PROVIDING FOOD AND SHELTER IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR ABUSE.
Just because someone gives you food and housing and any other manner of gift or possession does not give them the right to abuse you emotionally, mentally, or physically.
Often time abusers will use this as an excuse.
IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE. EVER.
— Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men (via monobey)
Anonymous said: I'm the anon who sent the 2prt ask that didn't make it. I'm rewriting the ask because I can't remember word for word what it said and I don't to make it confusing for you guys to read. Anyways, in the last couple of months I've recently realized that my mom is emotionally abusive. I'm not having a hard time talking to her (I have to live with her to have my schooling paid for) but I'm having a hard time talking to other people about her. Not about the abuse, but when they ask questions about
how she’s doing. I used to get excited about talking about my mom and I’d share stories with my friend’s and their parents but now it’s too hard. I can’t see her as the lovable mom I used to think I had, but now I just see her as a monster I live with. I feel like people know but I don’t want to explain it to them. I can’t stand to be around her friends because they won’t stop going on and on about what a wonderful person she is and they constantly ask me how proud I am to have her as my mom, and I just can’t. It’s impossible for me to lie, it’s like my body rejects me lying, so instead, I just get really quiet. I don’t like this, what can I say to people? I’m not ready to talk to my mom about it yet, I’d like to move out of her house first before I go to therapy because she’d find out. Any tips? Thanks.
That is really difficult, Anon and I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. The way you’re reacting is just fine.
But sometime it helps to just have some sort of plan or idea to make these experiences less uncomfortable. I would encourage you to keep brainstorming ideas until you find something you’re comfortable with, but in the meantime here are some of my ideas…
Changing the subject? Saying, “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” or “Can we talk about something else?” Asking, “What do you think?” Kind of avoiding the question, shrugging or whatever and then saying, “I’ll be right back I have to go to the bathroom.” or wherever/whatever you can think of as an excuse to get out of the room briefly. By the time you get back the conversation may have changed. Or it can give you time to come up with a new topic to start when you return.
I hope this helps Anon! And know that this is a common experience for survivors of abuse and is something I also dealt with when I was younger. I pretty much responded the same way you describe but everyone is different and it just didn’t personally make me uncomfortable for people to know I didn’t like my family. I was just generally angry and broody so no one thought anything of it.
when you tell a man how he has hurt you and his response is “oh I’m such a piece of shit I’m a terrible person omg omg” and mentions/does nothing at all w/re: to your pain
(and then you’re the one reassuring and comforting him of course you are, again)
This is a abuser tactic. If a man does this, he is a toxic person and a manipulator who needs to be avoided forever.
it doesn’t matter where they are on the gender spectrum: THIS IS STILL A RED FLAG.
to the anon who just sent in a question, we only received pt. 2, do you want to resubmit the first message?
People who struggle interpersonally, who seem unhappy, or who get into a lot of conflicts are often advised to adopt the approach of Nonviolent Communication.
This is often not a good idea. Nonviolent Communication is an approach based on refraining from seeming to judge others, and instead expressing everything in terms of your own feelings. For instance, instead of “Don’t be such an inconsiderate jerk about leaving your clothes around”, you’d say “When you leave your clothing around, I feel disrespected.”. That approach is useful in situations in which people basically want to treat each other well but have trouble doing so because they don’t understand one another’s needs and feelings. In every other type of situation, the ideology and methodology of Nonviolent Communication can make things much worse.
Nonviolent Communication can be particularly harmful to marginalized people or abuse survivors. It can also teach powerful people to abuse their power more than they had previously, and to feel good about doing so. Non-Violent Communication has strategies that can be helpful in some situations, but it also teaches a lot of anti-skills that can undermine the ability to survive and fight injustice and abuse.
For marginalized or abused people, being judgmental is a necessary survival skill. Sometimes it’s not enough to say “when you call me slurs, I feel humiliated” - particularly if the other person doesn’t care about hurting you or actually wants to hurt you. Sometimes you have to say “The word you called me is a slur. It’s not ok to call me slurs. Stop.” Or “If you call me that again, I’m leaving.” Sometimes you have to say to yourself “I’m ok, they’re mean.” All of those things are judgments, and it’s important to be judgmental in those ways.
You can’t protect yourself from people who mean you harm without judging them. Nonviolent Communication works when people are hurting each other by accident; it only works when everyone means well. It doesn’t have responses that work when people are hurting others on purpose or without caring about damage they do. Which, if you’re marginalized or abused, happens several times a day. NVC does not have a framework for acknowledging this or responding to it.
In order to protect yourself from people who mean you harm, you have to see yourself as having the right to judge that someone is hurting you. You also have to be able to unilaterally set boundaries, even when your boundaries are upsetting to other people. Nonviolent Communication culture can teach you that whenever others are upset with you, you’re doing something wrong and should change what you do in order to meet the needs of others better. That’s a major anti-skill. People need to be able to decide things for themselves even when others are upset.
Further, NVC places a dangerous degree of emphasis on using a very specific kind of language and tone. NVC culture often judges people less on the content of what they’re saying than how they are saying it. Abusers and cluelessly powerful people are usually much better at using NVC language than people who are actively being hurt. When you’re just messing with someone’s head or protecting your own right to mess with their head, it’s easy to phrase things correctly. When someone is abusing you and you’re trying to explain what’s wrong, and you’re actively terrified, it’s much, much harder to phrase things in I-statements that take an acceptable tone.
Further, there is *always* a way to take issue with the way someone phrased something. It’s really easy to make something that’s really about shutting someone up look like a concern about the way they’re using language, or advice on how to communicate better. Every group I’ve seen that valued this type of language highly ended up nitpicking the language of the least popular person in the group as a way of shutting them up.
tl;dr Be careful with Nonviolent Communication. It has some merits, but it is not the complete solution to conflict or communication that it presents itself as. If you have certain common problems, NVC is dangerous.
((I bolded my favorite parts))
This reminds me of a time when a person I care about wasn’t treating me great and I tried using I-statements with them and they said:
"I’m not invalidating your feelings" (and went on to say a bunch of really invalidating things and INSISTING they were not invalidating).
It was really funny.
There are a few things going on here when I feel guilty about being disabled
1. The shame that must be present for this guilt to exist, that just who I am, disabled, is inherently bad and wrong
2. Guilt that it’s my fault that my body is inherently bad and wrong
3. The belief that it’s my fault, and my body is inherently wrong, therefore I am solely responsible for it and obligated to make it “right”
And this is a big reason (out of many) why cure-focused attitudes are so damaging to disabled people. They reinforce all of these beliefs. Beliefs that are ingrained in our culture and internalized by every disabled person.
I think about this a lot, and how I told my ex-therapists about my guilt and shame, and somehow,
rather than addressing that, working on accepting myself as inherently worthy, that I am not responsible for being disabled, nor would it matter, that I’m not obligated to “fix” my body because there is nothing inherently wrong with it, it’s equally good whether I’m disabled or not, and that our ableist culture is actually what is responsible and shameful and wrong and bad,
their solution was to tell me to behave and think differently to “cure myself”, both body and mind. Their so-called treatment was based on the beliefs that I did have something to be shamed of, that I was at least partially to blame, and therefore I was both responsible for and obligated to “fix” it.
And there is nothing therapeutic about telling someone you have power over that they’re shameful and wrong and bad, reaffirming their guilt and telling them they would be inherently better if they just acted and thought differently. In fact, those are all actual methods of abuse.