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Friday, June 6, 2008

Ending Abuse

In my younger days I was quite insane. I knew it then, I really know it now. Part of becoming that insane was that I'd been programmed to living in abuse. And part of that programming is not even knowing what abuse is. Consequently, I gave and took abuse as a course of life. It was the norm; I knew nothing else, had no coping skills, no awareness of living differently. And for some 36 years, I got thru life that way. It was all about giving shit and taking shit. Drama followed drama, I was angry and hate-filled, lonely and very sad. People were always in my life, but few were mentally healthy. Then a succession of deaths left me at a rock-bottom place, a place of singular pain. And I said to myself, "No more." The No More attitude began invading all parts of my life. Bit by bit, I started demanding respect and not tolerating the way other people treated me. It became important to be treated the way I wanted to be treated, and in turn, I began to treat others better. This set up an expectation of what I'd accept from people, and what I wouldn't accept. By setting limits, and communicating them, I was treated better. If I wasn't treated well, I left. The powers of dissociation I'd used to block out pain I turned into taking a step back and looking at what was happening, objectively. I stopped hanging on to insane situations and people. It was a process, and still is.

I tend to love very deeply, and believe that my heart is right. It isn't, often. Love really is blind. And if I want to love someone, I will ignore all the flags and warning signs and boldly go forward. I'm still working on that. Sex is not love. Self-sacrifice can leave you with nothing. Supporting another person can become an addiction. You cannot change anyone else, and rarely can you change how they treat you. The instinct to love someone can be very wrong. Laughing off or "understanding" someone's abusive ways won't change the paradigm. In fact, it enables it to go on. Even encourages it.

And I'm quite comfortable alone. Sometimes too comfortable. Sometimes too cautious with people, sometimes not cautious enough. I'm willing to trust someone to a point now, but I'm more watchful than ever. And if someone's loud and invasive, I watch more carefully. If someone is critical of others, chances are I'll be on the list soon. If someone is passive aggressive, talks behind others' backs, constantly rants and bitches about others, chances are they do the same about me to others. Their drama does not make it my drama. I don't hunt for character flaws, but I recognize them. And if I begin to become someone's victim, I get out. Because once they have a taste of your blood, they'll be back for more. It also reignites parts of me that I've spent years dousing out. It starts the old "proving myself/insecurity/submission/people pleasing" crap. Life is short and there really are a lot of good people in the world. I don't need to keep abusive people in my life. There's nothing to prove, nothing that matters more than my peace of mind.

Neither do I give people up easily. And the door can be reopened if that formerly abusive person wakes up and stops the cycle in their life. But for me, for my portion of sanity and self-preservation, the craziness had to go. And life has been much better. I do recommend it.


MoonRaven said...

Thank you for this brave and painfully honest post. It's really good when someone decides they deserve respect and can set limits.

You certainly don't need abusive people in your life. Here's hoping you get more good people in your life that treat you well.

CarrieBoo said...

This hits home in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing.

annieoatcake said...

I'm going to 'favourite' this and use it as a mantra...

Thanks Laura, I've really enjoyed and learned a lot from all of these blogs - yer a wise wee wummin :-)

Austan said...

Well thanks you guys. It was a tough one to write but I thought it needed to be said. I guess you learn something hanging around the planet for a half-century and some. ;)