like this!)
Part 3: Clearing some things up
Just incase my point is being missed, I do NOT condone abuse. Abuse will be wrong always. No matter what. I am only trying to examine my role in life. And even though I allowed myself to be hurt, does NOT mean that whoever did the hurting is in right action. This cycle has to be broken by me (by you…by whomever). I cannot control the other person in my relationships. Besides, those people did not hurt ME (even though they did). It was never about me. If a father is abusive, he is going to abuse his children…no matter who they are. If a boyfriend is going to hurt his girlfriend…it’s not about who she is or what she does or how she dresses…it’s about HIM (or her…girls can abuse too, after all.) Ultimately, it’s never about the victim…it’s about the abuser: what are they getting out of it…how does it make them feel…etc.
This is strangely comforting…if it’s not about me, I can begin to heal and rework those thought patterns.