Sunday, August 13, 2006

A bit more on this "abuse" business

An interesting list of "Lies Abusers Tell."

Some of them are very familiar and easily recognizable as abuse:

I wouldn't hit you if you weren't so bad.

Don't talk about your experience with my drinking/drug use/abuse because it will embarrass me. Don't tell anyone about this. It's our little secret. I'll kill you if you tell.

I bought you X, but you owe me because you didn't earn it.

You'd be a lot nicer if you weren't such a bitch.

Nice girls don't dress that way/have sex/yell/go anywhere alone.

You're a slut.

You're bad. You're worthless. You're ugly.

Your mother/sister won't give me this, and I/men need it.

You know you like it; what are you trying to get from me by resisting?

Your asking not to be touched isn't a good reason for me not to touch you.

...and some, well. Hmm. Hmm.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself!!

You made me mad. You provoked me. You made me do it.

I can't believe how selfish you are.

Never hurt anyone's feelings. If you do, you're bad.

That's not what you meant. I know what you really meant.

You shouldn't feel that way. You shouldn't think that way.

I'm not going to talk to you until you apologize.

I only have your best interests at heart.

That's just the way your [abuser] is. You shouldn't let them bother you.

You just need to try harder. You just need to stop letting your feelings get hurt.

You never... You always...

I'm only doing this for your own good.


Amber said...

Wow. Thanks for posting this.

In the years I've spent in therapy, it took me a looooong time to recognize a lot of the stuff on that list as abuse. And in a lot of ways I am still working on some of it. I think it's important for people to be reminded that a lot of the stuff we (especially women) just accept is abuse. For example, I can't tell you how many times growing up I heard...

"I can't believe how selfish you are."

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"You shouldn't feel that way. You shouldn't think that way."

"You need to stop letting your feelings get hurt."

... and never thought of it as abuse. It's just the way things were.

Spill The Beans said...

The second list is my childhood, in a nutshell. It's also my adult relationship to my parents, until in the last year or so i began to stand my ground.

It's no wonder I ended up married to a guy who was equally manipulative.

Sage said...

"I was only kidding. Don't be so sensitive." Or, my favourite is when someone actively and obviously flirts in front of his/her partner, then says, "Don't be so insecure." It says, if you think poorly of me, it's because of your own lack of self-esteem; and, if I do end up screwing around on you, it's because your poor self-esteem drove me to it. Priceless.

"I know what you really meant, think, feel..." bothers me the most. I've got a few women in my life who often use this one, and I really have to fight to be heard by them. Some people just see the stereotype of a person and expect one type of response, and can't get their heads around the fact that not everyone can be so easily pigeonholed.

But I won't play with someone who's being a jerk until the behaviour changes and s/he recognizes said jerkishness and sincerely apologises. I call it setting boundaries.

belledame222 said...

>setting boundaries


And this is where sociopolitical cant falls down and something else has to step up. It's not enough having this Patriarchy (or name yer monolith)-blaming structure if abuse still manages to slither outside of its determined parameters.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
belledame222 said...

I'm sure this is as much my own thing as anything else, but the "selfish" business in particular (which I wrote about a coupla weeks ago, I remember), that rings bells...and has always struck me as a tack-women,- or at least the marginalized (I guess that could be pretty much anyone, true) tend to use.

I mean specifically, used as a weapon when you won't concede...well, often enough it -seems- like, just basically, the point, even.

Because thinking of yourself is -bad-, right? Wanting to take care of yourself first is -bad-, right? Especially if you're a woman.

Bottom line: there's still not enough to go around. There never is.

Katharina said...

I tend to hear that a lot at the dorms I'm living in- because I don't think of myself as ugly and don't always think of others' opinions as an altar I have to make sacrifices to I'm suddenly an egoist and selfishness impersonated. (My whole class once held a short-lived grudge against me because I didn't want to fetch my book so that another person could make her latin homework. This was the only time I can remember that I openly refused to do something for another one's benefit and only one time was enough for calling me selfish.)

They also like to do threats which go along the line of "See, this is why nobody wants to be your friend" and "If you don't change you'll end up alone and miserable"- as if I wanted to hang out with bigoted freaks for the rest of my life.

Not surprisingly the people who do that hate themselves and generally are more concerned with other people's business as with their own- if they start looking at themselves they feel nothing except disgust for the person they see. But since they're unable to change themselves or like to think so everyone who acts like a normal human being without any sign of being mentally disturbed is a threat.

For some time those comments really get to you, especially if you thought that the people hurting you to make themselves feel better were "friends", but then you realize their intention and stop giving a fuck about them.

Still have to live with them but I won't be there if they are in pain and need support. They did nothing to deserve such kind treatment.

Amber said...

I'm sure this is as much my own thing as anything else, but the "selfish" business in particular (which I wrote about a coupla weeks ago, I remember), that rings bells...and has always struck me as a tack-women,- or at least the marginalized (I guess that could be pretty much anyone, true) tend to use.

Purely anecdotal, but "selfish" was what I always heard from my mom while I was growing up, whereas I never heard it from my dad. (I heard plenty of nasty things from him, too, but never "selfish.")

And, for whatever reason, it's the "selfish" accusation that has stuck with me til this day and has proven the most difficult to shake.