Good evening, everyone! No knitting stories today...unless you want to hear about me finishing a hat while the Bears lost in overtime this afternoon. The guy to my left was from Ireland, and he told me that while lots of people in his country drink, and lots of people in his country knit, it is ne'er too often he sees both at the same time from the same person. Duly noted.
I want to talk about abuse. Out of nowhere. Nothing happened today, and you don't have to worry about me sending some weird subliminal message about needing rescue from my current relationship. I am just looking at the world around me, and this is what is on my mind.
By the way, I am not a clinical expert of anything. I just do a lot of reading, listening, and attempting to learn from my own and others' mistakes. That's it. This is a springboard. It should not be used to diagnose or treat anything. But ask yourself if you have experienced any of what I am talking about, and ask yourself how often it should be acceptable. The answer is never.
Abuse is about control. It is not about seeing someone hurt; actually, it is almost the opposite. An abuser can often feel justified by feeling guilty seeing someone hurt, because they can think that the person did it to themselves. If only they listened to me and did what I said, they think. Then they wouldn't be crying.
Often, that is what comes out of an abuser's mouth. "If you had just listened to me in the first place, you wouldn't be crying like that." See, people who abuse like to blame everyone but themselves for their wrongs. "We were late because you couldn't put your fucking makeup on quicker." "I wouldn't have bought the house if you didn't keep nagging me for two months...I did it to shut you up."
Now, of course people say things in the heat of the moment that they do not necessarily mean. There are degrees to abuse. If someone says something in an argument once, and they realize their idiocy, and they strive to improve and not do it again, that is not abuse. If their default is to hurt and blame you in an argument, it very well may be that you are being abused.
Does the person who should love you the most also insult you the most? That is a problem. If you are married to someone who calls you names on a regular basis, they are doing it for attention. They are doing it to make you feel like you are less of yourself, because then he or she feels their own plane is higher than yours.
Abuse is not always physical, although the control aspect is the same. This is why it is very, very difficult sometimes for people to leave abusive relationships. They start to believe the abuser on some level, and because they love the person in question, there is a level of assumption that they can trust what the other person tells them is true. "He loves me...why would he or she lie to me?"
Lying. That is something else to watch for. Someone who pathologically lies, who is constantly covering their tracks, often thinks it is necessary to do so. I know some white lies just happen in a moment of panic ("Officer, I never saw the stop sign..."), but to constantly lie, to calculate and set a stage...well...either there is a string of behavior the person feels the need to hide, or the person feels they need to hide their true selves. So they try to control others by telling lies to justify behavior.
People who abuse also often will raise their voices. If they are louder, their voice can be heard over yours. Control.
Passive aggression is another commonality. "Fine! Maybe we should just get divorced then!" If you hear that once, after trying and trying to make things work, then maybe it is out of anger, and it is a suggestion. But if you start to hear this during every single argument, the person is trying to get you to say, "No...I love you!" or "No, please!" or something similar. In some cases, this is the moment someone realizes they are being abused. This is the moment they call the person's bluff and say, "Okay." And then suddenly, the abuser changes his or her tune.
But it is very rarely a permanent change.
I have said this before, but it bears repeating: I often hear people justify the complaints they make of their relationships by following up with, "But...he's not always like that. He can be really nice." If you are in a relationship where you have to balance the good with the bad, then remember this: 51% is NOT good enough. Loving, nurturing relationships get fed by positivity, appreciation, gratitude, and love. It is similar to servant leadership in the sense that people who abuse are taking, and people who are healthy inherently would rather give. "What can I do to make your day better?" versus "How great will I look with her on my arm?"
If you start to notice little jabs coming from your so-called partner, remember that jokes are said in a loving way. They are not said in a way that should make you feel less than you are truly worth. And no, it is not funny. Ever.