I think about this so (too) much when it comes to sexual assault and such… I’m trying to think about it less. Therapy has been helpful. But, there are still ways in which I’m affected in at least semi-daily life (if not daily life).
And when I am, it seems easy to think, “If only this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be dealing with any of this!”
And then it seems easy to think, “Well, if only I hadn’t done [this, that, a million things that could’ve potentially led to being assaulted], then I wouldn’t be going through this.” It’s so easy to blame yourself.
And I think I probably have a similar post to this somewhere in here, because it is reeeeeally hard (for me, at least) not to blame yourself.
And you tell yourself a million things about how “yeah, you could have done this or that differently, or tried to walk on a different path of eggshells.” You maybe could’ve changed some things. But at the end of the day you’re still walking on eggshells! It’s always gonna be messy and dangerous (you know, going along with the analogy that if you break the eggshells, you are in trooooouble).
And today, I was just thinking that it’s helpful for me to think of my abuser kind of like Donald Trump. (Partially because in a lot of (not quite so loud and obvious and obnoxious) ways, he is like Donald Trump). But the thing about Trump is we KNOW who he is. It is grossly clear what kind of awful person he is. We see his danger.
And yet, the people who have to be around him try to control his outbursts as best as they possibly can… They don’t wanna die from a nuclear war he starts… So, they come up with different strategies. They give him the book of compliments (or whatever it is) each morning. They come up with ways to placate him, to get on his good side, to try to protect themselves.
And SOMETIMES Trump is actually like a little less awful than usual. He’s maybe slightly more calm or open to help.
So, do the things you do matter? Of course. It’s life. Always, things we do matter. And they have shown to protect people to some extent. But at the end of the day, Trump is Trump. And it doesn’t matter what you do. He will be Trump. You can maybe prolong the amount of somewhat calm time before you get hurt by him. But the only way to disarm the ticking time bomb is to remove him from your life (which, unfortunately, as Americans we can’t seem to do yet (#TeamImpeachment)). But that’s the key, you might be able to make the countdown last longer… But you don’t have the tools to make someone not abusive.
Like maaaaybe if they get actual help – like therapy or whatever it is they need to deal with whatever underlying issues they have, and to realize the extent of the harm they’re inflicting. With some outside help, if they really want to change, maybe they can. But you? By yourself? You can’t stop your abuser. And that’s something that’s very very hard for me to remember and internalize. Because it feels like, “No, no, no, no, no, no. If I’m just good enough! I can do it. I can be good enough.” But you really can’t. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Trump will always be Trump. We are never surprised by his behavior (ever). (I totally called him looking at that Solar Eclipse.) And sexual assault guy will always be sexual assault guy. There’s nothing you can personally do to change that. (Nothing you can do.) Exceptionally hard to internalize, but almost certainly the sad, sad truth.