I feel like this is in a similar vein to wondering how to know when people need help…
i didn’t totally know how to ask for it, or signal what was really going on.
I know that we don’t have to bring everything back to childhood, but hey, it matters.
And when I was a kid, and being abused, I would kind of slip into conversation something along the lines of, “[so-and-so] is so terrible” (or whatever). (I say so-and-so because I’ve never said publicly who my abuser was as a kid. But the point is, I was being beaten all the time. I was living in fear. But, instead of being able to clearly articulate that, I would just make some vague saying about how that person was bad. And people would come back with “oh yeah, my [insert equivalent] sucks too.”
If you’re a kid, and you’re saying anyone even kinda in authority (which, for a kid, is almost everyone) sucks, other kids are so quick to pile on. For example, if you said your teacher was awful, they’d be quick to pile on, “Yeah, mine is too! She makes us do too much homework!” Etc.
And then, I’d just kind of hang my head and nod and be like, “Well, everybody doesn’t like their [person]. Everybody has issues with them.” And I’d go face that life again, even though it was so much worse than the norm. But I was a kid, and how was I to really know that?
And with sexual assault guy, I totally reverted to those tendencies. I was like I was 9 years old all over again. And I’d start to peek out in conversations with, “[sexual assault guy] is kinda awful!”
But, again, everyone is so quick to be like, “yeah, boys are awful! Did you know my boyfriend [insert something annoying he did here]?” And yet again, I’d kinda be like, “Yeah…” And for the most part, I wouldn’t push it (most of the time, for a long time… sometimes… but even when I would, sometimes it would make people annoyed instead of understanding. It was just like, “Why is this affecting you so much?!” and me not totally being able to tell them).
It would hurt so deeply when people would give me “normal” relationship advice. For instance, if people would tell me it wasn’t that big of a deal if he was mad, nobody understood that I was in the cycle of abuse (sorry to be using “therapy talk/terms” here, and the anxiety after an “incident” phase or something similar would feel so intense, wanting to reach the reconciliation phase felt like life or death. I can’t be told “eh, people fight.” This is so much more on the line than that.
But I couldn’t seem to get that across to people.
And even still – even after all this, I don’t know that I totally can.
I just – I dunno. I’m at kind of a loss for words on this one. [Shocking, from me, I know.]
So, I have a few more posts about this that I’m gonna that have to do with this. And then I think I’ll link them here.]
[Oh, and by the way, just to let you know – 99% of the time, if I’m telling you someone annoys me, it’s because they annoy me, not because they’re abusing me. So, I’m not saying try to decipher a code for me, or always be worried that I’m being abused. You definitely shouldn’t be worried about that. I have a better vocabulary now about all that, and a better ability to see warning signs and seek help (should it ever happen again).]